The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. S. Smith: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I wonder if you would undertake, sir, to see whether the privileges of the very esteemed members of this House have been in any way infringed upon by the Treasurer.
I remind you that the member for Brampton (Mr. Davis), in May 1977, issued a statement in which a number of things were said. You may remember the statement yourself, Mr. Speaker. It included a commitment to “100,000 jobs a year during the next decade; 900,000 starts in housing over the next 10 years in Ontario”; and a number of commitments into the next decade, including a commitment to balancing the budget by 1981.
That honourable member did that, and yet the Treasurer yesterday, in a speech he did not deliver but issued to the press, said, “Beyond 1980, no sane man should ever venture a prediction.”
Mr. Nixon: I don’t think you should attack the Premier that way.
Mr. S. Smith: I wonder if this is not an unwarranted and unparliamentary attack on the member for Brampton. I would ask you, in your findings, to keep in mind that depending on what your findings are, sir, the member for Parkdale (Mr. Dukszta) and myself stand ready to be of service if necessary.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have had the honour of being a judge of physicians; and I can safely say that, in addressing this group, those comments I made yesterday apply very well.
Mr. Nixon: That’s the second attack on the innocent bystander. At least I think that’s what it was.
Mr. Speaker: I think the Leader of the Opposition would want me to attach as much levity to it as he himself did.
I call on the Treasurer.
Mr. Ruston: He’s going to give that speech now.
Mr. Cunningham: He’s going to tell us he has reduced the civil service by one.
Mr. Speaker: Can we hear the statement, please?
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
ONTARIO ECONOMIC STRATEGY
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, beginning next Monday, the first ministers of Canada will meet in Ottawa to discuss the economy. Last February, they and the ministers of finance set specific goals and objectives for Canada’s future and, next week, a review will be made of the progress made so far. As you know, increased job stimulation, reduction of inflation and tighter controls on government spending were at the top of their February list of agreed goals.
Today, as we approach that meeting in Ottawa, I want to review with members of this House some of the steps Ontario has taken already and some of the ways we will proceed to continue our commitment and obligation to the taxpayers of this province.
In keeping with the traditions of this government, I want also to take this opportunity today to outline our basic fiscal position and to provide early notice to the municipalities and school boards of our spending plans for 1979-80.
As members of this House are aware, we have cut taxes in the hospitality industry and in the mining industries. We continue to slow down the growth of public sector spending in the province. We have stimulated new job creation through measures such as the assistance to the Ford Motor Company and the summer employment programs which were expanded this year. All of us have witnessed one of the largest year-over-year increases in the number of employed people ever recorded in the province of Ontario. I am especially pleased that nearly all of these new jobs have been created in the private sector.
In my first statement to this House on October 24, I spoke about these employment gains in Ontario, the strengthening of our economic base and the improvement of our competitive position. I assured the House then, and I want to repeat now, that Ontario will encourage the private sector to create more jobs, because I firmly believe it is only the private sector which is able to create prosperity.
As a government, we will continue to provide an attractive environment for investment. A comparison of the growth rate of almost four per cent in Ontario this year to the growth rate in neighbouring states shows that industry shares our view that Ontario is a stable and dependable place in which to invest and expand.
Certainly other measures will be needed to provide short-term assistance as long as unemployment remains unacceptably high, and I will have more to say about that later.
However, today I want to deal with the issue of constraining public sector growth in Ontario.
For the past three months, I have been working with my colleagues to produce the 1979-80 spending plan. I am confident that every member of this House will appreciate that it is a difficult task because of the many requests for extra funds. However, with the assistance of the other ministers, overall spending growth targets for the next year have been agreed upon. These will continue the trend Ontario has followed since 1975, which I believe is an outstanding achievement and an example for every other government in Canada.
In the year prior to Ontario’s initiation of fiscal restraints (1974-75), year-over-year spending increases were running at almost 25 per cent. In the current year, they will be only about 6.9 per cent. I believe we can be proud of the fact that for the last two years in a row we have kept the growth in spending well below the growth in provincial revenues and gross provincial product.
The fact is that we actually spent less each year than the budget estimates predicted and yet, at lower costs in constant dollars, we were still able to maintain the high level of public services our citizens deserve and expect.
Without a reduction in the rate of government spending growth, any progress towards a balanced budget would be impossible. So I am pleased to say the hardest part of the process is well on target. We have managed to control government spending and we will continue to do so. When my predecessor said he hoped to balance the budget by 1981, he also counted on a growth in our revenues. But as members of this House know, this is the part of the equation which has not lived up to expectations.
Recent federal budgetary moves which will mean a reduction of some $400 million in our revenue next year -- and I’d pause there for a second because even since I talked to the press yesterday I have received a Telex from Ottawa changing some of these figures, so my figures are varying as the inputs change -- have made this target unachievable without massive tax increases. We have yet to learn the actual amount of the reduction and I’m basing the $400 million figure on information I received as recently as yesterday afternoon, by Telex, from Mr. Chretien.
I would stress at this time that we are still committed to a balanced budget and we’re still determined to reach that goal as soon as it is fiscally possible. By continuing our policy of prudent management and assuming an annual growth rate in the range of nine per cent in revenues, Ontario will be able to balance its budget by 1984.
Mr. Peterson: Are we getting a new charter?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I turn now to the province’s spending plans for 1979-80. Details are still being finalized within the various ministries of government, but agreement in principle has been reached on the overall rate of increase. My colleague, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells), has discussed these important matters with members of the municipal liaison committee and has received several recommendations from them in their resolution of September 15. The committee, among other things, has recommended that we abandon immediately the revenue-sharing formula known as the Edmonton commitment and that transfers of provincial funds to municipalities in 1979-80 be “commensurate with the rate of growth of provincial expenditures.”
I want to advise the House today that our government is prepared to accept both these recommendations. Spending by the Ontario government ministries for existing programs will be limited to an increase of about five per cent in the years 1979-80. Accordingly, we will increase our transfers to local governments and school boards by an average of five per cent.
In addition, we must meet our fixed obligations such as charges to service the public debt and payments to the teachers and public service superannuation funds, which are guaranteed by this province. These, I estimate, will grow by about 12.9 per cent in the coming year. Thus, the estimated overall growth in expenditures will be about six per cent in total.
From this, it can be seen that our government will keep its own programs well below the anticipated growth rate of inflation in the coming year. Details of the funding of the major items such as hospital budgets, municipal transfer payments and education grants will be made available in the near future by the appropriate ministers.
I want to take this opportunity to stress that we, in this government, are impressed by the spirit of co-operation shown by the municipalities and the school hoards of this province in a time of needed restraint. We appreciate the moral backing of the municipal liaison committee’s stated commitment to share in our efforts to restrain public spending at all levels of government.
No one in this government has ever suggested that restraint is easy, but I believe the co-operation of the municipal leaders of this province is a clear indication of the recognition of their important role as responsible men and women who have an obligation, as we do, to the taxpayers they represent.
I also believe that we have the understanding and support of most citizens, because they know it is their money we’re talking about and theft money we’re using to pay the bills. I believe very strongly that individuals and groups in our society and I would hope every member of this Legislature, understand and accept the fact that demands on government have to be moderated.
Following next week’s first ministers’ meeting on economic matters, our government will be in a better position to appraise and comment on possible new economic initiatives, and my colleague the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) and I look forward to reporting back to the House on that.
We want to make any such programs created by the provinces complementary to the efforts of the federal government and we wish to avoid duplication. However, at a time when unemployment is unacceptably high, in spite of the large number of new jobs being created, this government will feel free to act with incentive packages when such a move would be both wise and right.
These will be designed so they do not become a part of continuing programs of ministries, because in this way we will have the needed flexibility to assist in the job-creation efforts in the province at appropriate times, rather than adding to the fixed burden of the government in both good and had cycles of the economy.
I am confident that members of this Legislature will support this government’s efforts to restrain government spending and to proceed in an orderly fashion towards the maintenance of a sound and stable economy and an assurance that the legitimate needs and aspirations of all Ontarians can be fulfilled.
VENDOR INFORMATION PROGRAM
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Today I would like to announce to the honourable members the implementation of the vendor information program, a new initiative undertaken by my ministry’s retail sales tax branch as part of our ongoing efforts to improve access and services to taxpayers and the public.
As many will be aware, 18 months ago the Ministry of Revenue introduced a new series of tax bulletins to inform the public about changes in taxing legislation and to provide clear interpretive rulings in those areas where misunderstanding might exist. These bulletins, in conjunction with the technical seminar program and advanced ruling system, form the basis of a comprehensive campaign to convey straightforward unequivocal information to those collecting and remitting tax on behalf of the ministry.
Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to report today that the tax bulletin program has worked very well. My ministry has been enormously encouraged by the supportive response from the business community and has, as a result, carefully reviewed other means to disseminate information which might be introduced in support of the tax bulletin system.
The vendor information program comes as a major and positive product of this study. The new program comprises two parts. First, a vendor information kit containing a new publication, the vendor information booklet, and companion literature is designed to introduce new retailers to retail sales tax collection procedures.
The second part is a follow-up program of personalized assistance conducted by trained staff to explain the kit to new vendors and subsequently visit new businesses to answer any further questions in more detail.
We believe this twofold educational approach will be of significant value to new businesses in their first critical years and will effectively respond to many of the new vendors’ concerns before they escalate into problems.
The vendor information kit will be distributed at no charge to the 30,000 new retail businesses expected to register with the retail sales tax branch during the next 12 months cud will also be available on request to 120,000 other small businesses presently dealing with the ministry.
In addition, the vendor information booklet will be made available at all retail sales tax and Northern Affairs offices, the consumer service bureaus of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations and the small business division of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism.
The vendor information booklet will also shortly be available in French.
The vendor information program is a significant contribution by the Ministry of Revenue to this government’s commitment to improve customer services which was announced by the Premier earlier this year.
Clearly, taxing statutes must be administered in a way that is thoroughly comprehensible to the businessman collecting retail sales tax on behalf of the government. I believe this new program goes a long way in support of this objective.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I should point out to the honourable members that during this week and next the retail sales tax branch is staging a public information exhibit in the Macdonald Block. This exhibit is similar to those staged at a number of fall and country fairs throughout the province, as part of the revenue division’s information program. I would encourage the members to take this opportunity to view the exhibit first hand.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I would like to provide this House with a progress report on the Wintario lottery and Wintario grants program, as well as outline a number of new directions we plan to follow.
I believe there will be general consensus in this House that the Wintario grants program since its inception has been overwhelmingly successful as a measure in helping municipalities and voluntary community organizations across Ontario in the development of cultural and recreational facilities and resources.
No fewer than 19,800 projects, large and small, capital and non-capital, have been approved. Since it began in May 1975, over $216 million has been generated by the Ontario Lottery Corporation for the Wintario grants program. Over $139 million has been spent to date and the balance is fully committed to approved capital projects which have not yet been completed.
Wintario has paid one-third or one-half of the cost of over 2,800 capital projects. Because of the matching arrangement, we are an important partner in a half-billion dollar capital construction program. Probably every member in this House has, in various ways and at various times, been instrumental in bringing to a successful conclusion Wintario-aided projects in his or her constituency.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Even in Niagara Falls.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: In the capital projects program alone, what we have done is quite remarkable. A substantial number of new facilities have been developed to accommodate recreational activities. These include: 96 new arenas and curling rinks, 24 swimming pools, over 365 different outdoor recreational amenities, 160 community centres and 195 creative playgrounds.
Mr. Sargent: That’s window dressing. We know all about that.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: In the cultural area, new building projects include 15 new libraries, 18 art galleries and museums, and more than a dozen theatres.
Mr. Mancini: You are always patting yourself on the back.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Aside from new construction, we have also helped finance a major renewal program for existing buildings. Over 375 arenas, 385 community centres, 60 libraries and 50 theatres, museums and galleries have been renovated.
Mr. Nixon: You didn’t have anything to do with that.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Wintario has also provided total funding for the adaptation of 43 culture and recreation facilities to provide access for the physically handicapped.
Mr. Speaker: Order. If the members don’t want to hear these statements, our guests want to hear them. Would you please be quiet.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: In addition to meeting obvious community recreational and cultural needs through the construction of these facilities, a significant byproduct has been the creation of job opportunities, both in the construction industry and the management of the facilities.
Mr. Makarchuk: You mean the government is creating jobs?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Under the Wintario noncapital grants program, we have increased opportunities for community groups to travel, purchase equipment, host conferences and workshops, undertake media and publicity projects and complete many other worthwhile projects.
It is normal for any social program, and especially one with such wide parameters as Wintario, to take two or three years to mature, for people to fully understand its possibilities for assistance. The Wintario program has been no exception. Its success has been so tremendous that the demand for Wintario funds has grown each year to the point where present demand for funds is approximately double our current revenue. It is obvious that the time has come when we must plan our future program in a way which will achieve the maximum impact on high priority cultural and recreational needs within the anticipated available revenue.
This is not a new and sudden revelation. In October, as members likely know, some changes were made in the Wintario non-capital grants program. Example: travel to invitational events is now limited to within Canada. This was a move felt particularly useful in the light of our international dollar exchange problems. However, this regulation will not affect in any way the opportunities for Ontario athletes to compete in international championships. We are also removing our support for trophies and plaques which have traditionally been funded by the community. It is, however, in the capital grants part of the program, which accounts for roughly 75 per cent of the total revenue, where we have been paying particular attention to ways and means of adjusting future requests for assistance to anticipated future revenue.
We have considered, and for the time being rejected, for example, the expedient approach of simply reducing our matching portions to all requests without reducing in any way the number of requests through exclusion of certain categories. We have also examined the possibility of insisting that a municipal government contribution of five per cent toward a local non-government project should serve as a prerequisite to any Wintario funding. In fact, this proposal was so widely discussed that it was perceived to be ministry policy.
It was felt this requirement would have the advantage of guaranteeing that any non-government request for capital assistance enjoyed community-wide support and presumably met a recognized community-wide need. However, it could be argued, and indeed has been in this House, that applying the municipal grant as a precondition results in a de facto veto power by our local governments for any Wintario grants going to a non-governmental group. Moreover, many voluntary organizations pride themselves on their independence of the tax base. Therefore, it is believed this potential veto is not acceptable.
After having reviewed a number of ways whereby future requests could be balanced with anticipated revenue, we have concluded that the most equitable and rational approach is to develop a province-wide inventory of all cultural and recreational facilities and programs and carry out a survey of unmet needs. On the basis of such an inventory and study of needs, we will be able to set our priorities and criteria on a local, regional and provincial basis for future capital grants programs. Concurrent with and as part of a province-wide study, we will also encourage local needs studies and will provide Wintario financing for such studies.
In conducting this province-wide review, we will consult with the municipalities and other client groups and interested parties, including members of this House. Effective today, we will defer consideration of all new capital applications until the review has been completed and new priorities and criteria established.
I should stress immediately that this in no manner means that funding under the Wintario program will grind to a halt. As indicated earlier, the non-capital grants applications will be received and processed without interruption on the basis of revised categories issued in October. In addition, applications for capital planning and feasibility studies will continue to be considered.
It is also important to note that all capital applications on which there has been a freeze since August 1 will now move forward and will be processed under the existing criteria as detailed in the 1978 applicants’ guide. In addition, the ministry will accept until December 31, 1978 outstanding capital grant applications for specific projects which have been under detailed discussion with ministry consultants nor will this survey delay the payment of financial commitments made to approved projects in various stages now under way. It is estimated that in this category payments of $100 million will he made in the next few fiscal years.
This time period, during which we will be conducting the survey and establishing priorities and criteria, will also provide the advantage of being able to ascertain more clearly the anticipated revenue from Wintario within the context of recent developments in the lottery field.
Finally, as a further indication that Wintario hats by no means come to an end of a successful journey and, in fact, is only facing a possible change in direction, I would like to assure the House at this time of our intention to proceed shortly on a new HalfBack program. Members will recall that earlier this year non-winning Wintario tickets could be used to reduce the purchase price of Canadian-authored books and Canadian magazines.
That variation of the Half-Back program was successful net only in stimulating the public to support Canadian culture financially, but also in raising the public’s awareness of our culture by focusing a greater attention on Canadian authors. We plan under the new version of Half-Back to provide similar benefits to Canadian films and records.
I hope that my ministry can continue to enjoy the support of members on all sides of this House in planning and implementing the most effective use of the Wintario lottery funds for the cultural and recreational needs of the province.
GREAT LAKES WATER QUALITY AGREEMENT
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I have a brief statement to inform the honourable members about the signing of a revised agreement between Canada and the United States on the water quality of the Great Lakes which took place yesterday in Ottawa. As most of the members are now aware, the new agreement reaffirms the determination of both countries to restore and enhance the ecosystem of the Great Lakes basin.
I was most pleased to take part in this brief ceremony on behalf of the province since Ontario is not only the chief Canadian beneficiary to the agreement, but we have shared with Environment Canada a heavy responsibility for implementation of the agreement and contributed substantial effort and resources toward its clean water objectives.
The new Canada-US agreement brings up to date the provisions contained in the original agreement signed in Ottawa in April 1972. That agreement has resulted in much progress towards improvement of Great Lakes water quality. Under its terms, a review was to be undertaken within five years to see how effectively it was working and where improvements could be made. The review was carried out by Canadian and US negotiations with the advice and recommendations of the International Joint Commission and with the involvement of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, the eight Great Lakes states and the public in both countries.
The new agreement not only strengthens the 1972 agreement, but calls for various additional programs and measures to meet problems in Great Lakes pollution which have come to light or were not fully understood in the early 1970s.
Significant revision or improvements over the original agreement include programs to strengthen and renew the commitment of both countries to control pollution from municipal and industrial sources, with sources that have been pinpointed to date to be under control by 1983; more effective control of persistent toxic substances and other pollutants; identification of airborne pollutants entering the Great Lakes; identification and control of pollution from agricultural, forestry and other land-use activities; better surveillance and monitoring mechanisms; placing new limits on radioactivity; and provisions aimed at further reducing phosphorus loadings.
With regard to a reduction in phosphorus loadings, I would report at this time that Ontario has met its commitments with regard to installing phosphorus removal facilities at all major municipal sewage works in the province. Several large US cities have not yet kept pace -- Detroit, Toledo, Syracuse, Niagara Falls and Cleveland -- but they intend to have these facilities operating as soon as possible.
Mr. Kerrio: You said that 10 years ago.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: That’s them, not us. As members are aware, the Ontario program of water quality surveillance and assessment covers the nearshore waters of the Great Lakes. Cost is shared equally with the federal government under Canada-Ontario agreement.
Following the signing of the new international agreement yesterday, Ontario intends to renegotiate the federal-provincial agreement to take into consideration the new international agreement’s focus on toxic substances and pollution of the lakes from land-use and atmospheric sources.
The valuable role of the IJC in monitoring the implementation of the international agreement will be continued. The commission will send a full report to governments on the progress toward achievement of the general and specific objectives each and every year.
PC APPEAL FOR FUNDS
Mr. MacDonald: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: yesterday I was in personal receipt of a letter from William M. Kelly, chairman, PC Fund Ontario.
Mr. Eaton: I hope you contributed.
Mr. MacDonald: I normally don’t get such applause for myself. The letter urged me to mail today a cheque for the support of the Progressive Conservative Party.
Mr. MacDonald: I am touched by this personal consideration from as suspicious a person as the bagman for the Tory party.
Mr. Breithaupt: Auspicious or suspicious?
Mr. Yakabuski: How much are you sending?
Mr. MacDonald: Two questions come to mind. Is the Tory party so rich that it can send this out indiscriminately to everybody in the province, or is it so poor that it requires the assistance of people as long identified with the New Democratic Party as myself?
Mr. MacDonald: However, in the spirit of the political ecumenism which this letter seems to suggest, I would like to send over to the Premier an application form to join the New Democratic Party.
Mr. Sterling: It is sent to all the Cadillac owners.
Mr. Martel: That is no guarantee he will get in though.
Mr. MacDonald: I would draw to the Premier’s attention that on the back of the application form there is a declaration which states that you must not be a member of any other political party. Assuming that he is qualified, I would be glad to sponsor his membership into the New Democratic Party.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member’s party is unlike our own party, where one doesn’t need sponsorship to enter --
Mr. MacDonald: You are right.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- where we are totally democratic --
Mr. Foulds: You just have to look at the member for Oriole (Mr. Williams) to see that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and where we don’t need to declare that we accept and will abide by the principles, program and constitution of the New Democratic Party.
Mr. Martel: You don’t have a program.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We are free thinkers. I appreciate this very much. I will certainly assess it very carefully and I know what the result will be.
Mr. MacDonald: So do I know what the result is going to be to this.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the honourable member should be flattered. The people on this side of the House sense there are those rare occasions when he is beginning to show a little maturity and objective political judgement. When Mr. Kelly asked me the people on the other side of the House who might be willing to contribute, the member for York South was first of the list.
I confess, and we have confessed this before, the Progressive Conservative Party is attempting to broaden its base for financial support.
Mr. MacDonald: Indiscriminately.
Hon. Mr. Davis: On this occasion, we probably have gone a shade too far. We even have purchased the odd subscription list. I will check for the honourable member’s own comfort that this isn’t the Playboy subscription list, that possibly being the reason he was canvassed for support.
I know it was unfortunate.
Mr. Speaker: I suppose we can stand a little levity here from time to time, but the member for York South failed to indicate which, if any, of his privileges has been violated.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, my political integrity has been challenged.
Mr. Kerrio: Just endorse the cheque and send it back.
Mr. Breithaupt: They even sent it through the mail.
Mr. Breaugh: The mail is too fast.
Mr. Ashe: It was mailed in June.
Mr. Breithaupt: Last year.
Mr. S. Smith: I’d like to direct a question to the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker. Is the minister aware of reports now before the United States’ House education and labour committee which would appear to indicate the possibility that Canadian Johns-Manville Company Limited and Raybestos-Manhattan may have withheld from workers processing asbestos in this province evidence of the potentially deadly effects of exposure to asbestos?
Mr. Wildman: Are you only getting on to this now?
Mr. Martel: Three years.
Mr. S. Smith: Will the minister attempt to obtain the documents which have been presented in front of that particular committee, and would he report to this House, in consultation with his colleague the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), whether in his view there are any grounds either for the laying of charges or for the Workmen’s Compensation Board to launch a suit against the companies in question, if in fact information known to the companies was withheld negligently from the workers who may have become victims as a consequence?
Mr. Martel: Stop apologizing for them. You mean “deliberately.”
Ms. Gigantes: Criminally negligent.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the report that was --
Mr. S. Smith: The word is “negligent.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Carry on.
Mr. S. Smith: Poor Elie, he doesn’t understand what “negligent” means.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The members don’t see each other very often.
Mr. S. Smith: Thank heaven.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I am aware of the report in the Globe and Mail this morning, and of course I would be interested in obtaining a copy of that report.
For the member’s own information, he might wish to know the background of what has gone on in Ontario in the past. It might be of interest to know that in 1972, for example, we set our present standard of two fibres per cubic centimetre, which was then the lowest in North America. For 30 years copies of chest x-ray reports on workers in the asbestos area were sent not only to the plant doctor but to the workers as well. For some six years, the general practitioner of each worker has received a copy of the x-ray report.
In addition to that, our special services and research division has recently carried out a study for data-base purposes about asbestos-related disease, having in mind that we may soon want to release a new standard in that area.
I should also like to tell the member that we are already in the process of setting up a list of present and past employees of Johns-Manville so that we can become aware of what kind of exposure they have had. If the exposure has been sufficient, they should be advised and the Workmen’s Compensation Board should be advised of the possibility of a claim.
Regardless of all that, I’m still most interested in what the member has brought up. It was quoted in the paper and I would be interested in seeing what the report down there had to say.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, considering specifically the letter allegedly in the hands of lawyers that indicates Johns-Manville warned Americans about asbestos dangers by means of labelling in 1964 but did not do so in Canada until 1968, does the minister not think there might be grounds for the Workmen’s Compensation Board, on behalf of workers who may have been exposed between the years 1964 and 1968, to actually bring a suit against the company, given the fact that as individual work people they do not have that option apparently, under the law of this province? Would it not be a good idea to review this matter with a possibility of opening it in a civil action on behalf of those people who were exposed during those particular years?
Ms. Gigantes: Another Dow Chemical.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I indicated an interest in obtaining the information that is before that committee. I have also indicated the existing and past interest of this ministry in the problems related to asbestos, as well as our ongoing studies in an effort to determine what exposure past and present workers have been subjected to. I feel that’s a responsibility we have demonstrated; an ability and a desire to look into and manage the problem. I think that is as good a commitment as I can make today.
Mr. Mackenzie: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister will recall that some months ago in this House I asked if it was not time that the government of Ontario instituted, as has been done in the United States, a massive public campaign to locate those workers who worked in asbestos during the war and since.
The answer, as I recall it, was that doctors were on the lookout for people who had a direct relationship or who had worked recently in asbestos where they knew this was the case. I don’t think that is sufficient.
I am wondering if it’s not now time, in view of the rather damning evidence that is appearing, that we initiated a massive campaign, through public notices and so on. to locate all those who worked in asbestos during the war and since the war.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, when the member for Hamilton East refers to contacting doctors, I think he is referring to the federal department’s thought that, through the Canadian Medical Association, they would like to contact physicians through Canada to see if there are any work histories that they may know of with regard to exposure to asbestos. What they are involved in is in the federal area.
What we are involved in is collecting the names of workers, past and present, who have worked in asbestos factories, reviewing any exposure they have had and deciding whether they should be contacted and whether the board should be contacted.
I am always willing to hear opinions and to get advice about it, but I would hesitate to try to start public notices about it and create great anxiety in people’s minds when they may not really have a problem, but I am always ready to discuss that with people.
Mr. S. Smith: Would the Minister of Labour, when looking at information of this kind, also consider the undertaking -- with the ministries of Health and Environment -- of epidemiological studies, not only of those who worked in these plants and their families but also those who lived in the immediate neighbourhoods of plants where much asbestos was being processed, in order to follow up, 20 years later, on the health hazards that may have arisen in those neighbourhoods?
The minister will know from his previous work that such studies have been done in certain chemical industries and that neighbourhood problems have occurred as well. Would he consider proper epidemiological investigation in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I referred earlier to the fact that our special studies and services branch had recently carried out a review of current knowledge regarding asbestos-related diseases. One purpose of that study was to enable us to have better information regarding any proposed change in the regulation. But another object was that the study should act as a feasibility study regarding the possibility of a larger epidemiological study.
I do not think I would be prepared at the moment to commit myself to the type of study referred to by the Leader of the Opposition until I have the results of those studies that have been undertaken already. But the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott) is here, and I am sure he has heard the honourable member’s remarks and will be discussing them with me.
Mr. Martel: Would the minister not consider a similar approach directed to the sintering plant in Sudbury, where it was necessary for the steelworkers to use their paper to advertise across this country and the United States to try to bring to the attention of those workers who had worked in the sintering plant that it was necessary for them to get in touch with their doctor?
Isn’t that the direction we should be going as a province, to get people who worked in the plants for a particular period of time to go to see their doctors to determine if there are any problems, and isn’t it only by advertising that we can do that?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I want to make it very clear that I am not averse to any search to find workers who may have been exposed. Obviously the fact that all these studies have been undertaken and are under way is a demonstration of our desire. Again, I would be prepared to think about and to talk to others about the benefit that might be achieved by publicizing the program. If it was unnecessary, because we were able to get adequate records about past employees, then I would really doubt whether it is necessary. But I am certainly willing to keep that in mind.
OIL AND GAS PRICES
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Premier regarding a statement made by the Minister of Energy (Mr. Auld) on natural gas policy within Canada.
Does the Premier endorse the minister’s apparent view that natural gas pipelines should not be extended past Montreal? If so, does he not believe that by forcing the price of natural gas down by preventing additional exports from Alberta, there might be greater penetration into the Montreal gas market and we might be able, in fact, in places east of Montreal, to supplant the present use of imported, very expensive imported oil and become more dependent upon our own resources?
Why has Ontario not taken a very firm position against the export of natural gas and in favour of supplanting oil with natural gas wherever possible by lowering the price of natural gas and forcing it to be sold here?
Hon. Mr. Davis: That really is a question in many parts. I think the province of Ontario really has not objected. We have been asked for points of view on the extension of natural gas pipelines. If memory serves me correctly we have supported the extension to Montreal and the surrounding community. Certainly from our standpoint, if it makes economic sense, if it solves problems, obviously we would prefer to see this Canadian, or Albertan resource -- one has to be careful how one phrases it -- used within this country.
Mrs. Campbell: They are not synonymous.
Mr. S. Smith: A very sad story.
Mr. Mancini: You were right the first time.
Hon Mr. Davis: What do you mean I am right the first time? I am right the second time too, and the third time.
I think, Mr. Speaker, we are really speculating a great deal here if the Leader of the Opposition is suggesting that: (a) there is that large a market east of Montreal; and (b), there is sufficient demand for natural gas as a replacement for oil that would in a significant way affect, shall we say the market price of natural gas.
I am no expert in the marketing of natural gas, I don’t pretend to be. Nor can I predict accurately gust how many uses can he made of natural gas that are presently being served by oil. Assuming that gasoline for one’s automobile or the trucking industry, or diesel fuel, are among the major consumer uses of oil -- obviously we are not running automobiles on natural gas yet --
Mr. J. Reed: Why not?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, I just have to tell the --
Mr. Speaker: Don’t bother; stop.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I just want the Leader of the Opposition to understand, and not to misunderstand, I think, what was a pretty logical presentation by the Minister of Energy pointing out some of the practical problems we face.
No one is objecting to the extension of the pipeline from Montreal, but I think it has to be relatively viable economically. I think it has to serve some purpose that is for the general benefit, perhaps not in the first six months or year but certainly at some point in time. I just hope the Leader of the Opposition doesn’t think we are totally inflexible in these matters. The Minister of Energy was trying to give as reasonable a presentation of the position as he could; and I think in terms of logic, et cetera, it made a great deal of sense.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, can the Premier explain why it is that his Minister of Energy meets with the ministers of energy of the other provinces to adopt some kind of common position with which to face the federal government? Given the fact that in most of the key issues of the day the Premier would certainly understand that we, as a consuming province, have to depend to a great extent upon the power of the federal government to obtain concessions and compromises from the producing province of Alberta, why in heaven’s name would there be a policy of attempting to line, up with Alberta against the feds, when about the only power we have against Alberta to bring them to some Canadian view when it comes to pricing their oil and gas, is the federal power in this regard?
Surely this is a case where we are lining up on the wrong side for the consumers of this province.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the Leader of the Opposition should be relatively careful in pursuing this. If the Leader of the Opposition is saying the Minister of Energy of this province shouldn’t meet to discuss common problems with ministers of energy or mines from across this country, I really don’t think he means that.
Mr. Nixon: He supported it, and it’s going to result in another dollar a barrel.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the former leader of the Liberal Party that his people haven’t really got too good a position on this issue.
Mr. Nixon: Yours seems to change with each conference. Why are you supporting the extra dollar per barrel?
Hon. Mr. Davis: This government has battled going to world prices, while his leader and his party has been advocating world price from day one.
Ms. Gigantes: You sold out.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They’re extremely vulnerable.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk does not have the floor.
Mr. S. Smith: If the Premier would tell the truth it would be a lot better.
Mr. Speaker: I’ll have to ask the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw that remark.
Mr. S. Smith: Yes, I withdraw that remark, Mr. Speaker. But the Premier is certainly not telling the full story, I can tell you that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have always attempted to do so. If I hadn’t been interrupted by the former leader I would have explained even more of the story.
Mr. S. Smith: You have sided with Alberta and that is dumb.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If the Leader of the Opposition is saying he wants to come to the defence of the way the federal Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources has handled this whole situation, then let him apologize for him, I’m not going to.
Mr. S. Smith: You decided to apologize for Lougheed.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The truth of the matter is that this province resisted price increases.
Some hon. members: Nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, I won’t be quite as categorical. People in the Liberal Party opposite have been advocating a movement upward. The government of Canada made an agreement with the province of Alberta. I’m prepared to say to the first minister of this country on Monday, “Mr. Prime Minister, if you want some help from me and others to sit down and discuss reasonably, and not through the press, with the Premier of Alberta the advisability of forgoing an increase, which is provided in an agreement that you unilaterally signed with that province without our agreement, I’m prepared to do it.”
Hon. Mr. Davis: We never agreed to that agreement at all; members opposite were the ones who were promoting higher prices.
Mr. S. Smith: But not above US prices.
Mr. Nixon: You insisted on --
Hon. Mr. Davis: They certainly were.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Look at Hansard in May 1976.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The attempt of the Leader of the Opposition in this province to say that we’re on the side of an oil price increase --
Mr. Nixon: You are.
Mr. Martel: You are.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- is without question a distortion of the position we have historically taken.
Mr. Cassidy: Hysterically.
Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary from the honourable member for Ottawa Centre.
Mr. Cassidy: Is the Premier not aware that as recently as the end of August his Minister of Energy was saying specifically that Ontario wanted to have support for its position to the agreement, but then two months later was saying that because the agreement existed Ontario felt it had to go along? Why did the government not take any action between June, when the minister was looking for support from the opposition parties, and the energy ministers’ meeting in order to get the federal government to sit down with Alberta and renegotiate, if that was its position?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the Minister of Energy explained this, the other day. Apparently the member wasn’t listening or perhaps he wasn’t here.
Mr. Foulds: He did not explain it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Our position is very simple. We are not in support of the price increase. There was an agreement made between the government of Canada and the province of Alberta.
Ms. Gigantes: Does that mean subject to conditions?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The government of Canada knows full well that we will support a reasonable process of negotiation because we are dealing with individuals and provinces. This has been one of the shortcomings of the government of Canada. They should have sat down with the Premier of Alberta in a reasonable way to try to prevail upon him not to have the price increase on January 1. We are in support of that sort of process.
Mr. Foulds: Did you talk to Lougheed yourself?
Mr. Makarchuk: Did you talk to Joe Clark?
Hon. Mr. Davis: If the member is in the process of defending the federal Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, and the way he went about it, let him be my guest; we’re not. We are saying very simply, that our position on this has been very clear.
Mr. Foulds: It’s not clear.
Mr. Cassidy: It’s very muddled.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I remember so well the debates in 1976 from people across the House and what they said about pricing.
Mr. Nixon: You preferred the notoriety from the beginning.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am prepared to state this position again next Monday or Tuesday. I think it’s unfortunate that the leader of the New Democratic Party is attempting to say that this province is in support of crude oil price increases, because we’re not.
Mr. Foulds: Either you are against it or you are for it.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Given that the point at issue has to do with the clause in the agreement that states that if the price were to go above the posted price in Chicago that that dollar would not be collected; given that as the point at issue and given the difference of opinion seems to be around the question as to whether to use 92-cent dollars, as was the case when the negotiations took place, or 85-cent dollars that seem to exist today --
Mr. Foulds: Liberal Chretien dollars.
Mr. S. Smith: -- and given the fact that all of us who have favoured an increase in the price of oil have always said it must not go above the American price, why does this government --
Mr. Foulds: Then you are in favour of the increase.
Mr. S. Smith: Why does this government -- and the Premier knows this to be the case -- why does the government take Premier Lougheed’s view on the 85-cent dollar rather than the federal government’s view on a 90-cent dollar? Once you have instituted a price increase you would then suffer greatly if there’s a fluctuation in the dollar, which makes us uncompetitive with the United States of America.
Mr. S. Smith: Why is the government supporting the wrong side of this particular dispute?
Mr. Nixon: You were talked into it before the meeting took place.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, unlike the members opposite who never seem to want to support, or didn’t when we were discussing price in 1976 --
Mr. S. Smith: Your blended price, that was laughed out of court.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- didn’t want to support the concern of the consumer in this province, it’s intriguing to see their sudden interest in this issue. I would only say to the Leader of the Opposition there are two issues.
Mr. Nixon: Because you made such a mess of it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: One is the interpretation of the existing agreement. If, in terms of that agreement, the feds are successful in maintaining no price increase in January, within the terms of the agreement, God bless.
Mr. S. Smith: Well help them.
Mr. Foulds: How?
Hon. Mr. Davis: We are helping them. If it means a renegotiation of the agreement, I am prepared to join the Prime Minister and others in asking the Premier of Alberta to consider it --
Mr. Laughren: You are a little late.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- but I just wish the Leader of the Opposition wouldn’t appear to be defending the way they have done business in Ottawa on this issue. That’s part of the reason we are in this difficulty.
Mr. Bradley: I am for another Kingston conference.
DEATH OF DOUGLAS PHILLIPS
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health arising out of the tragic death of Douglas Phillips, the 61-year-old man who was turned away from two hospitals in the east end of Toronto and was subsequently sent to a third on August 24, and who died the next morning. Is the minister perfectly satisfied that this death was not due to cutbacks in the health field? Is the government prepared to review the funding of hospitals in order to ensure that emergency cases like Mr. Phillips are not turned away in future?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First of all, Mr. Speaker, let’s start at first principles. It is not acceptable to anyone in government, in the medical profession, or in the administration of health care services of any kind, to turn away a person who is in need of the services available in a particular facility. Secondly, that particular inquest is not complete. It is going on today. Thirdly, having read the morning press, there are a lot of questions in my mind, so accordingly, I have instructed my assistant deputy minister to send a lawyer to the inquest this afternoon to seek status for the ministry in that inquest to that we may cross-examine and elicit, in the inquest, a number of pieces of information which we think we need.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister aware that at the time Mr. Phillips was turned away from the Centenary Hospital in Scarborough there was a patient in the hospital who could not be moved to a chronic-care facility because the hospital couldn’t find a place to put him, and that had the chronic care facility been available, a bed could have been made available for Mr. Philips and his tragic death might have been avoided?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I would point out if the member would look at his research in this morning’s Globe and Mail, later on in the article it points out that it’s not at all clear who turned him away and all this. That’s the point of the inquest. That’s the point of my sending staff to that Inquest to ask particularly pointed questions.
I would point out to you, later in your research it says when the gentleman went back to Centenary he was, in fact, put into a bed prior to being then transferred to St. Michael’s Hospital. There are a number of unanswered questions which the newspaper article can’t possibly answer for me, as Minister of Health. That’s why I want our ministry involved in that inquest so we get all of the information out.
Mr. Havrot: Yes, the member should get his facts straight.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, what steps are the minister and the government prepared to take in order to ensure that emergency facilities to accommodate cases like this are available and that, in addition, hospitals like Centenary are capable of coping if they get landed, not just with one coronary patient, but with a number of people because of an accident or some other tragedy which has created the need for a number of beds in a very short period of time?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr Speaker, it is standard and expected procedure in any hospital that with the co-operation of the administration and the medical staff, the elective admissions of any hospital will be handled in such a way that the hospital can handle the emergency load.
I think it would be improper for us as politicians, even before an inquest has been completed, even before a number of people who have been referred to in the earlier testimony and in the member’s research have had an opportunity to give their aide, to try to draw any conclusions.
Let me say, though, the member knows the spending on hospitals is, in fact, the largest single expenditure of this government. It accounts for in excess of $2.1 billion in this current fiscal year. I do not feel that members can attribute the restraint in spending, not cutbacks --
Mr. Cassidy: Yes, cutbacks.
Mr. Mackenzie: They are cutbacks.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: A cutback to me means you have less than you had before. I don’t see how anyone can call a ministry budget that has gone from $3 billion in 1975 to $4 billion in 1978 a cutback in health spending. That is absolute lunacy.
Mr. Foulds: Your program is absolute lunacy.
EMPLOYEES’ HEALTH AND SAFETY
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Premier about the government’s delay in returning Bill 70, the health and safety bill, for consideration by the Legislature. In view of the fact that Bill 70 received its second reading in this chamber a year ago tomorrow, can the Premier indicate when the Legislature can now expect to have the bill back in the House?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would think we can expect to see the bill back in the House in the relatively near future.
Mr. Laughren: This session?
Mr. Breaugh: In the fullness of time.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In view of the fact that we have had promises like that from the former Minister of Labour, and in view of the fact that the present Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) has been telling the resources development committee this week that it is out of his hands, can the Premier undertake that Bill 70 will, in fact, be back in the Legislature in time to be adopted by Christmas so that the long wait from the government’s promise of omnibus health and safety legislation made three years ago can finally come to an end and we can have effective health and safety protection for all of the workers of Ontario?
Mr. Martel: You remember Elliot Lake, Ball?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I agree with the leader of the New Democratic Party in the importance of this bill. After all, it was this government that introduced that bill and took the initiative in this field and it is our intention to move ahead with it. I only wish the leader of the New Democratic Party showed the same interest in protection of tenants and the need to expedite that through the process of this House.
Mr. Martel: We haven’t held it up for a year.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, you haven’t held it up yet?
Mr. Martel: Not for three years, yet.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I see. But you are working at it.
Mr. Warner: Try answering the question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can assure the leader of the New Democratic Party that when I say “the foreseeable future” that’s what I mean.
Mr. Laughren: This session.
Mr. Foulds: And your vision is very short.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is very short. My vision in terms of this being reintroduced is very short. That’s right.
Mr. Mancini: Supplementary: Could the Premier inform the House what particular parts of the bill are causing his government problems, and if we can expect to see the bill in pretty well the same fashion that it left this House, with the amendments that were made in the standing committee?
Mr. Bradley: He’ll have to check with the member for London South (Mr. Walker).
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think it would perhaps be a little premature --
Mr. Cassidy: Premature? After a year?
Mr. Foulds: You have had nine months. This is the longest gestation period.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- to spell out exactly what form it would take. I could become provocative and suggest that if there had been a little consistency across the House, and so on, we might have had this bill through somewhat earlier.
Mr. Foulds: Especially in the form in which the workers need it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But I can assure the members opposite that I expect we will see it before Christmas. I expect so.
PAYMENTS TO MUNICIPALITIES
Mr. Epp: I have a question for the Minister of Revenue. Given that the Minister of Revenue is invoking section 86 of the Assessment Act, and given that he made a lengthy statement in the House on Tuesday regarding section 86 and the removal of the freeze on assessments, I wonder whether the minister could indicate to this House what he means when he says, “Even though the use of the new factors will cause a redistribution of grants among municipalities and school boards, I wish to state emphatically that no municipality or school board will receive less grant in 1980 because of the introduction of new factors.
What does this statement mean? Does it mean that in actual or in absolute dollars no municipality will receive any more dollars? Or does it mean that the percentages will remain the same for 1980 and, therefore, if they are getting a five per cent increase in 1979, they will get that same increase in 1980?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Straighten it out, Lorne.
Mr. Foulds: Were they to be 92-cent dollars or 85-cent dollars?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: I think the statement is relatively clear. What we are saying is that no municipality will suffer because of the lifting of the freeze of the equalization factors.
Mr. Warner: They all suffer because of this government.
An hon. member: Where’s it going to come from then?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: When we produce the new equalization factors, no municipality will get fewer dollars in grants than it is receiving under the present equalization factors. That is what I am referring to.
An hon. member: Frank’s going to give you more money, eh?
Mr. Epp: Supplementary: In other words the minister may very well be freezing the number of dollars in 1980 for various municipalities at the number they are getting in 1979. That’s the way I understand that statement.
The other indication is that we are told by staff that --
Mr. Speaker: Question.
Mr. Epp: It’s a supplementary, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: I haven’t heard a question yet. You’ve had the floor for more than a minute.
Mr. Epp: Given that the statement was made, how will this affect Metropolitan Toronto both in theory and in practice, since we have been told that in theory they will get fewer dollars but in practice they will get more dollars?
Mr. Laughren: What’s your theory? Do you have a theory?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: I don’t recall making that statement. I don’t know where that information came from.
Mr. Nixon: It’s a very good statement.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: I would say to the member, in answer to the first part of his question, there is no question that there are some municipalities in this province that are getting a larger share of the provincial grants than others. Some of them may not actually receive any more than they are getting now for a period of time until the adjustments are made through the equalization factors.
I have no knowledge of the other questions the honourable member has asked.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister saying in his new statement that he is going to be compensating the city of Windsor by way of equalization grant for the loss of revenue over the past three years?
Mr. Foulds: No, he’s not saying that.
Mr. Warner: No, he wouldn’t do that. He said he wasn’t saying that.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: No, I am not saying that. I am saying that eventually, with the new equalization factors, the city of Windsor will get the proper amount of grants. But we’re not going back. It’s obviously not going to be retroactive.
I also said in my statement that the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells), along with the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson), was looking at an interim program to provide some assistance for some of the municipalities that are not receiving the proper amount of grants at the present time.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism. Can the minister indicate what steps his ministry has taken to implement the recommendations of the Crapo report on the Wawa-to-Thessalon zone, especially for making Sault Ste. Marie the focal point for attracting tourists to Algoma?
Specially, what commitment has the provincial government made to the completion of the marina for the Sault? Also, is the Pine Street marina as it is being proceeded with at present -- that is, with 26 slips -- adequate to fulfil the requirements of the marina as recommended by Crapo?
Mr. Peterson: Is there a by-election or something?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I will be pleased to get that information for the member and, if he is here tomorrow morning, I will reply in detail.
Mr. Wildman: Supplementary: In getting that information, will the minister take into account the delay of more than a year in the application for a Wintario grant and the difficulty the municipality has had in matching the funds it received from the federal government --
Mr. Mancini: Reuben, do you hear that?
Mr. Warner: Talk to Roulette Reuben.
Mr. Wildman: Is he ready to recommend to the Minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Baetz) and/or the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) that the provincial government will provide the funds that are needed to complete the marina?
Mr. Laughren: You don’t care about the north, Larry.
Mr. Warner: He doesn’t even know where it is.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will try to have a conversation with my colleagues between now and tomorrow morning, but I will give the honourable member all the information I can at that time.
Mr. Eakins: Supplementary: Since taking office, the minister has hardly even discussed the tourism of Ontario. When is he going to give tourism the profile it deserves in the province?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The second major speech I made was in Peterborough to the Ontario Motel Association. I think it’s safe to say if the member took a few moments to check with the people who were in attendance, and I’d be happy to show the member the mail we’ve had in response, they were quite pleased With the remarks I made that evening.
I spent extensive time yesterday afternoon with the people from Tourism Ontario who indicated the history of theft relationship with my ministry, my two immediate predecessors, was excellent. I challenged them to indicate to me any place where it might have been inadequate or not up to par. They didn’t give me very many examples of where they weren’t satisfied with theft relationship with our ministry.
I have spent another day in Ottawa fighting very hard --
Mr. Martel: I can see you are full of bruises. I can see a patch over your eye.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- to get the federal government to agree to give some emphasis to the tourism industry by way of deregulating the airline industry. Otto Lang didn’t even bother to show up. Perhaps the member might address the same question to his friends. I have spent a lot of time focusing on tourism since I took this job.
Mr. G. Taylor: I have a question of the Minister of Culture and Recreation. Since he has changed the guidelines on Wintario, I received a letter from the Ontario Arts Council suggesting that different organizations deliver theft recommendations for approval of grants to the Ontario Arts Council. Since he has changed the guidelines on Wintario, would he be instructing the Ontario Arts Council to go back to the system where it makes the choice of who gets the grants and not some entrepreneur outside its organization?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I will take the question under advisement.
Mr. Eakins: Supplementary: Following the question asked about the grants, can the minister tell us how many thousands of dollars, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, have small communities in Ontario to pay in interest costs because cheques have not been sent out for projects approved by his ministry? He has not sent out the cheques and they’ve had to pay interest costs, which are thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I cannot answer in detail. I don’t know how many thousands of dollars have been spent on interest. But I do know -- and I think the honourable member also knows -- that when a project goes forward the Wintario funds are only matching funds. They wait until the funds are raised locally, and Wintario grants do not match indebtedness. I’ll look into it, but I don’t think it’s something Wintario can do much about.
Mr. Speaker: The Ministry of Labour has the answers to several questions asked earlier.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) recently asked me a question regarding the necessity of an employee who is returning from an injury, able to perform light duties, quitting his job to look for other work and losing his seniority with his employer in order to avoid having his benefits cut to 50 per cent because the employer had no light work for the employee to do.
There was an appeal on that matter yesterday. I have endeavoured to find out the verdict of the adjudicator, but he is en route to Toronto. I’ll try to report to him tomorrow on the final outcome of that.
Mr. Foulds: That is the fastest decision on an appeal we have ever heard.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Just this past week, the member for Nickel Belt raised a similar question as it relates to the current strike at Inco in Sudbury, where a worker is willing and able to return to light work but is prevented from doing so by the general work stoppage at the company.
I see no reason why benefit payments under section 41(1) of the Workmen’s Compensation Act should be withheld or reduced in the case of workers who co-operate with the board and who are available to accept employment. If the worker fulfils these conditions during the course of the work stoppage at International Nickel there should be no need for him to resign his position with the company; and likewise his benefits should not be reduced.
The board concurs with this point of view, and I would ask that any questions regarding this matter be directed to a Mr. Rourke at the Sudbury office of the Workmen’s Compensation Board.
Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: Can the minister ensure that cutbacks to 50 per cent pension benefits will not occur for someone who is in a light-work category when there is no light work available in the community, irrespective of whether there is a major work stoppage in the community, and that full benefits will be paid?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think section 41 is really quite clear, if one refers to it. It indicates that if a worker is available to accept employment, and co-operates with the board in that search, I see no reason why the section should not apply.
Mr. Martel: Final supplementary: Is the minister aware there are a great number of men who have been released from Downsview who have been advised they can only resume light duty, and that the board has immediately reduced their benefits to zilch, not even 50 per cent? Is the minister prepared to have someone in Toronto look into all those cases? As he knows, I alone have sent him about 10, and my two colleagues from the Sudbury basin have done likewise.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, those were the very items I was referring to in my answer. If the member wishes someone in Toronto to look at them as well as Mr. Rourke in Sudbury, I can arrange for that; but I have been advised that the board concurs with the answer I have given you. If the member wishes someone in Toronto to discuss the cases with him as well, I will be glad to arrange that.
Mr. Peterson: Point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, if I may. Would it be possible for you to keep an eye on the cameras, and turn out the lights after they are finished, because --
Mr. Speaker: It is not possible for me to do it, but if the person who is responsible is within earshot, will they please turn the lights off?
Mr. Peterson: I don’t expect you to climb up -- will the last one out please turn the lights off?
NURSING HOME BEDS
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health: Is the minister aware that the report from the Essex County District Health Council indicates that hospitals have many patients awaiting placement in nursing homes, and that the waiting period in the Windsor area for a nursing home bed in approximately four months I ? Would the minister consider increasing the licensed capacity of nursing homes in the area by 100 to overcome the serious need, and in this way reduce the pressure on acute treatment beds in the hospitals?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Ask and ye shall get.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member knows the Essex County District Health Council has under consideration a number of functions with respect to rationalization of health services in the county, in particular in the city of Windsor. I have indicated in the past that where a health council can substantiate a need for an increase in the numbers of nursing home beds I am prepared to consider it. I think that health council did produce a report earlier in the year -- I’m not sure whether it was a report or a discussion document -- which was not satisfactory on that issue. So I would wait until I see that rationalization study completed, which I understand will not be very long, and make a decision then. Certainly where the need can be substantiated we are quite prepared to consider increasing the numbers.
When you have certain capacities in your hospital system you want to be sure that before you start approving more nursing home beds, which after all cost the government on the average about $5,000 a year since most of them are extended care beds, you want to be sure you are getting the best use of the ones you have.
You look at it in the total perspective.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: since the lead time to set up new nursing home beds is quite substantial, would not the minister consider it quite urgent to provide additional nursing home facilities, or at least announce that a certain number could be built at this time and not necessarily reach for the suggested 100?
Mr. Laughren: The Liberals are for restraint and they are not for restraint.
Mr. Martel: It is restraint but not necessarily restraint. It sounds like conscription all over again.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know what’s so magic about the 100 figure. It may well be that it needs 150, and it may be that it needs only 50.
The fact of the matter is that we have an extensive system of services in Windsor in the hospital system. I recall looking at the budget figures for the last three years; our spending on hospitals in Windsor has gone up 25 per cent in three years.
What I am saying is that we want to make sure we are getting the best use of those facilities before we start talking about building additional new ones.
I grant the honourable member there is a problem we have been discussing with that health council: the need for a placement coordination service in the area. It may well be that the problem can be resolved through better use of existing facilities rather than having to build new ones.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member for Windsor-Riverside with a final supplementary.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of Health, wouldn’t it make more sense in Windsor and other communities to put money into home care so that we could take care of our senior citizens before their condition deteriorates to the extent that they have to go into nursing homes and hospitals?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As a matter of fact, I would invite the member to examine the programs in his community. He will find there is an extensive home-care program which has been there for a number of years.
Mr. Cooke: It’s not adequate enough.
Mr. Warner: It’s not good enough, and the minister knows it.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Perhaps what the member meant to refer to was the chronic home-care program. As I have indicated on several previous occasions, both here and in estimates, that program is being expanded gradually across the province as the money is available.
Mr. Warner: It’s too bad the minister didn’t read the report from the select committee on health -- care costs.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In the member’s particular area, he will know that I have indicated to the health council and to the hospitals that if they can rationalize the services in that community to find the amounts of money which the Thorne-Riddell report indicated were there, then a chronic home-care program is one of the five new programs for the area which I am prepared to approve for the use of those moneys.
Mr. J. Reed: A supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: No. The member for Simcoe Centre.
Some hon. members: Oh, no.
Mr. C. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism if he will take his seat. Since I missed his first and second major speeches --
Mr. Speaker: Question.
Mr. C. Taylor: -- and since I understand that the Reisman report will be delivered shortly, will he have any recommendations or discussions on the Reisman report discussing the auto pact?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, I know that the Reisman report was released just a short time ago.
Mr. Breaugh: It is after three o’clock.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Obviously we don’t have a comprehensive analysis done yet. We are pleased to note that Mr. Reisman obviously agreed with a lot of things that this government had been saying for quite some time, with regard to the support of the auto parts industry, for example.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: in the face of that, we thought the House would be entitled to a comprehensive statement, which we will make tomorrow morning.
Mr. Laughren: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister assure us that he will table the papers or submissions that went to the Reisman commission from his ministry?
Mr. Cassidy: Tomorrow.
Mr. Laughren: Tomorrow?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will have a look at the conditions under which they were filed. Unless there was some special condition under which they were filed, I would not have any problem with that. Obviously, it will show that Mr. Reisman reacted positively to a lot of suggestions we made.
Mr. Laughren: Which he didn’t do.
Mr. Swart: There was nothing positive in his statement.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: May I ask the minister what action he plans on taking concerning the expansion of Canadian parts manufacturers into an area in which they have a specialized skill, in the light of the fact that they could be in a strategic position with the present auto trade pact?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes. Obviously we have been concerned about that. This province indicated some time ago that we thought the federal government ought to be setting up a specific auto incentive program. We also indicated our willingness to participate in that program to a very major degree.
Mr. Laughren: There were no strings attached at all.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: One of the major beneficiaries of that type of program, that incentive program, would be the auto parts industry. Mr. Reisman referred to the need for some sort of financial assistance to the industry and to the need to proceed rather immediately on that front.
As I say, this is something we have long been advocating. We will be perhaps speaking about it at the first ministers’ conference on the economy next week, and I will have more to say tomorrow morning about some specifics.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member for Halton-Burlington with a new question.
Mr. J. Reed: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, the rotation was here Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: We are in our proper rotation.
Mr. Kerrio: You should come here more often, Mike.
Mr. J. Reed: Is the Minister of Energy aware of the rather far-reaching decision that was reported in the Globe and Mail this weak involving the hydro-electric commission of the township of Nepean versus Ontario Hydro? Justice Craig ruled that sums that had been charged by Ontario Hydro under the headings of return on equity and cost of return since 1966 have, in fact, been illegal and have been paid illegally, and that the township of Nepean, which withheld these payments since 1974 in contest of the case, actually now is not obliged to pay those sums. Is the minister aware of that? Can the minister tell us how many other municipal utilities are being asked to pay these illegal charges and how much money this amounts to?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I am afraid I wasn’t aware of that; I will find out about it and certainly report. What day was it?
Mr. J. Reed: Just a point of clarification, it is in Tuesday’s proceedings at Osgoode Hall which are between the horoscope and the death notices.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Which do you read first?
Mr. Ruston: Horoscope.
Mr. J. Reed: I always like to establish that I am still here.
Mr. Speaker: Well you have done that.
Mr. J. Reed: By way of supplementary while I am on my feet, could I ask the minister what action will he take, upon establishing the validity of this decision as reported in the Globe, to change this kind of billing so we are not going to be into a massive financial problem over errors by Ontario Hydro?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I really wouldn’t want to make any comments until I find out what is going on.
DEPARTMENT STORE TAKE-OVER BID
Mr. Laughren: A question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism: In view of the fact that the Foreign Investment Review Agency tells us there is considerable provincial input into the decisions they make, both on new investments and on take-over proposals, would the minister tell us what his recommendations were to the federal agency concerning the Simpson-Sears, Simpsons merger bid, and if that recommendation has changed in view of the Hudson’s Bay bid?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Those are among questions that indeed I just asked in the ministry yesterday. I would suspect I might be in a position to at least advise my staff as to what might happen in the near future on that later, not this week but perhaps next week. I’m not sure that in the ordinary course I will be able to indicate to the House what our original recommendation was. If the terms upon which we operate with FIRA permit me to do that I will of course indicate that to you.
Mr. Laughren: Supplementary: in view of the fact 50 per cent of the acquisition applications FIRA deals with are from Ontario and in view of the fact that 80 per cent are small businesses; and also given the well-documented detrimental effects of the interest and dividend payments that flow out of this country as a result of foreign ownership -- we will have a deficit of about $4 billion this year -- does the minister agree with the review agency’s comments that in 95 per cent of the cases the decisions that are taken by the agency are compatible with the recommendations by the provinces concerned?
Finally, would the minister at least table the guidelines under which the decisions are made as to whether or not any given acquisition or merger is in the best interests of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Again, I might say I have already indicated at an earlier time that I think one of the problems with FIRA has been the fact they have tended to drift away from their original mandate, which was neither to close the door entirely nor to open the door entirely but to set out proper circumstances under which Canada might properly get maximum benefits from anyone who was allowed into Canada.
That is roughly the sort of thing we look at in terms of the applications that come along. I will see if there are specific guidelines set cut which may be of use to the honourable member. Obviously, in dealing with a difficult area such as this there are rather individual and subjective decisions that you have to make because none of them is going to fit into specific guidelines. Often you are in a situation, for example, where you have to say: “Is it better to have no jobs here than jobs under circumstances which we don’t like too much?”
However, I will see what information I can provide for the member to give him some guidelines on that matter.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, in response to the question the member for Hamilton West asked of the Premier (Mr. Davis) last Thursday on a spill and contamination of water in Port Loring, I would advise him that we were aware of that in October 1977, I think October 7, and a great deal of activity followed our notification.
First of all, there were a lot of geological studies carried out. Obviously, in the first instance the affected wells, because they were severely affected, were known. However, subsequent to that more wells were confirmed to be contaminated; and then, of course, we had to establish who was liable. Obviously this was a matter to be settled if necessary in the courts. All during this period of time, I believe the staff of the ministry was being quite co-operative with the residents in assisting them to establish the liability.
Water has been supplied to the residents and now, of course, a new well has been drilled and all that remains to finalize this incident is to determine who shall have the continuing responsibility for that communal well. I expect that will be determined very soon. Obviously it’s not the responsibility of the residents to take liability in this instance, because they were obviously innocent. I think a good solution has now been found.
The member also asked whether or not there is any danger to the health of the residents. We think not. As the member knows, it was a gasoline spill and is easily detected.
Mr. J. Reed: Are you suggesting that gasoline is not dangerous?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Certainly in the most serious cases the contamination was obvious right from the very beginning. Because water has been supplied all during that period of time we feel that no one’s health has been in danger.
Mr. S. Smith: They are using it for cooking.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: However, if that isn’t satisfactory and the residents do wish an examination, I’m prepared to consult with the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) to see that is done. Given that water was supplied all during that period of time we do believe there is a small likelihood of consumption of the contaminated water.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: does the minister not realize that the spill took place two years ago? Can the ministry say how much was spilled? It’s my understanding it still doesn’t know. Can the minister explain why an order was not issued under section 17 of the Environmental Protection Act which would insist that the company obviously responsible for the spill clean it up; and how it could have taken a year since the notification of his ministry for this matter to he still dealt with as haphazardly as is the case?
Will the ministry replace the pipes and the water tanks in the homes of the people since they are thoroughly contaminated with gasoline? Is the minister not aware that some of these people are cooking with the water containing gasoline, because even though water was supplied they had to go and carry it in plastic containers a considerable distance every day of the week?
Mr. Foulds: Isn’t that the same question you asked when you asked the original question?
Mr. Speaker: The question has been asked.
Mr. S. Smith: Finally, does it really bother the minister that these people should happen to want a little bit of fresh water after two years of this? Does it bother the member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton)?
Mr. Speaker: The question has been asked.
Mr. S. Smith: How can it be that the ministry was so slow to act? Can the minister now guarantee that the water will be hooked up by crossing the highway, as it has to do, before the freeze-up occurs there, so they won’t have to wait until the next spring before they are hooked up even to this well, even with the poor tanks they now have?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I am really disappointed that the leader of the Liberal Party would infer that there has been no action in this particular case. It was easy to prove, but not in a legal sense, who was responsible and that has to be done. He surely can’t ask the Ministry of the Environment to be held accountable for the slow process of negotiations either inside or outside the courts.
Mr. Warner: We remember Dow Chemical. You did a great job on that one.
Mr. Cunningham: It was sub judice.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: What the ministry has been doing -- and I think very well -- is assisting the residents of that area to negotiate with the company. At all times the staff of our ministry has been on the side of the residents and helping them.
That is the difference between the member’s position and ours. We don’t think that every problem is best solved in the courts. We think that good negotiation, when it is clearly stated there is a responsibility and it subsequently has been proven and accepted, is the better way to go.
I don’t see the value of issuing an order on a company when by negotiation they accept that responsibility. Surely that’s a better way for the democratic system to work.
BOISE CASCADE DISPUTE
Mr. Hennessy: I would like to ask my question of the Minister of Labour. In view of the serious situation existing at the Boise Cascade plant, and being home last night and hearing there were some more problems in the area, has the minister taken any further steps to try to solve this situation?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: As the member knows, in response to concerns expressed by members from all parties, telegrams from several people and our own ministry’s concerns about the situation in Fort Frances, we did last week convene a meeting of the parties from both sides but unfortunately no agreement was reached. I am aware of the concerns that members from all parties, particularly from that area, still have. In response to that concern, it is our intention to appoint a disputes advisory committee to review the problems in the Fort Frances and Kenora area with regard to Boise Cascade.
I think it might be of interest to members to know I have just received a message that Robert Joyce and Mr. Stephen Lewis have agreed to act as disputes advisory committee members for me.
STANDING ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE COMMITTEE
Mr. Philip, from the standing administration of justice committee, reported the following resolution:
That supply in the following amounts and to defray the expenses of the Ministry of the Attorney General be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1979:
Law officer of the crown program, $2,890,000; administrative services program, $33,483,000; guardian and trustee services program, $5,459,000; crown legal services program, $14,877,000; legislative counsel services program, $590,000; courts administration program, $70,630,700; administrative tribunals program, $7,566,000.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that in addition to the regular committee schedule, the standing social development committee ait the evening of Monday, November 27 and the evening of Tuesday, November 28 to consider Bill 163.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
PLANNING AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Bennett moved first reading of Bill 183, An Act to amend the Planning Act.
Motion agreed to.
ONTARIO LAND CORPORATION AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Bennett moved first reading of Bill 184, An Act to amend the Ontario Land Corporation Act 1974.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The amendments to the Planning Act are to try and speed up the process we are presently dealing with; to simplify the real estate transactions affected by subdivision control; and, third, to ensure that the provisions of the act respecting subdivision plans and the subdivision consents are not avoided.
In the matter of the amendments to the land corporation act, it’s more of a housekeeping measure to give the authority to conduct the land through the Ministry of Housing.
PITS AND QUARRIES CONTROL AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Warner moved first reading of Bill 185, An Act to amend the Pits and Quarries Control Act, 1971.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Warner: The purpose of this bill is to authorize the Minister of Natural Resources to direct that a pit or quarry be graded or filled in when it constitutes a danger to the public and is no longer in operation, in order to ensure public safety.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before proceeding with the order of business announced for today, I wonder if I might have the concurrence of the House to call a few third readings in preparation for an attendance on Her Honour tomorrow morning?
ORDERS OF THE DAY
The following bill was given third reading on motion:
Bill 151, An Act to repeal the Land Speculation Tax Act, 1974.
Motion agreed to.
CITY OF WINDSOR ACT
Mr. B. Newman moved second reading of Bill Pr22, An Act respecting the City of Windsor.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
ROYAL TRUST CORPORATION OF CANADA ACT
Mr. Johnson, on behalf of Mr. McCaffrey, moved second reading of Bill Pr25, An Act respecting the Royal Trust Company and Royal Trust Corporation of Canada.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
COUNTY OF LENNOX AND ADDINGTON ACT
Mr. Johnson, on behalf of Mr. J. A. Taylor, moved second reading of Bill Pr27, An Act respecting the County of Lennox and Addington.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
REGIS COLLEGE ACT
Mrs. Campbell moved second reading of Bill Pr31, an Act respecting Regis College.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
TOWN OF EXETER ACT
Mr. Gaunt, on behalf of Mr. Riddell, moved second reading of Bill Pr33, An Act respecting the Town of Exeter.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
SUDBURY YOUNG WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION ACT
Mr. Germa moved second reading of Bill Pr43, an Act respecting Sudbury Young Women’s Christian Association.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
Mr. Nixon, on behalf of Mr. Eakins, moved second reading of Bill Pr45, An Act to revive Reg. Booth and Son Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
CAPUCHINS OF CENTRAL CANADA ACT
Mr. Johnson moved second reading of Bill Pr46, An Act respecting the Capuchins of Central Canada.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
THE ROYAL HOTEL (PICTON) LIMITED ACT
Mr. C. Taylor, on behalf of Mr. I. A. Taylor, moved second reading of Bill Pr48, An Act to revive The Royal Hotel (Picton) Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ PUBLIC BUSINESS
LAW SOCIETY AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Samis moved second reading of Bill 171, An Act to amend the Law Society Act.
Mr. Samis: First of all let me explain to the members of the House, this is a very simple, straightforward bill that would eliminate the ban by I the Ontario legal society on its members to advertise.
In all honesty I find it almost ironic and bizarre that we even have to debate such a bill in 1978, in a so-called democratic society with a so-called free-enterprise system.
I suppose the existence of such a ban at such a late date is partially due to the influence of the small but extremely powerful elite in Canadian society, notably the lawyers, both past and present. I don’t think one has to look very far to determine the influence and the power of that group. Just look across the way, for example, and we see the Premier, whose previous occupation was that of a lawyer. Several of his predecessors likewise were lawyers.
One only has to look at the Premiers of the other provinces; I think 80 per cent of the Premiers of Canada are lawyers .
One only has to look at the Prime Ministers of Canada in the 20th century. I think with only one exception all of them have been lawyers. So there’s no question about the power and the influence of the legal fraternity in our society.
Obviously the possession of such power and influence in society creates strong feelings at times, even in Brant-Oxford-Norfolk --
Mr. Warner: Especially there.
Mr. Samis: -- about the role, the position and the value of the legal profession in society. I was interested to note that our society and our age is not the only one in which some people had some strong feelings about lawyers and their influence in society. In fact, I came across a couple of quotes from ages much, much bygone. Some fellow called Plato referred to lawyers, speaking of them as “small and unrighteous souls.” The poet John Keats said, “I think we may class the lawyer in the national history of monsters.” Thomas More, a saintly soul, if there ever was one, left lawyers out of his Utopia --
Mr. Sterling: Is that why you brought this bill up?
Mr. Samis: -- and Shakespeare made his feelings known in the famous line from Henry IV part II and I quote: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Rather rough stuff I may say, Mr. Speaker.
But let me emphasize, regardless of how various writers in the past felt, regardless of how I feel personally and regardless of how members of this House may feel about the legal profession, I think it’s important that we all are aware of what’s happening in other jurisdictions in order to give this debate in this Legislature some sense of perspective. Let’s remember first of all, that in the United States in 1976 the Supreme Court of the United States, in the Bates and Osteen decision, ruled that the ban by the American Bar Association on the rights of a lawyer to advertise violated the first amendment of the American constitution and that case went all the way from Arizona to the Supreme Court of the United States.
It’s important that members consider part of the basis of that ruling and I quote from the Supreme Court decision:
“Advertising, however tasteless and excessive it may sometimes be, is nonetheless dissemination of information as to who is producing and selling what products, for what reason, and for what price. So long as we preserve a predominantly free-enterprise economy, the allocation of our resources in large measure will be made through numerous private and economic decisions. It is a matter of public interest that those decisions in the aggregate be intelligent and well informed. To this end the free flow of commercial information is indispensable.”
As a result of that decision, the ban on advertising by lawyers in the United States is now past history. I should point out that the walls of Jericho have not come tumbling down on the poor legal profession south of the border.
Secondly, I would point out that in the United Kingdom, lawyers are free to advertise their services and their fees as in the United States.
In the province of Manitoba, as a result of a decision made by the Manitoba Bar Society in June of this year, the ban on advertising by lawyers in Manitoba is no longer in existence. Lawyers, in other words, are free to advertise in Manitoba.
Mr. Nixon: Sterling Lyon has done a great job out there.
Mr. Samis: In the province of British Columbia, I would point to the case of Stephens and Jebour, Those two gentlemen are not just humble, nondescript lawyers, one gentleman is the leader of the BC Conservative Party and all there is is one member of course --
Mr. Nixon: That is about as nondescript as you can get.
Mr. Samis: -- and Jebour is the former chairman of the BC legal services commission. Both these gentlemen have taken the Law Society of BC to court over the ban and the enforcement of the ban upon them. That hearing in the BC Supreme Court is on January 8. I should also point out there’s now a referendum under way among the 3,700 members of the Law Society of BC.
The anti-combines legislation of the Dominion of Canada included amendments in 1976 which extended the jurisdiction of that act to services. I would also call members’ attention to the remarks last spring of the former minister, Warren Allmand, about his doubts about the validity of the ban in view of the changes in the legislation. And the Ministry of Consumer and Corporate Affairs has launched an investigation of the Law Society of BC’s action against Stephens and Jebour.
Belatedly, even the Law Society of Upper Canada has finally set up a committee to consider whether or not there should be changes and whether or not those changes should be implemented in 1979. The key thing is there has been no action as of today.
So on considering this bill, it’s well to remember that what the bill seeks to do, Mr. Speaker, is not unique. It’s not radical. It’s not revolutionary in Canada, in North America or in the Commonwealth. You have then to ask yourself why has the bar opposed the idea of advertising in the province of Ontario?
Mr. Sterling: It has not.
Mr. Samis: If they haven’t done anything, I assume that’s opposition.
The first argument frequently used is that somehow advertising would lower the dignity and the credibility of the profession.
Mr. Germa: My God, how can it go any lower? How low can you go?
Mr. Samis: First of all, let me point out that is purely a value judgement. Let us remember that the banks, the trust companies, the consulting firms, the insurance companies, to name only a few, already advertise and still manage to maintain their dignity alongside their huge profits.
Let us also remember that according to a recent Harris poll in the United States, lawyers were rated at the bottom of the list in a survey ratting confidence in public institutions.
Mr. Germa: How low can you go?
Mr. Samis: Although, Mr. Speaker, I must confess in terms of public confidence they weren’t alone at the bottom. They were joined by politicians and labour leaders.
A Gallup poll in Canada showed that lawyers were not held in such low esteem by the public as theft US counterparts --
Mr. Sterling: We are trying hard, though.
Mr. Samis: -- but it did reveal that 53 per cent of the people were critical of overcharging by lawyers and that 63 per cent of those who used a lawyer said they were never told what the service would cost. I noticed that Hugh Winsor used those same statistics this morning in his column.
The point here, though, is that what lawyers may think of themselves and what they may conceive of as dignity is certainly not shared by what the general public thinks of them and theft profession. Some lawyers say that if we were to allow advertising we would be exposed to all sorts of high-pressure, promotional, Madison Avenue-style ads.
I notice that Jerry Goodis in his speech to the Canadian Bar Association on May 12 gave some examples of what the lawyers have conjured up as what sort of ads we might have to endure. One of them he laid on them and one that I am sure they are all using in theft publications is: “Can’t you just see it now: ‘Tests have shown that J. J. Robinette is able to squeeze 25 per cent higher alimony payments from husbands than the other leading lawyers.’ Or, in case of the husband, ‘Tests have shown that J. J. Robinette’s male clients make 22 to 39 per cent lower alimony payments to their wives?
“Or, if we get down to a level more suited to the home, the current Red Rose Tea commercial might also inspire a legal commercial. Picture a scene where the camera opens on three suspicious-looking characters sitting dejectedly on the cold, stone floor of a Mexican prison cell, chanting, ‘We want Arthur Maloney to represent us.’ The Mexican jail guard says, ‘Arthur Maloney? He’s only available in Canada.’ ‘Pity.’”
However, if we look at those two examples --
Mr. Nixon: Let’s do a few more of those. Mr. Samis: -- and say this is the wave to come, let’s look at where advertising has been in effect and see that really the fears of the lawyers are not substantial.
Let’s take the case of Manitoba. In Manitoba, advertising is now legal. But according to the Manitoba Bar Society they must follow the following regulations: “Lawyers may advertise provided the advertisements are: (1) accurate and not capable of misleading the public. (2) Must be of a dignified nature, not to bring the member’s profession into disrepute -- “
Mr. Wildman: That must be tough for lawyers.
Mr. Samis: “ -- (3) Does not claim superiority for one advertising member over another. (4) Fees may be advertised, provided that (a) there is an accurate statement of the service offered; the precise amount is specified; and it is specified whether or not disbursements are included; and the lawyer must stick to his advertised rate.”
Take another example. In Britain, where we have advertising, there again we have guidelines. I will quote from them: “(a) A solicitor should not claim superiority for his practice over that of other solicitors. (b) There should be no inaccuracies or misleading techniques. (c) Advertisements or ether methods of soliciting should not be of a character which could reasonably be regarded as likely to bring the profession into disrepute.”
Let’s also remember that if this profession is so concerned about its dignity and status in society, surely it can exercise some control over its own members in terms of professionalism and some code of ethics or standards, as they now do. It is not as if we are opening the floodgates to a group of charlatans or exploiters, unruled and unchecked by any ethical or professional standards or considerations.
An hon. member: God forbid.
Mr. Germa: You could have fooled me.
Mr. Warner: They are already there.
Mr. Samis: It is high time that the purchase of legal services in our society be demystified and simplified; and continued opposition to any meaningful change will be seen by the general public as protecting the interests of a small, privileged group, seeking to maintain anachronistic, elitist and monopolistic practices.
Robert Auley, the president of the Canadian Association of Consumers, was quoted in the Financial Times recently as saying, “Lawyers’ failure to advertise is a conspiracy to make silence one more shroud which they can hide behind. Through advertising lawyers could erase public suspicion that they are trying to strengthen their whip hand by remaining silent.”
I quote from Harry Rankin, the new treasurer of the British Columbia law society, who says: “It’s the younger lawyers who want a whirl at it. The older lawyers have already done their advertising through the Vancouver Club, through the banks they have as retainers, through the newspapers, because their names are important. I see no reason why the young guys shouldn’t have a whirl at it as well.”
I quote from William Neilson of the University of Victoria law school and former BC Deputy Minister of Consumer Services:
“Don’t expect a flood of ads, because the inherent conservatism of most lawyers, regardless of whether or not advertising bans are dropped, will mean advertising no more flamboyant than an innocuous box on newspaper business pages. The bar has kept the curtains closed for a long time, making it hard for information on skills and prices to get out, and now they’re embarrassed by it all.”
I also want to point out when we have legalization it doesn’t mean a flood of ads. It doesn’t mean we’re inundated with ads all over the place. Experience shows just the opposite. In the case of the Los Angeles Times when advertising was legalized in the state, their experience was that first there was half a page of ads on any regular basis, then it was reduced to a quarter of a page, then it came down to an eighth of a page. Now, I understand, it’s even less than an eighth of a page.
In San Diego county, out of 3,700 lawyers only 40 advertise on a regular basis. In Manitoba, where advertising is legal on radio and television, no use has been made by lawyers of that option. There’s no flood, there’s no inundation whatsoever.
Another argument they used was: “The quality of services would be lowered if we had advertising.” That is just sheer nonsense. Lawyers are professionals and I have confidence that they would maintain the same standard of service regardless of how the client was obtained. Sure, there may be some unscrupulous types who would lessen the quality of their services to obtain a client, but those people would probably do the same thing whether or not we had advertising.
Mr. Warner: Most of them get elected.
Mr. Samis: Then they tell us advertising means higher fees; in other words, the cost of the advertising will be passed on to the client. There’s a good chance that advertising could reduce the cost of legal services, because it may force firms to become more efficient to compete effectively in a more open market. Let’s keep in mind the experience in the United States and Manitoba which indicates that when it’s legalized the volume of advertising is neither large nor expensive.
The legal society doesn’t have a system for accrediting specialists. If they don’t, they should have one. Secondly, the absence of an accreditation system should not be considered an insurmountable obstacle to legalizing advertising. As Jerry Goodis has pointed out, no lawyer is really an absolute master of the law in its whole sense.
Very briefly, in terms of advantages, the consumer would benefit from greater information and greater access to legal services. Second, it would simplify the whole process and bring it down to the level of the man in the street in terms of accessibility. Third, it could reduce the overall costs of legal fees. I’m not saying it will; but it could. Fourth, as Janet Margolis from the UBC faculty of law pointed out, it would allow lawyers to compete more effectively with quasi-legal and non-legal competitors; for example, mortgage, insurance and trust companies, tax services, divorce centres and other legal aid services. Fifth, this would benefit the new and newly established lawyers.
In closing I want to emphasize again that the public has a right to the maximum information possible as to the nature of goods and services available. The legal society’s present virtual total ban on advertising is unacceptable, anachronistic, elitist and monopolistic. It’s not good enough to say we may allow it in the yellow pages and regard that as the best solution possible in 1978. The problems connected with advertising can be overcome, as they have been in other jurisdictions.
Today we have the opportunity to remove the veil of mystery surrounding the legal profession and to assist consumers in the market place. To those who say the bar is already studying it, what we have today is a chance to show the bar that we, representing the people of Ontario, want that ban removed and we are prepared to do it if they’re not.
Mr. Acting Speaker: The member for Cornwall has four minutes. Do you wish to reserve that time for reply?
Mr. Samis: Yes.
Mr. Willlams: Mr. speaker, I have listened with interest this afternoon to the warm remarks that the sponsor of this bill has directed towards the legal profession. I can only conclude from his observations and the approach he’s taken to this subject that there are two reasons that he may have some reservations about the competency of the legal profession or the fact that it may be unduly controlled by the law society. I would suggest he either turns out to be a law school dropout or perhaps he just got some bad legal advice from his own lawyer.
Mr. Samis: Dead wrong.
Mr. Sterling: He’s never been to a lawyer.
Mr. Williams: But in any event, that form of prejudice may prove to be the reason for his particular bias --
Mr. Philip: He was trained by the Jesuits. They are the best lawyers on life.
Mr. Williams: -- toward the profession.
In looking closely at the bill we have before us it gives cause for concern in three particular areas. First and foremost, I think the sponsor of the bill has lost sight of a very important consideration; that is, traditionally, down through the years the government of this province has recognized that professional groups conducting legitimate businesses in this province have been given the opportunity to set up their own self-regulating bodies.
Mr. Wildman: What about teachers?
Mr. Williams: There are many professional organizations that contribute greatly to the economic wellbeing and to the economy of this province. I look to the architects, the pharmacists, the engineers, and the land surveyors. There are many such professional groups that have seen fit to set up their own regulatory bodies so they can discipline themselves and govern the activities of the people within their profession.
The Law Society Act is the example with regard to the legal profession.
Mr. Germa: Self-discipline is no discipline.
Mr. Williams: I think it’s regrettable that the member feels so strongly that legislation should be introduced to override this fundamental principle that has been established whereby responsible business professions and organizations would have this right taken away from them and that legislation would be imposed on them to prevent their own committees and supervisory bodies to continue to regulate the professions. That is a fundamental consideration that has clearly been overlooked by the member.
Mr. Philip: But in free enterprise?
Mr. Williams: I would hope it will continue, so long as this government remains in power, that such honourable professions do have the right and opportunity to continue to police themselves.
Mr. Wildman: I really thought you would support this.
Mr. Williams: There’s no question that this is a recognized and acceptable approach in our society to letting the profession operate in a controlled manner in serving society at large.
Mr. Germa: No. Serving themselves.
Mr. Williams: It would certainly be inappropriate to withdraw these rights and introduce another level of bureaucracy by having government regulate and control the profession, when they do such an admirable job themselves.
The other area that concerns me is the fact that the sponsor of the bill this afternoon has spoken at some length about the other jurisdictions, while tongue-lashing the law society in this province --
Mr. Wildman: He did not.
Mr. Sterling: He certainly did.
Mr. Williams: -- for doing nothing about giving consideration to this matter.
Mr. Samis: I never said it.
Mr. Sterling: You’re all lawyers. That’s what hurts.
Mr. Williams: It’s unfortunate that the member hasn’t informed himself on how actively the law society of this province has been carefully studying the matter.
If he had taken the time to do a little research at home, rather than telling us what’s happening in the United States or in other far corners of the world --
Mr. Wildman: I am going to ask you the same question when you start talking about your bill.
Mr. Williams: -- his debate and argument today might be more relevant to the issue at hand.
I should point out to the member -- and it’s been well publicized; I don’t know why he doesn’t recognize the fact -- the Law Society of Upper Canada has had a committee working on the --
Mr. Samis: I should recognize the fact.
Mr. Williams: -- question of professional competence for some period of time. In recent months they’ve issued a very important public statement on the subject.
Mr. Makarchuk: One of these days they are going to need it.
Mr. Williams: Just for the enlightenment of the member in question, I will point out to him exactly what the special committee has recommended.
Mr. Wildman: Dispense.
Mr. Makarchuk: Dispense.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Williams: I would point out that, while it has not yet proceeded to the point where it has been accepted by the legal profession at large, it is a great step forward.
Mr. Kerrio: You haven’t told us whether you are going to support the bill yet either.
Mr. Williams: What the committee does recommend is essentially two things. First, the committee recommends that a lawyer be permitted, if he so wishes, to publicize areas of law in which he wishes to practise, subject to certain guidelines, which I think the member himself acknowledged existed in Manitoba and in Britain as well.
Mr. Nixon: That can be misleading; that’s the only practical one.
Mr. Williams: In this instance, too, in Ontario it is suggested that a limited degree of advertising would be permitted, with appropriate guidelines being reasonably and responsibly imposed. The guidelines that are being talked about here relate to the question of specialization in the field of law, to which a lawyer would he permitted to advertise this particular area of expertise.
The first recommendation that has been put forward for consideration is the suggestion that the area of practice be limited to the areas of practice as established by a committee of the benchers; so that basic control would continue to be imposed. The lawyer, before publishing and advertising his particular skills, would register with the Law Society of Upper Canada and not proceed with the publication until it had received formal approval. The lawyer, before publishing, would also have to join a group established by a responsible committee of the law society, wherein be would maintain his membership so long as the publicity continued and he continued to specialize in that particular field of law.
These are not unreasonable considerations and conditions to impose, and it shows an enlightened attitude that the member, in presenting this bill, has obviously been unaware of and oblivious to.
The third consideration, of course, is the fact that the bill is substantially different, in that it recognizes no guidelines or controls, no self-policing by the profession. It simply says that a member of the law society can, in any manner and form that he wishes, advertise his services, his fees and his special area of law. He can conduct his advertising in any manner whatsoever. It can be in the printed form. He can broadcast it over the air waves. He can go on television. He can even fly a blimp over the city, I suppose, and have his name before the people of the area in question.
Mr. Wildman: I thought you were the blimp over the city.
Mr. Williams: But there is absolutely no control over the advertising medium and the manner in which the lawyer would choose to advertise his wares, if I can use that term. Certainly it can be used in a fashion that is indiscreet and degrading, I would suggest, to the profession. So that, too, is a third cause for concern which I think we all have to address ourselves to.
It is because of these three areas of concern that I have to say that I cannot support this bill, because the bill does not take into consideration any of these three concerns. Until such time as the bill can address itself to those matters and recognize that there are reasonable options and alternatives, I suggest that the bill should be voted against.
Mr. Mancini: What about the intent of the bill?
Mr. M. Davidson: What about the principle?
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I support the bill with unqualified enthusiasm. I would tell the honourable member who just sat down, that during second reading we are concerned with the principle of the bill. This particular bill has as it principle the removal of the restrictions applied to the legal profession by the Law Society of Upper Canada, which at the present time do not permit them to advertise.
I would suggest, that the arguments put forward by the honourable gentleman who just spoke express objections in detail, many of which may be valid -- they don’t appeal to me, frankly, but there might be validity in them. We could allow the lawyers’ union, if you want to call it that -- the law society -- to bring about certain restrictions they might agree to. Essentially, the only restriction that means anything is the restriction that would mean that the advertising could not be misleading. If the member for Oriole wanted to put something on a blimp over Toronto, it might help his practice.
Mr. Makarchuk: And dangle from it.
Mr. Nixon: Unfortunately, I suppose, I’ve come to be known as the anti-lawyer member for Brant. It doesn’t bother me too much, but I would respond with the classic phrase of all bigots and say some of my best friends are lawyers.
Mr. Williams: You must have got some bad legal advice one day.
Mr. Nixon: I notice in the count-up in the Legislature that there are 23 lawyers, though I could be out one or two. There are almost enough of them to block this singlehanded, but even they wouldn’t have that kind of brass and gall because it’s the will, not only of the people --
Mr. Williams: Don’t be too sure.
Mr. Nixon: -- of the House but of the people of this province that we remove the mystery that has shrouded the legal profession and the practitioners in it for far too long. One of the things that has appalled me is the sort of sacerdotal, inner priesthood, special lodge meeting thing that the lawyers undertake whenever they try to improve their education or whenever they try to improve their practice.
Mr. Williams: The member is more vindictive than the other speaker.
Mr. Sterling: He is misinformed.
Mr. Nixon: The very fact that the governing authority is the Law Society of Upper Canada is appalling. Upper Canada hasn’t existed since 1840 or something like that.
Hon. Mr. Walker: But the law society has.
Mr. Nixon: The lawyers somehow think that it adds to their dignity if they trace their roots back to some Family Compact period.
Mr. Sterling: What’s the matter with that?
Mr. Nixon: Certainly, it would be a good thing if the member for Cornwall brought in as his next bill something to change the name of that association. It’s typical that the chief authority, the chief officer in the Law Society of Upper Canada, is the treasurer. What kind of sense does that make other that that lawyers are dedicated entirely to the pecuniary interests of their profession?
The honourable member who just sat down said there is something degrading about advertising. I am prepared to grant that the prime motivation of the lawyers I know is to serve their fellow man, but a close second is to make money.
Mr. Williams: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, at no time did I say that it would be degrading to have members of the profession advertise. I said that it would be degrading to embark and engage in crass advertising.
Mr. Nixon: The only kind of crass advertising I can think of would be advertising that is misleading. The member might put in the paper that he is a good lawyer. I really can’t make any comment about that.
Mr. Germa: How do you prove that?
Mr. G. Taylor: There are libel laws in the province.
Mr. Nixon: As a layman myself, I look at the Law Society of Upper Canada and its head man is the treasurer. Then I look at some group called the benchers. They’re not supposed to advertise or advocate their own election as benchers except in a very gentlemanly and quiet way. I gather that the main benefit in being a bencher is one gets access to one of the biggest stores of wine in the basement of Osgoode Hall. That is one of the big reasons for being a bencher. I don’t see any indications from some of the members of the profession that that’s not so.
Mr. Williams: When did this happen?
Hon. Mr. Walker: How do we know? We’re not benchers.
Mr. Nixon: As I say, it’s almost like a priesthood. As soon as they are called to the bar -- whatever that is -- the lawyers wrap themselves in these Batman costumes with the little tabs.
Mr. Wildman: Then they go to the wine cellar.
Mr. Nixon: If they’re specially good for some reason, they get these little tabs, and that is supposed to add to dignity. I believe that it simply adds to the general mystification felt by ordinary people with ordinary education --
Hon. Mr. Walker: Are you going to the wine-tasting institute?
Mr. Nixon: -- people who tend to work for a living. It is such a terrible disillusionment when one sees lawyers in operation on a day-to-day basis. They’re no different than anybody else, without their gowns and their tabs and all their letters after their name. Some of them are pretty good and some of them are not so good. I feel there ought to be a better opportunity, which I believe could be through advertising, for people who are looking for the services of a lawyer to make that kind of a personal assessment.
Mind you, we add to it in this Legislature from time to time by sitting quietly as the government, through the Attorney General, adds this special QC designation to individuals from time to time. I think in dim and distant history there was some reason to believe that a person learned in the law, or whom the king or queen favoured in the court, would be called the Queen’s Counsel. You can imagine in ages gone by that somebody flapping around in the black robes and all the rest of it around the Court of St. James 300 years ago would be a very important person.
But we know a lot of QCs now, Mr. Speaker. You know some of them.
Mr. G. Taylor: Some sit beside you.
Mr. Nixon: I really feel that the value and dignity of this is lost in people who know about it. Talk about misleading advertising -- it is those letters, QC, that the lawyers certainly use as the most effective kind of advertising they use. I mean have you ever heard a member of this House who is a lawyer and a QC ever fail to use those letters at every opportunity? I can remember a very close colleague in the Legislature and I thought it was part of his name. There was never a time when this kind of advertising, and I believe it to be misleading advertising, was not used by the members of the profession.
I think the bill before us is extremely precise. I have heard people say, in objecting to it -- and the honourable member who spoke just before me expressed the view I had heard from colleagues and others, indicating that it has to be much more detailed, but it seems to me that the provisions of the bill are very good indeed. I would hope that they would be supported by every reasonable member of the Legislature. I would also suggest that really this is just the beginning of the demystification of the profession.
One of the things that has happened to the law profession in recent years has been the large number of capable young women and men who have come into the community having been called to the bar. Somehow or other they are not as fully steeped in the traditions of the legal profession from before. They seem to have a fresher approach, and it may be because competition in the profession has become so strong that up until about five years ago a person who was called to the bar under the statutes that establish the Law Society of Upper Canada in this connection could not fail but be a resounding success without regard to his or her personal abilities, either as a lawyer or in any other way. That is not the case now.
I suppose there are some legally designated lawyers who are out selling encyclopaedias door to door. There are probably too many lawyers just as there are probably too many in other professions, even politics. That’s another debate the lawyers might want to undertake some time in private members’ hour. I have a feeling that the profession has a very healthy breeze blowing through it, an attitude that comes from the number of recent graduates who are not prepared to be completely overwhelmed with the traditions of the ersatz dignity, so called, that has been so much a part of the mysteries of the profession in the past.
Mr. Speaker, without hesitation, I congratulate the member for Cornwall for bringing this forward and assure him of my support.
Mr. Makarchuk: I too, rise to support the bill. I wish to congratulate my colleague for introducing this piece of legislation.
I would like to point out the fact that this is permissive legislation. It is legislation that does not impose any kind of an action upon any individual, in this case particularly the lawyers. If they wish to advertise, they will now have the right to advertise. If they do not wish to advertise, there is nothing in this legislation that says they have to advertise. I think this is the kind of legislation we should see coming out of this House on a greater basis. It is sort of permissive to allow the people the freedom to practise theft business or profession as they see, in theft own estimation of theft activities, as the best way to do it.
We have to recognize also that the mystery that surrounds law is really not mysterious. If Joe Clark can be a lawyer, anybody can be a lawyer.
Mr. Kerrio: That’s terrible.
Mrs. Campbell: That’s mean.
Mr. Sterling: Why don’t you go jump in the Niagara Gorge?
Mr. Makarchuk: I have to point out that in most cases what the lawyers do is really the work of a technician. They handle a transaction and there is nothing mysterious about the transaction. You check out the various papers. You check out the bill of sale. You sign the thing. You get the price. You get the cheque. You get the money. You put it through in different directions and that’s all.
Mr. Warner: Ask them about their fees.
Mr. Makarchuk: In many cases you find it’s the staff in the office who do this work.
All the lawyer does is go over the paper in a rather cursory manner and he affixes his signature, makes sure the bill goes out, and cashes the cheque hen the bill is paid. This is really the performance lawyers go through, I want to repeat, when the work is of a technical nature.
Mr. Sterling: You don’t know what you’re talking about.
Mr. Makarchuk: There is not that kind of personal involvement where the lawyer will have to bring in something new, different, mysterious or strange, or where he is called on to do something out of the ordinary.
Mr. Wildman: Every time I do a land severance case I’m acting as a lawyer.
Mr. Makarchuk: There may be some arguments on specific cases perhaps dealing with crime, et cetera, where it would be difficult to predict the effort or time a lawyer will have to put into the case. There is no question about that. However, in the majority of cases a lawyer treats it’s a very predictable exercise and if it’s a predictable exercise you can come up with a fairly predictable cost of carrying out that exercise.
I would like to point out that other professions -- doctors, for example, although they don’t advertise and although they don’t set theft fees, do actually have a fee schedule by which they have to abide in most cases.
Mr. Sterling: The Combines Investigation Act says they can’t.
Mr. Makarchuk: In some cases they do not, if they wish to opt out of OHIP and so on. The point is they do have a fee schedule for carrying out certain operations.
If you go to a mechanic in a garage, and if you pick a good garage, of course, you will probably get an estimate. The man will do the job and you will come back and that’s what the bill will be.
Mr. Kerrio: Then you go to your lawyer.
Mr. Makarchuk: Then you go to your lawyer and you don’t know what it’s going to cost you.
Mr. Sterling: They are all the same, though.
Mr. Makarchuk: If you look at the contractors, the people who contract in construction or who, for that matter, offer to provide any kind of services or goods, et cetera, they always give you a price. They will give you a price and say, “This is what it’s going to cost.” In many cases they have to deal with some rather unpredictable circumstances but they still manage to provide you with a fairly concrete figure as to what it is going to cost you to get the services of this individual. If they can do it, I don’t see why the lawyers can’t do it.
Mr. Sterling: They do it.
Mr. Makarchuk: If you go to your tailor, Mr. Speaker, he will tell you how much it will cost to put a suit of clothes on you. I think the lawyer can do very much the same thing.
Mr. Sterling: Go to your lawyer and ask him and he’ll tell you too.
Mr. Makarchuk: If you hire consultants, professional groups who also have to do a lot of examination, a lot of paper work, a lot of writing, a lot of looking up statistics, and figures, et cetera, they also can come up with and give you a specific price as to what their services are going to cost, or what they will charge.
Again, I suggest the lawyer has to be able to do this kind of work. They are doing it in other jurisdictions; there is no reason why they can’t do it in Ontario. I’m sure the lawyers in Ontario are just as capable and just as able as anywhere else.
Mr. Williams: Did Eddie Goodman give you a good quote?
Mr. Foulds: Except the member for Oriole, of course.
Mr. Makarchuk: I have to point out again the fact that once a lawyer knows he does not have an open-ended ability to bill, in other words he has made a commitment to the client that this is going to cost him so much, then what the lawyer does is increase the internal efficiency of his office. He makes sure that the bureaucracy within his own office operates efficiently, that there’s no sloughing it off, putting it aside, “we’ll deal with it when we have to,” et cetera. He will improve his efficiency.
Mr. Philip: Not only is the government against free enterprise, it’s against bureaucracy.
Mr. Makarchuk: I think even in those terms it is a commendable idea to see that lawyers become more efficient.
Hon. Mr. Walker: To listen to you you’d think you knew something about it.
Mr. Foulds: Conflict of interest.
Mr. Makarchuk: I’m sure every member in this House on some occasion, or on many occasions, has had complaints from constituents who come to them to say, “This lawyer has not dealt with the case. We can’t seem to get anything moving. He is taking money from me. He is expecting more money. He refuses to move unless I pay him some more,” et cetera.
This goes on, particularly in insurance cases. After they have made their few phone calls -- incidentally, they don’t even go to court -- they make their few phone calls, they get us off, they figure out how much they are going to get out of the deal, and then the client gets the crumbs. That is generally what is left for the client. Then the client comes to the member and asks, “How come? How is it that the lawyers in this case have received more out of the insurance settlement than I have?”
Those kinds of things I feel will probably not disappear totally but they will certainly lessen in the future, once the clients out there have an opportunity to judge the lawyers and see what their fees are going to be. I am concentrating more on the fees because that is important They will lessen because of that, and I think the people in the province will benefit from it.
We don’t run the province for any particular professional group. I think every group in the province should be put in a position where they have to justify their fees, where they have to compete with other lawyers. If we are going to have this so-called private enterprise system, in fact instead of in myth, they should have to compete and should have to deliver.
The bill my colleague has introduced will allow some of this to happen. I think it will remove a lot of abuse right now. I think it will help the people out there in the sense that they know what it is going to cost. It will give them a chance to make an assessment by themselves whether or not they should go through with the action they intended -- they might realize that if it is going to cost this much money there is no point and they will not proceed.
In some cases the lawyer says to them, “If you give me a retainer I’ll look at it,” and afterwards he will say, “If you give me a little bit more, I will look at It a little further,” and so on. It is like the come-on you might find somewhere else, not necessarily in the legal profession.
I would like to conclude by asking my colleagues to support this bill because I think it Is a step in the right direction in bringing some sense and reason to the operation of the legal profession in Ontario. It would also reassure the people out there that we can not only trust our lawyers and have confidence in them but we will also know what it is going to cost us when we do have to hire a lawyer.
Mr. Sterling: Today I speak to the Legislature as a professional in two categories; first as an engineer and secondly as a lawyer.
I deem this bill basically to be an expression of mistrust in the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Mr. Philip: It took some engineering to come up with that one.
Mr. Sterling: There can be no doubt from the purport of this bill that it does go to the very root of the idea that we have allowed societies of professionals to regulate themselves. We are now going to impose regulations on them.
I would like to send over to the member for Cornwall a copy of the communique of the Law Society of Upper Canada on the occasion of their convocation on September 29. I trust the member has written to the law society before bringing this bill forward to get from them the background in relation to the advertising they allow their members to undertake. I will send this across to the member in order that he might have this document if he does not have it at this time.
This document starts off by saying, “Lawyers will soon be allowed to advertise.”
Mr. Samis: But not in newspapers.
Mr. Sterling: “A special convocation was called today to consider a report of the special committee on advertising that ties in with the report of the special committee on professional competence which was sent to all members in July.” This communique goes on to point out the type of advertising the law society will allow its members to engage in.
Basically it points out that a person who is practising law will be able to identify the area of law in which he holds himself out to be competent in. It will basically ruin the yellow pages of telephone books, which will include separate listings under the various categories that a lawyer may claim some competence in. Underneath that, there will be a general number so the law referral service can be called on to recommend any particular lawyer who has given that name to the law referral service.
Now, under the law referral service that is now in existence, anyone can go to a lawyer for half an hour, and in Ottawa under the terms of that law referral service, the lawyer can charge up to $10 for that half hour. As a result, the person will find out how much it will cost for the legal services, what services they will receive, et cetera.
Now Mr. Samis’s opening remarks, I think, were not factual, or he was mistaken as to the facts contained in the communique that I pass over to him now. He said there was a ban on advertising. That is just not correct.
The other area which I think is of considerable importance to us here is the taking away from the law society and other professions, which in the past have earned a great deal of trust by the public, the rights we have given to them.
Secondly, as I have pointed out, I think the law society has been moving in a direction in allowing more advertising and allowing what I consider adequate advertising and therefore, there is no need for this bill at this time. I would therefore indicate to you, Mr. Speaker, that I cannot support this bill.
Mr. Sargent: Two minutes, Hughie?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I would just like to inform the member that he has until 4:44.
Mr. Sargent: Fine, fine, fine.
Mr. Sands: It is 4:43 now, Eddie.
Mr. Warner: Make it speedy.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: About five and three quarter minutes.
Mr. Sargent: Oh, that’s good.
Mr. Speaker, the man who was facing trial and possible imprisonment told his lawyer, “I know the evidence is against me, but I’ve got $50,000 in cash to fight this case.” “You will never go to prison with that amount of money,” the lawyer assured him. He didn’t. He went there broke.
Hon. Mr. Walker: You have to admit the lawyer was right.
Mr. Sargent: So it is easy for us to stand here and take shots at the lawyers. But it is not my intention to take any of these shots at all at the tariff and per diem rates of pay, but to support this bill as it refers to the public convenience in advertising.
In today’s living I believe that nothing is constant, nothing at all. If the Law Society of Upper Canada cannot govern itself, to adapt itself to assist the citizens of this country, then probably those of us who --
Hon. Mr. Walker: It is already moving toward advertising.
Mr. Sargent: In the fullness of time. In the fullness of time.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Let’s go slow.
Mr. Warner: The glaciers are moving slowly too.
Mr. Sargent: Probably those of us who buy these services should have something to say to change the rules a bit.
I see a lot of sense in looking up in a directory to find out who the specialists are in, say, title searching or copyright law. Or if I am a politician, who I would call in a libel suit or slander.
Mr. Wildman: Make sure it is not a judge.
An hon. member: Or a crown attorney.
Mr. Sargent: Why should Mrs. Jones, who wants to sell a house, have to go to see a John Clement in a special suite in the Simpson Tower, when she can maybe talk to a paralegal person who can do a satisfactory job? There’s a need to bring along paralegal people as fast as possible. I think a lot of lawyers would agree to that, but I know that a lot of lawyers today are starving to death in Toronto. I’m not saying that lawyers have it all their own way, but the people who buy these services have a right to know what they’re buying.
Over the years I’ve been sitting here watching these lawyers. And the lawyers are always in the front row. They’ve always got vests on. They stand up and use these big words and they think they’re in court and all that stuff. I think we should get down to basics sometimes when we’re talking about things like this. Every man is equal before the law and a man should be able to walk into court without a lawyer and tell his story in plain and simple English and get justice. If we’re going to have to live with this system today, we’ve got to have these guys, but let them do it our way for a change.
I agree with every section of Bill 171. I’ve often said that lawyers were in the biggest crap game in the world because even when their clients lose they win. The fee system has to be looked at. I say that kindly. The tariff was set years ago, but with inflation they’re making double money now. They’re making double fees.
There’s a story told about a bank teller who went to a lawyer at noon and said, “I’ve stolen $50,000 from the bank.”
The lawyer said, “That’s interesting.” Then he thought about it for a few minutes and said, “Could you get another $50,000?”
The teller said, “Yes, I think I could.”
The lawyer said: “Okay, tomorrow at noon bring another $50,000 back here.”
The next day at noon the teller walked in to the lawyer with another $50,000 and said; “Here you are.”
The lawyer picked up the phone, phoned the president of the bank and said, “One of your tellers has stolen $100,000. We’ll make a settlement for $25,000 out of court with no questions asked. Is it a deal?”
A few minutes later the president phoned back and said: “It’s a deal.” So the lawyer made himself $25,000 at noon.
That is a true story. It happened.
Mr. Wildman: How did you let him bilk you out of $25,000?
Mr. Sargent: Think what he could do if he could advertise.
Mr. Cunningham: Think what he could do if he had a QC.
Mr. Sargent: I think the word attorney comes from the French word atorner, to turn to -- a person to turn to. It’s important that we have this available to our people, but in the main I think if we could build a great big bonfire of the thousands of laws we have in this country and start all over with the golden rule and the 10 commandments, I’m sure we’d get along a hell of a lot better than we are today.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Hamilton Mountain has two minutes.
Mr. Charlton: That’s a little bit shorter than I figured, but I’ll manage I guess. Probably most of the points have been made anyway.
The whole question here, I would think is of assistance to and the protection of consumers. The kind of ban we’ve had on advertising by lawyers has, as has been mentioned, made the law profession a mystery. Advertising can obviously by abused as well. Some of the points the member for Oriole made are points that should be considered. But that doesn’t deal specifically with the principle of this bill, and just to defeat the bill and not consider the points in committee, which we can do, seems to me to be a bit of a rush-out on this particular bill.
All of us here should be looking at this bill as members of the Legislature and not as lawyers, as some of us are. All of us should think about the kinds of complaints we’ve been getting in our constituency offices from constituents. These are constituents who don’t know who to go to with a particular legal problem or who is good at that particular facet of law. People don’t know whether they can afford to approach a lawyer in the first place.
The last thing that falls into this area is that people are developing a very specific feeling that when handling cases for them their lawyers are dragging out the case in order to earn more money. This may or may not be true in all instances. But to open the thing up so the public has a way of checking with others can go a long way to deal with this kind of feeling that the public is developing about the legal profession.
I would imagine my two minutes is almost up, so I will end it at that by saying I think we should support this bill in principle. If we are not entirely happy with the specifics, we can deal with that in committee.
Mr. Samis: First of all I would like to express my gratitude to the members who did support the bill. Second, the fact that the member for Oriole opposes it only reinforces my conviction that this bill is needed. Third, I do appreciate the constructive criticism received from the member for Carleton-Grenville.
Let me speak to some of the points raised. First of all, when you have a Legislature moving in this regard, Whether it be in Manitoba, whether it be the Supreme Court of the United States, whether it be the bar in the United Kingdom, there is no real interference with the right of the bar to self-regulate or to self-discipline.
I want to establish the point that we, the Legislature, have the ultimate authority to decide where they self-regulate and where they don’t. We are elected by the people of Ontario. That is our right, not that of any private group or any private institution.
I am aware that the Ontario bar has set up a committee. I said that in the first page of my speech. But I can’t accept the idea it is only contemplating advertising in the yellow pages. I can’t accept that as adequate in 1978. My bill deals with advertising in the public media, daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines, and if necessary radio and television, as is now done in the province of Manitoba, as is now done in the United States, and with no overwhelming or unsatisfactory results, may I point out.
This bill deals with the consumer’s right to know what’s going on. The idea is that you go to a lawyer and you ask him how much. As my good friend from Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has pointed out, people are frequently intimidated by the mystique of the law profession, by the power of the law profession, by the aura of the law profession. That’s one of the benefits of advertising -- to provide a bridge before they go to that stage. One of the values of advertising would be to demystify those legal services, to bring them down to a level where they are more accessible, more approachable, where the mystique is taken out.
A client could see a divorce would cost this; a court hearing would cost this; a will would cost this. He would know in advance. He wouldn’t be intimidated when he goes to a lawyer. My guess is that most consumers are so intimidated they don’t do any effective comparison shopping and the legal society does not provide him with much information to do effective or comprehensive comparison shopping.
This bill would provide for true competitive free enterprise in the legal profession. I am amazed that some of the members opposite would oppose a bill which can provide more true competitive free enterprise in Ontario and defending --
Mr. Makarchuk: You guys are against free enterprise.
Mr. Warner: The worm turns.
Mr. Samis: -- anachronistic, medieval, cartel-like, monopolistic practices which don’t work for the benefit of the people of Ontario. I hope when people vote on this bill, if a vote is allowed, they don’t go by what their lawyer in their riding told them on this weekend, but what their constituents, the consumers of their constituency want and what would be best for them. This bill is for the consumers of Ontario -- not for any one profession, not against any one profession. It’s to help consumers and it’s to bring the practice of advertising into the 20th century for the legal society.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: That concludes the amount of time for ballot item number 39.
LABOUR RELATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Williams moved second reading of Bill 169, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.
Mr. Williams: Organized labour has accomplished much in the last three and a half decades in Ontario.
Mr. Warner: No thanks to you.
Mr. Williams: These successes are in no small measure reflected by the enlightened and progressive labour legislation that this government has enacted on behalf of labour. The whole labour-management field has operated well, and by and large harmoniously, under the umbrella of a concerned Labour ministry with its humane labour legislation.
Mr. Warner: You’ve got a sick sense of humour.
Mr. Williams: These two factors have worked well together in bringing to the labourers of this province a degree of security, a level of wages and fringe benefits, and a standard of working conditions that can be found in few other jurisdictions.
Mr. Warner: Maybe you know where security is.
Mr. Mackenzie: Do you know what a joke you are?
Mr. Williams: In fact, Mr. Speaker, responsible leadership in the fields of labour, management and government have combined to bring to this province in general and to organized labour within this province in particular a standard of living unequalled elsewhere in the world.
Ontario can be proud, as we know the representatives of organized labour in this province are, of the high standards that have been achieved and the quality of leadership that has been attained in the operation and management of unions, large and small, throughout the width and breadth of this vast province.
Mr. Warner: Tell us about your health and safety problems.
Mr. Williams: However, we would be deluding ourselves if we thought for a moment that everything was perfect and that there was no room for improvement. Those purists who believe so are living in a world of make-believe.
Mr. S. Smith: However, put an end to that.
Mr. Warner: That’s why we want Bill 70.
Mr. MacDonald: You’d better go backwards.
Mr. Williams: The basic truth is that in all fields of human endeavour, dedicated and concerned men and women, whether it be in the field of labour, management or government, must continue to strive for and find new ways and means of improving upon man’s wellbeing. The field of organized labour is no exception.
We all have our perceptions of what the deficiencies are, what the remedies should he, and how the lofty objectives may be achieved. The subject matter of this bill I sponsor in the Legislature this afternoon deals with ailments and deficiencies in existing labour law and practices that emanate from other than the conventional sources. This bill does not reflect the views of labour leaders, it does not reflect the views of industry, it does not reflect the views of this government --
Mr. Mackenzie: Just the John Birch Society.
Mr. Williams: -- it represents a compendium of views that have been presented to me over a period of time by many people; people who can be identified as representatives of the rank and file members of organized labour, who have openly spoken to me on different occasions on a one-to-one basis about their main concerns or beefs, to use the common vernacular, in the relationship between themselves and the people they elect to represent them in their labour-management negotiations.
Mr. Philip: Did they take their sheets off when they spoke to you?
Mr. Williams: The four most frequent complaints I hear from the assembly-line worker, from the shop steward, from the journeyman, from the millwright, from the skilled tradesman, and from many other rank-and-file union members are encompassed in my bill.
Let us examine each of these matters. First, the bill proposes that the Labour Relations Act be amended to clarify an uncertain situation in the minds of labour and management alike. The present law is silent on the subject. Does a company act in bad faith when it decides to mail to each of its unionized members a copy of its last offer to union negotiators before a strike call? Can they be accused of violating basic labour practices?
Mr. Warner: Yes.
Mr. Williams: Is such action interfering with the bargaining process?
One of the major contributing factors to the breakdown in labour-management negotiations is lack of communication. The parties to the dispute may be hearing each other’s point of view, but they are not truly listening to each other. Or, they may just not be talking to each other, period. Without communication, how can there be understanding?
Mr. Mackenzie: With you on the other side of the table I can understand it.
Mr. Williams: How much more tragic the case if the union representatives choose, for whatever the reason, not to communicate fully and accurately the complete terms of the last offer of management to their members before calling a meeting for a strike vote and management feels that they cannot take such initiative.
Mr. M. Davidson: Do you have evidence of that?
Mr. Williams: Such a situation apparently occurred recently in a major strike in this province that kept thousands of workers on the picket lines for not just weeks, but months. We know of cases where large corporations, and large unions as well, have, during a legal strike period, advertised in the newspaper their particular position.
However, once the strike is in progress, the battle lines are drawn and the only people being convinced are the public, not the parties to the dispute. Certainly, there have been cases where a company has mailed to each employee a detailed accounting of its last offer. By the same token, there have also been cases where the union in question has accused management of acting in bad faith for this very reason.
Surely, if labour and management alike accept this practice as being reasonable and implicit in the law, as I have been assured they do by a number of people to whom I have talked in both management and labour, then why should this moot point not be corrected with an appropriate amendment to the act as spelled out in section 2 of this bill?
Mr. Warner: You don’t understand collective bargaining. That’s your problem. You never will.
Mr. Williams: The second concern is expressed in section 3 of the bill which complements section 1 and strikes to the heart of the democratic process as applied in the internal operations of labour unions. Undoubtedly, all unions, large and small, endeavour to conduct their union strike votes in strict accordance with the act. Unfortunately, more often than not, no other situation tends to evoke more emotion than a meeting called to decide whether or not a strike should ensue. What has been frequently portrayed to me by disgruntled rank and file members in describing the strike meeting process is a picture of a crowded union hall filled with the more aggressive union members, but usually representing in number the minority of the full union membership, listening to emotional, tension-charged speeches by union bosses --
Mr. Mackenzie: Do you talk down to everybody?
Mr. Warner: Have you ever been to one?
An hon. member: Don’t be so foolish.
Mr. Warner: This is silly. That’s a lot of rubbish and you know it.
Mr. M. Davidson: Why don’t you attend one and find out for yourself?
Mr. Mackenzie: What an idiot.
Mr. Williams: -- quickly followed by a call for a show of hands for or against a strike. This type of setting does not usually allow for cool heads to prevail or for a true majority of members to express themselves, nor for a private vote by use of the ballot box, free of immediate and intense verbal suasion.
Mr. Wildman: How do they vote in boardrooms?
Mr. Williams: In such cases the principle and intent of the act is not being followed in practice. Consequently, under these circumstances the will of a majority of a full union membership does not necessarily prevail. If many of the rank and file members of organized labour feel this disenchanted about the present system, then surely it would be in the interest of labour as a whole to endorse the procedure that would ensure an orderly vote by private ballot under supervision of an objective third party. Such action would bring about a greater degree of involvement by more union members --
Mr. Mackenzie: You may be the best thing that ever happened to us from the Tories, quite frankly.
Mr. M. Davidson: Next to the superintendent’s office.
Mr. Williams: -- during the all-important strike vote process while having the secondary beneficial effect of clearly establishing in the minds of the public that the democratic process truly prevails in this area of union activity.
Mr. M. Davidson: Do you get 100 per cent turnout in Oriole during provincial elections?
Mr. Williams: One cannot say that such a proposal is without merit or without precedent. Such procedures were recently introduced into British Columbia legislation in 1976 by enactment of the Labour Code of British Columbia Amendment Act, 1976.
Mr. Wildman: A really enlightened regime they’ve got out there.
Mr. Williams: The passage of time will prove the full worth of such legislation. Under my proposal, not only would the vote be conducted under government supervision as in a general election, but -- of equal importance -- the majority of all card-carrying union members must cast a ballot to validate the strike.
Mr. Warner: They should never have moved that rock in Don Mills.
Mr. Wildman: Are you going to do that in provincial elections too?
Mr. Williams: Let me now turn to the third concern covered by my bill. Section 4 of the bill calls for every trade union to file with the Ontario Labour Relations Board within six months from the end of its fiscal year a financial statement of its affairs to the end of that fiscal year.
Subsections 1 and 2 set out the basic financial information that would be required, and without which no financial statement would be meaningful. The information required is no more, and in fact, much less in detail, than is required by business corporations to provide to their shareholders under the Business Corporations Act and which is required to be filed annually with the government under the Corporations Tax Act.
Union business is big business. Unions across this province handle millions of dollars of their members’ contributions each year. Unfortunately, we find that the images of industry, business, the professions and, yes, even the labour unions are tarnished from time to time because some individual in a position of responsibility has committed some fraudulent act or misappropriated their employer’s or client’s moneys that has not only caused financial loss to the persons directly involved, but has also injured the reputation of the industry, profession or the union as a whole.
It’s the old story of the one bad apple in the barrel.
Mr. Mackenzie: Queen Street has still got room.
Mr. Williams: Recent revelations in the United States of defalcations and misappropriations of union funds by people in positions of trust have certainly shaken the labour movement in that country.
Mr. Wildman: Which country?
Mr. Williams: Opponents to this proposal will yell loud and long, claiming that it won’t happen in Canada --
Mr. MacDonald: I would oppose it anywhere, in any country.
Mr. Williams: Besides, the annual financial statements of the unions are there for the asking by the union members.
Obviously, no matter how high the standards of the unions in this country, some day some person in a position of trust, with improper motives and intentions, could take advantage of their union and its members.
While members may have access to a copy of a financial statement, the fact of the matter is that the average union worker, like most people, is not an accountant and cannot be expected to fully understand and comprehend the intricacies and implications of financial statements.
Mr. Warner: That’s garbage. That really is.
Mr. Wildman: What an elitist statement that is.
Mr. Williams: The rank and file union member can only benefit from enactment of legislation requiring financial accountability by unions --
Mr. Warner: Why do you insult the workers? What motivates you to insult the workers?
Mr. Williams: -- to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. In this way they till know that the use of theft union dues --
Mr. Mancini: What does the Minister of Labour think of that?
Mr. Williams: -- and the financial activities of their union are in order, based on a review of the financial statements --
Mr. Mancini: All that work right down the drain.
Mr. Williams: -- on a regular basis by an independent third party with the resources and accounting skills necessary to attend to, and fully assess these matters.
Mr. Warner: Just when the Minister of Labour was starting to do a good job in this province, you come along.
Mr. Williams: The onus is no longer on the individual union member --
Mr. Warner: Everything down the drain.
Mr. Speaker: Every member of this assembly has a right to be heard.
Mr. Warner: That’s true.
Mr. Kerrio: Are you supporting this bill?
Mr. Williams: Under this situation, as proposed, the onus is no longer on the individual union member to confront his union executive on a matter about which he may have limited understanding.
Mr. Wildman: Oh, come on.
Mr. Williams: I would hope that the union leaders as well would consider it in the best interest of the labour movement as a whole to have to file such statements. It is certainly difficult for them to argue against it on the basis of establishing an unnecessary precedent.
Mr. MacDonald: Don’t bet on it.
Mr. Williams: In Canada today, every labour union carrying on activities in Canada, that has a membership of 100 or more members, must annually file a detailed financial statement with the Canadian government, under the requirements of the Corporations and Labour Union Returns Act.
It would be no difficulty to have an extra copy of that federal return filed with the Ontario Labour Relations Board, in the same manner as many businesses are required to do in filing annual returns with the federal government, with copies going to the provinces wherein they do business.
Mr. Mancini: I hear the Minister of Labour is going to support this.
Mr. Breaugh: You are going down for the third time on this one. There is no hope.
Mr. Williams: That act requires the filing of financial statements showing assets and liabilities, income and expenditures, including specified payments to union officers for salaries, wages and other remuneration. However, that act does not emphasize a detailed accounting with regard to investments.
Whether it is a politician elected to public office, or a union member elected to executive office by his peers, in neither case can there be any justification for such a person objecting to making a full financial accounting for public or union funds used, as the ease may be, while discharging his or her duties on behalf of the people who elected them to office.
I have had reported to me instances of union members requesting from their executive a detailed accounting of expenditures by the executive, only to be told that in effect it is none of their business, and that to pursue the matter would not be in the best interests of the inquirer.
There is no evidence that in Canada any union has made improper investments with union funds, as has been disclosed in the United States.
Mr. MacDonald: What are you waiting for, then?
Mr. Williams: However, vast sums of union moneys are being invested by labour unions in many worthwhile and sound securities, and the size and scope of the investment portfolios will undoubtedly grow substantially during the coming years, as a reflection of the general continuing growth of the whole trade union movement.
Mr. Cunningham: It is shrinking.
Mr. Williams: Financial accountability in this particularly large and sensitive area of potential risk is paramount. For this reason I single out in section 4 of my bill the need for more detailed accounting and financial accountability to government, which I am satisfied would benefit the interests of executive and rank and file union members alike. Besides, the government of Ontario would then not have to go to Ottawa with cap in hand asking for a copy of the financial statements of labour unions in the public search offices.
This topic of investment leads me to the fourth point of my bill, which calls for a limitation on the amount of union funds that may leave the country for whatever purpose. Particular concern must be paid to the use of union funds for investment purposes in other jurisdictions.
I was frankly dumbfounded when I first made inquiries of our own Ministry of Labour to find they had developed absolutely no statistical information on the subject, relying totally on such material as could be obtained from a statistical analysis of federal filings under the federal Corporations and Labour Unions Return Act, to which I referred a few moments ago.
Mr. MacDonald: Isn’t that reliable?
Mr. Williams: A Mr. J. Crispo, a noted labour author, wrote a book entitled, International Unionism; A Study in Canadian and American Relations. He devoted an entire chapter to the topic of the flow of union funds and benefits across the border. In doing this research and analysis the author, however, was unable to come to any clearcut conclusion. It was, however, apparent to him at that time, as is apparent to many of us today, that there is a great deal of flow of money back and forth between the two countries where the local unions have an obvious obligation and commitment to a parent union that may be headquartered in the United States.
Certainly there has been a great deal of latitude allowed where international unions and their locals may need to come to each other’s financial assistance in order to support an existing strike in either jurisdiction. Possibly my bill is deficient in not speaking directly to this point. However, what the bill does try to address is the seemingly uncontrolled and substantial flow of union dollars south of the border during a period of labour peace.
Mr. MacDonald: The member is doubtful about the bill.
Mr. Mackenzie: Remember what it does express.
Mr. Williams: With the funds being invested by the American union in American securities, the large balk of those moneys should he kept in this country to be invested in Canadian securities and undertakings in such a way as to contribute to our economy, to the manufacture of Canadian goods, and to the creation of jobs for Canadians.
Mr. MacDonald: How about corporations on that point?
Mr. Williams: I find it very hard for anyone to quarrel with the logic of this argument. Mr. Crispo, in his book, found that at least --
Mr. Speaker: The honourable members time has expired.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, a concluding sentence if I might. As I said at the outset, the matters raised in this bill voice some of the major concerns of the rank and file union members.
Mr. Warner: Time.
Mr. Cooke: Time.
Mr. Williams: I would hope that the labour leaders, industry and this government will be listening to their concerns.
Mr. Mackenzie: It’s self-destructing, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Warner: It’s absolutely disgraceful.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I will speak briefly on this bill so as to leave more time for the private members since, as a party leader, I do have more opportunities to expound at some length on issues of the day. I’ll confine myself to making some general remarks about the bill and, perhaps, some specific remarks with each section but not at great length or with great philosophical preamble.
Let me simply say that I regard this bill as a bill which seems intended to insult the leadership of organized labour in Ontario at this time. I regard it as an anti-labour bill and I do not believe that the motivation of the member, in bringing forward this bill, is very well veiled, even with the preamble to the particular remarks he has addressed to the assembly today.
To take the bill little by little, I think what we’ll find is that the so-called protection given to rank and file members of unions and the so-called protection given to society in Bill 169 is, in many instances, nothing more than an inflammatory attempt to duplicate what already exists in law and, in certain other instances, does little more than add window dressing in a situation where highly costly regulatory authority, and so on, would end up involved to no one’s benefit whatsoever.
To take the matter section by section, section 1, of course, simply refers to the name of the ministry.
Section 2 points out that an employer should be allowed to post what his offer has been and should be allowed to let the members of a union know what the offer is. I know of nothing that prevents him from doing so right now. It seems to me that ads appear in the newspaper, sometimes on the part of union members and sometimes on the part of management. Letters can be mailed freely in this country, as far as I understand. And provided they contain no threat, provided they’re not an improper use of the communication medium in a way that might otherwise be wrong in the labour negotiation procedures, there is nothing to prevent information being sent from one person to another in our society.
The third section of Bill 169 suggests that there should not be a strike authorized unless there has been a majority of employees in the bargaining unit voting in favour of the strike and, also, that the strike vote be held by secret ballot.
Most unions already require a strike vote by their constitution, and if a strike vote is held, section 63(3) of the Labour Relations Act provides that it be by secret ballot. I think it’s perfectly reasonable that unions would wish to conduct strike votes by secret ballot and I think it’s also perfectly reasonable that they should wish to have as many members as possible participating in the process. However, I do not see why unions should be regarded any differently from other organizations in our society.
It’s awfully difficult, if one had to say the Tory caucus, for instance, could never agree on a position unless a majority of the elected members happened to vote at a given meeting on a position. Ii suspect, as in the Liberal caucus, people are absent from time to time, for various reasons. I suspect that there will be occasions on which, even --
Mr. Handleman: Speak for yourself.
Mr. S. Smith: -- the majority of those present would not represent a majority of all those elected. I think that in most organizations that I have any experience with, it frequently comes to pass that the active people, the interested people, show up for meetings and the rest pretty well have to allow the decision to stand.
At the recent municipal elections, a minority of those who could exercise their franchise, a most important franchise indeed, chose to do so. To insist that a majority of those dwelling in a municipality --
Mr. Handleman: Look what happened.
Mr. S. Smith: -- and of voting age, cast their ballots in order for the decision to be binding would have, of course, been impossible in virtually every instance in Ontario.
Why pick on the union in this particular respect, unless it’s an attempt at union bashing which is something I don’t believe any one of us would wish to support.
Mr. Mancini: That’s what it is.
Mr. S. Smith: I go on further to look at the fourth part of this bill which says I that basically there should be a financial statement filed, and so on.
First of all, let’s be very clear; the kinds of horrific stories that have come to us from the United States of America are not to be found at all in this country or in this province. My experience with union memberships and union leaders has been -- even when we disagreed fundamentally on certain issues or disputes, as naturally will happen between well-meaning people who have their own minds on various subjects; even then I have never had to question anything along the lines of the corruption or the misappropriation of funds and so on which we hear has existed south of the border.
In my view, the present Labour Relations Act contains a provision whereby trade unions must furnish audited financial statements to members on request. The board may inquire into complaints that statements are inadequate. In fact, there have been very few if any, requests for further information. I think a little research on the part of the member for Oriole would have drawn to his attention that this provision exists. Very seldom have there been any complaints about it or has there been any need to be burdening unions with things that would be a boon to accountants undoubtedly.
Mr. Mancini: He’s too busy with the law society.
Mr. S. Smith: To have every union have to have much more in the way of accounting, to have to file all sorts of additional statements -- my goodness. The members opposite, and in particular the member for Oriole, are full of ideas about how he should restrict the paperwork burdening small businessmen in our society. He is absolutely right. Of course, we are correct when we say the same thing. But why should we burden those people in unions? Many of their officers are unpaid. Most of their situations are relatively small. There are a few very large ones, of course, but they already keep their books in a very up-to-date and proper manner and have proper auditing as it stands.
I look further and I see some attempt here to make some regulations with regard to the kinds of investments to be permitted for union funds. I may point out to the member that we already have certain requirements. There is already a requirement that the union can only invest in certain types. Union pension funds, for instance, fall under the act which regulates pension funds in this country and in this province. Only certain classes of investment are permitted.
As for the question of unions in Canada sending money across the border in one way or another, there are certain restrictions on that. There may still be some improvement which could be brought about in certain specific instances. To pick on unions as being international in scope, to pick on unions as frequently having certain decision-making capacities south of the border or certain ability to share their assets with their compatriot south of the border is perhaps interesting enough and worthy of discussion. But how about the fact that our Canadian industries are so widely owned south of the border?
How about the fact that we now find ourselves in a position where, when we would like to keep our interest rate down in this country, the governor of the Bank of Canada tells us we have to increase our interest rates? Do you know why, Mr. Speaker? He says that if we do not increase our interest rate, we won’t be able to attract enough foreign capital into this country to make up for the deficit on current accounts in international payments.
Does the member opposite know what that means in plain English? It means that we have to keep borrowing money from the United States because otherwise we won’t be able to pay them back the money we already owe them in interest am I dividends. That’s how much we can now no longer have an independent economic policy in this country and have to raise our interest rates when they do, because our industries are already owned so widely south of the border and in other parts of the world.
Mr. Mancini: I don’t think he understands that.
Mr. S. Smith: It is not fair to my way of thinking to single out the unions in this dispute. Let’s be clear, Mr. Speaker. We want to have accountability among our unions. It is important that every union member be able to know what has happened to the money that has been collected from him or her in the way of dues. It is important to know where the pension money has been invested, and so on. I’m all for accountability and I am sure everybody in this House is for accountability and openness. I would be surprised and disappointed if anybody were against that principle.
I would point out that in many firms where one puts money into the pension funds, one has no clue as to where that money has been invested. One doesn’t even know whether that money will be there when it is time to retire because we don’t have proper laws in the province and in the country to make certain that there will be disclosure of the nature of the investments and how these investments are decided upon.
Ms. Mancini: That’s right.
Mr. S. Smith: Again, sure we need openness and accountability but why pick on the unions once again? To my way of thinking and in the brief time that you have permitted me to address this assembly, Mr. Speaker, this bill is a thinly disguised anti-labour union bill and one which should be soundly defeated by the members of this assembly.
I am pleased to have had the chance to address these few remarks on this occasion.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I am honestly trying to the best of my ability to be calm, cool and collected and to deal with the member in sweet reason --
Mr. Mancini: Just let yourself go.
Mr. Samis: He doesn’t deserve it.
Mr. Mackenzie: -- even though I’ve never heard such a hypocritical and condescending pile of fresh barnyard carpeting in all my life.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Speak more frankly.
Mr. Mackenzie: Where does the member for Oriole leave his sheet and cross at nights when he comes into the House? It’s pretty obvious that the John Birch Society is alive and well in Oriole.
Mr. Kerrio: They’re making it a stand-off.
Mr. Mackenzie: The comments that have been made are an insult, quite frankly, to the workers in this province. I just wonder if the member for Oriole ever really sat back and thought about workers and unions and what they are all about. I won’t try to have a little session with him tonight on that. I suspect I’d be wasting my time anyhow. However, I would like to make it clear -- and some of these points have been made -- just exactly what he does with this bill.
For one thing it encourages the bypassing of the elected representatives of the union, the negotiating committee. I don’t know how you undermine a negotiating committee more quickly, Mr. Speaker, but maybe that’s the intent of the member for Oriole.
Mr. MacDonald: Of course it is.
Mr. Mackenzie: When you go directly over the heads of a negotiating committee von leave it free to the company -- because I see nothing in this bill that restricts it -- to distort statements, make biased statements and biased presentations -- and believe me, I’ve seen them in contract negotiations; I’ve been involved in them -- to the membership, untruthful statements that can influence the employees into accepting an inferior contract.
I might point out to the member that the union has no power whatsoever to attempt to influence the decision-making processes of management, none whatsoever, but here he certainly wants to give management that right in terms of the union in the negotiations. It would be blatant interference to allow it to interfere with the communications between the bargaining agent and the members of its union. That’s exactly what the union was certified for and what it elected its representatives and its negotiating committee for. It also, I might say, encourages employers to take a rigid position and to make bargaining much more difficult because they know they have that little ace up their sleeves in dealing with the employees.
Since the negotiating committee can be undermined and depends in a serious set of negotiations on membership support, it can also be undermined in terms of effectiveness if the ability to bypass that committee is there, which this bill would clearly give. It also takes away from the negotiating committee the flexibility it has in terms of deciding when in the bargaining process it is going to submit its offer or hold back its offer and order the ratification vote or not. This flexibility, if one knows anything about collective bargaining, is a necessary component. It is very effectively undermined by the hill of the member fur Oriole.
The proposal in the amendment to section 63(5) in fact means that the union is not competent to handle its own affairs and shows once again interference on the part of government to have strike votes held by the Ministry of Labour.
Mr. Warner: It’s condescension.
Mr. Mackenzie: Since I have been involved, the unions have been handling the votes and handling them effectively and fairly. Again, I might say this will entail the hiring of a considerable number of employees by the Ministry of Labour. There are much more effective jobs we could hire them for than going around setting up and supervising votes around the province.
Mr. Mancini: Withdraw the bill.
Mr. Mackenzie: It certainly would add to the bureaucracy which I always thought the member was so strongly against.
The proposed section 63(6) is redundant since section 63(4) in the present Labour Relations Act provides for a secret ballot. You can’t conduct a strike without the support of your members or with a split group, Mr. Speaker, and you have to know where you stand in a serious set of negotiations that may be down to a strike situation. It has always been my experience that it is in the interests of the union to have all of the members vote in that situation.
In the amendment to section 76 there is another bureaucratic nightmare proposed by the member for Oriole. There is precise protection in the present Labour Relations Act so that the membership knows the financial position of the union. To agree with the member’s proposal would simply mean a tremendous increase in the number of employees, in this area as well, who would be needed in the ministry. Since he proposes the copies of the financial statements go to the board, with the large number of locals in the province it’s up in the thousands; the board would be inundated and would be spending all of its time checking and filing financial statements rather than doing the job of fostering harmonious relations between the employer and the employee.
The bill suggests that only the trade unions should make their investments in a certain manner, but makes no provision regulating how management invests its money. I wonder why it is not a tit-for-tat proposition, or doesn’t it matter that the company can do exactly what it wants in terms of its investment? The fact that we don’t have any control of that in this province is one of the things causing us an awful lot of problems.
The truth of the matter is that nothing is more democratic than a local union in how its membership is run. If the member for Oriole ever went to a meeting or two he would soon find out how tough money matters can be on the floor of a membership meeting. The constitutions of many of the larger unions makes it mandatory that the spending of all funds be authorized by the local union members. No such provision that I know of applies to management. It spends its money pretty well in the way it wants. I am not even sure that the stockholders ever have a say, or the shareholders, on how management spends its money. I know in my own union we get quarterly, detailed, audited statements of every bloody cent that comes in in dues, where it goes and what it is spent on, and most of the major local unions do the same. If you ever picked up The Searcher, from local 6500 in Sudbury, Mr. Speaker, you would find a detailed audited statement in that paper just about every month. I don’t know of the same kind of service to the shareholders of any corporation.
We suggest that this bill is merely a harassment. It is certainly a pro-management, anti-union ploy which will help to eliminate whatever relative equality there is currently between management and labour in the province of Ontario. It would have such a crippling effect, I might say, on the finances of a union like ours. Without the right to invest and handle the international strike funds we have in my union we would already be in serious trouble in Sudbury. I sometimes wonder if this isn’t part of it and I almost hesitate to say it for fear that I would have all of the Tories and maybe even half of the Liberal members all of a sudden switching their positions on the bill.
We have been in a deficit position almost every year since I have been a member of that union and currently have had a deficit of over $3 million since the start of the Inco strike. Without the funds that we have there and the ability to draw on them, which have never been refused to Canadian workers -- and the same thing applies in a number of other unions -- we would not have the resources to take on management where we have to.
If that is the member’s intent why doesn’t he bloody well be honest and come out and say exactly what he is trying to do in his doggone bill?
Mr. Warner: Right on. Exactly what he is trying to do.
Mr. Mackenzie: Section 3(4) really means extending the meaning of an unlawful strike, since it will require a strike vote to be taken before the declaration or authorizing of a strike.
I really wonder what we are trying to do in terms of a majority of the bargaining unit. If the members know anything about unions they will know that in many cases union members can be away. The democratic process that I have understood and known all of my life -- and most strike votes involve most of the members -- is based on a majority of those voting. I thought that was the democratic process we lived under, not a majority of the members in the unit.
I think I touched briefly on the problems we would have if we had to do the job of supervising. What the member for Oriole would also do is disrupt and cause more strife in Ontario than he has ever seen in his life. Quite frankly if the members of any local union in this province were told: “One, we haven’t even got the authority to handle our own strike vote; two, management can go around us in terms of the crucial times during the collective bargaining process and go direct to the membership; thee, when a strike vote is being held the Ministry of Labour is going to do the work on it, you guys have not got in effect the competence to do it,” the member for Oriole would not have labour strife, he would have bloody well near a revolution in this doggone country in terms of labour relations.
I just can’t for the life of me understand why people want to bring as destructive and obstructive bills into the House as this particular Bill 169.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: While I may appreciate some of the apprehensions that prompted the member for Oriole to introduce this bill, I cannot support it.
The bill proposes five amendments to the Labour Relations Act and I should like to deal with each of them in turn, if I may.
The effect of the proposed section 2 would be to declare that it is not an unfair labour practice for an employer to communicate details of its latest offer in bargaining to its employees. My understanding is that such conduct is not now prohibited under the Labour Relations Act.
It is true that an employer’s primary duty in bargaining is to deal directly with the certified bargaining agent and to make any offers across the bargaining table. Having done so, however, it is clear from decisions of the Ontario Labour Relations Board that employers may then communicate to employees the contents of such offers, provided that the communications accurately reflect the offer made directly to the bargaining agent.
Accordingly, section 2 of the bill would simply codify existing jurisprudence and is to my mind, therefore, totally unnecessary.
Section 3 of the bill would require compulsory ministry supervised strike votes before the bargaining agent could declare or authorize a strike. The section also requires that such votes be conducted by secret ballot, in such a way that all those entitled to vote have ample opportunity to cast their ballots.
I have a number of concerns about an amendment of this sort. As members know, the act already provides that any strike vote must be taken in such a manner that the person expressing his choice cannot be identified. In other words, the equivalent of a secret ballot provision is already contained in the act.
As to the suggestion that a strike vote he mandatory, my information is that it is invariably the practice of unions in this province to conduct strike votes. Indeed, under the constitution and bylaws of most unions operating in Ontario, strikes cannot be sanctioned and strike benefits are not available until a strike vote has been held. If the member for Oriole is aware of situations where strikes have been conducted without taking a vote, I would be obliged to receive that information.
Presumably the proposal that strike votes be supervised by the Ministry of Labour attempts to ensure that they are conducted fairly and honestly. Again I must say that I am not aware of any persuasive evidence that would indicate to me that strike votes are conducted unfairly, or that people entitled to vote are prevented from doing so.
I point out that protections already exist in the Labour Relations Act guaranteeing the rights of employees to participate in the lawful activities of a trade union. Other sections protect against coercion and improper or undue influence. Consequently, I cannot agree that government intrusion into the internal affairs of trade unions, which is what this proposal would entail, is justified, having regard to the existing legislative protection to which I have referred.
Moreover, I think we must be careful to avoid focusing the attention of bargaining parties on procedural matters which are not directly related to the substance of bargaining at a critical stage of that process. There is a danger I think, and the member for Hamilton East brought this point out, that the compulsory strike vote might induce the bargaining agent to adopt a fixed and uncompromising stance at a time when attention should be directed to working out appropriate compromises.
I am told that the experience in at least one other jurisdiction which has recently made a government-supervised vote mandatory -- British Columbia -- tends to confirm my apprehensions. My information, obtained yesterday, is that in British Columbia there has tended to be a programmed response to the new requirement for supervised strike votes.
The latest figures from British Columbia indicate that in the 323 strike votes supervised by the BC Labour Relations Board since the amendment, all but 25 have resulted in a vote in favour of strike action. I am told that before those amendments the incident of affirmative votes was lower.
Mr. Mackenzie: Less than half.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Accordingly, on the British Columbia evidence, it cannot be said there is evidence to support the hypothesis that the requirement of a supervised strike vote acts as a deterrent to work stoppages. Incidentally, this is in keeping with a study done by F. R. Anton of the department of political economy, University of Alberta, in 1969.
Mr. MacDonald: The bill is totally wrong.
Mr. Haggerty: What about the Wiseman report?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: In summary then, I believe that existing internal procedures of the trade unions in Ontario dealing with strike and ratification vote for the most part result in as accurate a reflection of the wishes of the membership as can be reasonably obtained.
At the same time I am quite prepared to have my staff continue to monitor the situation in British Columbia and to assess the experience in that jurisdiction under the revised code.
Section 4 of the bill would impose more detailed financial requirements from trade unions than are now required under section 76 and 76(a) of the Labour Relations Act and would require among other things that unions report particulars on salaries paid to union officers and details of investments made from trade union funds.
As members will recall, the Labour Relations Act was amended in 1975 to give the hoard increased powers to ensure that any member requesting an audited financial statement would be provided with a full and accurate response. The 1975 amendments also introduced for the first time the requirement that pension, welfare and other trust funds be audited annually and that such audit statements be filed with the ministry.
The same section provides that these audited statements are available to the contributors to the funds upon request and without charge. In addition of course, trade unions are required to supply detailed financial information of the sort referred to in section 4 of Bill 169 under the existing federal Corporations and Labour Unions Returns Act.
I am not aware of evidences of abuses that would justify the more stringent reporting requirements outlined in Bill 169.
I might mention in passing, that there is some resemblance in the bill to the United States’ Landrum-Griffin Act of 1959, the passage of which followed certain disclosures of alleged malfeasance and illegal activities on the part of some US union officials in dealing with welfare and pension fund plans. I know of no such activities in this province.
Finally, section 5 of the bill would limit union investments to those authorized under the Trustee Act or the Pension Benefits Act and would as well require that not more than 15 per cent of union funds be paid, transferred or invested outside of Canada.
As to the investment limitations, the suggestion implicit in the proposed amendment appears to be that unions are now following improvident and improper investment practices. Again, I have no knowledge of this fact. Unions are after all, free unincorporated associations with their own constitutions and bylaws. I would be extremely reluctant to dictate to unions, or for that matter to corporations, how their investments should be made, or to otherwise restrict them in making investment decisions which in the view of the responsible officers are most beneficial to their membership.
I frankly have the same difficulty with the suggestion that there should be a limitation on decisions concerning the flow of funds between an Ontario local union and its parent body wherever that’s located.
I must say it would be difficult to apply more onerous standards in this regard than are applied to Canadian based subsidiaries of corporations having their head offices outside of Canada.
I do appreciate that it is difficult to accurately assess the balance of payments flowing between Canadian locals and their US parent bodies. However, it is generally recognized that a substantial portion of the funds that go to international unions from Ontario locals come back to Canadian members through various benefit plans and other forms of assistance. Any restriction on the free flow of such funds would almost certainly decrease the services provided to the members of the Ontario local unions in the fields of research, education, computer facilities, journals and publications and professional and technical assistance.
While I must oppose the bill, I want to repeat that I accept that the member for Oriole is sincere in his desire to forestall what he perceives as possible abuses to protect individual union members. However, my position can be summarized very simply. I think it is important that when we as a government intervene to restrict or control the activities of groups and associations, be they trade unions or corporations --
Mr. Acting Speaker: The minister’s time has expired.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: -- we do so only upon clear evidence of an established need and I am not persuaded that evidence exists of the abuses which the bill purports to remedy. I therefore urge that the bill not be passed.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have sir?
Mr. Acting Speaker: You have 10 minutes.
Mr. Mancini: Thank you. I don’t think I will use all of my 10 minutes. There might be some other individuals who would wish to speak to this bill.
Bill 169, the bill introduced by the member for Oriole, has proved to be a great disappointment to me. I cannot understand the logic of the member. If more members had been here a few minutes ago, we would have heard one of the most impassioned speeches from that member concerning the Law Society of Upper Canada. He wanted absolutely no interference from the government in that society. He said they could take care of themselves. No, the government should stay out of the business of the law society. If they didn’t want to advertise, that’s fine but we had no business telling them.
Now, 15 or 20 minutes later, he speaks to his bill, which is probably one to create one of the largest --
Mr. Warner: He’s got the consistency of hot jelly.
Mr. Mancini: -- intrusions on anybody’s public or private business I have ever seen. He wants to intrude into every aspect of the unions’ business, no matter what it is -- whether it’s worthwhile or not. But when he speaks for the Law Society of Upper Canada, he says it’s no intrusion and that the government has no business being there. He is slightly hypocritical in that regard.
The member says that before a strike can take place, at least a majority of the employees in the bargaining unit concerned should have voted in favour of the strike. I happen to have the results of the election for the riding of Oriole. It says in the Ontario elections records that in the riding of Oriole there are 50,052 voters. Some 32,000 turned out to vote. Of that number, the member only received 14,000 votes, which is actually 28 per cent of all the people who could have voted in that election. So if we carry his logic all the way through, the member for Oriole wouldn’t be here.
Mr. Breaugh: Excellent.
Mr. Warner: He is going to resign.
Mr. Mancini: A couple of the members previously have gone over the bill section by section and have done a fine job in outlining many of the difficulties this bill would introduce.
One of the things I find objectionable in this bill is section 4(3)(a), where the member wants statements of salaries, expenses, et cetera, for individual union leaders. When the member rises to answer questions that have been posed to him this afternoon, I want to know if that member feels the same way for management. I know there is about to be a change through the Ontario Securities Commission where in some fashion salaries of management might be made public. I would want to know from the member for Oriole if what is being proposed by the securities commission --
Mr. Ruston: Senator Eastland.
Mr. Mancini: -- would be good enough for the union leader.
On section 5(1), the member attacks the investment capabilities of unions. He doesn’t want the unions to make good investments on behalf of their members. He wants to restrict them even further than what they are at this present time.
On section 5(2) the member says that no trade union shall pay, transfer or invest outside of Canada more than 15 per cent of the funds received by it from the union members residing in Ontario. I would like the member for Oriole to inform the House which large international corporations are already doing this. The only thing the member for Oriole does not have in this bill is that he would like to put all the unions in shackles and chains.
Mr. Bradley: That’s not an exaggeration at all.
Mr. Mancini: I have been pleased to have the opportunity to speak on this bill. I look forward to some of the answers from the member for Oriole. I hope the bill is defeated.
Mr. Breaugh: It may not be a surprise, but I am in opposition to this bill. Seriously, this is the ultimate in right-wing, redneck, union-busting legislation. This bill is an insult to the intelligence of working people across this province. It borders on the kind of legislation that ought not even to be printed in this Legislature. I listened very carefully to the initial remarks of the person who moved this bill. I must say I have never heard such an onslaught of innuendo on any matter that has been brought before this Legislature since I got here. He insulted the intelligence of working people. He wants to take away their democratic rights. He wants to gut the foundation of the trade union movement in Ontario.
There is not one member of this House who should be even tolerant of this kind of view. Even the Minister of Labour rose in his place and in a most quiet and methodical manner went through the bill point by point simply to lay out before this House that this is stupid legislation to the extreme. It attacks the very basis of the trade union movement. It forbids them to unify and to fight for their own rights. It takes away from them the economic power they need to be fair and break even in the efforts they are making to represent their members.
Mr. Kerrio: Do you expect to block this bill?
Mr. Breaugh: This bill provides for the gutting of the negotiation process itself. It says, in effect, that they do not have a right to organize. It takes away from them any economic clout they might have. It provides in the most underhanded way the techniques available and used in some jurisdictions to make sure that duly elected negotiating teams are stabbed in the back. That is precisely the intent of this bill.
There is no sane intent behind this bill. There is no sanity in the bill itself. There is not even a legitimate, rational notion in its contents. It is besmirched with innuendo. In the opening remarks, I think we saw the true intent of the bill, which is to put into legislation in this province that which would tear apart the trade union movement across Ontario and which would bring to this province the kind of economic strife we have never seen before.
If I did not know the member for Oriole so well, I would say that it is a Trotskyite plot.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Algoma-Manitoulin.
Mr. Lane: Mr. Speaker, since the time is short, I will yield to the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson).
Mr. Wildman: Come on. Say whether you are for or against.
Mr. Speaker: There are about two minutes left. Is there anybody who wishes to take advantage of that time?
Mr. Bounsall: I hadn’t anticipated that there would be time for me to get in on this particular bill. Let me say that in looking at this bill my initial reaction was that I had not seen before in this House a bill which has so many innuendoes in it in terms of bashing away at the union movement in this province. There is a basic distrust by the writer of this bill of the democratic principles embodied in most labour unions in this province, if not in all of them. How could someone living in this day and age and probably observing, hopefully observing, what goes on around him, bring in such a bill that so badly mistrusts one of the truly democratic organizations and methods of operation that we have in this province?
This bill certainly does that. The previous speakers, including the Minister of Labour, have very carefully outlined in detail what is particularly wrong with this act section by section. I do not wish to repeat them. I do not have the time. Just let me say that every clause in this bill, as I see it, denigrates the very worthwhile effort made on behalf of the working people in this province by the representatives which they chose.
I would urge every member of this House to vote against this kind of legislation.
Mr. Bradley: The Taft-Hartley Act.
LAW SOCIETY AMENDMENT ACT
Sufficient members having objected by rising, a vote was not taken on Bill 171.
Mr. Martel: Point of order: The member for Fort William was not even standing in the appropriate place. You can’t count him.
Mr. Hennessy: You wouldn’t know if I was standing up or not.
Mr. Speaker: Twenty members stood in their place.
Mr. Sargent: Why can’t you count again?
LABOUR RELATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Sufficient members having objected by petition, a vote was not taken on Bill 169.
Mr. Speaker: The acting House leader has a statement to make.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I always get this job on the wrong day. The House Leader knows.
Perhaps I might have consent of the House to table the answers to some questions. Would that be okay?
Mr. Speaker: Do we have such consent to table answers to inquiries of the ministry?
Mr. Nixon: Do it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I hesitate to ask.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE PAPER
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the answers to questions 143, 144, 145, 146 and the interim answers to questions 147 and 148 standing on the Notice Paper.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Pursuant to provisional standing order 11 I wish to indicate to the House the order of business for the remainder of this week and next week.
Tonight the House in committee of supply will continue with the estimates of the Ministry of Treasury and Economics.
Tomorrow they will continue again with the estimates of the Ministry of Treasury and Economics.
Monday afternoon will be legislation -- bills in the following order for second reading: Bill 146, The Assessment Amendment Act; Bill 157, The Income Tax Amendment Act; Bill 158, The Gasoline Tax Amendment Act; Bill 159, The Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Amendment Act -- Lorne Maeck’s afternoon. After those bills have had second reading we’ll continue in committee of the whole House.
In the evening, we’ll commence consideration of the fifth report of the select committee on the Ombudsman.
On Tuesday, November 28, legislation will continue with any legislation not completed on Monday afternoon, followed by Bill 156, The Immunity from Seizure Act; Bill 155, The Art Gallery Amendment Act; Bill 173, The Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Amendment Act; Bill 147, The University of Toronto Amendment Act; Bill 74, The Provincial Offences Act; Bill 75, The Provincial Courts Amendment Act.
On Wednesday, November 29, the resources development committee, general government committee and administration of justice committee will meet.
On Thursday afternoon, November 30, will be private members’ public business, with Bills 138 and 149. On Thursday evening we will continue once again with the estimates of the Ministry of Treasury and Economics. Those estimates will continue the following day, Friday, December 1.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.