The House resumed at 8:02 p.m.
House in committee of the whole.
ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO AMENDMENT ACT (CONTINUED)
Resumption of consideration of Bill 155, An Act to amend the Art Gallery of Ontario Act.
On section 2:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Baetz has moved that section 2(2) of the bill be struck out and the remaining subsections be renumbered accordingly, and that clauses (c) and (e) of the said section 4(3a) as set out in section 2(4) of the bill now renumbered as section 2(3) be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“(c) in the case of a vacancy of a trustee appointed under clause (c) of subsection 1, be appointed by the council of the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.”
Is there any further comment on the amendment? Shall the amendment carry?
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Grande moves that section 2 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following:
“(5) Clause (d) of section 4(1) of the act be amended by adding at the end thereof ‘which persons shall in terms of the places where they principally reside be geographically representative of the population of Ontario.’”
Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, as I stated in my opening remarks to the second reading of the bill, what this amendment does to section (d) of the initial act is give effective representation on the board of trustees of the Art Gallery of Ontario and gives the opportunity for the government, in its 10 appointees to the trustees of the Art Gallery of Ontario, to have representation that is geographically located in terms of where the people principally reside.
The minister of course is aware, and the House is aware, that in the appointment for the board of trustees 1971-78, those appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, we have mainly Toronto, Hamilton, Ancaster, Waterloo and St. Catharines represented and we do not see in these appointments anyone from northern Ontario, et cetera.
Mr. Kerrio: Niagara Falls. We don’t have a member from Niagara Falls.
Mr. Grande: The amendment is quite broad, which allows the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make that particular decision on appointments a little bit more than it has been in the past in terms of those trustees being representative of the province of Ontario at large.
I believe that the minister in previous conversation has said that he definitely would be in favour of this so I do not see spending any more time on this matter.
Mr. Kerrio: I would like to address myself to this amendment as is proposed by the NDP. There is a bit of contradiction in the amendment insofar as there is another amendment proposed by the NDP that relates to members in attendance at a meeting.
I have to bring this into focus because it is very, very significant. While in this amendment the NDP is suggesting that geographical representation is recommended, in their next amendment they are suggesting that only those members in attendance at a meeting shall have the right to cast a ballot. Now I ask you, how can you possibly relate the two? If we are attempting to bring geographical involvement into one amendment and then in another amendment they are going to address themselves to those members in attendance at a meeting, they are so diversely opposed that one doesn’t make any kind of sense at all.
I find it very difficult to support this amendment as it relates to geographical representation if in another amendment they talk about those members in attendance at a meeting being able to vote.
I hope the minister will consider the comments I am making here as they relate to a true geographical representation. The only way that can happen across the province is if a ballot is sent out and returned from people in the far reaches of the north.
It is very disturbing to me to hear those members from northern Ontario suggest that as far as the arts are concerned, they are not represented. I would like to share some thoughts I have about that with you here tonight. Some of the comments made by the northern members would suggest that the citizens of northern Ontario are somewhat lacking in mentality.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: They are represented already.
Mr. Foulds: Only the member speaking is lacking in mentality.
Mr. Kerrio: Because there is no jurisdiction in the world as it relates to art that can have its artifacts and its art spread across great numbers of miles.
Mr. Foulds: Have you ever heard of the arts train?
Mr. Kerrio: I want to suggest to the members from northern Ontario that the only way to have a significant appraisal of the arts is to have a central location and I tell you with respect, I come from Niagara Falls and I would be very, very willing, if Toronto is going to have an art gallery all of us can be very proud of, the only way we can do it is bring all the arts together in one central location, build an edifice to display all these works of art and then from time to time, if we can, take parts of this collection and take them across the province if you will; but there’s no other way.
Those people from northern Ontario are selling their citizens short when they suggest that we are going to have displays of art in remote parts of the province that are going to have any significance to the art of people across this country. I want to tell you that when they make those kinds of comments they are not really being honest with the people that they represent. I would say and I say it very strongly, that there are not many jurisdictions in all of the world that have great art displays that are going to spread them from one end of their country to the other. We are going to have to have a central location and should encourage those people from remote parts of the province to visit those places.
So, as it relates to this amendment, Mr. Chairman -- I thought you might like to get me back there -- I would suggest to you that the problem I have with the geographical representation can only be done in one way and that is by a ballot, by notifying the people across the province of the issues and having them be able to address themselves to the issues --
Mr. Chairman: The member is straying again.
Mr. Kerrio: -- and send the ballot in. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Foulds: I just found the previous speech completely flabbergasting. I just don’t understand the point that the member was trying to make. I think if I might suggest to you, Mr. Chairman, and to the minister that the amendment put forward by my colleague from Oakwood is an eminently sensible and flexible amendment. What it does is empower the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make the other 10 appointments as per the act; but what it does in legislative terms is suggest that those representatives should be representatives of the province as a whole, not just northern Ontario but southwestern Ontario, eastern Ontario and even lo unto Niagara Falls, so that the representation have some kind of geographical basis.
Now the member, in his previous speech, is obviously confusing two issues: the issue of the general vote on questions and a general or annual meeting --
Mr. Kerrio: I am talking about two amendments, Jim.
Mr. Foulds: -- and the representation on the board of trustees. I would suggest that his suggestion makes as much sense as having members elected to the Ontario Legislature from Cornwall or Thunder Bay or southwestern Ontario send their votes in by ballot. That’s the logic of his suggestion.
Mr. Cunningham: We could arrange for Port Arthur.
An hon. member: You didn’t mention Port Arthur.
Mr. Foulds: Now there are a number of us from the far-flung reaches of the province like the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Brunelle) I am sure and the member from Timmins (Mr. Pope) and myself who would occasionally like to be back in our ridings rather than sitting through the madness of the speech we heard. On the other hand we feel it is our duty to represent our electors here in this chamber whatever matters of substance and lack of substance may come before us.
I would suggest to you, Mr. Chairman, that the amendment put forward is a sensible one. I think that where it allows flexibility in other qualifications it is not binding in the sense that geographical location is the only criterion. I think the minister has in some remarks from time to time made the point that, obviously, you need someone knowledgeable in the field and that of course would be one of the criteria. There are people knowledgeable and creative in the arts field throughout this province. I cited only three examples in my remarks on second reading. Although they might not be the best people in terms of the board, there are artists from the north and from the so-called far-flung sections of the province, such as Norval Morrisseau and Carl Ray, who have contributed greatly to the culture and art world.
I would suggest there are knowledgeable people in various areas of the province. Even the present Lieutenant Governor, who comes originally from Sarnia, has been known as a person very knowledgeable in the world of theatre. It wasn’t a handicap for her not to come from Metropolitan Toronto or its immediate environs.
I would suggest the previous speaker has misunderstood --
Mr. Kerrio: No way, Jim; no way. Read your second amendment. Go ahead. Read the top line of your second amendment.
Mr. Foulds: I would like the member for Niagara Falls to put that on the record clearly. If he is saying the appointments by the Lieutenant Governor in Council should not be geographically representative of the province, let him say it.
Mr. Kerrio: He asked me to put it on the record, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Kerrio: He asked me to put it on the record and I am prepared to do so.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Would the honourable member take his seat? I recognize the member for Port Arthur.
Mr. Foulds: I hope that the member is prepared to say that he is speaking for the Liberal caucus, when he says it wants to centralize all of the exhibits, all of the displays --
Mr. Kerrio: Why don’t you deal with the issue?
Mr. Foulds: That’s what he said -- Metropolitan Toronto. That he wants to centralize the governing body in Metropolitan Toronto. I know the Liberal Party is having a desperate time achieving a foothold, in terms of representation in this assembly, in Metropolitan Toronto, but I never thought they would go to such extreme as disavowing the remainder of the province in order to achieve that.
Mr. Kerrio: Talk to the bill.
Mr. Roy: Who is the official opposition?
Mr. Foulds: I would like to suggest the amendment by my friend, the member for Oakwood, is (a) reasonable, (b) flexible and (c) simply reflects the artistic and geographic realities and the administrative realities of the province. I suggest that it be endorsed by all members of the Legislature.
Pace, pace, Niagara Falls.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any other comments?
Mr. Kerrio: Yes, I’d like to make some comments. What I have attempted to do, and what I shall do now, is to bring into focus another amendment they have.
Mr. Chairman: Order. That would be out of order.
Mr. Kerrio: Then, Mr. Chairman, I shall not. I shall address myself to their first amendment.
Mr. Foulds: It’s about time that you did.
Mr. Kerrio: In the first amendment, what the socialists are attempting to do is suggest that geographical representation is recommended. When they talk about geographical representation they are suggesting that those people all across the province are going to have some input into the amendments, or legislative involvement, or the running of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
What I am suggesting to those members is that if geographical representation is recommended there is no way you can allow only those members in attendance at a meeting to vote on the important issues as they present themselves, because then you no longer have geographical representation. And that is what you are suggesting.
But then you contradict yourself because there is no way you can have a geographical representation without allowing the voting of those people right across the province. That is what you are suggesting.
I completely understand what you are trying to say. You are trying to make something else out of my interpretation of the act in this debate. But I would like to tell you again very clearly that, if we’re going to have geographical representation across this province then you’re going to have to do it by a ballot vote. You’re not going to be able to do it by demanding that everybody show up in the city of Toronto to vote. That’s what you people are trying to do and you’re not going to get away with it.
Mr. Grande: The critic for the Liberal Party persists in making mistakes, even though he has been corrected by the member for Port Arthur.
Mr. Roy: You could hardly say he was corrected.
Mr. Grande: He still falls right into the same mistakes, over and over again, every time he utters a sound.
Mr. Lupusella: You never learn, Vince. How come?
Mr. Grande: For the second time; this amendment has nothing to do with the membership of the Art Gallery of Ontario. This amendment has to do with the trustees on the board of the Art Gallery of Ontario. To be more specific, this amendment has to do with the 10 appointees that the province, through the Lieutenant Governor, appoints to the board of trustees of the Art Gallery of Ontario. It has nothing to do with proxy voting.
Mr. M. Davidson: Got it now, Vince?
Mr. Kerrio: I never misunderstood your motives. You hide behind your motives.
Mr. Grande: It has nothing to do with the general leadership meeting.
Mr. Kerrio: Your motives are not honest.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Kerrio: You’re not honest.
Mr. Foulds: Do you check your bed every night before you go to sleep?
Mr. Chairman: Order. Would the member for Niagara Falls withdraw that statement -- that his motives are dishonest?
Mr. Lupusella: Why don’t you eject him?
Mr. Kerrio: Yes, I will. They’re not dishonest probably. They’re misguided.
Mr. Chairman: Will the honourable member withdraw?
Mr. Kerrio: Yes, I will withdraw.
Mr. Chairman: The honourable member has withdrawn. The member for Oakwood has the floor.
Mr. Cunningham: He’s as misguided as I am.
Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, I hope that the point has been made very clear, if not to the member for Niagara Falls, at least to the other members of the Liberal Party. We’re not talking about voting in this particular amendment. We’re not talking about proxy voting at all. We’re talking about the membership of the board of trustees of the Ontario art gallery. That’s all.
Specifically, we’re talking about the 10 appointees on that board appointed by the Lieutenant Governor. What we’re saying in essence is this -- and the Minister of Culture and Recreation and I’m sure the members opposite agree and concur with this -- that those 10 people should be more representative of the people of the province of Ontario. Because, after all, as we pointed out, it is called the Art Gallery of Ontario. That’s the point.
Mr. M. Davidson: In speaking to the amendment to this bill, the amendment put forward by my socialist colleague from Oakwood, I, as a socialist from Cambridge, would like to support the amendment. It would appear that the member for Niagara Falls, as usual, has neither read the bill thoroughly nor does he have a comprehensive understanding of what my colleague from Oakwood is attempting to do.
Mr. Kerrio: Too much so -- that’s what you cats can’t understand. I know exactly what your motives are.
Ms. Gigantes: Throw him out.
Mr. Foulds: Stop imputing motives. It is against the rules.
Mr. Kerrio: Be honest.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The member for Cambridge has the floor.
Mr. M. Davidson: As has been said by the member for Oakwood there are, I believe, some 10 trustees of the art gallery appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. Nowhere in the present act does it state that those 10 trustees must be geographically representative of persons throughout the province.
What my colleague is attempting to do is ensure that people working within the arts, or the arts councils, or the art galleries throughout the entire province, do in fact have representation within the Art Gallery of Ontario.
This is relatively important because the arts in Ontario are growing rapidly. More and more people are enjoying the existing art painted by, written by, sculptured by and enjoyed by many Ontario people.
I’m sure that members on both sides of this House are aware that, in Kitchener, they are now in the process of building a very large arts centre. I would hate to think that persons involved in that arts centre in the Kitchener area could not, in fact, have the opportunity of being a trustee or of participating in the Art Gallery of Ontario.
I honestly feel the member for Niagara Falls, who I understand comes from a tourist area, is looking at the art gallery as a tourist attraction, rather than what it is. It is a place where the art works of the people of Ontario are gathered and the people of Ontario are able to enjoy them.
Mr. Kerrio: Michelangelo didn’t come from a tourist centre.
Mr. Foulds: Oh? I thought Rome had a pretty booming tourist business.
Mr. Kerrio: You don’t know what you’re talking about and you know it.
Mr. Foulds: Neither do you.
Mr. Kerrio: You’d better believe I do.
Mr. Foulds: Who was Michelangelo?
Mr. M. Davidson: I think the comments made by the member for Niagara Falls speak for themselves. I’m sure anyone who reads Hansard will understand he did not, in fact, have knowledge of what my colleague, the member for Oakwood, is attempting to do.
I can only suggest to you that in fairness of what I think probably the original intent of the bill was, the Lieutenant Governor in Council could, in fact, appoint 10 trustees. I’m quite certain at that time the bill envisaged the opportunity for persons throughout all of Ontario to receive one of those appointments. The amendment being moved tonight by the member for Oakwood would ensure that. I think it’s an excellent amendment and I would encourage all members of the House to support it.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Niagara Falls on the amendment.
Mr. Kerrio: I certainly will address myself to the amendment.
Much has been said about this amendment. I have to share a thought with you tonight that is very significant. Those people who are selected from across the province are expected to attend some 10 meetings a year in Toronto to do the business of the arts council.
Mr. Foulds: It’s not the arts council. Point of information, Mr. Chairman. It is the board of trustees of the Art Gallery of Ontario. It’s not the arts council.
Mr. Kerrio: It’s been the experience of those people who have been involved, who are very interested in the arts council as it relates to the interests of the people of Ontario, that unless you’re able to attend the meetings, unless you’re willing to attend the meetings, it just doesn’t happen. They have had the experience.
If you want to relate any kind of involvement of this Legislature to any particular field, you have to deal with the people who are on the scene. It’s been the experience of those people in the arts council that if you --
Mr. Foulds: It’s not the arts council.
Mr. McClellan: You’re talking to the wrong bill again.
Mr. Kerrio: I’m not talking to the wrong bill.
Mr. Grande: The member for Niagara Falls is continually confusing the Ontario art gallery with the Ontario Arts Council. No wonder he’s having such problems with his name.
Mr. Kerrio: If it’s the only significant thing you have to offer to this debate, you’re in dire trouble. The significance of what I have to say is more important than one word in what I’m suggesting.
Mr. Foulds: You’re getting your facts wrong.
Mr. Kerrio: I want to tell you that doesn’t alter in any way the point I am trying to make. If you don’t understand the point I am trying to make and if you would revert to some kind of a minor discrepancy in one word, in the tone I use, then you are in serious trouble.
Mr. Grande: You are talking about two different institutions.
Mr. Kerrio: My concern as it relates to the amendment before us is that when people are chosen from too far afield they do not, and they cannot, attend regularly the meetings.
Mr. Foulds: Why not?
Mr. McClellan: Of course they can.
Mr. Kerrio: Because it’s been recorded that such is not the case. It has not been happening.
Mr. Foulds: Where?
Mr. Kerrio: After two or three meetings those people who come from too far afield just do not come out any more to make true representation to the particular application they have been elected to.
I want to tell you that the Art Gallery of Ontario -- as now you want me to be so specific, and I will -- in the original concept was not the Art Gallery of Ontario, it was the Art Gallery of Toronto. As such, very many dedicated people kept it in place until the provincial government got involved and now we can refer to it properly. And, Tony, if it bothers you that there was a little bit of a slip of the tongue then I’ll say to you it is the Art Gallery of Ontario. Does that satisfy you now?
Ms. Gigantes: It does. You are getting close.
Mr. McClellan: You are on the right amendment.
Mr. Kerrio: It doesn’t take away from any argument I’ve presented here before and I’ll make the argument again now. If we are going to continue to have true representation and build a worthwhile art gallery in the finest city in Ontario I can’t believe you could become so parochial that you’re going to attempt to make something else out of this bill before us. If you’re going to attempt to suggest that unless we move part of the art collection to northern Ontario and play strictly the politics of this game, you’re not being honest with the people of Ontario.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, ask the member to withdraw that remark.
Mr. Roy: There is nothing wrong with that.
Mr. Hodgson: He didn’t say anything that wasn’t true.
Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, on a point of personal privilege.
Mr. Chairman: A point of privilege?
Mr. Grande: Yes. I think the gentleman who was speaking, the member for Niagara Falls, referred to me by my first name, first of all --
Mr. Cunningham: Picky, picky.
Mr. Grande: -- and then he mentioned that I’m not being honest.
Mr. Hennessy: Are you honest?
Mr. Grande: Let the member for Niagara Falls withdraw that remark immediately.
An hon. member: We can have a special debate on that.
Mr. Chairman: I listened to it very carefully and I felt it was not out of order. The member for Niagara Falls.
Ms. Gigantes: That’s a new stand for a Liberal.
Mr. Grande: It doesn’t make sense anyway.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Chairman, I am very concerned about the bill that’s before us. I’m disturbed the members on my left didn’t see fit to support the bill on second reading.
To make the kind of noise and issue they are making about the amendment seems very strange when they were not even willing to have this moved to this committee for debate. Isn’t it strange that group of people over there who wouldn’t have us address ourselves to this very worthwhile bill would make the kind of noises they’re making over there now?
It’s grossly unfair. What you should do is sit in your place and mind your business.
Mr. Chairman: Would the honourable member make some noises towards the amendment?
Mr. Kerrio: If you like, Mr. Chairman, I will. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, you’re right. I’ll get back to the amendment. I think those remarks had to be made.
The fact is that when we talk about geographical representation, it is only significant for those people who are from those wide reaches of Ontario that can attend the meetings of the trustees of the art gallery. And I’m suggesting to those on my left that such is not the case and this amendment is not worth the paper it is written on.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I would like to address my remarks through you to the minister. I’m sure the minister knows many boards and agencies. I think the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Wiseman) mentioned a number of them that were a part of the government structure that have representation from across the province. I think that is a principle worth continuing and expanding.
I’m sure the minister also knows that those people nominated by the Lieutenant Governor in Council are talked to before the actual appointment becomes a fact. I suggest to the minister that is one of the things the minister and whoever sounds out their availability makes very clear to those people -- that they are expected to attend the meetings and perform their duties, otherwise the recommendations of their appointments would not go forward to the Lieutenant Governor in Council. I think that’s a matter of process the minister understands, if not the member for Niagara Falls.
Lastly, I would like to point out to the House and to the minister that those people from regions of the province other than Metropolitan Toronto who have accepted responsibility with other boards and agencies, such as OEAC and the Ontario Arts Council, have fulfilled those responsibilities admirably, both in attendance and in their contribution to the proceedings of those bodies. I would suggest there is no reason to believe it wouldn’t be the same with any appointees to the board of trustees of the Art Gallery of Ontario because the minister knows, as the member for Niagara Falls may not know, that the plane has been invented and people are able to travel from Timmins, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Kenora or Thunder Bay in a couple of hours to get to a meeting in Toronto and get back the same evening or sometimes the following day. Lo, even people from Parry Sound could drive down and participate in the meetings. I think it just makes common sense and I would like the minister’s response and acceptance of the amendment.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I think all parties are agreed that the Art Gallery of Ontario has indeed become the Art Gallery of Ontario. That is something all of us have been hoping for and planning for and it is being implemented. I agree with the comment made over there that we are for the moment addressing ourselves really to the question of the 10 appointees by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. I think all of us would agree that these 10 appointees should be geographically representative of the entire province. I have no great problems with that in principle. Nobody argues against that.
We have heard a very eloquent statement by the representative from Thunder Bay about the need for someone from Thunder Bay or that district to represent that area of the province on the Art Gallery of Ontario. I have heard an equally eloquent request made by my colleague from --
Mr. Foulds: Fort William.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Fort William, from Mickey, if I can call him by his first name.
Mr. Hennessy: Thank you.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: He has made an equally strong statement and eloquent request that there should be representation. I think we are all agreed that there should be province-wide representation from these 10 appointees.
Mr. McClellan: Then support the amendment.
Mr. Kerrio: Absolutely.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I think we would also agree that at the present time perhaps that representation has not advanced quite as far as it should. For instance, at the present time, five appointees are from Toronto and five are from outside Toronto. The five persons from outside of Toronto are from Cobourg, Hamilton, Lambeth, Ottawa and St. Catharines. There is applause here from the representative for St. Catharines. That’s close enough to Niagara Falls.
The council and the cabinet are aware of the need to work harder at this geographic representation.
Mr. McClellan: Then support the amendment.
Mr. Foulds: They haven’t been in the past.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The problem with this particular motion as it stands is really how to implement it in a meaningful way. I suspect that the member for Niagara Falls made a gigantic elliptical leap in rationalization here tonight or in logic when he kind of brought it all together. And for that reason, said he was opposed to the amendment. Because I know what he was after, I certainly could agree with him. I could understand what he was after. I could understand why he really wasn’t in favour of this particular amendment. As I say, the leap in rationalization was somewhat elliptical, but it was there nevertheless and I can fully understand what he was after.
I can assure everyone in the House that we are committed to a proper geographical representation according to the population of an area in the province provided, as the member for Niagara Falls has pointed out, everything else is there; if all the other factors are there -- if in fact the appointee is willing to travel, is willing to take a day off, has the skills, has the interest in the art gallery. As I said earlier in this debate keep in mind these are volunteers we are talking about. We are not paying these people. They are giving of their valuable time. Sure, we are paying their travel, but that is a small part of the cost to these people.
I am pleased that the member for Niagara Falls has referred to the difficulties in implementing this, and even though I recognize the principle is sound and one I support solidly, one that we will implement, I think we can implement it without this particular amendment.
Mr. di Santo: It doesn’t make sense.
Mr. Lawlor: I prefer his irrationality to yours.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, no. Come on, Tony, sit down.
Mr. Kerrio: Oh, come on.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: He has already spoken five times.
Mr. Grande: There has been a phenomenal turnaround in the minister’s point of view.
Mr. Kerrio: I don’t think so. I think he is using good sense.
Mr. Foulds: Never.
Mr. Grande: He was talking about the benefits of representation on the art gallery, the trustees of the art gallery, the 10 representatives from the province, and then in one terse sentence at the end: “We can accomplish it without this amendment.”
Why is it that in the past three to four years that kind of commitment did not come through with the appointments? In a sense it did not. It was not accomplished without the legislative amendment to this particular section of the bill. Actually, Mr. Minister, it surprises me that you would say the principle is fine, we all agree and then point to a certain kind of parabolic argument that the member for Niagara Falls made, finally agreeing and accepting the parabolic argument. It is incredible. That is not a parabolic feat. I think it is a universal jumping feat, backwards.
I really hope the minister will reconsider that position. I hope when the amendment is placed and we vote on it, the government benches will stand up and vote in support of this amendment, because you cannot speak about representation on a board and then end up saying, “However, that representation cannot be instituted in the bill.” It is an incredible argument. I think the member from St. Catharines will readily admit it is a non sequitur event.
Mr. Foulds: I would appeal to the minister to reconsider the last sentence of his previous remarks because the minister says the principle of the amendment is sound. He says that the cabinet and the Lieutenant Governor in Council are going to implement that principle. But somehow, he is reluctant to implement that principle in legislation. I simply do not understand that.
He may, better than I, understand the reasoning of the member for Niagara Falls, but I don’t think it’s either an elliptical leap or a parabolic dive. I think it’s crass political opportunism on his part to reject the amendment proposed by my colleague from Oakwood because he understands that he will have the support, although reluctant, of the Liberal Party. I suggest that is not a good enough reason. The arguments put forward privately to the minister by my friend, the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy), should carry some weight. I suggest that in order to make it permanent we should enshrine the principle in legislation.
As I suggested to you earlier, the amendment is flexible enough that it gives you some judicious discretion in choosing. It isn’t binding and it is not a quota system. If you do not accept the amendment of my friend, the member for Oakwood, you are denying the legitimate aspirations of people throughout this province to participate in the activities of the province. Those activities, if I may say this to you with the greatest sincerity, are as important in the area of art and culture as they are in economics or any other area.
I suggest to the minister very seriously that he accept the amendment.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Grande’s amendment will please say aye.
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
On section 3:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Kerrio moves that section 3(1) of the bill be amended by inserting after “vote” in the seventh line “subject to the requirement that the members be mailed information concerning the issue at least 30 days in advance of the final date for the return of the mail ballot.”
Mr. Kerrio: I’m very sorry, Mr. Chairman, if I upset the chair in any way, but you will begin to realize, as the votes go on and as we get into the amendments, they are so related to one another that I was attempting to bring something into focus that maybe was out of order. As you will see. subsequently this becomes very significant and important.
When I talk to you about the particular amendment we are moving, you will realize that I was addressing myself to the very grave responsibility of feeling somewhat of an affinity for those people in the far reaches of Ontario to enable them to address themselves to the arts council. In this way, I was moving this amendment so that those people, on being given adequate notice of important issues as they relate to the Art Gallery of Ontario, can address themselves to them and vote, no matter how far away they are from central Ontario. We would then begin really to get input as it relates across the province. Because of this I’m moving this amendment.
I feel it’s a very good amendment. If people are given proper notice of important issues as they relate to the Art Gallery of Ontario, they can get their ballot and can address themselves to the issue. Very simply, I would like to make the point that I wasn’t really attempting to downgrade the socialists’ amendment, but I was trying to convey that later on through the bill there are ways in which we can get input across the province without in any way jeopardizing what we might consider a real commitment of the people across Ontario to relate with the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Mr. Grande: I also had an amendment to section 3.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: As a matter of order, these amendments are not mutually exclusive. Couldn’t we deal with one amendment at a time? If we deal with the amendment by the member for Niagara Falls, whether it is carried or not carried, I will still then take a further amendment on section 3, but it might be less confusing if we deal with one amendment at a time, if that is acceptable to the members of the House.
Mr. Grande: However, Mr. Chairman, I would not want to confuse the issue at the same time. But let me then, for the interest of debate, put that amendment forth and make some comments on the amendment that the member for Niagara Falls has.
The amendment is that I move that section 3(1) of the bill amending section 5 of the act be amended by striking out “mail” in the sixth line and by inserting after “members” in the seventh line, “in attendance at the meeting.”
I don’t think you can have two amendments before you at the same time, but I just wanted to have, for the purpose of the debate, background on another amendment that might come forward.
Before I ask or talk on this particular amendment that the member for Niagara Falls brought forward, I wonder if the minister could answer certain questions on this issue? One of the questions is, how many members does the Art Gallery of Ontario have and where do those members reside? Is it possible to have an answer for that?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I must apologize to the member for Oakwood. I was looking at the other amendment he had filed with the Clerk and this amendment certainly has some relationship to the amendment of the member for Niagara Falls. So it would be in order because they are somewhat contradictory. They are in relationship to each other and it would appear that if your amendment carries, the one from the member for Niagara Falls would be somewhat redundant, and vice versa. So I think you can speak to the principle of a mail ballot and how it is conducted under the amendment from the member for Niagara Falls.
Mr. Grande: However, Mr. Chairman, before I do, it amends exactly the same portion of the act, and sure the substance is the same, but I would not want it to be confused so at the end we don’t know what we are voting for. I would like to make that distinction. But I would like the minister, if at all possible, to answer a few questions regarding the membership of the art gallery before we proceed.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Chairman, I don’t have all the statistics here but I think perhaps the most important one is that there are now about 17,000 members of the art gallery and of the 17,000 I believe something like 80 per cent -- I may be wrong by a few percentage points, but something like 80 per cent -- reside in Metropolitan Toronto. I have just had that confirmed to me; it is 20 per cent outside of Metro Toronto.
In addition to members, the 17,000 at large, any member of other provincial galleries -- 40 of them -- are automatically members of the Art Gallery of Ontario. In other words, I think all the members here know there have been quite a number of art galleries founded and quite a number are flourishing throughout the province of Ontario. If you are a member of any of the local art galleries, you automatically become a member of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, I would assume when he said 80 per cent of those 17,000 members at large of the Art Gallery of Ontario reside in Metropolitan Toronto, that perhaps the minister is a bit conservative to say the least.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Well, I would hope so.
Mr. Conway: He has been all over the political spectrum.
Mr. Grande: You’re quite right. However, I did not mean that to be with a capital “C.”
Since I firmly believe the range of the membership of the Art Gallery of Ontario happens to be at least between 80 and 90 per cent resident in Metropolitan Toronto and there are very few members outside of Metropolitan Toronto, I really do not see why those 80 per cent of the people who reside in Metropolitan Toronto cannot get to a general meeting of the art gallery. If they are interested members, and one must assume they are interested members because they became members of the Ontario Art Gallery and there’s got to be some interest there, then I would assume also those members are going to be interested in attending the general meeting of the Ontario Art Gallery when a general meeting is called.
I’m really -- perhaps you can say in principle---disagreeing with proxy voting, disagreeing with voting when a person has not been able to follow the debate in a particular issue and will vote yes and no on an issue without, more than likely and I say not necessarily, without having regard for all the debate.
The point is, the amendment by the Liberal Party will and does assume those people are not knowledgeable of the issues, and does assume those people, if they are not interested in attending the meeting of the Art Gallery of Ontario, will be reading that material in order to vote yes or no in a mail ballot.
I would suggest to you the amendment that really should be carried is that amendment which suggests people who are interested in the function of the art gallery, people who are interested in the issues debated at that particular general meeting of the art gallery, should be present there to participate in the debate, or at the very least be passive participants. They should at least listen to the debate and then at the end of that, they can make up their minds in terms of how to vote.
I believe that amendment which I will put to the House later on perhaps does make more sense than the Liberal amendment, since, as was very well put, 80 per cent of the people reside within Metropolitan Toronto. If they cannot get to the meeting in Metropolitan Toronto, I say there is no interest there.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I would think the amendment put forward by the member for Niagara Falls has some sense in terms of the bill as we see it before us. There should be a provision that imposes a requirement on the authorities at the art gallery that adequate notice of the topics to be discussed at an annual or general meeting and the background information be sent out to those people. I would think it does allow for some knowledge and some information, so that people who are members of the art gallery are kept informed of the activities and the decision-making processes of the board.
I would like to know why the minister felt it necessary to bring in his original section of the bill. Obviously, there was a great controversy last year over proxy voting. This doesn’t, as I understand it, deal with that problem. That is, it does not deal with the problem of voting for the elected trustees at the annual meeting. I would like some clarification as to whether or not he expects his amendment to apply only to issues, or does he expect there will be mailed ballots for the election of officers or trustees?
The present act gave the board sweeping powers to make, and I quote, “terms of membership and the fees to be paid therefor and providing for and regulating meetings of the members.” Presumably the board, in fact, already had the power, if it had chosen to exercise it, to go the ballot route. Although his amendment, as I understand it, doesn’t make this mandatory, I suggest strongly that he is recommending to them that they pursue this avenue.
I wonder if the minister could respond to those specific questions, does he need a moment or two, in terms of background information, with his officials?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The member asked a question, Mr. Chairman. I would like a few minutes for a little background information. I think we have it all here, but I want to make sure we have everything.
Mr. Foulds: As I understand the minister is waiting for some information, perhaps we could set aside the clause for a moment or two while we go on with another one.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I have notice of other amendments on the same clause, by both the member for Niagara Falls and the member for Oakwood. We now have one amendment, and notice of a second amendment, before us which are, in effect, contradictory. I think that if we get several other amendments before us we will be totally confused.
Mr. Foulds: I agree. That’s why I suggested that we stand the section down, and perhaps carry other sections of the bill.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The only other section of the bill is the proclamation section and the commencement section.
Does the member for Oakwood have something further to say on the amendment concerning the mailed ballot?
Mr. Grande: No, I do not. I thought, Mr. Chairman, that you had said we would stand this down until the information was available.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I have indicated we now have one amendment before us on section 3 and notice of your amendment on section 3. I don’t think we should get any more amendments before the committee until those two amendments have been decided. Mr. Minister, are you ready to continue?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: If it might expedite matters, I am now prepared to answer the question raised by the member for Thunder Bay. Certainly, in future, it is anticipated that the mail ballot, as distinct from the proxy system, would be used for the election of trustees to the board.
Mr. Lawlor: Then you have no objection to putting it in the bill?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: No. I might say, Mr. Chairman, and I guess the chairman is listening, we frankly would have no problem with the amendment which suggests, I think, a 30-day warning. We want to use the mail ballot system efficiently; we want to use it fairly. Obviously, I should think, as has been pointed out both from the Liberal and NDP benches, to use a mail ballot system properly you are going to have to give some fair notice to the people to allow them to think about the questions at hand. If this amendment suggests at least a 30-day warning period, no problem at all.
We also recognize the limitations of a mail ballot. There are many very complex subjects which do not lend themselves to mail ballot voting. I think what we really tried to get away from here, in introducing this idea of a mail ballot as distinct from the proxy system was, as I’m sure everybody here is aware, the possible misuse of proxy systems where one member of the executive or one member of the board can get 800 or 900 or 1,000 proxies in his or her hand and exert undue power.
I don’t think there is really a great deal more to be said on this. I do feel the member for Oakwood tends to write off, perhaps a little too lightly, the 20 per cent -- and I see he has moved off for a moment --
Mr. Foulds: He’s right here, listening.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Oh, he’s right there. He tends to write off a bit too lightly the 20 per cent of the AGO’s membership who do not live in Metro Toronto and who probably would have some great difficulty in getting to the meetings. Especially I find that a little difficult to understand when just a few minutes ago I think all parties here were agreed that the Art Gallery of Ontario must indeed become the Art Gallery of Ontario. More and more people should be involved in it, should be enjoying its works, should be participating in its decisions and so on. To say simply, “If you’re only one of the 20 per cent who live outside Metro, you don’t really count all that much,” I don’t think is a particularly wise move to make.
Also, I think we should remind ourselves that there are a lot of people living in Metropolitan Toronto who cannot in the middle of the winter come down to the annual meeting of the art gallery. It could be handicapped people, it could be the aged; the elderly, the shut-ins, whatever, but people who do enjoy art. Surely we don’t want to disenfranchise them.
Mr. Foulds: That’s a good point.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: In order to clarify, before the member for Oakwood speaks, when the honourable members have finished discussing the amendment by Mr. Kerrio, I intend to put the amendment by the member for Niagara Falls. Whether that amendment does or does not carry, I will then accept the amendment from the member for Oakwood and then after the speeches on that we’ll take the vote on the amendment from the member for Oakwood.
We’re now dealing with the amendment from the member for Niagara Falls, which is dealing with the 30-day notice period for a mail ballot.
Mr. Foulds: Good procedure.
Mr. Grande: I would like the minister to give me one commitment and that commitment is that henceforth, after this legislation is passed, there shall be no proxy voting at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I want that commitment from you, and if I do have that commitment, I’ll be more than willing to withdraw my amendment and deal exclusively with the amendment from the Liberal member for Niagara Falls.
Mr. Havrot: That’s blackmail.
Mr. Foulds: How’s that for accommodation?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Chairman, I really believe it would be quite inappropriate for the minister to give that kind of an assurance.
Mr. Grande: You said that you disagree with the proxy method.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Don’t ask me at this moment to be specific, but there may well be occasions when the proxy method of voting is indicated. But I think the whole thrust, the whole intent, of introducing the mail ballot vote is to move away from proxy and to move towards mail ballot voting. I feel it would not be appropriate for me to give that kind of a specific commitment at this point
Mr. Grande: I think the minister once again has put himself in a position of saying something in a speech and then not wanting to make a commitment. If I heard him correctly, he did say he is in disagreement with proxy voting and he wants to get away from proxy voting.
Since that is his position, that he and his caucus dislike the proxy voting method and he wants to get to the mail ballot, I would not disagree, provided that proxy voting was done away with. That was the intent of my amendment -- to do away with the proxy voting technique. That is why I urged that the people who would have a vote at a general meeting of the art gallery would be people in attendance. Definitely then there would be no need for proxy voting.
Since the minister is not willing to commit himself to that, at least he said -- or did I hear correctly? -- that in extreme cases, which means by the time you will be able to take a look at this legislation, there might have been more evidence at your disposal to make a final commitment against the proxy voting technique.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Just to repeat my position: I don’t think it would be appropriate for me at this time to make a firm, specific commitment that we shall never ever again use proxy voting. I think the whole thrust of this legislation has been to get away from it. I can only assume, since that has been the thrust of this legislation and since sensible men and women are running the affairs of the art gallery, that good judgement will prevail.
I think that’s as far as we need to go at this time. After all, this House can’t legislate common sense to every last comma and every last dot over the “i” or cross on the “t.”
Mr. Grande: I think one such as myself knows when the battle has been fought and one knows when something has been achieved. I think that since the minister has said he will accept the Liberal amendment, I shall withdraw the amendment I put forward. I want to say to the minister that even though the Liberal amendment is only one step forward, at least it is much better than the way it was before.
Mr. Foulds: I would ask the minister if he would give us the commitment to report. I know there is an annual report of the Art Gallery of Ontario, but I wonder if he could report in a year’s time -- if he’s still the minister -- the mechanisms that have been used? And if there is an evaluation of that going on, would he report to the Legislature about the effect of this legislation?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I would be delighted to do so.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I understand the member for Oakwood has withdrawn his amendment on the mailed ballot. Is that correct?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Kerrio moves that section 3 of the bill amending section 5 of the act be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
(1) Section 5 of the act, as amended by the Statutes of Ontario, 1972, chapter 72, section 3, is further amended by inserting after “may” in the first line, “at a meeting that is open to the public, except where the board determines that for the purpose of exercising powers in relation to the purchase of property, personnel matters, proceedings before a court, arbitrator or arbitration board, a meeting shall not be open to the public,” and that subsections 1 and 2 of the bill be renumbered as subsections 2 and 3.
Mr. Kerrio: This amendment as it relates to the Art Gallery of Ontario would have the meetings by the trustees open to the public and, particularly, to the membership.
As I suggested before, it is sort of disappointing to have to pursue a point without relating one amendment to another. From time to time, I suppose, some of us members might be somewhat frustrated by not being able to bring into play related amendments. I say that in proposing this particular amendment it is a sign of the times since because public funds are put into place in the art gallery, public input is certainly worthwhile and should be encouraged.
The fact also is before us that the Art Gallery of Toronto, as it originally was conceived and, subsequently the Art Gallery of Ontario, has over the years, had many dedicated people. I move this amendment because of the circumstances facing us now where there is a demand by the general public to have more to do with the business of the province as it relates to those areas where we have tax dollars supporting any particular involvement.
I must also place on the record the fact that many of the people who are elected from the membership -- 10 in total -- and the 10 appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the two appointees by the city of Toronto and the five members from the college of founders not only have given much of their time, but also have given substantial moneys to making the Art Gallery of Ontario what it is today.
I hope that as a result of those areas in my amendment that relate to the areas where they can deal with the important aspect of the trustees as it relates to the acquisition of works of art, and as to the determination of directors and curators as it relates to the very important private involvement of the art gallery, this bill will address itself to a very meaningful and proper way to conduct the business of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
I have to reiterate the comments I made in passing, that while representation across the province is vital and important, if we are going to have an art gallery of any consequence, it is going to have to be central. It’s going to have to allow the people who sit there as trustees to make commitments that will bring in artifacts, paintings and cultural objects that will make our art gallery a top art gallery in the world. If such is going to be the case, we cannot splinter it. We cannot talk about the people of northern Ontario not having something that they are entitled to because they pay tax dollars, no more than we can say it about the people from Niagara Falls.
Hon. Mr. Welch: And St. Catharines.
Mr. Kerrio: And St. Catharines. As I suggested to the former Minister of Culture and Recreation, if I could share this thought with those here in the assembly tonight, I watched with interest an aerial shot of the waterfront of Toronto on Grey Cup day. I have never been so moved as I was in watching that particular view with Ontario Place, the CN Tower, and city hall --
Mr. Martel: Crocodile tears.
Mr. Foulds: Is this relating to the bill?
Mr. Kerrio: -- those things that would make us very proud of a central focus for the people of Ontario to take pride in. I want to tell you that I think this is becoming significant.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Because right across the lake, that’s where we are.
Mr. Martel: Is that Niagara-on-the-Lake?
Mr. Kerrio: I don’t think there is another jurisdiction in all the world that can take more pride in what the people of Ontario should now begin to think of as their central headquarters. They should not be so parochial as to demand a little piece of the artifacts from the Art Gallery of Ontario. Let’s address ourselves more to those things that might be important to various parts of Ontario. Let’s take pride in those. Let’s have the people of northern Ontario address themselves to the kind of mining involvement, to the fur trading about which many books have been written world-wide, and the great aspirations of some of the people who have gone across northern Ontario. Let’s talk about the things that would draw people from southern Ontario to northern Ontario but let’s not splinter or break up the culture of the Ontario Arts Council and attempt to make it as though we’re doing something less for other parts of the province by centring it here.
Mr. Laughren: Tories of northern Ontario: Just read “north” geographically.
Mr. Kerrio: Let’s talk about bringing the people from the farthest reaches of Ontario to something worthwhile that we can point to with pride and say that there is nothing better in all of the world than what we have centrally in a very good location here.
Mr. M. Davidson: You said so yourself, the entire north.
Mr. Kerrio: I make those comments because I think the people who make up the lists on the board of trustees of the Art Gallery of Ontario had such a thought in mind. They have dedicated themselves over the years to bringing to us something that should be very dear to all of us here.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, is the member in order?
Mr. Roy: He is right on. Talk about presumptuous.
Mr. Kerrio: If I could share with you, if you are willing to listen, some part of the report of the president of the art gallery --
Mr. McClellan: I think the chairman is in a state of shock.
Mr. Kerrio: I would just read into the record maybe just a couple of important paragraphs from the report. I think it is significant and it relates to the bill.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Roy: He is right on.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The member for Port Arthur. Are you rising on a point or something?
Mr. Foulds: Yes. Are we on clause by clause debate rather than second reading?
Mr. Roy: He is spoiling a really good speech there.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: We are dealing with the motion by the member for Niagara Falls, the effect of which is to make a meeting of the art gallery an open meeting. Though the member is straying somewhat, he is still discussing the conduct of the gallery and the conduct of its meetings. I would allow him to continue but caution him to stick somewhat close to the purport of his amendment which is to open a meeting of the art gallery to the public.
Mr. Martel: He wants to put everything in Toronto. A real centralist, that fellow.
Mr. Foulds: Vince, how long have you got? Have I got time to go out for a smoke?
Mr. Roy: We put up with you for an hour.
Mr. Foulds: Nothing can be duller than Albert Roy speaking.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Chairman, I certainly want to do as you suggest. But I thought as long as the members are here, when I digressed for a little in relation to the amendments they made, that they might now bear with me if I was attempting to weave the kind of cloth that would make the Art Gallery of Ontario something worthwhile.
What I am trying to suggest is that we do have a very serious responsibility in formulating this kind of an amendment where we open it somewhat to the public, to see that those people who become involved realize the grave responsibility that rests with them. We also have a responsibility with respect to the powers we allow the board in making the determination that would allow them to do some of the important business of the trustees as it relates to significant matters in camera. I leave the matter rest with the assembly.
Mr. Grande: I will definitely address myself to the amendment the member for Niagara Falls has put before the committee.
I had an amendment myself on that particular section, but after reading the amendment from the Liberal Party, as opposed to the amendment from the member for Niagara Falls, I will say that the amendment has a lot of merit, a tremendous amount of merit.
I would say to the minister that this party is going to be supporting that amendment. My amendment had called for meetings to be open to the public. This amendment talks specifically about certain exceptions where the meetings cannot be open. I think this amendment is much more apropos to the situation than the amendment I had in mind.
The minister perhaps is going to be taking a different tack to this. I know he will. There is certainly pressure on the minister to take a different tack. There is pressure on the minister not to allow the meetings to be open. The minister was saying earlier that perhaps some of these trustees will not participate, and maybe the business of the board of trustees is going to be taken to the lunchroom or to another room and it is certainly not going to be done in public. Those are merely empty threats from the people who want to see things remain as they are. After all, it is nice and cosy. There is a clubby atmosphere. Let’s leave it alone, they say.
Let me read the statement from the president of the art gallery which every member of this Legislature received, dated May 12, 1977, which says: “Protecting the public interest: There are no secret meetings of the board of trustees and no secret decisions of the board. All decisions are reflected in the minutes, which are public. Most of our trustees dislike personal publicity, and hence the discussions of board meetings are in private.”
What kind of openness, what kind of participation is there from members of the public, from members of the press? We truly believe, and the Minister of Culture and Recreation ought to agree, that the purpose, the major function of the Ministry of Culture and Recreation is to make sure that people in the province participate in the cultural institutions that the province has established, participate in the culture institutions that the province funds and encourages.
After all, close to 98 per cent of the money for the Art Gallery of Ontario comes from the government, from the taxpayers. For heaven’s sake, if it is too much to ask that the meetings of the board of trustees be open so people can, if they so wish, attend and listen to the debate and the business in exchange for $3½ million of Ontario taxpayers’ money turned over in 1976 to the Art Gallery of Ontario, then I really think that openness at those particular meetings and public participation at those particular meetings has a high price indeed.
I would suggest to the minister that he try to relieve some of the fears of the trustees of the Art Gallery of Ontario. None of those things they are afraid of is going to take place. If they are indeed knowledgeable -- and I have no doubt they are -- about the business of the Art Gallery of Ontario, then what possible fear could they have in having five, 10 or 15 members of the public, or members of the press if a member of the press is interested in attending, listening to the kind of business and how they conduct the business of the art gallery? Frankly, to me it is fundamental.
I would not want to say anything else --
Mr. O’Neil: Good. Let’s get on with it.
Mr. Grande: -- because I think it’s really so fundamental and so taken for granted in many other institutions that I just don’t know why the Art Gallery of Ontario would never want to have its meetings open to the public.
As I said, we’ll be supporting the amendment from the Liberal Party.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Chairman, I’m sorry to continue this debate for a few minutes. I’ll try to be as brief as I possibly can. I do feel I would be remiss in my duties if I were not to express my gravest misgivings and reservations about this amendment. As I indicated this afternoon in the debate, I cannot help but feel that this amendment has been introduced, almost as sort of a Trojan horse, into a bill that was intended to be strictly a housekeeping bill. I am still not convinced, in spite of all the arguments I heard from the members opposite, from both the Liberal and NDP benches, that we have really thought through all of the implications in this amendment.
Mr. M. Davidson: You just want more people in the House, that’s all.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: As I said, I must really express very grave reservations.
I am particularly disappointed that I the member for Niagara Falls, after paying eloquent tribute to the long and hard work of the very outstanding people of Ontario who have contributed their time, their talents and their money on a voluntary basis -- and I felt that he did protest a bit too much. I think there is a sense of guilt on his part --
Mr. O’Neil: Not a bit.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- that perhaps we just moved on this one a little too fast. I would hope and I would plead with the individual members opposite, that before we vote on partisan lines on this particular issue we all take a second look and vote according to our consciences.
Mr. Haggerty: Do you have any conscience on that side?
Mr. Grande: Are you releasing your members to vote according to conscience?
Mr. Foulds: Do you expect a free vote?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I expect that chatter from here perhaps. I did not expect it from over there. I did not. After all your eloquence, you have raised serious doubts in the minds of people of Ontario --
Mr. M. Davidson: Are you opposed to open meetings?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- whether in fact these people -- some of whom have been appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, some of whom have been appointed by the founder members, some of whom have been elected by the members at large -- are carrying out the work and the affairs of the Art Gallery of Ontario in the best interest of the art gallery and the people of Ontario.
I would have hoped we could have at least taken some time to think about this. Frankly, I am as committed as anybody else here, and everybody else on this side of the House is committed to this concept of access to information -- especially where it affects public affairs.
I don’t think we have to try to convince ourselves of this: we don’t have to try to convert ourselves to this. We do need access to information, especially where public funds are involved. But I would remind the honourable members opposite that there is accountability by the Art Gallery of Ontario to the public. We get a detailed annual report. We get a detailed audited statement These people, for goodness’ sake, are not in there to enhance their own careers, to look after their own gains; they are there on a voluntary basis to serve the people of Ontario.
If only somebody across there could tell me what mistakes they have made that are so terrible. If this House should say, “We are going to force you to take your deliberations into the open,” then please come forward with these mistakes. But I haven’t heard one indication of this.
Mr. Cooke: What is wrong with open meetings?
Mr. Lupusella: It is a democratic principle, that’s what it is.
Mr. Charlton: What’s wrong with it?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I frankly think it is a very sad and sorry state of affairs and a sorry day here if this amendment passes. Frankly, we have not given this the time it deserves.
We hear that now these meetings shall be open, and then very quickly there is a great deal of self-searching there -- I know there is from the member for Niagara Falls. He is concerned about this amendment. First he makes the amendment, and then quickly he says, “Oh, but protect it.” When we talk about personnel, it shall not be an open meeting. When we talk about acquisition of property, it shall not be an open meeting. When we talk about this and that, it shall not be an open meeting. Very real concerns, indeed.
But I would just point out, that because we are rushing into this in a hurried kind of way, there may be other instances where it would be in the best interest of the people of Ontario if the discussions were not made in front of the public or in front of the press. I will give you one good example: The amendment, for instance, does not talk about the case where there are acquisitions through donations and bequests. Every time there is a proposal to make a donation to the Art Gallery of Ontario or a bequest, these issues are discussed openly. Who would discuss the question of a bequest openly -- with the press there, with everybody there -- expecting that the next morning the person who had indicated some desire to make a bequest --
Mr. Kerrio: I will have to answer that. I will add that to my notes.
Mr. Foulds: Add it, Vince, go ahead.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: You will have to answer that. You will have to answer it to more than this House here tonight. But this is just one instance where we can run into a real problem if we rush into this kind of amendment in a time like this.
Quite frankly, I am very disturbed that this kind of a major decision should be made by this House with so little thought, with no consultation, none whatsoever, with the trustees of the Art Gallery of Ontario. I think it is a disgrace. Frankly, I would hope that every member here would think about this before the vote on this amendment.
Mr. M. Davidson: Oh, you are just opposed to open meetings.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I am telling you there is accountability at the present time and I really can see no great merit in this amendment at all.
I am sorry, Mr. Chairman, for having taken up so much time, but I must say I would have felt completely remiss if I had not tried to speak out in the strongest terms possible and say this amendment is a piece of nonsense.
Mr. Lupusella: That’s your opinion and you should be ashamed of it.
Mr. Kerrio: I am very disappointed the minister would use that kind of expression as it relates to my willingness to address myself to any concerns he might have. If he has done his research properly, if he, and his staff, and he has many more than I do, have addressed themselves to this problem because they have had it now before them for a good long time, I would like to tell the minister I am fully prepared to alter my amendment to include the kind of things, one specifically that concerns him and he has named. If that’s the only one which has occasion to concern him, I will address myself to that particular concern. If he has others, please let me know and I would be most willing to accommodate him.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Chairman, I simply used that one rather important example to illustrate what we may be getting ourselves into by rushing into this whole amendment the way you have here. I frankly think it’s unwise. There’s no point in me suggesting here that perhaps we could agree to the amendment if the acquisitions and the bequests and donations were accepted because an hour later I could probably think of two or three other reasons or other issues and matters of which we haven’t thought. I am simply pleading for some time. If anybody here in this House feels there is just reason why these meetings should be open to the public in the future, we are receptive to those suggestions. We are prepared to come into this House with well-thought-out legislation to meet that objective.
Mr. Foulds: First of all, Mr. Chairman, let me say I never thought would find myself understanding the reasoning of the member for Niagara Falls more easily than that of the minister, but in this particular case, I think the amendment simply makes sense. It’s common sense.
In legislative terms, we have had it before us for a number of days. I think the minister and the government should understand they have now the privilege of amending the member’s amendment and if they were as concerned as the minister seems to indicate, they would have done their homework and had their amendments ready for the member’s amendment. That just makes common sense. We have to do that all the time on this side of the House. We have to be prepared for that contingency.
If I understand the member for Niagara Falls correctly, he gave advance warning of his amendment. It was in the government’s hands. They had several hours, if not days, to work on the concerns that have been expressed and to suggest alternatives. Instead of that, we get from the minister a blanket rejection of this most sensible amendment without any concrete legislative alternatives. It seems to me we should proceed with the amendment. If the minister feels uncomfortable, as a government minister, he can next week bring in a new bill that plugs any loopholes he sees necessary.
Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Kerrio’s amendment to section 3 will please say “aye.”
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Sections 4 and 5 agreed to.
CROWN EMPLOYEES COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AMENDMENT ACT
Consideration of Bill 173, An Act to amend the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1972.
On section 1:
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Chairman, section 1 is rather long. Do you want to take it up or do you want me to suggest my amendment?
Mr. Chairman: I suggest you move the amendment.
Hon. Mr. McCague: All right.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. McCague moves that clause (a) of subsection (3b) of section 18 of the act, as set out in section 1 of the bill, be amended by adding thereto the following subclause:
“(vii) An observation and detention home under the Provincial Courts Act.” and by renumbering the following subclause accordingly.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. O’Neil: We will be proposing an amendment to the act to amend the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act under section 1.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. O’Neil moves that section 18 (3a) of the act, as contained in section 1 of the bill, be amended by striking out all the words after “facility” in line 12.
Mr. O’Neil: I know there was some discussion on this during second reading and that the minister will probably like to say a few words as to the way he feels the bill covers the particular situation. I would also like to say a few words on it and so would the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy).
It is our contention that by removing this section we will not, as previously mentioned by some of the members of the third party, destroy any hope of a person who runs into this situation being out of a job. It is our feeling that the grievance settlement board is given this power of giving the employee another position under section 18(3) which states, “where the grievance settlement board determines that disciplinary penalty or dismissal of an employee is excessive, it may substitute such other penalty for the discipline or dismissal as it considers just and reasonable in all the circumstances.”
One of the cases we would use as an example of this was the labour arbitration cases re: the city of Kamloops and the Kamloops Civic Management Association, 16-LAC-2C, which we believe bears out the point we make, that the last part of that particular section is redundant and that the grievance settlement board has the power it requires.
We also have some difficulty with the words “substantially equivalent,” that there may be circumstances arise where equivalent positions could not be given. I know there will be further points made on this by the member for Ottawa East.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Chairman, I am going to oppose this amendment. I think it leaves the statute in a state of ambiguity with respect to what the remedies available to the grievance settlement board might be in an arbitration case involving the issue of the application of force.
The purpose of inserting the section the Liberal Party wants to have deleted is simply to extend the range of options available to the grievance settlement board in an arbitration proceeding.
I have to say as well that I’m a little bit suspicious about the purpose of the amendment, having listened to the member for York Centre (Mr. Stong) and distinctly recalling him saying words to the effect that dismissal was not undesirable in these kinds of cases. I assumed from that that he was talking about in all cases.
In fact the purpose of --
Mr. O’Neil: It wasn’t in all cases; it doesn’t mean in all cases.
Mr. McClellan: That was certainly the impression that he managed to convey.
Mr. Roy: He wasn’t talking about that. You got the wrong impression.
Mr. McClellan: We want to be absolutely clear and we want the statute to be absolutely clear. We want there to be no ambiguity that it is possible for the grievance settlement board to rule that it has a remedy other than the dismissal of an employee.
This statute, first of all, doesn’t just cover workers in mental retardation facilities. It covers workers in psychiatric hospitals, it covers workers in the province’s correctional facilities. The statute has to be sufficiently broad to cover the circumstances of all of the different categories of workers who are working in all the different kinds of provincial facilities.
I can well imagine circumstances where the section that the Liberal Party wants to delete could very well come into play. Let me give a hypothetical example. A nurse working in a psychiatric hospital, who has worked in that hospital for 25 or 30 years, is experiencing emotional stresses that are entirely unrelated to her work situation, that are related to problems in the family or at home. Under this strain of external stress the nurse may strike a patient. Technically, the nurse has violated ministerial directives around the unwarranted application of force and is potentially subject to dismissal.
There are all kinds of situations that can arise in the course of institutional work that can involve one incident in a lifetime of service. I don’t believe the grievance settlement board should be without the capacity to take into account the full range of circumstances.
Mr. O’Neil: We believe we have that now.
Hon. Mr. McCague: You haven’t proved it. What’s this I hear about Kamloops, for God’s sake?
Mr. McClellan: I think, with respect, the member misunderstands the statute and misunderstands the amendment to the statute --
Mr. Roy: You can’t read English then.
Mr. McClellan: -- because subsection (3a) qualifies subsection 3 fundamentally; establishes a different set of rules and procedures where there has been an unwarranted use of force or a sexual molestation. We understand, of course, in cases of sexual molestation, that the grievance settlement board, if it is exercising reason, is not going to reinstate somebody. You, I suppose, can’t make a statute completely idiot-proof; you have to assume that common sense prevails. What we’re talking about is the application of the grievance settlement board’s powers with respect to subsection (3a).
Subsection (3a) in a sense supersedes the distinct subsection 3, and unless there is a provision in the amendment people are left without the protection of alternate remedies.
We are advised that this is the case. The Liberal Party seems to want to insist that this is not the case. I think there is less concern within that party about protecting the rights of public sector workers with the full and due protection of the arbitration process.
Mr. O’Neil: That’s not right at all.
Mr. McClellan: I believe that is right. I believe you are prepared to play games with that right; and I am not prepared to support you.
Mr. O’Neil: We don’t play games, you play games.
Mr. Roy: I would like to speak to the amendment. We’ve looked at the amendment; we’ve followed the processes involved in arriving at this legislation, and the reason and the necessity for it. We’re certainly in support of the principle of the amendment, if certain things are done, as the member for Quinte (Mr. O’Neil) has put forward, to section 1 of the amendment.
It seems to me that when we bring forward legislation such as this to respond to a need or problem, to give certain jurisdiction to the minister to act or to give certain jurisdiction to the grievance settlement board, we shouldn’t be supporting legislation which is duplicitous, legislation which is piecemeal.
If we’re bringing forward an amendment it should jibe with the general act itself. In that sense, if we are serious about correcting the problem that was experienced in the Johnston case, there must be wide discretion given to the board.
If one reads section 18(3) of the act as it presently stands it seems to me it’s straightforward, it’s in clear English; it gives wide discretion to the board. It reads as follows: “Where a grievance settlement board determines that a disciplinary penalty or dismissal of an employee is excessive, it may substitute such other penalty for the discipline or dismissal as it considers just and reasonable in all these circumstances.”
The main words are the substitution of what the board feels it considers just and reasonable in all the circumstances. That gives a wide variety of options to the board to act in a fashion which it feels just and reasonable in the circumstances.
The member for Bellwoods gives examples of situations which are clearly -- and we’re dealing here with human nature -- human incidents, never black and white. What appears to be an assault in a particular case may be sell-defence in another case; especially when we’re dealing with a variety of institutions, from institutions for the mentally retarded to institutions where we have people who are under sentence. The board needs a wide discretion to deal with these matters.
As I read the amendment that is put forward, the discretion of the board is as follows: If the board decides that certain things have happened -- excessive force on the one hand or one has been sexually molested on the other -- once it makes that decision the board decides that that person should not return to that position. Then the board has the alternative to provide employment for the employee in another substantially equivalent position; that’s the only option it has. If it decides to send him to another position it must be substantially equivalent.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Nonsense.
Mr. Roy: The board may provide for the employment in another substantially equivalent position.
Hon. Mr. Welch: The word is “may”.
Mr. Roy: The only position he or she can be replaced to is one that is substantially equivalent.
The English language reads in this particular fashion, you don’t have to be a lawyer to be able to interpret what that means.
Mr. Foulds: “May”.
Mr. Roy: If you’re going to change a position it’s got to be a substantially equivalent position.
Mr. McClellan: It says “may”.
Mr. Foulds: As a lawyer, surely you know the difference between may and shall.
Mr. Roy: Here we go; here come the legal geniuses to my left who are going to start telling us what the difference is between may and shall. The may or shall deals with whether or not the board may put them into a position, but if it decides to put them into a position the position must be substantially equivalent. If the board acts in that fashion that’s where the may or shall applies, it doesn’t apply to the position; that’s the point I’m trying to make. Even the House leader of the NDP can understand that.
Mr. Foulds: I’m sure he can, even when he is not present.
Mr. Roy: That’s where we feel the amendment has a substantial failing. We feel the board should have more flexibility. We say the flexibility already exists in the act because section 18(3) talks about substituting a penalty or discipline the board considers just and reasonable. What the board considers just and reasonable could be another position, it could be a dismissal, or it could be a demotion in position. There’s a lot more variety in those positions.
As my colleague the member for Quinte has said there is very little jurisprudence, unfortunately, in the interpretation of section 18(3); but if one looks at another act, the BC act, there is a different interpretation. I’m sure my colleagues to the left will know that in the province of British Columbia they’ve had forward-looking legislation. They’ve had competent people sit on their tribunals and they’ve even had a so-called well-informed, well-intentioned and motivated NDP government there. I would take it my colleagues to the left, in looking at an interpretation from that jurisdiction, would give it some weight.
Mr. McClellan: If we were in BC, we would.
Ms. Gigantes: Especially the government in BC.
Mr. Roy: If we look at the BC act, one of the discretions of the board reads, “to determine that a dismissal or discipline is excessive in all circumstances of the case and substitute such other measures as appear just and equitable.” It’s very nearly the same words. As an application of the BC act, my colleague has cited the case of the city of Kamloops Civic Management Association.
Mr. McClellan: Your little piece of lingo is great, are you sure that is your own research?
Mr. Roy: What’s that? You don’t understand that? Do you want me to repeat it all over again?
Mr. Chairman: Order; just disregard the interjections.
Mr. Roy: Yes, I should disregard them because most often they’re irrelevant. I shall just address you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. McClellan: If we were in BC we would be in good shape, but we’re not.
Mr. Roy: I was citing the city of Kamloops and the Kamloops Civic Management Association. That is reported. If you could take out your pen and just write instead of talking.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Roy: I’m sorry. I was just trying to tell the member if he would write the citation for future reference --
Mr. Foulds: Why don’t you run in BC, Albert?
Ms. Gigantes: Why don’t you run in BC?
Mr. Foulds: Why don’t you go to the BC Liberal Party, Albert?
Mr. Roy: If he’s really interested in this, it’s reported at the second edition of -- it’s the LAC so it must be labour arbitration cases, the 16th volume at page 90.
Mr. McClellan: Your guess is as good as mine.
Mr. Foulds: Are you sure you’ve got that one figured out properly?
Mr. Roy: I think this is important. It interprets this section, the section that I was quoting from the labour code of British Columbia.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Get off that.
Mr. Roy: The member should be able to understand that -- although I don’t know since his demotion.
Mr. Turner: Albert, if you can understand it anybody can.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Chairman, it says in that case that a demotion is something that was covered under the BC labour code, and the exact words are “just and equitable.”
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Let’s get on with the bill.
Mr. McClellan: You should amend the BC one.
Mr. Roy: I don’t know what has happened. We heard earlier from the member for Bellwoods who said to us: “Don’t fool around with this; don’t touch it, don’t bring forward amendments. We have an agreement on this; you people shouldn’t be bringing forward amendments.” I don’t know what agreement has been on this. In any event what we’re trying to do is bring forward an amendment that makes sense.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Talk to your leader, speak with your leader some day.
Mr. Roy: We’re trying to help you. You should be jumping on this amendment and saying, “Yes, it makes a lot of sense”; that’s what you should be doing.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Speak to your leader.
Mr. McClellan: You don’t know what the agreement means.
Mr. Roy: We’re trying to help. The amendment now states very simply that if the tribunal, if the settlement board --
Mr. Foulds: Where is your leader tonight? Is he in Sault Ste. Marie again?
Mr. Roy: -- decides that the penalty is imposed by the --
Mr. McClellan: Is that the BC settlement board?
Mr. Roy: -- employer was too harsh and they want to give him another position it can only be one type of position, and that has got to be what is called substantially equivalent. If the minister would at least take out those two words, his whole amendment would make far more sense. It would read “the employee in another position.” At least give the settlement board that kind of flexibility.
What kind of an agreement have you got when the only alternative the board has, if it decides to give him another position, is that it has to be substantially equivalent? What kind of flexibility is that? You are tying the hands of the board. We are saying that surely that is not what you should have in mind. The board should have a whole range of alternatives if it is going to impose any type of disciplinary action.
Mr. Hennessy: That’s a good point.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Good point there, Albert.
Mr. Roy: Good point. Well, I hope you will get up and speak in favour of it. I think the former Minister of Energy surely can understand this. You can understand that if the board wants to demote the individual it should have that right. This is the purpose of my colleague’s amendment.
First of all, the amendment is not necessary. There is already flexibility existing in the statutes so that the board can impose discipline which is just and reasonable in the circumstances. We say very simply that involves a demotion, that involves other employment, that involves a whole range of alternatives. Surely if the board or tribunal has that type of flexibility, why would you want to restrict it with this type of amendment?
We are saying, secondly, that if the board does decide to order another position for the employee it only has one alternative, it has to be a position which is substantially equivalent. We say that is ridiculous. Surely when we are bringing forward legislation, when we are trying to be fair to both sides in this, when we are trying to keep some control; when we say we are independent, that we are giving the settlement board full flexibility, and we say, “Yes, you have all the flexibility, but if you do this you have to do it in that fashion,” that’s not justice. It’s not fair and it is not in the best interest of the citizens of this province.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Possibly the minister can clarify this; I have no doubt he will.
Mr. McClellan: Spare us.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: There is really an invitation in this section for the board to provide alternative employment if it so wishes. There was some debate earlier today that it was mandatory, but we know it is permissive.
Mr. Roy: That’s right.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Assuming the grievance board accepts that invitation to provide alternative employment, what I would like clarified is whether, in adopting that invitation, the board is confined to transferring the employee to another substantially equivalent position.
Mr. Roy: That’s exactly what it says.
Mr. Foulds: No.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I would like the minister to comment on that, because if what Mr. Roy says is correct then it does unnecessarily restrict the options and flexibility of this board.
Mr. McClellan: You know that it isn’t.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Remember what we are talking about here is the application by an employee of unnecessary force, or sexually molesting a resident in a facility.
Mr. Roy: That’s right.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Assuming that doesn’t result in dismissal then it would result in a transfer.
Mr. Foulds: If the result is dismissal and it goes to arbitration.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: If what Mr. Roy says is correct, that transfer must provide for employment in another substantially equivalent position which involves no economic hardship or prejudice.
Mr. Roy: That’s right, it is just a lateral transfer.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I would just ask the minister to clarify that in responding to the proposed amendment
Mr. Roy: That is exactly what it says.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I think it will be clear to the members, especially to my colleagues, that subsection 3 of the act remains. We start with section (3a). It has been read twice; both members over there read it. This is only an addition to it. If there is sexual molestation or undue force the board cannot put a person back to direct care, but can direct that he be put into another job, a substantially equivalent position. I think that is abundantly fair and clear.
I firmly believe that the member for Quinte and the member for Ottawa East left this House at six o’clock feeling that they could pick out a case just like that where it would prove to me that it was not necessary to have this clause. You had to travel all the way to BC to find something.
Mr. Roy: Can you read English, or can’t you read English?
Hon. Mr. McCague: What has that got to do with the bill we are considering tonight? Absolutely nothing.
Mr. Roy: It is the same legislation that’s being interpreted.
Hon. Mr. McCague: When we go back to section 18(3) of the act, what the member is saying is that it is a penalty if a person is moved to another position or demoted. But if you look at section 17 of the act, especially subsection 1(a), it is the exclusive function of the employer to assign an employee. That precludes the grievance settlement board from doing the assignment. If you want to go to the Public Service Act, it is the Civil Service Commission that does it. I fail to understand how you can say that a penalty can include moving someone to another position.
Mr. Roy: That is what the act says, and that is what the amendment says.
Hon. Mr. McCague: It doesn’t say that, you are interpreting that. You are giving a legal opinion that they could if they wished. If you look at the Public Service Act and if you look at the other acts, that does not give one the right to do that. The member for Ottawa East has twice today referred to the fact that there seems to be some coalition between the NDP and this party on this bill.
Mr. Roy: That’s right.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I met personally with your leader and the member for Sarnia (Mr. Blundy) and had a very good discussion on it. They felt that no amendments would be necessary to it at that time. Obviously the two members who were speaking on it today were not about at that particular time.
Mr. McClellan: That is the usual practice of the Liberal Party.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I don’t understand it; there is a breakdown in communications somewhere.
Mr. Roy: Oh, no.
Hon. Mr. McCague: It was mentioned that day that there might be some organizations around that would want to make representation to the party and that the Liberal Party might want to raise those objections on their behalf.
I know that the association for the mentally retarded has been to all parties and I am surprised that one of you hasn’t raised the objections that they have. In my opening statement I agreed that I would do that.
Mr. Roy: Is he speaking to the amendment? Is he in order?
Mr. Foulds: You weren’t; he certainly is.
Hon. Mr. McCague: That association is concerned that abuse is not sufficiently defined in the act. That was in their first concern. They also raised concern about third-party representation. In the first letter, third-party representation was mentioned, as well as a better definition of abuse, In the second letter, they only offer an amendment as it concerns third-party representation.
The problem with that is that while it might well work for the association for the mentally retarded, it would not work in this bill as this bill represents a lot of different institutions in the province. For instance, where the mentally retarded are represented by one association, the people in corrections are represented by some 34. If you are going to allow for third-party representation by an association, how in the world would you ever determine the one as it applies to corrections?
That should be sufficient. I would be glad to hear the response from the members for Quinte or Ottawa East.
Mr. Roy: I come back to the fact that it is not my interpretation. Do the words of the English language say something or don’t they? The bill says: “ ... but the board may provide for the employment of the employee in another substantially equivalent position.” That’s what the bill says. It’s not my interpretation, that’s what the amendment says. The board may or may not give a position, but if it does it’s got to give a substantially equivalent position. That’s what I’m saying to you.
Do you have any law? Do you have any interpretation? Why don’t you make it clear, then, if that’s the case? If some of us are confused as to what that means, surely you should not be passing legislation that is so confusing, making a board have the obligation to interpret it at another time. If you’re serious about plugging loopholes and making it clear what your intention is with this legislation, you’re certainly not doing it with this amendment.
Secondly, the reason I brought forward a BC interpretation case is that there is no interpretation of section 18(3) of the act in this jurisdiction. It’s normal for one to go to another jurisdiction which has interpreted similar legislation. Those are rules that are generally accepted by the court, that’s the way it works. I pointed out a case which has interpreted the words “just and equivalent.” They are basically the same words.
I’m saying to you that rather than proceed with the amendment as you have it at least take out the words “substantially equivalent.”
If you want to be duplicitous, at, least do it in a logical fashion and don’t tie the hands of the board.
Hon. Mr. McCague: It seems to be very difficult to get across to my legal friend from Ottawa East what the import of all this is.
Mr. McClellan: Yes, it is.
Mr. Roy: You don’t even understand it.
Mr. Foulds: Perhaps if he read the whole act he would understand it better.
Ms. Gigantes: Listen to him.
Hon. Mr. McCague: If you wouldn’t mind listening, subsection 3 in the original act refers to where the grievance settlement board determines that a disciplinary penalty or dismissal of an employee is excessive. You’ve got to realize that the employer has disciplined an employee. Do you understand that?
Mr. Roy: That’s right, I understand that.
Mr. McClellan: Very good.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Then the case is grieved. You are forgetting entirely that the board may well uphold the employer’s discipline, you’re forgetting that completely. You want to set that right off to the side. In many cases -- I read them off to you today -- the grievance settlement board has upheld the dismissal or the penalty imposed by the employer; you’re forgetting that entirely.
This section of the act still stays here. Then we come to the matter of, as the bill very clearly says, where an employee has applied force to a resident in the facility ... or has sexually molested a resident in the facility,” which is to cover the concerns of my colleague in the Ministry of Community and Social Services. If the board decides in that situation it is going to reinstate an employee, it cannot reinstate him to direct care --
Mr. Roy: The same job, right.
Hon. Mr. McCague: -- but it can reinstate him to another job.
Mr. Roy: As long as it is equivalent.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Sure, it’s equivalent. That’s the way we wanted it. We understand what “substantially equivalent” means. We weren’t going to demote him. He has had his day in court before the grievance settlement board and the board has decided that he should be reinstated.
Mr. Roy: So what penalty is there?
Hon. Mr. McCague: We say he cannot be reinstated to direct care. That’s what the public wants and that is what we’re offering them in this amendment.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Let’s have the question.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Before recognizing any other member, I’ll have to ask for guidance from the committee. It’s my understanding that the committee agreed to stack the votes for 10:15.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Let’s have the question.
Mr. Chairman: Those in favour of Mr. O’Neil’s amendment will please say “aye.”
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
I declare the amendment lost.
Mr. Roy: You are going to have to live with it.
Section 1, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 2 and 3 agreed to.
Bill 173, as amended, reported.
The committee divided on Mr. Grande’s amendment to section 2 of Bill 155, which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 16; nays 57.
Section 2, as amended, agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr. Kerrio’s amendment to section 3 of Bill 155, which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 34; nays 39.
Section 3, as amended, agreed to.
Bill 155, as amended, reported.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the committee of the whole House reported two bills with amendments.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, may I have concurrence of the House to revert to motions prior to adjournment?
STANDING ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE COMMITTEE
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the standing administration of justice committee have authority to sit tomorrow afternoon if it so wishes.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: I will now deem a motion for adjournment to have been made and I’ll hear the member for Parkdale for up to five minutes.
Mr. Dukszta: I have earlier questioned the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) about his Cantrakon decision, but this night debate is not to discuss the pros and cons of the decision, the content of the decision or what it implies about the minister and the government’s continuing inability to protect the environment of Ontario.
I do not intend to say again that the minister is wrong in that decision, nor do I intend to repeat that I believe the minister, judging from the evidence of his actions, is insensitive to the housing needs of the working people of Ontario. Because he is ideologically wedded to representing the basic interests of the capitalistic, property landed proprietors, what he does is the job of being the paid lackey of capitalism. I do not intend to discuss his right wing ideology, because that is a part of our political and ideological disagreement, which cannot now be bridged, nor is it likely to be bridged in the future.
The reason I have expressed my dissatisfaction with the minister’s answers to my question on Friday last is that once more the minister was preventing public scrutiny of the Cantrakon decision and avoiding answering questions by hiding behind the sub judice rule in this House. This especially in view of the fact that the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) tabled an answer indicating he had not prepared a specific legal opinion advising the minister that the matter is sub judice.
My responsibility as a member of the Legislative Assembly and the NDP Housing critic is to watch, and if necessary beset, the minister; who of course is suitably absent. The minister is responsible to this House, and through this House to the people of Ontario. In the course of my duties as a member of this House, I have been dealt with cavalierly by the minister with a degree of duplicity I find abhorrent. Intellectual perversity and stonewalling does not permit my efforts to elucidate the reasons for the minister’s Cantrakon decision. It has prevented me from bringing to public notice the complex and confusing, but apparently interlocking, set of facts, conditions and influences that have shaped the minister’s unacceptable decision.
The sub judice rule has been the minister’s method of stonewalling my legitimate request, in the same way the term “executive privilege” was used on a more notorious occasion to stonewall requests for legitimate information.
Mr. Martel: I wonder where all the Liberals are who were so worried about Cantrakon?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Please note that I’m here.
Mr. Martel: Are you a Liberal?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I am not a Liberal.
Mr. Dukszta: I shall report now, in chronological sequence, how this particular stratagem developed up to the point where the claim of legitimization of the sub judice rule by the legal authority of the Ministry of the Attorney General was exploded by denial from that very ministry.
In respect to the Cantrakon decision, I asked the minister to provide me with answers in the course of the estimates of the Ministry of Housing, during the oral question period, and though written questions on the Order Paper -- altogether I estimate 20 times. To establish my point, I shall directly quote only three answers from the Minister of Housing and one finite answer from the Ministry of the Attorney General. I want to document the following answers by the minister.
During the Housing estimates on October 30, in respect of my question the minister stated: “I have indicated clearly, and supported by documentation of sub judice by the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) and by outside legal counsel.”
On October 31, the minister again stated, in answer to a written question on the Order Paper: “I have been advised by the Attorney General’s office that the matter is sub judice and therefore it is inappropriate for me to reply at this time.”
On November 7, in answer to a written question, the minister stated: “I have been advised by the Attorney General’s office that the matter is sub judice and therefore it is inappropriate for me to reply at this time.”
On November 20, the Ministry of the Attorney General, in response to my question 141 on the Notice Paper: “Will the Attorney General table legal opinions as to what aspects of the Cantrakon development in the town of Caledon are sub judice?”
Answer: “No specific legal opinions have been prepared in relation to the Cantrakon matter, which is an application to the divisional court for the judicial review pursuant to the Judicial Review Procedures Act.”
The Attorney General has requested his staff to prepare that later.
What bothers me now is not the question of sub judice rules. The usage of that rule is loose, and in effect seriously curtails my right as a member of the Legislative Assembly; but that’s for later. What bothers me is the discrepancy between the minister’s invoking the sub judice rule in order to avoid answering my questions on the authority and legitimacy claimed to have been provided by the Ministry of the Attorney General, and the said Ministry of the Attorney General’s crushing denial of the consultation.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member’s time has expired.
Mr. Dukszta: I simply do not believe this minister and I’m bothered by the discrepancy.
The House adjourned at 10:40 p.m.