The House met at 2:02 p.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
QUALITY OF WORKING LIFE CENTRE
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I should like to make a statement about the Ontario Quality of Working Life Centre.
Over a year ago, a committee of senior labour and employer representatives was formed under the chairmanship of the Deputy Minister of Labour, Mr. Tim Armstrong, to explore quality of working life initiatives in North America and Western Europe.
The members of the committee include Cliff Pilkey, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour; Bob Hurlbut, president of General Foods; Bill Dimma, president of the Toronto Star; Robert White, Canadian director of the United Automobile Workers; Stewart Cooke, director of district six of the United Steelworkers of America; Ralph Barford, General Steel Wares; and Bill Macdonald, a Toronto lawyer.
The committee met regularly over the past 15 months and, as a result of its studies, recommended the establishment of a permanent quality of working life centre in Ontario, reporting to the Legislature through the Minister of Labour.
Mr. Martel: Located in Sudbury.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: We locate all kinds of things in Sudbury; my friend knows that.
The government accepted this recommendation, and the centre now has been established and funded. It is a genuine tripartite undertaking, involving government, labour and management; and, to my knowledge, it is the first of its kind in Canada. Its primary purpose will be to promote and support the establishment, in industrial settings and elsewhere, of quality-of-working-life projects across the province.
As Bob Hurlbut has put it, the centre has three major interlocking goals: greater employee self-fulfilment, improved labour-management relations and enhanced enterprise performance for the benefit of employees and employers alike.
My chief purpose today is to announce with great pleasure that Dr. Hans van Beinum has accepted the position as director of the centre.
Dr. van Beinum is one of a handful of internationally recognized experts in the theory and practice of quality of working life. He has been a consultant to governments, unions and companies in North America and elsewhere, and has held important academic appointments in England and Western Europe. We in Ontario are fortunate that our new centre has been able to attract a person of his accomplishments.
As will appear from the press statement which I am releasing today, Dr. van Beinum’s appointment is enthusiastically endorsed by the advisory committee. I should like to echo the remarks of Cliff Pilkey, who has observed: “In the United States and elsewhere, quality of working life has proven to be a valuable adjunct to collective bargaining.”
I am pleased that Dr. van Beinum is with us in the Speaker’s gallery today, and I am sure that all members of the Legislature join me in welcoming him to Canada and in wishing him well in this new and exciting initiative in labour relations and organizational development.
SAMUEL JOHNSTON CASE
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I would proceed with this statement, copies of which will not be available for another moment or so.
Mr. Speaker: Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Hon. Mr. McCague: As honourable members are aware, discussions have been going on between representatives of the Management Board, as the employer, and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union to resolve the issues which have arisen in the case of Samuel Johnston. These issues have been of primary concern to my colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton), who has introduced legislation to deal with this case and who will be making a statement immediately following mine.
I am very pleased to be able to tell the House that, with the agreement of the union, Samuel Johnston is to be transferred to a position in the Ministry of Government Services in Orillia and that Mr. Johnston has agreed to this proposal. The position is classified as a clerk supply two, which is at a comparable level, and his salary entitlements have been assured.
As to the future, I shall be introducing a bill to amend the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act which, while retaining the full freedom of the Grown Employees Grievance Settlement Board to decide for itself whether undue force was used by an employee against a resident in a government facility, does provide that where the board so finds it is not entitled to direct that the employee be restored to a position in direct care for or contact with such residents. The provisions of this proposed amendment have been discussed fully with the union, and the union has acquiesced in them.
In making this announcement, I wish to recognize the very co-operative way in which the Ontario Public Service Employees Union has worked with the government in this matter.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to apologize for the fact that copies of my statement are not yet available to the opposition members but, as they are probably aware, it is based on very recent developments and copies should be here within a matter of moments.
Mr. Martel: Hot off the press.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I would like to indicate my concurrence with the report you have just heard from my colleague the Chairman of Management Board. Members will recall that I had two objectives in bringing this matter before the House. My first objective was to ensure that a government employee convicted in a criminal court of assaulting a mentally retarded woman in his care would never again be allowed to work with retarded people for this government.
My second objective was to see that a change in legislation came about to ensure that this kind of situation, where the employer is required to reinstate an employee who has abused a person in his or her care, does not recur. I’m pleased that both objectives have been met under the terms of my colleague’s statement.
I acknowledge readily that there were many legitimate issues involved in this matter and my original decision to introduce Bill 154 was not taken lightly. At the time of introduction, I stated that legislation was embodied “in a bill which I would much prefer not to have to recommend to the House but which I am compelled to do.” The Legislature, however, has a duty to balance, preserve and protect the rights of all individuals and to intervene when conflicts and rights cannot be resolved otherwise.
I’m heartened by the amount of all-party support evident prior to and following the introduction of Bill 154. I’m further pleased at the amount of public concurrence and private support shown during this very difficult period. I’m also glad that we were able to reach a compromise in this case and avoid legislative intervention.
Later, as you are aware, my colleague, the Chairman of Management Board of Cabinet, will be introducing a bill dealing with the more comprehensive issues of physical abuse by staff of all provincially operated facilities. I hope you will show him the support that has been accorded me during the sequence of events leading to this statement in the House.
In the light of these circumstances, Mr. Speaker, later today I will move to withdraw Bill 154 from the Order Paper.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I’m not sure how to handle a rather lengthy reply to the questions asked previously and which I said I would answer today. I don’t know whether you would prefer it at this time. It’s a written response and I’ll read it.
Mr. Speaker: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Thank you.
On November 2, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) raised certain questions concerning the operation of the Upper Ottawa Street landfill site in the regional municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth and related questions were raised by the member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) yesterday.
There can be no doubt that liquid industrial waste is an important subject. I know too, that the matter of waste has consumed a good deal of time in the question period in this last week. May I remind the honourable members that my main purpose in referring this matter to the standing committee was so we would have a full discussion and I believe this we have now had.
Interestingly enough, the committee has yet to report. They obviously find it difficult to come to grips with this very complex problem. The committee now has a more complete understanding of the difficulty of the problem and that it takes time to formulate even a report on the subject.
What also presents a problem for me is that in the question period it frequently appears as though the depth of concern is greater on the part of those asking the questions than it is on my part and it’s my obligation to respond.
Mr. Deans: Because you deal flippantly with it.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s very accurate.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I want to put on the record that this subject is my top priority and has been since I became minister. Indeed, several things have been accomplished in a relatively short period of time. I refer specifically to the new waybill system, which is essentially a better classification system. I’ll refer to these in a moment.
I want to put very clearly on the record that this is a major concern of both myself and the ministry, and we are prepared to give this matter a great deal of personal time and thought.
The Leader of the Opposition referred specifically to the activities of Interflow Systems Limited, a company operating a waste management facility in the city of Hamilton. This company accepts industrial waste liquids which are placed in a collection facility from which valuable solvents and fuels are extracted and sold. The residue from this operation is taken to the Upper Ottawa Street landfill site for disposal. -
The site operated by Interflow also contains a lagoon which stores pickle liquors and plating waste which are taken to the Upper Ottawa Street site for use in the solidification process operated by a sister company, KD Enterprises.
We should be very mindful of the activities of both these companies, since there is no doubt that they provide a valuable service in disposing of liquid industrial waste.
May I also remind the honourable members that the Upper Ottawa Street landfill site is operated by the regional municipality, which considers Interflow to be a company operating within its jurisdiction and therefore one from which they will accept waste at the landfill site. I believe that, as the operator of the site, the regional municipality has every right to make this determination.
I know too that the municipality has no wish to accept such waste from all over the province and would obviously not make any decision which would put it in a position of having to do so.
The Leader of the Opposition also asked that I table the waybills from the Interflow operation. I have asked my staff to review the waybill returns from Interflow and to compile a summary, which I will make available to the honourable member in two to three weeks.
Mr. S. Smith: Two to three weeks?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: It takes a fair amount of time to do that.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I realize the honourable member may object to the time required to put this information together.
Mr. Sweeney: We anticipated it.
Mr. Breithaupt: We were ready for that
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That just shows how predictable you are.
Mr. Eakins: That’s moving pretty fast after 36 years, Harry. You’re really moving ahead.
Mrs. Campbell: After 36 years, that’s ridiculous.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would point out that the waybills available to us on this site have not been in the automated system. As I indicated in my statement to the standing committee on resources development, this system is being improved and, in fact, a new waybill is being forwarded to the printer as of now. This new form will also incorporate an improved waste classification system, which I have advised the honourable members would be developed. In other words, Mr. Speaker, I’m saying two promises were made and two promises kept in a very short period of time.
Mr. S. Smith: You haven’t got the faintest clue what’s happening; that’s what you are saying.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I will try to ignore that interjection, but I must say that not only do I know what the waybill system is but I have seen it and I have personally looked at it very carefully. I will reject that comment.
Once this new form is back from the printers and put into use, along with the automated process system, we will be in a much better position to provide details on exactly what waste is being deposited in any landfill site.
I would point out to members that we will continue to update and improve this system. As it now stands, it is a very necessary first step in obtaining full understanding of the volumes and types of wastes and where they are going.
In a related question raised in the House yesterday, the member for Wentworth referred to statements alleging questionable activities at the Upper Ottawa Street landfill site. I have since been in touch with the regional municipality which, as I mentioned previously, operates this landfill site --
Mr. Deans: So have I.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: -- and I know that the municipality does take its responsibilities in this regard very seriously. I am assured that investigations are under way in conjunction with my ministry, and I have no doubt that a full report will be forthcoming. However, I can assure the honourable members at this time that the Redhill Creek is in no danger of contamination by industrial liquids.
I shall remain in close contact with the regional municipality on this issue and, indeed, I have scheduled a visit to the site on November 15. In the meantime, if either or both of the honourable members who raised the questions wish to meet with me and a delegation from that community of those concerned, I shall be pleased to make myself available at our mutual convenience.
COMMUNITY PLANNING FILES
Mr. Cassidy: On a matter of privilege, Mr. Speaker: Two weeks ago, the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett), who is not here right now, promised that he would make files of the community planning branch accessible for review by any individual who wished to have the opportunity of doing so. Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that while these groups have been able to look at the files, which are very substantial and in many cases tens or dozens of pages long, they have not been allowed to copy them, even at their own expense.
Incorrect information has been provided to this House, Mr. Speaker. I wish to raise it as a matter of privilege because all the members are also concerned and on at least one occasion a member of this caucus has also had no response despite his requests for information from those selfsame files.
Mr. Speaker: Usually a matter of privilege of that nature is kept in abeyance until the other party has an opportunity to respond. Since the minister is not here now, I think it only fair that we give him an opportunity to respond before determining whether or not a point of privilege does pertain.
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of the Environment: Is the minister aware that the limited space in the Upper Ottawa Street site has occasioned a certificate of approval from his ministry which says that only wastes generated in Hamilton can go into the solidification process located there? I assume he is aware of it?
Mr. Wildman: Don’t explain it though.
Mr. S. Smith: Is he aware that approximately three million gallons of waste go into Interflow, either 30 per cent of which by their latest estimate or 60 per cent of which, by their original estimate, come from outside the Hamilton-Wentworth region and go into a holding tank? Is he aware that out of the other end of that holding tank, haulers take material and dump it in the Upper Ottawa Street site? If he is aware of that, could he tell us how many gallons come in; how many gallons go to the Upper Ottawa Street site on a daily, weekly or monthly basis; and what the contents of the material happen to be? And can he explain how much of the so-called valuable solvents which the company allegedly sells elsewhere, leaving only a residue -- which the minister then defines as generated in Hamilton -- how many gallons of these valuable solvents have been sold in the last year and to whom?
Mr. Martel: That is only nine questions.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Six.
Mr. Martel: Six? I thought It was nine.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: In answer to those six questions, I think five of them were answered in the opening statement.
Mr. S. Smith: No, they were not, Harry.
Mr. Kerrio: They just accumulate from day to day, because we don’t get any answers.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Are you accumulating?
Mr. Kerrie: I thought I’d say that.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Some of that information will be forthcoming.
I guess the honourable leader missed the point: that site is operated by the regional municipality and they have some responsibilities in this regard. Will the Leader of the Opposition not accept that as a basic, valid position -- that they do operate the site and they have responsibility in determining what will come to their site? If he accepts that, then I think it’s a joint effort and I promise the gallonage information in due course.
I refer now to the comment the leader appears to have made, that this is not solely the Ministry of the Environment’s responsibility. Indeed in many senses it belongs, as it legislatively is right now, with the regional municipality. Yet I believe he is implying that this should all be under the Ministry of the Environment. That isn’t the way it is nor do I think it should be.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, is the minister unaware that the Interflow is licensed first of all as an incinerator? Once that no longer is in operation, they are under certificate of approval solely as a transfer station. Nothing about recycling or anything of this kind is involved in the certificate of approval.
When he claims the municipality should police what is going into the site, is he not aware that all of it going into the site is coming from Hamilton? How can the municipality possibly know whether an exchange has taken place in the tanks of Interflow and that the stuff has actually been generated from some other place? How can they possibly know that? Surely that is up to the ministry to know what is going on at Interflow where they operate under its certificate of approval.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I said we would give that information in due course. It does take a good deal of time to put all of that information from the waybills together. Surely the member can understand that. If it’s as large as he claims, then obviously It requires a great deal of work on our part to assess the number of waybills and where they have come from and the volumes involved. Surely the member understands that.
Mr. Deans: In order that we might come to grips with the problem as it exists, is the minister prepared to invite the Leader of the Opposition and myself to accompany him to the dump on November 15? And is he then prepared to hold his public meeting on that day, in order to allow the public who are concerned and who do believe there are problems at that dump, to express their concerns to the minister directly?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: It is so typical of the debate that goes on in a question period. I did not say it was a public hearing to be held on November 15.
Mr. Deans: I didn’t say that the minister said that.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: The member came close to it.
Mr. Deans: For heaven’s sake listen.
Mr. Warner: Get it straight.
Mr. Deans: This guy is hopeless. Get rid of him.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: The member talked about a public hearing when I was there. I said I would be there on November 15.
Mr. Warner: You are as bad as McCague.
Mr. Dean: Sit down. You are wasting my time.
Hon. W. Newman: Wasting your time? That is a joke.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: There is an easy way for that to help --
Mr. Deans: You’re finished.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Who do you think you are?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Let me tell the member that I am not half as close to being finished as he is.
Mr. Deans: You are absolutely hopeless. You can’t even hear. You should have been in the hearing aid business.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: The member can’t listen.
Mr. Deans: I hope you are a better dentist than you are a minister.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The Leader of the Opposition has the floor.
Mr. S. Smith: I have a different question for the same minister.
Can the minister report to this House on the very large spill of between 20,000 and 40,000 gallons of 97 per cent sulphuric acid that took place in the Thunder Bay area last night? Can he say exactly what action the ministry has taken, and specifically what contingency plans exist for a spill of this kind? Were these plans well known to the representatives of the ministry, including the industrial abatement officer in that area? If so, why was the officer still uncertain, as of a few hours ago, which substance to use to neutralize the spill?
Mr. Breaugh: Any one of the five.
Mr. Martel: Take your pick, Harry.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I have a fairly comprehensive reply to that question, Mr. Speaker. If you would entertain that reply now, I would be glad to give it.
An hon. member: I think we should hear it.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable minister should answer it and if it seems to encroach unduly on the question period, I will have some time at the end.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Thank you.
At 10:20 p.m. last evening, two trains collided spilling sulphuric acid and grain in the southwest corner of the city of Thunder Bay. Initial reports indicate that the five cars, containing 93 per cent sulphuric acid, ruptured during the accident.
Four of these cars were emptied of their cargo and a fifth remains partially full.
Thunder Bay regional staff estimate that between 40,000 and 50,000 gallons of the acid spilled into a drainage ditch adjacent to the Canadian National Railway line. In addition, two cars containing grain ruptured and spilled their cargo into the acid during the accident. Two additional cars have since been opened to prevent a possible explosion.
At the time of the accident, the Thunder Bay city police contacted all homes in the vicinity of the crash, notifying all residents of the spill and advising them to leave the area if fumes were of an irritating nature. Regional staff do not believe that any of the residents left their homes during the evening.
Two dams have been constructed on the ditch beside the railway track to stop the flow of the acid. The ditch contains flowing water and this is of concern to regional staff who feel that additional dams may have to be constructed to contain the flow should one of the original dams be breached. Another solution may be to divert the flow of water in the ditch from above the spill scene.
These solutions are currently being investigated. Regional staff estimate it will take between 300 and 400 tons of lime to neutralize the acid. At this time, it is not known if the quantity of lime is available locally. Staff from CN Winnipeg, The Great Lakes Paper Company Limited, Dow Chemical, the bureau of explosives and the Canadian Transport Commission are currently working at the scene along with the city police and Environment Ontario staff.
Two staff members from Canadian Industries Limited in Copper Cliff are being flown to the scene of the spill and should arrive before noon today.
Mr. Martel: You only answered four out of five questions.
Mr. Handleman: That’s not bad.
Mr. S. Smith: Could I ask a supplementary, Mr. Speaker? Is the minister aware, and can he explain if he is, why CIL, the shipper in this case -- and I point out that the destination was Niagara Falls and this train would be going by some very densely populated areas -- why did not the shipper in this case indicate on the emergency response form the chemicals to be used for neutralizing the sulphuric acid in the event of the spill? Apparently there was no such indication on the waybill. Why was there some delay in knowing whether to use caustic soda, soda ash or lime as a neutralizing agent? Is there not a procedure well understood and ready to be put into effect immediately in the event of this type of accident?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I am not sure whether the answer to the second question asked by the Leader of the Opposition is known or unknown. It is possible to get that information but I suspect, given the reply that I just gave, that a good deal of information was very quickly available and, given the circumstances, I think the action has been very appropriate.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Can the minister confirm or deny whether or not the dams in the drainage ditch are in fact one mile apart, and what assurances can he give that the contaminants in the drainage ditch will not seep into the wells of residents nearby? Further, can he indicate why it was a practice -- and it may be a federal regulation -- to ship sulphuric acid along with grain, the combination of which creates the toxic substance that his ministry is presently trying to contain?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I really don’t think the second question is appropriate for me. I find it very difficult to ensure or give any assurance that it will not contaminate the wells. Obviously what one does is to get on the site as quickly as possible, and in this event we have. I think the second thing to do is try to contain that volume as quickly as one can, and that is a large volume. Our first reaction is to contain the spilled material. I think we’ve done that.
The other contingencies the member asked about, hopefully, will never become a reality. If they do, we will have to deal with those at that time, but with good initial action, which I think has taken place in this instance, I think the chances of the other problems arising are considerably less.
Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary: Is the minister aware of the fact that in the United States they are now transporting all such hazardous materials in impact-resistant cars? I wonder if the ordinary cars that are owned by the American firms are left to the railroads of Ontario to transport these hazardous materials. I asked that question of the former minister and I didn’t get an answer. I would appreciate an answer in regard to that.
Mr. Martel: Why don’t you address that to Otto Lang? Railways come under federal jurisdiction.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I really honestly believe that those kinds of problems fall within the jurisdiction of Environment Canada and the Department of Transport, not our own selves. If the member wishes to redirect that to my colleague, the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), for referral, or more particularly if he would like to send that question down to Ottawa and receive the answer, I think that would even be better.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Can the minister assure us that the workers on site, those working to contain the spill, have adequate and complete safety equipment in terms of combatting the noxious gases as well as the acids that they may be exposed to?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Yes, I think that’s one of the things that the Ministry of the Environment is proud of, the fact that they do react so quickly and with the proper expertise to contain spills. This is particularly made easy when we are aware of the content, and in this instance we are. I think the member can be very assured that the health of the workers who are containing the spill is more than protected.
ELLIOT LAKE HEARINGS
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question, also for the Minister of the Environment, concerning the environmental hearings that have been taking place about the uranium mine expansion in Elliot Lake.
In view of the fact that company representatives have again refused to answer certain questions when the hearings resumed on October 30 of this year, can the minister say what response he has given to the chairman of the hoard in response to the chairman’s letter requesting the government consider giving additional powers to the hearing board and that it consider allowing witnesses to be brought at the government’s expense to testify before the hearing?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: There has not been a formal reply to the chairman of the Environmental Assessment Board. I will he discussing that reply with my fellow members of cabinet and I think a position will be known in the very near future.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the company representatives have just about completed theft testimony, so that making them testify under the Public Inquiries Act will not be an option once they complete, can the minister explain why the government has delayed responding, when the letter was in the minister’s hands on October 23, a full two weeks ago?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would think the member would know that when the original terms of reference were drawn for that hearing they were drawn very carefully and with a good deal of thought To change those terms of reference, if change is to occur, will obviously also require a good deal of thought. I am not prepared to accept, given the length of the hearings that have gone on to date, that there will not be an opportunity for any changes -- if there are any to be made -- to be given full consideration.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Will the minister undertake at the very least to give the board resources and powers that are sufficient to ensure a balanced representation of all points of view; in other words, that witnesses who would not otherwise attend to put the case of people who may be affected by radiation from the mine tailings would be able to come and appear, and that witnesses who could testify about the disposal program for the hundreds of millions of tons of waste which will come from the tailings might also be able to come and appear?
Mr. S. Smith: I have already inked that.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: For that particular question, I think the terms of reference are sufficiently broad at the moment. I think there are other questions that may be questioned --
Mr. Martel: You can’t make people answer.
Mr. Wildman: You can’t make them reply.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: -- but I can’t add a great deal more than what I have already said on that subject.
EMPLOYMENT IMPACT OF ENERGY POLICIES
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Energy. In view of the statement by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) last week that he had had no contact with the Minister of Energy in respect to the employment potential of energy conservation and of renewable sources of energy, and in view of the fact that energy spending now is getting on for $7 billion a year in this province, can the minister inform the House as to what specific steps the government is taking to ensure that full consideration is given to the employment implications of all future energy policy decisions in this province?
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I do not want to take up the time of the House today in repeating what we said in the estimates. I think I gave a pretty thorough rundown of the projects in which we are interested, the way we are interested, how we are keeping in touch with what’s happening in other jurisdictions and so on.
I would be pleased to give a written answer to the honourable member which might not take up the time today. I would have to do a little work -- and I am not sure it is possible -- to anticipate the employment opportunities, because there are so many unknowns in terms of sales, service and that kind of thing, but I will do the best I can to get some definitive information for him.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Is the ministry now conducting any ongoing studies to evaluate the employment impact of different energy policies in Ontario, or is the minister saying that this is something which he will work up if it is requested but which is not a matter of concern for the ministry now?
Hon. Mr. Auld: It is a matter of concern, but it is very difficult to put a finger on, because it is a rather small but dynamic industry. We do not have a daily count, and I do not have any figures as of today, but I will attempt to get them.
Mr. J. Reed: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister contact his colleague the Minister of Labour and ask to get from him a copy of a report that I gave to the Minister of Labour last week, which gave a pretty comprehensive outline of the employment opportunity prospects for renewable energy development in the United States? The Minister of Labour has it, if the Minister of Energy would just ask for it.
POLICE ACCESS TO OHIP DATA
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Provincial Secretary for Justice and has regard to a story that appeared in the morning press about the Ontario Provincial Police having had an office in the Toronto district office of the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, through which the OPP apparently had unrestricted and unsupervised access to a whole spate of confidential OHIP data.
My question to the minister in the absence of the Solicitor General (Mr. McMurtry), is does this provincial secretary have any knowledge of this particular police intervention into the affairs of OHIP? If he does, can he indicate what was the mandate that allowed the police to make this intervention, and what were the policy considerations that underscored that mandate?
Hon. Mr. Welch: The answer to the first part of that question would be no. Of course following a negative answer, there would be no need to expand on the balance of the question.
Mr. Conway: Supplementary: I would ask then that the Provincial Secretary for Justice take it upon himself to report back to the House on what I at least consider to be a very serious matter, and which I’m sure all members of the House would consider as serious. I would ask that in reporting back he find out what exactly was the mandate that allowed this police intervention and to indicate whether or not there was any consultation from the Ministry of the Solicitor General with the Ministry of Health. The press report this morning seemed to indicate that senior officials, including the Deputy Minister of Health, were unaware that such an office had in fact been established for the purposes so described.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I would be very pleased to bring to the attention of the Solicitor General the concern of the honourable member, and leave it for the Solicitor General perhaps to make any further comments.
Mr. Peterson: While you are at it, perhaps you will tell us what you do.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary: May I ask the Provincial Secretary for Justice if it doesn’t concern him that the police, according to the story, may well have been in breach of one of our statutes in this province? Is he not concerned, as head of a policy secretariat, that the police are getting involved in something that he doesn’t know about? Isn’t he the one who is supposed to set policy in this field?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the honourable member follow the example I am about to set at the moment in getting myself fully informed on the matter before I venture any opinion.
Mr. Roy: He has already said no, that he didn’t know.
LUNG CANCER CASES
Mr. Mackenzie: To the Minister of Labour: Is the minister aware that on May 31 of this year the Workmen’s Compensation Board, Ontario, informed me that studies were being conducted by Dr. R. May of the ministry, concerning lung cancer in foundry employees? Is he aware that a constituent of mine who is already receiving a 20 per cent disability for silicosis and now suffers from terminal lung cancer was among the group of 50 cases that were awaiting the results of Dr. May’s study? Could the minister tell us the status of that study, the status of the 50 claims; and whether or not the study in fact has been started?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I was not aware of the study being carried out by Dr. May, but I shall look into it and report to the member.
Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary: Is the minister aware of the lung cancer mortality study by Dr. Gibson at Dofasco, and recommendations number three and number five which came out a year ago? In number three Dofasco offered to co-operate in conducting studies in foundries; and in number five they urged the board to consider compensation for the next of kin of those who have died as a result of lung cancer. Could the minister tell us why these recommendations appear to be in limbo at this time?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, once again I’m afraid I have to reply to the member that I am unaware of that study, but I shall review it and report to him.
Mr. Pope: To the Minister of Labour: Will the minister examine the circumstances surrounding the takeover of certain of the retail store operations in northeastern Ontario of Beamish stores, the takeover being accomplished by Giant Tiger? Would he also examine the circumstances surrounding the relationship between these two companies to determine whether or not the statutory rights of the workers have been denied them?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, insofar as that question relates to my ministry I should be pleased to investigate it. If it involves another ministry I shall refer it on, as well.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Energy: On October 26 in the discussion of the minister’s estimates I presented him with communications from the Windsor Utilities Commission, hoping that in the meantime he could find answers to the problems presented. Is the minister aware that the pricing policies of Ontario Hydro now are such that they can have an adverse effect on industrial development and industrial investment? Is he aware they would make it more difficult for industry coming into the province to compete in the international markets? Would the minister look into the situation and see if he can rectify it?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I have made inquiries and I will be hearing more in the not-too-distant future, but I would point out that the policy of Ontario Hydro has been to have the same prices for energy across the province, no matter what kind of customer or what type of industry was being supplied. I’m not aware of any likely change in that.
The situation in Windsor, as the honourable member is aware, is that Ontario Hydro is supplying the Windsor public utilities commission and it’s a question of who is doing the supplying as to whether it will be a direct price or an indirect price. I understand that’s being discussed currently by the three parties involved.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: Is the minister then aware that the direct consumer has a distinct advantage over the one who purchases from the municipality; and in this case the additional costs to one of the industries in the community would be $300,000 in its first year and could be an additional $1 million per annum?
Hon. Mr. Auld: It would depend on what price is charged by the utility, if in fact the utility is the supplier, and who pays what portion of the cost of connection, such as transformers and connecting lines and so on. It is somewhat complex, but I will let the member know when I have any further information from Hydro.
Mr. Sargent: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that Mr. Bainbridge, the director of consumer services of Hydro, admitted that the Windsor utility commission complained that Hydro’s direct industrial customers were getting their power more cheaply than Windsor? When he was asked by Mr. Macaulay, “Is that correct?” Mr. Bainbridge said, “Yes, sir, that is correct.” How does the minister relate to that?
Hon. Mr. Auld: If Hydro is supplying utility A at a direct price of X dollars and industry B at a direct price of X dollars, and the utility decides that this doesn’t assist in their bulk rate, because by adding a block they may get a lower bulk rate, obviously the industry is going to pay a higher rate to the utility.
An hon. member: And you don’t even understand the answer.
Mr. Sargent: The minister is a good man for the job. What did he say? He and the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Welch) should get together.
An hon. member: Run that by us one more time.
Mr. Macdonald: Two and two make four.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Oakwood has the floor.
THE JESUS TRIAL
Mr. Grande: My question is to the Minister of Education. Given the fact that on October 22 the minister sent a directive to the Ontario Educational Communications Authority telling them that the primary and secondary schools of the province of Ontario will not be permitted to show the film The Jesus Trial, can she inform the House, first, what are the limits of her censorship, and second, what happened to the principle of local autonomy which her predecessor was so quick to evoke when it served his own political needs?
Hon. W. Newman: Who wrote that question out for you?
Mr. Grande: Is the minister prepared to issue to school boards a list of all the audiovisual and print materials which she wants to see banned from all the primary and secondary schools in the province of Ontario?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the content of most of that question is entirely specious.
Mr. Foulds: As are all your statements.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: In the first place, I am aware there are those who would consider my action to be something akin to a form of censorship, --
Mr. Cassidy: That’s what it was.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- but on behalf of the young people of this province and given the concern which has been expressed by respected religious leaders regarding that series, and on behalf of my own concern that the children of the province should have the opportunity to see the film in the company of their parents and not necessarily in the company of a group of children in school, with perhaps one teacher in the classroom, --
Mr. Peterson: You don’t trust the teachers, eh?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- it was felt it would be wiser to limit totally the distribution of the film to the schools. That is precisely what I did and I stand by that action.
Mr. Breithaupt: Even though nobody asked for it.
Mr. Cassidy: That is censorship.
Mr. Martel: That is censorship.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I have no desire to produce a list of any kind for any school board. We do issue a list of recommended texts to which school boards may or may not adhere if they wish, and that principle of autonomy will be adhered to.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary: Can the minister indicate if she has viewed this picture and this series, and can she provide us with a list of people within her ministry who have seen this and who commented on it to her, supposedly on whose advice she made the remarks she did?
Mr. Breithaupt: A list of those who asked for the film, too.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Who asked for the film? To my knowledge no one has asked for the film, which is probably a measure of the quality or the content of it. I have seen only a portion of it, as have most of the individuals in this House, but I have had the advice of a number of people whose --
Mr. Breaugh: You read Claire Hoy’s column and that is good enough for you, right?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- intellectual capacity I sincerely revere, and I believe their concerns were concerns which needed --
Mr. Sargent: You don’t make up your own mind, eh?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- to be expressed. Until it was possible for each one of us, as adults, to view that film and to make a decision about its content --
Mr. Martel: You should have seen it before you censored it.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- it was necessary to state that it should not be distributed to the schools. I stand by that decision and I would do it again.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Would the minister then provide us with a list of those people whose opinions she reveres so much, and is she saying in her answer that she doesn’t revere the opinion of the board of directors and --
Hon. W. Newman: Certainly not yourself.
Mr. Rotenberg: That’s for sure.
Mr. T. P. Reid: -- the management of OECA, who insisted on running this production?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: It’s a matter of degree --
Mr. Martel: Of who you revere most.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- and I must admit there are those whose opinions I find much more important, much more soundly based intellectually, than some of the opinions --
Mr. Nixon: Reverend.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- I have heard from some of the members of the board.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Do you intend to fire them?
Mr. Cassidy: Can the minister explain why she does not feel the teachers of this province have the intellectual capacity --
Mr. Eaton: There’s a good example right over there.
Mr. Cassidy: -- to make the judgement as to whether or not this film should be available to senior students in the high schools?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I was not in any way questioning the intellectual capacity of teachers.
Mr. Makarchuk: Bette knows best.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: It is my belief that the intellectual capacity of teachers is certainly adequate in Ontario. But there is a great deal more involved in this film than simply intellect. There is content which is not entirely accurate historically; there is a certain degree of opinion which has been --
Mr. Martel: What you are saying is that teachers couldn’t judge.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- expressed from a certain political, not political but religious bias --
Mr. T. P. Reid: You haven’t seen it all, how do you know?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Why don’t you bring in a private bill?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- there is in some areas concern about the kind of direction in which an impressionable child, who has not had the opportunity to develop critical judgement, might be led as a result of this.
I believe wholeheartedly in the right of the children of this province to view that film in the company of their parents. The parents of this province have a grave responsibility for the moral values and the ethical behaviour of their children.
Mr. Martel: Some are at the age of majority in grade 13, are you aware of that? What a lot of nonsense that answer is.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Parents should be given every opportunity to exercise that responsibility, and while I believe that most of the teachers in this province --
Mr. S. Smith: Some don’t; did you say some don’t? Only most of them.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- have not only the intellectual capacity but also the moral value system to do it, I believe that children would be better off viewing it in the company of their parents.
Mr. Roy: You should have really viewed the film before making a decision.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Some others don’t either, Stuart, particularly psychiatrists.
Mr. Peterson: To the Treasurer: In view of his recent discussions with the other provinces and the federal government, and in view of the very rapid escalation of the Alberta Heritage Fund -- and indeed the revenues of certain provinces, but particularly Alberta, which now has about $4 billion and is accumulating more at the rate of some $44,000 per hour, a large majority of which is at the expense of consumers in the province of Ontario -- has the Treasurer any policy, and did he enter into any discussions with the federal government and the other provinces about recalculating equalization, or payments on the basis of resource revenue, a relatively new phenomenon? Has he addressed his mind to this? Particularly, what is his policy in view of some of the sabre rattling of that chap to his right?
Mr. Kerrio: Have you got a sabre?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I haven’t got a sabre, I’ve got a pipe cleaner.
Hon. F. S. Miller: At the meeting of the ministers of finance on Thursday in Ottawa, equalization payments to the provinces were discussed. The federal government suggested a recalculation of the formula simply because Ontario, under the present formula, became eligible for equalization payments.
Mr. Peterson: We are a have-not, thanks to you guys.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Not at all, just the opposite. It wasn’t that we had become a have-not, but the very kinds of factors the member is talking about, when weighted into the present equalization formula, really left one province virtually as a have province and nine as have-nots.
Obviously Ontario recognized it was not a have-not province, and obviously Ontario recognized that any formula that transferred $100 million a year in the next fiscal year was incorrect; we have been trying to impress this upon the federal government for some time. Therefore, when they said to us the formula isn’t right because of the return on assets of crown lands and crown leases in places like Alberta, we agreed completely and said: “Even though it will cost Ontario $100 million, we would suggest you go back to the drawing board and find a decent formula for the redistribution of wealth,” in which we believe.
Mr. Peterson: I expected the Treasurer would give that answer, which was not the answer to my question. Let me by the question again:
Has he made any positive proposals, specific proposals? What is the state of his negotiations with the federal government and the other provinces about a new formula for the redistribution of wealth on a provincial basis in this country? Is he making any positive suggestions or is he making a positive contribution to this very serious matter, that is going to compound in the next few years and compound very grievously?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The other provinces obviously were very concerned on Thursday about any recalculation in equalization payments, because they receive quite a bit. For example, Newfoundland receives $500 per person. In Ontario that would be over $4 billion a year in equalization payments alone, on a relative scale.
Mr. Breithaupt: That would be great, that would pay the interest.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That would run your deficit even higher.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: With your help.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Ontario felt that the calculation of that formula was a federal matter, but rather than being simply adjusted on an ad hoc basis, as was suggested by Mr. Chretien, we should really go back to basics and have a complete picking through to see whether the various 27 or 30 component parts of it were still relevant to the economy as it stands in Canada today; and we were quite willing to be part of that discussion.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Bellwoods with a new question.
Mr. Peterson: No more supplementaries, Mr. Speaker? The standing rules say “a reasonable number.”
Mr. Speaker: From a reasonable number of members.
Mr. Peterson: From a reasonable member, Mr. Speaker?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That lets you out, David; you are immediately eliminated.
Mr. Speaker: Number of members. Try a very brief one.
Mr. Peterson: I want to go back to this very briefly. In view of the fact that we are now increasing our borrowings in the public market; and in view of the fact we are eating into reserves; and in view of the fact that, in all fairness, we are in a deteriorating financial position; would the Treasurer not consider making some specific suggestions rather than just responding? It is very much in Ontario’s interest and will be much more so in the future, will he make some positive suggestions and share them with this House?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The positive suggestion we made when I was in Ottawa was to suggest that the federal government should learn to cut their costs as we did in Ontario.
FUNDING OF SOCIAL SERVICES
Mr. McClellan: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. In view of the fact the minister was quoted in an article in Saturday’s Globe and Mail stating that the effects of the federal government’s unilateral decision not to proceed with block funding would be, in the minister’s words, “devastating,” may I ask the minister if he will prepare and table a precise and specific statement of the financial implications to the province of the federal government’s decision?
Hon. Mr. Norton: The specific decision with respect to block funding is only part of a number of initiatives on the part of the federal government that will impact in a variety of ways upon the Ministry of Community and Social Services. At this point, until such time as it is clearer what the specific initiatives will mean, it would be impossible for me to give any kind of detailed assessment.
I think it is clear from the initiatives that have already been undertaken by the federal government that the impact is potentially devastating for some of the new initiatives that were being considered within the ministry, and will be very stressful in existing programs; but I can’t give the member a definitive answer until such time as the Treasurer and my other colleagues have a clearer picture of just what the implications of some of the federal initiatives will be.
Mr. McClellan: Supplementary: Granted that I may not understand the ramifications of these federal actions, in the same article the minister is quoted as saying that existing provincial programs may also be placed in jeopardy. I want to ask the minister why would a continuation of normal Canada Assistance Plan fundings threaten his existing programs?
Hon. Mr. Norton: The pressures that are likely to be created, and in some cases definitely will be, upon the programs of my ministry by some of the federal initiatives, will occur at a time when there will be declining revenue support from the federal government.
Mr. McClellan: But that’s enrichment.
Hon. Mr. Norton: No. We have to consider the total package of the proposals, everything. From the UIC changes, for example, our projection within our ministry is that there will obviously he an impact on our GWA caseload.
Mr. McClellan: Losses in other sectors may come out of the social services budget?
Hon. Mr. Norton: No, that’s not what I am saying at all. I am saying that the changes in the regulations with respect to the UIC will have a direct impact upon the caseload we project of general welfare assistance. That will increase the cost. True, under the Canada Assistance Plan there can be cost-sharing of that, but it places additional stress and additional costs on the province involving substantial amounts of money.
The member has also to bear in mind -- and the Treasurer would be the more appropriate person to respond to this aspect of the problem -- that as a result of some of those changes there will be significant impacts upon provincial revenues as well. What I was referring to is the fact that we are in a squeeze with some of these initiatives. Our costs are going to go up and our revenues are going to go down. That’s the squeeze, and I think that’s going to cause some very difficult times for us in terms of preserving existing levels of services.
Mr. McClellan: And the government is going to make the cuts at the expense of social services.
Mr. T. P. Reid: At the risk of using up the rest of the question period, I would like to address a question to the Minister of Natural Resources.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Use it up.
Mr. Breithaupt: The answer, not the question.
Mr. T. P. Reid: In view of the importance of the tourist industry, particularly to northern Ontario, and in view of the fact that we have declining resources of fish and game, is the minister prepared to say to the nonresident visitors to this province of Ontario that they must stay in licensed tourist camps or licensed provincial parks and do away with allowing these people to camp in the unlicensed and crown land areas of the province without paying anything for the privilege, but taking our fish and game for a very - small amount of the licence fee to fish or hunt?
Hon. Mr. Auld: In a word, no.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Ordinarily, I’d be happy with that answer, but please go on.
Hon. Mr. Auld: I want to expand just a little. The member is aware of the problem as much as anybody in this House or anybody particularly in northwestern Ontario. He is aware of the experiments that Natural Resources did in attempting to get people who were on crown land to go to privately-operated or provincial parks, or motels and so on, as well as Canadian residents, because of the problems of fire hazard, messes they leave behind and so on.
First of all, I don’t know how we could ever police such a program as the honourable member and others have suggested.
Mr. Martel: Well, it is ridiculous anyway. Don’t even answer. It is not worthwhile. It’s anti-American.
Mr. Wildman: Why did you lower the park fees, then?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I don’t know whether we want to get into that kind of a state, where we tell our visitors what they have to do and where they are to stay. I don’t think Ontarians or Canadians going to other jurisdictions on this side of the Iron Curtain -- on the other side of the Iron Curtain, I suppose that’s what happens -- but I don’t think we want to go quite that far, even though there are those who visit here and leave very little of a tangible nature behind, except perhaps a little garbage.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The record should show that I think the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) agrees with this philosophy. I appreciate the problem of policing, but does the minister not think that the cost to the people of Ontario -- for picking up the garbage and for conservation officers who would be able to go directly to tourist camps or to licensed provincial parks to check for game and fish violations there -- would save us money; it would put money in the coffers of the people in the tourist industry and lead to employment; and it would cut down on the amount of fish and game taken over limits that is going on to a great extent in the northern part of the province?
Hon. Mr. Auld: The honourable member’s question assumes, or at least implies, that the visitors are the only ones who do that. In fact, we need conservation officers and enforcement for Canadians and Ontario residents as well. I don’t know that we would have any great reduction of staff if a scheme such as the member suggested were put into effect.
KING MOUNTAIN STUDY
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Northern Affairs. I wonder if the minister could bring us up to date on the status of the feasibility study that his ministry is doing in conjunction with Concordia Estates Limited on the King Mountain proposal north of Sault Ste. Marie, and what co-ordination there is between that particular tourist development and the announced plans for Batchawana of the Belgian group, Incana Investment Company? How are they being co-ordinated, and what is the status of the King Mountain study?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member is aware, we did share with the Ministry of Industry and Tourism and with the private sector, on a one-third I one-third basis, the cost of a feasibility study into the possibility of a major recreational development in that particular area. I have not had a recent report on the status of that study, but I would be glad to get it.
I might say that I am not aware of any formal contact with regard to the other development to which the honourable member refers.
Mr. Martel: It’s not another Maple Mountain, is it?
Mr. Wildman: Supplementary: Has the minister, or his colleague the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman), had any contact with the federal government over the request of the Belgian group for its proposal that the Sault Ste. Marie airport be upgraded to international standards -- perhaps lengthening of runways and the incorporation of customs services on a permanent basis -- to make the Sault airport serviceable for the $100-million project they are proposing at Batchawana?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: As the honourable member is very much aware, the airport in Sault Ste. Marie is a federal responsibility. I might add further that there has been no contact made with me by the Belgian concern.
CORN STABILIZATION PROGRAM
Mr. Watson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Could the minister bring us up to date on the stabilization payments for corn as they exist at present and when the farmers in Ontario might expect their cheques for 1977 stabilization?
Mr. Nixon: Just before Christmas.
Mr. S. Smith: He’s after your job, Bill.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I must say it is a great pleasure to receive the first question from the new member for Chatham-Kent.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Don’t forget he’s a Tory too.
Hon. W. Newman: I’m very proud of him and I know that members opposite can stay out of that area now, they’ll never win that riding again.
Mr. Roy: He will work his way up. He needs more experience.
Mr. Kerrio: Next time around he’s gone.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Barren country, fellows, lean country for you.
Mr. S. Smith: Ask him while he’s still here.
Hon. W. Newman: To answer the question, we had about 12,000 applications this year for the 1977 crop year for the corn stabilization program. The yields were exceptionally high, higher than we had estimated. I’m sorry the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) is here, because he hasn’t heard about this yet.
The average yield across the province was 90 bushels per acre. Stabilization will be paid out on about 105 million bushels. We anticipate the gross payout at 12 cents a bushel and the net payout at eight cents a bushel, which will amount to $8.4 million. This is a little more than we had estimated in our estimates. We anticipate that these payments will be going out to the farmers as soon as possible.
Mr. Mackenzie: What day last week did you issue that release?
An hon. member: Are you sending any over with the member for Elgin (Mr. McNeil)?
Mr. Mancini: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Recently the Globe and Mail reported that the Workmen’s Compensation Board, Ontario, had undertaken a survey in order to assess its public image.
Mr. McClellan: It stinks, and that’s free.
Mr. Mancini: Could the minister inform the House on this project; and could the minister tell us what type of questions would be asked --
Mr. Martel: What’s it like up in Timmins?
Mr. Mancini: -- in such a survey to get results that say that the majority of people polled think that injured workers often file phoney claims? Why would it be reported by Workmen’s Compensation Board officials that it would be pleased with such results? Does not the minister feel that the Workmen’s Compensation Board is actually wasting and abusing its money in trying to get factual information, as the board would call it, to use this as a buffer against the injured workers?
Mr. Martel: That’s a good question. Did they question an)/body up in Timmins?
Mr. Wildman: In other words, is this a hoax?
Mr. Martel: None in Sudbury either.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: With regard to the public opinion survey that was carried out by the board, I would advise the member that it was carried out by an independent body, not by the board itself --
Mr. Warner Who paid for it?
(Hon. Mr. Elgie: -- in what was perceived by the board as an honest effort to inquire and find out what the feelings were among the public about the board. If the member wishes to know the method that was used in the survey, the sampling plan and the highlights of the results, I’ll be pleased to give him that information.
Mr. Deans: Why would they care? What difference does it make?
Ms. Gigantes: Does the minister agree with it?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I think it would be unfair of him to suggest that the board was trying to display any lack of interest in injured workers. I can assure the member that certainly is an interest I have, a concern for the injured workers.
Mr. Mancini: Supplementary: I thank the minister for wanting to give the information to the House, and we await it. Could the minister also inform the House if there are any other surveys being taken presently by the Workmen’s Compensation Board to find out the attitudes of people and what those surveys are about?
Could the minister give us an answer as to why the Workmen’s Compensation Board would have to spend money, which should be going to injured workers, to find out if people think that some injured workers are filing phoney claims? What possible good reason could they have to raise this and to fry to find this type of information?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: In answer to the first part of the question, I am at the moment unaware of any other studies the board is carrying out. If the member wishes me to make that inquiry, I’ll be glad to do so.
Second, with regard to his criticism of the board’s sampling public opinion to see just how the board is perceived, I really would think he didn’t mean it. It wouldn’t be appropriate for any organization or person not to want to be aware of how the public perceives the organization.
Mr. Stong: What we have to be concerned about it whether it’s doing a good job.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: If that was indeed the only motive of the board -- and it’s the only one I know of -- then I would be certainly against the view that the member is putting forth that there are any other motives.
Mr. Peterson: Why don’t you ask us if we have any concerns?
Mr. Martel: Supplementary: Would the minister be prepared to indicate in what communities these samples were taken?
Mr. Peterson: Forest Hill, Rosedale, Brampton.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The majority of it was taken from Sudbury and environs.
Mr. Mattel: I thought so, yes -- and Timmins.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: There’s a community called Capreol that has a hockey team of some note. Actually there was a wide sampling, including Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, St Catharines, Niagara, London, Windsor, Kitchener -- my gosh, Sudbury --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Brampton.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: -- Oshawa; that well-known community of Thunder Bay; Kingston, Sault Ste. Marie, Brantford, Peterborough, North Bay and Timmins.
Mr. Mattel: They phoned Red Pianosi.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They neglected Brampton.
Mr. Laughren: Send the cheques.
Mr. Swart: My question is also to the Minister of Labour.
Pursuant to my letter to him of September 5, has he now looked into the prolific issuance of overtime work permits to General Motors in St. Catharines? If so, would he report what be found?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I apologize. I don’t have that information at my fingertips, but I’ll have it available.
Mr. Swart: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Might I ask the minister if he would, when he provides an answer, table the number and the details of the permits issued and the employees’ average work hours for the last year, particularly for the last two months? And would he determine if it’s not true that GM in St. Catharines would employ something like 800 to 1,000 --
Mr. Kerrio: What do you want -- Volkswagens?
Mr. Swart: -- more employees if they only worked 40 hours?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I want to thank the member for that short question. I’ll endeavour to review it more carefully and prepare an appropriate answer.
Mr. Cureatz: A question to the Minister of Agriculture and Food I’ve been approached by a number of my tobacco-farming constituents concerned about the drop in tobacco sales. Is the minister aware of these drops and is he endeavouring to alleviate the problem?
An hon. member: Read the answer.
An hon. member: Answer number six.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think we should make it clear that we don’t prepare our questions.
Mr. J. Reed: That’s obvious.
Mr. S. Smith: You’re also unprepared for the answers.
Mr. Deans: I don’t think you prepare some of the answers either.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, may I answer the question? I would just like to point out that not only tobacco but all the producers in this province are a great group of people. In 1976 our total exports of tobacco outside the country were about 35 million pounds, while this year they’ll be about 103 million pounds --
Mr. S. Smith: What are exports inside?
Hon. W. Newman: This will be the equivalent of about $111 million and will add over $700 million to the gross national product of this country. We’re doing our share and the farmers of this province are doing their share to export more of our commodities.
Mr. Kerrio: Talk to the guy behind you, he’s the guy asking the question.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Don’t get mad at us.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Most of it is going to Japan.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Why does he get mad at us?
Mr. Makarchuk: Can the Minister of Agriculture and Food explain why the same tobacco companies are paying about 30 to 40 cents a pound more for tobacco in the United States than they are paying in Canada?
Hon. W. Newman: The member perhaps is not aware that we have a tobacco marketing board, a very efficient tobacco marketing board, which is elected by the producers in this province. They negotiate with the tobacco manufacturers in this province. It’s the largest single contract in the agricultural field --
Mr. Makarchuk: That’s not what I asked.
Hon. W. Newman: -- that’s negotiated between the manufacturers and the growers in this province. The growers in this province --
Mr. Warner: Try answering the question.
Hon. W. Newman: I’m answering the member’s question. Does he want an answer? Okay.
Our producers are well organized and they know what they’re doing. The US market is not as stable as ours, that’s why we’re taking advantage of the situation. We have better quality tobacco; we have less pesticide residue --
Mr. Makarchuk: What does the minister mean taking advantage of the situation? We are getting less. If getting less is taking advantage, the minister doesn’t know what he is talking about.
Hon. W. Newman: It’s a negotiated price.
Mr. Makarchuk: It is not.
Hon. W. Newman: It is a negotiated price. Really, I feel sorry for the member. I’ve answered his question, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Deans: You must be taking lessons from Harry Parrott.
Mr. McClellan: Less is more.
Mr. Makarchuk: Less is more, Bill.
Mr. S. Smith: Did you ever pull a fast one on them.
Mr. Speaker: Order, order. The member for Quinte has the floor.
Mr. O’Neil: Maybe I should mention there sure is a lot of heifer dust over around that chair too.
I wonder if I could ask a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications?
Hon. W. Newman: It’s worth a lot more than your stuff.
Mr. Mancini: Hansard heard that.
Mr. O’Neil: Would the minister have his officials check into a potentially dangerous condition which exists in my riding? This concerns the bridge at Glen Ross which crosses the Trent River. Representation has been made to the ministry for some time about replacing this structure, but all to no avail.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: That’s a very serious matter.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I’ll look into the matter and have the answer for the honourable member.
Mr. Roy: Go out and test it personally.
Mr. Peterson: Just don’t drive over it.
Mr. O’Neil: A supplementary: Is the minister aware that it has been inspected and that the officials wish only to repair the decking wall? The Sidney township officials and engineer feel that loss of life or injury may occur unless the structure is replaced.
An hon. member: Look at it today, Jimmy.
Mr. Peterson: Why don’t you invite Jimmy down there now?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I’m aware and very concerned that we have a number of unsafe bridges in the province of Ontario.
Mr. S. Smith: Will you table a list of them?
An hon. member: How many?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, I could table the member a long list of them.
Mr. S. Smith: Please do.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Two years ago I initiated a program with every municipality in the province that the municipality should have an engineer review the safety of all bridges. This has now been carried out. We’re just receiving the reports on this bridge survey from all municipalities and, unfortunately, we do have a number of unsafe bridges; as we suspected, because each year, especially throughout rural Ontario, there are a number of failures in bridges.
Mr. Peterson: You guys sure inspire trust in a fellow.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Unfortunately, a number of situations have been brought up where bridges have had to be closed. Others have had to have load limits imposed upon them -- five-ton load limits, and so on.
We’re in the process now working out the list of priorities. I have met personally with many of the municipalities and have talked to many of the reeves and roads committees and have asked them to work with my municipal engineers in the district in establishing priorities for the replacement of the most necessary bridges first. Obviously, all these bridges could not be replaced in a one-year program if we did have the money available, but we are setting up a priority with each municipality and, hopefully, we’ll try and fund as many of these replacements as we possibly can.
Mr. Breaugh: There should be a priority survey taken riding by riding.
Hon. Mr. Snow: But we will not be replacing bridges because some councillor just thinks the bridge should be replaced when the professional engineers on both sides say that a new deck will suffice.
Mr. Martel: That’s a statement, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, you should consider that as a statement.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Warner: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker -- only one because of the noise during a part of that question -- did the minister say that he would be tabling information? I missed that part of the answer. Did the minister say that he would be tabling a list of the unsafe bridges?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, my estimates start tonight at 8 o’clock. I will be quite prepared to discuss this, but I would point out that each municipality in the province has an individual report. There would be several hundred of them, I’m sure.
Mr. S. Smith: I’d like to look at several hundred.
RULES OF THE HOUSE
Mr. Speaker: Last evening at 10:30 the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere raised a point of order concerning Bill Pr46, An Act respecting the Capuchins of Central Canada. This bill was introduced on November 2 and was not available to members until this morning, November 7. Standing order 62(a) requires that notice be posted for the consideration of a private bill. Five days’ notice has been given. However, since the bill was not available to members until this morning, the chairman of the general government committee may wish to consider the advisability of delaying consideration of the hill for one week.
I am reluctant to intervene in the business of the committee. However, the purpose of adequate time before the consideration of legislation it seems to me is self-evident, and I hope that the committee can consider it with that in mind.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that you looked into the matter. It is my understanding that that rule which you quoted is deficient inasmuch as it does not allow for the printing time. I’m wondering if the matter could be referred to the procedural affairs committee so that perhaps there would be an opportunity to tighten up the rules around this portion of our business.
Mr. Speaker: They have all of the standing orders in front of them now for review. Since the chairman of that committee is here perhaps he can be governed accordingly.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, we’d be most happy to if we could ever get a quorum in that committee.
COMMUNITY PLANNING FILES
Mr. Cassidy: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, since the Minister of Housing is now in the House, could the Speaker have him reply to the point of privilege I raised at two o’clock regarding the refusal to give access and allow to copy material, which was promised in the House two weeks ago, to any individual who wished to have it from the community planning branch of his ministry, particularly since this is very important in relation to the Cantrakon case?
Mr. Speaker: Is the Minister of Housing aware of the point raised by the member for Ottawa Centre?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I trust that he is referring to a question asked by the leader of the Liberal Party on October 23, which asked if the accessibility to the files relating to the Niagara Escarpment decisions would be available to members of the research staff of the various opposition parties, and indeed those other interested groups. I think if the member looks at my remarks, Mr. Speaker, my ministry has fulfilled exactly the obligation that I undertook on behalf of the ministry, and that was to review in detail with people from CONE -- Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment -- other ratepayers’ organizations, the research officers of the third party and those research officers from the Liberal Party -- to review the files. My understanding is that this privilege has been extended to anyone who has requested it in complete detail.
Mr. Cassidy: On the point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that this material is very complicated and can sometimes stretch to hundreds of pages, I want to bring to the Speaker’s attention the fact that on at least three occasions requests to have the material copied so that it could be used and reviewed by the ministry, and that is why we feel that the commitment by the minister is not being honoured.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I have not misled this House in any way, shape or form.
Mr. Martel: He didn’t say misled.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The leader of the third party seems to be achieving that on his own this afternoon. I said that they could review the files. Is he saying they have not had the opportunity of reviewing the files? If he is then I ask him to withdraw that remark. His research officers, those of the Liberal Party, Mrs. MacMillan and others from outside organizations, have had the complete opportunity of reviewing those files in detail with people from the ministry and the community relations branch of the Ministry of Housing. That has been the position. That was the position I enunciated to this House a week or 10 days ago --
Mr. Foulds: And writing it out in longhand.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: -- and I make no apologies, we have followed it in complete detail.
An hon. member: Let them take it home.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I don’t have before me the actual wording of the commitment made by the Minister of Housing, but it seems that what he said here in this House in response to the alleged point of privilege by the honourable member, by way of making the files available and allowing a close scrutiny, apparently has been done and the commitment made by the Minister of Housing I think obviously has been met. I see no further reason to discuss the point.
STANDING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Mr. Gaunt from the standing social development committee reported the following resolution:
That supply in the following amounts to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Community and Social Services be granted Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1979: Ministry administration program, $17,934,000; social resources program, $748,100,000; development resources program, $210,380,000; children’s services program, $249,280,000.
WITHDRAWAL OF BILL 154
Hon. Mr. Norton moved that Bill 154, An Act respecting a Decision of the Grievance Settlement Board dated March 17, 1978, in the Arbitration of a Grievance between Samuel Johnston and the Crown in right of Ontario under the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act 1972 be withdrawn.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: The order is discharged.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
NIAGARA PARKS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Auld moved first reading of Bill 168, An Act to amend the Niagara Parks Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, the principal purpose of this bill is to increase the maximum penalty from $100 to $500 for the contravention of any provision of the regulations made under the act.
LABOUR RELATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Williams moved first reading of Bill 169, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Mattel: That will be pro labour; you want to believe it.
An hon. member: Throw it out.
Mr. Martel: Let’s hear this, it ought to be great.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to make changes to the Labour Relations Act in four respects. First, the bill would clarify that it is not an unfair labour practice for the employer to communicate details of the employer’s latest offer to employees. Second, the bill requires that strike votes be held under the supervision and direction of the Ministry of Labour. Third, the bill would provide and require that a trade union provide certain types of information about its financial affairs to members and to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Fourth, the bill provides limitations of the amount of union funds contributed by members that may be transferred outside Canada, and requires that investments made of union funds be of a type authorized by the Trustee Act and the Pension Benefits Act.
Mr. Swart: Will you do the same for Inco?
Mr. Martel: There is a bill that is pro labour; that is a pro labour act. That is known as union busting.
Mr. Kerrio: Elie, are you going second that bill?
LABOUR RELATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 170, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Rotenberg: Why don’t you two get together?
Mr. Mackenzie: With him? Never.
Mr. Martel: After that one you will want it.
Mr. Bradley: The Canadian Taft-Hartley.
Mr. Martel: Between him and Taylor you haven’t got a chance.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mississippi who?
Mr. Mackenzie: This bill deals with three or four sections of the act. One deletes the exclusion from employee of persons who exercise managerial functions, and permits these persons to join an established union or an association for collective bargaining purposes; another reduces the percentage required in certification votes and allows for the automatic certification of a union where 50 per cent of the members vote in favour of that. Where more than 50 per cent are signed up it allows for the automatic certification of the unit; repeals a provision of the act which prohibits the inclusion of security guards in a collective bargaining unit; and strengthens considerably the successor rights and rights to carry your benefits with you in the event of a plant move.
LAW SOCIETY AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Samis moved first reading of Bill 171, An Act to amend the Law Society Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Samis: The purpose of this bill is to prohibit the Law Society of Upper Canada from continuing to prevent lawyers in Ontario from advertising their services to members of the public.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
CITY OF HAMILTON ACT
Mr. Deans moved second reading of Bill Pr19, An Act respecting the City of Hamilton.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
BEEZEE FOODS LIIMITED ACT
Mr. Nixon, on behalf of Mr. J. Reed, moved second reading of Bill Pr28, An Act to revive Beezee Foods Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
A. M. CRAWFORD COMPANY LIMITED ACT
Mrs. Campbell moved second reading of Bill Pr35, An Act to revive The A. M Crawford Company Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
MORAN PHARMACY LIMITED ACT
Mr. Rowe, on behalf of Mr. Johnson, moved second reading of Bill Pr36, An Act to revive Moran Pharmacy Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
BROCKVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL ACT
Mr. Rowe, on behalf of Mr. Villeneuve, moved second reading of Bill Pr39, An Act respecting the Brockville General Hospital.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
ROSS AND ROSS GRAINS LIMITED ACT
Mr. Nixon, on behalf of Mr. McKessock, moved second reading of Bill Pr41, An Act to revive Ross awl. Ross Grains Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY EMPLOYMENT STABILIZATION ACT (CONTINUED FROM OCTOBER 31, 1978)
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion for second reading of Bill 136, An Act to stabilize Employment of Tradesmen in the Construction Industry.
Mr. Handleman: Before I commence my remarks, in order to remove any doubt whatsoever, I want everyone in the assembly to know that I support this bill, just in case there were any doubts.
Mr. Bradley: Having said that.
Mr. Handleman: Having said that, I would like to comment on some of the remarks that were made last Tuesday in the initial stages of second reading of the bill. When the debate was adjourned last Tuesday, I was still reeling under some of the incredible statements of the leader of the New Democratic Party. It seemed that somehow since last April when he first urged the introduction of this bill, he had beard from some influential people who have changed theft position on it and are now opposing it.
Yesterday those people met with the Premier (Mr. Davis). I was privileged to be in attendance at that meeting. I now understand his comments of last Tuesday, in which he asked the Legislature to postpone the second reading of this bill. It seemed obvious that he was squirming in the grip of a dilemma which had been imposed on him by the position taken by the Ottawa Trades Council and his caucus. It seems that all they have to do is whisper and the NDP jumps to attention and says, “Aye aye, sir.”
I venture to say there is not a single member of this Legislature who does not regret the fact that it was essential that the bill be introduced. Certainly, in speaking on this matter last May, I said that I would support with some reluctance the private member’s bill which was introduced at the time by the member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis), but I hoped that the government would see fit to introduce its own bill. About a month later the government did in fact take that action. It was applauded at the time by members on all sides of the House for doing so. It was reluctant to take the action, and I think rightly so.
A period of four months has elapsed since first reading of the government bill. During that time I had not heard a single statement against it by any member of this Legislature until last Tuesday. I would like to know, and I expect to hear sometime this afternoon, what really happened, because the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr Cassidy) has been patting himself on the back all summer saying that he was responsible for the government’s bringing in the bill by questions that he and the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) asked during question period.
He may not know this, but some of us have been urging this action not for months but for years. The predecessor of the sitting member for Cornwall was a former Minister of Labour, Honourable Fern Guindon. I had the honour of serving in this House with him. At that time there were members on the government side of the Legislature who asked him to try somehow to unstructure the very structured system of labour regulation in the province of Quebec; he did try. His successor, my colleague the member for Humber (Mr. MacBeth), tried. His successor, the present Minister of Colleges and Universities and Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson), tried. Negotiations took place in good faith, at great length and with some intensity.
Fern Guindon got nowhere. His successor got nowhere and his successor in turn got nowhere. The present minister, in my view, has not had time to find out some of the frustrations of negotiating with various members of governments in Quebec. Certainly this isn’t a problem that has come solely because of the Parti Quebecois, but they are using it for purposes which were not anticipated by their predecessors.
On May 25 of this year, I spoke in the Legislature on the subject of a number of problems which exist between the province of Ontario and the province of Quebec. I included in my speech some mention of the then pending Quebec regulation which we are now dealing with in this bill. It was that regulation which dealt a death blow to any possibility of there being a compromise between the two provinces.
Just a few days before my speech, the Premier had met with the Premier of Quebec. As a result of their meeting a communique was issued which indicated that these problems had been discussed, that there was goodwill on both sides and steps would be taken to ensure that it would not be necessary for retaliatory legislation to be introduced here.
Notwithstanding the reasoned amendment put forward by the leader of the New Democratic Party, we must proceed with this bill through second reading, and it must be referred to a standing committee of the Legislature.
I hope that when it is referred to the standing committee the Legislature gives that committee the authority to travel. All too often legislation of this nature, which has a more important impact on some parts of the province than on others, is heard only in Toronto. If that is the case, we will hear from the leaders of the construction associations, we will hear from the leaders of the trade unions, but we will not hear from those individuals who do not have the resources to travel to Toronto and who are affected by the legislation, both ours and the Quebec legislation.
Again I must express my surprise at the reasoned amendment, in view of the fact that during the summer recess both the leader of the New Democratic Party and the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) demanded an urgent recall of the Legislature to deal with the problem. Of course, I notice that the member for Carleton East is not here. She was not here at the time the reasoned amendment was put forward, and I have to assume from that she is not in a position to defend a position which, of course, is indefensible.
I did say my support for the bill is reluctant. I want to say that my reluctance is not based on any concern about the effect of the bill on national unity. In this House I think we are all committed to that particular concept. I don’t believe, as some members have suggested, that a bill of this nature could have any kind of an effect on the issue of national unity.
The province of Quebec, under the Union Nationale, under the Liberals, and now under the Parti Quebecois government, has been extremely aggressive in protecting the interests of its own residents against those of other provinces. I simply do not believe that we can appease that protectionist tendency in the way some would suggest, by going lightly on the legislation -- “Let’s continue to negotiate”; “Let’s press our ease at the federal level,” where the federal government has already rejected our plea to put it to the Supreme Court. I feel that this province, along with many other provinces, has been somewhat less than diligent in protecting our own interests against the incursions of successive Quebec governments.
My reluctance to support this bill stems from my aversion to interventionist legislation, and that’s what this is. It does intervene in an industry where it seems to me that the rights of individuals are at stake. The construction industry in this province and in this country stands as one of the last industries where an individual entrepreneur who may not have a high degree of formal training or large financial resources can still succeed. It’s one of the businesses where a man can start off with a saw and in a few years become a millionaire. Just ask Mr. Bob Campeau, who a few years ago was a small businessman, and of course today he is vilified as a robber baron by some of our socialist friends. Ask Bill Teron, who was a lowly draftsman just 20 years ago and today, of course, is a well-known man in the development and construction industry.
Mr. Wildman: A well-known Liberal.
Mr. Handleman: I don’t begrudge him his political sympathies; I do begrudge him some of his financial success. But he has done a good job of showing that you can start with nothing in the construction industry and be successful and that to me is the essence of the free-enterprise system.
Mr. Wildman: He got where he is by speculating and now he’s head of CMHC and hasn’t done anything about the high cost of housing.
I want to express my hope now that the Minister of Labour and his staff will recognize the danger of strangulation by red tape if the regulations under this statute become too burdensome so that the small construction contractor will not be able to abide by them.
This is neither the time nor the place to go into our other problems with the province of Quebec, but I want to urge all other members of the government who have been dealing with these problems to recognize that while each of the problems involves a single ministry, the total weight of the problems and the manner in which the Quebec government has exacerbated them fits very neatly into the overall separatist game plan. These are not isolated little irritations which we have to face.
I hope that our government and all members of the Legislature will not be so gullible as to reach some of the conclusions which were reflected in the press reports following the meeting between the Premier and Rene Levesque last May. I would just like to read one of those comments very briefly. It appeared in the Montreal Gazette on May 26, which was just a few days after the date of the communique.
“That fuss between Quebec and Ontario over travel habits of their workers seems mercifully to be on the mend. After meeting with Ontario Premier William Davis, Premier Rene Levesque said Quebec will probably not, after all, keep Ontario construction workers from working here. This makes sense because thousands of Quebec’s construction workers are employed in Ontario and if Mr. Davis reciprocated with his own ban Quebec stood to lose the most. This is just the kind of co-operative spirit which could serve as a model in negotiating more interprovincial protection disputes.”
That is the end of the quotation from the Montreal Gazette of May 26.
Just to show that all newspapers are not that gullible, I would like to read from an editorial that appeared in the Ottawa Journal, which I think is just a little bit closer to the situation than the Montreal Gazette. This is dated May 25, just one day before the incredible statement in the Montreal Gazette. This is from the Ottawa Journal of Thursday, May 25, and I quote:
“There is no reason at all to be naive about why Mr. Levesque was able to make such a constructive impression. It is that his government has pursued narrow, unfair and mischievous policies in creating almost single-handedly many of the problems that he and Mr. Davis agreed should be solved.”
The editorial goes on to say: “There is always the danger that the narrow outlook which a separatist by definition must take in defining his jurisdiction’s economic interests will prevent a reasonable agreement.”
Of course, that is exactly what has happened. Following the separatists’ game plan has made it impossible to arrive at a reasonable solution to this problem.
It is odd that the right of free movement of labour across provincial borders should be infringed by Quebec, a province which Prime Minister Trudeau has noted is on record as favouring a common market. One of the tests of a common market is free flow of labour; this is exactly the kind of thing that takes place in Europe, where you have individual sovereign states but a common market guarantees a free flow of labour.
I am sure that everyone in this House wants to guarantee free flow, not only of labour but of goods, of services and of capital, without there being any provincial non-tariff barriers or other barriers, and I hope that will be reflected in support for this legislation.
It is in the interests of the separatist leaders of Quebec to create the impression that the problems can be resolved by negotiation. Obviously, if the Premier of Quebec comes here as the head of state and shows that he can deal with these matters on an equal level with the Premier of Ontario or the Prime Minister of Canada, then sovereignty association will work; and that is exactly the kind of impression that Premier Levesque has tried to create.
Unfortunately, he has an intransigent Minister of Labour, who apparently has defied him and said, “No, Mr. Levesque. Our labour law will stand.” And we have been told by the Minister of Public Works for Quebec, Jocelyne Ouellette, that this is a form of blackmail which Quebec will never surrender to. I don’t quite understand how it is, when you try to fight fire with perhaps a match blaze, that you are accused of blackmail. We are in the position of having to defend our interests and the interests of the residents of Ontario.
I am waiting anxiously to hear bow the NDP members rationalize the position which they took last Tuesday, but I do want to urge them and all members of the Legislature to support the legislation and to vote for it. There may be further amendments --
Mr. Martel: Have you read the bill, Sid?
Mr. Handleman: -- and probably there are some necessary refinements beyond those which the Minister of Labour introduced last Tuesday. Unfortunately, the members of the labour unions apparently have never heard of those amendments; despite all the conversations with them, members of the New Democratic Party didn’t tell the trade unions that there had been some amendments which had been introduced by the minister in response to their request.
Mr. Martel: That is not true.
Mr. Handleman: They weren’t aware of it as late as yesterday afternoon, and it was up to the minister to tell them.
Mr. Martel: That is not the case. You should know what you are talking about.
Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I also say that I do look forward to the committee stage. I think that will be very interesting, and I hope it will be possible for ordinary residents of Ontario to come before that committee, rather than restricting it to those leaders of trade unions and businesses who may have some vested interests and some axes to grind.
I look forward to continuation of the debate, Mr. Speaker, and I thank you for the time you have given me.
Mr. Martel: Your biases show, Sid.
Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Speaker, I think the views of our party were very well expressed last Tuesday by the member for Ottawa East, soon to be the Honourable Albert J. Roy.
Mr. Martel: Where is he going?
Mr. Handleman: Is he going to the Senate before the election?
Mr. Roy: It’s only a short time.
Mr. Martel: The elections haven’t indicated that at all.
Mr. O’Neil: As I say, I think he expressed our views very well.
In the opening statement of the minister, I think the main point was that there should be free access to work on construction projects wherever situated in Canada. I know that’s the position our party takes. The problem seems to be with the present government of Quebec. We feel that when this I bill comes to committee -- as it will, we hope -- we not only discuss the protection f or workers from across the border and from without our own borders, but we also talk about some protection for contractors from both provinces.
Our leader expressed his views in a letter that went on October 22, 1978, to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. He stated:
“Surely our nation is and must remain a single economic unit without artificial barriers at every provincial harder. Surely workers and businessmen should be allowed to move freely throughout Canada.
“While the Levesque government may not share these sentiments, I have little doubt that the people of Quebec, like those of the rest of Canada, value their freedom to work and find economic opportunities throughout the country. I expect that the workers of Quebec will press the Levesque government to repeal regulations which discriminate against workers from other parts of Canada if the consequence is retaliation which restricts their freedom I to work in Ontario and elsewhere.
“In other words, it may be necessary for Ontario to adopt a hard line in order to convince the Quebec government to remove the restrictions on our workers and contractors. I believe that first we should try to negotiate an end to the Quebec government’s restriction. However, if negotiations with the Quebec government fail, I believe that Bill 136, An Act to stabilize the Employment of Tradesmen in the Construction Industry, which is now before the Legislature, should be broadened to apply exactly the same restrictions on heavy equipment contractors based in Quebec as are now applied by Mr. Levesque’s government against our contractors.”
We would hope, as has been mentioned by several other members, that this bill will receive second reading and will be sent to committee. It is also our hope that between now and the time it goes to committee the present government of Quebec may review regulation 3282. We hope it will be repealed so that legislation such as the type we are discussing today will not be necessary.
I know the NDP has introduced amendments’ to this. We feel that if any amendments are going to be introduced or any changes made in the bill this should be done during the committee stage. There are sweeping and arbitrary powers given to the minister contained in section 2(1) and section 6 for the act which we also are not happy with. We feel there are many changes that will be required to this bill.
We will be looking at the bill very closely when it goes to committee. As was mentioned by the previous speaker, it is also our hope that if there is a committee on this they will be able to travel to different parts of the province to hear the views of not only the construction workers from across the province but also of people in the construction business.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the reasoned amendment our party moved in the House and against the bill as it presently stands.
Mr. Roy: Flip-flop.
Mr. Mackenzie: It is not a question of a flip-flop at all. It is a question of understanding labour and what the kinds of power this would give the minister if enacted.
I find it funny that both the Tories and the Liberals are ready to clobber labour. The problem at this time is more with the small contractors and some of the heavy equipment machinery than it is the workers.
There is a problem; there has been a problem there for some time. But like some of the unions involved, I wonder if we have really used all of the tools that we might have. Have we really used the apprenticeship qualifications act and the fact that you can issue certificates to apprentices, not only by phone but a six months’ renewal, almost without question? I wonder if we have looked at the labour standards. I wonder if we have looked at the Construction Safety Act and the registration of contractors.
I heard the previous Minister of Labour say some time ago she had had extensive discussions with all those concerned in Ottawa and eastern Ontario. When we talked to the unions involved last night, we found that she hadn’t met with them at all. She had sent a couple of members of her ministry, but at no time did she herself discuss the matter with them.
When I take a look at Bill 136, and at section 2(1), first of all I wonder, I guess, why it is that invariably, whether it is back-to-work legislation -- some if the bills I heard moved by one of the members across the House today, amendments to the Labour Act -- why it is we use a sledgehammer to kill a gnat, and why it is that we always zero in on workers.
Mr. Handleman: Talk to some non-union people; talk to somebody who is not in the union.
Mr. Mackenzie: Let me tell you how we are zeroing in on workers. Let me put it clearly on the record. We have got in section 2(1): “Where in the opinion of the minister it is necessary to eliminate or reduce instability in the employment of tradesmen by the construction industry or to promote employment opportunities therein, the minister, subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, may issue a code or codes of employment practices establishing measures and procedures respecting the employment of tradesmen in construction, including provisions that tradesmen permanently resident in Ontario.
Well, that’s pretty all-inclusive. Why didn’t they just say “the hiring practices” in that section, if they wanted to use it? Frankly I don’t have that kind of confidence in this government. You could do almost anything you wanted to to the union under that particular clause.
Mr. Roy: Well, send it to committee and amend it.
Mr. Mackenzie: Take a look at section 6:
“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.” I don’t know how much more you want to clobber, It’s all right for the government to say that that wasn’t the intent; but sure as blazes it gives them the right to really hammer working people in the trade unions.
Mr. Handleman: Just ignore the amendment.
Mr. Roy: You’ve got to shout because you’ve flip-flopped.
Mr. Mackenzie: I just can’t understand a bill like that coming before this House. I hope it is not the philosophy of the new Minister of Labour and that it is a carryover from what we had with the previous minister. To me it is totally unacceptable and it is not what is necessary, and it is not what is going to resolve this particular problem.
I just ask the members of the House to look at what they are doing, to understand that what they are doing is bringing in a bill that’s about as repressive as could be. I say once again that it may not be the intent, but it could be about as repressive a labour bill as I have seen in a long time before this House. As the bill now stands there is no way I or my colleagues could support it.
Mr. Samis: I think it is pretty obvious why I would want to speak on this bill, coming from the city of Cornwall where the residents are directly affected. I must say at the outset that I recall the comments from the member for Ottawa East about his concept of the border, especially in the Ottawa-Hull area. Let me point out to the Legislature that we in Cornwall have no such concept, no such tradition.
When you live 20 miles inside that border, that border means something. That is another province; it is not one economic unit that’s in Cornwall. We’re talking about two separate jurisdictions, two separate economic units. We don’t have this idea of a “capital region” or a unified community of any sort in Cornwall. The people in Cornwall see that herder as a political, geographic and business border that means something,
I recall very vividly, and I am sure some of the members here will also recall that my predecessor, the Honourable Fern Guindon, had this problem to deal with when he was the member for Stormont; when he was the Minister of Labour; when he had to deal with problems of this exact nature, and was unable to resolve those problems.
I recall looking through the clippings from our local newspaper about demonstrations in 1972 and 1973 in the city of Cornwall. Petitions to the minister, petitions to the city council all revolved around the whole question of work permits for tradesmen in Ontario seeking employment in the province of Quebec. We even had one situation where two or three carpenters were escorted by the Quebec Provincial Police out of Valleyfield because they did not meet all the requirements of the Quebec work-permit legislation. And yet we had tradesmen coming into our area with very little restriction, which is what we want: a free flow.
We have a tradition in Cornwall of a sense of grievance, a sense of unfair play on both sides of the border. I want to emphasize that since my election in 1974, that deep-rooted sense of grievance, the sense that the people in eastern Ontario are not getting a fair shake in this has not diminished one iota. And you can be assured that in the last 12 months or so that sense of grievance has increased, not decreased.
Looking at that Quebec legislation, we should remember very clearly that that legislation was introduced about a year ago, not just recently. It wasn’t something introduced in haste. It wasn’t passed in haste. It was given considerable publicity in the province of Quebec. It went to committee. It was given considerable debate and discussion in the Quebec National Assembly. We knew it was coming. It wasn’t launched upon us with any degree of surprise -- it was not a quick or sudden move.
I want to put this on record. I respect the Quebec Minister of Labour for what he was trying to do in that legislation -- clean up the corruption in the construction unions in the city of Montreal and some of their hiring practices and some of the things that were going on in the hiring halls. I commend Pierre-Marc Johnson for doing that. I respect and I commend Pierre-Marc Johnson for what he was trying to do to stabilize employment in the construction industry for the full-time construction workers. I have no hassles, no questions with that.
The point I want to make is that we knew this was coming over a year ago. I raised the question in the House with the previous Minister of Labour; the member for Ottawa Centre raised the question; the member for Ottawa East raised the question. Still we had no resolution of the problem.
We had negotiations between the ministry and Quebec officials on this problem for at least six months prior to July 1. Again no results, no resolution of the problem, no compromise on the problem.
When the Premier of Quebec was meeting here with the Premier of this province, I attended their press conference and I noticed in their communique it said, “They requested every effort be made so that a joint recommendation meeting the above objectives be arrived at within the next few weeks so the matter is resolved.” Those few weeks passed and we had no resolution of the problem.
Early in June I introduced a private member’s bill, with great reluctance. I want to emphasize I prefer open borders, as the member for Carleton emphasized. Most of us in eastern Ontario want an open border, not a closed border. I introduced a bill specifically based on the question of hiring practices and I did that with reluctance. I introduced the bill partly out of a sense of frustration that negotiations had accomplished nothing and that the construction workers in eastern Ontario were to be shortchanged if that legislation passed and we had nothing to take care of our workers.
The legislation was passed. Three weeks later, after the introduction of my own bill, the government did take some action by introducing a bill of its own. But I point out the government introduced that bill on the second last day of the session within about 18 hours of the dissolution for the summer, knowing that the bill would not pass in this session. We had a situation where the construction workers in eastern Ontario, as of July 1, had no protection. The Quebec legislation came in without modification, without compromise, without change, and took effect. This government knew that those construction workers in eastern Ontario were going to be left unprotected for the duration of the summer until the fall session.
The month of July passed, the month of August passed, September, October -- four full months passed. The construction workers in this province had no protection and we had no agreement with the province of Quebec.
Today, in this Legislature, we finally have legislation before us. This legislation responds to the desires and the stated wishes of the city of Cornwall, as well as the Cornwall and District Labour Council, both of whom have demanded some kind of legislation to protect the jobs of the construction workers, both in the Seaway valley and in the Ottawa Valley. This legislation, in principle at least, represents the first positive initiative to protect lobs in eastern Ontario in the absence of any agreement with the province of Quebec in the construction field. The principle of this bill parallels the stated objectives and principles of my own private member’s bill introduced in early June, Bill 98.
There appears to be no other alternative to the status quo and that status quo is clearly unacceptable to my constituents and to the people of eastern Ontario. On this important matter, the will of my constituents deserves to be voiced in this Legislature. But more than merely voicing that sentiment, I consider it my duty to support this bill in principle. I will vote on the basis of what I perceive to be in the best interests of my constituents and not on the basis of the position adopted by my colleagues in caucus. I respectfully dissent from that position.
In doing so I want to emphasize that I do not regard the bill as in any form a panacea or the ideal solution to the ongoing problem. There are some very obvious defects in the bill. My colleague from Hamilton has already outlined the basis of his objections. I would agree that in its original form there were some objectionable features, especially section 2. I would have preferred an approach somewhat more parallel to my own in the private member’s bill which focused purely and simply on hiring practices and which did not grant anywhere near the same degree of discretionary power to the minister. This bill is obviously far more arbitrary and far more discretionary.
I want to compliment the minister for the amendment that was introduced to section 2. I think that goes a reasonable way to meeting our objections. I can live with the amended form of the bill because I think it reasonably parallels not only the intent but to a certain extent the content of my own private member’s bill.
I would hope section 6 would be amended further in committee. It needs amending. I still have reservations about the extent to which that particular section can supersede any prior or existing legislation or collective agreement.
I would hope the minister would give serious thought, when this bill goes to committee, to major amendments to eliminate or reduce the discretionary and arbitrary features of that section.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, let me emphasize that I would have preferred that this problem could have been resolved amicably, without a bill of this sort. I want to point out I do not accept the arguments made last week or maybe this weekend by an official of the Quebec Federation of Labour that this legislation goes even further than the existing Quebec legislation.
I think every member of this Legislature wants an agreement with Quebec. We would rather not have this bill before us. But in the absence of any such agreement; in the absence of any immediate alternative to the present situation; and in view of the long standing deep-rooted desire of my constituents in Cornwall to have some sort of action on this problem, I shall support the bill, as I know the residents of Cornwall would want me to.
Mr. Yakabuski: I rise to speak briefly on the bill before the House, Bill 136.
Although, as said by many of my colleagues on this and the other side of the House, we wish there were no need for such legislation, I feel it must be passed at this time for various reasons which I will try to outline.
It was mentioned the bill was introduced in the dying hours of the session that was adjourned on or about the end of June -- June 22, was it? I think this was done with some purpose. It gave not only the government of the province of Quebec but also this government some breathing time and some time to think out the problems facing the construction workers and others in Ontario and to fry to arrive at some time to a reasonable solution.
I understand the former Minister of Labour had discussions with her counterpart in Quebec over the summer months and I understand that the present Minister of Labour had further discussions after his appointment to that portfolio. I know these discussions did not bear the fruit that all of us would have like to have seen. But this does not surprise me because we have some experience in years gone by with negotiations when it comes to the other province.
I know in the area of transport and the movement of wood products we were years negotiating a suitable arrangement with the province of Quebec. I recall when I saw the agreement that it was dated, I believe, two or two and a half years prior to the time it was signed. So that gives you some idea, Mr. Speaker.
Living in and coming from an area adjacent to the province of Quebec, there exists not only this problem, but a whole host of problems with regard to movement to and from the province of Quebec.
We have been very liberal in our attitude concerning the movement of Quebec workers and transport. Their trucks probably drive 100 miles down Highway 17 but when our trucks go into Quebec, they don’t have that kind of freedom.
We also have a problem concerning the lumber and bush workers working in Algonquin and those areas of Ontario on this side of the river. Sometimes, experienced bush and lumber workers from Ontario are unable to find jobs.
Some years ago the province of Quebec passed legislation making it mandatory that all wood or timber harvested in Quebec must be processed or finished in that province. I recall that the village of Braeside in my constituency would have become a ghost town because most of the material for the huge Gillies mill at Braeside comes from Quebec. At that time, I think a tradeoff was arranged whereby a sizeable pulp and paper mill was erected at Portage du Fort and a good part of the material feeding it came from the province of Ontario. Only in that way were we able to keep the Braeside mill and the village of Braeside alive.
These problems are ongoing. I think we have been more than fair because, as I said, whether it involves transporting wood products, whether it be aggregate or whatever, there has always been an attitude of no harassment insofar as the officials of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications or others are concerned.
Ontarians doing similar work or moving in a similar fashion in the province of Quebec haven’t been that fortunate. Very often they have been stopped. They have been detained. They have been, in their words, harassed. This is very unfortunate because I think most of us, all of us, want to see free movement back and forth between the two provinces.
This government did wait. I believe, the Premier wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau in Ottawa asking him to test the validity of the Quebec legislation and, to my knowledge, there has been no response from that quarter whatsoever. So this government is left with little in the way of an alternative but to go ahead and pass this legislation.
I could go on and talk about all of the incidents that have taken place over the years, but I think we won’t bother with that at this time. I just want to go on record and say that I will be supporting this bill.
While I’m at it, I do want to call to the attention of the Minister of Labour the serious problem we very often have in the Ottawa valley with construction workers and their union. I believe its Ottawa valley office is in the city of Hull. We have experienced construction workers in the Ottawa Valley; I can recall that when they were building the Arnprior dam experienced construction workers right from that town who had paid several hundred dollars in union dues were unable to find employment on the project because it seemed that the office of the union in the city of Hull would send Quebec workers, or if not Quebec workers Ottawa workers, to the Arnprior site.
Presently I have a case in the town of Cobden where they are erecting a new arena. A couple of steelworkers who live in that town I believe will be unable to obtain employment on that job -- right next to them in their home town -- because of difficulties with the steelworkers’ union that I believe they are members of.
These are things perhaps the Minister of Labour could look into at some time. In the meantime, as much as we detest passing this kind of legislation I think we must go ahead with in to prove to the other province that if we cannot negotiate then we have to take other courses of action.
Mr. Conway: I wanted to take this opportunity to rise and very briefly speak in support of the principle of the bill. I do so, like most members, with a certain degree of reluctance and like the member for Cornwall and the previous speaker from Renfrew South I do so with some degree of personal experience insofar as I represent a constituency that is on the Ontario-Quebec border.
I congratulate the member for Cornwall for his remarks which I think make the case for this kind of legislation, however unhappily, as best as that case can be made. I was also very appreciative of my colleague from Renfrew South and his liberal attitude to the debate which I shall long remember.
I want to say that, like the member for Renfrew South, I as the member for the northern part of that county have a very different perspective of belonging to a part of the frontier where -- unlike the Cornwall-Montreal situation, where the flow is very much I suspect in the orbit of Montreal which is obviously the largest metropolitan community -- in our part of the world the flow is the other way. One only has to sit or whatever at the interprovincial bridge in Pembroke on any given morning or evening to see and to gauge and quantify the interrelationship between west Quebec and my part of eastern Ontario.
It is clear, as I know my colleague from Renfrew South knows perhaps far better than I, that west Quebec, the Pontiac area, is by and large more dependent upon eastern Ontario for its entire service base than it is upon its own area in the Outaouais. We must I think, however unhappily, send by virtue of support for this kind of legislation, a signal to people like Pierre-Marc Johnson -- and I think the member for Carleton drew some attention to the area minister, Jocelyne Ouellette -- a very clear and unmistakable signal that this province, this jurisdiction, this Legislature is simply not going to accept the kind of border tactics that people like the Quebec Minister of Public Works are apparently determined to engage in. That’s not what this Confederation was intended for.
None of us like to see this kind of border interference and difficulty. But I think we would do our people and our country a greater disservice by taking the attitude that we will stand passively by and not indicate that the kind of initiative the Quebec government has been taking in this regard will go unresisted.
I know there is concern that the Quebec government is today changing its mind in some respects by practically being more tolerant and being more conciliatory in its treatment of construction workers and those in the construction industry. But I say to you, Mr. Speaker, as I know many others who have preceded me have said, I do not think it is suitable or appropriate for us to deal with this matter in the hope that the Quebec government will continue to extend this kind of generous administrative consideration. I don’t for the moment expect that they will, and indeed I am far more interested in seeing the situation normalized if it can be. But I do not think it is a wise or appropriate to draw back and simply indicate to the Quebec government that we are prepared to follow as they direct in this matter.
Ontario, in service, I think, to those people who work -- and I think you have to five in a place like Cornwall, or Ottawa-Hull, or Pembroke, or Cobden, or wherever, to understand just how absolutely annoying this kind of situation can be. An incident was drawn to my attention that I have no reason to dispute occurred. I repeat it not knowing that it is the absolute truth, but it is the kind of thing that has been going on.
Some 60 miles north of Pembroke, right on the border but in the province of Quebec, is a place which is affectionately known as des Joachims -- a French pronunciation I won’t engage in. But it is a small community in Quebec which services the larger power station there. It is not connected in any way, shape or form to the rest of the province of Quebec other than by the Ontario highway network.
Not so very long ago the Quebec government undertook to send, I understand, revenue agents to sit at that border and to scrutinize everyone who was going from Ontario into this hamlet of Quebec to do business. And that makes a lot of sense, I suppose, if you follow the letter of things exactly.
But the fact of the matter is, that is a community that can only he effectively serviced by people in the north part of the county of Renfrew. I don’t expect the service industries from Campbells Bay and Fort Coulonge to make a 100- or 150-mile round trip up to des Joachims to supply fuel and to supply groceries and whatever to a community that can be much more easily serviced from Deep River or Stonecliff. And I think anyone with an ounce of reason in his being would appreciate that. But that is what this border difficulty has come to, and none of us who live in that part of the world like to think that reasonable people can, will, or should conduct themselves and their business in this respect.
But I firmly believe that unless we send a clear and unmistakable signal to the Quebec government, we will face the continuance of this burden, which for those people I represent is, I think, unfair, and should not be proceeded with. It is for that reason that I rise with my colleague to support Bill 136.
Mr. Makarchuk: I rise to speak very briefly on this bill. I intend to support the bill with my colleague from Cornwall. However, I want to make it clear that I am not supporting the bill because I am enamoured with its principle, or anything to that effect. The reason I am supporting the bill is the fact that it is basically lousy legislation. The government knew it was lousy legislation when they wrote that bill. They were aware of the consequences of what the bill would do to the trade union movement, and they still proceeded to go ahead with the bill.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I am voting for it so this bill can get out into committee where the people who will be affected by this bill -- the people at whom the bill was directed -- will be able to appear and see how careful or how astutely or how concerned this government really is about either retaliation against Quebec or the rights of workers in Ontario. I feel the committee is a very suitable place where this can really be brought out into the public.
Perhaps it might be in order that some of the committee bearings on this bill should be held in Ottawa where the people who will be directly affected will have easier access to the committee. I think the government should be demonstrating to the public just what action it is prepared to take. They’re in a sense playing a rather hypocritical game in the legislation they introduced in the House and this should be brought out.
Mr. Roy: You don’t agree with your leader then.
Mr. Breaugh: I want to say a few words about this bill and perhaps attempt to put a slightly different perspective on it. I think it is necessary to note that we are all aware of the instigation of this kind of legislation. It is not a new problem. It is one which has been around, as the member for Renfrew North said just a few moments ago, for quite some years. There have been various problems concerning the jurisdictions of the province of Ontario and the province of Quebec in a number of fields. I think we are well aware of that.
We are also well aware that the government has not been terribly active in that field frying to resolve those problems. Yes, there have been conferences. Yes, there have been meetings. Yes, there have been exchanges of viewpoints from both sides. The first major sign of either government taking any action was an initiative taken by the Quebec government. There, in conjunction with some related activities in a slightly different field, in an attempt to regulate their own construction trades industry which had some difficulties and was the result of some inquiries that were held in the province of Québec, they came up with their own system.
Related to that, it caused a problem for us for our own construction trades industry. I think we should put on the record that that does not just affect those people who might live near the border. Because of the nature of the construction trades industry, that affects workers right across the province of Ontario. For many of them, their work tends to be a bit on the seasonal side, but it also tends to shift around between Ontario and Quebec and across the country. So there is a need to have what we loosely call an open-border concept so they can have that kind of free movement, because there are not always major construction projects available to employ those people all the time near their homes.
People in the construction trades have accepted -- many of them -- as a fact of life that in order to earn a living they have to move a great deal and they have to be away from their families. They have to accept working conditions which are sometimes rather difficult and rather harsh and sometimes have some serious deadlines on them. It tends to be a life’s work that forces them to move. They need to have the opportunity to work in other provinces and to be able to cross borders that are very real.
Once in a while as for example in this instance we have run into, from my point of view -- and I would disagree with some other members of the House who have been a bit tougher than this -- a government in Quebec that moved to regulate its own industry. That was its essential concern and I think it has succeeded in that. It caused the province of Ontario some problems, that is true, but essentially they are Ontario problems. The problems are not new. They have been with us for some time. The fact that the Quebec government moved to regulate its own industry is not new. It has also been there for some time.
We keep hearing that there have been meetings between our Minister of Labour and the Quebec Minister of Labour. I am unsure, as a member of this House, exactly what has transpired at those meetings, and what negotiations have taken place. It appears from certain reports I read in the media that the Quebec government feels there are solutions available, short of this kind of legislation. I don’t know exactly what those are because we haven’t been made privy to those discussions, but it appears there are solutions without going to this kind of legislation. Frankly, I think they should have been pursued.
There are other areas in terms of regulating, for example, transportation, and a number of other areas, short of using this kind of rather serious legislation, where the government could have been active. It could have been active by regulation; it could have been active by various forms of incentive; it could have done a number of things. It chose to wait until the very last moment in the spring session of this year before it even tabled these pieces of paper. It put those things on the order paper and let them simmer over the summer.
It seems rather unusual to me that in the peak of the construction season when the problem, in theory at least, would be at its highest, the government chose to do nothing at all. Now, when the construction season for the year is beginning to wind down, it becomes a matter of urgent and public importance to proceed with this legislation. I find a little lack of logic in it. It strikes me that they are locking the old stable door after the horse has gone out to pasture for the winter. I find some difficulty arriving at why we need to do this, particularly now.
There are a large number of people in the construction trades living in and around my riding who would be directly affected by this legislation, so I think I have to lay out for the House why I’m not going to support this kind of legislation.
I listened with great care as the minister presented the bill. I recognize that it’s smiling Bob who is presenting this legislation and that he is a very nice person and a fine human being who wouldn’t do bad things to people.
Mr. Nixon: Look what they did to me.
Mr. Breaugh: But I am still suspicions and I’m the kind of person who always likes to read the fine print in what is being proposed. I find the fine print in this legislation totally unacceptable. There is an approach taken which affects the right of people to organize, to bargain, to go through a grievance procedure, to allocate work practices. You could take all of the rights any worker might have in the province of Ontario and find something in this piece of legislation that at least detracts from those rights, if it doesn’t wash them out completely.
Although I might support the basic principle of this bill, it’s time this government got off its hunkers and did something to protect the people who work in the construction trades in Ontario. We have said that at great length for a great number of years now, and I’m very happy to see the government doing something. The question is, did it need to kill the rights of all the workers in order to accomplish that? I think not. Of course, the government may come back, as the minister has done in previous statements, and say, “Well, that’s not what we’re going to do,” but that is precisely what is being done in this kind of legislation.
I’m one of those who questions the way this bill was put together, recognizing that on all sides of this House we have said, at one time or another and with reasonable consistency on all sides, we think that’s a serious problem, it ought to be dealt with, the government should be taking some action. Having arrived at that consensus in the House, the government then proceeded to draft a piece of legislation that it knew full well anyone who was interested in working people, anyone who had even the vaguest notion about what belonging to a trade union means, anyone who had had any experience at all in working with, or observing even casually the trade union movement, would find totally unacceptable.
I am sure that the people who drafted this legislation in the Ministry of Labour, many of whom I know and many of whom certainly have a great deal of experience in the trade union movement, were well aware when this bill was drafted exactly what was being proposed here. I don’t think anybody is trying to say this piece of legislation was put together by some well-meaning but unknowledgeable people. It was put together by people with considerable experience working with and against trade unions. This bill gives powers to the Minister of Labour I would never be prepared to give any Minister of Labour, no matter how nice, no matter how friendly, no matter how gifted. I don’t care who it might be, he or she doesn’t deserve to get this kind of legislation passed. Those powers are powers, to put it as politely as I can, that should never belong to any one minister of the crown.
The other thing that bothers me -- and I think we have to recognize the political reality of the situation -- is that even if they did belong to the present Minister of Labour, we also have to recognize that in the exercise of these powers, the minister won’t always be acting on his own. In many instances, the cabinet as a whole will say, “Wait a minute. From your view as Minister of Labour that may be the okay thing to do, but set aside all that. We are a government. We are a political party. You can’t do that. You must go in this way.” That would be decided at a cabinet meeting none of us will be attending, at least not until the next general election.
Then, of course, it will be the present minister who walks into the House and says, “Well, I have done this, this and this under the provisions given to me under this bill.” He may or may not agree with any of the exercising of the powers given to him by this bill but he will, of course, be the one to carry it out.
I am not prepared to support this kind of legislation, frankly. I appreciate the problem. We all do. I appreciate the support that all parties of this House have given to get some action on the matter. I don’t know why the government has chosen, except perhaps for its own purposes, not to do anything of a concrete nature until now. Now they have chosen an opportunity. I am told in some quarters that this is to be looked on not really as a piece of legislation that will ever be used, but as a bargaining tool, a tough bargaining tool that the Premier can now take back to the table, or the Minister of Labour can use to negotiate with the province of Quebec.
I resent, quite frankly, the use of this legislation to provide the government of today with a bargaining tool. I think that is a nonsensical approach. One doesn’t bring before this House legislation which isn’t fair and equitable and can’t be practiced in the province of Ontario with some reason and with some justice. One doesn’t bring in here in legislative form and put in front of this House a bill in which the way to get it through the House is to say, “Well it does give the minister far-reaching powers but we have never used those things. We will never implement this bill. We just want to have it on the back burner so we can negotiate a better deal somewhere.”
One doesn’t do that. One doesn’t write the laws of the land to give oneself a better negotiating position, so I cannot support that.
We put forward a reasoned amendment at the beginning of the debate on this bill which I think outlines certainly enough areas to show that if the government chose to, there could well be a consensus formed, a three-party consensus in this House, which would get the legislation through. But it removes specifically that overwhelming power that the government bill gives to the minister. It says, for example, that we recognize that this is a short-term project, or should be, and so we want a sunset provision in here, so that in a reasonable length of time -- and we are not talking four years, the life of the parliament, but 18 months, which seems to be ample time to negotiate a settlement of almost anything -- so that under those conditions they could put in front of this House legislation which all three parties would support.
If they want to say that is consensus legislation to form a negotiating tool, I would be prepared to accept that because the legislation is rather mild. I dislike the notion that they are using legislation to formulate their bargaining process. I think that is unrealistic and should be done just as a matter of principle.
If they are really searching for consensus, they have the opportunity to do that and I see that so far they have chosen not to do that.
Mr. Speaker, this bill provides a pattern and a precedent which is clearly unacceptable to anyone who knows anything, even the barest amount, about the construction trades industry --
Mr. Nixon: How about the member for Cornwall?
Mr. Breaugh: -- or about organized labour at all.
An hon. member: Legal, organized, democratic, parliamentary.
Mr. Roy: That party is certainly over the whole waterfront.
Mr. Breaugh: I always like to listen to lectures on flip-floppery from the Liberal Party, because I for one recognize that in this House they are the clear-cut experts in that field, and I yield to them on all occasions.
Mr. Nixon: He shouldn’t be so sweeping in his defence when his very capable and able colleague is taking the other position.
Mr. Roy: Isn’t this a nice example now?
Mr. Nixon: I am saying you should use more moderate language when you’re cutting your colleagues, that’s all.
Mr. Roy: Your leader wanted to come back.
Mr. Breaugh: They are your colleagues, Mr. Speaker. You may call them to order. I am just sitting here waiting to wrap up.
In summary, Mr. Speaker, I think to put it as succinctly as I can, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this government finally getting off its haunches and doing something about the problem. That is long overdue.
Mr. Nixon: Is haunches parliamentary language?
Mr. Breaugh: I am simply saying to the members of this House they can’t come in here with this kind of legislation, no matter how noble their purposes, put it before this House and pass it in law, which is precisely what is being proposed here. That is not an acceptable way to proceed and the specifics of this particular bill are ones which give all of us who are interested in that problem and in the problems of working people, ample cause for reflection and, in my view, rejection.
Mr. Sargent: Are you for it or against it?
Mr. Nixon: I always listen to the member for Oshawa with great care on matters pertaining to labour or anything else and I suppose one of the reasons I am speaking at this time --
Mr. Breaugh: He is going to flip again.
Mr. Nixon: -- other than to add to the general enlightenment in this matter, is to give him a chance to intrude, as he already has. I am not sure that that loud raucous laugh can be put down in Hansard, in all of its resonance --
Mr. Breaugh: Well you can concede to the finer qualities of it.
Mr. Nixon: But I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, I share the views of the member for Cornwall. Perhaps they were formed at about the same time.
I recall standing in the rain outside various industrial premises in that very fine city, shaking hands with the enthusiastic workmen as they came and went in the pre-dawn hours --
Mr. Samis: I thought that was forgotten.
Mr. Nixon: -- and discussing the philosophies associated with whether or not there ought to be some protection for the workmen in that particular area.
Many of the working colleagues of the member for Oshawa have a good many protections. They have the advantage of working for GM, things like that. They have the president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, right in their backyard, who likes to speak in their interest on any and all occasions. This is commendable, but as I say, I stood in the rain with the member for Cornwall. It was a little bit more advantageous --
Mr. Breaugh: One of the few things you do well, stand in the rain.
Mr. Samis: That was quite a candidate you had.
Mr. Nixon: -- to him than it was to me, but it was a good experience for both of us. As a matter of fact, I shiver when I think of it yet.
However, I can understand why the member for Cornwall feels his constituents would support him in voting for this legislation. I intend to vote for it as well. I must say that I did listen to the high-principled objections expressed by the member for Oshawa. I understand that, once again, his leader takes another stand. He really isn’t against it in principle. He just doesn’t want it read now a second time until we have a chance to hassle it back and forth. So there are really three positions in the NDP.
Mr. Roy: Four -- I mean there is the member for St. George yet, but he doesn’t go to caucus --
An hon. member: The member for Brantford.
Mrs. Campbell: St. George?
Mr. Nixon: Riverdale -- I’m from St. George.
Mr. Breaugh: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. I am sure we would want the former leader of the Liberal Party to recognize that, shaky though it might be, they still do hold the seat of St. George.
Mr. Nixon: But it’s been my understanding that the trade unions in this province have, at least in some degree, established something similar to the Quebec regions. They give preference to union members -- those skilled, expert and experienced in the various trades -- as these jobs come available. The difference, I suppose, between Ontario and Quebec in this regard is that it’s the government that has established, I suppose imposed, the boundaries of this region. Their approach is substantially different. I don’t know whether I’m being naive in this regard, but I don’t believe it was established simply to exclude the competition from the province of Ontario or anywhere else.
From the reading I have been able to do, the government of Quebec has indicated that no applications have been turned down. Except for the one we are talking about in the principle of this bill, the regulations in Ontario, which might tend to restrict the free interplay of workmen and working machinery from one province to the other, are just about the same as they are in Quebec; very little difference. It’s almost as if the advisers on each side, in creating this gossamer curtain, have done so so that they are not overstepping the math of hat the other partner in Confederation has seen to be reasonable.
I have been quite disappointed that the Quebec legislation has not been taken to the courts for testing. I think that would have been an alternative route; better than the one that is before us. Any provincial legislation that tends to restrict the free interchange of services and goods is certainly something that everybody in this House finds regrettable and it has been expressed on all sides.
The reasons given by the government of Canada, I suppose, are good and sufficient as far as they are concerned. Anyway they are not going forward, as is their responsibility and no one else’s, with a test before the Supreme Court. So we have to take what action is open to us.
I would join with those who said we have a good deal of confidence in the present Minister of Labour, and that the powers this legislation would bestow on him are not going to be used irresponsibly. In this aspect I suppose there is a flaw in legislation because while we may have confidence in this Minister of Labour at this time, these things can change and I have a feeling that perhaps before we go to the polls again, we may be expressing other views about nice Bob Elgie --
Mrs. Campbell: Him or somebody else.
Mr. Nixon: -- but that remains to be seen.
I simply want to point out, Mr. Speaker, that in the area where I live a good many of the unionized working men have taken the opportunity to accept employment, for example, in the Bruce Peninsula where there is a large region under the jurisdiction of a union in the Kitchener area, which does give preference to the people living and paying taxes in the area, who have established homes and families in the area, over those who might come in from outside with similar qualifications.
We don’t feel there is anything particularly unfair about this, I suppose for the reasons I have already given; that the workingmen have made a commitment to that community with their families and with their homes. Anything other than that kind of protection, I suppose could be said to be unfair. I would hope that there will be some accommodation between the province of Quebec, or the Minister of Labour there and our minister here, so we can move forward without establishing a whole list of proscriptive regulations which, in fact, add even more strength and permanence to this gossamer curtain that more and more separates the two sister provinces.
It is, therefore, with some reluctance that I am going to vote that the bill be read a second time when the motion 5 put before us.
Mr. Bounsall: I too, like the previous speaker, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, had my attitudes first formed and first came across the problem at exactly the same time, back some four and a half years ago down in that great city of Cornwall where I spent at one point four consecutive days on behalf of my colleague the present member for Cornwall in his successful attempt to enter the House.
Mr. Samis: The same thing will happen in the Sault.
Mr. Bounsall: That’s right, history will repeat itself very shortly. I spent some of those days as labour critic and labour spokesman for our party at the time, making a point of talking to the various labour groups in the community. The frustration and the anger came across very clearly from all of the construction workers in the Cornwall area about the unfair situation in which they were caught. They could see in Cornwall and surrounding areas jobs in the construction industry that would have been and should have been available to them taken up by workers resident in the province of Quebec. This was fine by them if there were some way in which they could have taken up employment opportunities in the province of Quebec as they became available. This was a situation that was being denied them.
It was at that point, because of that basic unfairness and feeling the real anger and concern of the construction workers in the Cornwall area, almost from the very instant when the present member for Cornwall arrived in the House, I and various members of this caucus supported him in his very real problem of trying to win for the construction workers in his particular area some fairness in respect of the ability to obtain proper employment in the construction industry.
I might stress that at the time it wasn’t any particular anti-French bias at all, but that the practice of allowing Quebec workers into the province of Ontario to take jobs here should be reciprocated in the province of Quebec.
From that time on, we have asked a series of questions, again mainly led by the member for Cornwall, that the government here take some action, some initiative -- and I must say that was four and a half years ago now -- to ensure that that proper reciprocity took place. For most of that time, up until just a very few short months ago, the government of the province of Ontario sat around and did absolutely nothing about the situation. It was only a few short months ago that the then Minister of Labour started to have same talks with her counterpart in the province of Quebec. Some talks took place at the official level and some conversations took place amongst staff about the possibility of that proper reciprocity taking place.
Throughout the statements made by this party over the past four and a half years, it was implicit that if the proper arrangements could not be worked out, Ontario would have to retaliate with some piece of legislation which would at least protect the Ontario construction worker. But we did not want a piece of retaliatory legislation, and I thought it extended to the other side of the House, although they were a great many years recognizing that such a problem existed in Cornwall and other border areas in the province of Ontario. When we saw this particular piece of retaliatory legislation, no one in this party wanted it.
This legislation that has come before us, introduced by the government and by the former Minister of Labour, represents a total failure, on the part of the government opposite, to sit down and work out an arrangement with the province of Quebec so workers in those border areas would be treated the same, and treated equitably. The legislation, by the very fact it’s before us, is an admission of failure on the part of this government to reach a working solution to the problem. MI right, that was the final last line, should we have to come to it.
With this present Minister of Labour -- I know he’s honeymooning so he looks good at everything he does, or at least we’re willing to take his actions and statements on good faith -- there’s a feeling that if he had been in there and conducting the negotiations, rather than the former minister, this particular solution may not have come up.
The problem has been with us a long time and of course was further sharpened by the bill which the Legislature of the province of Quebec brought in this year. It was a bill in which they were responding to some of the real problems within their construction industry, as pointed out by the Cliche commission, which looked at the practices, many of which were unfair to other Quebec workers, that had grown up in the province of Quebec.
When I look at that piece of legislation for the province of Quebec, I find that I have virtually no quarrel with that legislation. They set up the A and B class tradesmen and regions in Quebec, so if there’s a construction project taking place in one region it’s the construction workers in that region who must be offered all of the jobs first, before they go to another region. That prevents some of the problems they have had in the past. I have no quarrel with that piece of legislation at all.
When you take that legislation and add it to the existing practices which have taken place, what it definitely means, as far as I can see, is that over the course of the next couple of years again an Ontario worker will not have much opportunity, if any, to be involved in construction in the province of Quebec. The need to have those conversations take place, and to work out an arrangement for at least the border area, became very important.
The legislation requires that before workers can go to another region, all workers who have worked 1,000 hours in the previous 12-month period in Quebec, must be given those jobs. Therefore, according to the Quebec legislation, the entire province of Ontario would be treated as one region, and as time goes on it would be very difficult to find a worker in Ontario, resident in Ontario, who has worked 1,000 hours in the previous 12 months in the province of Quebec.
If there’s ever a slack period in the province of Quebec, the minor work he picks up will not be in that province and he’ll have great difficulty obtaining those 1,000 hours in the 12-month period or the 1,500 hours in the slightly longer period. So we have an additional problem for our Ontario worker in the province of Quebec brought about by their changes which, looking at it in terms of what Quebec’s problems were in the construction industry, were very reasonable and rational changes for Quebec to make on an internal basis.
I’m not going to get into the details of it, but in the overall ball park thrust of their bill it was reasonable. However, it’s loft the Ontario worker in virtually the same situation that he’s always been left in. This is not a new problem. The negotiations which we were urging for years should take place with this bill as a final failure position if we couldn’t achieve it, have resulted in no advance for all those workers in the border area. They’re still left in the same position where they always have been.
When we then look at this bill, which represents the failure of the government opposite to be able to negotiate something with the province of Quebec, sections 2 and 6 of the bill are simply areas we cannot support as written or, as suggested by the Minister of Labour, slightly modified.
We have put down in our reasoned amendment that the bill not now be read a second time, but be redrafted and brought back in in a way which materially will change the thrust of sections 2 and 6 and speak quite directly to the issue, if we have finally to come to a failure position, which is what any of these bills represents, a failure to achieve a working arrangement with the province of Quebec, and which at least will be a piece of legislation which is not discriminatory against the construction worker in Ontario, which sections 2 and 6 certainly represent.
In section 2, the code of employment practice applying to the whole of the province of Ontario applies to any part of the construction industry. Section 6 says that code of employment practices will apply, notwithstanding any other act in the province of Ontario. If applied in the present form and passed, there could be serious interferences with the rights of construction workers in Ontario -- with the rights they have under the Labour Relations Act, the Construction Safety Act and so on.
It’s always been our feeling that rather than having a very discriminatory piece of labour legislation, which this really represents when one puts together sections 2 and 6 of the government’s act one could have applied all the detailed sections of the Apprenticeship and Tradesmen’s Qualification Act in Ontario, which would have helped materially in saving and holding those jobs in the province of Ontario for the Ontario worker. That could have been the way in which we said to Quebec, “Look, if you insist on not having a border region set up in which workers are treated as if it is perhaps a section of the nearest Quebec region in terms of that employment, we’ll start doing this with our current acts, which will achieve some equity between the workers on both sides of the border.”
But we’ve come in with a much tougher piece of labour legislation which in its application leaves all kinds of concern in my mind for what could happen in the whole construction industry and the construction trades across the entire province of Ontario from the way it’s drafted.
Our party, recognizing the problem of not being able to sit in on those negotiations and helping to achieve an agreement with the province of Quebec and perhaps being faced with a situation where we might have to admit our complete and utter failure in the form of a bill, in my opinion has drafted a most reasonable and accommodating reasoned amendment indicating the areas in a bill which would be acceptable to us. The amendment simply gives preference to employment in the construction industry to those tradesmen living in the province of Ontario and which doesn’t take away the protections of employees they have won by representation to this government in other years directly and by members of parliament who have supported the view of working people in this province such as through those things embodied in the Employment Standards Act and which do not interfere with, in any way, the constitution bylaws of a union and of the terms of a collective agreement which they have so carefully hammered out. We don’t want any of those interfered with with a bill which tries to establish some equity between construction workers in the border areas of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
We understand from the correspondence which has taken place that there was some willingness on the part of the Quebec government to recognize a border region and give it some special term or status. That’s the kind of area of negotiation which should have been completely investigated by the spokesmen for the government opposite in their dealings with the province of Quebec. We have no way of knowing just how far that was extended. The present minister was, no doubt, not all that involved in that, since he was so recently appointed to the post but, at least in our view, they left it open.
In our reasoned amendment we haven’t spoken to that, but we certainly want any avenue completely investigated. When you look at what the government bill was and look at the bill which the member for Cornwall put, Bill 98, which speaks almost purely to the residency situation, we without question say that that is much more the kind of legislation which the province of Ontario should be introducing and which we may have to pass if it comes to that; and if between now and the time we have to pass this, negotiations which we hope will continue to take place without any abatement finally do not succeed.
Again, we want a sunset provision. The government has indicated that it is willing to put a sunset provision into the bill. But it is a four-year sunset provision, an operation which is going to make the provisions of this act for the construction industry supersede any other act of the Legislature or of any collective agreement, or any rules, practices and bylaws of the constitution of a trade union, in effect for, as outlined in section 6, a period of four years. It is simply not acceptable.
Even with the redrawn clauses of our reasoned amendment we still would not want to see those applied for a period of four years. Let us try it for a period of time, if it’s necessary to try something in the legislative sense, but for four years? Let’s try it for a shorter period of time, a year and a half. That gives a year and a half for constant negotiations and, if necessary, to bring in some other bill which meets the conditions of that time.
Certainly, our reasoned amendment is one which allows for further negotiations which put no undue restrictions upon the construction industry in this province in terms of setting aside labour agreements and setting aside rights devoted under any act, and would apply for a very short time. That is why I strongly support our reasoned amendment and look at the whole ball game here, in whatever bill we put forward, as an utter failure on the part of this government to negotiate properly a situation with Quebec. We must see if there are any doors that we can leave open to negotiate, with the province of Quebec, reciprocal arrangements for construction workers in any of the border areas -- not just in the Cornwall and Ottawa areas, but further up into the Timiskaming area as well -- where, up to five or six years ago, the traditional movement across the Ontario-Quebec border took place. It’s that sort of thing we need to achieve.
I will conclude very briefly by saying that I find our reasoned amendment infinitely more acceptable than the bill we have before us. However, both of them represent failures of this government to negotiate properly with the province of Quebec. If the House proceeds to pass the government bill in its original form, or in some modified or amended form, it still represents a failure.
In any event, this bill should he sent outside the House so we can get the input of the construction industry and of workers in various of the trades that have set up employment zones in Ontario -- I think specifically of the iron workers and their carefully worked-out arrangements -- so that we can have their experience in terms of how they feel about a border zone and how that employment zone should operate.
Not knowing exactly what the Minister of Labour in Quebec means by a border zone and how it would operate, I cannot support that proposal wholeheartedly, although I think it should be investigated thoroughly.
I close by saying that the reasoned amendment as proposed by our party is infinitely more acceptable than the bill we have before us, but both of them represent a failure on the part of this government to properly negotiate with the province of Quebec in order that equity be achieved between Ontario and Quebec construction workers for opportunity of employment on both sides of the border. That is what we are trying to achieve in this House, and not the kind of restrictive legislation we have before us in the form of this government bill.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say just a few words to sum up.
I think it’s clear from all of the words that have been spoken here today that we all have certain things that we agree upon. We all resent that there has been a sealing of the border, regardless of the fact that it wasn’t directed primarily at this province. Secondly, we all agree that there is a need to protect the mobility of workers across borders, regardless of their domicile. Finally, I think we all agree that we can’t just talk about it; we have to do something about it.
My opening statement clearly indicates that this minister and this government share many of the concerns that have been expressed here today. The Premier, the new Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, the previous Minister of Labour and myself have all tried very vigorously to attempt to resolve the situation. I might say that the Premier, in his persistent efforts to have the Quebec legislation referred to the Supreme Court, had the full support -- to my knowledge and from my conversations with him -- of the construction trade unions. All of this has been without success. Therefore, today we present Bill 136 for second reading.
I want to emphasize again that this government and this minister clearly share many of the concerns that have been expressed. The bill is permissive, and I have clearly outlined in my statement that it is to be referred to committee, not only -- as the member from Windsor has said -- for input from all interested parties, both in the trade union movement and in the construction industry as well as from municipalities and other interested citizens, but also so that members have the freedom to express their wishes and to add any amendments they feel are necessary.
With all of this talk about delay and not doing enough, let’s not forget there was one heck of a lot of pressure from all parties on the previous minister, on this government, and on me to get something done. I might also add, as I look at a press release dated July 5, there is a comment there indicating that “Premier Davis instead chose to negotiate, but failed to recognize that he needed bargaining power in those negotiations. With regulations of our own, Ontario will have that bargaining power and negotiations will be far more likely to succeed.” That was a statement issued by the leader of the third party and a position which we, frankly, take at this very minute. We do need to have a bill and we do need some regulations in place to put some teeth into this matter.
Also, just so it is clear what this minister feels, although I know he didn’t intend them in any derogatory way I did take a little offence at the fact that the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) talked about beating up the unions, or some other phrase. I want clearly outlined just what my views have been to the unions with regard to our position. I stated them very clearly on October 28 when I spoke to the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council in Sudbury.
If members will give me a moment to quote from that speech, I said: “Let me say at the outset that I am philosophically opposed as Minister of Labour to the kind of massive interference with internal trade union affairs which the Québec-type of legislation imposes. It does not make sense to talk in terms of free collective bargaining and free trade unions and then impose control or construction unions which effectively destroy their hiring halls.
“We regard certain features of the Quebec regulation as unfair and discriminatory. We are particularly concerned about those provisions of the regulation which require construction workers to be domiciled or resident in Quebec in order to qualify for a classification certificate 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. And we further believe that the requirement for Quebec domicile places an unfair and perhaps illegal impediment on such free access.”
Finally, I concluded to that meeting in this fashion: “However, the situation has to be resolved. As you know, the government has introduced a bill in the Ontario Legislature which, if enacted, would enable the Ontario government to impose, if necessary, residential restrictions on workers from other provinces. Premier Davis has made it clear that while the province does not wish to erect harriers of this sort, it cannot stand idly by and see Ontarians deprived of employment opportunities in Quebec, while Quebec residents continue to share job opportunities in Ontario. I want to assure you, however, that the government has no intention of eroding the freedoms and hiring hall practices that trade unions in Ontario have experienced in the past.”
I am sure that those statements made it very clear to the construction union movement that this government’s intentions were clearly on the table. To further emphasize my own personal commitment to this philosophy, and as all members know I introduced two further amendments last Tuesday. One of them in effect inserted a sunset clause. The other provided, if I may quote, “except with respect to provisions included in a collective agreement under section 38 of the Labour Relations Act; “and that was put as an appendix to section 6, clearly indicating that union security arrangements that have been gained and secured under collective agreements remained that way and were exempt from the primary section, section 6 of the act.
Concerns have been expressed about a variety of sections in the act. I could at this time take several minutes to review and reinforce the views that led us to insert those sections in the act, but I think, quite frankly, we can do that at the committee level and that there is no need to take up further time in this House.
I believe that the two amendments I propose answer members’ real concerns and answer the real concerns of those in the trade union movement. I think that the fact that this bill is going to committee for constructive review and input further reinforces the commitment that I have, and that this government has, to having an open process and review.
The members for Ottawa Centre and Hamilton East, and some other members, have referred to other legislation which may be affected by Bill 136, for instance the Workmen’s Compensation Board Act, the Employment Standards Act, et cetera. I would remind them that this act deals with employment, and employment as defined under section 1 means the hiring of or contracting with tradesmen. So we are talking about hiring, and none of those pieces of legislation referred to by members deal with hiring practices. I therefore want to assure members that this bill bears no relationship to those other bills and that the problems we face could not have been dealt with in that other legislation. Indeed, the suggestion that there are other avenues that are open to us is not accurate. All possible avenues have been exhausted. I would ask for the support of the House in passage of second reading of Bill 136.
Mr. Speaker: Hon. Mr. Elgie has moved second reading of Bill 136 to which, in an amendment, Mr. Cassidy has moved that all the words after “that” be deleted and the following substituted therefor:
“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).
“4. The government include a sunset provision in the legislation so that it expire 18 months from the time it receives royal assent”
The House divided on the motion that Bill 136 be now read a second time, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Ashe, Auld, Belanger, Bennett, Bernier, Birch, Blundy, Bradley, Campbell, Conway, Cunningham, Cureatz, Davis, Eakins, Elgie, Epp, Gaunt, Gregory, Haggerty, Hall, Handleman, Havrot, Hodgson, Johnson, Jones, Kennedy,
Kerr, Kerrio, Lane, MacBeth, Maeck, Makarchuk, Mancini, McCaffrey, McCague, McGuigan, McKessock, F. S. Miller, G. I. Miller, B. Newman, W. Newman, Nixon, Norton, O’Neil, Peterson, T. P. Reid, Riddell,
Rowe, Roy, Ruston, Samis, Sargent, Scrivener, G. E. Smith, S. Smith, Stephenson, Stong, Sweeney, C. Taylor, Van Horne, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Worton, Yakabuski -- 68.
Bounsall, Breaugh, Bryden, Cassidy, Charlton, Cooke, M. Davidson, M. N. Davison, Deans, di Santo, Foulds, Germa, Gigantes, Grande, Lawlor, Lewis, Lupusella, Mackenzie, Martel, Philip, Renwick, Warner, Wildman, Young, Ziemba -- 25.
Ayes 68; nays 25.
Ordered for standing resources development committee.
MINISTRY OF TREASURY AND ECONOMICS ACT (CONTINUED FROM OCTOBER 31, 1978)
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 142, An Mt to establish the Ministry of Treasury and Economics.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, at the time of the adjournment of the House the other evening I had risen to speak to this bill, which I will do very briefly.
Mr. Roy: For or against?
Mr. Martel: I can’t take the torture test. This is the torture test.
Mr. Williams: I would like to say that I was delighted with the legislation when it was brought forward, along with the complementary Bill 166 establishing the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs. The presentation of this legislation takes me back to 1975 when I first had an opportunity to address this House. At that time I spoke of the many successes of the government and its capacity to continue to make this the province of opportunity. While highlighting and illustrating many of the successes of the government in this area, I did raise some eyebrows when I suggested that perhaps there was room for even this government to make improvements in its provision of services to the people of the province.
I suggested at that time that in fact the existing Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs perhaps was too large for any one minister to be able to handle because of the massive size and responsibilities of that ministry. I suggested at that time that even as capable a person as Mr. McKeough would, over a sustained period of time, undoubtedly find it difficult to handle all those responsibilities.
Mr. Mancini: Let’s not speak for McKeough.
Mr. Williams: I did suggest, Mr. Speaker, at that time that there would be merit in considering the division of the ministry and establishing once again two ministries, one Treasury and Economics and a reversion to a separate ministry such as the former Department of Municipal Affairs.
It is apparent that the new proposed Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs is the more appropriate name to give to that ministry. Since the days of the Department of Municipal Affairs government at the provincial level has become much more sophisticated and has become much more involved in dealing not only with provincial and municipal affairs but has become much more heavily involved in federal-provincial affairs, as well as inter-provincial affairs.
That, too, is a ministry that has taken on new dimensions and new responsibilities, or it certainly will once it has been formally created by the enactment of Bill 166.
Finally, I might observe that the other advantages of dividing the ministry as such would be to ensure that there would be an arm’s length arrangement established between the new Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs and the Ministry of the Treasury. There had always been some criticism of a degree of favouritism because the closeness of the intergovernmental affairs section to the Ministry of the Treasury gave them an inside track to the Treasury. I’m sure the other ministries will be pleased now that this new Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs will have to bid for the Treasury dollars in the same fashion as the other separate ministries.
For that reason, and because there is a much broader demand for intergovernmental action at all levels, as I pointed out, it is apparent that this division should take place at this time. For this reason, I, along with many other members of the House, will be supporting this proposed legislation.
Mr. Nixon: I just want to speak briefly, because I know the minister has an important engagement with the Progressive Conservative policy committee and I wouldn’t want to keep him from that; but I did want to bring to his attention that the change in this ministry is not particularly complimentary, as far as he’s concerned.
We’ve had the impression for a good many years that the Premier (Mr. Davis) has been somewhat restive with the powers that the Treasurer and Minister of Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs, has been wielding. I had the funny impression at the time the committee on intergovernmental affairs reported that this huge ministry, this super ministry -- the only one that really was deserving of the name -- was pretty well fashioned for the Treasurer’s predecessor (Mr. McKeough), who’s now sitting in Chatham waiting for a phone call from Union Gas or Ontario Hydro or some place.
I understand he did get a phone call from one of the banks, so he’s on his way. t would predict that within a decade, he’ll probably make E. P. Taylor look like he was running a candy store.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: And won’t you be envious?
Mr. Nixon: But that’s all right. He’ll have to pay taxes on his income so we’ll be able to spend it.
Mr. Roy: No, we won’t be envious; because we’ll he over there and you’ll be over here, you’ll be envious.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Albert, you will never be over here.
Mr. Roy: Bette, you should go to the movies more often.
Mr. Nixon: The minister is very anxious, with the co-operation of the Minister of Education, that this debate come to a conclusion. I understand there are no amendments to be offered and that we are establishing a much diminished ministry.
I frankly think it’s a very smart thing indeed. While Mr. McKeough may or may not have been able to handle all those responsibilities, I felt it was extremely unhealthy that one minister looked after so many of these areas of tremendous importance.
The only time it was ever done before was in the days of Bob Macaulay. We didn’t bother arranging the ministry for him, he simply called himself, and was designated, Minister of Economics.
I well recall that even before the Treasurer of the day could get up to present the budget, the Minister of Economics had to present a full evening’s resume of the state of the economy of the province. He was one of the first to invite the business moguls of Toronto and vicinity into the gallery. I think his office at the time was big enough to accommodate them all for petits fours or whatever they were.
It even got to the point where some unfair observers in the opposition started to refer to the honourable Mr. Macaulay as “minister of all departments.” Eventually he grew tired of this responsibility and went on to other things. We still see him around Queen’s Park, but he doesn’t put his foot inside unless somebody pays him $1,000 for a day.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Or part thereof.
Mr. Nixon: Or part thereof. So he’s still serving the community in his own inimitable way.
I think perhaps this Treasurer is more the size of an ordinary man. I would think in some sense that’s a compliment to him.
I’ve seen him in action in some of his previous incarnations. When, as Minister of Health, he was told by the then-Treasurer to come to Paris, Ontario, and close our hospital --
Mr. Mancini: Shame.
Mr. Nixon: -- at least he had the strength of intelligence and dignity to come himself with the bad news, something for which I’ve always admired him. He even had the intelligence to hack down when it became apparent that the laws of the province didn’t permit him to close the hospital, strange though that may have sounded to him and others at that time.
I suppose it’s necessary, in case the minister requires any reduction in his ego, simply to point out that this is a diminished ministry and that I think it is very appropriate that it be so. I have always felt that the Premier ought to have on his right hand -- not necessarily in this House -- his Treasurer, and on his left hand the chief law officer of the crown. The other ministries have great importance -- certainly Education, which probably as much as anything is the reason we have provinces -- but in order to command the respect and confidence of the province, whatever happens in the Legislature, we still have to know that our finances are properly looked after -- a question that gives us on this side a great deal of concern when we look at the history of recent Treasury decisions -- and that the laws are being applied evenly and without too much retroactivity.
Mr. Speaker, I intend to vote for this bill. I feel it is an important change. I am glad to think that the Treasurer is the Treasurer and doesn’t have the responsibility for making all the decisions up and down the row. As has been pointed out, any minister, whatever his or her title, can over time come to influence the decisions of other members of the cabinet, perhaps inordinately. The only person sitting over there at the present time who might do that is the present Minister of Education, who tends to show a tremendous interest in a wide variety of affairs. So far, I don’t think that’s in any way unhealthy or dangerous, but we’re continuing to take her temperature at regular intervals.
I know the minister is anxious to use the time remaining to answer the questions that may have been brought to his attention, but I am glad to vote for this bill.
Mr. Speaker: Is there any other member who wishes to speak to this bill on second reading? If not, the Minister of Treasury and Economics.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have always enjoyed the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Sometimes more than others.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I think he has a true sense of the history of this House. He brings a lot to it, as one of the columnists said today --
Mr. Nixon: And a sense of the future too.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes, and as to the future, I’ll always be glad to take his advice privately.
Mr. Rotenberg: Bob, weren’t you born here?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I would agree that the ministry should have been divided in two. I believe the Treasurer should not have an operating function as well as being Treasurer. In fact, the time that will be freed up because of the separation of the ministry will be important in two ways: It will allow intergovernmental affairs to get the attention they deserve from a very skilled minister in that portfolio, and it will allow the Treasurer to have more, let’s say thinking space to develop those issues.
Mr. Martel: You could certainly use it, Frank. You are so entrenched.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Therefore, many of the other points discussed by the other members who entered the debate properly should be answered during my estimates; since these come up very shortly, Mr. Speaker, I would simply ask for second reading of the bill.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.