The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Snow: This afternoon I would like to make a brief statement in the House about an issue that has been discussed in this House before. I am referring to the decision of the CTC to approve Air Canada’s takeover of Nordair. As members of this House are aware, the Ontario government opposed that decision for reasons I have outlined in other statements and petitioned the federal government to overturn that decision.
On Monday Mr. Lang, Minister of Transport, issued a statement outlining the federal government’s response to our petition. What I’d like to do right now is to inform the members very quickly on the gist of that statement and my ministry’s reaction to it.
What Mr. Lang has said, as I understand it, is that Air Canada will be permitted to complete the purchase of Nordair shares, but must immediately transfer those shares to the federal government to be sold later to the private sector. While Ontario would have preferred to have the ownership of Nordair transferred directly to the private sector, this arrangement does appear to be an attempt to meet Ontario’s concerns about keeping Nordair separate and independent of both Air Canada and the federal government.
In reviewing Mr. Lang’s statement, we have made particular note of the fact that Mr. Lang has committed the government to the objective of having Nordair back in private hands within 12 months. This is an objective we hope can be accomplished in an even shorter period of time so that stability can be restored to this segment of the air-carrier industry.
Mr. Foulds: You didn’t succeed with Minaki very well.
Hon. Mr. Snow: We will be following developments in this area with a great deal of interest to ensure that Ottawa lives up to this commitment.
Of substantial concern to Ontario too is Mr. Lang’s stated intention to pursue discussions with principal, non-mainline carriers in the eastern half of Canada to develop a restructured regional air-carrier system. I’d like to say at this time that we expect to be consulted by the federal government when these discussions begin. In that way we may ensure that the best possible level of service will be provided to the Ontario travelling public by a regional air carrier based in this province.
Mr. Peterson: Tell us about the bridges.
Hon. Mr. Snow: While I am on my feet, I would like to table in the Legislature certain documents which are part of what was requested, I believe, by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) on Tuesday. This parcel includes two copies of the computerized inventory prepared by my ministry from the reports on municipal bridges which have been submitted to us.
In addition to the two computerized inventories, there are 10 randomly selected municipal bridge reports. There are a further 501 reports which --
Mr. Martel: Why didn’t you bring them all?
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- I have not tabled because, as I say, I have tabled 10 random samples.
Mr. Foulds: We will cross that bridge when we get to it.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I would say that if any member is interested in the report of any particular municipality in his riding, then he could either get a copy of the report from the municipality that prepared the report or we would be pleased to arrange to get the information on that municipality.
An hon. member: I would cross any bridge in this province, if the minister went ahead of me on it.
CROWN EMPLOYEES COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
Hon. Mr. McCague: Later this afternoon I shall be introducing a bill to amend the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act. In introducing this bill, the government has two objectives in mind. The first is to ensure that residents of provincially operated facilities are given the protection they need and deserve. The second is to reassure the public in general and the relatives of these residents in particular that such protection will be provided.
In 1972, when it was decided to formalize collective bargaining procedures for crown employees, the government’s philosophy was that, where feasible, these procedures should parallel those that were available to employees in the private sector. With this philosophy in mind, the grievance board, established under the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, was given the authority to modify a penalty imposed by the employer, if the board determined that the penalty was excessive.
The bill being proposed would not remove authority to substitute a penalty, but would limit the options available if, on the evidence before it, the board decided that the griever should be returned to employment. On the passage of this bill the board could return an employee to employment, but not to a position involving direct responsibility for or an opportunity for contact with residents in the facility.
The grievance settlement board and the other tribunals appointed under this act have played an important and very difficult role in the ongoing relations between the government and its employees, and the government appreciates the manner in which the members of these boards and tribunals are performing their function.
In view of our stated objectives which we feel should be reflected in legislation, I ask for the support of all members in the passage of this act.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege to say that I believe the member for Don Mills, the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell), is in contempt of this Legislature and I believe that the matter to which I am about to refer should be referred in turn to the procedural affairs committee.
On August 4 of this year the member for Don Mills made a public statement on the CRC radio program Metro Morning. He said: “When I send a memo to the inspection branch asking for a report, the member will get exactly the same report as I get. I don’t know what Mr. Warner is complaining about. He’s had a couple.”
I then tabled a question here in the House on October 23 asking for certain inspection reports, fully expecting the minister to comply with his public statement. The written answer which I received on November 6 stated in part: “ ... he should be aware that it is not the policy of the inspection branch of my ministry to make inspection reports available to the public.”
I have consulted Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice, in particular the section on contempt in general, which is page 136; the basic principle on page 142, namely, “that the House may treat the making of a deliberately misleading statement as a contempt”; and finally on page 172, “Where the matter of complaint is a charge alleged to have been made by one member against another in a speech outside the House, it is usual, if the member admits the correctness of the report and states that he is in a position to prove the charge and is willing to attempt to do so, to give him an opportunity of establishing his charge and with this object to refer the matter to a committee.” This is what I would like to do.
I seek your guidance, Mr. Speaker, in a very serious matter, a matter which disturbs me greatly. I would ask that you could rule on it at some point and send it to the procedural affairs committee.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I would welcome your making such a ruling because perhaps more than some members opposite I take the question of personal reputation a little bit more seriously.
Mr. Deans: That wasn’t a good start.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: If the member would examine again what he himself has just said today, I would point out that the answer which was tabled was an extremely lengthy answer, in which we tried to be as detailed as possible. It was totally consistent with that which I had to say on the Metro Morning show on August 4. The actual reports in the files are not released but the information which I got from the staff is exactly what was imparted to the honourable member.
Ms. Gigantes: Be careful.
Mr. Nixon: The Speaker is thinking.
Mr. Speaker: I will reflect upon it and get back to the House on it at a later time.
Mr. S. Smith: I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Health. Accepting that police officers in investigating cases of billing fraud need to have access to certain pertinent records under certain conditions, how can it be that as late as March of this year -- four months after the furore in this House; after the report from the Attorney General; after the setting up of the Krever commission and everything else that he knows very well happened here, that there were and had been since 1972 Ontario Provincial Police officers with unrestricted access to all the files of the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, with no court order, no specific warrants, no logging, no lists, no record of identification of the officers, absolutely nothing -- how could it happen that there were officers sitting there with unrestricted access all the while this discussion was going on, and even continuing months after the Krever inquiry was set up, until it was accidentally stumbled upon by the commission?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know that “accidentally” is the right word, but let me say that I am sure the Leader of the Opposition would agree that we should follow up on any cases of fraud. Going back to the beginnings of OHIP, which apparently is when this originated, it was felt that we should co-operate with the police. The purpose of the commission, of course, has been to look at all aspects of our internal operations. If the honourable member remembers the terms of reference, they were to look at particular incidents as well as at all of our systems. So I don’t know that I would call it accidental.
Frankly, as was indicated at the commission, neither the deputy minister, who was not in the ministry at the time this began, nor myself was aware of it until this examination. There are, I know, a number more witnesses to be called at the Krever commission. I think we should leave it for the commissioner to determine in his mind whether he will advise as to whether it is improper or not that the police should be on the premises and, if so, in what circumstances. I am sure the Leader of the Opposition would not want us to drop our activities in pursuing cases that might be considered to be fraudulent.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, and following directly on the minister’s response that he doesn’t like the use of the word “accidental”: Is he aware that the only way this came to life was that the Krever commission people were visiting the premises simply to get an idea of the layout when somebody asked, “What’s behind that door?” and was told, “That’s where our policemen sit”?
Is the minister also aware that, in addition to Mr. Backley, the deputy minister who didn’t know about this because he has only been in that position for a little while, the deputy minister at the time, Mr. Martin, also didn’t know about this in 1972, when this practice was set up? We called him today to check on that.
Is the minister saying that there is some doubt in his mind concerning the desirability of having policemen with unrestricted access, with no log kept of what charts they have taken out, no indication of why they are looking for certain types of charts, no judge’s order, and not even the names of the policemen kept on file? If he is saying that, and if it is that desirable, why are no policemen now allowed to look at anything at OHIP as a result of the latest decision made on those premises?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Going back and putting this into the longer-term perspective, one of the things that keeps recurring in this commission, which I may say is turning out to be a milestone --
Mr. S. Smith: It is a very interesting one.
Mr. Peterson: And a millstone.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, certainly not that. When the government learned of these situations a year ago, we were determined that, rather than just dealing with one or two or three situations, we would get to the bottom of everything so that there would be no doubt.
Mr. Roy: Yes, we pushed you into that; you showed no early enthusiasm.
Mr. Foulds: Isn’t that in contrast to the way the federal Liberals act in the same situation?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It seems to me that what keeps coming up is the fact that expectations and attitudes about police and about records which had formed the basis of longstanding practices, not just in government but in various industries relating to one another and to the public, have changed. As a result, there obviously will have to be changes in systems. There already have been a number of changes in the last year; we went through a few earlier this week, and they have been dealt with from time to time.
At the time this was drawn to our attention, we agreed with the counsel to the commission that we would not take any precipitate action -- he didn’t want things to be turned upside down overnight -- until the commission had a chance to finish its investigation, which I’m told will be just a few more months.
In the meantime, we have been a lot tighter with information; it may turn out that we have been tighter than necessary. I have heard from many of you opposite and some of my friends behind me, that we have perhaps been too tight with information to members.
Several of the members have written to me suggesting that we are taking too literal an interpretation of section 44 with respect to letters which they write to me on behalf of constituents seeking information from the OHIP files. I send them a brief acknowledgement and then I write to their constituent mentioning that the member had written to me, but giving the constituent the information.
If we have erred since this problem developed, it may well be that we have erred on being too cautious, but I would sooner do it that way until all the commission’s hearings are completed, we have their conclusions and we have the time to consider them and make the necessary changes in statutes, regulations, practices, or whatever.
Mr. Breaugh: A supplementary: I would like to ask the minister who specifically authorized that disclosure at that time. Subsequent to that, has he had any criminal investigations of any sort to attempt to ascertain whether or not the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) would proceed with criminal charges against members of his ministry or individual members of hospital staffs?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’m sorry, the member said “that disclosure.” Is he thinking of a particular incident or this situation?
To the best of my knowledge, there is more evidence to be heard as to how it developed and what activities have actually gone on with the general manager of the plan whose job it is to manage within the act.
Mr. S. Smith: A final supplementary if I may, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: We’ve spent eight minutes on the first question.
Mr. S. Smith: I only asked one supplementary which was relatively brief, with respect.
Mr. Speaker: Both the original question and the supplementary were unusually long.
Mr. S. Smith: I’ll ask a final supplementary, if I may. Can the minister check and tell the House who it was who authorized this policy back in 1972?
Mr. Breaugh: That’s what he just answered.
Mr. Martel: That is one supplementary.
Mr. S. Smith: I apologize if he has just answered that question. I did not understand him to answer the question. I apologize if he did.
Could he explain why after the Krever commission was set up, nobody bothered to tell him that there were two policemen sitting there in the OHIP premises the whole time? Why did no one volunteer this to the Krever inquiry? Why did it have to be discovered in the manner that it was? Doesn’t that concern him about what is going on at OHIP?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’d have to say, and these individuals will have an opportunity to answer that, that it was because they did not think it was, in fact, a breach. That is the likely response. These people have been working in the plan in one way or another, going back to the OHSC or to the OHSIP days, many of them for many years.
It is unquestionable that certain attitudes and feelings about the police and the need to co-operate, respect for the law or whatever, may have changed over the years. That will mean there will be changes in our procedures and regulations, just as there have been a number in the last year. But I certainly don’t think there has been any criminal intent or anything but intent to uphold what they consider to be the highest of principles -- and one of those principles happens to be respect for the law and co-operation with the law.
Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism: Given the fact that Ontario would appear to be the biggest loser if the present predictions concerning the auto pact prove to be correct, and given that the American optimistic predictions, which were trying to make it look good for Canada, indicate we will be $10 billion down and the science council’s predictions show us doing even worse than that by 1985, can the minister tell us exactly what he is doing to help the auto parts industry? What is he doing to bring together the automakers to demand that action occur --
Mr. Martel: He’s talking to the federal government.
Mr. S. Smith: -- both between the federal government and the provincial government, by the big three automakers to start procuring a proper proportion of parts in this country, as important as that is to our country and to our province?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: With regard to the figures quoted in the paper today, they are a study and a prediction only.
Mr. S. Smith: That is an optimistic prediction.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Well, in certain people’s opinion. In certain people’s opinion, that is an optimistic one. All I can say is that I’m not commenting on the validity or otherwise of those figures. We also acknowledge that the situation isn’t good -- there’s no question about that -- and we’re not happy about that.
Secondly, I should point out, so that the thing is in context, that that does fail to take into account the benefits that have flowed to Canada as a result of the auto pact relating to transactions with third countries. In that regard, for the last year in question the benefit flowing to Canada from the auto pact in terms of exports to other countries was something like half a billion dollars. So that somewhat affects those figures substantially in getting a true picture of the effectiveness of the auto pact.
Thirdly, the Leader of the Opposition will be aware that because of all the concern about this, Simon Reisman has been studying the whole question. Apparently, Mr. Homer has on his desk a copy of Mr. Reisman’s report, and certainly the media yesterday had what appeared to be some leaks in regard to what Mr. Reisman will conclude. Obviously, we’re intensely interested in what Mr. Reisman concludes and for Ontario’s part we will be responding as aggressively as possible to his conclusions.
I should say as well that we recognize this problem and in our submissions to Reisman we pointed out the problem specifically with auto parts. We pointed out the need for the federal government to keep in mind that the auto pact was supposed to be a framework for continuing negotiations and discussions in order to permit the appropriate readjustments as time went on.
In our submission to Reisman we also pointed out the importance of a well-defined industrial strategy which would allow some support for the parts and components manufacturing section. We have pressed that point very strongly upon Reisman.
Finally, one of the most important things, which indeed is recognized in the study referred to by the Americans, is the importance of attracting a substantial portion of the $50 billion or $60 billion worth of new plant installations that the auto makers are going to be putting in over the next several years. As I hardly need repeat in this assembly, Ontario understood that several months ago. That’s why we placed such special emphasis on getting into the Ford situation, getting that Ford plant in and showing the industry that we were determined to get our fair share of all of this important new construction and development that was going to occur over the next little while. I can assure the House we are, in fact, that determined to get our fair share of the developments over the next few years.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of a brief supplementary to that detailed answer, could I ask simply whether the minister has studied the brief by J. J. Shepherd, vice-chairman of the Science Council of Canada, a brief that he submitted to Mr. Reisman? If he has not studied it, will he do so and give us his opinion of it? In particular, will he give us his view of Mr. Shepherd’s opinion that the deficit will be much greater than that predicted in the paper today, rising to $2.4 billion per annum in 1976 dollars by 1985?
Does the minister agree with the conclusions of Mr. Shepherd, in particular the notion that the big three ought to be asked, requested and to some extent forced, if that’s at all possible, to have the division of labour done differently, so that Canada becomes responsible for individual product lines, from design right though to marketing and manufacturing, rather than just bits and pieces of different assemblies?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: There is no question that we have a problem in auto parts, to take one example. However, to be fair, reasonable and rational about the situation, the fact is that there are some reasons why the industry as it is structured doesn’t think it’s feasible, nor do a lot of other people think it’s feasible, to simply say that an automatic fragmentation of the industry into all those different elements would benefit anyone involved in the whole exercise.
I can tell the Leader of the Opposition that whatever Mr. Shepherd and others speculate, I think the key thing to keep in mind is that all of this speculation may well prove to be totally out of whack and have little relevance, depending very much upon where these $50 billion or $60 billion in new plant installations are going to go.
Rather than have the government of this province run around simply saying, “Henny Penny, the sky is falling,” we are concentrating on a comprehensive strategy on several fronts.
Ms. Gigantes: It’s been falling for some time.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Firstly, we want to see what reasonable possibility there is for developing an industrial strategy to deal with the auto-parts question. Secondly, we want to develop a careful strategy to get our share of the new auto plants built in this country. Thirdly -- I pressed this point upon the industry ministers at our meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday of this week -- it is time we spoke up and spoke out as loudly as we could in order --
Mr. Foulds: Are you taking lessons from Jimmy Auld?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- to encourage some responsibility, some acknowledgement, some moral suasion, whatever we could, as strongly as we could put the case, to the auto makers in Canada.
Finally, with regard to whether I will read and respond to Shepherd’s statements, let me say I think the way to best use our time in the House and the way to best respond to the whole thing is to wait for the Reisman report, which I think will be out in the next 10 days or two weeks. At that time I’d be happy to make a statement. I’ve always intended to respond to that in this House --
Mr. Speaker: The hon. minister has covered all of the points contained in the question.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It was a very comprehensive question.
At that time I’ll deal with the Shepherd remarks, the American study and the Reisman report.
Mr. Cooke: Supplementary: I’d like to ask the minister if he or the government is considering any further grants to Ford Motor Company to establish the casting plant they are now considering -- for Ontario or Mexico, I believe. If so, is this then the government policy of how to buy themselves out of the auto-pact deficit? Are they considering any further grants? Has Ford made any kind of a request?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’m not sure if the member is asking us to do what we can to see that a casting plant goes into Windsor --
Mr. Cooke: No, I am not.
Mr. Warner: Just answer the question.
Some hon. members: No more grants.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I take it he is not asking us to do whatever we can to get a foreign casting plant into Windsor.
Mr. Martel: Why don’t you stop grandstanding?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In any case, I can say --
Mr. Warner: Yes or no?
Mr. Havrot: Let him answer it. Shut up.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- the Ford Motor Company has recognized our government’s interest in doing what we can for the auto industry --
Mr. Warner: Have they made a request?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- and for Windsor especially.
Mr. Warner: Have they made a request?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Therefore they have indeed been in to talk with me about the possibilities.
Mr. McClellan: Hat in hand?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That’s all I can report at this stage. Yes, we are interested in it. We hope they will go ahead. We’re trying to ascertain whether our involvement is crucial to that.
It’s the entire initial exercise over again. Let me make it quite clear: We think it ought to go in. As the government we want to do everything possible to get it put into Windsor.
Mr. Warner: How much money will you give them?
Mr. Martel: To the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Is the minister now prepared to respond to a question raised by the leader of the New Democratic Party on October 26 with respect to the rapid rise in the retail spread of beef prices in the Toronto area? Specifically, could he indicate whether the trend recorded by the Anti-Inflation Board is confined to the Toronto area, or whether similar increases in the retail spread have occurred in other parts of the province?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, as I told the leader of the New Democratic Party that day, I wanted to have people take a rather exhaustive look at that report. It does deal with Ontario, but indeed it deals with the whole country. If one takes a very cursory look at that report, on the basis of the whole country we’re doing very well here. If one looks in detail, which I think is what the members wanted, to see what would be done, there are some questions that are being raised. My staff is looking at it and I will report back to the House as quickly as possible.
I may say the question to me was about Toronto. Then it became, “Since you are interested in Toronto will you extend your look in Ontario?” That’s what I said “yes” to.
Mr. Martel: In his study of the report, would he try to answer to the Legislature why the rapid increase in the percentage of consumer beef dollars is going to the retailer as opposed to the farmer? Then we might get a handle on just who is ripping us off.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Before I commit myself to anything other than coffee being ripped off -- and I want to make that very clear -- that’s precisely the matter we are looking at.
Mr. Deans: Don’t you want to know who is ripping us off?
Mr. Sargent: The farmers in Grey-Bruce aren’t getting it. Tell us.
Mr. Martel: Might I ask the minister one final supplementary? Despite the fact that the price of hamburger, for example, is now almost $2 --
Mr. Foulds: It was $1.98 yesterday at Loblaws.
Mr. Martel: -- and the fact that federal authorities aren’t prepared to move to do much to improve the situation, has the minister had any discussions with his colleague, the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman).
Mr. Kerrio: Why don’t you eat Ontario pork?
Mr. Martel: -- to see what steps could be taken to try to encourage the further development of the industry within Ontario, and, if so, could he report to the House?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I’m sorry, Mr. Speaker, I don’t understand the question.
Mr. Handleman: I don’t think he does either.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Is the member talking about getting more production of beef? Frankly, I have never discussed food supply or beef supply with the Minister of Agriculture and Food. I’ll be very glad to look into it.
THREAT TO ELDORADO EMPLOYEE
Mr. Martel: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Is he aware of the article in today’s Globe and Mail dealing with an interview with a member of Environment Canada’s official staff? Let me quote: “Brian Timmerman, a public affairs consultant with Environment Canada, said in an interview that the individual, whom he refused to name, was warned not to appear at the hearing into the environmental impact of Eldorado Nuclear Limited’s proposed refinery in nearby Hope township under threat of dismissal.”
Is the minister aware of this threat to a man’s job if he appears before a hearing and, if not; does he intend to look into this matter to see what protection can be afforded employees?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Like the member for Sudbury East, I first became aware of this matter this morning from the paper. I have no further information available at this moment, but I would be delighted to have it looked into.
Mr. Martel: Supplementary: Would the minister agree with me that until that is completed, under no circumstances should any employee employed by any employer be threatened with dismissal from work should he or she choose to oppose some proposal which a company might be in favour of? In other words, in this province can we allow people to be threatened with loss of employment should they make appearances before various judicial bodies or inquiries?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: As a general rule I certainly agree with the member for Sudbury East, but I think each particular situation has to be assessed on its own merits and on the facts of that particular ease, and that is what I have agreed to do in this particular case.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary. Would the minister not agree that as a general principle it perverts the public participation process if an employer feels he has, or does have, the right to threaten an employee from participating in royal commissions, inquiries or environmental assessment hearings?
Mr. Kerrio: New question.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I think I have already expressed my views on that matter. As a general principle I am in agreement with the philosophy stated, but I also have said that each situation has to be assessed on its own merits. I will assess this situation on its own merits.
MOUNTAIN VIEW SCHOOL
Mr. Van Horne: I have a question for the Minister of Education. Is the minister aware that the Huronia Association for the Mentally Retarded, a group funded by the day nurseries branch of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, is having considerable difficulties in negotiating the continued use of the Mountain View school, a school owned by the Simcoe board of education, and that it has been told in reply to its application for a capital grant that no major capital for the building of new facilities for mentally retarded children and adolescents will be forthcoming, due to the philosophy that all school-aged children should receive training and education within the education system and, secondly, due to the possibility that mandatory special education legislation might be passed in the near future making developmental centres obsolete?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am aware of it, Mr. Speaker. Indeed, the Huronia Association for the Mentally Retarded has some interest in a school which the board of education of Simcoe county was prepared to divest itself of.
I have heard for the first time the reasons which have been given to the association for the mentally retarded in that area, and I think those reasons are relatively valid.
Mr. Van Horne: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Given that there is a very definite need for some mandatory legislation so that we don’t have this buck-passing situation, would the minister be prepared in the interim, until whenever it is planned to bring this legislation to the House, to intercede on behalf of the Huronia Association for the Mentally Retarded? They have been told that the deadline is November 14, and they would like at least until the end of November to try to negotiate the rental or purchase of the Mountain View school.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am sure that the Huronia Association for the Mentally Retarded is aware of the procedure which school boards must follow when they decide they will rid themselves of schools which they feel they no longer need. There is a whole list of groups within the community which must be contacted so that they are made aware that building will be available to them. Once that list has been exhausted and no interest has been shown, the board of education must call public tenders, which are advertised.
This particular school was advertised for quite a long period of time. There was some interest in it, but I gather the interest expressed by the Huronia Association for the Mentally Retarded is very recent; and the board of education must make some decisions.
This has come to my attention, and I shall be pleased to talk to the board of education about it. Certainly I have no legal authority to talk to the association for the mentally retarded or to provide them with assistance in this matter, but I shall be pleased to talk to that board.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment.
I welcome the good news in the minister’s statement on Tuesday that he has introduced a long-overdue waste classification system and is responding to the many demands for improving the waybill system.
Mr. Kerrio: Statements by the opposition.
Ms. Bryden: But I would like to ask him, is he also extending the coverage of the waybill system to all liquid wastes, and is he going to take the next step in waste management control recommended by the International Joint Commission, namely, that he require by regulation that all waste generators register their wastes and the planned method of disposal so that approval of disposal methods and planning of disposal facilities can be initiated before the waste enters the transportation system?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I think a concise answer to that question would be “yes.” We did promise in the first statement at our committee meeting that regulations would be forthcoming. I stand by that commitment. I am more than prepared to do so.
I would say to the member that it is awfully important, when those regulations do come forward, that we have an adequate number of treatment facilities and disposal sites to look after these wastes, and that is something we are acting on very aggressively right now.
Ms. Bryden: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister not putting the horse before the cart -- or the cart before the horse --
Mr. Handleman: You were right the first time.
Ms. Bryden: -- when he says that he will not bring in the regulations requiring registration of wastes until he has the facilities? How does he know what facilities he needs before he has the information and the registration of all the wastes that are being generated?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would like to remind the honourable member that I have a little more than passing interest in the horse-and-cart business, and I have always thought you should hitch them together. The Minister of Health asks how come his horses never win. I don’t think that is a pertinent question.
DISPOSAL OF CONTAMINATED TRANSFORMERS
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I want to change the tone if I might from the lighter moment in reply to the question on October 31, when the leader of the third party asked me whether I had investigated the disappearance of 114 transformers from a scrapyard.
I have now completed that investigation and quite frankly I find it intolerable that the incident took place at all and I am both angry and disappointed.
I am angry with the scrap dealer, Wagman Industries, because this company had specific instructions to store a number of transformers pending directions from my ministry as to their special handling and disposal, yet this company defied these instructions and secretly removed the transformers for disposal.
I am disappointed with my staff. When events came to light, they let the company get away with it and did no more than slap it lightly on the wrist with a reprimanding letter.
I hope the honourable members will agree with me that the vast majority of firms in the private sector are both competent and trustworthy and in general are good corporate citizens. Therefore, it would be grossly unfair to allow a flagrantly irresponsible operation on the part of one scrap dealer to give all of the industry a bad name. I find it difficult to explain, and will not try to justify, the actions of the staff of the Ministry of the Environment in failing to take a firmer action with Wagman Industries.
I view my prime responsibility as minister to protect the environment and to safeguard the health of the people of this province. Therefore I intend to see that operators are not permitted to flout the orders of my ministry and we will punish any and all violators. I have instructed my legal staff to search the evidence and if this incident constitutes a violation of any of the ministry’s statutes, then charges will be laid.
If, on a technicality, a formal notice should have been served to the company rather than a letter, I have instructed my deputy that in all cases in the future formal notice must be served. If this is not possible under the current statutes, then I will propose changes to the legislation to prevent these incidents in the future.
I would like to lay the facts before the House. In August 1977 staff of my ministry inspected a stockpile of 178 scrap electrical transformers owned by a Thornhill scrap dealer, Wagman Industries, and stored on two properties on Lenworth Drive in Mississauga. They found seven of these transformers contained oil contaminated with more than 200 parts per million of PCBs, and the balance were either empty or contained only lightly contaminated oil.
The seven transformers were clearly marked by staff, and Wagman Industries were instructed in writing to hold them, with their contents, for specific directions as to their treatment and disposal. In addition, regular checks of the storage site were made by qualified staff.
On November 30, 1977, inspection disclosed that all transformers had been removed from the site. No attempt was made by the company to clear this disposal with my staff, in spite of our specific instructions to the company in this regard. We have established that the contaminated oil was diluted with other uncontaminated oil for burning and all burnings monitored according to our established procedures. Thus, the problem does not centre on the disposal of the oil, but on the flagrant disregard of a ministry direction.
I have further instructed my staff to obtain a complete documentation of the disposal of the seven transformers, of their castings and the other materials they contain. Most likely -- and this is speculation -- the cases were recycled into new steel in Hamilton and the copper material was recycled either in Ontario or abroad. The company’s accounting records indicate that all of the 178 transformer cases were sold to scrap metal dealers, but the records do not contain specific information on the seven cases marked for special handling.
That, Mr. Speaker, is the situation. Frankly, as I said to begin with, I am very deeply concerned about the whole affair. I make it very clear to the honourable members and to the residents of Ontario that I will not tolerate any violations of this kind in the future.
Mr. Martel: Supplementary: I certainly appreciate the minister’s statement. Can he indicate where the oils contained in the transformers was burned?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: St. Lawrence Cement Company.
Mr. B. Newman: May I ask the minister if he would consider issuing some type of order requiring the utilities commissions and/or organizations that do have transformers on hand to get permission from his ministry before they are allowed to be moved from the premises?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I believe Ontario Hydro has so informed all the public utilities commissions -- that they shall move those transformers under the auspices of Ontario Hydro. I would inform the honourable member that constitutes only about 10 per cent of the transformers. The other 90 per cent are in industrial locations.
Mr. Deans: I would like to ask the minister in the course of his inquiries he could determine where the bulk of the transformers went for disposal purposes? And would he find out if the workers in those areas who were required to handle those transformers -- as he mentioned, in the Hamilton area some place -- came into contact with the PCB-contaminated material? If they did, is the minister going to monitor their health to be sure they didn’t suffer as a result of this negligence?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I believe the first thing, as I said, would be to obtain complete documentation of this; and I have instructed the staff to so do. From there, we will make the necessary decisions.
Mr. Speaker: A new question. Because of the length of the last question, I am going to add three minutes to the question period.
Mr. Roy: I would like to ask the Minister of Labour a question I asked in this House three or four years ago. I think it is still of prime relevance to those of us who enjoy Canadian football.
Has the minister looked at the Ontario Human Rights Code, which I understand is still under his jurisdiction, to decide whether the designated import rule as applied in the CFL, which for all intents and purposes makes it prohibitive for a young Canadian quarterback to play football in this league, is a breach of the Ontario Human Rights Code? If it is not, is the minister prepared to amend the code to make it a breach so as to encourage young Canadians to play in the Canadian Football League at the quarterback position?
Mr. Handleman: It is before the commission now.
Mr. Kerrio: The Argos could use a couple right away.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I must have joined with the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne) when we saw that very quarterback defeated quite badly last weekend by Lauder. However, I am aware of the complaint of that quarterback and made inquiries about it this morning. I understand it is still under review by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. At this point I would prefer not to elaborate further.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary: In view of the importance of this question -- and it has been a continuing problem for the last four or five years -- and in view of the fact the CFL owners state that the reason for the designated import role is to have American quarterbacks for a better game and better football; and in view of the somewhat disastrous season of a number of quarterbacks, at least in the Eastern Conference; and in view of the fact there are three of the four Eastern Conference teams in this province under this jurisdiction, doesn’t the minister feel, as a matter of policy, that he as minister should state the policy about either changing the Ontario Human Rights Code or getting the rule changed, to allow young Canadians to play quarterback in the Canadian Football League?
Mr. Handleman: Why don’t we change the whole import rule?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I must confess that I am not really conversant with all of the details, apart from the fact the case in point is being reviewed by the commission. But I will be glad to familiarize myself with the issue and report back to the member.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Last week a question was raised by the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall) concerning the issuing of pension adjustment cheques by the Workmen’s Compensation Board.
I have been advised by the board that there are 61,423 active monthly pension cases. At the time the amendments were passed it was decided to give priority to adjusting current monthly cheques. Although the bulk of this work was done by a computer, 10,500 pensions, because of their complexity, had to be adjusted manually. Approximately 3,000 of these manual calculations have now been completed and of November 1, more than 52,000 insurance payments or 85 per cent of the total have been adjusted.
As well, the member asked a supplementary question concerning retroactive cheques. Although it took some time to program, it was believed that the computer approach was the logical method of processing retroactive adjustments in the shortest possible time. During the week of October 30, 47,000 retroactive payments were mailed to pensioners. With the 3,000 pensions which were manually adjusted for both current payments and retroactive payments, this means that 50,000 retroactive cheques have gone forward.
Another group of cheques is scheduled to be mailed about November 17. When this second computer run is completed the board will know the exact number of pensions that cannot have the retroactive adjustment processed by the computer. These will then have to be adjusted manually. It is expected that these final manual calculations will be completed and the cheques forwarded in the very near future.
Mr. Martel: You might start to do some of those by hand.
Mr. Speaker: Before we go on with the question period, I’d like to remind the members that we have two distinguished guests in the Speaker’s gallery, in the person of Mr. Norbert Hebich, the consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany, who is also dean of the consular corps, accompanied by Mrs. Hebich. Would you welcome them to our assembly?
Mr. Germa: A question of the Minister of Northern Affairs: Is the minister aware that his colleague in the Ministry of Natural Resources has removed from staking 63,000 acres of crown land north of Sudbury? As the minister in charge of everything in northern Ontario, was he consulted by the Minister of Natural Resources and is he in agreement that this exclusive lease should go to the International Nickel Company?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I’d have to say that the member -- for Sudbury East, is it? Or Sudbury? --
Mr. Breaugh: Sudbury’s the name of the place. It is in northern Ontario. Drop in sometime.
Mr. McClellan: He really knows the north.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- is still smarting from the results of an event that took place about a year and a half ago. He’s still smarting from the event of a very important situation about a year and a half ago in northern Ontario.
Mr. McClellan: Speak up, Leo.
Mr. Samis: Answer the question.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: What happened a year and a half ago?
Mr. Warner: Tell us, Leo.
Mr. Martel: I don’t know what you are talking about. Don’t keep me in suspense.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: He knows what I’m talking about. It was a certain event that took place about a year and a half ago from which he’s still smarting.
Mr. S. Smith: The question is, do you know what you’re talking about?
Mr. Martel: He is back here.
Mr. Speaker: I fail to see how that has any bearing on the question.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am very much aware of the actions of the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Auld) and I concur.
Mr. Warner: Shame.
Mr. Germa: Supplementary: Is the minister not aware that all major finds in northern Ontario have been found by private prospectors and not by corporations and by granting exclusive lease and licence to major corporations he is going to retard the development of mining in northern Ontario?
Mr. Foulds: What did Inco do to deserve this?
Mr. MacDonald: You are against private enterprise and rugged individualism.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I’m afraid the member is not up with the year 1978. As he is very much aware, the technology available to the prospector today lies mainly with the major mining corporations. As he is very much aware, the day of the small pack-sack prospector is fast coming to an end, because many of the outcrops of northern Ontario have been examined. If the technology is available only to the major companies, then let them go in there and have a look and see if they can find a major mineral discovery.
Mr. Warner: You’re a big help.
An hon. member: What do you know about it?
Mr. Warner: You’re a disaster.
Mr. Mackenzie: What’s good for General Motors.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: What facts and figures does the minister have to back up his decision to allow the death of the prospecting industry in this province, an industry which was the envy of the world for years and many of whose members are now in demand in Australia, New Guinea and other parts of the world? What are the facts and figures he has that indicate the day of prospecting is over and that only large companies are likely to find new mineral deposits? Let him prove his case.
Mr. Havrot: You prospect dirt. You are a dirt prospector, that’s what you are.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: This question should be directed to the Minister of Natural Resources.
An hon. member: You raised it.
An hon. member: You’re the fellow from northern Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: But I would like to comment on the Leader of the Opposition’s comments. I’m sure he is not aware of what’s happening out there in northern Ontario. I would encourage him to come up with me some weekend and move around northern Ontario and see what’s happening with the problems of prospecting.
Mr. Foulds: He is not even going back to the Sault.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: He doesn’t like going to northern Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: This government is moving in a direction to accelerate prospecting and exploration in that particular area. In fact, we just announced a major federal-Ontario agreement to do about $9 million worth of geological surveys in the Kirkland Lake area alone. That’s the kind of thrust we’re doing in northern Ontario.
Mr. Germa: I wish the minister would listen to the question. Given that this is a precedent-setting situation in that at no other time have exclusive leases been given in the Precambrian Shield, does he not think he should have consulted with this Legislature to determine future policy?
Mr. Mackenzie: No. He just had to talk to Inco.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, I don’t think so, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Foulds: What did Inco do to deserve this?
Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations has a short answer to a short question.
SUDBURY LIQUOR STORE
Hon. Mr. Drea: On Thursday last the member for Sudbury inquired about the proposed movement of liquor store 171 from Hemlock Street to Notre Dame Street in the city of Sudbury and the financial arrangements involved. The question is academic. The liquor store is not going to be moved from its present location on Hemlock Street.
Mr. Haggerty: It’s poison, isn’t it, Frank?
Mr. Sweeney: A question to the Minister of Colleges and Universities having to do with nurse practitioners at McMaster: Given that this is the only institution in Ontario which has a program for nurse practitioners, and given that we know that nurse practitioners can save the health care system of this province considerable dollars, why do we have only 10 nurses enrolled in that program?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The reason for the low enrolment is the apparent lack of enthusiasm on the part of nurses within the province for the program. There was one statement the honourable member made which I cannot agree with and that is the statement that we know it will save the health care system money. We do not know that for a fact.
Mr. Sweeney: How does the minister react to the statement made by Dean Mustard that if that program closes up it will be totally, completely the responsibility of this government?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I have some communication with Dean Mustard on frequent occasions and he’s never made that statement to me. I should be pleased to hear it from him.
Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary: Would the minister agree that it’s not necessarily a lack of interest on the part of the nurses but the fact that they’re frozen out of any role if they do take that course at the present time?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That is at least a part of the problem in that there has been, I think, less than major enthusiasm for --
Mr. McClellan: My, we are changing our story quickly today.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- the taking up of nurse practitioners within the structure of health care delivery than one would think there might be and there are several problems related to this. Those physicians who have been involved in programs employing nurse practitioners have been enthusiastic. Indeed, I think they have sold the concept pretty well to a very large number of their colleagues throughout the medical profession.
There are problems’ attached to the funding mechanism related to nurse practitioners which at some point I think must be resolved. There are simply not enough nurses who are really interested in expanding their role in that direction at this time and that’s the major problem.
Ms. Gigantes: I have a question of the Minister of Education. On October 24 she told this Legislature that in the very near future she would announce specific initiatives in the area of special education for learning- disabled children. I wonder if she would be kind enough to release to this Legislature, so that we would be well informed and able to ask questions about the program she’s going to provide, a study done by Dr. Cliff Morgan of Guelph University, called An Investigation of the Characteristics, Distribution and Program Needs of Children with Severe Communication Disorders, a report which has cost the province $63,000 and which her ministry, though it’s had it since the end of the summer, says it won’t release until February 1979?
Some hon. members: Why?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I shall investigate that matter because I was not aware of it.
I’m sorry, I did not hear the date the member said we had received it. I haven’t seen it yet.
Ms. Gigantes: The end of the summer. We were told we can’t have it until February.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The end of the summer. Mr. Speaker, I shall investigate that and report to the House.
Mr. Warner: Shake ‘em up. Send us a copy, you’re always hiding things over there.
OTTAWA HOSPITAL FACILITIES
Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health. In view of the fact there are still many Ottawa Valley residents who wait a considerable length of time for beds in Ottawa hospitals can the minister bring us up to date on the hospital bed situation in Ottawa?
Mr. Roy: No.
Mr. Yakabuski: Can he advise us as to what negotiations are going on with the province of Quebec whereby perhaps facilities across the river might be put in place to look after residents of that province? Doesn’t he think that perhaps it’s a bit ironic that because of the recent Quebec legislation with regard to Ontario workers --
Mr. Mackenzie: What is he trying to do, enlarge the Barry’s Bay hospital?
Mr. Yakabuski: -- that Quebec workers injured in construction in the Hull area would he treated in Ottawa hospitals?
Mr. Martel: That is carrying it a bit too far.
Mr. Mackenzie: That is not even a good setup.
Mr. Martel: I wouldn’t even answer that, Dennis.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable minister.
Mr. Eakins: “I am glad you asked it.”
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It’s a funny thing you should mention it, yes.
I’ve discussed the matter in question with -- the Minister of Social Affairs I think is his title -- the Honourable Denis Lazure in Quebec several times.
The utilization of the hospitals along the river is, in fact, factored into the bed allocation. We charge the Regie des Assurances Maladies in Quebec the per diem cost of the beds, which does not include a capital cost. This is something that I once asked the Honourable Dr. Lazure to consider, the possibility that there would be mixed in with the per diem a capital contribution. The last census I saw of bed utilization in Ottawa, for instance, I believe, indicated that on any given day 379 beds were being used by citizens of the province of Quebec.
We have been concerned about this, of course, because that is a very large number of beds. In fact, with that number, that could be any one hospital. I was pleased, therefore, to find out that the government of Quebec has approved the addition of beds to Sacre-Coeur Hospital in Hull and to the Pieta, which I believe is a chronic hospital in Hull, and as well have begun plans for the development and construction of a 300-bed hospital in the Gatineau.
With that in mind, that of course is being factored into the plans for the future in Ottawa-Carleton as the health council reviews the needs of Ottawa-Carleton and will eventually advise us on what number of beds will be needed into the 1980s and 1990s.
I end where I began -- namely that the actual utilization by residents of the province of Quebec is factored into the bed allocations for all of those towns and cities along the Ottawa River.
Mr. Ruston: It sounds rehearsed.
Mr. Roy: May I ask a supplementary, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: I thought the answer was quite complete, but you might try.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, if I may ask, in view of the minister’s answer to the member for Renfrew South, would he not agree that one of the problems in getting active care beds in Ottawa is the extreme shortage in chronic care beds, and as late as the month of August he has again received definite figures they were something like 700 chronic care beds short? That’s from the health council in the Ottawa-Carleton area. What is the minister going to do about establishing more chronic care beds to free up active care beds in the Ottawa-Carleton area?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’m pleased that the member asked. As a matter of fact, he’s quoting the wrong figures out there.
Mr. Roy: What is it, 677 or 679?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No. If my memory is correct -- and I could be wrong -- as I recall it that is the total of a number of lists, including waiting lists for nursing homes, homes for the aged, chronic care and the like. In fact I won’t try to recall because I could give the member the wrong figure, but I seem to recall that the waiting list for chronic care was well under 200 or maybe even under 150.
The fact of the matter is that a number of beds have been added in the last while. The member will recall -- I don’t think he was present, though I hope he was invited --
Mr. Roy: The minister never met his commitment.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- that I was at the Hôpital de Montfort about six weeks to two months ago for the opening of the chronic unit there.
Mr. Roy: I knew the minister was coming, that’s why I stayed away.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The member should have been there, he might have learned something.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: There were chronic beds added at the Civic. The member will also know that proposals were called for the provision of additional chronic beds in the Ottawa area. Those proposals are under active consideration right now by the district health council, and my staff is assisting them in that evaluation. In fact we have taken a number of steps over the last 18 months to two years to add beds.
Mr. Roy: The minister never met his predecessor’s promise.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, it’s quite the opposite. It’s concrete action; it’s actual beds being provided. Once more, before I sit down, I would remind the honourable member that I have approved a chronic home-care program in the Ottawa-Carleton region to begin on January 1.
Mr. Roy: About time.
SALE OF LIQUOR ON BUSES AND TRAINS
Mr. Ruston: I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I wonder if he could explain his policy on liquor outlets and the availability of beer in Ontario because when he was first appointed he said that there were too many outlets and that he was going to have a shot down. Just lately he said he wants to have drinks sewed in buses and trains. Could the minister tell us what his real policy and the government’s policy are at this time?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I never said I was going to shut down outlets. I was talking about outlets in terms of the viability of the industry. That was made very plain. It was not a matter of consumption.
Mr. Kerrio: Who did your research?
Hon. Mr. Drea: As for beer on the train, surely as a veteran train rider who has been on the train he rides for a long time in the bar car --
Hon. Mr. Drea: As a matter of fact, government policy on alcohol on trains is quite adequately covered by the present regulations of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. On articulated or unit trains it is seat service, that is, on the Turbo and the Northlander; on other types of trains, it is lounge or bar car service.
As far as buses are concerned, I made it very plain when I talked about buses that I wasn’t talking about Greyhound or Gray Coach because there is an economic difficulty there, as I am sure the member knows since he travels by bus occasionally. The economic difficulty is that even to attempt to introduce that type of service would mean the removal of four, five or six revenue-producing seats. What we are talking about in terms of buses, which I have made very plain, are luxury tour buses that are taking people on 10-, 12- or 14-day excursions around the province, where the bus industry feels that that would make their home away from home a bit more convivial.
Mr. Nixon: It’s not the Scarborough commuter.
Mr. Breithaupt: It sounds like a campaign.
Mr. Bradley: Supplementary: In reference to the potential for serving beer or liquor on the bus, would the minister not agree that even in the categories he has mentioned those who would be riding on that particular bus would not have the choice of riding in a compartment which is serving liquor or one which is not, which is different from the train?
Hon. Mr. Drea: It’s not different from riding the Turbo or the Northlander. It is different from some of the older-type trains. It wouldn’t be general transportation; it would be a package tour where the passenger would be fully aware that this additional service was available at a premium. I think that’s a little bit different from on a public conveyance on the public highways.
Mr. Roy: You are not talking about the TTC.
Mr. Samis: You are talking through your hat.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The fact of the matter is that no one has applied as yet in this category and they may not be interested.
Mr. Van Horne: They’ll all have to start from scratch.
Hon. Mr. Drea: If there are going to be changes, because of the changes in the railways with the introduction of one railway company per passenger service rather than two and with the refurbishing of the entire passenger train fleet in Canada, it seemed to me only fair, as someone who believes in free enterprise, that the bus companies might very well feel that, since changes were coming into one mode of transport they might want to put some changes into their own, of course subject to government approval.
Mr. Breithaupt: They will be showing movies on them next.
Mr. Warner: Ask Gray Coach about free enterprise.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I am not telling them what to do. I am just saying: “Look, the transportation business is changing; if you want to change, come in and see us.”
Mr. Foulds: Do you know what you are saying?
Mr. S. Smith: What about the taxis?
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, a brief supplementary: Is the minister now telling us that, with this new policy in place, it would be possible for people to have a beer on the bus and on the train coming into Toronto to the ball game, but they wouldn’t be able to have a beer at the ball game?
Mr. S. Smith: Do you think they are more likely to throw up on the bus than at the ball game?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, number one --and I have to shout at the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere, because he never does comprehend -- there is no beer on any bus coming into Toronto.
Mr. Warner: What?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Number two, there is no new policy; the policies of the board are in writing concerning the transport industry. Number three, the matter of beer in the ball park is one of government policy -- it’s all over here; it is not mine, and it is not that of the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) --
Mr. Warner: Share the blame.
Mr. Martel: That is pure hypocrisy.
Hon. Mr. Drea: If the honourable member wants a change, then he should start working on those around me and they will tell me to change it.
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege, quite reluctantly, but nevertheless I believe it is an important matter.
Mr. Kerrio: You have never risen reluctantly.
Mr. Deans: On Monday last, you will recall I asked the Minister of the Environment some questions related directly to the operations of the Upper Ottawa Street dump in Hamilton. The minister responded to my question in part in the following way: He rejected the call for a probe into the dump, saying that much of my information was incorrect.
On the following day, the minister made a statement in the House, and a subsequent statement outside of the House, in which he admitted, outside of the House, that my allegation that records had been burned was correct and that the other matters I had raised now were being investigated.
I would ask you, sir, to instruct the minister that he should either enunciate to this House which parts of the statement that I made and the questions that I asked were incorrect, or that he withdraw his allegation that I made an incorrect statement in this House.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I said I would in due course bring to the attention of the House those things that I found incorrect. I have not had the chance yet to look at those details. I will when that occurs, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. S. Smith: Why did you say that then?
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I rise again on the point. The minister did not say that he doubted whether my statements were correct or that he needed time to look into them to determine the authenticity of what I was saying. He said categorically that the statements I was making were incorrect. Stand up now and tell us what they were, Parrott!
Mr. Havrot: Give him a towel.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I said I would look into it --
Mr. Deans: The minister did not say that -- and I rise again on a point of privilege. He did not say he would look into it. He said categorically the statements were incorrect. Which statements were incorrect?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Oh, Ian, sit down. You’re a petulant, pettifogging nincompoop.
Mr. Mackenzie: He can’t find one of them.
What a cheap shot from a minister.
Mr. Warner: Boy, the worm wriggles on the hook.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The honourable minister has promised that he will he making a report, and I am sure that the apprehensions raised by the member for Wentworth will be cleared up at that time.
Mr. Swart: He should apologize.
STANDING PROCEDURAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Mr. Breaugh from the standing procedural affairs committee presented the committee’s report and moved its adoption.
Your committee has carefully examined the following applications for private acts and finds the notices, as published in each case, sufficient:
City of Windsor (No. 1);
City of Windsor (No. 2);
The Royal Hotel (Picton) Limited.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I have a second report from the standing procedural affairs committee.
Mr. Speaker: How do you wish this to be handled? Should it go on the Order Paper?
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, we had agreed previously that the chairman of the committee would present his report, give a brief statement as to what it was, and then move the adjournment of the debate; it would then go on the Order Paper.
Mr. Breaugh from the standing procedural affairs committee presented the committee’s report and moved its adoption.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, this report of the procedural affairs committee deals with a review of boards, agencies and commissions. The committee dealt with a review of 14 specific agencies in the course of our deliberations, and we present for the consideration of the House a report providing some general guidelines on agencies and some recommendations on the specific ones that were reviewed by the committee.
On motion by Mr. Breaugh, the debate was adjourned.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE OMBUDSMAN
Mr. M. N. Davison from the select committee on the Ombudsman presented the fifth report of the select committee on the Ombudsman and in accordance with provisional standing order 6 requested that it be placed on the Order Paper for consideration by the House at the earliest possible date.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Mr. Speaker, copies of the report are being placed in the members’ mail boxes in the post office downstairs at this moment. There are four areas of the report I would like to briefly highlight at this time for the members’ attention:
The first is in regard to the North Pickering matter. The committee is deeply disturbed by the events that have evolved since it tabled its third report in the Legislature in November 1977. The committee will be submitting a report to the Legislature on the North Pickering matter before the Christmas recess.
The second item I would bring to the members’ attention deals with the Workmen’s Compensation Board. The committee recommends that the Workmen’s Compensation Board publish a list for distribution to the public of its policies manuals and directives respecting the adjudicative process within the board at all levels; that this list should also contain for the information of the public the board’s unit cost to supply these items; and further the committee recommends that the Workmen’s Compensation Board make available all or any portion, as the ease may be, of its policies, manuals and directives relative to the adjudicative process at all levels to the public at the board’s actual cost and any amendments, alterations, deletions, additions relative to these items contained in these documents shall also be made available to the public on the same cost basis.
Thirdly, for the first time the select committee on the Ombudsman is able to report to the assembly it is supporting and recommending the implementation of Ombudsman recommendations that have been denied by governmental organizations.
Finally, the committee has recommended the formulation of general rules for the guidance of the Ombudsman in eight areas. It will, with the benefit of the views of the members of the assembly as expressed during the debate on this report, formulate these general rules and submit them to the Legislature for adoption.
STANDING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Mr. Gaunt from the standing social development committee presented the following resolution:
Resolved that supply in the following amount to defray expenses of the social development policy field be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1979:
Social development policy program $2,328,000.
STANDING GENERAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE
Mr. McCaffrey from the standing general government committee presented the committee’s report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bills without amendment:
Bill Pr27, An Act respecting the County of Lennox and Addington;
Bill Pr33, An Act respecting the Town of Exeter;
Bill Pr45, An Act to revive Reg. Booth & Son Limited.
Your committee begs to report the following bill with certain amendments:
Bill Pr25, An Act respecting the Royal Trust Company and Royal Trust Corporation of Canada.
SITTING OF HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that when the House adjourns on Friday, November 10, it do stand adjourned until 2 p.m. Tuesday, November 14.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
CITY OF NEPEAN ACT
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, first reading of Bill 172, An Act to erect the Township of Nepean into a City Municipality.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I am pleased to introduce this bill today, which changes the status of the township of Nepean to that of a city. This change in status has been requested by the Nepean council. The reeve of Nepean will automatically, from the effective date of this bill, become the mayor by reason of this new city status.
However, this act does not affect the representation of Nepean on the regional council, nor the composition of or method of election of the Nepean council itself. These are matters which could not be adjusted in time for this year’s municipal elections. The necessary adjustments can be made in time for elections in 1980.
Mr. Foulds: Why didn’t you use that in the title of the bill?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Elevation to city status in this instance will not alter the powers or the responsibilities of the municipality. It should be noted that grant entitlement through to the end of 1978 is not affected by the change in status. There will be minor adjustments in this respect after that.
This bill will come into effect on the day that it receives royal assent.
CROWN EMPLOYEES COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McCague moved first reading of Bill 173, An Act to amend the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1972.
Motion agreed to.
ROYAL HOTEL (PICTON) LIMITED ACT
Mr. Gregory, on behalf of Mr. J. A. Taylor, moved first reading of Bill Pr48, An Act to revive the Royal Hotel (Picton) Limited.
Motion agreed to.
CITY OF WINDSOR ACT
Mr. B. Newman moved first reading of Bill Pr22, An Act respecting the City of Windsor.
Motion agreed to.
CITY OF WINDSOR ACT
Mr. B. Newman moved first reading of Bill Pr30, An Act respecting the City of Windsor.
Motion agreed to.
REGIS COLLEGE ACT
Mrs. Campbell moved first reading of Bill Pr31, An Act respecting Regis College.
Motion agreed to.
FIVE-O TAXI LIMITED ACT
Mr. Bradley moved first reading of Bill Pr47, An Act to revive Five-O Taxi Limited.
Motion agreed to.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE PAPER
Hon. Mr. Welch: I wish to table the answers to questions 132 and 133 standing on the Notice Paper.
Hon. Mr. Welch: In accordance with section 93(1) of the Legislative Assembly Act, I am tabling on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Henderson), a copy of order in council 3195-78, together with a plan of this building which designates space in the Legislative Building which shall be under the control of Mr. Speaker.
REDIRECTION OF BILL 142
Hon. Mr. Welch: I wonder if I might have unanimous consent of the House with respect to bills to be presented soon to Her Honour?
On page 14 of today’s Order Paper, members of the House will see set out there certain bills awaiting royal assent. Included in that list is Bill 142, An Act to establish the Ministry of Treasury and Economics.
I seek the unanimous approval of the House not to present that bill today to Her Honour as part of the package, because the House has yet to deal with Bill 166, which is a companion bill, the one establishing the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs.
It would be more appropriate to present to Her Honour Bills 142 and 166 at the same time because of the implications with respect to the present Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs.
So it would be our plan to attend upon Her Honour shortly and present all the other bills referred to on page 14, save and except Bill 142, if the House will concur.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, certainly we will not withhold unanimous consent. I would ask, however, that you might inform the House at your leisure as to whether or not all the bills awaiting royal assent must be presented in a package? I understand we have good advice that that is so, and yet it doesn’t seem consistent with the responsibility of the government as being the sole adviser to Her Honour.
I would certainly like to know your views, sir, after whatever consultation you feel is appropriate.
Mr. Speaker: I can make the commitment that it will be reviewed.
Do we have unanimous consent to do that on this occasion?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I assume then that Bill 142 would simply stay on the Order Paper under the heading “Bills Awaiting Royal Assent.”
ORDERS OF THE DAY
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ PUBLIC BUSINESS
Mr. Sargent moved second reading of Bill 152, An Act to provide for a Basic Residential Power Rate Applicable to the Essential Energy Needs of Residential Households in Ontario.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member has up to 20 minutes.
Mr. Sargent: Fifteen and five. This is good legislation; but it is not only good for every member in this House, it is good for their constituents too.
There is an old saying that nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come, and in view of the inflationary trend of today’s living, this bill is very timely. I can’t think of anyone who would not support it, unless it was for party lines.
An hon. member: Hydro lines.
Mr. Sargent: Not Hydro lines, party lines. This bill won’t affect the average citizen, but it will help the poor, those on fixed incomes, the small home owner, the apartment dwellers -- low power users; because at this point they get a real break. Since 1971 when Davis took over as first minister here, Ontario Hydro’s budget has tripled and its long-term debt is up by 153 per cent. Hydro’s average rate to residential users has shot up, including this year’s increase, about 90 per cent, almost double in six or seven years.
I understand that studies regarding rate increases are before the Ontario Energy Board, now, but they are stalled and the answer will always be that in the fullness of time we will have action. Across this province, an area about five times the size of the state of Texas, with a population of eight million people and about two million families, at least one million families are having a rough time. Hundreds of thousands of our people, including senior citizens on fixed incomes, are subsidizing commerce and industry by paying higher rates for electricity; and they have been doing it since Adam Beck first gave us Hydro which belongs to the people.
An hon. member: From London, Ontario, a good man.
Mr. Sargent: Right. Adam Beck, the man who made Ontario Hydro Canada’s most successful experiment in socialism, promised cheap electrical power and said in 1910: “We must deliver power to such an extent that the poorest working man will have electric lights in his home.”
As we all know, Hydro has met that challenge magnificently. Its low rates and efficiency have been the envy of the world. But shortly before he died in 1925, Adam Beck took aside one of his employees and said: “Remember what I’m telling you: They have no cause to raise Hydro rates so watch what they do after I’m gone.”
Everyone has been watching in recent weeks with varying degrees of horror and dismay as Hydro, now with a budget one third that of the whole province, goes ahead with a seven per cent annual growth in power supplies and a 38 per cent increase in reserve capacity. But this great power system belongs to the people of Ontario and no one group has the right to say that the rich and powerful should control the rates. Whether they do or not, the fact remains that up until this day the residential apartment owners, small home owners, those on lower incomes, have been subsidizing industry and business. This bill called Lifeline is now on its second appearance before this House, and we propose to do something about it.
The present policies in Ontario will still encourage people to waste power. For example, a prominent sportscaster was quoted as saying that while his large Thornhill home contains four television sets -- three in colour -- a dishwasher, two stereos, a heated pool, a washer, a dryer, power tools, total air conditioning and about a dozen outside lights switched on automatically at dusk, when he checked his Hydro bill, he was amazed that it was only $32 a month, the reason being that Hydro rates are geared to give the big user a better deal.
In the city of Toronto, the first 50 kilowatt hours used costs seven cents; 3.4 cents for the next 200 kilowatt hours; and 2.6 cents for the balance. In Owen Sound we pay 6.7 cents for the first 50 kilowatt hours, and 3.4 cents thereafter.
The old age pensioner, however, who does not use power for much more than to boil a kettle and make a little toast is actually subsidizing the people in the air-conditioned mansions.
Hydro rates last year jumped 30.3 per cent; and that increase in cost to residential customers using 750 kilowatt hours runs about $50 a year. The price of electricity is rising so dramatically it now threatens to price itself beyond the ability of many people to afford it. But because Hydro is locked into a $25-billion program, the increases in power rates by 1980 are projected to add another $300 a year to your electricity bill.
It is most important that we face this issue now. Lifeline is a proposal of rate reform to provide relief to the low users of electricity. We are talking about the poor. Their electricity usage is significantly lower than that of the higher-income groups. But studies reveal that 5.2 per cent of the income of the low-income groups goes for power, whereas for the average person it is one per cent of income.
Another group that has low energy use and would benefit from Lifeline is the elderly. They, along with people on mother’s allowance, are part of the larger group that is generally low users of electric power, such as the apartment dwellers. Members of the government, I suspect, are going to try to find some way to block this bill. But they must realize possibly each member has about 2,000 to 3,000, or maybe thousands more, in the elderly group of people among constituents. That is what we are talking about -- equity. Due to their smaller living quarters and generally smaller family size, this group would benefit from Lifeline.
So, in effect, rate structures should act to reward, not penalize, low users. The result is that large users who impose the greatest cost on the system are now receiving these expensive kilowatt hours at low, declining block rates from Hydro. Thus commerce and industry have been receiving a subsidy all these years at the expense of the low, residential user.
There is an urgent need, because of inflation, to reconsider our patterns of growth and consumption. It is no longer feasible to expect a utility rate structure to charge small low-income users seven cents per kilowatt hour; large, affluent users, three cents per kilowatt hour; and an industrial user between one and two cents.
A Lifeline rate structure would seek to redress this situation. While it may not be the perfect solution, I think it is the best we can come up with right now. Lifeline can help meet the immediate short-run needs of consumers caught in the grip of a spiralling price structure and offer a first step towards development of a more equitable rate structure.
We know that electricity is a necessity for the lifestyle of our people. There are no substitutes for electricity to give a decent standard of living. Through the Lifeline rate we can provide relief for all low and moderate users of electricity, as well as the poor and elderly.
This will end the inequity. The poor spend proportionately more of their income on electricity than any other income group. Lifeline ends this inequity by causing large users to bear their fair shares of the costs of generating and distributing electricity. As far as conservation is concerned, this will encourage conservation. In other words, the less you use, the less you pay.
I submit, in my view as elected representatives of the people of Ontario, it’s a duty of those of us who sit here to establish a policy for the local Hydro commissions to go by. Lifeline is a broad pricing issue on which this Legislature is empowered to provide proper guidelines in order to achieve more responsive and responsible rate making policies.
I’ve got the wheels down now, I’m coming in for a landing.
Mr. Kennedy: Don’t hit the tower.
Mr. J. Reed: Trim your flaps, Eddie.
Mr. Sargent: Objections notwithstanding, I want to say that Lifeline is perhaps the brightest concept to emerge from the energy crisis. The low income householders and the fixed income elderly householders are dependent upon electricity to maintain health and home. When the price of electricity rises to a point where it begins to consume an unusually large share of income, lifestyles of our people are threatened.
Lifeline would guarantee an amount of electricity which can provide for the basics of life at a reasonable rate. Beyond that low rate, a signal is given in the form of a higher rate to all those desiring more electricity. If you want to use more power, you must pay for it. The choice is yours. This will not affect the average citizen at all. It’s a concept designed to distribute energy to people in a fair manner. I do hope that the members will see their way clear to support this legislation.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Does the honourable member wish to take off again with the remaining time at the end? Do you wish to reserve the balance of time?
Mr. Sargent: Yes, that’s fine, thank you.
Mr. J. Reed: Keep your flaps down, Eddie.
Mr. MacDonald: I think this bill is worthy of support. I agreed with virtually everything that the honourable member who introduced it said, until he began to get off on rhetorical flourishes that led me to believe that he wasn’t coming down, he was going up. I don’t know whether the Lifeline concept is really the most exciting concept. There are lots of exciting concepts that have come out of the energy crisis. However, that’s a niggling point. Let me get around to my basic support of the bill.
Rate structures in the province of Ontario for the sale of electricity have become to an increasing extent out of whack with stated public policy. As we’re all aware, we’ve had rate structures which in effect said the more you consume the less you pay incremently for those lesser amounts. Therefore there was a great encouragement to use electricity as though it were going out of style. That’s the kind of situation which, in an age of rising prices and the required conservation effort which is now the main focus of public policy or one of the main focuses of public policy, I think we’ve got to reconsider.
In this whole restructuring that is going to take place it seems to me we’ve got to have a rate policy that will fulfil the stated policies that have been enunciated by the government.
The problem in coming to grips with this is that it’s an incredibly complex situation. If I may I will fill in a few details the honourable member did not mention when he was introducing his bill with regard to the study that was done.
As far back as 1974 it was recognized that there were inequities in the sale and pricing of electricity. In a two-year period, from 1974 to 1976, the study was completed. It’s a study of very great magnitude. I’m told there are no fewer than 10 volumes in the original report.
The result is that when this was tabled in the House by the minister in the fall of 1976 it was referred to the Ontario Energy Board. But the Ontario Energy Board, like many of our quasi-judicial bodies, is swamped and overloaded with work and wasn’t able to get around to considering this report until June 1977.
The problem proved to be such a large one that it was broken down into four phases and only at the present time is the Ontario Energy Board getting around to hearings on the fourth phase. I’m told it is possible that those hearings will conclude early in the new year. Following that there will have to be an opportunity for summary by counsel on behalf of many of the interveners in the spring.
The voluminous hearings will then have to be absorbed and sorted through by the energy board, so it is quite possible the energy board is not going to be able to make its report until the latter part of 1979.
In short, Mr. Speaker, the prospect that the recommendations of the Ontario Energy Board will trigger a whole new rate structure in the province is one I think we can look forward to at the earliest in 1980 and, knowing the way these things sometimes get delayed, even perhaps beyond that.
However, I do agree with the honourable member who introduced the bill that he is dealing with one important aspect of this whole restructuring of rates and the hope and the objective of getting a more equitable imposition of the cost of generating and transmitting power.
As he points out, this is not going to affect the average family that uses electricity very extensively. It will primarily affect the small householder, the person of limited income. It’s usually said that a figure in the Lifeline concept at which they would get this special rate is going to be in the range of 500 kilowatt-hours per month. That’s not a very high consumption level. It will be the lower income groups, the poor, who are going to benefit from it.
I’m told all the recommendations that have been made and all the testimony that has been advanced to the Ontario Energy Board is that when we do go into a rate restructuring we should get away from this incrementally lower charge the more you use and that there should be a flat rate throughout, so whether it be an individual or whether it be an industry, if they’re using massive amounts of electricity, they’re not going to get a lower rate, a volume discount, so to speak. That is self-defeating in terms of the conservation and the preserving of our resources and self-defeating in terms of doing something about the size of the generation program we must have in Ontario.
Whether or not in the Lifeline concept you should have a lower rate than the flat rate throughout for the 500 kilowatt-hours that would be made available to the small householder, I think is an option in the package that might be considered. I, for one, don’t object to the idea that the Lifeline should be at a lower rate than the flat rate that might project beyond 500 kilowatt-hours per month.
If I may pick up on some of the evidence the honourable member advanced when he was introducing his bill, let us remind ourselves that traditionally industry has been subsidized by lower rates in Ontario. Indeed, one of the regular complaints, sometimes from public utilities, and certainly from individuals who are getting their power directly from Ontario Hydro, is that they were paying higher rates than was the case, for example, to somebody else in the community.
I can remember some years ago going into the Lakehead and hearing of a great protest because of the rate charged to the public utility locally by Hydro. It was a higher rate than the one being charged to certain industries in the community.
So if industry and certain segments have in one way or another, directly or indirectly, been getting subsidies down through the years, indeed traditionally, I think it is not an offensive or reprehensible concept that in accepting a Lifeline concept, the rate for that initial 500 kilowatt-hours per month should be lower than the flat rate that will project right through all the rest of the sales.
There’s another argument that I recall, advanced at the select committee two or three years ago, in 1976, against giving favourable rates to those in small households. It was argued that very often in that small household you had less efficient electrical equipment -- toasters, irons, what you will -- that was using more electricity than might be the case elsewhere. Therefore what you were doing was encouraging these people to use these less efficient things which used more energy.
I think that’s a rather specious argument against the whole Lifeline concept. It’s sort of nibbling at the corner of the whole concept. If we have certain equipment being sold in Ontario or in any jurisdiction that is of such low quality that it is using excessive amounts of electricity, I think the time has come for implementation of one of the recommendations of the select committee, which was for standards that have to be met by manufacturers -- certainly informing the consumer as to the likely consumption by any given piece of electrical equipment or electricity-using equipment, so they will know that they may be paying a lower price for something but they’re going to pay even more in the long run because it consumes more electricity. They may then buy a piece of equipment that is of high enough standard to avoid this excessive use of electricity.
In short, Mr. Speaker, I think the whole concept is a worthy concept. I think it’s going to become part of the overall restructuring of rates in the province of Ontario. I’ve already indicated my theories that we’re not going to be able to get to that restructuring until about 1980, but I see no reason why this bill can’t be passed because it envisages the steps that will be taken at the local public utility level for its implementation. With all of the preparatory work done, hopefully sooner rather than later we can get into overall restructuring, with this particular benefit in advance for low income families and households.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Mississauga South.
Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to have an opportunity to make a few comments on this very interesting bill, the subject of which has been under discussion for quite a number of years. I wish the problem could be resolved in the 10 minutes that just a handful of us have to comment in. It’s much more complex than that.
Lifeline rates originated in the US. They were developed by the telephone system and ensured that low-price service rates were available to the elderly and the infirm.
The intention of reduced rates was to permit these people to telephone their doctors or check on their acquaintances’ health, hence the term Lifeline rates. it’s been distorted, though, and one wonders whether it refers to welfare, income redistribution, or indeed to conservation.
I commend the member for Grey-Bruce for bringing this forward. He stated that his concern is because of increased rates; and we’re all concerned about that, and the impact increased rates have on those on fixed incomes and low-income groups. But as I interpret the bill, the Lifeline rates would apply to all users, even our illustrious sponsor of the bill, that entrepreneur from Grey-Bruce. In the application of the bill, the benefits catch everyone; they are available to everyone. There is no stipulation of a maximum income limitation, therefore the affluent benefit just as those on fixed incomes or low incomes do.
It would be difficult to implement these fairly or rationally. There are difficulties with this situation in California, I understand. The economic burden of energy costs have been redistributed there according to the same principle advocated in this bill, as mentioned in the pamphlet the member kindly sent along to all the members.
I want to give one example -- and again I am sorry we are pressed for time on this, I will do this as quickly as I can. Anyone who has even a remote acquaintance with farming will know this endeavour requires a great amount of power. The farmers were the ones hardest hit when these rates were adopted in California.
There were power cost shifts. That’s one of the key points I would like to make. The Adam Beck philosophy of power at cost has existed since inception. Invariably, if you are going to have power at cost and some get benefits or below-cost levies against them for power, someone else is going to pay the freight.
This is what happened in California, with its heavy users in the farming fraternity, to the detriment of the farming community. I’m told it cost jobs and markets and so on. This points to a general observation: In rural communities where farm electrical usage is very high and income can be low, experience indicates that volume of electricity cannot be equated fairly to income. You simply can’t do this. The assumption that income and use of electricity are closely related is a fallacy. While Lifeline rates might benefit all low-user groups, they will not benefit all low-income groups in isolation from other economic portions of society.
I will mention another problem. It is next to impossible for any agency to determine a basic requirement for electricity in a way which is both simple to define and simple to bill. How can this bill be fair to customers whose requirements may vary due to family size, location, use of electricity for water or space heating, as the previous speakers have mentioned?
The different methods of cooking make a difference. It’s most essential that you look at propane versus microwave versus an ordinary electric stove. It is very complicated and complex. I shudder at the thought of our 337-odd utilities developing what would be the initial rate suggested in the bill. It would be horrendous.
I’m sure the member realizes that this wouldn’t be an easy task. If the member is concerned about bringing relief from the high costs of electricity to certain energy customers I think there are more efficient ways. Perhaps a tax credit application could be instituted. I don’t think we should mix social assistance, which this bill attempts to do, with the power-at-cost policy which has been applied in principle since the beginning.
Mr. Breaugh: Why are you picking on the poor? It seems an unfair thing to do.
Mr. Kennedy: I suggested we help the poor. You weren’t listening.
Mr. Breaugh: I listened, unfortunately; that’s your problem.
Mr. Kennedy: How much time do I have?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Three minutes.
Mr. Kennedy: With respect to conservation and wastefulness, I’ll grant the member that electricity as a service is essential -- anyone knows that -- to the support and maintenance of each community. Certain activities we engage in and which use energy are necessities, others involve a luxurious use; but the pricing schedule of manufactured goods must take into account the production cost to the consumer and energy is one of these costs. If there is a shift to the industrial sector this will put up the price of our manufactured goods.
Mr. J. Reed: Oh come on, we are not talking economy here.
Mr. Kennedy: One of the key elements in the rate design is the effort to conserve. I very much agree with taking a good look at the cost of these power blocks; maybe a move to flatten it out, as the second speaker mentioned, has a lot of merit. Our own rate shifted between 1977 and 1978. The increase for the first 500 kw was 8.3 per cent; the second block went up 13.6 per cent, but it was still the lower rate going up 13.6 per cent. I was on our own utilities commission for a number of years when the big cry was “sell,” because the capital was invested and we should recover these costs, but I think since the shortage of energy has come up and costs have risen so dramatically this should be reversed.
Mr. Germa: There is no shortage.
Mr. Kennedy: Either level out -- or reduce if possible, I’d go along with that -- the first power block; but the others should be looked at with the object of discouraging luxurious use and wasteful use of electricity. I would quite agree with that.
Mr. J. Reed: Come on, vote for it. You really know you agree with it.
Mr. Kennedy: I sure do.
The whole situation is oversimplified here. I am interested that the Ontario Energy Board is working on this. We deal with two things: the discrimination against low income groups and with conservation. But there are many other aspects of the problem, and as such I cannot support the bill. I am going to suggest a veto of it. I want to get it over as a part of the examination of the committee to have a good look at what we are saying here.
Mr. J. Reed: Don’t you want to help the people?
Mr. Kennedy: The current review is paying particular attention, I understand, to the member for Grey-Bruce, and I think it would be premature to accept at this time a proposal for such radical changes of doubtful merit --
Mr. Foulds: Doubtful? To whom?
Mr. Kennedy: -- when we have not yet heard Hydro’s recommendations. We should wait for that.
Mr. J. Reed: Radical? The Americans have been doing it for years.
Mr. Kennedy: I’ll say it again: If you take it from one block, you are going to shift it elsewhere.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The honourable member’s time has expired.
Mr. Kennedy: We better have a good look at it and see what this committee recommends.
Mr. Germa: Eddie knows what he is doing.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I want first to heartily commend my colleague from Grey-Bruce for his foresight and generosity, and his concern for disadvantaged citizens in introducing this legislation into the House.
Mr. Foulds: Intelligence too.
Mr. B. Newman: It is nothing new; we have talked about it for years and years, but it took the member for Grey-Bruce to finally take the bull by the horns and attempt to get action from the government over there. He certainly deserves our commendation.
The previous speaker mentioned about going to blocks -- Hydro charging according to blocks. It isn’t too long ago we paid our water rates exactly the same way, we paid electrical rates the same way, we paid gas rates the same way. The first amount of energy used you paid at one price, and the second amount it was either a little higher or lower according to the policy of the utility that was selling that type of energy.
So this is nothing new.
Mr. Kennedy: Just what I said; it is nothing new.
Mr. B. Newman: My colleague is not only interested in the welfare of the disadvantaged, the senior citizen and the one having difficulty meeting his bills, but he is also interested from the conservation point of view. We have to conserve energy. This could be one start in the whole program of conservation.
I can’t make mention of the word conservation strongly enough.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to read portions of two letters to show you the concern of the average citizen. One gentleman writes to me: “I’m a pensioner, and I’m not going to plead poverty; but, considering that my monthly budget payment started at $12 and is now increased from $12 to $21 to $25, how much can one endure?” And he is referring solely to electricity.
Here’s another one: “We are strongly opposed to paying $76 a month out of our pension to pay for our energy.”
Possibly the one paying $76 may not benefit as much because the block may be small. But even if the block is small, it still is to the advantage of a senior citizen who, possibly because of health reasons, has to turn up the thermostat a bit, or uses additional types of electrical appliances to have a little better standard of living.
It isn’t too long ago that Hydro was telling us to live better electrically. I hope that in Hydro’s new rate structure they will take into consideration those many citizens who built their homes and put in electric heating on the assumption that energy would be available to them at a fair and a decent price. Now they find that it is beyond their means; they’re going to be involved in substantial financial outlays in remodelling their homes to use another type of energy unless Hydro fulfils its original promise to them and provides them with energy at a special rate.
The elderly are probably hit the hardest by rapidly rising energy costs for quite a few reasons. First, they often have lower incomes, and they sometimes face the grim choice of “heat or eat.” Second, the elderly often have little or no savings with which to install better insulation, storm windows or more efficient furnaces. Third, they often live in older houses or apartments which desperately need refurbishing to cut down on wasted energy.
Finally, the elderly suffer much more from sharp drops and increases in temperatures and, as they grow older, their body thermostats lose some of that flexibility. Just from that point of view, we have got to adopt the Lifeline suggestions of my colleague from Grey-Bruce. Let’s at least attempt to make their lives a little more livable for them.
The member for Grey-Bruce is introducing one concept, and he refers only to electrical energy. We have also got to look at gas energy, because the price of gas for household use has skyrocketed over the last couple of years. I would hope that Bill 152, when it is sent to committee, will at some stage involve the gas companies on the price of gas energy.
I wonder if members are aware of the practices of some of the gas companies, or of Union Gas, where even though a customer pays a security deposit -- because a security deposit may be required of certain customers -- if that customer is delinquent one day in paying his overdue gas bill, he is charged five per cent interest, even though that same customer may be on a budget billing system and have dollars of credit on his account, having paid in for more energy than he has consumed. Because he is late on his billing, he pays a five per cent penalty; yet the gas company has his money well in advance or has collected from him more money than the cost of the energy he has consumed. That type of a billing practice should stop as far as the gas industry is concerned.
Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have? Do you know?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Close to four minutes.
Mr B. Newman: I’ll wind up because I want one of my colleagues to have an opportunity to make a few comments and constructive suggestions.
The state of Michigan has acted on this in an attempt to relieve the suffering of those on fixed incomes, those who receive government assistance, as well as the senior citizens. They are using a scheme now where for the first 300 kilowatt-hours a month the customer who is 65 or over pays $7.45 a month, whereas the normal rate would have been $13.45. They are subsidizing him by charging him a lower rate, just exactly what my colleague from Grey-Bruce is attempting to bring to the attention of the members in this piece of legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I would like my colleague from London North to have an opportunity later to take up the balance of my time.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this bill.
Mr. Sargent: He’ll be a Liberal senator.
Mr. Breaugh: Here, please!
I find the concept and the principle espoused in this bill to be a most worthwhile endeavour. I recognize that a great many other people in other jurisdictions -- and I suppose I should mention Jeremy Akerman who in the maritime provinces has been proposing this type of legislation for some time now.
I have listened to the arguments pro and con, both before the debate today and during the course of today’s debate. Frankly I find them not convincing. I suppose we could all engage in a fantastically complicated debate, discussion and consideration of the way Hydro sets its rates and the way power is distributed throughout Ontario and the inequities that are there in this energy-production system, or in natural gas, or in propane, or in oil, or in anything else.
I think in this bill we have the opportunity to look at something which is basically under public control. Whether that control is with Ontario Hydro or with a local public utilities commission makes no difference to me. The basic fact I look at there is that there is massive public investment already in place in the production of electrical energy in the province of Ontario. The distribution system by and large is almost totally within the public domain. The reason for that is that it is an essential service. The reason for all of that public expenditure to develop new energy sources and to provide a distribution system which is in public, not private, hands is that it’s something you just can’t leave to the whim of the private sector.
It has been clearly recognized in this province -- and by a Conservative government, I might add -- that the nationalization of electric production and in large part its distribution are essential and ought to be in the public sector.
Mr. Kerrio: The cheapest power in Ontario is sold by a private corporation -- Canadian Niagara Power.
Mr. Breaugh: That was done some time ago by a Tory in Ontario so it’s not new, but I think it does point out that even in this House, where sometimes we divide along the lines of political parties, there is a clear consensus, and has been for a long time, that production of electrical energy and the distribution system are essential and ought to be in the public sector.
The reason for that is obvious. We’re providing an essential service to people in our province and we don’t want that left to the whim of the private sector.
If we were looking at a nationalized anything that worked well, in my view we sure wouldn’t look at Ontario Hydro. But setting aside all of its obvious faults and some rather serious and substantial financial errors that have been made over the years, we still have retained it in the public sector.
Mr. Kerrio: Poetic licence.
Mr. Breaugh: The reason for that, or a prime reason for that, is to allow us to exercise some control over that. In this bill, simplistic though it might be, a clear intent is expressed on the part of this House that our energy source and our distribution system ought to be fair to the people who paid for it in the first instance. That, of course, is the purpose of having it in the public sector, so we can retain that kind of control, so the members of this House can deal with legislation such as this.
There are those who say -- and I’ve heard it said already this afternoon -- that we don’t want to confuse some form of social assistance with the production and distribution of electrical energy. Why not? Are they making an argument that you’d be better off charging them full tilt and then providing them with another welfare cheque to pay their hydro bills? It concerns me that perhaps we’re not far away from that. In fact, a great amount of our social assistance dollar goes back to the government in paying off this kind of a bill. I think that is a ridiculous thing indeed.
It is certainly a logical and practical measure that we could devise. It is something which has been referred to by a number of speakers as Lifeline legislation. The only reservation I have about that is the use of the term Lifeline. It is a little too Americanized for me. But whatever one wants to call it, I think it does point out that there is a clear and identified need in the province of Ontario today to rectify a fault in the system.
That fault is a very simple one that has been mentioned by a number of members here, that the more energy one uses the cheaper it gets. If one is at the bottom of the user scale, if he doesn’t use very much, he isn’t rewarded for that, but he is penalized. And more than that, I think it is clear from a number of speakers and the research that has been done in the area, we are penalizing those people who can least afford to be penalized.
There is a gross unfairness that has been properly pointed out. It is the obligation of the members of this House to rectify that. I am not proposing that the bill currently before this House couldn’t use having a little work done on it. That could certainly be handled quite nicely by the members of this House in committee. I am saying that the intent of the bill is a supportable intent and ought to be supported by members on all sides.
Let me put to members a fear that I have. There is a provision for blockage of such bills in this House. I would be one who would be extremely sad to see any members who oppose this kind of legislation not having the intestinal fortitude to stand up and vote against it, if they feel they are against this form of assistance in trying to give to people at the lower end of the economic scale a chance to survive in our society. I don’t think we should mess around, and that is precisely what it is. If one is in northern Ontario and his home is electrically heated that is survival, because he needs that.
The member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) is going to rise and participate in this debate a little later and point out a community called Armstrong in northern Ontario where they are really badly hit by this kind of rating structure. He will go into the details a bit more. The plain fact is that in many parts of Ontario we are providing a dearly essential service in providing electrical power to those people on the distribution system, and the rates that go with that are important considerations.
Mr. Kennedy: It is one household budgetary item of many.
Mr. Breaugh: I want to close by saying let those members who disagree with this bill stand up and vote against it and not hide behind any blocking procedure. If they have a good argument and if they are prepared to make it, let them stand up and vote and not hide behind the skirts of a rule that allows them to block. If they feel very strongly about that, as obviously the member does, let them do it. Let the people of Ontario see it.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Motherhood.
Mr. Breaugh: If they think it is motherhood, they surely are not going to vote against motherhood. They should be quite prepared to let it go to a vote. They should have no problem with that at all.
Mr. Kennedy: Electricity rates are just one household budgetary item.
Mr. Breaugh: Even the member who is not going to have any difficulty with Lifeline rates or any other kind of rates, because he is well looked after by the provisions of the Legislative Assembly Act, should clearly be prepared to put his position fairly and simply before the House and let the matter come to a vote.
I support this legislation. I recognise it is a little on the simplistic side, I recognise it could use a little work in committee. We have provided for all of that. In essence, we are asked in this course of the debate to speak to the principle of the bill. Surely nothing could be fairer and nothing could be more just than to apply through our own publicly-owned agencies a measure of fairness so that those people who have supported this province, this government, and this electrical system with their tax dollars throughout all their working lives would now get a measure of fairness when they need it.
Mr. Cureatz: Might I begin by saying that I feel very privileged to take part in the debate today for two reasons, the first being that it is always refreshing to hear the member for Grey-Bruce bring forward his particular views.
Mr. Cunningham: Maiden speech.
Mr. Kerrio: The member is going to support the bill.
Mr. Cureatz: Certainly during question period it is always refreshing to bear some of the bits of comic relief provided by that member to relieve some of the anxieties that take place within these chambers.
Mr. J. Reed: I hope the member takes this bill seriously.
Mr. Cureatz: The second reason I feel very honoured to rise on this bill is that the production of electricity is beginning to be a very key factor for my particular riding of Durham East and my constituents.
The member for Grey-Bruce for the second time in almost two years wishes the members of the Legislature to support a proposal to establish Lifeline rates for the residential consumers of electricity in Ontario. I have two reactions to this proposal. The first, is to commend the honourable member on his fortitude -- and I am sure his altruism, considering the hardships that rapidly escalating energy costs have on those citizens who have low or middle-level incomes. This is a concern for each and every member of this Legislature.
The second point I must direct to the member is, regrettably, the solution proposed is a rather simplistic answer to a very complicated problem. It is no more workable today than it was two years ago and thus I am not able to support his proposal. However, there are several points that I would like to address which are germane to the topic.
The first point pertains to the cost incurred by the consumers of electricity in Ontario. The member for Grey-Bruce goes to great lengths to emphasize the financial hardships that Ontario electrical rates place on our consumers. It might be interesting to compare the prices we pay here with those of several other jurisdictions.
Consumers in New York City in July of this year had to pay $82 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Citizens of Boston paid $49 for the same amount, but the figure for St. John’s, Newfoundland, was $34. In Vancouver, 1,000 kilowatt-hours cost $33. Toronto customers paid the lowest rate of the cities surveyed, $26 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours. I am told that the rate for rural Ontario is approximately $2 higher per 1,000 kilowatt-hours.
One of the reasons that the comparative levy for electric power is so low by comparison in Ontario is because part of required supply is generated through nuclear fission reactors. They are comparatively cheap to fuel and the fuel source is indigenous to Ontario. Ontario Hydro uses this economic means of generation to provide the base load supply required to meet its demands. The generators requiring more expensive fuels are used when demand climbs above the base load generator’s ability to supply.
Ontario Hydro’s next nuclear generating station will be placed in my riding of Durham East. The people of Durham East, therefore, have a vested interest in Ontario Hydro’s activities. We recognize that nuclear generation of electricity is a means of keeping Ontario Hydro’s rates much lower than those of other jurisdictions. As I stated before, Mr. Speaker, Ontarians do pay a lower price than most other areas in Canada and the United States.
No system is a perfect system. Ontario Hydro recognizes that there are a few flaws in the present system of levying charges to their power consumers. In a submission to a select committee of this Legislature examining the rate structure in 1976 they make this point, that they consider their present assessment method the fairest possible to their consumers.
Mr. J. Reed: Somebody wrote that for you, Sam.
Mr. Cureatz: They reject the Lifeline system because it is not cost-based, and therefore allows no standard by which to establish --
Mr. Foulds: That’s a perversion of the committee’s report and you know it -- or at least your speech writer knows it.
Mr. Cureatz: -- the number of, the size of, or the price of each of these incredible blocks of charges levied to the consumer. Furthermore, they say that low use does not necessarily correspond with the minimal essential power consumption the member for Grey-Bruce mentions in his bill.
In a short digression, I feel that to try to establish a definition of a minimum energy requirement that is equitable to every power consumer is a task that is close to impossible. There would be so many contingent factors that would enter into the equation.
Hydro also feels that high use does not necessarily correspond with unnecessary and luxurious consumption. The people engaged in agricultural activities require larger amounts of electricity to pursue their profession than do the city consumers, yet they may still be low or middle income earners. Are they to be further penalized for their energy costs by the higher costs involved in the Lifeline legislation? I guarantee you that there will be many farmers who will use more than the minimal essential amount established in the bill, Mr. Speaker. Here’s a group who would likely lose out by this legislation.
The legislation seeks to establish a rate structure by which the low-use consumer is rewarded with rates which are actually below the cost to Hydro for supplying the service. But Hydro cannot operate on the deficit system that a subsidized arrangement would entail. The member for Grey-Bruce wants the high-use consumer to pay Hydro’s rate subsidy to the low-use consumer. But as in the case of the farming community mentioned above, and I can think of other examples, the high-use consumer is not necessarily the high-income earner. The system that the honourable member suggests may just ultimately end up penalizing the very people he is seeking to help.
The Minister of Energy, the Ontario Energy Board and Ontario Hydro are constantly reviewing the general principles of costing and price of electricity. The OEB is to report on this very important topic early in 1979.
They are considering alternative pricing methods, including the Lifeline method, to the present strictly cost-based pricing system. To take the position in favour of the Lifeline restructure prior to the ORB report would be premature and very impractical.
Another major pitfall in the Lifeline process is that the consumer who might save a few dollars on a hydro bill would likely pay it out in the increased price tag for the other goods he consumes, since the manufacturer or the commercial operators, who are high energy consumers, will be the people paying the subsidy for the low-use consumer -- their increased energy costs will likely be figured into the increased product price to the consumer.
Mr. J. Reed: You really don’t believe that.
Mr. Kerrio: Sam, you don’t believe that.
Mr. Cureatz: So any gain to the low-use consumer is likely only temporary, and in the long run he may even lose more than he gains on his electricity bill.
There are so many other points that could be mentioned, but time is limited. So let it suffice to say that I feel the member for Grey-Bruce is proposing a very simplistic solution to a very complicated problem.
Again, I commend him for his concern for the energy consumer in Ontario. This is a concern that everyone here shares. But I would caution him that his enthusiasm has made him overlook many of the pitfalls in this Lifeline concept. It is for these reasons that I cannot support his bill, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Kerrio: Sam, you are not telling the truth. Tell the truth, Sam.
Mr. Van Horne: A regressive Conservative.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I would just like to inform the member for Halton-Burlington that he has until 4:36 p.m., at which time we will revert to the member for Grey-Bruce.
Mr. J. Reed: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. That gives me lots of time.
I’ve listened with interest and amusement to some of the comments that have been made across the House about this bill this afternoon. It has been called radical by the member for Mississauga South; the previous speaker just finished saying that the middle-income group would suffer because of this bill.
I want to tell you a little story, Mr. Speaker. This summer I had the good fortune to go to Massachusetts for a bit of a holiday. While there I talked to the owner of the tourist home where my wife and I were staying, and he was talking about electric power consumption and his power bills, and energy in general, because energy is more prominent in the United States, as you know, than it is in Ontario or indeed in all of Canada.
I asked him how he was charged for the electricity and he went to get the bill to show me. Sure enough, the first block of electric power he bought was at the lowest rate; it was half the rate of the second block that he purchased. I said, “My goodness, you’re on Lifeline here.” He looked at me and said, “I didn’t know that.”
That’s just how radical and how much of an upheaval the application of Lifeline has been in the state of Massachusetts. Nobody knows they’ve got it, for heaven’s sake. And to hear the people in the government talk about the radical nature of this bill really makes me chuckle.
When we talk about Hydro rates, it kind of demonstrates the appropriateness of this bill at this time. Admittedly, it is not perfect; it doesn’t do everything for Hydro rates; it has all kinds of incompleteness to it, if you like. But it is the first step in the right direction in the pricing of electric power that has taken place in the last 10 years in the province of Ontario.
Historically, we should remember that the pricing of electric power was geared to the cost of production of that electric power.
Mr. Haggerty: That is not the case today.
Mr. J. Reed: That’s right. As long as we had a 100 per cent hydraulic system in Ontario, it meant simply that the more we used, the lower the cost. Because the plant was in place and the water was being spilled if it wasn’t going through the turbines. That was common sense. It is what you call -- in words that are considered radical in some sectors today -- marginal cost pricing. That’s what we had. We had marginal cost pricing as it related to the production cost of the day.
What has happened since that time is that the production facility of our utility has reversed itself and become primarily thermal. It is a little more than 70 per cent thermal -- some of it nuclear, some of it coal, some of it oil, or whatever. What that means is that when you fire up the boilers and you have to supplement the hydraulic system, it costs more money. So just remember that what this bill does is begin to relate the costing of electric power to the actual cost of production. That’s the first thing.
It doesn’t go all the way, and we know that the Ontario Energy Board is considering, as one of its options, the suggestion of marginal cost pricing, but this provides the start.
Let’s look at the reality of the situation. If one takes a reduced rate for the first block and applies the differential one loses on the first block to the second block of purchase, or spreads it between the second and third block of purchase, what one finds is that the average consumer -- and I suppose you and I would be considered somewhat average consumers, Mr. Speaker -- doesn’t pay a sou more for his electric power, not a plugged nickel more for his electric power. What it does for the small consumer, the person on the fixed income, the person who is getting it in the neck because he’s got to pay that high rate for the power, is give him or her an incentive to save power because he’s going to get that lower rate. It will be significant for the low-income consumer.
I don’t think anything could be more reasonable and less radical than that. It’s very simple. I would urge every member on the other side to give that the utmost consideration when he’s looking at this bill.
It’s also interesting this afternoon that the Minister of Energy is not even here. He may have some very good excuse. Perhaps he’s ill and if he’s ill I send him my sympathy, but the fact that there doesn’t appear to be any interest on the part of the government in such an important bill I think must be noted.
Everybody talks about conservation as a motherhood issue. It’s a hand over the heart thing, you know. It’s great to conserve. What this bill does for the first time is put the money where the mouth is, because it encourages us to conserve. The universal application of it will mean that while it won’t have any effect on a consumer if his consumption doesn’t change, if he elects to consume less he will pay proportionately less for that electric power because a large percentage, of course, will be in the first block.
I listened to these arguments with great interest. They’re not strong arguments in the first place, but in the second place I find them rather ludicrous. We have an opportunity here to head in a new direction.
One of the speakers mentioned, it occurs to me, that we were a public utility and asked if we should be in the business of distributing social largesse through our public utility. Let me point out that in the States, where this is common practice in many states, there aren’t any public utilities, they’re all private utilities.
Mr. Haggerty: Free-enterprise system.
Mr. J. Reed: That’s right. I really don’t see the logic of that argument either, because that legislation is being applied through the private sector. I realize I’m running out of time but when the members come to vote on this bill, let them consider those things. Consider that there’s nothing radical. Consider that it’s going on in many states in the United States. Consider that it’s not going to influence the average consumer one iota and consider that it’s a step in the right direction.
Mr. Foulds: I’d just like to take one or two minutes --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Just a moment.
Does this item complete at 4:41? The member for Grey-Bruce then.
Mr. Sargent: With your permission I’d like to hear from Jimmy and also Van, who is head of the PUC in London. I want to hear from him, too. I give my time up to both of them if they will split the five minutes between the two of them. Could they?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: They have to go in rotation then. The member for Port Arthur.
Mr. Foulds: I’d just like to speak very briefly because I’d like to enthusiastically support the member for Grey-Bruce and his bill.
The arguments put by the opposition -- in this case, the government -- have been specious, argumentative, and irrelevant.
Mr. Warner: The government is all of those things -- specious, irrelevant, argumentative.
Mr. Foulds: I would like to go further than the member for Grey-Bruce in that although he’s done a very, very worthwhile thing as it affects residential rates for organized municipalities, the one area that has been overlooked is residential rates in unorganized municipalities. I’m sure Mr. Speaker is more aware of this than I am. I’d like to use one of the communities in his riding as an example. The community of Armstrong, where I lived for a year back in the early ‘60s, now has power generated by diesel. That power generated by diesel goes out to the community but the residential rate for that small community is the same as the rural rate that Ontario Hydro charges generally. I believe that’s something like 7.5 cents per kilowatt-hour and it’s going to be raised on January 1.
But the amazing thing is, that’s only for a 20-amp service. With a 20-amp service, you’re lucky if you get lights in a refrigerator. You can’t even have a washer and a dryer on at the same time, If you have over a 20-amp service, you’re charged the commercial rate, which is 16 cents per kilowatt-hour. If you use more than 200 to 300-kilowatt hours in your service, you’re charged commercial rates. So you’re penalized in two ways.
I would like to support enthusiastically what the member has done, but I would like to see it extended so that people who are living in places that are not organized, where there is no municipal hydro commission, also would fall under the provisions of the bill.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, the member for Grey-Bruce.
Mr. Speaker: The time for this item unfortunately has expired.
NIAGARA ESCARPMENT PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Philip moved second reading of Bill 153, An Act to amend the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act.
Mr. Philip: The events of the last few weeks clearly provide the evidence that this bill is needed, or that a bill similar to it must become law.
I won’t recycle the history of the fiasco surrounding the Cantrakon decision, except to remind the members of the recent statement reported in the Globe and Mail and attributed to Mr. Ivor McMullin, chairman of the Niagara Escarpment Commission.
“Mr. McMullin claimed that the work of the Niagara Escarpment Commission has been rendered meaningless by the decision to approve the hotel and conference centre in Caledon.” To quote Mr. McMullin, “It was the wrong decision on the part of the minister to put himself and ourselves in a position where it is now going to be difficult to deal with all future applications for development.”
It is against that background that this bill is presented for the members’ consideration. It is in the light of that background that I urge members to seriously consider the merits of the bill. The major thrust of the bill is to bring the whole development process out into the open.
It is fairly clear that the Niagara Escarpment Commission is failing to preserve the escarpment. About 90 per cent of applications for development permits in this sensitive escarpment area have been granted. In the Niagara region, municipalities are using the NEC development control route to circumvent their own official plans and to permit all kinds of development contrary to those plans. The act is administered badly, but it is more than just bad administration. The act is also at fault and that is why this bill is needed so badly at this time.
As Lyn MacMillan, steering committee chairman of the Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment commented recently: “Under the present act the ministers decisions are completely discretionary and he apparently cannot be held accountable to the purpose and objectives of the act. No provision is made to allow full cabinet discussion of all points of view on controversial appeal decisions and no provision is made in the entire appeal process for the involvement of interested public groups.”
The bill I have presented for the consideration of the House attempts to remedy these principal problems in the existing act. Certain members may not agree with all the details of the bill, but surely the principle is clear. I urge that members at least consider and accept the principle of this bill and allow themselves the opportunity to hear and debate it at further length in committee.
On March 10, 1967, the Honourable John Robarts, Premier of Ontario, made the following clear and unequivocal statement in the Legislature: He said: “I am happy to announce today a wide-ranging study of the Niagara Escarpment with a view to preserving the entire land from Queenston to Tobermory and Manitoulin Island as a recreation area for the people of Ontario.”
As recently as August 8 of this year, the present Premier of Ontario (Mr. Davis) stated: “We remain committed to our original objectives in establishing the Niagara Escarpment Commission which was to preserve the unique, natural characteristics of the escarpment for the enjoyment and future of generations to come.”
What this bill attempts to accomplish is to make the dreams of the Honourable John Robarts come true, to make them a reality and to make the objectives of the present Premier a matter of fact and not just rhetoric.
The bill provides that the authority of the NEC to issue development permits will cease to exist when the escarpment plan is in place. In the interim, the right to appeal on permits will be broadened, and this will provide more public input. Appeals will be to the OMB and, through it, to the provincial cabinet. The arbitrary power of the Minister of Housing will thus be stripped from him --
Mr. Sargent: And that’s good.
Mr. Philip: -- and the development permit process will become more open.
The bill also provides for more public consultation in the development of the overall plan of the Niagara Escarpment. The bill provides for the plan covering the Niagara Escarpment area to be incorporated into the official plans of the regional and community municipalities.
In summary, the bill as it applies to both development control and to escarpment plan will accomplish four things. It will eliminate the overlapping and bureaucratic present decision-making process. It will open up the appeal’s process to full public scrutiny and input, by using the OMB in both the plan determination and development appeals, assure independent assessments and rulings based on the purpose and objectives of the NEC, which I remind members was to provide for the maintenance of the Niagara Escarpment and land in its vicinity substantially as a continuous natural environment. Through establishing a route whereby the cabinet may be responsible for the final decision, the onus will be on the government as a whole to assure the commitments given in the Niagara Escarpment Act. It will assure that the government as a whole is responsible for the original commitment of the Honourable John Robarts.
I urge my colleagues in the House to allow this bill to come to a vote. I urge them to allow it to be sent to committee, to allow those groups that have shown their interest, that have worked all these years to saving the Niagara Escarpment, to come before that committee. I urge that those who have so long and hard fought to save the escarpment committee deserve a victory, and I urge members to give them that victory today.
Mr. Speaker: There are 13 minutes left. Does the member want to reserve any of that time?
Mr. Philip: No, I do not wish to reserve that time.
Mr. Johnson: I rise to speak against Bill 153.
Mr. Warner: Shame.
Mr. Johnson: Perhaps it is symbolic of one of the major problems relating to the Niagara Escarpment.
The concern of the members from Metro is to preserve the escarpment. My concern as a member representing a riding in the escarpment is for the protection of the private rights of the citizens living in the escarpment control area and in particular to protect all the rights of my people. That includes the creation of hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in assessment and I will fight for that right.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: You’ve got to buy that, Eddie. You’ve got to accept that.
Mr. Warner: Disappointing.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: So does Bob, they like their land up there.
Mr. Johnson: I have a few comments to make on the bill that I will set aside for a few minutes because I would like to read a few remarks into the record while I still have time. I refer to Bill 62. introduced by the member for Grey (Mr. McKessock).
Mr. Warner: That was a dark day.
Mr. Johnson: Bill 62 clearly intended to restrict measures which would try to tie up residential land in the Niagara Escarpment planning area. This can be related to development along the escarpment in general and consequently it can he used to point out their inconsistency. In introducing Bill 62, the member for Grey stated that there was too little local autonomy and wanted to have it increased.
Cantrakon is an outgrowth of municipal interest and issue here. Bill 153 imposes the will of the entire region and the local municipality. The bill seeks to dissuade development and condemns the minister and hence the government for policies it itself advocated in the recent past. The member for Grey-Bruce, in addition to the member for Grey, advocated development along the Niagara Escarpment to improve local economies. On two occasions the member for Grey-Bruce demanded the complete abolition of the escarpment.
One of the main benefits of the Cantrakon project and development generally along the Niagara Escarpment is to increase the local tax base of the area. The member for Grey-Bruce stated on May 11, 1978, that he feels that the farmers of the escarpment area shouldn’t be forced to finance and maintain recreation land which is only going to benefit people outside the area. If development in the area could benefit the local residents by reducing the financial strain on local farmers, he would be in favour of this. The development by Cantrakon would do this, but if lengthy appeals and opposition were allowed, few companies would even attempt to develop in the area.
The member for Etobicoke says that we should refer to the OMB. I went through an experience with the OMB with the Elora Gorge bridge. It took over two years of OMB hearings and delay upon delay and half a dozen court appearances, seven years in all. The cost of the bridge escalated from half a million dollars to over $1 million. Then they had the audacity to say that we shouldn’t proceed because now it was too costly. Then they stated further that the only reason approval was given and cabinet upheld the decision was that it was a political decision. How can you win?
Mr. Cunningham: Clean up the OMB.
Mr. Johnson: I would like to speak on Cantrakon for a few minutes because it involves my riding. I have a few comments to make to the opposition, especially to the Liberals, and for the record I quote from the Leader of the Opposition in a Liberal press release, October 31, 1978: “The Cantrakon project is an excellent idea. It is simply in the wrong place.”
Mr. Cunningham: You were such a nice guy, Jack.
Mr. Epp: In the wrong place.
Mr. Johnson: Okay, the project is an excellent idea. Just pick a site that Clem likes.
Mr. Epp: I am glad you agree.
Mr. Cunningham: Detroit.
Mr. Johnson: Perhaps I could pose another question. Suppose the Cantrakon project was in Grey or in Grey-Bruce. Would the official opposition be so opposed? I doubt it very much.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Eddie wouldn’t, Bob wouldn’t.
Mr. Philip: You can take it to Rexdale; you have every other hotel up there.
Mr. Johnson: But perhaps the two members from that area can answer that question in a few minutes.
Mr. Kerrio: You are being very unfair, Jack.
Mr. Johnson: Now it is only rumoured but I also understand that Clem Neiman is the bag man for the Liberals, whatever that means.
Mr. Kerrio: You ought to know, you’ve got 14.
Mr. Johnson: I would like to introduce Clem Neiman to the members of the House; many of them aren’t familiar with him. In the Ontario Liberal release March 10 of this year, it says: “Clem Neiman, a long-time leading Liberal” -- whatever that is -- “has been appointed chairman of the leader’s Metro strategy group -- ”
Mr. Kennedy: Leading you down the garden path.
Mr. Epp: Now read everything the paper said about Cantrakon too, Jack. Don’t be so selective.
Mr. Johnson: You will get me confused, please.
Mr. J. Reed: I think you’d better leave it all in context.
Mr. T. P. Reid: If we thought you’d written this yourself we would be mad at you.
Mr. Johnson: Clem Neiman is, or was, a member of the Caledon ratepayers executive, and I also believe Clem’s law firm, Neiman and Bissett, is bringing suit against the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) over the proposed Cantrakon choice.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to read excerpts from a letter relating to Cantrakon. This is a letter dated December 2, 1976. It is from Neiman and Bissett. It is addressed to Cantrakon in Ottawa, attention Gary B. Clarke, president:
“Dear Sirs: We are the solicitors for, and the writer is the president and a substantial shareholder of, the Terra Cotta Inn Corporation, which owns and operates a country inn on some 33 acres of land in the village of Terra Cotta. We read with great interest of your newest conference centre in a recent edition of the Financial Post Magazine.”
Mr. Hall: Why don’t you put another wing on it?
Mr. Johnson: “We believe the Terra Cotta Inn Corporation has a better and more attractive site for a conference centre, and would like to have the opportunity of discussing this with you.”
Mr. Sargent: You gave the same speech in Orangeville.
Mr. Kennedy: It is worth repeating.
Mr. Gregory: It gets better all the time.
Mr. Cunningham: Just ignore him, Jack.
Mr. Johnson: “We should point out that the writer is also a member of the Caledon ratepayers executive, and there is no doubt that the proposed plan on the contemplated site will meet with substantial resistance. We also believe however, that there would be wry little resistance to our location.
“If our suggestion has any interest to you -- “
Mr. Warner: And this guy is a Liberal.
Mr. Johnson: “ -- you could telephone the writer or contact Senator Joan Neiman at her office in Ottawa.” Signed “C. M. Neiman.”
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Johnson: Perhaps it is also just a rumour, but I understand that the Peel Board of Health closed the Terra Cotta Inn, apparently there is some problem with pollution. Raw sewage from the inn was polluting the beautiful Credit River that we are trying to protect.
Mr. Gregory: The environmentalists, right over there.
Mr. Johnston: The inn is built right on the banks of the Credit River and there is some problem with the septic tanks. But then it really isn’t fair to criticize the president of the Terra Cotta Inn, Mr. Clem Neiman --
Mr. J. Reed: Point of order.
Mr. Speaker: Nothing out of order.
Mr. Johnson: -- because Clem is so busy trying to win Liberal seats in Metro, and looking for alternative sites for Cantrakon he can’t be held responsible.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: They don’t like the truth. It hurts. Pretty close to you, Julian. Julian, you have a problem.
Mr. Johnson: In June of this year -- on June 3, to be exact -- Clem, representing a group of Caledon land owners who called themselves the Boxcar Investment Syndicate Incorporated, unsuccessfully offered the owners of Caledon Mountain Recreational Properties nearly $4.5 million for properties that included the Cantrakon area. And I quote from Claire Hoy, Wednesday November 8. Claire is a very astute writer.
Mr. Sargent: Why don’t you quote today’s column?
Mr. Johnson: “‘It is the focal point of the Niagara escarpment ... the most beautiful part ... it’s not just a matter of stopping a development. It is one of the last areas like that around ... It has to be preserved ... ’ Clem Neiman, November 7, 1978.
“He’s the focal point of opposition to the proposed $16 million hotel-convention centre near Caledon. He says the fact this group wanted to buy the land and develop it themselves is a complete red herring.’”
“‘I was a lawyer for the group,’ he said. ‘I had no financial interest. They wanted to have orderly development for that area. they were going to develop it in a different way’.”
Mr. Gregory: How do you like that?
Mr. Johnson: But this does raise some pertinent questions.
Mr. Villeneuve: Where is your leader?
Mr. Johnson: Who are the Boxcar boys? Maybe the Liberal caucus, I don’t know.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member’s time has expired.
Mr. Johnson: Good heavens. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to rise and support this bill. In fact, I think if the people back home had a good look at it they probably would have filled the gallery today the same way as they did for my bill. I am very surprised at the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel that he didn’t support this bill. He said he was interested in supporting the property owners and to me this is an excellent bill. When the plan is arrived at by the commission it will be incorporated into the official plan, and also when this is done the development control will be removed.
This is certainly pleasing to me and I know the people in my area. Grey county has come up with a strategy plan for the Niagara Escarpment which is quite similar to that except for the development control part. They did go along with development control if it were administered by a county committee rather than the commission.
Of course, the county has gone much farther. They have also proposed a plan that the commission can use for our area. Grey County has seven full-time planners that have produced an official plan in Grey county and the Beaver Valley official plan and the amending bylaws. They are capable of doing this and feel more capable than anybody else because they are working in the area all the time.
I am not sure why they have kept the duties of the commission on here. So much of this bill has been repealed and so much has been taken away from the commission, once we have the official plan and the development control is dropped, there really isn’t that much left for the commission to do. It appears to me they are keeping them on the payroll but really with very little work for them to do. I was criticized in my bill for emasculating the commission. Well, this bill has emasculated it, but it’s still getting paid.
Now, as this goes on here, so much of this bill repeals the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act it is evident the whole act should be rescinded and the necessary amendments made to the Planning Act to accommodate the added controls in the Niagara Escarpment area. This is in fact what is being done but the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act has been left in place. I can’t understand why, because most of it has been repealed. Once you put an official plan in place it is going to take over. I guess it will automatically die when this happens.
By the time you get down to section 8 of this bill I’m not sure why section 8 is necessary because section 7 has done away with development control. Section 8 talks about what takes place to obtain a development permit. By the time you get to section 8 a development permit is no longer necessary.
Mr. Swart: Between now and then; between now and the plan, that’s what it says.
Mr. McKessock: Between now and then, okay, that’s fine, or you could mean for some areas that didn’t bring in an official plan, but I’m sure that every area will bring in an official plan if they haven’t already got one. They would much rather live under those circumstances than under the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act.
In this bill, also, if a development permit is still something of any importance, it goes on to say in section 9 that you should be able to appeal to the OMB on the decision of the development permit. I certainly agree with this and it was part of my bill that you should be able to appeal to the OMB. It shouldn’t go directly to the minister the way it does at the present time.
Sure, my bill cut down the area under the Niagara Escarpment Commission control but this bill is much better in that area because it takes it out completely. It takes the Niagara Escarpment planning area out altogether. Mine cut it down but this takes it completely out and puts it under local official plans, which is great.
Mr. Gregory: You don’t understand it. Have you read it? You don’t understand it if you make a statement like that.
Mr. McKessock: I don’t understand it to make a statement like that? It’s perfectly clear in the bill here.
Mr. Sargent: I’m glad the member for Mississauga East is here to tell us.
Mr. Johnson: I asked a question about Cantrakon and Grey. What was the answer?
Mr. McKessock: Once the honourable member adopts the bill that has been introduced today and once he adopts an official plan in his area, there will be no more Niagara Escarpment control area as we see it today. It will all be incorporated under the official plan. That is quite clear.
Mr. Gregory: Locked in forever -- the whole thing locked in.
Mr. McKessock: That’s great, because this is really what we want. We want the local people to have the running of this plan and we want it all under our own official plans --
Mr. Johnson: No development in Grey.
Mr. Sargent: We’re going to dump the commission.
Mr. Gregory: That’s not what he’s saying.
Mr. McKessock: Certainly I have no trouble supporting this bill the way it is written. The bill really shows that the thinking of the NDP is not very different from my thinking on the issue and from that of the people in my area.
Mr. Swart: Oh, so it’s come to that.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Boy, that’s a change of statement. Can we quote you up in your riding?
An hon. member: Better rethink your priorities.
Mr. McKessock: I’m glad they have finally come out in the open with some support for the land owners. I just hope they stick to that because I’m sure this bill should be passed. It can go to committee. That would be dice because there are certainly some changes that should be made to it, but in principle, as they say, it is a very good bill and I have no hesitation in supporting it.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of this bill which has been introduced by my colleague from Etobicoke and say, as he has said, that the approval of the development permit for the Cantrakon convention centre has simply appalled everyone who has the slightest interest in preserving the escarpment. That obviously doesn’t include the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel --
Mr. McCaffrey: Nonsense.
Mr. Swart: -- because we can truthfully say that his remarks indicate he is against his own government in the purposes and objectives of the Niagara Escarpment Protection Act.
I warn the member for Grey. I want him to support the bill but not to support it too enthusiastically thinking that it’s going to destroy the preservation of the escarpment, because the reverse is true.
Mr. Gregory: See what I mean? You don’t understand it.
Mr. Swart: The focus of dismay and anger on the Cantrakon issue has been on the Minister of Housing, and rightly so. His approval is in direct contradiction of the purpose and objective of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, but the question has to be asked, how can this happen? Is the act drawn so as to permit it? Unfortunately the answer is yes.
Actually Cantrakon is not an isolated incident. It’s really symbolic of what’s taking place on the escarpment. For instance, the Housing minister on July 20 of this year overturned the ruling of the escarpment commission and approved a development permit for Cupolo and Lalicich for a 64-acre private recreational development including major buildings on the brow of the escarpment in Niagara Falls, even though it was contrary to both the Niagara region and the city official plans. There have been others and there will be more. The development permit process was designed, so the government said, to protect the escarpment where no local or regional planning policies gave such protection. It is being used, as my colleague from Etobicoke pointed out, as an approval mechanism to circumvent the prohibitions in such municipal plans.
Equally serious -- perhaps even more so -- the procedures of the existing act for producing the highly touted escarpment plan almost ensure that it will end up as a hollow shell without any substance or effectiveness. On the very first step, the release of the preliminary draft plan last February, the disintegration started with the government’s announcement that it’s going to cut the escarpment planning area in half.
Can anyone really believe by the time the government gets through -- and I quote from the act -- “modifying as it considers desirable” the plan it receives from the escarpment commission there will be any resemblance to the stated purposes and objectives of the act?
If there are any in this House or outside who think the answer is yes, let me remind them of this government’s record on foodland preservation.
Commitment by the government has been given in numerous statements and documents over the last 10 years that it will produce a land-use plan for the province with highest priority to prime land preservation. All kinds of ministers, the Minister of Agriculture and Food, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Premier have made these comments.
Well, we have 12 books on trends and options and a green paper, Foodland Guidelines, which accomplish nothing. This government will bring in trends and options and a grey book to resemble the escarpment rock face and some optional guidelines in the final plan of the escarpment.
I say to the members of this House and to the gallery, there is one thing that is important to note --
Mr. Kerrio: What gallery are you speaking to?
Mr. Swart: There is one thing that is important to note. Any final escarpment guidelines are diluted plans that come from the government --
Mr. Ruston: What gallery are you speaking to, Mel?
Mr. Gregory: The same gallery you all have been speaking to.
Mr. Swart: -- and become government policy, and the purpose and objectives of the act become meaningless in escarpment commission decisions or appeals to tribunals. In fact, the new government policy will be the plan and not the statement in the act. The purpose of the bill which the member for Etobicoke and I have placed before the members today is to legislate that those very desirable purposes and objectives of the act shall be the basis of all future decisions on the escarpment.
I am aware that there is no sure way of ensuring preservation of the escarpment by a government that doesn’t want to. Any government has final policy determination, and rightly so, but members over there have legislated principles through this bill. By God, they are either going to live up to them as a government, not just one cabinet minister, or back down in the full glare of public awareness. That is the purpose of this bill.
Mr. Ruston: Making a statement, Mel?
Mr. Swart: No more will there be the nice cosy arrangement where only people within 400 feet will know the commission has decided on an application for a development permit, or whether an appeal has been made or whether it has gone from the appeals officer to the Minister of Housing. The municipality will know under our act and any pertinent organization that requests to be notified will know. And with the appeal to the OMB anyone in any group can be heard, and through the OMB the final accountability is with the cabinet.
The Housing minister will no longer have the absolute power, incidentally, as he does not have in all other planning matters in this province. They must go to the OMB and through that to the cabinet.
Under our bill the escarpment plan will be developed by the commission on the present stated principles of the act. Full public input from all interested parties is fully allowed for. It will then go through the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development as an official plan for all counties and regions along the escarpment. As with all official plans, any and all parts of them can be referred upon request to the Ontario Municipal Board.
Obviously the OMB, which is not a policymaking body, must base its decisions upon the legislative principles of the act. By this process the government doesn’t get the opportunity to distort and undermine all of its stated noble objectives.
Once again OMB decisions can be appealed to the cabinet, but an independent body will have first ruled on the issue. Cabinet will have to make its decision front on and in the full glare of public awareness.
This procedure has two other advantages over the present act. Due to the requirement for the OMB hearing there will be greater and more meaningful public input, including municipal input.
Secondly, there will not be the bureaucracy, the overlapping and the contradictions of an escarpment plan and municipal official plans which is the end result of the current provisions of the act as we have it at the present time. There will be only the regional or county plan.
Local governments and residents will have easier access to input. They will feel a greater degree of local accountability, yet the overall public interest will be protected by the legislated purposes and objectives of the act and the monitoring, and that is the purpose of the continuation of the Niagara Escarpment Commission --
Mr. McKessock: Why do you need a monitor?
Mr. Swart: -- and the monitoring and the right of appeal by a continuing Niagara Escarpment Commission. It is absolutely essential that you have some body which is looking at that Niagara Escarpment Commission from one end to the other and ensures that there are uniform policies.
In summary, this bill changes the processes of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act to accomplish seven worthy objectives in the application of the principles of this act. It opens up decision-making processes to full public scrutiny and full public input. It assures that the purpose and objectives of the act are the basis from which decisions will be made. It makes the government ultimately responsible for any deviation from the principle of the act and not just one minister.
There will be only one plan covering any section of the escarpment, thus eliminating overlapping, bureaucracy and contradiction. It provides for an independent and longstanding board, the Ontario Municipal Board, to pass judgement on issues in dispute. It coordinates all planning appeals through that one body, the OMB. It removes the gulf -- the remoteness of the Niagara Escarpment Commission -- and the buffer -- the Niagara Escarpment Commission as a decision-making body -- between the plan and those it directly affects.
Those opposing this bill will set up -- and they have already done so -- all kinds of straw men. They will say the OMB hasn’t got the time and that its procedures are too expensive and complicated. This has already been said. More people can be appointed to the OMB, if they are short of people to deal with it. If there’s going to be full input and consideration, then that kind of time and those procedures are necessary.
They will say also that the present procedures are adequate. Well, they haven’t worked so well so far. They will say wait until the plan comes in. When the plan has gone out of the hands of the escarpment commission, then it is going to be too late. The cabinet will be able to distort it any way it likes. They will say there are details in this bill that won’t work. I say send it to a committee outside the House. Let us go over it clause by clause with the concerned people and iron out any details that might not work.
I say to the government that the escarpment is a provincial heritage that has tremendous meaning to most of the people in this province. Those on the other side of the House should not stand and block the opportunity for this whole matter to be closely scrutinized in a meaningful way.
Mr. Gregory: I rise this afternoon to speak in opposition to Bill 153 which acts not only to undermine ministerial responsibility hut also certain principles relating to municipal autonomy. I would like to address both these matters. I shall begin with the question of the authority of the Minister of Housing since that is the most central issue here. In rendering the minister’s derision to grant development permits appealable to the Ontario Municipal Board, Bill 153 in effect calls into question the whole system of parliamentary responsibility.
Mr. Foulds: Nonsense.
Mr. Swart: It puts it on the cabinet. That is parliamentary responsibility.
Mr. Gregory: The appeal of a development permit decision under the conditions presently existing in the Niagara Escarpment area is relatively political in nature. It is therefore an action that should be taken to some member of the elected government, and not to an appointed administrative tribunal which is not responsible to the people of this province. The Minister of Housing, by the same token, is and must continue to be responsible to this Legislature for any planning policies and processes --
Mr. Foulds: He has not been.
Mr. Gregory: -- given that his is a position of ultimate accountability. This bill can only be viewed in one way. It is derogation of the minister’s right to make a decision.
Mr. Swart: To the cabinet.
Mr. Foulds: Are you arguing for the divine right of the Minister of Housing?
Mr. Gregory: There is a large difference between policies which are being formulated and policies which are being implemented. Until a Niagara Escarpment area plan is in effect and the functions of the Niagara Escarpment Commission have been transferred to the municipal or regional councils, the minister’s authority must be upheld. To do otherwise is to create a situation in which the OMB will be making decisions on what is going to be government policy.
Mr. Foulds: They do that now.
Mr. Gregory: When the commission’s proposed plan is approved, it is then at the implementation stage. As such, the detailed implementation will likely come from time to time before the OMB. It would appear that in this regard the member for Etobicoke is not in accord with the leader of his party, who in the debate held in this chamber on November 14 last year stated that the Ontario Municipal Board is “an arbitrarily selected body, a body which is open to political influences, a body which has tended to lean consistently in favour of property and a body which has been an inadequate vehicle for the application of provincial policy, when there are provincial policies to apply.” That is on page 1797 of Hansard, November 14, 1977.
Mr. Foulds: Why are you attacking your own agency?
Mr. Philip: Do you agree with that?
Mr. Gregory: Given this statement by the leader of the third party, I can only say that I hope his colleague here in the House today does not share those sentiments and that he has a greater confidence in the board’s ability. I myself look upon the OMB --
Mr. Swart: Better than anything else you have got.
Mr. Gregory: -- as a valuable and indeed necessary adjudicator functioning within the framework of provincial policy.
Mr. Foulds: Then vote for the bill.
Mr. Gregory: However, one cannot, and I stress this, disregard and dislocate from the planning process those who are ultimately responsible for policy decisions.
Mr. Swart: Are you condemning your own planning act?
Mr. Gregory: I think it is important to recognize that if Bill 153 were passed, the increase of petitions by way of appeal would further burden the cabinet with matters which might more easily be solved elsewhere.
The extent to which Bill 153 seeks to broaden the rights to these appeals is in itself ludicrous. Any person could simply request a copy of any decision on an application for development permit to gain status in the action of appeal. They do not have to demonstrate that they have even the slightest interest in the decision, or even be affected by it. The creation of planning policies for the Niagara Escarpment area, as for any regional plan, involves maintaining a balance of municipal autonomy, while guaranteeing the preservation of the environment.
Section 2 of Bill 153 effectively brings pressure to bear on that balance by requiring that the Niagara Escarpment plan be incorporated and composed of the official plans of regional and county official plans.
Mr. Swart: What does the present act say now? It must conform.
Mr. Gregory: If this bill is passed, each town or county will in effect be given an official plan by the NEC to adopt. In a sense, although this may be a means to ensure that the escarpment plan is fully and properly implemented --
Mr. Swart: Then there is a hearing.
Mr. Gregory: -- this could be looked upon as an interference in municipal affairs by an elected body. Do you not think, Mr. Speaker, that to ask municipalities to modify their official plans to conform to a plan, recommended by the NEC and approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, after going through the public participation program required under the present act --
Mr. Swart: You haven’t read the present act.
Mr. Gregory: -- would be more advantageous to us?
By way of concluding, I would like to remind the member for Etobicoke of his party leader’s statement made almost one year ago today. At that time he called into question the OMB’s authority and jurisdiction in planning matters, pointing out that he felt the board’s existence undermined the concept of local autonomy; and that as a factor in planning delays, it was responsible for holding up jobs.
The suggestion to overcome these concerns of his was as follows: “The real answer is to take the OMB’s jurisdiction away, to whittle it down to cases where there is a severe difference of opinion. Take away their jurisdiction over official plans and over things like the downtown Toronto plan. And if you wish to put it at the political level, give approval to the Minister of Housing.” That’s a statement by your leader.
Mr. Kerrio: You cannot hold him responsible.
Mr. Swart: Not on the escarpment.
Mr. Gregory: I must say that I find it surprising that if the member for Etobicoke agrees with his leader, he would propose a bill significantly increasing the OMB’s autonomy, rather than taking away from it.
With the few moments I have left, I would like to touch on some of the things my colleague from Wellington-Dufferin-Peel spoke of a moment ago. They struck me as rather controversial.
You know, there were a couple of things. One that I wanted to touch on was, of course, the remarks my colleague made with regard to the ownership of the Terra Cotta Inn by one Clem Neiman. A note I received in regard to the closing of that lodge: “Due to an inspection on September 4 and on September 5, the sewage was flowing still, so it was closed, then opened again approximately three days later.”
Unfortunately I was in the position, because of a festival we had in Mississauga, of having to swim in the Credit River -- I have a picture here. Now, I didn’t know I was swimming in sewage brought about by a Liberal, Mr. Neiman. I’m sorry to hear that, it disappoints me greatly.
Mr. Mancini: That’s not very funny at all.
Mr. Gregory: That’s not funny at all is right, because the Terra Cotta Inn is in the beautiful Caledon that the members are trying to protect and the Credit River was being polluted by something owned by his friend.
Mr. Sargent: Why don’t you go back a bit further, Bud, and talk about your friend Yaremko? He made a million bucks in the same deal.
Mr. Gregory: It is interesting to note, too, in the letter Mr. Johnson quoted from that was sent by Neiman and Bissett -- of course, that’s Neiman and Neiman, actually. The Bissett is Senator Juan Neiman. But the one clause that really struck me -- and I am always hearing about this participation -- in the first clause on the second page, there are two things here: “We should point out that the writer is also a member of the Caledon ratepayers’ executive” -- executive -- “and there is no doubt that the proposed plan” -- Cantrakon -- “on the contemplated site” -- Cantrakon -- “will meet with substantial resistance.” How could an executive member of the Caledon ratepayers’ association make a statement like that? In effect, he would see there was opposition.
Mr. Foulds: You got that from Claire Hoy today.
Mr. Sargent: What’s your point?
Mr. Gregory: “We also believe, however, that there would be very little resistance to our location.” Isn’t that incredible? Do you believe that?
Hon. Mr. Norton: You know what conclusion we draw.
Mr. Sargent: Can’t trust any of them.
Mr. McClellan: I believe it.
Mr. Gregory: This man’s a lawyer. This man is saying, “If you buy our site the ratepayers will probably not object, but if you buy the other site, I’ll see the ratepayers object.” That’s beautiful business. A nice way of doing business, eh?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Not too veiled, is it?
Mr. Foulds: You can’t trust anyone.
Mr. Gregory: My heavens, my heavens.
Mr. Foulds: You know, if you made that implication against a member you’d be thrown out of this Legislature.
Mr. Gregory: I didn’t make it against a member. I wouldn’t want to be a member and have that accusation made against me, I’ll tell you. I’d be ashamed.
Mr. Foulds: The one you just made against that person. I should hope not. You have made a very serious and inflammatory allegation without base.
Mr. Gregory: The one I just said. I’d be ashamed if I were a Liberal. I’d be ashamed.
Mr. Philip: Say that outside the House. Make your accusations outside the House.
Mr. Gregory: If I was a Liberal and had a man like that as a bag man --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Gregory: -- and that was what they’re saying, I’d be totally ashamed.
Mr. Philip: Make your accusations outside the House.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Gregory: I’ll make them right here. Want to see it?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The interjections are out of order. Would the honourable member please disregard the interjections.
Mr. Gaunt: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Mr. Gregory: I hope I will.
Mr. Foulds: You don’t know what good faith means.
Mr. Gregory: The only other point I wanted to make, that this man who was objecting to that Cantrakon site was instrumental in representing a body which wanted to buy all of these acres surrounding Cantrakon. It’s right here. The offer to purchase --
Mr. Swart: Don’t discredit the whole rate- payers’ association by one man.
Mr. Gregory: Part of this offer to purchase said, stated, “Must be severed to create parcels.” Isn’t that interesting? Here’s a man who wants to preserve the Niagara Escarpment. Interesting. I hope those guys can live with that, I really do.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It has brought disgrace on the Liberal Party.
Mr. J. Reed: I would just like to remind the member for Mississauga East that I own 100 acres on the Credit River, about six miles downstream from this spot called Terra Cotta Inn --
Hon. Mr. Norton: Is it for sale, too?
Mr. J. Reed: -- and let me tell you one thing.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Did you buy out from Clem?
Mr. Kennedy: Did you talk to Clem about it?
Mr. J. Reed: The Credit River was polluted by the Tory Government for 12 years --
Hon. Mr. Norton: The Tory government doesn’t live on the river, you do.
Mr. J. Reed: The government was 12 years late in bringing the sewage plant into operation in the town of Georgetown --
Mr. Warner: Fouled up with Bennett’s speeches. That is enough to pollute any river.
Mr. J. Reed: If they study the records of the Ontario Water Resources Commission before it became the ministry the members will see exactly what I mean. If they looked at the log to see how many hours the bypass pump ran pumping raw sewage into the Credit River they’ll find out where the pollution comes from.
Mr. Kerrio: Hang your head, hang your head. Shame, shame.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order.
Mr. Gregory: Part of the sewage was Clam Neiman’s. That’s all I said.
Mr. Warner: They dumped Claude Bennett’s speeches into the river. That’s what polluted it.
Mr. Gregory: Why don’t you resign?
Mr. J. Reed: I rise to speak in opposition to this bill, partly because I’m always suspicious of anything the socialists create.
Mr. Kerrio: That’s not fair.
Mr. Warner: Bad judgement on your part.
Mr. Philip: I’d be worried if you weren’t.
Mr. J. Reed: I would like to make just a few comments. There was some mention made of what is now --
Mr. Philip: Your only problem is inconsistency.
Mr. J. Reed: -- commonly called the McKessock bill regarding the Niagara Escarpment.
Mr. Warner: That was pretty bad.
Mr. J. Reed: I supported that bill proudly and I just want to say that it was a bill appropriate for its time. It brought a message home to the government. It brought a message home to the escarpment commission, I know. There was something of a runaway bureaucracy on the commission. It brought a message home that the land owners on the I escarpment were not prepared to accept the threat of expropriation in order to accomplish certain objectives.
Since that time, as the chairman of the escarpment commission will tell you, or about that time, the commission realized that it had gone beyond the purview of public opinion. It had gone beyond the area of acceptability.
Land owners as a group are a pretty pliable lot. They tend to accept a good deal of control on their property and it’s only an irresponsible few who would object to a common sense approach to the preservation of the escarpment. I speak as a person who owns property under the control of a conservation authority, and I know whereof I speak.
I’ve had difficulty with the bureaucracy. I’ve found it has taken a good deal of time for the private land owner, and the organization set up to bring some semblance of control to a given area, to come together and learn to understand one another.
I do say that the bureaucracy in the past has flexed what it thought were its muscles, has stepped probably beyond the bounds of common sense in many cases. I think that has been common to a great number of the bureaucracies and we’ve had to learn to tell our bureaucrats there’s a time when they should put their brain in gear before they put their mouth in gear.
But at the same time, I believe the message of the McKessock bill has come home.
Mr. Swart: That’s why we got Cantrakon.
Mr. J. Reed: There are very few people in this House who do not want to see the Niagara Escarpment preserved.
Mr. Swart: Very few people who don’t want to say they want it preserved.
Ms. Gigantes: Right. Big difference.
Mr. J. Reed: There are some, of course, who would impose their will holus bolus, ad nauseam, upon those people who own property on the escarpment.
Mr. McClellan: That’s what this speech is -- holus bolus ad nauseam.
Mr. J. Reed: And there are those people who own property in the escarpment -- and there are very few -- who probably really aren’t concerned about that preservation. But I would say in the broad context that most people, whether they own land in the escarpment or whether they don’t, are concerned about the preservation. I say to the Niagara Escarpment Commission, some of whom I know are here today, remember that most of us who are property owners in environmentally- sensitive areas are very concerned about the preservation of those areas. We don’t want our rights trampled upon.
Mr. McClellan: What does that mean? What do you want?
Mr. J. Reed: What we would like to do is be encouraged to do things that are right and good and sensible and that aid and abet that preservation. We don’t want to be told what to do; we don’t want to be dictated to; but we certainly would like some encouragement.
If this bill confined itself to taking away the decision-making power of the minister I would be very tempted to support it -- if it began and ended there. But what the bill seems to do is simply substitute one bureaucratic process for another. I’m afraid the substitution may be the worse of the two evils. I have a certain confidence that the escarpment commission has gone through a learning process, that it is evolving and it is coming to terms with itself and with its problems.
Mr. Swart: The word is disintegration.
Mr. J. Reed: I would urge this House to allow the escarpment commission the time to go through that evolution. If this bill had any merit -- and I can’t even find the principle of it -- it’s certainly being introduced --
Mr. Swart: Some people don’t recognize it.
Mr. J. Reed: -- at the wrong time. They’ve got the message -- I hope and pray. They’ve set about on a new course --
Mr. Swart: Like Cantrakon.
Mr. J. Reed: -- I hope and pray. So let’s give them that opportunity. If it doesn’t work, we can always come back at the appropriate time and present the appropriate bill.
Ms. Bryden: I rise to support this very necessary amendment to the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act.
Mr. Gregory: Surprise.
Ms. Bryden: It is necessary because five years of experience with the act has proved it to be seriously flawed. We pointed out these flaws in 1973 but the government went ahead anyway.
The Liberals have found it so seriously flawed that many of them supported the member for Grey’s bill last spring which would, in effect, have scuffled the act altogether. That’s why I’m somewhat surprised that he is supporting the bill, but I welcome his apparent move in the direction of retaining the bill with amendments.
Mr. J. Reed: He didn’t scuttle the act, he just expounded some common sense on it.
Mr. Kerrio: He would have covered all of Ontario in that act.
Ms. Bryden: We still believe in the objective of the 1973 bill which was “to maintain the Niagara Escarpment as a continuous natural environment,” but we think that objective can only be met if the amendments in Bill 153 are adopted. By rejecting those amendments, the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel is also scuttling the 1973 bill as a vehicle for giving adequate protection to the escarpment.
These amendments are necessary because recent experience with development applications such as the Cantrakon one has demonstrated that there is not sufficient opportunity for public input in the development approval process. This ease has also highlighted the power of the Minister of Housing to override the decisions of the Niagara Escarpment Commission of the appeal hearing officer, of the official plan of a municipality, of the wishes of ratepayers’ associations and, not least, the expressed views of a great number of citizens throughout the province who are concerned about the preservation of this unique geological recreation and agricultural area for their own enjoyment, for future generations and for visitors to the province.
Many of the problems which have arisen with the development control process would not have been encountered if the government had followed Mr. Gertler’s advice in his 1968 report on the escarpment and purchased the most sensitive areas of the escarpment. Then, these areas would be beyond the developers’ reach and firmly under provincial control and protection. And when Mr. Gertler recommended this step in 1968, it would have cost about $31.5 million. Now, it would cost a great deal more and so reluctantly, we have to follow the development approval route.
The NDP, in 1963, opposed the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act because we supported Mr. Gertler’s proposals as an alternative. We feared that substitution of development control would result in the rape of the escarpment during the period when the overall plan for the escarpment was being developed. I’m afraid subsequent events have proved that in many cases, we were right.
We are now approaching a stage in the development of the Niagara Escarpment plan where the public will be asked to review the overall proposals for the escarpment. But before they have any opportunity for input, the commission, with a strong nudge from the government, has arbitrarily cut the planning area by 60 per cent. There was no opportunity for public discussion of this decision and the designation of a new shrunken area is left to the commission to settle with some consultation with local governments.
Mr. McKessock: There had been public discussion for several years before that happened.
Ms. Bryden: These are the reasons why both the planning process and the development control process must be opened up to more public input.
Now there are various ways in which this could be done. The procedures in the present act could be altered to allow for more notification of the public regarding proposals. There could be more opportunity for public hearings at the various decision-making stages and at the appeal stages. We could have an appeal to the cabinet which this bill does propose. But changes of this sort would require the establishment of new machinery under the act for both development approval and appeals.
Another alternative is to use the existing machinery which we have in the present planning process. That is what Bill 153 proposes to use. The Ontario Municipal Board is already set up as a vehicle for public hearings and appeals.
With regard to the quotation of my leader on the role of the Ontario Municipal Board mentioned by the member for Mississauga East, I think we have to recognize that the Ontario Municipal Board does not make government policy, it simply applies the law in the way it sees fit. Some of the law that it is applying and the official plans that it is interpreting we have some disagreements with. Therefore, we don’t always like the decisions.
In the case of the Niagara Escarpment, the Ontario Municipal Board would be bound by the terms of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act. It would have to make decisions in accordance with the objectives of the act, which is the preservation of the escarpment. Therefore, we think it is still the most suitable vehicle for conducting the public hearings and the appeals.
The member for Mississauga East also mentioned that we were taking away autonomy by wanting to have appeals to the OMB. The main thing is that we want to take away the lack of autonomy which we get with the Minister of Housing having the final say with no appeal from his decision. We want a final appeal to the cabinet which should represent the government’s interpretation of its responsibility under the act to preserve the escarpment.
Mr. Speaker, anyone who opposes this bill votes in favour of inadequate public hearings on the overall contours of the escarpment plan --
Mr. Kerrio: Just stick to your own interpretation. We will do ours. Do your own thing, Marion.
Ms. Bryden: -- on land-use planning in this province and on the best method of preserving this very sensitive area. Anyone who opposes it votes in favour of unilateral government decisions on the scope of the planning area. In fact under the present legislation, the commission could cut it even more or leave out some very sensitive areas in its new designation of the planning area.
With regard to the present power under the present act given to the Minister of Housing to override Niagara Escarpment Commission decisions, this surely is one of the most undemocratic features of our legislation: to let one person make decisions on his own interpretation of his responsibility under the act to preserve the escarpment. In the case of Cantrakon, it appears that his decision was mainly based on economic considerations, which are not the prime considerations mentioned in the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act.
Mr. Speaker, an interpretation of this sort makes a mockery of the goals in the act.
Mr. Ruston: That’s good reading.
Ms. Bryden: If the final decision-making had been placed in the hands of the cabinet as a whole, I am inclined to believe that we would have had a different interpretation of their responsibility.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member’s time has expired.
Mr. McCaffrey: I would like to make a comment or two if I may on this bill, speaking now from the perspective of a Metro member who, while this debate has been going on, has been both sometimes saddened and angered by the way it has become oversimplified.
I thought that the member for Beaches-Woodbine, just at the conclusion of her remarks, did that again. There is a tendency, particularly from both opposition parties, to oversimplify this whole issue --
Mr. Mackenzie: Something like your reaction to OHIP.
Mr. Warner: No one understands simplicity better than he.
Mr. McCaffrey: -- and make it sound as if what we are discussing is a matter of short term economic consideration versus a longer term commitment to protecting the environment, and all the things that means.
Mr. Mackenzie: The member for the $40,000 and up income group.
Mr. McCaffrey: Specifically jobs and high municipal taxes, versus preserving the environment.
Mr. Warner: You protect the $40,000.
Mr. McCaffrey: I think from the perspective of a member who represents constituents who are sensitive to the environment, concerned about it, and as anxious to protect it as every member on this side of the Legislature --
Mr. Warner: Don’t leave out the rich.
Mr. Mackenzie: Coming from you that’s a laugh.
Mr. McCaffrey: -- we do a disservice to people when we take this Cantrakon development and try to blow it up. It is somehow symptomatic of the way this party and this government doesn’t protect the environment and its commitment to that in the long run.
Mr. Warner: Back row revolt!
Mr. McCaffrey: The member’s party -- and they were all applauding that -- by being anti- development in this instance, like in other instances in the past when they have been anti-development, become once again unwitting allies of the establishment.
From the perspective of my community, the Niagara Escarpment is close to the Metro area; it is a beautiful and protected part of the province that the people in my community can visit. They all can’t afford a dinner at the Terra Cotta Inn, and they all don’t have establishment friends whose property is fenced off to those of us in the Metro area. Classically, unwitting allies of the establishment, I think, in this case.
At no point has anyone on this side ever weakened in their commitment to taking a rigid stand and protecting the environment.
Mr. Warner: You can start with George McCague.
Mr. McCaffrey: The part of the debate that I find, in the last week or two in particular, most distasteful comes from the other opposition party which, quite rightly I think, recognizes environmental issues as being sort of hot public issues. And in their preoccupation -- in fact I’d go further and say in their lust for more seats in the Metropolitan area --
Mr. J. Reed: Good word.
Mr. McCaffrey: -- they have oversimplified this, as they will next Thursday oversimplify the case of the residents on Toronto Island. I do wish simply that the members of the Liberal Party would spend more time appreciating the one city member they have got, the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell), and less time trying to make a foothold throughout.
Mr. J. Reed: She’s a great lady.
Mr. McCaffrey: The saddest observation is that Mr. Clem Neiman, who is the Liberal Metro chairman, lives in Caledon. I think if they had to go that far to find someone to chair that Metro Liberal committee, it is a sign of things to come.
An hon. member: Back to the bill.
Mr. McCaffrey: Both parties have talked throughout about the need for more public input and the vague fear that what we have done somehow precludes public input on mailers like this. Just in the last number of months, when we discussed the Liberal member’s bill dealing with the commission, this particular bill and other environment matters, I have seen more public concern, more public involvement on the environment, more open discussion by the responsible ministers in this government, and more accessibility to caucus members on this side of the House, than on most other issues that I can remember in the past year.
Mr. Swart: Minority government is great.
Mr. McCaffrey: There has been adequate input. There will continue to be adequate public input.
Mr. Hall: Don’t pat yourself on the back too hard, Bruce.
Mr. Mackenzie: The problem is you are only protecting the $40,000 and up.
Mr. McCaffrey: And every time you look at these issues, Mr. Speaker, the thing that the members opposite constantly forget, is that we have, notwithstanding the leader of the NDP’s public commitments, a very strong back bench over here; people who are accessible to their constituents.
Mr. Foulds: If they are so good why aren’t you in cabinet? They have a lot of vacancies.
Mr. Ruston: One row back.
Mr. Warner: At least you have a sense of humor.
Mr. McCaffrey: A very strong back bench; the commitment to the environment; the commitment to the escarpment and the good things that that means, and to make that escarpment accessible to people who can use it and accessible to people who can enjoy the protected natural beauty is what we’re all about. The public has had in the past and is going to continue to have access to this Legislature and to this government through the responsible committed members of the back bench.
Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, you’ve indicated to me that I have one minute. What I intend to say I had better say it quickly, so I’ll do that.
I intend to support this bill for a number of reasons. I see a few problems in the bill, but I support it mainly on the basis that the bill would limit the Minister of Housing’s power in matters such as this, mailers dealing with Cantrakon and other developmental problems. It would establish a procedure, I think, that would take it out of a single judgement of a cabinet minister and flow it through the OMB and thence through the cabinet.
It has been mentioned that the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act was seriously flawed when we passed it. I think that’s true to an extent. I think the operation of the commission, although well- intentioned, got out of hand at one point. I believe that is now changing, and the focus of that change was my colleague’s bill. So I think it has served its purpose.
I know the easiest thing would have been to have purchased the most sensitive areas of the Niagara Escarpment back when the Gertler report came in. That should have been done and it wasn’t done, but it could have been done at that time for $33 million. Now it would cost, I presume, well over $100 million.
I just say I’m supporting the bill.
Mr. Speaker: On a point of privilege, the member for London North.
Mr. Van Horne: During the debate on the first of the two private members’ bills this afternoon, as the time wound down there were five minutes indicated available to the presenter of the bill, the member for Grey-Bruce. I’m sorry, Mr. Speaker, to have to bring this to your attention because you were not in the chair for all of that debate. The presenter of the bill indicated that he was prepared to share his time with the member for Port Arthur and with yours truly, the member for London North.
The member for Port Arthur took approximately three minutes and, according to my mathematics, that left two minutes. I should have been given the opportunity to speak and I would like to express my displeasure with the ruling that did not allow me to speak at that time.
Mr. Speaker: What happens on the two balloted items is that after the routine proceedings when we get into the private members’ balloted items, the time remaining between then and 5:50 p.m. is divided up among the two balloted items. When the member for Grey-Bruce sat down, there were five minutes left that he wanted to reserve to wind up the debate.
Unfortunately, the member for Halton-Burlington had the floor and he used up two of those five minutes. When I recognized the member for Grey-Bruce he said he was willing to share the remaining time, which was three minutes, with the other two members who had indicated they wanted to speak. Those were the members for Port Arthur and yourself, the member for London North. The time was all used up as a result partly of an encroachment over his time by the member for Halton-Burlington.
Mr. Nixon: I’m glad we got that clear.
Mr. Sargent: Supplementary to that, Mr. Speaker --
Hon. Mr. Walker: Supplementary personal privilege.
Mr. Sargent: On a matter of personal privilege then. I don’t know what the hell is going wrong. We sincerely work and plan some legislation which is good for the people of Ontario.
Mr. Nixon: Right, and it was about to carry.
Mr. Sargent: This man was the chairman of the public utilities commission in London --
An hon. member: That was his problem.
Mr. Sargent: -- an authority. He knew more about the subject than anybody else in the House. We’re banking on his information and he didn’t get a chance to give it. It’s wrong that on matters of importance like this we’re a bunch of yo-yos here.
Mr. Eaton: Speak for yourself.
An hon. member: Jerks would be proper.
Mr. Sargent: We don’t get across what we’re trying to do for our people. I’m concerned that he is so right, and you should bend the rules to fit the situation.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, may I extend my apologies to the member for London North. I assumed there were in fact five minutes left and I had intended to leave him at least half of that time.
Mr. Speaker: When you rose, there weren’t. In response to the point made by the member for Grey-Bruce, I suggest there be a little better quarterbacking job done.
Mr. Sargent: I ran short seven minutes of my time to give it to them.
Mr. Speaker: If you preferred listening to the member for London North rather than the member for Halton-Burlington you should have looked after that in advance, not after the fact.
Sufficient members having objected by rising, a vote was not taken on Bill 152.
Mr. Sargent: I want a recorded vote. I want them named.
Mr. Speaker: Order. This item will not be placed before the House for a vote. There is no provision in the orders for a recorded vote.
Mr. Speaker: We have another balloted item.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, a point of order: I just heard what you mentioned. Standing order 36(g) pertains to the rule whereby a third of the members of the assembly by written petition may have the item stricken and must have their names recorded. I would take it that by not specifying what happens on the rule for 20 members standing, it means that it is entirely possible to have the names recorded. I would ask the Speaker to deliberate on that.
An hon. member: Let’s see who they are.
Mr. Speaker: No. I have looked it up because it had come to my attention earlier that the request might be forthcoming. I checked the standing orders. You’re quite right In the case where members wish to block a vote by petition in advance it requires signatures; in the case where I put the question, “Anyone who objects to the question being put should now rise,” there is no requirement in the standing orders for a recorded vote.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, a point of privilege.
Mr. Speaker: I am putting a question and I am on the floor. The only time a member can be recognized is when the Speaker hasn’t got the floor and the Speaker has got the floor now for purposes of putting the second balloted item.
Mr. Sargent: I rise on a point of privilege now.
Mr. Speaker: I’ll listen to your point of privilege when I recognize you. I have the floor now.
Mr. Sargent: When are you going to sit down?
Mr. Speaker: When I’m finished what I have to do.
Mr. Sargent: I’ll wait and see.
Mr. Speaker: Yes, you will wait and see.
Mr. Sargent: Don’t threaten me.
NIAGARA ESCARPMENT PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT ACT
Sufficient members having objected by rising, a vote was not taken on Bill 153.
Mr. Speaker: Order. This item will not be placed before the House. The member for Grey-Bruce.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, I say respectfully to you that we have a minority government situation here. The majority of the opposition and a lot of those fellows over there were in favour of my bill. This is a democratic House, but we don’t have a democracy in Ontario today. It’s a disgraceful thing that we can have the leader pull a string and they all come to their feet like puppets.
Mr. Speaker: Order; order.
An hon. member: Down with democracy.
Mr. Eakins: A mockery of the private members’ hour.
Mr. Sargent: A bunch of yo-yos.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Point of privilege.
Mr. J. Reed: I would just like to record my objection to this standard procedure of rising to block the bill.
Mr. Speaker: That is not a point of privilege.
Mr. J. Reed: My privileges have been offended in the House.
Mr. Speaker: There are standing orders. I am here to see that the standing orders are lived up to. There is no abrogation. If you can point out where somebody has violated the standing order, I am willing to listen.
Mr. Van Horne: You guys can twist it around if it is going to pay dividends.
Mr. Gregory: If you don’t agree with the rules you want to throw them out, eh?
Hon. Mr. Drea: What happened on abortion, my boy?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I’m sorry to interrupt, but I just beg to inform the House that in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to assent to certain bills in her chambers.
Clerk Assistant of the House: The following are the titles of the bills to which Her Honour has assented:
Bill 112, An Act to prohibit Discrimination in Business Relationships;
Bill Pr19, An Act respecting the City of Hamilton;
Bill Pr28, An Act to revive Beezee Foods Limited;
Bill Pr35, An Act to revive the A. M. Crawford Company Limited;
Bill Pr36, An Act to revive Moran Pharmacy Limited;
Bill Pr39, An Act respecting the Brockville General Hospital;
Bill Pr41, An Act to revive Ross and Ross Grains Limited.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Perhaps this would be a good time to follow the usual procedure of discussing the House business for the remainder of this week and next.
Mr. Mancini: Larry Grossman for House leader.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No thanks.
Tonight we will consider -- calmly -- the 1978 report of the select committee on health care financing and casts, sessional paper 195.
Tomorrow the House will be in committee of supply to consider estimates of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Monday next, I would remind all my colleagues, the House will not sit.
Mr. Kerrio: What is the reason for that?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member should know. All his colleagues are wearing poppies -- please.
Tuesday, November 14, we will proceed with legislation in the following order: Bill 163, the Residential Tenancies Act; Bill 151, the Land Speculation Act; Bills 114 and 118, the balance of the children’s care package. We will also proceed with the act introduced today by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs -- an Act to erect the Township of Nepean into a City Municipality. If any time remains, we will deal with the Attorney General’s Bills 74 and 75.
On Wednesday next, the resources development committee, the general government committee and the administration of justice committee will all meet in the morning.
On Thursday next, in the afternoon, will of course be private members’ public business time. At that time ballot item number 37 standing in the name of the member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey) will be dealt with.
Mr. Warner: Will you block that one?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Wait for the next one
-- following by ballot item number 38, otherwise known as the islands item, standing in the name of the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) -- a very fine ballot item I might add.
Mr. Eakins: The private members’ hour is a mockery.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Wait until the islands item next Thursday afternoon.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The acting House leader will just give us the facts.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I can’t resist on the islands, Mr. Speaker.
In the evening next Thursday we will be continuing with any legislation which perhaps might be left over from next Tuesday.
Next Friday, the House in committee of supply will continue to consider the estimates of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs.
The House recessed at 6:03 p.m.