31e législature, 4e session

L056 - Fri 23 May 1980 / Ven 23 mai 1980

The House met at 10 a.m.




Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, this morning I am introducing for debate in the Legislature a bill that will have the effect of making the publicly supported school system legally responsible for the education of all Ontario students.

It is with a genuine and sincere sense of historic occasion I introduce this bill. It is a very technical bill; it contains no rhetoric and no inspired phrases. But it does embody a very important principle and represents the culmination in a legal sense of a course of development on which this province has been embarked for more than a century.

The principle is that of universal access to public education. The concept is simply that an educational system which is supported by the taxation of all citizens has an obligation to be of service to all children, exceptionalities notwithstanding. We have been making steady progress towards that goal. Building upon the pioneering work in Ontario’s educational development, successive governments have continued to promote and extend educational opportunities for children. In keeping with this direction legislation was introduced effective January 1, 1969, which established larger units of school administration. One major objective of that legislation was to facilitate the introduction and development of more programs and more services in the area of special education.

Also on January 1, 1969, boards of education assumed responsibility for schools and classes for students classified as trainable retarded. Over the past 12 years increased awareness, concern and sensitivity to the needs of exceptional students have led to the expansion of special education courses for teachers in the form of in-service training and professional development. Over the past five years alone, the summer courses in greatest demand have been the thee-part special education courses. In 1972-73 there were 2,010 teachers enrolled in these courses. In 1978-79 the enrolment had risen to 4,875.

In order to promote ongoing dialogue with parent and professional associations, an advisory council on special education was established. As part of the ministry’s outreach into the community, the director of the special education branch has been a member of the governmental relations committee of the Council for Exceptional Children and the Ontario Council of Administrators in Special Education.

Research initiatives have provided a sound basis for program development in the field of special education. In 1976 alone, approximately one third of all research contracts awarded by the Ministry of Education to such institutions as the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education were related to the needs of exceptional pupils.

The outgrowth of these activities has been the expansion and increased sophistication of programs and services for students with special needs in Ontario. But until today, it cannot be said that the law clearly and unequivocally obliged the publicly supported system to provide appropriate forms of education for all students who could potentially benefit. Today’s bill closes the small gap that remains in our assumption of universal responsibility. It is a small gap because Ontario has led the way in the field of special education in its efforts to move education away from a process of standard methods for standard subjects to one that is genuinely concerned with responding to the wide range of individual needs.

This bill does two things. First, the basis of universal access contained within the bill guarantees the right of all children, condition notwithstanding, to be enrolled in a school. No longer will retarded children be enrolled after an assessment procedure established in law which has in fact denied universality of access. All children will now have a basic right to be enrolled.

Second, school boards must assume responsibility for providing suitable programming for all children. This will include the provision of special education programs and special education services for exceptional pupils in the language of instruction of such pupils.

Consideration has also been given to the concern of separate school trustees and parents regarding the right of Roman Catholic separate schools to educate their trainable retarded children. After consultation with the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded, trustees and supervisory officials on this issue we have decided to extend the right to operate schools for the trainable retarded to Roman Catholic separate school boards. To ensure that the quality of programs and services is maintained, the extension of this fundamental right will be phased in as an integral part of the board’s planning approach to implementation of responsibility legislation. It is our expectation during the next few years that all school boards in this province will co-operate fully with each other in providing programs and services of high quality to trainable mentally retarded pupils.

In reaching towards this final step governing the rights of children to education and the responsibility of school boards to provide suitable programs, a number of activities have begun and new initiatives in planning and funding are to be put in place.

In my statement to this House on December 15, 1978, reference was made to three steps which would be taken in this regard. The first of these related to early identification of children’s learning needs. Steps have now been taken to develop procedures for early identification and programming in every school board in the province.

10:10 a.m.

Ministry memoranda 1978-79:15 and 1979-80:24 have been issued to give guidance for the full implementation of this initiative by September 1981. A curriculum support document is now in production to assist primary teachers with the development of appropriate school programs at the classroom level.

The second part of my earlier statement made reference to learning disabilities. The Trillium and Jules Leger schools have been established as demonstration schools for students with severe learning disabilities. The professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators which these programs offer have been very positively received. Memoranda issued to school boards outlining identification and programming suggestions have proved helpful. In addition, the assessment services at children’s hospitals in Ottawa and Toronto have been augmented with educators to constitute a multidisciplinary team in each clinic.

Third, reference was made to the need for amendments to the Education Act which would make school boards of Ontario responsible for the provision of program and services for all students in need of such services. Since December 1978, officials of my ministry have carried out an extensive development and validation process of the legislation required to meet our special education objectives. Proposed amendments to the Education Act, 1974, were mailed to all school boards, professional associations, parent organizations and other agencies and individuals interested in special education. Their reactions have been carefully considered in finalizing the bill which will now be before members.

As well, meetings and presentations have been conducted with regional education councils, the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and its affiliates, the Ontario School Trustees’ Council and its member organizations, administrators’ associations and the Council for Exceptional Children. Letters, briefs and inter-ministry consultations have been carefully monitored to identify major priorities for children with special needs.

On the strength of the support that has been given to the principle of responsibility legislation, we feel confident in proceeding with the bill which is being introduced today. We are also confident that we have developed an implementation and phase-in process which is fully responsive to the concerns which have been clearly expressed.

The bill requires every school board in the province to assume responsibility for providing special education programs and services for all exceptional children of school age. Included in this provision will be children with intellectual, communication, physical and behavioural exceptionalities as well as those with multiple handicaps. The bill will take full effect on September 1, 1985, but in the interval gives the minister regulatory power to ensure that boards, through a phased-in implementation approach, will move steadily towards the full assumption of their new responsibility.

Using a planning guide, school boards will be assisted by teams from the Ministry of Education to plan and implement identification and assessment processes for those students requiring some form of special education.

For the academic year 1980-81, 19 pilot boards have been selected to test and revise the board planning procedure which the ministry has developed. These jurisdictions readily agreed to participate in the project. When the experiences of 1980-81 are fully validated they will be used to design a carefully planned and staged implementation of responsibility legislation, with all boards in the province starting in 1981. The results of this planning process will determine the nature and extent of all of the resources necessary from year to year as implementation of programs and services progresses over the next five years.

The government recognizes that additional costs will be involved and is fully prepared to provide the additional financial resources which will be needed to help phase in the new special education programs and services where required. Financial resources for special education will be increased each year to a total additional amount of $75 million by 1984-85, thus assuring school boards of continuing financial support. I should also indicate these are constant 1980 dollars.

Immediately, $7.5 million has been added to the general legislative grants for 1980. This will be in addition to the $2,224 million announced on February 29, 1980, so the total GLG for 1980 will be $2,231,500,000. I should mention this includes $35 million to defray the costs of assessment equalization.

Approximately $500,000 will be used by the Ministry of Education to help provide the additional consultative and professional development services required in the implementation of responsibility legislation. This will also include the provision of personnel in the regional offices for assessment and psychological services in northern Ontario.

Specifically, the $7.5 million in the general legislative grant will be used to eliminate the time lag which currently exists for all boards with respect to the payment of the full provincial grant for new special education programs and services. At the present time, when a new special education program is introduced, the cost of the program is shared between the province and the school board. For example, under present arrangements it would only be as of January 1981 that programs initiated in September 1979 would receive 100 per cent of the provincial support for which they are eligible.

The elimination of the time lag means that in the future, special education programs will receive the full provincial grant as soon as they are introduced. Technically, this will be accomplished in 1980 by calculating the special education weighting factor on the basis of 60 per cent of the programs provided during the 1979-80 school year, and 40 per cent of the programs during the 1980-81 school year.

By ensuring that all special education programs are funded on a current basis, school boards will be under no financial disadvantage because of a time lag in the flow of full provincial funding. This will materially assist in accelerating the provision of an adequate level of programs and services by 1985.

The elimination of the time lag is a first step. In subsequent years, additional extra funding for special education will be made available and used to meet emergent needs as these are identified through the planning and phase-in process and through the experience of the boards in the pilot projects.

We recognize that present methods of funding special education may not be fully appropriate as school boards move into new and extended services and programs. For this reason, a funding review will be a major part of the implementation period. The advisory committee on financing elementary and secondary education, which is made up of representatives of the trustees’ associations, teachers’ federations and administrators’ organizations, will play a major role in designing the new special education funding mechanism. With their assistance, and the ongoing experience with the planning mechanism created by the pilot boards over the implementation period, I am confident we shall be able to develop the most effective and equitable method of distributing the available funds.

For its part, as I have said, the government is fully committed to continuing the provision of extra funds for special education during the internal development period to 1985 to ensure that all reasonable needs are met and that no undue burden is placed upon the taxpayers.

With the full responsibility for special education provisions in place in 1985, special education as such will be redefined as a fully integrated aspect of school programming in Ontario and, clearly, the funding pattern or legislative grant structure will have to reflect this integrated reality as well. The basic per pupil grant allowance will then reflect the integrated portion of special education.

I would also indicate that studies are currently under way which will further assist us to meet the needs as they exist in reality in various parts of the province. A proposal for the provision of assessment and psychological services in northern Ontario is being completed; a study is under way to pursue the development of closer ties between school boards and the ministry with respect to the operation of provincial schools; a study of special education case loads and class sizes, special vocational and occupational classes has been contracted. A comprehensive information manual has also been drafted which will provide school systems in the province with assistance and information regarding existing policy, program planning and service delivery.

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to introduce this bill, a bill which is soundly based upon our historical developments, the past and present initiatives of school boards, teachers and officials to provide appropriate services and programs for exceptional children and a keen sense of responsibility on the part of this government to recognize more fully the rights of every child to a publicly supported education.

The passage of this bill will ensure that all children who have a right to attend school in Ontario will receive an educational program designed to meet their needs, their interests and their capabilities. Once again, I should like to express my thanks to the many school boards, professional organizations, individuals and parents’ associations whose valuable assistance has helped us to bring before you this highly significant and long awaited initiative.

10:20 a.m.


Mr. Mackenzie: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I’m wondering if we could ask if the Premier will have a short statement or any comments this morning on the disastrous fire situation in northern Ontario and present evacuation plans?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have no statement to make. The last information I had, which was just a few moments ago, was that the minister is still there and the situation is roughly as described yesterday. The government of Canada has been providing additional support in terms of transportation facilities and personnel. I understand that in terms of those people being evacuated this is being well looked after.

I must also say that the last information I have is that weather conditions are not improving any in that part of the province, but the situation as far as the people involved -- those who have to be evacuated -- is under control. I have nothing beyond that there has been no substantial change. It hasn’t improved, but I think in terms of the people involved it is under control.



Mr. S. Smith: I will direct a question to the Minister of Energy, Mr. Speaker. Standards relating to electrical components were established under the Power Commission Act by Ontario Hydro and that is the reason I am directing it to this minister.

Is the minister aware that the Ontario Housing Corporation, which in January of this year replaced the aluminum wiring in one of its apartment houses and said at the time it had nothing to do with safety but had to do with load capacity, has now put a tender in the Globe and Mail, the May 13, 1980, edition, to replace the electrical connectors in heaters and thermostats in another OHC building, this time allegedly on the basis that these connections are becoming loose and need to be tightened periodically?

Given the fact that there seems to be some evidence available that the loosening of such connections could be the antecedent to fires and that’s the reason they have to keep tightening them, can the minister tell us whether he is prepared to recommend any changes with regard to the aluminum wiring situation, inasmuch as it does seem that the OHC people feel it’s necessary to make changeovers, and ordinary citizens are left wondering what they ought to do in their homes?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I have to indicate to the House that the specific projects to which the Leader of the Opposition makes reference have not been brought to my attention. I would be glad to discuss the matters he has raised with the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett), as they relate to his particular ministry.

The Leader of the Opposition will also know that the general subject of aluminum wiring has been of special concern to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea), and a great deal of information has been made available through that ministry, particularly with respect to home owners in the Mississauga area of the Peel region.

However, with respect to the specific matter to which the Leader of the Opposition makes reference -- the Ontario Housing Corporation’s invitations for proposals -- I’ll have to get some more information from the Minister of Housing.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Energy feels my question should be redirected, he could do so. I would like to ask if the minister is aware that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations was sent a letter in December, 1979, by one Dr. Aronstein, of the United States, saying that a substantial amount of information is presently available that was not available to the Wilson commission? It has to do with the relationship between failures and fires and the loosening of aluminum wire connections as a result of natural phenomena rather than poor workmanship.

The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations immediately passed that letter on to Ontario Hydro and replied to Dr. Aronstein saying simply that the standards are under the Power Commission Act. I presumed, therefore, that it came under the Ministry of Energy, but if the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations would rather answer the question, I would be grateful for an answer from either minister.

What I would ask them to answer is, are they aware that this Dr. Aronstein has drawn attention to the alleged existence of information which would have been unavailable to the Wilson commission? Has the minister looked into these allegations? Can he comment on that, as well as the changeover at OHC?

Hon. Mr. Drea: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I will comment on the changeover at OHC. The first time it occurred, which the Leader of the Opposition has referred to, we were assured it was an upgrading of wire. The fact that it was aluminum wire was not germane to the case.

I would be glad to look into what it is in that matter. I should say, as a matter of record, that at no time has OHC -- and I take it this is a project of high-rise and not an individual home -- asked for an inspection. Presumably, they have been doing their own inspection, but I will be very glad to look into that.

Secondly, in regard to Dr. Aronstein, he wrote me that letter. On the basis of what he said, I obviously referred it to the experts, who would be Ontario Hydro. At the same time, if the member reads that letter carefully, Dr. Aronstein was kind of hustling me for a job. The basis on which he was hustling me for a job was that he was the great consultant in the Kentucky fire disaster. He was the great consultant in litigation and investigation involving the very tragic supper club fire in Kentucky. He was hinting very strongly, since he was presenting this type of evidence there, this would be of value to us. I draw to the attention of the Leader of the Opposition that the grand jury or the court found that aluminum wire was not the cause of the fire in Kentucky. Where Dr. Aronstein is now, I do not know.

The reason I referred it to Ontario Hydro, notwithstanding the subtle hint in there that he was available, was that in these cases, new material obviously comes to hand.


Hon. Mr. Drea: That is not the first time I have received letters from people who were doing research. The Toronto Star commissioned a gentleman who had a private research laboratory to come up here and to show how faulty Dr. Tuzo Wilson was in his analysis. When that gentleman arrived here, he promptly said that in no way, shape or form was he going to quarrel with Dr. Wilson. He had a different type of research. It involved American standards and there were certain other differences.

On the basis of American consultants with the best of intention sending up their recommendations that perhaps some additional things be done, I would point out two things. First, Dr. Wilson did not do pure research. His mandate was to examine all of the research available because there was so much conflicting evidence and to come to a conclusion. That he did. It is a matter of record that the American case, which was subsequent and supposedly was going to repudiate Dr. Wilson, only validated Dr. Wilson’s findings.

Secondly, there is a vast difference between the type of aluminum wire used in the United States and the type used here. There is a vast difference between the connectors and the standards used in various jurisdictions in the United States and what is used here.

I would hope that explains what we did with Dr. Aronstein’s letter and why he hasn’t been back.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, I will redirect a supplementary to the Attorney General. Since the Wilson study indicated there were problems with aluminum, but he did not have the courage to ask for a ban of the aluminum wiring; and since Ontario Hydro has chosen to cover up the situation over a number of years, but Ontario Housing Corporation has had the good sense to ban it from its construction, will the Attorney General ask for a judicial inquiry to get this matter settled once and for all and to ban the use of aluminum wiring for housing in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No.

Mr. Warner: Why not?

10:30 a.m.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, if I could ask a supplementary of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations; if he can see a job application in this letter then he obviously is reading between the lines, because I do not see any such application. I have no idea; maybe he knows the guy; I do not.

The OHC, in this second replacement of equipment, has stated to us that it was sending maintenance people around to tighten up these connectors all over the place. As it became such an expensive maintenance job they thought it better to replace the connectors. That seems reasonable. But would the minister not agree that there may be loose connectors in homes all over Ontario?


Mr. S. Smith: It is very humorous. If the honourable member had the call I did from a person in Hamilton who had a fire occur in the house and is in an absolute panic about the situation now, it is not that funny.

There must be such loose connections in OHC buildings all over Ontario. Does the minister not think it is time for a very important advertising campaign by Hydro to tell people about that -- not about what wonderful load forecasters they are, but about the real problems people might face? Also, doesn’t he think the time has come to replace, not the wiring, but the connections -- to upgrade them -- and that the government has some responsibility for a program in this regard?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, for the past 14 months, give or take a month, we have been doing precisely that.

Mr. S. Smith: The hotline. Nobody knows about that.

Hon. Mr. Drea: The honourable member misunderstands. We have gone to great lengths through advertising, and I must admit that the advertising did not produce the results that I would have liked or the member would have liked. We have done it in every conceivable manner, because we have found loose connections through those home inspections. There is no question about it. We have worked very diligently to determine those.

Unfortunately, we are still labouring to get that inspection completed. We are now at the stage where we say to people, “Would you please make an appointment with Hydro, since we have been unable to get into your house.” I recognize that in many homes both people are working, but we now say to people, “You put it in at your convenience.” We send the inspector at a time at their convenience, and there is nobody home. We leave a card and we literally beg them, “Will you find us a time. We will come at midnight if you want.”

I would like to have it completed. I am not looking at the wiring; we are looking at the connectors.

Mr. S. Smith: Put the same money into this as you put into that yo-yo ad.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, in my estimates I can point to the money that the aluminum wire resource centre has put into that. If the member can develop for me -- and I will be the first to give him credit -- an effective advertising tool that will get people to get that inspection done, believe me I can use his talent and his expertise. We have tried in every dimension and in every respect. I have asked members of this Legislature to try to do it by word of mouth as well as by a formal advertising campaign.

Ms. Gigantes: As a supplementary, Mr. Speaker, I am really appalled to hear the minister once again put the blame on consumers or the public. I would like to bring to the attention of the minister, and ask for his comment, a case which has come to my attention from Carleton East. A gentleman concerned about a couple of faulty light switches in his home, which gave him reason to wonder about the safety of his wiring, went through five telephone calls in Ottawa through Gloucester Hydro to the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations office, round in circles, and he finally had to contact his MPP for help.

Mr. Speaker: Is there a question there someplace?

Ms. Gigantes: His MPP happened to be the person he was married to. Could the minister suggest what this gentleman should do? We cannot find the number for his hotline.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, if the member can’t she is the first one who hasn’t been able to. I’m not blaming consumers or anyone else. What I’m saying is that the majority of people, no question, co-operated with us but we want the extra mile. That extra mile was, “I know you are busy during the daytime,” and so forth. All we asked them to do was make an appointment with Hydro.

One of the reasons it has slowed down is those appointments aren’t being kept. I presume that when people, at their convenience, make an appointment with the inspector they will keep it just as they will with their dentists, their MPP or anyone else. Will the member get her facts straight?

Mr. S. Smith: Foster Advertising needs my help now. Isn’t that amazing?

Mr. Speaker: We have spent 15 minutes on the first question.

Mr. S. Smith: Most of it was on the first answer.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour is fully aware that legal aid is available for Workmen’s Compensation Board claimants; he is aware of that fact. Could he explain why it seems to be a policy of the board to make sure nobody ever finds out that such legal aid is available? For instance, why does the WCB, by virtue of a recent board decision, decide consciously and deliberately not to include reference to the legal aid plan in its pamphlets? Why do they not include reference to the possibility of seeking legal aid when they inform people about the possibilities of appeal of WCB decisions?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think the board does advise workers that they have a right to seek advice and counsel, but it does not specify what various organizations, groups or individuals might be available to them.

It’s my understanding, with great respect, that the chairman of the legal aid section of the Law Society of Upper Canada has never put a formal request to the WCB to include such information. Indeed, I think the former chairman, who is now treasurer of the law society, specifically indicated in a report I read that he has not put such a request to the WCB.

Mr. S. Smith: If I may ask a supplementary, so what? Who cares what the person from the legal aid section of the law society says? Why has the WCB itself decided not to include any reference in order to inform working people that if they feel they require counsel and don’t have money to pay, legal aid is available?

Such a request was made by a solicitor in Hamilton, to which a response was received which is laughable as well as offensive, suggesting the solicitor had no right to make such a suggestion and rejecting it totally. I personally would like to know, if people have the right to get legal aid why is the minister keeping it a secret? Either it should be in the pamphlet or, at the very least, in the letter that goes out to people telling them about their rights of appeal.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I’m not one of those who think that legal aid is a secret to anybody in this province. As a matter of fact, I think it is a pretty well utilized service. What I said to the Leader of the Opposition was that the chairman of the legal aid section of the law society has never suggested the WCB should include that, because the board has never included a list of people one may seek out to represent a claimant. If the member is suggesting the board should develop a list of all groups, agencies or individuals one may turn to for representation then I would be glad to discuss that. I think it is a pretty impossible task -- and I think the Leader of the Opposition realizes it is -- to list every group, agency or resource available.

Mr. S. Smith: Just legal aid, that’s all I am suggesting.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Oh, come on.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, by way of a supplementary, will the Minister of Labour not barrack the question? The Ontario Legal Aid Plan is a public plan to assist people with respect to their representation and advocacy. Will the minister simply say that he will instruct the board to advise claimants who are on appeal that the facilities of the plan are available?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to discuss the matter with the board.

Mr. Roy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Why would the minister, as a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, have such reluctance? Is the minister supporting the attitude of the chairman, who in this correspondence seems to suggest there is no duty to advise claimants? Does the minister not feel that to many of these claimants, who sometimes have difficulty with the language and whose representation is extremely important, legal aid representation would be one of the more important factors in the hearing? Why is there such reluctance to advise these people that they have that right to be represented?

10:40 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think the member for Ottawa East knows full well that there are many other groups which represent workers. In many cases, there is a representative of the union, for example, who consistently represents workers belonging to that union before the board. In other cases, there are injured workers’ groups which represent the workers. In other cases, the board provides worker consultants. What I am telling him is that I will be glad to discuss it with the board, but it is not a simple straightforward matter of saying, “You can have legal aid,” because there are other options available to people that they may choose.

Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I am wondering if the minister can give us any other possibilities in terms of organizations which might subsidize the Workmen’s Compensation Board, as just about everybody -- the unions, you name it -- is?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I really have no further comment on that.


Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour, regarding the Johns-Manville plant closure. On May 5, the minister said there was no suggestion made to him that the company had any intention of closing the plant. Now that the worst fears of the union and most of us on this side of the House at least are being realized, is the minister willing to take action to ensure that the company remains responsible for the devastation it is causing and has inflicted on the workers’ health? Will he take action to impound or freeze sufficient funds so the company can retrain and rehabilitate the workers involved and provide new job opportunities?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, what I said on May 5 is still true. I did not have any indication at that time that the company had any intention of closing one portion of its business. Indeed, I have had members of my staff in constant contact with the company and with its parent company to determine that very sort of information.

As the member will recall, I think it was nearly two weeks ago now, the company did release some information indicating there were some economic difficulties with regard to the Transite pipe section of Johns-Manville. It was not until yesterday that we were informed, and I gather that the workers at Johns-Manville were informed, the company had decided it was no longer economically feasible to carry on that portion of its operation. It will be carrying on with the fibreglass portion and with the insulation portion of the plant.

It is also my understanding, from discussions I had yesterday, that they are prepared to have seniority apply with regard to workers who would otherwise be displaced in the Transite portion. Those people with long-term employment at Johns-Manville will have the right to move to other portions of the business and be trained for any needs they may have with regard to training in the Johns-Manville business.

Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary: Does the minister not realize the clever ploy that is being used here by Johns-Manville? They will move the senior employees and those who are already in many cases partially disabled into the fibreglass and the wrapping operation, but is that operation going to be viable in a matter of months? This also has been predicted by the union. Over half the plant is going. There are 170 now going in the asbestos pipe section and within a year we will probably see the rest of the plant gone.

They won’t be able to have a viable operation with the workers who will be moved in there, those same workers who, where we have not yet established a disability pension but show indications of lung disease, have no chance in blazes of getting a job anywhere else when they take the medical examination for other jobs. This is why there must be action taken to ensure there are assets set aside to protect those workers.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know how one can predict whether the fibreglass and insulation portion of the business will survive or not. All I know, having talked to the Canadian president personally yesterday, and to a representative from the parent company, is that they intend to carry on that enterprise and see if it is an economically viable enterprise. I have no reason to doubt what they say.

I may tell the member, if he has any concerns about the possibility of an eventual closure, that I have had discussions with the board already and any worker with any evidence of an illness related to exposure to asbestos would immediately be given entry into the special rehabilitation program. The board will do everything it can should such an eventuality occur, but I have no reason to believe it will happen.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I asked the minister on May 5 specifically about the intentions of Johns-Manville to move out of the area and to abandon its responsibilities. The minister assured us at that time that he had no such indication, and now we find that half the plant is being closed and the rest may well be in jeopardy. Does the minister not recognize that he has either been duped by those people or else he gave an answer to this House without taking enough time to seek a proper response from Johns-Manville?

What is the minister prepared to do now by way of legislation to make it impossible for major closures, even partial closures of this kind, to occur without proper notification? Is it not time we had legislation that was a little more stringent than that already on the books, to make sure that even partial major closures of this kind cannot occur while the minister is kept totally in the dark, as he was in this instance?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I do not think the member is implying I was trying to mislead anybody. What I said on May 5 was exactly the truth. There was no indication then, nor was there any indication to members of my staff within the subsequent two weeks, that there was intention at that time to close any portion of the Johns-Manville plant. For that reason I specifically asked if a representative from the parent company would come to Toronto this week so that I could obtain that specific information. So let there be no doubt that the information I gave the House was completely accurate as I had it at that time.

Mr. S. Smith: Yes, but the minister was duped.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I do not agree with that.

Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I am sorry, but we have to question the kind of checking the ministry is doing. Has the union not informed the minister, or has his own staff not looked into the fact that the Johns-Manville Corporation has been closing these operations down all over the United States, and it is involved in endless litigation over the protection of the workers in the US? Did they tell the minister that when they met with him, or has his ministry checked into that?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I specifically asked the company yesterday what was happening in other locations where Transite pipe was being manufactured, and it indicated the same type of closing out was taking place in the United States.

Mr. S. Smith: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister has just told us that the people who will be out of work will be able to be included in the vocational rehabilitation program of the Workmen’s Compensation Board.

Does he not recognize that to be eligible for that program the employee must be at risk at the time he applies for the program -- that is, he must be working in an area with more than 0.5 fibres per cubic centimetre, as well as having signs of asbestosis -- and that many employees, because they cannot prove they are in such a high-risk area, even though they have asbestosis, are refused entry into that program? Now that they are going to be moved out of the asbestos cement area into another one they may well be forever forbidden entry into that program unless the criteria are changed. Is the minister not aware of that?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Yes, I am, Mr. Speaker, and that is why I said I have been given the firm understanding that it would be no problem and the board would co-operate because of the peculiar circumstances in this case.


Mr. Mackenzie: A question to the Minister of Energy, Mr. Speaker: Yesterday the minister told us that, in spite of the public statement by his parliamentary assistant, the government at this moment is not contemplating the construction of another nuclear station exclusively dedicated for export. We learn, however, according to the parliamentary assistant, that what he really intended in his recent speech was to launch a public invitation to Ontario Hydro, “If you have some indications of prospects, let us know and we will look at this more specifically.”

Can the minister explain clearly to the House what message the government is giving Hydro on the subject of building nuclear plants dedicated to exporting power?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I cannot add very much to the answer I gave yesterday. There is no message being communicated from the minister or the Ministry of Energy to Ontario Hydro on this particular subject. I told the House yesterday that the member for Durham West (Mr. Ashe) wanted to share some personal views at a symposium. I would think under the circumstances the member would accept that.

May I reiterate the fact that at this time the government stands by the statement it made some time ago, that there are no plans for further nuclear plants beyond those already committed and set out last September in the paper Energy Security for the Eighties: A Policy for Ontario.

10:50 a.m.

Mr. Mackenzie: Has the minister communicated with Hydro directly on this subject since his parliamentary assistant expressed the views that he did which the minister says do not necessarily reflect this government’s position? If he refuses to discourage the member for Durham West, can he give us a rough idea of what trial balloon we will have floated next week?

Hon. Mr. Welch: I did not find it necessary to communicate with Hydro after the speech. Has the member read the speech? It is a very interesting one. The member for Durham West, as a very proud Canadian, shared with that symposium his pride with respect to the Canadian technology which the Candu reactor represents. It is known throughout the world with respect to its safety. He also wanted to point out the great employment opportunities with respect to that technology.

I think it was on page eight -- because it is at my bedside; I read it just last night again -- on page eight there is a paragraph that makes it quite clear that he thought he would share a personal view in the context of that general pride with respect to Canadian technology.

Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Energy is not helping in clearing up this confusion. If the Minister of Energy has a personal view, we know it is government policy. But if the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Energy is expressing personal views here, there and everywhere against current government policy, what are we to make of it? How are we to know whether that is government policy or not?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, surely the last place which anyone in this House would expect to hear a comment like that would be from the caucus of the New Democratic Party. The word “democracy” is in the very party name. Surely there is some opportunity for people to express personal opinions. I do not know why I am called upon to say any more. To deny the member for Durham West the opportunity to express a personal view is really beyond comprehension.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, it is a long time since the minister has been at McMaster and he may have forgotten the history lessons and the meaning of responsible government. But surely the minister must know that the member for Durham West, as eminent a member as he may be in his own mind, was invited to address that conference for no purpose other than in his capacity as parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Energy. He was not invited as the member for Durham West, and he was supposed to be giving government policy at the time.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I am quite familiar with the whole principle of responsible government and McMaster University, which I guess is in the member’s constituency. They are not particularly pleased about that, but on the other hand that is where it happens to be. If the members opposite continue this questioning -- we have given the member for Durham West a fair amount of publicity in his constituency the last couple of days -- and no doubt, because of this exchange, he will have an acclamation come the time for the next provincial election.

He is a forthright man, who wanted to share a personal opinion in two or three sentences of a very long speech -- I think there are about five phases in the speech as he was developing this whole question of the Candu reactors. As I traced the logic, he interrupts himself during the course of that speech and volunteers a personal opinion which he thought might be worthy of some discussion. Indeed, it has occupied about 12 minutes of question time in the Ontario Legislature as a result.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that the member for Durham West needs all the help he can get, I would like to ask the Minister of Energy and Deputy Premier if he is telling this House that at the present time whenever we have a parliamentary assistant making a speech in the province, we are not to believe that parliamentary assistant.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, the simple answer to that is no. That is not what the Minister of Energy is telling the House. The Minister of Energy is telling the House now for the 17th time that surely a member of the Legislature is entitled to a personal opinion. I doubt very much that the member for Port Arthur has even read the speech. Because if he read the speech, it is a fairly interesting document. I might say at this time it is not government policy with respect to the construction of nuclear plants dedicated exclusively for export.

What more can I say without advancing the interests of the member for Durham West any further in this particular matter? The simple answer to the member’s original question is no.

Mr. Speaker: A new question. That question is going nowhere.

Mr. Roy: After that performance, the minister is going to ask the member for Durham West to jump and he is going to ask how high.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Obviously the Ottawa Citizen has you doing that today.

Mr. Roy: Not at all. Where is the Ottawa Citizen reporter? Oh, there she is.

Mr. Speaker: Do you have a question?

Mr. Roy: Yes.


Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Premier in the absence of the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell). It involves the sentencing yesterday of an Ottawa doctor through a prohibition of general practice for a period of three years.

I would like to ask the Premier what confidence the public can have in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and in the discipline committee, when the subject matter of this conviction was the subject matter of a complaint back in 1978 and was rejected outright by the college, apparently on the basis that the doctor said it was not true, but two years later he entered a plea of guilty to the charge before a criminal court. It involves as well a plea of guilty at a time when he is charged with three separate offences of indecent assault and one of rape.

Would the Premier ask the Minister of Health to investigate the situation and find out what type of investigation takes place when serious complaints are made to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the minister has already asked his officials to look into it.

Mr. Roy: May I direct a supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the Attorney General which possibly he can discuss with his colleague the Minister of Health? When serious allegations involving a doctor are made to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, and to the discipline committee in particular, does the Attorney General not feel that when this evidence supports the possible laying or reasonable and probable ground for laying criminal charges, there is some duty on the college to give this information to the police, that it is somewhat cavalier on the part of the college to dismiss or reject the allegation, and that in the long term it makes it difficult for police and the law enforcement agencies of this province to pursue individuals who are in breach of the Criminal Code?

I would ask the Attorney General whether possibly the Health Disciplines Act, especially involving the discipline committee, should not be amended to include a clause requiring that the police be called in where evidence supports criminal allegations.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It would depend on all the circumstances, Mr. Speaker. I do not know the details of this particular case, but I can envisage circumstances whereby a professional body, such as that, is in receipt of a serious allegation. In many cases there would obviously be a duty to report this to the police, but again, it would depend on the nature and quality of information it received.

Mr. Roy: Would the Attorney General undertake to review this with his colleague the Minister of Health, pointing out that this involved allegations which were rejected by the college, but subsequently the doctor pleaded guilty to these charges? It involved three other criminal allegations involving a doctor who had, unfortunately, a reputation and problems in another province involving similar types of offences. Would he review this matter with his colleague the Minister of Health?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes.

11:00 a.m.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, this is one example of a problem that members of the Legislature frequently run into in their constituency work. Does the Attorney General not feel it speaks in a general sense to the wider problem of the whole internal disciplining procedure of some of the professional bodies? At this time, would the minister consider, in discussion with the other ministers responsible, coming up with some new guidelines, in association with the professional bodies, to make sure that justice is done and is done very quickly?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: All these professional bodies in Ontario, Mr. Speaker, are quite interested in the recommendations made by the professional organizations committee. While the medical profession was not dealt with specifically in this report, there were recommendations that do touch on the whole issue of complaints by the public. I know the medical profession is quite interested in these recommendations, and I think we will hear a great deal more discussion about them.


Mr. Martel: A question of the Premier, Mr. Speaker: Can we take it from the statement of the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Auld) yesterday that the government of Ontario now is abandoning any efforts to maintain an iron ore mining industry in Ontario on the rationale that the Ontario ores are technically poor, given National Steel Corporation of Canada Limited, Inco Limited and a few other cases?

Is the Premier prepared to admit that the real reason the steel companies will not buy Ontario ores is they are locked into long-term contracts with their own mines in the United States? One official I spoke to this morning said: “When the market is good, we’ll buy just about any one. When it is bad, we become very selective.”

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the first part of the question is no. The second part of the question is really not a question and so I cannot answer it.

Mr. Martel: Is the Premier prepared to admit that the steel industry, because it is locked into contracts with its own mines in the United States, is prepared to buy that ore rather than ores produced in Ontario? Is that not the reason the steel industry is not in a position to buy Ontario ores?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the minister’s statement made it quite clear that some of the companies do have contractual obligations based, in their view, on the quality of the ore. I do not think that has ever been in debate.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, would the Premier not agree that in the minister’s statement yesterday he said one of the important things was to maintain jobs in Ontario in the mining and steel industries? Would he not agree we could maintain more jobs in Ontario if this government had a decent policy which integrated our steel production with our iron ore production and connected the two?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would agree that, if the Ontario ore could be used to a greater extent, that would produce more jobs. I think the minister also pointed out that because of certain processes -- I am no expert in this field -- domestic ore cannot always be used. I would be delighted -- all of us would be -- if more Ontario ores could be used, yes.

Mr. Martel: Will the Premier indicate to the House what retaliatory measures he expects from the United States -- and this was in the minister’s statement -- given the fact that we import only 14 per cent of our steel needs and that we export only 12 per cent, with only three quarters of that going to the United States? Is the government saying we cannot follow an industrial strategy in Ontario based on the utilization of our own natural resources, without government intervention from the United States?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I do not know. I did not read that into the minister’s statement. I would just make a general observation that in this competitive international marketplace we have to be rather careful that we do not select a particular industry and say we want things totally our way in that industry without some anticipation that, as it relates to other industries with other nations, they too have certain levers they could also apply. I would say the member for Sudbury East sometimes has tunnel vision. He has to look at it on a somewhat broader basis.


Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities. As there are well over 20,000 unemployed in the city of Windsor, and as the long-term economic health of the community would depend on having a substantial source of skilled help, as well as the fact that it takes quite a period of time to develop that skills training, has the Ministry of Colleges and Universities conducted any studies as to future manpower needs for the community? Is the minister prepared at this time to provide facilities for that increased skills training that will be required in the days to come?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the Community Industrial Training Council, which was established with the assistance of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, has been actively involved in this role. I am not sure if they have completed the assessment of skills training needs or skilled workers needs within the community, nor am I sure if they have made any major projection for future years at this time, but I shall attempt to find the information which has been developed by CITC and provide it to the honourable member.

Mr. B. Newman: Is the ministry considering a new permanent facility, or is it planning on recycling one of the schools in the community for the new facility which eventually will be needed?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: We have permanent facilities in Windsor right now, and there are programs which probably could be considered relatively permanent as well. If there are specific requirements for additional space, I am sure the Council of Regents of the community college system will look at those sympathetically in terms of skills training programs. To my knowledge, there have been no specific requests for that at this point, but I shall check into it to be sure and report to the House.


Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Education arising from the minister’s statement this morning. Does the minister ever intend to fund special education at the 100 per cent level of the cost of these anticipated new programs, since $75 million for 1984-85, even in 1980 constant dollars, is far too little? Her proposed elimination of the time-lag provisions -- 60 per cent of the cost of the 1979-80 programs, and 40 per cent of the cost of 1980-81 programs -- does not in any way represent anything close to 100 per cent funding.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, all educational programs in the province, save for one or two, have been funded on the basis of the rate of grant to boards. It would appear there should be a shared responsibility, as there is for the delivery of educational programs in all instances. That philosophy certainly pertains in the area of special education.

In addition to the per pupil grant for all children in special-education programs, in the past year there has been approximately $140 million directed by the province to programs for special education. The amount that is being provided right now is not insignificant; it is a rather large sum of money.

The additional funding that is being made available this year will remove what seems to have been an impediment in the minds of some school boards to the development of special-education programs within their jurisdiction. We think the removal of that time lag will be beneficial in this initial pilot year, during which the assessment of needs and resources of the 19 pilot boards -- one region totally -- will be measured, and the development of a plan of implementation will occur, which will be of assistance to all the other boards across the province.

Mr. Bounsall: May I comment that if the ministry does not fund at 100 per cent of the cost of special education but gives the responsibility, they will not be getting our children into it.

11:10 a.m.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege: I think it is totally unfair of the member for Windsor-Sandwich to impute such motivation or such lack of responsibility to the school boards of this province. There have been some instances in which there have been problems. But on the whole the school boards of this province have felt very strongly, as have the teachers, about the need for special education and have become involved in programs.

Mr. Bounsall: Without the funds it still will not happen, because they cannot afford it.

My supplementary question is, how long will it take to complete the study the minister mentioned on page 13 of her statement relating to the special-education case load and class sizes and special vocational and occupational classes, and then to devise the proper programs in that area? How long are we going to have to struggle along in the same way that we have before we are able to fund in that area? Can the minister assure us that children will be placed -- except for all but the most difficult and unusual cases -- in special education by 1983 at the latest?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, I cannot guarantee the suggestion made by the honourable member. The guarantee, however, is made that the placement will be there by September 1, 1985. The study mentioned is under way now. I anticipate it will take approximately 12 months, by which time the pilot projects will be all but completed as well. This information will be extremely helpful in the development of the implementation guide which will be made available to all boards across the province.


Mr. Blundy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Provincial Secretary for Social Development. Now that a settlement has been reached in the nine-day-old strike of employees of the Metro Toronto Association for the Mentally Retarded, could the minister explain why the ministry has been unable to bring about an end to the eight-week-old strike in Hamilton? Is the ministry prepared to budget sufficient funds so that the $8,300 starting salary in the Hamilton association could be brought up at least to match the $12,838 being paid to beginning employees in the Toronto association? The situation is so unfair. What does the minister have to say?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) is dealing with that situation at the moment. There is further discussion to be held regarding that topic.

Mr. Blundy: I would think that the Provincial Secretary for Social Development would have a role in this situation now that it has gone so long. Will the minister assure the members of the House and guarantee that the mentally retarded clients of the Hamilton association are not in jeopardy or suffering after eight weeks of strike?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: No such incidents have come to our attention wherein any mentally retarded person in the Hamilton area is suffering because of this prolonged strike. We are all very sorry and find it very difficult to cope with a strike that does go on for that period of time, but I can assure the honourable members of this House that the minister is well aware of the situation and is keeping a very careful eye on it.


Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, my question is of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I would ask the minister whether he has been looking into the continuing high price of oranges in this province. Is he aware that although there has been a bumper crop in the United States and the wholesale price there has dropped substantially, the retail price in Ontario, according to Statistics Canada, increased by 7.3 per cent between January and April of this year? Does he know that the excessive price here is due largely to the markup by supermarkets, a matter over which he has some control if he wants it?

Hon. Mr. Drea: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I do not understand the question. I understand something about oranges in supermarkets, but what was the question?

Mr. Swart: I thought the question was very clear. I asked the minister whether he knew that there had been an increase in the price of oranges of 1.3 per cent in this province, according to Statistics Canada, from January to April and that there has been a bumper crop in the United States. The wholesale price there has fallen substantially and the excessive price here is due largely to the markup by the supermarkets. Does he know this? Does he know that he has control over it and has the power to do something about it?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I am the first one to admit when I am bewildered. If the honourable member wants me to look at the price of oranges, I will be glad to do so. I will bring him in a sack on Monday.

Mr. Swart: When the minister is doing the examination, will he explain why this orange sells for 33 cents retail in the supermarkets here but the same orange sells for 20 to 23 cents in the United States, even though the wholesale price is the same? I will send these over to him in a few minutes.

Does the minister recognize the significant point that the orange I bought for 33 cents in Safeway wholesales in Ontario at the Canadian price of 19 cents? Does the minister not think the 70 per cent markup in oranges, which is the normal markup now by the supermarkets, is a bit much?

Even with the minister’s attitude that all prices are fine and justified in this province, does he not think he ought to intervene occasionally and rap some knuckles on issues like this?

Hon. Mr. Drea: I would appreciate it if the honourable member in his earnest pursuit for goodies would be accurate about my remarks. I have never said all prices in this province are good.

Take these oranges back to the member. I don’t eat them. I like Canadian apples. I brought in apple juice in this province; remember that. I will look into the question of oranges.


Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier, although it probably should be directed to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. I wonder if the Premier, since he sits in cabinet, could give us a decision in the near future with regard to the explosion in the town of Essex and any assistance that may be possible through the Ontario Development Corporation for the business people who are trying to rebuild in that town.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member in his usual perceptive way was quite right in his first observation. That question should be directed to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, since the Premier is in charge over there, I would hope he would have a little say. However, maybe the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs would be prepared to answer that.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I do not like to be evasive but, having discussed it with my friend last week, to get the answer he is looking for the question should be directed to the Ministry of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman). He will be back on Monday.


Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Can the minister justify the use of 30 to 40 police officers at the legal strike currently in progress between the United Cement, Lime and Gypsum Workers and Nelson Crushed Stone in order to run five company trucks through the picket line three times a week, when there are usually no more than 20 picketers on the line? What meaning has the right to picket and to informational picketing when those same trucks have the side windows boarded up as well as a police escort through the line at high speed?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think this question was asked of me last week and I indicated it was a question that should be directed to the Solicitor General. I will be pleased to do so when he returns.

Mr. Mackenzie: In the course of redirection, would the minister also ask the Solicitor General whether the cost of the police assigned to assist Flintkote, the American owners, will be charged to the company, as it was not asked for by any one of the strikers, or are the workers themselves going to have to continue paying part of the costs and paying for their own crucifixion?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to transmit that information to the Solicitor General, although probably not in quite the same words, which I am not entirely sure of.


Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I had a question for the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), who is not here, although I see his papers there. I was going to ask the question of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) but he has just slipped out. I wonder if he is going to come back in the House. If not, I will ask the Premier the question.

11:20 a.m.

Given the fact that Mr. Chretien was in town just the other day to discuss a timetable for new federalism in Canada, and given the fact that the government has committed itself to drawing up the new constitution, I wonder whether the Premier has discussed with his officials the possibility of including municipalities in that discussion or to having some kind of attention drawn in a new constitution to municipalities, their existence in Canada, and giving some recognition to municipalities in that constitution?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, going back over the many years when there have been discussions on a reformed, restructured, new constitution, I think it is fair to state that in all of the discussions to date the main direction has been to enunciate certain basic principles on the question of rights, the question of distribution, the question of equalization -- some of the very basic principles.

I do not think there has been any consideration, to date at least, of entrenching in any new or revised constitution for Canada, shall we say, the position of the municipalities. Perhaps the point of view as to what might be contained in the constitution would be somewhat different right across the country. I would question whether in any other constitutions that might be somewhat comparable one would find specific provisions for municipalities. I am not as familiar with the American constitution or those of West Germany, France, et cetera, but from my limited knowledge I do not recall any of them having that sort of reference.

In terms of the interest of municipal leaders in a new constitution, the government would be quite pleased to receive that sort of information, but I would not want to lead the member astray and say that in a national constitutional document one would see a list of specific provisions as it relates to the municipalities. I quite honestly doubt that would be the case.



Mr. Philip from the standing committee on administration of justice reported the following resolution:

That supply in the following amount to defray the expenses of the Provincial Secretariat for Justice be granted Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1981:

Justice policy program, $717,500.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved first reading of Bill 81, An Act to amend certain Acts respecting Regional Municipalities.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this bill proposes to give regional councils the authority to provide such benefits as group life, accident, medical and hospital care insurance to the members of council. In addition, it proposes to remove the requirements that regional councils pass a road consolidation bylaw every five years. In the acts for Niagara and York it proposes to delete a provision which refers to a section of the Homes for Aged and Rest Home Act which no longer exists.

Other amendments are proposed to individual regional acts. One amendment would place the apportionment of general regional costs in the regional municipality of Niagara on the basis of weighted equalized assessments. This is already the basis in most regions and all counties in Ontario. Another amendment will meet a request from Sudbury regional council for the same flexibility in apportioning costs that counties have currently under section 507 of the Municipal Act.

The regional municipality of Halton would be permitted to acquire land and renovate or construct buildings for the use of the Halton Children’s Aid Society and to lease the property to the society.

The bill also seeks to clarify, in the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth Act, that the senior police officers who were taken into the regional police force from the former city of Hamilton police force may retire on completing 35 years of service or on reaching 65 years of age, at their option.

Two minor boundary amendments are proposed in the bill: one between the regions of Hamilton-Wentworth and Waterloo and one between the regions of Hamilton-Wentworth and Halton. The bill also includes a provision giving the region of York the responsibility for solid waste disposal in York.


Hon. Miss Stephenson moved first reading of Bill 82, An Act to amend the Education Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. M. N. Davison moved first reading of Bill 83, An Act to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. M. N. Davison: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to make sexual harassment in the work place a breach of human rights in the province and to provide a remedy for sexual harassment in the work place.


Mr. M. N. Davison moved first reading of Bill 84, An Act to amend the Municipal Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. M. N. Davison: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to authorize municipalities in Ontario to provide health care and health insurance benefits to retired employees.

Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I do not want to make a big point of this but, according to rule 32(c), on the introduction of a government bill there should be a compendium of information filed with the opposition critics. To the best of my knowledge that has not yet been done. I wonder if the Minister of Education could undertake to do that before Monday.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Yes, Mr. Speaker; no problem.

11:30 a.m.


House in committee of supply.


Mr. Chairman: I believe at the last session the member for Wentworth was on the floor.

Mr. Isaacs: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. That is my recollection, as well. I was outlining our proposals for a charter for municipal government. It is not my intention to go back over any of that ground, but I wanted to remind the minister today so that when he gets to his response he will recall that is an issue to which we would appreciate a very detailed and very sincere response.

I want to talk today about three areas that are very important in municipal government. The first is property taxes; the second is the structure of local government, and more especially the problems facing regional government; and the third is what I will call communication, the matter of relationship between this government and this Legislature and our colleagues in the municipal government sector.

I am sure the minister realizes there is widespread public discontent over the problems of property taxes, over the fact that not only are property taxes too high, but they are also seen to be unfair. The programs put in place in an attempt to rectify the situation have not improved the fairness of property taxes as perceived by property taxpayers. I am convinced public discontent is growing and that in time it will grow to a point where we will see an Ontario equivalent of California’s Proposition 13. The information I have been getting in recent weeks, as citizens’ groups and community associations have been seeing their 1980 tax bills, is that it is coming sooner rather than later. The problem of property taxes is one that needs to be addressed now and not be put off for the indefinite future, as it has been for the last 10 years.

There are experts who have claimed that property taxes are a progressive form of taxation and that property taxes in Ontario are based as much on the ability to pay as the Ontario income tax system. During the last six months our research staff has been reviewing that entire issue, and I want to tell the minister this party totally rejects that viewpoint. We believe property taxes as they are structured at present in Ontario are unfair because they are not related adequately to the ability to pay, either of the individual home owner, of the tenant, or of the business organization paying those property taxes. We believe it is necessary to make very major changes in our system in order to ensure that property taxes are related as nearly as possible to ability to pay.

It is not only taxpayers who are unhappy; it is also municipal governments and school boards. We have seen in recent months the situation where a local council has come down to this Legislature and has demonstrated in front of this building because of the problems it faces in the area of municipal finance, grants and property taxes. When things come to that very sad state, it is an indication to the minister and to the government that a change is needed and needed now. There have been not only demonstrations, but also letters and conversations from councillors, from school trustees, from taxpayers, from many people, about the very serious problems. I am sure the minister has been getting as many of them as I have.

There have been attempts to rectify the situation. Those attempts have led to our present municipal grants structure being nothing more than one big fudge. I cannot put it any more simply than that. When we look at the unconditional grants outlined by the minister in his statement when we were last dealing with these estimates, we saw him outline resource equalization grant changes which were a fudge; changes in the per capita grants which were a fudge, the special apportionment protection grant which was a fudge; the special ad hoc grant extended for another year which was a fudge.

We have got into a situation where the municipal finance system is in such a mess that the only way of dealing with it at all, the only way of having any peace among municipal councillors and among property taxpayers, is to introduce grants that fudge the system to ensure that municipalities get at least a reasonable amount of money. But we have moved so far away from a proper system of property taxes and a proper system of grants that it’s frightening, because no one knows what’s coming next.

When we look at the real programs, the programs that actually make sense, that are based on real taxation principles, such as the grants in lieu of taxes that are provided by this government to municipalities for their tenant-occupied, provincially owned premises, we see that those grants are frozen. There are no increases for 1980. Yet those are the kind of grants which are fair, because they are based on clear numbers. They are based on something which everybody in the municipal finance system can understand.

The grants program is a mess, in major part because our system of assessment is in a mess. We have been playing around for two years with the section 86 reassessments, not yet on a province-wide basis. Municipal councillors are convinced they are coming on a province-wide basis, that whatever vote a municipal council takes now, a section 86 equalized assessment will be imposed on it within the next couple of years. I am convinced of that as well, because section 86 appears to be a first step in some grand design that this government and this minister has.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario, in its recent paper Toward Property Tax Reform, has welcomed section 86 reassessment on a province-wide basis as a first step in a necessary overhaul of the entire assessment system. The problem is that neither AMO nor this House has the slightest idea what it is a first step in. I want to suggest to AMO and to the minister that it is very dangerous to take a first step on a staircase that leads into the unknown. We are insisting that the government make clear its long-term goals in the area of assessment.

The association of municipalities, our municipal colleagues in general, is in favour of the implementation of market value assessment on a province-wide basis. I want to suggest that they have been, not exactly hoodwinked, but led to believe that market value assessment is the only direction this province can take in the area of reassessment.

The Blair commission and all the studies that went on before that and the provincial and local government committee that studied this problem have attempted to modify market value assessment to make it acceptable. Those modifications unfortunately have introduced new fudges. I am convinced that market value assessment, as we know it at the moment, is not a direction that can be taken by this province. I have a feeling that the minister and his colleague in the Ministry of Revenue have a feeling for that as well.

If we look at the situation we will see that introduction of market value assessment, as recommended by the provincial and local government committee, would cause major shifts between classes of property, not only in Metropolitan Toronto, which our municipal friends are already aware of, but in many other municipalities right across this province.

To take a couple of municipalities in my own area, in the city of Hamilton industry is now assessed at 19.4 per cent of market value; multiple-family homes are assessed at 25.5 per cent of market value and single-family homes are assessed at 10.5 per cent of market value. In Stoney Creek, single-family homes are assessed at 13.7 per cent of market value and industry at 29.8 per cent.

In those instances, introduction of market value assessment, as recommended by the studies that have been done to this date, would cause a major shift in burden between classes of property. In Stoney Creek at least, that major shift in burden would be from industry and business to home owners and possibly to tenants as well.

11:40 a.m.

The problem is not only in my own area; it’s also in Kitchener, it’s in Cambridge, it’s in eastern Ontario, it’s almost everywhere that section 86 reassessments have been done. It is probably everywhere that section 86 reassessments have been done, and it is probably everywhere that section 86 reassessments have not been done. The problem is that the data for those municipalities is not readily available to this party because the data is in a computer on the government side of this House.

Let’s look at what happened when market value assessment has been introduced elsewhere. Market value assessment was introduced in Ohio in 1970. At that time, the split in property tax burden was 61 per cent commercial and 39 per cent residential. By 1979, with annual updating of the market value assessment, the split had reversed the burden so significantly that residents were paying 52 per cent of the total tax bill and commercial institutions 48 per cent. That’s a shift from 61 per cent commercial, 39 per cent residential, to 52 per cent residential, 48 per cent commercial. In New York state the same thing is happening now. If market value assessment was introduced in Ontario, the same thing would happen here.

The reason is relatively straightforward. It’s because as a percentage of income and as a percentage of value of property to the occupier, industrial and commercial buildings are much lower than residential buildings. The cost of a home to the home owner and the rent paid by a tenant is a far greater percentage of income than the cost of the building or the rent paid by an industrial or commercial organization as a percentage of that organization’s income.

We need a change, we need a dramatic change and we need some evidence that the government is working seriously to find a solution to the very serious property tax problem that we have.

Let me illustrate that serious problem in one other way -- in the matter of costs to the property taxpayer paid to the school board. Using 1976 figures in Innisfil township, the average property tax paid for educational purposes was of the order of $80 per year. In the same year in Metropolitan Toronto the average property tax for education purposes was $414.50. These are figures for average homes. In the city of Owen Sound in that same year the figure was $232, and in Sault Ste. Marie it was $230.

With approximately equal salaries for teachers in all of those areas and roughly equivalent class size, even though we recognize that there are some different programs being offered, there is no doubt at all that the education tax should be much more equal than those figures show it was and still is to this day. Indeed, it could be argued that Metro taxpayers are paying too much towards the cost of education, but that would be clarified depending on the new system of assessment that would be introduced, a new system of property taxes based more closely on ability to pay.

We can’t go in the direction we have been going. We can’t continue to play around by fudging grants, by fudging assessments, by using the split mill rate, by using property tax credits, by failing to properly assess underground locations, particularly in mines, and by changing the process of assessment for vacant land that is in the process of development, as the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Maeck) did last year. We cannot go that way. We have to take a bold new step.

With the transfer of the municipal finance branch to the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, I hope the minister will accept that responsibility and will ensure that we get proper property tax reform right across this province. We need a property tax system that is clear, that is fair to farmers, to rural and urban home owners, to tenants, to small business, even to big business. We need a property tax system that is based on clear principles and that is accompanied by legislated revenue sharing based on real need of that municipality for provincial funding.

Moving to the area of regional government structure and local government structure in general, in his lead-off remarks, the minister talked about the five reviews of regional government that have been conducted to date. I’m not going to go back over that ground. I want to suggest to the minister, though, that something is very seriously wrong when hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on a study which is subsequently shelved because the recommendations of that study received, to quote the minister, “insufficient public support.” Why are we spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on studies that produce recommendations of that kind? Surely, in any study of local government structure, whether in the north or in southern Ontario, one clear guideline to the commissioners who are undertaking the study should be that they should take into account the views of the public. The public should be consulted and the recommendations contained in the report should be recommendations that meet with widespread public support. Given that the recommendations of at least those three reports have not met widespread public support, I suggest that is a pretty serious condemnation of the terms of reference given to the commissioners when the studies were set up. We are wasting money if we’re pouring it into studies that recommend things nobody wants.

This morning I was going to talk about the Ottawa-Carleton situation, but the minister tabled the bill this week, to deal with that and we will get an opportunity to review in some detail the structure of local government in Ottawa-Carleton when we come to debate that bill. I will not take the time to go into it in detail now, because I know some of my colleagues are hoping to speak this morning.

I also want to say to the minister I had also planned to respond to his bill concerning Metropolitan Toronto, but we will deal with that at a later time when my colleague from Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston), the Metro critic for this caucus, who is very intimately concerned with the problems of Metropolitan Toronto, will deal with it in probably far more detail than I could.

However, I have to talk about the Hamilton-Wentworth situation. I cannot resist the temptation. The minister said on May 12, in his leadoff remarks, and I quote: “Strong public opposition immediately developed to the Stewart commission’s proposals for a one-tier system in Hamilton-Wentworth. In response, the government stated it was committed to continuing with the two-tier system, giving it time to evolve and mature.”

I would suggest that statement is incredibly inconsistent, that we face very serious problems in Hamilton-Wentworth. The region of Hamilton-Wentworth is not serving its property taxpayers, its citizens, in any proper way at all.

The minister or his colleague the Premier (Mr. Davis) will have received very recently submissions from the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and no doubt from many other organizations as well; submissions which indicate very clearly that change is necessary. The overwhelming majority of those submissions suggests that one tier should be implemented.

The problem with buzzwords such as one tier is that they mean different things to different people. I want to make it very clear to the minister, the kind of restructured regional government I have in mind is not necessarily anything close to the kind of restructured region that Hamilton mayor Jack MacDonald has in mind. Although, of course, when one gets into using the buzzwords, when one gets into using the jargon, it’s sometimes difficult to get those differences across in the information that is carried by the media.

11:50 a.m.

It is very clear that regional government in Hamilton-Wentworth is not working and, regardless of the minister’s comment, the overwhelming majority of people in Hamilton-Wentworth are dissatisfied with the system of regional government. For the minister to say that because the Stewart commission was initially rejected is a reason for continuing the status quo is just totally unacceptable.

Mr. Haggerty: What is the member’s position?

Mr. Isaacs: I’ll tell the member my position in a moment, if he waits.

Mr. Haggerty: Is it the same as the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) and the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie)?

Mr. Isaacs: I’ll tell him my position in a moment. It’s exactly the same as that of all my colleagues in the New Democratic Party. It’s totally different from the position which the member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham) has suggested publicly, which is to dismantle the whole thing. If we dismantle the whole thing, we’re all in trouble.

The minister talked about the great Ontario border war that was going on in Brant-Brantford. I want to suggest to the minister that the great Ontario border war that was going on there is nothing compared to the great Hamilton-Wentworth regional government war that is going on.

The minister took a step in the Brant-Brantford situation which is exactly the same as the step we are requesting him to take in the case of Hamilton-Wentworth. That step is to send a person into that region to sit down with all interested parties to find the common ground and to find a solution which will work and which is acceptable to all sides, in just the same way as the minister successfully resolved the Brant-Brantford dispute.

I want to say to the minister that I recognize his pleasure and I congratulate him for getting that situation resolved. I think it was a great achievement. I’m not yet convinced that because it worked in one place it will work everywhere, but I do believe it will work in Hamilton-Wentworth.

I want to go further than sending in a mediator to find the common ground. I want to tell the minister publicly as I have told him in writing, that he should put the Stewart commission report on the table. The mediator should be told to tell all the parties that the Stewart commission report is the basis of the discussions that should be going on in Hamilton-Wentworth.

When we cut through the rhetoric; when we get into looking at the details that are contained in the Stewart commission report, we find a tremendous amount of good sense in it. We find protection for rural taxpayers. We find protection for the suburban taxpayer. We find that the cultural institutions that the city was trying to transfer to the region which provoked the recent walkout would not be transferred to the suburban and rural taxpayers under what the Stewart commission is suggesting.

There is a tremendous amount of good sense in that report. We do have too much inefficient government in Hamilton-Wentworth. Things are going to get worse if the minister continues with his present stand until after the municipal elections, or beyond. The battle lines are drawn. When we see a battle is imminent, surely we step in and get the negotiations going before it turns into a bloody battle. That’s what we have been urging, and will continue to urge, the minister to do.

I want to go slightly further. I want to outline to the minister the three principles which I believe are appropriate for Hamilton-Wentworth, which are essentially continued in the Stewart commission report, and which I believe are generally acceptable to all people on all sides of the issue in Hamilton-Wentworth. These principles apply, with whatever minor modifications are necessary, to local governments everywhere in Ontario, including the other regions where there are problems, which the minister alluded to and which we will discuss later in these estimates.

The first principle for local government in Hamilton-Wentworth is that the structure should be changed to reduce duplication and to eliminate the excess local government which we have now. There is simply too much government, and it could be cut down.

The second principle is that local government structure in Hamilton-Wentworth should ensure that taxpayers pay only for the services they receive. That principle is embodied in the Stewart commission report and is one for which I have found, in the last few weeks, very wide support in the city, in the suburbs and in the rural parts of Hamilton-Wentworth, including Wentworth North.

Finally, the minister should ensure that a new system of regional government in Hamilton-Wentworth guarantees that the financial benefits accruing from industrial, commercial and high-density residential assessment are shared fairly among all residents of the region. They are not shared fairly at the present time. That is part of the problem we have in Hamilton-Wentworth. Some people, in some parts of the region, are being asked to pay but they are not being granted the offset that should be going to them from the industrial, commercial and high-density residential assessment.

With those three principles, I believe all parties could be brought together and we could put in place a single structure of government in Hamilton-Wentworth that adequately meets all the needs of all the people, that ensures the local identity is preserved -- in the 1980s community identity, a feeling of belonging, is going to become more and more important -- and that is efficient in the way it provides service to its citizens and ensures people pay for what they get and not for what they do not get.

Having spoken slightly longer than I intended on the matter of regional government, I now want to go on to the matter of communication between this House and our municipal friends.

There are obvious problems in communication. It is not simply the problem of the withdrawal of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario from the Provincial-Municipal Liaison Committee. We know the PMLC process is, in its inimitable way, sputtering along. We know many of the people involved in that process are trying to give the appearance that things are not quite as bad as others might think them to be. We know individual backroom discussions are continuing, as they should, but nevertheless there are enough instances where inadequate communication is taking place that we have to look for a new and better system.

Some of the bills the minister has introduced in the last couple of weeks are an example of that. I will return to it. There are areas that are in desperate need of study, and which sometimes we hear are being given study. Municipal finance is obviously the biggest of those, but there are many much smaller areas as well.

Yet our municipal friends do not know about the studies going on. They do not seem to be involved in any committees. They do not seem to know who to talk to about assessment reform or about grants reform. The whole thing is so tenuous and vague that it cannot work properly, because it needs to be slightly more formalized. It needs to have a structure that can be seen to be working rather than a structure that is so vague it might or might not be working. Not enough people know about it to make it truly representative.

The PMLC has never been appropriate for everything municipalities have on their minds. It has dealt fairly effectively with many of the large problems over the years, but it has often ignored many of the small problems municipalities feel they wish to bring to the attention of this government and this House.

The second problem is that municipal councillors and aldermen, the elected officials, are not the only group concerned with what is going on in this House that affects municipal government. We have our school trustees. The Municipal Elections Act affects our school trustees, but where is the school trustee representation in the discussions on that bill? Some of the appointed officials and the staff are involved. The clerks and treasurers are well-organized. The engineers are organized, but the lines of communication are not nearly as clear as they are with the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario. There are members of special purpose bodies who have very important views on this whole area. Finally, of course, there are members of the public.

One of the key areas that desperately needs attention is this matter of municipal conflict of interest. It is one of the areas that just has not got the proper public attention it should get. We have had the AMO report and it is a very good report, but when one looks at who was involved in putting it together, one realizes it was municipal elected officials and municipal appointed officials.

12 noon

Conflict of interest affects members of special purpose bodies. It affects school trustees, it affects more than just clerks and treasurers in terms of the appointed officials. It affects members of the public who want to know what responsibility their elected official has in terms of declaring conflict of interest. Yet there has been no public discussion on this matter of municipal conflict of interest.

We are now coming close to another municipal election and I do not know whether we are going to see a change in the bill for that election or not. If we do not, then we are being unfair to the people who will be elected in November of this year. They will be elected under a Municipal Conflict of Interest Act which is known to be inadequate and they will not know what the future holds in that area.

We discussed this last year and I think the minister knows my views are probably a little more liberal in this area -- with a very small “l” -- than those of the AMO committee, but we do have to make a change. It is important that we make clear to our municipal friends, our school trustees, our appointed officials, our special purpose body members, to everybody involved, what is going on instead of doing it in the little dark rooms.

Municipal councillors, aldermen, elected officials need to know much more about this House and about what is going on in this building. Many of them are less partisan than we are -- although sometimes I feel this matter of nonpartisanship is a greatly overrated commodity; I am not even sure it really exists -- and recently I have been inviting the councillors from the municipalities in my own area to come and watch the proceedings here and they learn a great deal and go back much more informed.

They realize that talking to the civil servants in back-room committees is not the only way to get things done. They realize that just as correspondence from a taxpayer to a municipal council gets to the municipal council chamber and is debated there, that same mechanism is needed here as well, so that there can be free and open discussion of the things that are going on which affect municipalities, and that is a great deal of what we do here.

The mayor of the city of Toronto, John Sewell, talked to me some weeks ago about his proposal for a standing committee on municipal affairs. Also present during that meeting was the president of AMO, and I confess I am a little uncertain as to whether AMO is endorsing that specific proposal, but I have asked to meet on it and we will clarify that.

That is one possibility, and a possibility that has some appeal. However, I want to suggest to the minister something probably more immediate to deal with the more urgent problems. When he is wearing his other hat as House leader for the government, I would like to suggest he thinks about establishing a select committee on municipal finance and municipal government problems; a committee that will go to the heart of the problems facing municipalities at the moment, that will meet with all of those affected, bring them into this building and sit down and talk about the problems, talk about possible solutions and find a way to ensure that municipal finance is put on the sound and firm basis I referred to earlier.

The second task of such a committee would be to look at municipal government problems and to allow councils and the many municipal organizations to present their proposals for change. It would be an open forum for discussion about whether those changes would be acceptable or not acceptable to the members of both sides of this House.

The select committee should be given a time frame. I am not totally convinced that a standing committee of this House is the right way of dealing with the problems, because the rules of this House are not the same as the rules of a municipal council and correspondence addressed to the Premier does not automatically find its way to a standing committee on municipal affairs in the same way correspondence addressed to the mayor finds its way on to a city council agenda or a committee agenda.

So we cannot use exactly the same model. I believe the committee should be charged with finding a model that would make sense, a model that would ensure that communication between this House and municipal councils would be clear, open and available to everyone who felt there was need for change or perhaps to occasionally even add praise for some of the things that are going on in this House that affect local government. The communication must be there and it is seriously lacking at the moment.

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my opening remarks. I know we are going to be dealing with some of these issues and with many more issues in greater depth on Monday and Friday of next week and probably the following week as well. I hope the minister will look at some of these matters seriously. I hope he will respond to the four points I have made in my leadoff so we can talk in greater detail about those where there appears to be common ground and where there appears to be a willingness on the government’s part to accept the suggestions we have put forward in good faith.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased to participate in the opening statements on the ministry’s estimates. Other colleagues, more specifically my colleague from Waterloo North (Mr. Epp), have made comments especially in the area involving municipalities. I intend to direct my comments to the area basically involving intergovernmental affairs.

I am very pleased to have this opportunity, because I think there are interesting times ahead in Canada and in this province in this specific area. Since 1971 I have watched a whole number of issues come and go. I can recall, as I’m sure you recall, Mr. Chairman, as well as will the minister and my colleagues, the good years of the spirit that existed in 1967. Remember the spirit of 1967 when Expo was on the scene and there was a feeling of goodwill? I guess the only fly in the ointment was Charles de Gaulle, in his conquering habits, making that speech on the balcony of city hall in Montreal. I thought the spirit in those years -- 1967, 1968 -- was a spirit of goodwill.

Many things happened in this jurisdiction during those years. Some of my colleagues were here. I personally was not. But certainly important developments took place. The Confederation of Tomorrow conference under John Robarts was an interesting aspect. Movement took place involving setting down and drafting a constitution that was an effort on the part of Ontario to try to understand the aspirations and the problems in Quebec. Anyway, we have evolved.

It is with great sadness I have watched this movement or spirit decline since 1967. Of course, as it declined we gave it less importance. Unfortunately we were not shocked into realizing the country was breaking up until the election of the Parti Quebecois in 1976. Some of us at that time were crying in the wilderness expressing concern about what was happening, not only in Quebec but right across this country. The last decade, those 10 years since 1967, has not been the best for this country because we basically slept. There were other priorities and we forgot about keeping this beautiful and great country together. We were thinking about many other things.

Then it was a shock in 1976. I can recall even after the election of the Parti Quebecois in 1976 there was a flurry of activity here and there but nothing that would compare with or rekindle the spirit that existed in 1967. I feel now that somehow we are grasping it. We are getting back into the spirit.

12:10 p.m.

These are interesting times and I think there will be great challenges for all of us to play our role. I think we did during the whole debate on the referendum. Some people like to think this was just a minor flurry, just 35 hours wasted, but I think history will be kinder than the people looking at the scene from close up. I think this was a very important experience.

Making just a few brief comments in the opening of the minister’s estimates, I do so in that spirit of co-operation that has existed between the minister and the critics. When I look at the position taken by the government -- again reiterated in a statement by the Premier yesterday -- the differences which separate us are not that much. I think this co-operation can continue. There are important times when we can bury the partisan knife, so to speak, and work together so that we may have a united front coming out of Ontario. I think it was important that we took that approach in the referendum debate.

I am not in the habit of being overly generous in my comments toward colleagues who sit across the House or even to my left. But if these times are interesting, and if there is a challenge for this country, I can’t think of a better minister to be in that job than the present Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells).

Mr. T. P. Reid: Other than someone from this side, of course.

Mr. Roy: Well, of course; that goes without saying. My colleague from Rainy River and my colleagues here know that even though the minister may not admit it, I have seen a sort of an educational growing experience on the part of that minister. I can recall the first year I was here, when I believe he was Minister of Health. He was a bit more abrasive in those years. I can recall his fights with our former colleague Stephen Lewis and all that. But I have seen him mellow; I have seen him understand the problems, especially when he was Minister of Education.

When he changed portfolios there was sadness certainly among the francophone community. They had a perception that he understood the problem, that he had a wider vision of their whole situation, that he had a wider context than just giving a few dollars here to open a school or to maybe give a few services here and there. I think this is a good challenge for the minister. I think this is something that is going to be interesting and I can’t think of a better person to have in that ministry at this time.

In his opening statement he praised his staff. I think it is warranted -- I really think it is. Any minister who can have his staff write him an opening statement of 39 pages has to show some sign of gratitude.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The Premier used to have 125 pages when he was Minister of Education.

Mr. Roy: Imagine, 125.

Mr. Chairman, have you ever seen such discrepancy in resources? Here we are the opposition -- great people, great minds, but by ourselves. We are out there fighting alone. We come in with a few notes and go into depth in this ministry -- we look at every dollar that is being spent within the ministry and the ministry confronts us with an opening statement of 39 pages. My God, it is overwhelming. The minister should be grateful to his staff.

But having the confidence that this minister is the proper person at this time to be handling the portfolio of Intergovernmental Affairs, I do say I can’t think of a better deputy minister to have than Don Stevenson. I think he has knowledge and I think he has a perception as well. Over the years, working in that area he has gained the confidence of not only the people of Ontario and certain minority groups within the province, but of his colleagues across the country.

I think it is important to have that confidence when at this time the province is out there bargaining at all levels. People bargaining with our provincial officials have the assurance that matters can be exchanged, and during the discussions they have confidence in the minister and the deputy minister and the competent people who are working within the ministry.

Having said this, I do want to relay a message to the Premier. I think, as I said before, these are going to be interesting and important times, presenting an important challenge for the country. If we are going to give this matter the importance it deserves, I do not think it is right that the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs should handle not only federal-provincial relations, interprovincial relations and relations with other governments, but also the portfolio dealing with municipalities. I have said before, and I have said from the start, that surely is something that should be given to some other minister on a full-time basis. If we are going to give this matter the importance it deserves, it is required that the minister give it his full attention.

I go one step further. Not only does the minister have all this work in dealing with municipalities -- and we know the importance of municipalities and we know the amount of time it can take for the minister and his staff to deal with municipalities -- but he is also the government House leader, which is another complication that can take an awful lot of time. I am not criticizing his performance towards the municipalities or in this House, because I have not heard criticisms from anyone, but I am saying that if Ontario is going to meet the challenge of the constitution, if Ontario is going to give the leadership that is traditional to this province, the minister and his staff should be giving this matter their full attention.

I hope the message somehow gets to the Premier. It is no criticism of the performance of the minister and his staff, whether they are dealing with the House or with provincial affairs; it is simply that when I see the distribution of work on the other side and I see the work load given to some ministers and that given to others, I think there is too much given to him. Not only do intergovernmental affairs deserve the full-time attention of a minister, but also municipal affairs deserve the full time of a minister. I am sure my colleagues agree with that.

Being government House leader is an important job. We have seen the disaster that can happen when we do not have the right person as government House leader. I can recall my early years in this place when there was outright war on each and every occasion. I think the minister knows what I am referring to. I do not plan to be unkind to any of his predecessors, but that is a fact.

There are other ministers, good people, who can do the job of government House leader and orchestrate the business of the House. I hope the Premier will understand that I am not making these comments in any partisan way. I make them sincerely. The job of intergovernmental affairs, at this time in our history, deserves the full-time attention of this minister.

I want to say briefly how pleased I am about our participation in the referendum debate. I thought the unanimity and the common front that we exhibited first of all with the resolution -- it was short, punchy, to the point -- gave our message. The minister knows we discussed the timing of the resolution, and there were serious criticisms at different times from people saying: “What the hell are you doing? Why aren’t you doing anything? Your resolution is too late.”

I feel that had we discussed it a year earlier, we would have had to come back with another one anyway, because the message would have been forgotten. Discussing it at the time we did, it is hard to say how much of it got through. I will say this: Going into Quebec, which I did during the referendum, the no committees at least were very interested in knowing what our resolution said. They were very proud to exhibit the resolution coming out of Ontario.

I am proud as well of the enthusiasm and the participation of all members in the House in this debate. I thought it was excellent. Sure, some people reduced their involvement or equated their participation and goodwill on the basis that they had a trip to Montreal last year. Sure, that is at times infantile. I am sure there will be times when some people will be cynical about that sort of contribution.

12:20 p.m.

On the part of my colleagues, I want to say I don’t think the Liberal Party in Ontario had a finer hour than during the referendum debate. I thought the contribution by all my colleagues was excellent and the contribution made by our leader in closing the debate was tremendous.

The no forces in Quebec were pleased to hear our message. What is more gratifying is that the message given before the vote on the referendum is a message that is being relayed now to Quebec, and that is very impressive. I applaud that, and that is why I am so enthusiastic, though always restrained somewhat. I do not want to go overboard on this. Among the no forces all over the country, including the Prime Minister, there was satisfaction and joy about the results, but it was restrained by the fact that we know the fight is not over and the battle is not won.

If I may paraphrase what the Premier said -- and I thought it was an excellent statement -- “It is not the end of the problem but the start of the solution.” That is why I think there is some restraint about our enthusiasm. I do not want to be unduly partisan, but the Premier in the past has made some very interesting statements. I go back to 1971 when he first became Premier. He made his famous statement that he had a perception of what he felt about the country, which gave the impression that he was following the leadership of John Robarts. Unfortunately, that has not always been the case; nevertheless, I want to applaud the enthusiasm.

I have read the Premier’s statement in which he said: “There is now general acceptance in Canada that the status quo will not do. We must not and we will not betray that confidence.” It was important to give that message to Quebec.

I was listening to Canada AM this morning. They were still regurgitating some of the feelings about the referendum debate. There was a reporter there from Le Devoir. He was saying that many of the people he knows who voted yes are tremendously impressed by the reaction of English Canada in the few days after the referendum. In other words, even the no forces who fought so hard are not gloating at this time. Nobody is taking it for granted that the problem has been solved.

What impressed them is the willingness on the part of English Canada to say that it got the message. The no is not a no for status quo. The no is not a no for the end of the problem. The no is a message from Quebec that they have given us a final chance. I do not want to be unduly pessimistic, but I do not think we will get many more chances. I think the message from Quebec was basically that they will join with us in a new constitution. That is the echo they are getting from English Canada.

The reporter said many of the yes forces in Quebec are saying: “Maybe English Canada does have something. Maybe we will see some movement on this. There may be constitutional change. Maybe the members of the Ontario Legislature who all unanimously endorsed this resolution meant it.” The message coming out of Ontario, from the Premier and coming from the other leaders, indicates that we do and that we are seizing the opportunity to get on with the job.

I must make this comment. I want to talk to my colleagues to the left briefly. The reason I want to talk to them is that yesterday in the Ottawa Citizen there was an editorial which said, “NDP wipes out again.” The editorial was based on Claude Ryan’s reaction after the referendum. He had nothing but praise for the two parties. I want to put on the record as well that I thought the message by Joe Clark during the referendum debate, as my leader said, was an important message. Joe Clark went to Quebec and said that people in Quebec should not picture English Canada as being the defender of the status quo and the Wasp sentiment that a lot of people like to think about English Canada.

In other words, lumping English Canada together to say it stands for one narrow link with one particular mother country is not the English Canada that exists out there. The regions and the other ethnic groups make of English Canada a very diverse majority indeed, it was important for the federal Leader of the Opposition to go into Quebec and say to people, who were hoping for some sign of understanding on the part of English Canada of their aspirations in Quebec: “The English Canada of today, the English Canada I represent, the Joe Clark generation, is a different English Canada we are talking about than that of 25 or 50 years ago. We have some understanding.” I thought that was an important message.

Coming to the editorial in the Ottawa Citizen, I want to say that, by and large, the NDP in Ontario have traditionally had a perception about minorities which has to be applauded. Various leaders, Stephen Lewis and now the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy), have a perception about the role and the rights of minorities and the rights of the underdog which is to be applauded. I want to say as one of them that their support and their help has always been extremely important, because people have felt that with the NDP at least they could discuss the problem; there was some understanding and sometimes a perception that was much larger than just the parochial approach or what was politically palatable for Ontario. That has to be applauded.

But I must say there are times -- and one of these times was on this referendum debate -- when I thought the NDP’s position was extremely contradictory. I do not say this because their members took the opportunity during the debate to criticize the government. That is fair ball and at times I applauded what they said as it was certainly justified. But when there was encouragement on the part of the NDP, for example, comments at the federal level by Broadbent or by Nystrom, the critic, saying “No, we’re not part of the no camp,” one had the feeling they were putting more emphasis on the fact they knew that the case for the no forces was being divided between the Liberals and Conservatives. Because of the Socialists and because of the left-leaning approach of many of the people in the yes camp, there was some attempt to create some link between the NDP and that group.

The NDP gets itself in a very contradictory position by saying that because any encouragement to the yes group would result in encouragement for the principle of sovereignty-association. They cannot have it both ways. They cannot stand in this House and say, “We will not negotiate sovereignty-association,” as we said in the resolution, and then turn around and say, “We will negotiate if there is a yes vote” before that vote has taken place.

What do you think the yes forces would be doing at the bargaining table, Mr. Chairman? What do you think Levesque would be saying when he came to the bargaining table if a majority of people had said yes? He would say, “My mandate is to negotiate sovereignty-association.” I say to the NDP, “How can you say on the one hand you won’t negotiate and give some encouragement on the other hand for them to vote yes?”

I thought Claude Ryan was justified in criticizing that narrow or sometimes very limited approach on the part of the NDP. He said it was not helpful during the debate.

12:30 p.m.

I saw Broadbent one evening when the question was asked of him: “Don’t you see some contradiction in this? What would you do?” He said, “It may be that we’ll tell Levesque we’ll negotiate renewed federalism.” And Levesque will say: “Are you kidding? I have a mandate to negotiate sovereignty-association.” That’s what Levesque would do. Broadbent then made what I thought was a very naive comment: “Levesque may change his mind.” Have you ever seen Levesque change his mind since 1967-68?

My colleague says, “Does a leopard change his spots?” That was not going to happen.

I do not think it was meaningful that they wanted to tacitly encourage the yes forces. But taking that approach would have resulted in that. In the long term, any encouragement to the yes forces at this stage would not have been productive, in view of the fact there was a solemn commitment made on the part of the no forces that the no was not for status quo, but for a renewed federalism and a new constitution.

So I say to my colleagues to my left that they must be careful in the approach to be taken in their attempt to find some link with their colleagues in Quebec.

It is true the unions were saying, “We’ve got to give them a strong mandate,” and I can see the NDP trying to get close. But I think the editorial in yesterday’s Citizen had some validity. It said the NDP certainly has some difficulty in reconciling or understanding what is happening in Quebec and how to deal with it.

I and my colleagues look forward to participating in this process of a new constitution. I trust that the minister and the Premier, as they embark on these discussions, will involve the members of the opposition. I think we have proved to them that we are prepared not only to participate, but also to participate in a constructive fashion. After all, the majority of the people in Ontario are represented by this side -- not by that side. If we are going to have this common front, the opposition must be involved.

I think our leader has a perception about the country and about finding the solution. It is something that should not be left untapped; it should be used. It will be to the benefit of this province and of this country.

I applaud the minister’s approach. For instance, I read in yesterday’s Toronto Star that after a meeting with Jean Chretien -- it is always an experience meeting with my friend Jean -- the Premier told him that he had a bigger problem than Chretien. Chretien is just trying to write a new constitution, and the Premier is trying to save the Toronto Argonauts. Right now.

I think it’s an easier job working with Chretien than to try to do what the Premier is trying to achieve, as far as the Toronto Argonauts are concerned. I do not want to go into the history of that club, but it is sad when you see teams like Ottawa winning the Grey Cup with rejects from the Toronto Argonauts -- and every other team wins with Toronto rejects.

I say to my colleague from Durham West (Mr. Ashe), who has been getting all that publicity, he had better watch what he is saying; he knows what happens to rejects. He will be moving to the left up there someplace instead of moving down. If he is forcing the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) to put on more virtuoso performances like the one he gave today, I do not think he has it in him to do many more of those.

Getting back to the topic: I thought the minister’s comments were to be applauded when he said, “We promised Quebec constitutional change and we intend to deliver.” He said that last night at a two-hour meeting at the Albany Club with Jean Chretien, the Premier and the Attorney General. If he could still say that after two hours with these boys at the club, he should be applauded.

We look forward to participating in this committee. I think it is a challenge. We have now discussed the terms of reference of the committee with the minister. We think the select committee on this will make a positive contribution, and we look forward to participating.

Having looked at the principles the Premier outlined in this statement, I would make one further caveat to some of those.

I take it the principles are important. I do not think there is much difference between what is in these principles and what many of us feel on this side.

But I do think when you are talking about such things as recognition of English and French as the two official languages of Canada, including the entrenchment of the right to minority language education across Canada, that is important. It is extremely important that there be entrenchment of basic human liberties in the constitution and that there be entrenchment of rights to minorities, not only the English minority in Quebec but also the French minority outside of Quebec.

I would hope that the openmindedness we have seen exhibited by all sides involved in this debate will not limit itself to giving some guarantees for language education across Canada. There are some other rights which most members of this House would applaud and would say should be entrenched. For instance, the right for people to have a criminal trial in their own language has been accepted in Ontario since December 31, 1979. That should be entrenched in the constitution as well.

Possibly we will look at some other areas. It may be that certain provinces will have to go further in this than others, especially Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, because of the sizeable minorities within each of those provinces. I trust when we are talking about these principles that they are not all-inclusive and that they are not something that cannot be enlarged upon as we discuss our new constitution in this country.

The other thing I would like to say, in closing, is that as we embark on this we must show progress on a gradual basis. I hate to use the word “étapisme,” which my dear friend from Quebec, Morin, is using -- meaning step by step. But it may be the approach we are going to have to take in this.

When we are discussing it -- because you will be the chairman of this select committee, Mr. Deputy Chairman, I hope, and we are very pleased with that. We think you have exhibited in the past the kind of leadership and the kind of perception about the country that will be extremely helpful to us in our deliberations.

I am sure you will agree, Mr. Deputy Chairman, that people should not expect us in this select committee to come up with a nice, neat package, and say we solved the problems of the country by October 1, 1980. That is impossible; it cannot be done. It probably cannot be done within the next two or three years.

In my opinion, we cannot hope always to have that nice package, and say: “Here’s Canada’s new constitution; everybody is agreed. We have divided up powers. We have changed the Supreme Court of Canada. The Senate has been changed to something else.” You and I, Mr. Deputy Chairman, will probably end up there some place, contemplating the Ottawa River. I’ll take you around Hull and show you a few good spots.

Obviously we will not be able to achieve this. But I think what we can do is proceed in steps. If I detect what the Premier said, and what some other leaders are saying, we should proceed in steps. We should repatriate the constitution and have with it an amending formula that will be acceptable to all provinces and all groups in Canada. I think everybody is in agreement on repatriating the constitution. The difficulty is repatriating it with an amending formula.

12:40 p.m.

I think we should proceed in steps. We should say at one point: “Are we in agreement on entrenching basic human liberties within the constitution? If so, let us do that and proceed on to something else. Let us not wait until the whole package is there, all neatly wrapped up like a Christmas present, and say ‘Here is the new constitution.’”

I am concerned that in spite of the enthusiasm and in spite of the goodwill which exists at this time, it may be that the expectations of Canadians, both in Quebec and outside of Quebec, will soon be frustrated if they are waiting for the whole package. There is going to be some tough bargaining when we get into that division of powers, because it is not that simple to say this is such and such a jurisdiction because there is taxing money that is going to flow with this. With all these people around the table, I shudder to think how we will solve this problem. But if we proceed in steps and show there is progress, then I think we can accomplish something.

In our select committee, it is not going to be our job to come out with a new beige paper. There are enough proposals on the table without getting involved in drafting new ones. We can go back to the Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism and start working back. Every province has put on the table a constitutional proposal. The federal government has done it on different occasions. Recently we have had the Pepin-Robarts commission report, and now we have the beige paper.

I think it is going to be important for this committee to have a perception of what is acceptable for the country, what the contribution of Ontario should be and what the principles are which we adhere to, where to have flexibility and what should Ontario’s role be in this constitutional debate. Having done so, there are possibly other areas we should look at. I don’t think we should open it up, have input and think we are going to be drafting a new constitutional paper which will be acceptable not only to Ontario but also to the rest of the country.

With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to exercise my right in this House to say a few words in French to my colleagues about what has taken place recently and why I am so optimistic about the future. I really am. I think we are grasping the opportunity and we are not going to let it go by. We are going to get on it. It is going to take some whipping. We are going to have to give leadership because some people are going to fall asleep along the way. It is going to take some awakening here and there, a kicking on the shins and that sort of thing, but I think with proper leadership we can do it.

It is not that long ago that there has been a replacement in Spain. Franco died, though it took him a long time to do it. Only about two or three years later they had a new constitution in Spain. One can say it was not difficult in Spain, but it was. There are different groups in Spain that adhere to autonomy and independence. Yet in that short period of time they managed to have a new constitution.

There are countries like that, and I could give other examples, that can do it. We have exhibited in the past goodwill and leadership and we have accepted different people from all over the world. We have had the two linguistic groups existing together. If they can do it, why can’t we? Anybody who has travelled around this world and has seen different areas comes back and says: “What is the problem in Canada? What are we fighting about?” That is the type of spirit and the type of enthusiasm that should exist in the coming months and years to build this new constitution.

Monsieur le Président, je voudrais dire tout simplement que, comme un de ceux qui ont participé au débat référendaire ici à la Législature, et en vue du résultat du Référendum mardi soir de cette semaine, nous sommes extrêmement fiers. Nous sommes extrêmement fiers de nos collègues au Québec, qui ont su accepter le message qui venait non seulement des forces fédéralistes du Québec, mais aussi de tous les Canadiens à travers le pays, et surtout des Canadiens qui sont membres de la Législature de l’Ontario.

Et le message était pur et simple. Un “non” par le Québec serait le signal des Québécois aux Canadiens qu’on se joignait ensemble pour refaire cette constitution, pour rebâtir ce pays.

Monsieur le Président, nous sommes extrêmement fiers que ce message a été accepté. Aujourd’hui je suis heureux de dire que j’appuie les propositions du Premier Ministre -- non simplement du Canada mais aussi de l’Ontario -- et l’enthousiasme qui existe au Canada anglais qui a su accepter ce message. Je n’ai pas encore entendu au Canada anglais des gens qui disaient, “Ecoutez, maintenant on a eu un ‘non’ et le problème est fini. On va retourner au travail et ca va régler le problème pour un autre 4 ou 5 ans.” Ce n’est pas le message qui ressort présentement au Canada. Le message qui ressort c’est que le “non,” comme l’a dit le Premier Ministre, n’est pas la fin d’un problème mais le commencement d’une solution. Je trouve ça extrêmement important et j’aime voir l’enthousiasme qui existe chez le Premier Ministre fédéral du pays, M. Trudeau, qui a dit, “On est prêt à négocier. Tout est négociable, en d’autres mots, excepté qu’il faut garder, comme de raison, une certaine juridiction chez le fédéral et aussi une certaine juridiction chez les provinces. Le deuxième principe important est d’avoir des protections pour les droits humains et pour les droits linguistiques.”

Et alors, je crois que sur cette base, et si l’enthousiasme que je vois qui règne continue, je suis convaincu que si les provinces et le fédéral et tous ensemble s’y mettent, qu’on peut, Monsieur le Président, refaire le pays, refaire la constitution. Et on peut démontrer que les forces du “oui” qui disaient que ça prenait un mandat que ça prenait la menace de la séparation pour réveiller le Canada anglais, ont été réveillées par le Canada anglais jusqu’à present. Ça va peut-être prendre autre chose, un certain leadership, par exemple, mais je suis convaincu que l’enthousiasme -- et je n’ai pas vu de l’enthousiasme comme ça depuis les années soixante -- veut dire aux amis du Québec qu’on a entendu leur message, qu’on est avec eux. Et on dit aux forces du “non” -- et même à certains des forces du “oui,” parce qu’on voit que même ceux du “oui” sont un peu surpris de l’enthousiasme et de la compréhension qui existent présentement au Canada anglais et au Canada en dehors du Québec -- qu’ils nous ont fait confiance et nous ne devrons pas trahir cette confiance.

Je veux dire à mes collègues, Monsieur le Président, que le Premier Ministre a déposé certains critères pour une nouvelle constitution. Je suis extrêmement heureux de voir qu’il y aura une certaine protection non seulement des droits humains mais aussi des droits linguistiques dans cette constitution. Je crois qu’il faudrait élargir les droits des minorités, qui sont présentement limités aux droits de l’education. Je crois qu’il faudrait aller plus loin -- des droits de justice et peut-être même des droits de service à certains niveaux du gouvernement. Ces droits devraient être insérés dans la constitution, non simplement, Monsieur le Président, pour l’Ontario, mais aussi pour les minorités au Québec. Je crois qu’avec l’enthousiasme qui existe et le momentum qui existe pour ces changements, la compréhension qui existe présentement au Canada est une compréhension que, moi personnellement, je n’ai pas vue depuis 1967. Il faut prendre avantage de cette situation et nous, ici, avons l’intention d’en prendre avantage. On veut participer et on veut établir premièrement un comité de tous les partis ici en Ontario pour aider le gouvernement à formuler une position et pour étudier toute une variété d’options constitutionnelles.

Je crois que tous ensemble nous pourrons participer et contribuer à cette recherche. On peut assurer, Monsieur le Président, à nos concitoyens au Québec et à travers le Canada qu’on a l’espoir que finalement le message a été accepté. Et ce message ne vient pas seulement du Québec, mais aussi de nos concitoyens de l’ouest. Ce message veut dire qu’on veut un nouveau contrat, une nouvelle constitution partout au Canada.

12:50 p.m.

Alors, Monsieur le Président, peut-être certains vont me dire que je suis un peu naïf de montrer ce genre d’enthousiasme. Mais j’espère que c’est moi qui vais avoir raison et pas eux. De toute façon, je peux vous assurer, Monsieur le Président, que nous -- moi, personnellement et tous mes collègues ici -- allons faire tout notre possible pour prendre avantage de cet enthousiasme, pour bénéficier de l’opportunite, et pour ne pas trahir la confiance que les Québécois ont démontrée le 20 mai, 1980.

Mr. Chairman, there are still 10 minutes to go. I have finished my comments. I do hope that historians will look back at these times and say we face up to the challenge. When the challenge presented itself, it took a while. It is just like a mule in certain ways. You have to hit it for a while until you find out something is happening. Once you get it going it is pretty steady, and progress will be made. I hope that will be the result of all these difficult times we have experienced.

You have to talk to people in Quebec to understand that it may be a while before the wounds are healed in that province. I imagine it is fairly difficult. It was one thing for les bleus or les rouges to fight with each other and say after the election, “Okay, your side won.” When you are talking about something as strong as nationalism, a new country and the division that existed in that province, you really have to live it and experience it to understand the strong division that was created.

It is important that we on this side, we in English Canada who have witnessed this, have got the message that 60 per cent of them have put their faith in us. We must not betray that confidence. I look forward to the years ahead and to participating in this committee. I look forward to establishing a new arrangement right across the country.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does any other member wish to speak on these opening comments?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, we are just about at the end of time for today. I would like to thank the members of the opposition parties, the various critics who have spoken. They have brought forth criticism and commendation, constructive ideas and useful thoughts, things we can all look at as the estimates proceed.

On Monday, when we get to them, I may respond to some of the matters concerning municipal affairs. I do not have the time to do that in the few minutes that are left today. But I would like to say a few words about what my friend from Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) has been referring to. I would like to thank him for his kind words. I would like to say it has been a real inspiration for me to work with the member for Ottawa East, the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) and others as we developed the resolution and plans for the debate in this House.

I think we showed on these issues of national importance, although we have shades of difference politically on them, we still could come together, work together, respect each other’s views and come up with and put forward some common positions. The resolution that this House debated and ultimately accepted unanimously was one of those things.

I want to bring this matter up to date, because I think it is very important -- and that is what my friend has just been saying -- that we get on with the job. That is what the Premier said in his statement on Tuesday night. He said, “Now is the time to get on with the job.” It is interesting because the shoe is on the other foot now. We have to realize that, as the Premier said, this is not the end of the problem but the beginning of the solution. That vote in Quebec, the vote on that rather ambiguous question which has been settled I think in a very unambiguous way, was saying “no, we are not giving our PQ government a mandate to negotiate sovereignty-association.”

I have thought about that question a lot in the last little while as we have debated and talked about it. Even if the vote had been yes to give them a mandate to negotiate, I believe that afterwards the assumption would have been drawn there was tacit approval for separation there. Sovereignty-association cannot be negotiated without first accepting the sovereignty part and then negotiating the deal that somehow connects a separate country with another country. So the idea put around that voting yes was just a vote for change was obviously not right. We said that in this House and other members said that in this House. I think that people of the no forces said that in Quebec, and that was absolutely right.

But on the other hand, no was portrayed throughout the 35 days of that campaign, and throughout the debate in this House, as not a vote for no action, nothing happening, the status quo, that we are not going to do anything. No was portrayed as a vote for action but of another type; we called it renewed federalism. A lot of people I see now are asking what renewed federalism means. When someone asks me that, I tell them to me it means drafting a new constitution for this country. That is what we mean. It means a new set of rules under which we operate, because we need some updating and we have all agreed to that.

It also means changes in attitudes in this country. I think we all agree that is probably the more difficult thing. While it is not going to be easy to draft a new constitution, changing attitudes is going to be even more difficult. Yet that is part of what I see as renewed federalism -- changing attitudes of one group or region in this country towards others. That is all going to be part of what happens.

But our action that will occur right away will be in the area of developing a new constitution. The no forces said that is what a no vote meant; about 60 per cent of the people of Quebec said that is what they want.

I was also thinking the other day of bringing back an old slogan we had. I am not going to indicate where it came from, Mr. Chairman; you may remember it. It was, “Winning is just the beginning.” It applies very aptly to this situation where we now find ourselves and where the no forces and the federalist forces in Quebec now find themselves.

What has happened since last Tuesday has followed exactly as I would like to see it happen and I think as my friend would like to see it happen. The Prime Minister of Canada made, I thought, an excellent speech in the House of Commons on Wednesday. He outlined his position very eloquently and very well. He dispatched Jean Chretien to meet with the Premiers of this country immediately to find out what could be put on the table, what we should be doing immediately and when we can have that first conference. Jean Chretien met with myself, the Premier and the Attorney General here on Wednesday night, and then on Thursday he went to western Canada. I gather he met even with Premier Lougheed. He has met with all the people in the west and he is now going to the east.

I heard on the radio today he would be meeting with nine of the 10 governments. Unfortunately, he has not set up yet the meeting with the government of Quebec. I hope the government of Quebec will also meet with him. I think that is an absolute necessity. As I say, the shoe is on the other foot now. The government of Quebec has had a legal referendum in that province where 60 per cent of the people have voted no; they do not want to give them a mandate for sovereignty-association. But they must also read it, as I think it has to be read, that those people said by their vote: “No, you can’t have that mandate. But in so voting we want you to take action on a new constitution on some new ground rules under the federalist system. We voted for Canada. We want to stay in Canada. We want some new ground rules.” If Quebec does not start participating with all of us very shortly -- I hope it will be immediately after this weekend -- they are then saying no, the status quo is okay. I do not think the people of Quebec voted for the status quo, and their government must recognize that.

When Mr. Chretien reports back to the Prime Minister, I hope we will hear next week, or very early, the immediate plans for the kind of conference that will be held.

Then, of course, next week we will introduce our motion in this House to set up the select committee. People from all parties in this House will be completely involved in looking at and developing positions on this very important matter, and that will be consuming a great deal of the time of the ministry that I have the pleasure to head.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the committee of supply reported progress.

The House adjourned at 1:01 p.m.