32e législature, 1re session




































The House met at 2:02 p.m.



Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I have a message signed by the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor in his own hand.

Mr. Speaker: John B. Aird, the Lieutenant Governor, transmits estimates of certain sums required for the services of the province for the year ending March 31, 1982, and recommends them to the Legislative Assembly, Toronto, May 12, 1981.


Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Last Thursday, at the beginning of a response to a question from the member for Parkdale (Mr. Ruprecht), I made a comment to which apparently some members opposite have taken some offence. In the interests of harmony and making your Speakership fruitful and harmonious all around, I am pleased to withdraw that remark.



Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce to honourable members that the personal, private and business papers of the late John Fisher have been donated to the archives of Ontario.

Mr. Fisher made his gift to the province last November, three months before his untimely death. Honourable members will, I am sure, share my own personal pleasure that he chose to make such a gift. His papers are a wonderful legacy to a country and a people he loved so deeply. That affection was returned with the fond nickname "Mr. Canada."

His papers have a twofold purpose. They paint a brilliant picture of the man and his times through his words, and they speak to all Canadians about ourselves and our country.

The papers that are now completely catalogued at the archives include scripts from his much-loved radio shows and research files on animals, people, communities, personalities and special events covering 31 years of broadcasting. As well, there are files from his days as Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's special assistant and as commissioner to the centennial commission.

A young country like ours is enriched by the generous bequest of John Fisher. I know that all honourable members will share in my gratitude that Mr. Fisher chose to add to our heritage by bestowing this gift on the people of Ontario, and I know that all honourable members will want to join me in welcoming to this House the late Mr. Fisher's wife, Mrs. Cathy Fisher, and his son, Mr. John Fisher, Jr. who, Mr. Speaker, are in your gallery.


Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, the sport of professional boxing recently has been the subject of considerable public and government concern. On July 16, 1980, only days after Cleveland Denny died following a knockout in a nontitle fight with Gaetan Hart in Montreal, a federal task force was set up by the Honourable Gerald Reagan, federal minister responsible for fitness and amateur sport, to look into the organization and operation of professional and amateur boxing in Canada.

Over the years there have been many ring deaths and numerous instances where boxers have suffered serious brain damage. While it may be impossible to eliminate death or even serious injury from the sport of boxing, I am convinced that much can be done to minimize the potential for these occurrences, and Ontario has been a leader in this regard.

Three members of my ministry sat on the federal task force: Mr. Jim Vipond, Ontario's athletics commissioner; Mr. Clyde Gray, Ontario's boxing supervisor; and Dr. Bruce Stewart, a noted Toronto neurologist and the commission's medical director. I am pleased to recognize their efforts at this time and to say that Ontario has been a forerunner in implementing the recommendations of the task force; indeed, I believe it has been the only province so to do.

The major recommendations made by the task force include a provision to establish provincial boxing authorities in every province in Canada (Ontario has had a commission in place since the 1940s) and a further provision to empower the ring physician to stop a fight for medical reasons (Ontario has had this in place since August 1980).

The task force also recommended that uniform medical standards should be developed for boxers, referees and judges; for the most part, this has already been done in Ontario. We have drafted the regulation, adopted the medical criteria set out in the task force recommendations and have the new forms in preparation. A recommendation that boxers be suspended for their own medical safety for 60 days following a knockout has been in effect in Ontario since August 1980.

The establishment of a data bank and record-keeping system to track boxer fight records and medical histories was recommended and the Ontario Athletics Commission is already in the process of setting up the system. The federal government will be responsible for setting the system up Canada-wide, but in the interim our own commission has established a computer link with the New York State Athletics Commission data bank; it should be operational within two weeks.

We have also redesigned the forms in the Ontario athletics commissioner's office in an effort to make the dissemination and gathering of information easier for boxing authorities. We already automatically send fight results to the boxer's home jurisdictions. This would include information about a knockout, suspension or any serious injury. The medical director, or one of his trained physicians, would determine if an injury were serious enough to be reported.

All Ontario boxers will also be required to carry a passport type of licence, which will show their fight record and medical record. Entries will be made immediately after a medical examination or after a fight.

The task force noted that, in the Denny fight, previous recent knockouts and difficult fights not knowingly reported may possibly have caused the fighter's death. It is hoped that the passport system will help eliminate this potential cause of death or serious injury.

2:10 p.m.

The commission also took action recently to ban unsanctioned, "tough guy" or "so you think you're tough" boxing events. Letters were sent to every newspaper in the province asking them to refuse advertisements from the promoters of these unsanctioned events. The athletics commission is now taking further steps to ensure that these bouts do not take place by asking owners of licensed establishments and arenas as well as the Ontario Provincial Police to notify the commission of any unsanctioned events. We are aware that untrained competitors could face the risk of serious injury or even death by taking part in such events.

Our athletics commissioner and supervisor of boxing are also working to raise standards of officiating in this province. Mr. Vipond and Mr. Gray will be setting up instructional clinics for judges, referees and timekeepers in the near future. They will also be liaising with other boxing authorities, particularly in the bordering states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, to establish lines of communication and a basis for exchanging information and setting standards for officials.

I have mentioned the name of Dr. Stewart several times in connection with this ministry. He has worked for the commission on an informal basis over the past few years, acting as a medical adviser on boxing matters. His new mandate recognizes his past contributions to the commission as a medical adviser, and his position as medical director will give him the opportunity to put into place, on behalf of the public and the boxing fraternity, the ideas he has advocated in the past. We are delighted to be able to give him this new mandate.

Dr. Stewart will be setting up training seminars for doctors from several cities, including Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. These doctors will be trained specifically through the use of videotaped fights, particularly where death or injury of a fighter has occurred.

I am confident that these initiatives will minimize the potential for serious injury or death of a professional boxer in Ontario.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, later this afternoon I will be introducing an act to amend the Fire Marshals Act. As honourable members will know, this act will provide the legislative framework to authorize the making of a fire code, which will contain the substantive rules, by regulation.

It is my intention that the Ontario fire code will become law within a period of not more than four months. The amendments I am introducing today are basically similar to those contained in Bill 141, which was awaiting second reading when the Legislature prorogued at Christmas.

There are four new provisions designed to clarify the interrelationship with the building code and to ensure compatibility. Another change would give the fire code precedence over municipal bylaws concerning fire prevention. This last provision is similar to section 26 of the Building Code Act, 1974. This is in line with our intention to provide a set of uniform and consistent fire safety rules that would apply across Ontario.

Let me briefly give honourable members some background on this legislation. The Ontario fire code advisory committee was established in November 1976 to develop a draft Ontario fire code for public comment by the end of 1978.

The committee's report was published in the Ontario Gazette of January 13, 1979, and significant public comment has been received as a result. Over these past months a committee under the chairmanship of the fire marshal has been preparing the fire code, with full participation by the public and private sectors.

The government now also has the benefit of the very excellent series of recommendations made by the coroner's jury that looked into the tragic fire at the Inn on the Park. One of their key recommendations was that the province provide a uniform fire code as soon as possible.

I should also explain that the fire marshal and municipal fire departments have traditionally been responsible for the fire safety in existing buildings. The Fire Marshals Act currently authorizes his agents to inspect buildings and gives them broad powers to make orders.

The fire code will provide a written set of fire safety standards in a comprehensive form so that both the inspectors and the building owners will know where they stand.

I also wish to advise the Legislature that senior officials in my ministry are currently reviewing all 34 recommendations made by the Inn on the Park jury, including the proposal that the Ontario fire marshal's office be designated as the only agency to conduct fire safety inspections.

It is my hope that all members of the House will join in supporting this most important legislation.


Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Last week a bill was introduced by the Minister of Industry and Tourism concerning Massey-Ferguson. The only compendium with that bill was a statement that simply outlined the purpose of the bill, something that could also be read in the legislation.

I remind the Speaker and the minister that rule 32(c) of the standing orders states, "On the introduction of a government bill, a compendium of background information shall be delivered to the opposition critics."

So that we on this side of the floor can make an intelligent decision on the legislation, I wish to ask the Speaker to ask the minister to file with this Legislature the five-year business plan that convinced this government to go along with the deal to support Massey-Ferguson and to file copies of the written agreement between the province and Massey-Ferguson that will outline its commitments on research development, jobs and other guarantees. We are very interested in seeing this.

If there is no written agreement between the provincial government and Massey-Ferguson, there must be some form of letter of intent on which the agreement will be based. That should be filed so members can have an informative discussion, rather than speaking without basing their positions on some facts.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I will be pleased to review the situation with a view to providing the honourable member with all the information we possibly can. We literally have several hundred thousand pages of documents, some of which may be made public and some of which may not; so it becomes a difficult and complex task. We will be pleased to review them to see what we can supply the members.

Mr. Smith: I presume that was an undertaking to give some of the documents to both opposition parties.



Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. I wish to ask the minister whether he shares the view of his colleague the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Walker) regarding the value of his nursing home inspection service.

I remind the minister that his colleague said, in essence, "If you have two eyes, if you can see lightning and hear thunder, it seems to me you can go in and look at a nursing home and see whether or not the floors are clean, whether or not the level of care is valid, whether or not the conduct and care is proper."

If the minister agrees that is all that is really necessary and the only qualifications that are required, will he explain why he has a nursing home inspection service at all and, if his inspectors are finding other important information that is worth paying for, why is that information kept secret from the public and from members of the Legislature?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the information is not kept secret. It has been my policy over the four years and some months I have been in the ministry that whatever information I get with respect to the inspection of a nursing home is conveyed in its entirety to an inquiring member or member of the public, to whoever has asked for it.

Through a variety of measures we have taken in the inspection service in the last few years, we have been able to improve considerably on their efficiency, in particular by our actions of about three years ago in identifying a list of homes that habitually seemed to be coming up on our complaints list. Instituting a team inspection process has been very productive in getting a number of those homes out of the business, in effect forcing them to sell or merge with other homes, resulting in either significantly renovated or completely new homes.

I also wish to inform the honourable member that my concern all along with respect simply to taking the actual working document of the inspector and plunking it on a table has been the whole question of confidentiality with respect to the names of patients, the treatment modalities of patients and a whole variety of things.

At present we are working on a new inspection form that is basically a numerical rating for the various subject areas we investigate, such as fire, safety, nutrition, the environmental qualities of the home and so forth. When those forms are completed and we begin to use them, they can be made available to whoever wants to see them at the nursing home so he can get an idea of how that nursing home rates.

2:20 p.m.

Mr. Smith: While we are certainly very much in favour of such a rating form that would be publicly available, will the minister please explain to this House why it is that the present reports done by government inspectors should be kept secret simply on the basis, as he says, that there are names that might be identified?

Does the minister not agree that all that needs to be done is to white out these names so that people who are interested in the quality of the various nursing homes to which their relatives and their constituents are being sent will have the opportunity to read this information, which we pay a lot of money for and which highly qualified inspectors presumably are busy amassing?

Why can we not see those reports with the names whited out if confidentiality is a problem? What conceivable excuse can there be for sending inspectors into nursing homes that are the recipients of many public dollars with public people as patients? What conceivable reason can there be for keeping those reports secret from the rest of us?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: With respect, I think I have covered that today and on many previous occasions. Is the honourable member suggesting that a report asked for by the Minister of Health, delivered to the Minister of Health, then conveyed to the Leader of the Opposition as a member of this assembly, or to any citizen of this province, is not to be believed? It is certainly as good as or better than any working papers used by the inspectors -- much better.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary: How is it that the city of Windsor, which is now passing a bylaw for rest and lodging homes, is going to put in a section that will allow the public to have access to files on each of the rest and lodging homes? If they can do it at that level, why can this government not do the same thing at the provincial level?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, with respect, rest and lodging homes are not dealing with the treatment of patients. They are not dealing with the question of information on drugs. They are not dealing with information about the medical history of patients. They are dealing with quite different information.

I have not seen what they are planning to do in Windsor, but they may very well be planning on something like the forms we are currently developing, forms that will eventually be available in the nursing homes and can be asked for.

Mr. Newman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: May I ask that the minister require the nursing homes to post the reports of the ministry so that the public coming in will not necessarily have to ask but can see in a given spot the complete report as to the value and type of care an individual receives in such nursing homes?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I will take the suggestion under advisement, Mr. Speaker. If we were going to do that, I think there would need to be some further indication provided and, to have the numerical rating system explained and to discuss it, we should approach the administrator or the director of nursing or whomsoever. But I will certainly take that under advisement.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Colleges and Universities, again taking up the subject of admission procedures by which people are selected for nursing schools.

Is the minister now aware that at St. Lawrence College and at Loyalist College the computer is making the final decision as to who is able to be accepted into nursing school? Is she aware that at George Brown College a decision has been made to randomly select applicants for admission to nursing school?

Is she aware that 675 applications were received at Algonquin College in Ottawa for 130 positions, that 530 of the people were found to qualify and, after that, the choice was made simply by random computer selection?

On the other hand, is she aware that at Ryerson, Humber, Seneca, Fanshawe and Conestoga they are still trying to pick the best applicants, no matter how many apply, and they are not relying on a raffle ticket or a lottery approach?

Will the minister finally stand in this House and say that, just as medical schools, law schools and many nursing schools try to select the best people by the most sensible criteria they can think of, every nursing school and every college and university and every program in Ontario will do away with this random selection procedure and pick not those who just manage to reach a mediocre level of performance and get by but genuinely try to choose the best for every available place?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member has obviously forgotten the purpose for which community colleges were established. It was to provide an educational program for specific training for graduates of the secondary school program at the grade 12 level and for those who were considered to be mature students on the basis of the period of time out of school and their age.

If we were to give preference only to academic performance in all of the areas that the honourable member --

Mr. Smith: Nobody said that.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Oh, that is just what he said.

Mr. Smith: No, no, it is not.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Oh yes, it is. The member should sit down. Does he want an answer?

Mr. Smith: Don't tell me to sit down.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Do you have a point of privilege, Mr. Smith?

Mr. Smith: Yes, Mr. Speaker. If you will check the record, you will find, and the minister will find, that what I said was that they should pick the best by whatever criteria seem sensible. The best at many schools -- those for mature students and so on, for instance -- is not determined totally by academic standing, Mr. Speaker, as you well know, but is based on many other achievements and experiences that people have had in life, and on a personal interview, a questionnaire and a number of other things. That is exactly what I said. Let the minister correct her statement and not attribute words to me that I did not say.

Mr. Speaker: The minister will proceed to answer the question.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday the honourable member did imply, if he did not say directly, that academic performance was the criterion. However, I remind him that what we are attempting to do is to ensure that the students who are qualified for limited-placement courses are given the fairest possible chance to participate in those courses.

As an example, at Loyalist College, about which a question was asked earlier, the initial selection is based upon academic qualifications for nursing at that college: the secondary-school graduation diploma with a minimum of 27 credits, including at least two science subjects. Preference is given to students who have completed the following courses: biology at the general or advanced level, chemistry at the general or advanced level, mathematics at the general or advanced level, and English throughout the course.

Group interviews are carried out at that college with eight potential candidates and two members of the faculty at a time. During this time the faculty members attempt to share information about the program; receive the responses of the student and judge the appropriateness of those responses; have each individual applicant complete his or her profile, which is a written document that provides information to those who are in the selection process; expose all of those potential candidates to some problem-solving situations to try to assess their skill as well as communication skills, and explain college activities.

The applicants are assessed on this basis first, and when all of those who have been considered to be appropriate and qualified for admission to the course --

Ms. Copps: Time. Time.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: If the member for Hamilton Centre will kindly stop crying "Time," I will be pleased to complete the answer to the question.

Mr. Speaker: You will ignore the interjections and proceed.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If the number of acceptable candidates -- those who are considered to be qualified -- is larger than the number of places that are available, they are randomly selected through a computer process. That seems to be the fairest way to carry out that kind of assessment for those who are equally qualified for the course.

Mr. Smith: Do I take it that the minister is willing to recommend this same procedure, a procedure by which at Algonquin, for instance, 530 of 675 applications for 130 positions were judged to be equal from the minister's point of view and they were then randomly chosen?

Does the minister not recognize the message that this system gives to every student in our schools today, that all you have to do is get through -- get through to the basic, lowest level just so you can qualify -- and after that it is in the lap of the computer and you hope your number pops up?

Does she know the message of mediocrity that gives to every student in Ontario? Does she recommend this same system for the law schools and the medical schools of Ontario?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: That is obviously the way the honourable member got into the medical school at McGill, at any rate. This member obviously knows nothing about excellence in education, and he obviously is not prepared to look at the ways in which fairness can be provided for all of the students who qualify for limited-enrolment courses.

2:30 p.m.

Mr. Philip: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister not agree that the random selection method only makes sense if adequate counselling and academic upgrading facilities are available in each of the community colleges? Will she not agree that such staff is currently not available in the community colleges?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, Mr. Speaker, I do not agree.

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister indicate to us what other courses at what other colleges use this particular procedure? How widespread is it?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it is limited to those courses for which there is a very specific enrolment capacity related to the technical facilities necessary for the courses or to the clinical experience necessary, as in nursing, which of course is defined by the institutional care spaces available to provide that part of the educational program.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Housing, the minister of high-priced housing.

In the light of the reports that Cadillac Fairview, which is the largest public real estate development corporation in Canada, and Bramalea, which is one of the 10 largest, intend to merge and that the merger would create the largest real estate company in Canada and one of the largest in the world, what steps does the government intend to take to ensure that the result of this marriage is affordable housing for people on average incomes here in Ontario and not just further exports of Canadian capital to build offices and high-rise retail complexes in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles and other parts of the United States?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I must say that the president of Bramalea Limited did call me yesterday morning to advise me that they were having some very preliminary discussions with Cadillac Fairview on a possible merger, and I use the words "possible merger." But I must say, in respect to Bramalea and Cadillac Fairvew, I think they are two companies that have tried to respond to market requirements in this province and in other parts of Canada.

In the Ontario rental construction loan program, which this government introduced about three or four months ago, one of the largest applications for development of rental accommodation in the medium and lower price ranges was in Bramalea, in the Brampton area, involving some 1,285 units.

I think these companies have displayed very adequately to the people of this province that they have contributed substantially to the housing stock in all price ranges.

Mr. Cassidy: Is the minister aware that Cadillac Fairview, which will make up about three quarters of the combined assets of this company if the merger goes forward, currently has projects in Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City in the residential real estate market in condominiums, but is currently continuing or starting projects in the United States, in San Francisco; Santa Ana; Los Angeles; Seattle; Houston; Dallas; New Orleans; Mobile, Alabama; Miami; Fort Lauderdale; West Palm Beach; West Chester county; the borough of Manhattan; Philadelphia; Washington; Arlington; Montgomery county and Kona, Hawaii?

My question to the minister is this: What steps is the government going to take to make sure that this conglomerate real estate company, with $3.5 billion worth of assets, puts some housing into Ontario that people can afford and not into every community in the United States, leaving our people out in the cold?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Cadillac Fairview, Bramalea, Markborough, Campeau Corporation, Olympia and York and a number of other companies have developed very adequately in this province. During this period of time, firms like Cadillac Fairview and Bramalea have developed a great deal of expertise; and while they continue to develop in Ontario and other parts of Canada in the housing, industrial and commercial fields, at the same time they have been able to expand their operations into the United States and other foreign countries and to make opportunities for Canadians in those markets.

I see the leader of the third party sitting there with a bit of a scowl on his face. Let me tell him that Campeau Corporation came from the great city of Ottawa -- I forgot, I should have mentioned that one of the Leader of the Opposition's favourite development firms, Minto Construction from Ottawa, has also expanded its horizons beyond the borders of Ontario and Canada into the United States. I believe that is one firm the Leader of the Opposition has always greatly admired for its entrepreneurship and philosophy.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: The minister has twice mentioned the Leader of the Opposition when he meant to say the leader of the third party.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I apologize to the Leader of the Opposition. I would not want to elevate the leader of the third party to that position. It would not be very becoming --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The minister will proceed.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, while it is easy for the leader of the third party to sit here and be somewhat critical of these Canadian companies that have expanded far beyond the borders of Ontario and Canada, I think it speaks extremely well of the talent in this country that now, in most world markets, we Canadians lead in the development industry. They have been invited into the United States. They are making money. They are Canadian companies and are proud to realize to what a great extent their shareholders are Canadian.

Mr. Cassidy: Between the close of markets on Thursday and the close of market yesterday, the shares of Bramalea went up 25 per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the shares of Cadillac Fairview went up by six per cent, all in the course of two business days.

Will the minister explain why the government refuses to allow a dollar-a-bet casino at the Canadian National Exhibition but allows this kind of casino to take place in the Toronto Stock Exchange based on property speculation at the expense of ordinary people in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: If one did not own some of the stock, I suppose one might be slightly jealous or envious of those who happen to own some. But frankly --

Mr. Cassidy: Oh, do you?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: No. I have to tell the member, as he knows, that the oath of office for a minister states that he can have no outside interest, in the stock market in particular.

I do not know what the relevance of the leader of the third party's question happens to be. We believe in the stock market and in companies being allowed to issue stock in a public sense. If people believe the merger of Cadillac Fairview and Bramalea is going to produce a more viable company, not only in its assets here in Ontario and Canada but also on a world scale, then those individuals will invest accordingly.

I can only say that Bramalea, Cadillac Fairview and a number of the other developers that the leader of the third party would like some people to condemn in this House have contributed substantially to the wellbeing of the people of Ontario and Canada.

Mr. Cassidy: It obviously contributes to the wellbeing of the shareholders. Whether it contributes to the wellbeing of the people who need houses at prices they can afford is another question.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the minister of high-priced housing.

The head of Canada Homes came to the press conference theatre in the Legislative Building yesterday, bowed to public pressure and agreed his company would honour the agreements it entered into last August with people who had bought homes in Markham and thought those homes were going to be taken away from them.

Mr. L. Leibel said in this building that from now on new homes built in the Metro area would sell for $100,000 plus and that a family income of $50,000 minimum would be needed to carry such homes.

Is that the opinion of the minister as well, or will the minister say what steps the government is taking to ensure that this prediction, made by a builder who in the past has catered to the mass market, does not become a reality in the Metropolitan Toronto region?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I suppose Mr. Leibel, who speaks for Canada Homes, was speaking in particular about his firm and the price range at which it might be deciding to build homes.

As I have said before, and I repeat, there are homes being offered in the market in this immediate jurisdiction, as well as in other parts of Ontario, that are reasonably priced and are in an affordable price range for virtually every income group.

2:40 p.m.

It is great to try to take one man's statement that relates to what his company is going to do and to tag it on all of the industry across Ontario. I have the opportunity as the Minister of Housing, as does the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Walker), to speak to people in the development industry, and they very clearly indicate that they will continue to try to satisfy what they believe is the market. They make it very clear that if they do not satisfy the market they will not be here.

Frankly, while one contractor might try to satisfy the $100,000 price range, there are others who will make units available to the market at a variety of prices, because that is where they will succeed, and not by trying to build exclusively for one price group.

Mr. Cassidy: Given the fact that Mr. Leibel appeared to be trying to find a way to take away the homes from people who contracted for them at $60,000 or $70,000 a few months ago so the homes could subsequently be sold at a much greater price to new purchasers, which he finally backed down on, will the Minister of Housing say what steps the government intends to take to ensure that other developers do not try to back out of agreements that they have made with people, to make new forms of speculative profit in the market at the expense of people who thought they had an affordable home?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: That was not the inference I took from Mr. Leibel's remarks, which I happened to read in the last edition of the local press. It was not his intention, and he said it very clearly, to take back property and try to resell it at a higher price. If I read the article correctly, he said very clearly it was a decision made by a national mortgage company that indicated these individuals who had taken a contract, if purchasing a home under the mortgage terms of today, would not qualify.

I am not trying to put words in Mr. Leibel's mouth or write his article, but I think the press indicated clearly that was not the intention of his company at all.

He did go on to make another point that I think is rather interesting and we should keep very clearly in mind. He said very cautiously that these individuals could find themselves in the same detrimental financial position in a two-or three-year period -- I only draw the comparison, if I might be allowed to do so -- that some people got into with the assisted home ownership program. If you will recall, Mr. Speaker, they got in back about four or five years ago at a lower interest rate, and today they are experiencing somewhat the same difficulties.

Frankly, the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations should be complimented on the negotiations and discussions with Canada Homes, as the minister has been able to satisfy those individuals who had been turned off by the mortgage company earlier in the week. I trust any further situations of a similar nature will be referred to the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations for their settling in a very satisfactory way indeed.

Mr. Roy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I want to ask the Minister of Housing about his commitment to housing in the province. Does he still feel the way as he did a few months ago, which was that the Ministry of Housing should be phased out? If so, what kind of confidence can the consumers of this province have towards him as the minister of a ministry which he says has no purpose and should be phased out?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: There again, Mr. Speaker, the member for Ottawa East would like to try to put his own interpretation on it. I said very clearly during consideration of the estimates last year, and I repeat it, that the Ministry of Housing in its name alone sometimes drew an expectation in some communities beyond the delivering power of this government or of this government and the federal government combined.

The Premier in his wisdom announced very recently that there will be a new ministry of municipal affairs and housing, which collectively will try to resolve the problems of municipalities and, in conjunction with them, to satisfy the serviced land required for the development of the housing industry.

Mr. Cassidy: As I understand it, Mr. Speaker, the minister says that in the future, should there be an emergence of similar situations to that involving the people in Canada Homes, they should be taken to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.

Will the minister say why he has such confidence in the desire of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations to deal with such problems, given the fact that he refused to take credit for the successful effort to get rights for those home owners? When he met with three of them yesterday, he said those home owners should thank the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) and New Democratic Party researcher Graham Murray and that they should vote NDP next time.

Mr. Speaker: A new question, Mr. Reed.

Mr. Cassidy: Let's have an answer, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, let me say that the positive results yesterday speak well for the minister and for the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. The minister is to be congratulated, along with his staff, for being able to satisfy taxpayers of this province and bring them, we hope, to be happy Ontario home owners.


Mr. .J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. I would like to ask the Premier whether he is prepared to support a resolution put forward by Ontario's 330 municipal electric utilities calling on Ontario to assign to conservation measures, resources equal to those given to additional electric generation. How can the Premier justify Ontario Hydro's conservation budget of $8 million out of a total operating budget in 1981 of $764 million?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think the answer to that is obvious even to the honourable member, who has been demoted to the second row of his party's benches. I miss him in the front row.

I have no difficulty in reconciling it whatsoever. I have heard from some of the member's colleagues that they take exception to Ontario Hydro's excellent public education program, through which they have been endeavouring to communicate to the people of this province the desirability of conservation. I have heard some of his colleagues say that Ontario Hydro should not be doing this.

I have even heard some contradictions with respect to the whole concept of conservation emanating from the Liberal Party of Ontario. You cannot equate what Ontario Hydro expends by way of public information and by its own internal programs on conservation with the necessity of operating that rather significant corporation, which provides for Ontario consumers the lowest competitive hydro rates anywhere in North America, with one or two modest exceptions.

Mr. J. A. Reed: I take it by that rather indirect answer that the Premier is not prepared to support the Ontario Municipal Electric Association's resolution.

I want to ask the Premier why, after five years, the government of Ontario has not yet come up with its memorandum of understanding with Ontario Hydro to define their respective roles and responsibilities. When will we get it?

Will the Premier assure us that he will require that Ontario Hydro provide the same amount of resources to conservation as it does to providing additional electric power supplies?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I can only say to the member that to suggest the government should direct Ontario Hydro to allocate exactly the same resources to conservation as it must of necessity to seeing that people in Brampton at least have sufficient electricity is totally incredible. The people in Georgetown or Halton Hills may not be worried about that; although, knowing a number of the member's constituents, I am sure they would be worried both about that and about their representation.

If the OMEA is suggesting that Ontario Hydro or the municipal utilities might do more with respect to conservation, I have no quarrel with that. But the member should look at some of the things his own members have said about Ontario Hydro's efforts to educate the public with respect to the desirability of conservation.


Mr. Swart: My question is to the Minister of Health and again concerns urea-formaldehyde foam insulation.

I sent the minister a letter signed by Mr. David Young of the Niagara Regional Health Unit, addressed to Mr. Paul Toderick of 765 Church Street, Fenwick, under date of May 11, 1981. This letter provides new information on the formaldehyde gas level in Mr. Toderick's home. Will the minister note that the tests are 200 times the Canadian recommended standard, as reported by the medical officer of health, and that the Todericks have been advised to leave their home?

Mr. Speaker, I also inform you that the Todericks, who are in the gallery here today, have suffered and are suffering seriously from headaches, insomnia, lethargy and nasal problems.

As the minister is responsible for health in this province and has known about these kinds of problems since 1979, what advice and help does he have to offer to the Todericks and hundreds of other people like them in this province?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, with respect, I am not sure on what the honourable member is basing the statement that we have known about this since 1979. I do not believe that is true.

The first time that I am aware this matter came to our attention was when the federal government decided to impose a temporary ban on the use of this product in December 1980. That information was conveyed, as I have told the member before, to the medical officers of health with some technical background about the product and an indication that if they required technical assistance it was available to them through our Ministry of Labour.

2:50 p.m.

That was followed by the production of a report, of which I am sure the member has a copy, by an expert medical advisory committee, to the Minister of National Health and Welfare. That report, among other things, states that they do not believe they are in a position to recommend a safe level of exposure. The great difficulty in the report that has been prepared, and the way that the federal minister has so far handled it, is that it has left everybody hanging.

As the member knows, last week I asked the federal minister to indicate what she is going to do about two specific points raised in the report. First is the question of a survey in the country to determine the extent of the problem, and second is the recommendation that the federal government institute a program to assist in those cases where some form of retrofit is required.

I think it is quite properly the federal government's responsibility. I am hopeful that the combination of public pressure and pressure from the provincial governments will get them to accept their responsibility and to do something about it.

At this point, and we are checking regularly, we have not had anything more than an acknowledgement from Miss Begin's office, and we will keep the pressure on them to get them to accept their responsibilities and to follow up on those recommendations.

In the meantime, the medical officers of health and the health units are available to consult with individuals about any particular concerns they have.

As the member knows, a medical officer of health has the authority already, under the Public Health Act, to close any premises that he or she sees fit to close -- such an order, of course, being appealable to the Health Facilities Appeal Board -- and to give whatever advice he or she deems appropriate.

At this point we are operating in a bit of a void because, in my view, the report that has come from the federal government has not been satisfactorily dealt with by the federal minister.

Mr. Swart: If the minister did not know about it in 1979, he should have. The medical officer of health in the Niagara region prepared a report at that time pointing out the dangers of this foam. As chief medical officer, the minister should have known.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: If the honourable member in making that statement is referring to part of a report he passed to me a week or so ago, that was a memo to file, not a memo to the Minister of Health or to the chief medical officer. It was not drawn to the attention of the Ministry of Health to my knowledge.

Mr. Swart: Why does the minister continue to take this buck-passing, hands-off attitude, when morally and legally he has responsibility for public health in this province?

Will he now commit himself to do three things? One, will he take steps to identify all homes in this province containing the foam insulation? Two, will he have tests done on them at regular intervals by equipment that will show even a minimum of formaldehyde gas? Three, will he initiate steps to the federal government to finance removal of the foam wherever high gas levels are prevalent, as in the case I am talking about?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: With respect, it is not a question of buck-passing at all. The responsibility very clearly is on the shoulders of the level of government that approved the use of the product in the first place; that is number one.

Number two, I have made it clear in my communications to the federal minister that we do not have, in the provincial government or in the health units, or combined, all the resources necessary to carry out what has been recommended to her. But we will make all our resources in the government, and at the local level, available to the federal government to assist them in carrying out the responsibility that is very clearly on their shoulders.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: However culpable the government of Canada may be, will the minister not consider cooperating with his colleague the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton), particularly with the offices established on a regional level, so that he can say to those people who are concerned about their health and safety in regard to the gases that may or may not be coming from this improper insulation, that they can go in there at their initiative, and at our provincial cost, and perhaps rebill the federal government eventually?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Oh, come on.

Mr. Nixon: What is the matter with that? I say to the Minister of Education that most of this government's money comes from the federal government. What is she talking about? It certainly does, and this government does not mind spending it and taking the credit for it too.

To get back to the point: Why cannot the Minister of Health accept his responsibility to the medical officer of health? Though the medical officer of health does not have the facilities, the Minister of the Environment through his offices either does or should have and should have them available. He can help these people, rather than having some sort of a nonproductive political argument once a week about it.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I sympathize and I totally agree with the honourable member that the matter should not become the subject of a political argument, as he says. I would have hoped I could have had a response by now from a supposedly responsible federal minister to carry out the responsibilities that are incumbent upon her and are outlined in this report.

I point out to the member, by the way, if he wants to talk about money -- and my friend the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) is more knowledgeable about this than I am -- that 43 per cent of the money that Ottawa takes in and misuses in the main, comes from this province.

We are keeping pressure on them daily, and I hope we can bring this matter to a head in the next week at the most. I remind the honourable member again that if he looks at the report they are saying there may be a danger. That is the difficulty. They are not saying that at a specific level there is a danger. They have made recommendations to the federal minister to assist all the provinces and the territories to determine the extent of whatever danger there is, and then they specifically recommend that the federal government finance a program for any necessary retrofit.


Mr. Riddell: I have a question of the Minister of Energy, Mr. Speaker. Does he recall the Premier standing in his place last April, grandstanding to a gallery full of farmers and stating he would take every measure to see that the rural-urban hydro rate differential would be eliminated?

The minister should not shake his head in the negative, because it is a fact.

Now that Ontario Hydro has proposed an 8.6 per cent average increase in its 1982 wholesale power rate, can we expect Ontario Hydro to eliminate that rural-urban differential in hydro rates? If we can expect that, what method will be used to eliminate it?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, the government commitment was quite clearly enunciated here by the leader of the government that the differential would be reduced. That was the word that was used.


Hon. Mr. Welch: Look at the record. Even the honourable member can read it. The government took the first step with the $20-million grant to provide that and at that time indicated further steps would be taken. These are currently being studied to honour the government commitment to reduce that differential.


Hon. Mr. Welch: That statement was made before March 19. We went to the people of Ontario with that statement quite clearly articulated.

Mr. Riddell: Whether it is going to be reduced or eliminated, or whether the man on the minister's left, the man of broken promises, is going to start to fulfil some of his commitments, can the minister tell me -- and just give me the plain facts -- will the urban-rural rates be equalized, or are the rural rates merely to be reduced to 15 per cent above the urban rate, as Ontario Hydro has recommended in the report to the government of November 1980? Just give me the straight facts.

Hon. Mr. Welch: There are a number of options currently before us. The commitment to be reduced stands. When the decision has been taken with respect to the further steps, these will be announced in this place.

Mr. Riddell: There is no help for the farmers on interest rates and no help for them on hydro rates.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Wildman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister agree that despite the grant from the provincial government to Ontario Hydro the differential has increased by a total of $4 million? If he agrees that is the case, can he give us a date as to when there will be an enunciation of exactly what the government policy is with regard to the differential and the elimination, not just the reduction of the differential?

Hon. Mr. Welch: The further steps that will be taken to honour the commitment will be announced in due course.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, proudly from the second row, I say to the Premier --

Mr. Watson: The member is sensitive about that.

Mr. J. A. Reed: At least I had the choice of where I sat. I wonder if some of his friends did or did not.

Mr. Speaker: Ask the question and do not be provocative.

3 p.m.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Does the Minister of Energy remember the quotation from the last provincial budget which said "eliminate the undue differential"?

Hon. Mr. Welch: We can have some exchange with respect to the vocabulary involved. I am sure the Treasurer meant those words to be consistent with what the leader of the government said, the reduction of the differential.


Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. In view of the growth of direct selling by travel agency wholesalers that are not registered as retailers under the Travel Industry Act, what is the minister going to do to protect people whose claims to the travel industry compensation fund are denied because they booked with such wholesalers? How is a member of the public to tell the difference?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, as I understand it, with some encouragement from us this matter is going before the Commercial Registration Appeal Tribunal to decide just that question. By our reading of the act, we think the wholesaler question would be resolved by payment being made to the people who purchased directly from wholesalers, even though that is considered to be an inappropriate approach.

Mr. Mackenzie: I am not sure exactly what the minister has said. Since the registrar of the act has clearly stated he has never issued a warning to wholesalers not to sell to the tourist industry directly, are we now being told by the minister that these people will be recompensed for their losses?

Hon. Mr. Walker: I hope that will ultimately be the course taken. One must keep in mind what has transpired. There has been a collapse of a very significant firm. In spite of that collapse the travel fund, which was set up by my predecessor, came to the rescue of an awful lot of people. Only a small fraction of that number happens to fall into the category of having made their deals directly with a wholesaler. Of those who made deals directly with a wholesaler, a good many knew they were trying to get a special rate by going through the wholesaler rather than going to the normal retailer.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Having been an owner of a couple of travel agencies, I cannot agree with what the minister just said. In fact, a lot of people reading the advertisements and dealing even through registered travel agents did not understand they were dealing with a wholesaler rather than a retailer. In many cases, there is no difference in price. For instance, if one buys a ticket from Air Canada or through a travel agent, one pays the same price. There is no difference.

To ensure the good name of the travel industry in Ontario, and since he has indicated funds are available, will the minister not agree that a directive should go from the cabinet that these people be compensated?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, does the member think I am prepared to interfere with what I expect to be a decision by the Commercial Registration Appeal Tribunal? I am not prepared to do that.


Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. Is the minister aware of the statement made today at a press conference by Pollution Probe, Operation Clean and the Canadian Environmental Law Association indicating their intention of applying to the Honourable Judge John T. Curtin, US district court, to bring a motion to appear as amicus curiae, friend of the court, at US versus Hooker Chemicals et al, in civil action 79-989, relating to the Hyde Park Hooker Chemical dump, where one of the largest deposits of dioxin in the world has been deposited and there is grave concern about the security and guarantee of the site?

Will the minister consider similar action on behalf of the citizens of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, in response to the first part of that question, I am aware there was a press conference held this morning. It was my understanding the groups the member referred to had indicated their intention to seek an opportunity to be present at the hearings as amicus curiae.

In terms of any action that I might be prepared to take, I believe it is still a little early at this particular point in time to determine that, because we are aware that an agreement apparently has been arrived at which is subject to ratification by the court in New York state. The contents of that agreement are not yet known to us in detail. I expect that by tomorrow I shall have received a copy of that, and the reason it is of particular importance is I understand the control mechanisms and the proposals with respect to the recovery of any leachate from that site are spelled out in that document.

Until such time as I have had an opportunity to assess that and the staff of the ministry has had an opportunity to assess that, it would be very difficult for me to say it was a situation in which it would be appropriate for intervention on the part of the province of Ontario.

I can assure the honourable member, as he may already be aware, that we have been monitoring that site, particularly in terms of the Niagara River, both through testing above and below the Hyde Park site and in the area around the water intake for Niagara-on-the-Lake. The testing that has been done up to this point has not shown any detectable presence of dioxins, and that is using the current techniques, which will detect it in parts per trillion. There has been none detected at the present time.

We continue to monitor it on that basis. However, in saying what I have said, I want also to make it clear that I have not precluded some further action depending upon the information that comes into our hands within the next day or so.

Mr. Kerrio: Does the minister not recognize the very grave danger that is abundantly clear to everyone that there is a great deposit of dioxin in a given site, and that so far there are minimal concentrations in Lake Ontario, and that it is not in the best interests of the people of Ontario to wait until that dioxin gets from the site where it is deposited to the lake? Does the minister not recognize that there is movement occurring now and that it is in the best interests of those people to see that the company is made more responsible?

The minister has seen fit to take action on acid rain. He has personally visited, diametrically opposite to the last minister, who would not go to the United States of America, and has protested what they are doing to our river. I am asking him now, will he take a personal interest and go himself?

Hon. Mr. Norton: First of all, the honourable member errs in suggesting that my predecessor at no time went to the United States on matters of common environmental concern. In fact, he did so on a number of occasions.

Mr. Kerrio: He was not representing Ontario, though.

Hon. Mr Norton: Yes, he was representing Ontario -- absolutely -- and I am not aware of any other capacity in which he might have gone. I do not know who else he would be representing. It was in his capacity of Minister of the Environment that on a number of occasions he had meetings in the United States with the commissioner of the Environmental Conservation Commission in New York state.

Mr. Roy: Never mind that. Get on with the question.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I was responding to some references he made that I thought were both in error and unfair. I will continue to respond to those kinds of innuendoes since they relate to my predecessor, for whom I have great respect. He did an excellent job in this ministry.

To respond to the member's question: I recognize that if the evidence indicates the mobility of the leachate in the direction of the river, that presents a serious threat. But it is important that we be responsible in our assessment of what is happening and our assessment of what is being proposed.

I suggest to the member that unless he has access to documents from New York state, which I at this point do not, then he is whistling in the dark, because the information in terms of the technology or the technique that will be installed and put in place to control any leachate and try to deal with that potential threat, he really cannot make the kinds of statements he is making.

I will assess the information with the staff of my ministry as soon as it is available to me; I expect that to be by tomorrow. Of course I am not going to sit back in a situation where there may be risk to residents of this province. I have no intention of doing that. By the same token, I am not going to prejudge that information and go off half-cocked and suggest that I might intervene in a situation where intervention might not be necessary.

3:10 p.m.


Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Treasurer a question about the government's proposals for pension reform. Why has the Treasurer wasted no time in declaring his support for recommendation 35 of the Royal Commission on the Status of Pensions, that is to say, that there would be no increase in benefits under the Canada pension plan?

Why is it that he has been totally silent on the other major recommendation of the royal commission, recommendation 40, which reads in part: "The government of Ontario should institute by legislation a mandatory retirement savings plan for all workers in Ontario, which would be called the Provincial Universal Retirement System (PURS), to be based on an individual account money purchase design"?

Why has the Treasurer not stated his position on the PURS recommendation? Will he now state his position? Unless, of course, he is too embarrassed to endorse this essentially crackpot proposal.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the comment the honourable member just made is an indication of his whole approach to the serious problem of pensions. We have had one of the most thorough studies ever made of the pension system in Canada, and it was made by representatives, as far as I can tell, of labour, of government and of the private operators. They have given us 163 recommendations over the whole field.

I certainly expressed my confidence in the private sector, and that would imply some confidence in that specific recommendation. I am not going to get into detail as to whether PURS is the way to upgrade the pensions for people not currently included in plans, but I do believe in general that the topping up of pension benefits above the old age security plus Canada pension is best done in the private sector and not by government.

Mr. McClellan: Surely the Treasurer will agree that the PURS proposal, which will take 47 years to reach maturity, will provide absolutely no specific benefits to individual subscribers. The only thing we know is that it will give profit to the vendor and that it is a mandatory plan that represents government intervention to expand and guarantee a market for the services of the private pension industry.

Surely the Treasurer is embarrassed by that proposal and is prepared today to say that it is not a pension-reform proposal acceptable to the government or to the people of this province.

Hon. F.S. Miller: No, I am not prepared to say that. I also believe you cannot simply wave a wand and increase benefits without being sure there is money to pay them.

Even the present Canada pension plan is totally underfunded. You cannot increase it by twice -- which is the recommendation of a large number of people who favour only the Canada pension plan as the route to increased benefits -- you cannot do it overnight or give benefits without any funds. There have been enough criticisms that the present benefit ratio is underfunded.

In fact, that plan tackles that problem and points out that we do not have enough money for benefits by the year 1985 or thereafter and suggests mechanisms to deal with it.

Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I respect the fact there are a number of very basic issues that will be looked at in depth by the select committee this summer but, before that happens, why will the Treasurer not implement some of the things that can be implemented now? I refer specifically to the child-bearing step-up provision, which the Haley commission in recommendation 32 suggests should be implemented immediately and without delay. It is an important point; it should be done now. Why not do that?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I am not going to rule that out, Mr. Speaker. There may be a number of steps that can be taken before a select committee reports, but I sense there may be some difficulty in choosing those you want to act upon right away while saying a select committee should review the recommendations.

My staff at this time, in their review with me, have concluded that there are some things we can do on the private side, and we shall start doing them.

Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Education has an answer to a question previously asked.


Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I believe it was approximately 10 days ago that the member for Prescott-Russell (Mr. Boudria) asked a question regarding the film production program at Algonquin College.

As honourable members must know, the community colleges' role is to provide educational programs that meet the needs of the students but also provide the students with some very real access to employment opportunities. They regularly review the offerings which are made on the basis of the requirements for employment in the local community or the rest of the province.

The program on film production in French was reviewed by Algonquin College approximately a year and a half ago. The decision was taken as a result of the criteria that were used to examine that course along with a number of other courses, including all the programs provided in both English and French, to decide which programs should be maintained; these were enrolment, the rate of attrition in the course, the rate of placement after the course and the level of cost of the course.

There had been 72 students enrolled in the course at the beginning, and of these only 14 graduated. Apparently little attention was being paid by French-speaking students to this course, because there were few employment opportunities. Because of this and the fact that the attrition rate was so high, the board of Algonquin College determined that the course would be discontinued, and no new students were enrolled in the first year in 1980-81. In 1981-82, only the third year of the program will be offered.

The board recognizes that many Franco-Ontarian students are interested in pursuing careers in radio, television, photography and high technology in business. Therefore, those courses have been expanded.

The board also reviews the provision of courses regularly through an operating group of that college along with the co-ordinator of francophone educational affairs in the province. If there seems to be a sufficient number of French-speaking high school graduates in that area who apply for the course, the course will be reintroduced.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since I raised this question, will the minister be prepared to ensure that the film production program is reinstated if the advisory committee on film production coming from the industry, which was not consulted before the program was cancelled, can demonstrate, as I believe it can, that the statistics on which the minister's statement and the college's decision were made were in error, and that the overwhelming number of students in that program had successfully found jobs in the film industry? If those are the facts, will the minister ensure that the program is reinstated?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it will be the decision of the college to reinstate the program. I am sure that information will be available to the advisory committee.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that when the House adjourns on Friday, May 15, it stand adjourned until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19.

Motion agreed to.

3:20 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the recommendations of the 1980 report of the select committee on the Ombudsman be referred to the committee of the whole House for clause by clause consideration.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The purpose of this is in order that when the House considers the report of the Ombudsman this Thursday evening, we can do it in committee of the whole, recommendation by recommendation, rather than as a complete report.



Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved first reading of Bill 59, An Act to amend the Fire Marshals Act.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Philip moved first reading of Bill 60, An Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act,


Motion agreed to.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, this bill provides that a landlord shall pay annually, to the tenant, interest on the rent deposit at the rate of interest equal to the highest rate established from the most recent series of Canada savings bonds issued before the date of the rent deposit interest payment.

Mr. Speaker, I have several other amendments to the same act.


Mr. Philip moved first reading of Bill 61, An Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act,


Motion agreed to.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to authorize the Residential Tenancy Commission to conduct an inquiry on its own motion to determine whether a tenant has paid an amount of rent in excess of the amount permitted under this act.


Mr. Philip moved first reading of Bill 62, An Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act,


Motion agreed to.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to authorize the Residential Tenancy Commission to order payment of tenant's costs where the commission has determined that the tenant paid rent in excess of the amount permitted under the act.


Mr. Philip moves first reading of Bill 63, An Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act,


Motion agreed to.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to provide a procedure for the Residential Tenancy Commission to review a rent increase allowed by the commission for the purpose of financing major repairs by a landlord. If the commission determines that a landlord has not carried out the repairs or that the cost of repairs is less than the cost forecast by the landlord, the commission may order a reduction of the rent increase.


Mr. Philip moves first reading of Bill 64, An Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act,


Motion agreed to.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to require a landlord who obtains vacant possession of a rental unit for the purpose of making repairs or renovations to the unit to apply to the Residential Tenancy Commission for an order determining the rent that may be charged for the repaired or renovated unit.


Mr. Philip moves first reading of Bill 65, An Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act,


Motion agreed to.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to require a landlord, upon request of the tenant, to file receipts for expenditures made by the landlord with the Residential Tenancy Commission.


Mr. Philip moves first reading of Bill 66, An Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act,


Motion agreed to.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to make several amendments in part IX of the act governing the procedure of the Residential Tenancy Commission. These are clearly explained in the bill.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I wanted to compliment the Speaker and the mover of all those motions on the enunciation. I heard "Johnston" slip to "Johnson" only twice throughout. I am sure the record will show that it was the member for Scarborough West who was the seconder of those bills. Excellent work.

Mr. Speaker: The record shall so indicate.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answer to question 4 standing on the Notice Paper. (See Hansard for Friday, May 15.)


Hon. Mr. Wells: Also, Mr. Speaker, I want to inform you and the House that it has been agreed by the parties that for this evening, starting at eight o'clock, for the windup of the throne speech debate, the time will be equally split among the three speakers. With your concurrence we would like to ask the table officers to keep track of the time tonight.

3.30 p.m.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.

Mr. Barlow: Mr. Speaker, as one of the new members of this distinguished Legislature, representing the riding of Cambridge, it is an honour and a privilege for me to address this assembly. As past president of Heritage Cambridge and a past director of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, I am particularly proud to be giving my first speech in the chamber of this grand old pink limestone building, steeped in the long history of tradition and democratic practices.

Living in a house built in 1854, I am particularly charmed by this magnificent building. As a brief aside, in 1880 the provincial members of parliament voted some $500,000, which was a considerable sum in those days, for a new building on the Queen's Park site. It was then occupied by a lunatic asylum -- and, of course, it could be said that it still is -- but this did not bother the government which had previously occupied a jail site. The Hospital for the Insane was torn down in 1886 when construction began on the new parliament. The official opening of this parliament building was on April 4, 1893.

First of all, Mr. Speaker, may I join my colleagues in congratulating you on your appointment. If I may add, Cambridge has been fortunate to have had most recently the Honourable Allan Edward Reuter and then, back in the 1930s, the Honourable Norman Otto Hipel to serve this most distinguished post. Coincidence has it that Mr. Reuter is currently living in the same house that was once occupied by Mr. Hipel.

Mr. Sargent: They were both great Speakers and better than we have today.

Mr. Barlow: They were great Speakers. One was misguided, but the other was a good Tory.

Second, I would like to extend my appreciation to my constituents who had confidence in my ability to represent them in this Legislature. Cambridge has traditionally been a Conservative stronghold, and I am pleased that the people of this great riding chose to return to the government party after the last five years of NDP representation.

I am proud to be part of this government and am in full support of the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development proposal. The BILD program reaffirms our commitment to the economic and social programs of all our people in Ontario. It is a sound, economic package that is capable of addressing our economic shortcomings and stimulating our economic growth rate. The measures contained in this program will promote strong, dynamic expansion in many sectors of the economy. I am convinced that my riding of Cambridge, and indeed all Ontarians, will greatly benefit from the BILD initiatives.

Cambridge was formed on January 1, 1973, amalgamating the municipalities of Galt, Preston, Hespeler and also parts of the townships of Waterloo and North Dumfries. Located on Highway 401, half way between London and Toronto, my riding has an unusual mix of rural and urban atmospheres. The active farming community, geographically comprising more than 50 per cent of the riding, is situated predominantly in the township of North Dumfries. With such a large section of the riding under agricultural use, I am greatly concerned with the growth in this sector. I wholeheartedly support both the government's initiatives in strengthening the agriculture base of the province and the excellent advisory services this government provides for the farmers.

Last Monday I accepted the invitation of the Ontario Milk Marketing Board region of Waterloo milk committee to attend its meeting. The topics on the agenda included current developments in matters of concern to the dairy industry and farming in general. Developments in the dairy industry and the impact of these developments on both producers and consumers were also discussed. I intend to maintain this active rapport with the farming community and to meet with the various rural groups and committees to assist them in any way possible.

My riding of Cambridge is also a highly industrialized urban centre. Industries range from textiles and shoes to high-technology firms which supply the electronic and nuclear industries. It is apparent that business and industry in my riding, as well as throughout the province, is rapidly moving into a new technological era. This government, through BILD, is providing the incentive for an aggressive research and development program so that Ontario industries can compete more effectively in an increasingly competitive environment.

To achieve steady economic growth and to ensure international competitiveness, the government's goals are to promote research and development, nurture high technology and expand markets for Ontario's products. Over the next five years, $300 million will be allocated to initiatives to improve our technological capacity.

The application of microelectronics technology is essential to maximize Ontario's economic potential. This new technology is revolutionizing telecommunications, data communications, product design and production control. A microelectronics development centre has been proposed by this government to ensure a steady and adequate flow of advanced technology to industry and to explore product design application. Currently, the government is studying two suitable locations, Ottawa and Cambridge. I would like to take this opportunity to point out to the honourable members the advantages of establishing this centre in Cambridge.

The purpose of the microelectronics development centre is to ensure the transfer of advanced technology to industry, particularly to smaller manufacturers. Ottawa has giants in the microelectronics industry. Companies such as Northern Electric, Northern Telecom, Mitel Corporation, Gandalf Data Communications and Norpak are richly endowed with microelectronics technology. These companies have the potential and resources to launch their own research programs. However, smaller high-technology firms do not have the same resources at their disposal to launch the necessary research initiatives in order to remain competitive.

The central location of Cambridge in the industrial heartland of the province, the high-technology base at the University of Waterloo and the presence of small high-technology firms in the region are key factors which necessitate the establishment of the microelectronics development centre in Cambridge. As I have said, Cambridge is strategically located on Highway 401 within the Toronto-Windsor corridor in the industrial heartland of the province. The bulk of the province's businesses and industries lie within this corridor. Access to all modes of transportation and proximity to major industrial centres in Ontario and the United States make Cambridge an ideal location for the research centre.

In the region there are numerous high-technology industries which have the necessary base and capacity to absorb microelectronics technology. Included in this list of companies are Com Dev, which specializes in satellite communications; 3L Filters, which is concerned with specialized water filtration treatment; Strite Industries, which is involved in high precision manufacturing; Reuter-Stokes, specializing in nuclear instrumentation, as well as Space Circuits and Raytheon in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. These companies are only a few of the numerous small to medium-sized high technology firms in the Cambridge-Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph triangle.

The high technology base at the University of Waterloo, only 20 minutes from Cambridge, will be a great asset to the microelectronics development centre. The University of Waterloo is extensively involved in the application of microelectronics research. There is a heavy commitment to computer and microelectronics research and its application as well as a firm commitment to engineering, mathematics and computer science.

The large body of expertise at the University of Waterloo knows and understands the needs and applications of the microelectronics sector. Microelectronics and microcomputer technology have developed at Waterloo University to a point where the available expertise will have a significant impact on Canadian business and industries. For example, the university has played a major role in the development of spinoff companies and in the development of new products incorporating microelectronics. It is a fact that technology in the field of computer and microelectronics is dynamic.

The research program at Waterloo is committed to staying abreast of this rapidly expanding and changing technology. As well, the University of Waterloo has acquired an international reputation in the software field. This expertise in developing computer programs is essential in the development of microelectronics technology.

3:40 p.m.

Another critical factor is access to personnel. The proximity of the University of Waterloo to Conestoga College, Mohawk College, the University of Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier University will provide researchers and staff for the microelectronics development centre. Staff and researchers are available in the region for future industrial expansion

The government has also proposed the establishment of a separate computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing, called CAD/CAM, a developing and testing facility to assist manufacturers on a fee-for-service basis to develop, design and install CAD/CAM and robotic equipment.

CAD/CAM is an important application of microelectronics technology. Since robotics, microelectronics and auto parts technologies are closely related, the location of the CAD/CAM centre should be near the microelectronics development centre in or near Cambridge. I would like to impress upon the government the urgency of a quick response to the decision regarding the placement of the microelectronics development centre. The sooner we can establish a centre, the sooner we can begin to employ our most qualified graduates, launch necessary training programs and reap the benefits of microelectronics technology.

In addition to the government's commitment to high-technology research and development, the government is preparing Ontario for the transition to an economic system in the 1980s, based increasingly on electrical power and nuclear technology. This transition will provide greater security for Ontario's economic future by substituting an indigenous energy source for petroleum. It will keep Ontario in the forefront of electrical power technology.

The government has proposed a 20-year electrical generation program. This program will include initiatives to direct Ontario Hydro to accelerate the completion of the Darlington nuclear generating station and a combined province-Hydro review of additional nuclear generation, along with hydraulic and other means of reducing the use of coal. Also, the government is committed to providing facilities for the sale of steam, hot water and electricity from the Bruce nuclear power development to industrial and agricultural interests.

These initiatives will have a significant impact on all the people of Ontario. Greater self-sufficiency in energy will help to insulate Ontario from the debilitating effects of worldwide oil inflation. Jobs and incomes will be created in the manufacture and installation of electrical equipment.

My riding of Cambridge will greatly benefit from BILD initiative to generate more use of electrical power and nuclear technology. Babcock and Wilcox Canada Limited, the largest steam-generating equipment manufacturer in the country, is located in Cambridge. A leader in boiler manufacturing and a major force in the nuclear steam-generating field, Babcock and Wilcox is Cambridge's leading employer, pouring over $200 million in payroll annually into the city's economy.

Currently employing 1,600 people, it is estimated that one in 12 working households in Cambridge has someone working at Babcock and Wilcox. In 1979, employment was around 1,350. Since that time, employment has increased because of the nuclear steam generator recovery program. This program called for the redesign and rebuilding of the steam generator for Ontario Hydro's Pickering B station, redesign of steam generators for Ontario Hydro's Bruce B station and the redesign and rebuilding of steam generators for Hydro Quebec and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. The Pickering and Bruce work is currently being performed in Cambridge.

However, as these projects wind down, Babcock and Wilcox expect to maintain employment at or above the 1,600-mark in Cambridge. This is due to a number of new domestic and international fossil fuels contracts, signed in 1980 and 1981, and to new contracts on nuclear steam generators for Ontario Hydro's Darlington generating system.

Clearly this government's initiatives in stimulating more use of electrical power and nuclear technology have a significant impact on Babcock and Wilcox and the residents of Cambridge. The company has recently expanded its operations to accommodate the new demand for electrical and nuclear generating equipment.

Initiatives in the transportation sector will also have a significant impact on the economy of our province. In this sector the government's role is to provide for the development and adoption of transportation systems which will conserve energy by reducing oil consumption and build on the demonstrated effectiveness of Ontario's transportation technology.

It is the belief of this government that the transportation sector is not only an important piece of Ontario's economic fabric, but it provides a major opportunity to reduce Ontario's dependence on the increasingly scarce and costly petroleum fuels. In order to continue its record of achievement in the transportation field, the government of Ontario plans new initiatives amounting to $40 million over the next five years. Cambridge, with its location on Highway 401, will certainly benefit from any government initiatives in improving the transportation network.

Financial incentives to encourage a transition to new and more abundant motor fuels and a long-term program of radial road improvements will have a significant impact on Cambridge. Similarly, the government's allocation of $125 million for systematic improvements on the Toronto-Windsor rail corridor, as well as initiatives to improve rail service and development of Ontario-based technology, will greatly benefit my region. I need not point out the long-term stimulus these projects will have on the construction industry and the affiliated supply industries. The proposed rail improvements alone will create jobs in construction, primary and fabricated metals, electrical machinery and concrete products.

Before concluding my remarks on transportation, I would like to comment on the recommendations of the task force on provincial rail policy. The task force has recommended that current limits on the GO Transit operation territory should be within a line linking Burlington, Milton, Georgetown, Newmarket, Stouffville, Claremont, Brock Road and Pickering. However, the task force recognized that other factors may indicate the need for extension of a particular service to a specific community.

At the same time, the task force is convinced that rail commuter services are going to be increasingly important in the future, not just for the Metropolitan Toronto area but in other large centres in Ontario. For this reason, the task force recommended that the province should encourage our large municipalities to retain the option of providing commuter transit services by rail if rights of way, station and other facilities now exist.

I strongly believe that the strategic location of Cambridge, as well as the existence of track, signalling equipment and a station with ample parking facilities, warrants the extension of a commuter system between Toronto and Cambridge in the foreseeable future. Traditionally, the major railways through Cambridge were built as primary east-west affairs, linking Hamilton and Toronto with London and Windsor. The other major railways serving this area included, at one time, the Grand River Railway and the Lake Erie and Northern Railway.

The Grand River Railway and the Lake Erie and Northern were completed in 1916 as a combined north-south feeder link for local traffic, the Grand River Railway between Kitchener and Galt and the LE and N between Galt, Brantford and Port Dover. I well remember taking the LE and N down to Port Dover for a weekend of fun and frolic in days gone by.

This route was unique in that it was an electric line, a much advanced step over the steam locomotives then in common use. Now owned and operated by the CPR, the line continues in operation between Kitchener and Brantford. After 1955, it carried freight only, offering no passenger service.

The advent of cars and trucks and an excellent road network has diverted the majority of railroad traffic to the highways. As a result, miles of branch line tracks have been relegated to disuse, with passenger train service provided only on the Canadian National's Kitchener, Guelph and Brantford intercity routes, leaving Cambridge, as I have said, with no rail passenger service.

3:50 p.m.

The task force has noted that rail lines have been abandoned and passenger and freight services discontinued with depressing regularity during the last 25 years throughout the province. Ontario's branch line rail system has dwindled to the point that further abandonments should be avoided. These abandonments have serious implications. The task force argues that no rail line should be abandoned without study of its local impact and its role within the provincial network. Once a rail right of way has been abandoned and given over to other land uses, it can never be recovered should the need arise for such a linear corridor.

In the future, however, our railways will play a more significant role in Ontario's transportation network. With the possible shortages and increasing price of oil and gasoline supplies, trains remain one of the most cost-efficient forms of transportation. Passenger travel on the intercity lines is making a comeback. Dormant branch lines, such as the route to Nanticoke, may be upgraded to handle increased industrial traffic. Increasingly, Cambridge is becoming a bedroom community of Toronto. The high cost of property and housing as well as high interest and mortgage rates are forcing people to relocate outside the Metropolitan Toronto area. If current trends continue, an efficient passenger rail service between Toronto and Cambridge will be essential.

Cambridge, with a population of approximately 75,000, is the only community of its size in Canada that does not have rail passenger service. As a rapidly growing urban centre housing businesses, financial institutions and industries that require access to Toronto, it is imperative that an adequate rail service be established between Toronto and Cambridge.

Bus service is inadequate. Morning commuters must go to Highway 401 to be picked up for Toronto. The bottlenecks and congestion on Highway 401 and the increasing cost of gasoline are also making car transportation impractical. A passenger rail service through Cambridge would be the most direct line between London and Toronto. A group of concerned Cambridge citizens is at present investigating the feasibility of a passenger rail service between Toronto and Cambridge. I will strongly support and push for the establishment of such a facility and assist this group in any way possible.

In concluding, I believe Ontario has a great future. I urge all the members to endorse the proposals of the throne speech and the initiatives of the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development as a comprehensive and sound package for stimulating economic growth in Ontario. I am proud of being part of this government and I am particularly honoured and privileged to serve as chairman of the standing committee on general government. I look forward to reporting to the assembly in this capacity from time to time.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin my comments today by congratulating you on your recent election to the important position of Speaker of this House. The task before you is one that demands great sensitivity and fair-mindedness, both of which are traits that you have already shown. However, your job cannot be done unless you receive co-operation from both sides of the House. Only then will you be able consistently to make objective rulings which will be perceived by all members to be fair and just. All of us in this House look to you to protect our rights and, by doing so, to protect the rights of the people of this province. I wish you good luck and much patience in the time ahead.

We have just completed a gruelling winter election campaign. Before commenting further on the campaign itself, I would like to formally congratulate my opponents in Waterloo North for waging fair and clean campaigns. Contrary to popular notion, it is possible to do election battle without mudslinging or personal attacks. It is only unfortunate that the same cannot be said for all those who sought election this year.

As for the government itself, instead of a campaign based on a discussion of the issues, as I perhaps naively expected, it subjected us instead to a cynically called winter election, favouring the party with the most money and allowing it to run the least substantial campaign and, in the process, hypnotize the voters into supporting the government. When an election to determine the fate of the province for the next five ears is simply dominated by a catchy jingle, repeated ad nauseam on radio and television, I believe we have reached a sorry state in the political process.

The irony is that the trick worked. We now sit facing a government smugly aware of its power, but remarkably indifferent to the fact that over 40 per cent of the voting public in Ontario did not exercise its franchise and in fact only 44 per cent of those who did vote supported the government. The vast majority of the people of this province are not satisfied with the performance of this government. I give the government fair warning that people will not allow them not to keep the promise. Elections are not always won by jingles alone.

What were some of the issues that the government managed to ignore during the campaign? Well, the list is endless. There is Re-Mor and the obvious incompetence of the government in dealing with this situation. There is the total lack of an industrial strategy for Ontario. There is the reality of skilled tradesmen being allowed into our province, while our own young people go begging for jobs. There is the fact that Ontario is tenth and last among Canadian provinces with respect to the growth of our economy. There is the absolute lack of assistance to the farmers in this province facing bankruptcy. The list simply goes on and on.

Not only did the Premier (Mr. Davis) ignore these issues on the hustings, but he managed to avoid a televised debate with the other party leaders to discuss these matters. Who can blame the voters for becoming disenchanted with their government?

We can cite the senior citizens property tax grant and the incompetence of the government of Ontario to administer it. We can cite the many cases where senior citizens sent in applications and had to wait months -- sometimes up to six months -- before they finally received their cheques. Yet last spring the government had the gall to advertise that all would be completed by the end of October 1980.

I want to cite a few of those examples of incompetence on the part of the government. I want to cite a case that came to our attention in January.

Mr. J. A. Reed: There is not enough time.

Mr. Epp: My colleague says I don't have enough time to cite all the cases. I agree with him since we can only go to six o'clock. I don't intend to take up all that time, but I will cite three examples.

This is an example of a gentleman who is 80 years old who lives in my riding in the city of Waterloo. His wife Mabel died in February 1980, over a year ago. The property and sales tax grants were issued in her name long after she had passed away, even though the government was aware of her death. His accountant returned the cheque to the ministry with a letter of explanation. The ministry had no record of this, but the accountant had documented everything. This same gentleman, whom we will call Charles, had to sign a bond of indemnity saying he had never received his cheques. On February 12, 1981, a cheque was received, but it was again issued in her name. We had to call the ministry again and, finally, the cheque was issued and sent to my office and we delivered it.

This is another case. We will call this person Kurt. He called in February of this year and said he had not received his property or sales tax grants. His address was listed by the Ministry of Revenue as being in West Germany and, therefore, they considered him ineligible. This person had not been to West Germany for over a year. My office called and corrected the address and was told that the new cheque would be issued immediately. The cheque was sent to West Germany again. We found that out after about three weeks and had to correct it again. Finally the cheque was issued and sent to my office and we delivered it.

The third case is particularly tragic. This gentleman, whom we will call Clifford, lived in Waterloo. We received a call from his wife in January 1981, saying that the property tax grant had not been received and that the gentleman was ill and would probably pass away within a few days. They wanted the cheque before it became a problem for the estate. The Ministry of Revenue promised to check into the situation and find out the reason for the delay. The gentleman passed away about two days later. About four or five days later, we got the cheque issued in his name and, therefore, the estate had to deal with it.

4 p.m.

I am citing just a few of the tragic examples. I do not for a moment think those are the most tragic ones. There are probably 124 times as many cases as we had in my riding of Waterloo North. That is not to mention the fact many needy people have now been deprived of additional funds while some people with substantial means receive extra government assistance. Furthermore, this new program costs close to $3 million more to administer than the former program.

I would like to spend some time discussing the need to improve facilities and opportunities for the disabled in our province. This year, 1981, has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Disabled Persons. We are certainly aware of the many private and public bodies which have improved their facilities for the disabled in the past few years, opening the doors of employment to many previously denied equal opportunity. However, a great deal more must be done. It is important to say that what we may be fighting is more a problem of attitude and ignorance than anything else.

A recent federal government task force alerted us to the fact there are over 800,000 disabled people in Ontario alone. Yet every victory for improvement and understanding is not easily gained. Let me give a specific example. I recall an incident that happened in 1973 in the city of Waterloo. The city was building a senior citizens' centre which was planned primarily for the use of seniors, but was also available to the community at large. The land cost $100,000 and the building cost in the neighbourhood of $300,000 or $400,000.

As one of eight aldermen, I raised the issue of an elevator for the two-storey structure and was voted down seven to one. Needless to say, I was dumfounded, since I felt there was a clear need for an elevator so that easy access could be had to the second floor by all interested citizens. Rather than give up, I persevered but, finally, had to settle for the inclusion of an elevator shaft with the elevator to come later. When I became mayor in 1975, the installation of an elevator became one of my priorities and one was installed later in the year. The surprising aspect, and the reason I cite this incident, is that it was not 50 years ago but only about seven short years ago.

There are many facilities which need to be improved. Along with that, there must be recognition that the disabled have as much right to enjoy life and use our public facilities as do the nonhandicapped. Often it costs only a few cents per capita to make the necessary changes. Let me read from an excellent editorial in the Peterborough Examiner dated March 28, 1981.

"As city council comes again next week to consider opening city hall up to handicapped citizens by installing an elevator, it may well be time for all citizens to consider what contribution the city ought to make to this International Year of the Handicapped.

"Is a $125,000-elevator, paid for out of public funds, too generous a monument to the principle that all citizens are equal citizens, whatever tricks nature or fate has played on them?

"We don't think it is. As one handicapped woman wrote us recently, the contribution would be no more than a couple of dollars a head for the capital cost. The cost of servicing a loan might amount to 35 cents per head per year. Those are small sums to pay for a humane and civilized act to grant full citizenship to persons whose disabilities make it impossible for them to use their city hall because they can't navigate its stairs.

"The purpose of the International Year of the Handicapped is to make citizens aware of the difficulties their handicapped fellows have in living a normal life. It is important to understand it is not charity that is being asked or even sympathy. What is asked is recognition that handicapped people can take their places in the community as productive contributors if the community, using its economies of scale, would simply broaden institutions and practices to admit handicapped people to them. It is the kind of thing being done daily throughout the world, led by unhandicapped and handicapped people convinced of the justice and practicality of overcoming handicaps.

"Engineers have developed telephones for the deaf that write messages. Television broadcasters have developed systems for transmitting readable dialogue to deaf watchers without troubling others. Ramps are being put in shopping centres, cinemas, libraries, museums and other places to accommodate wheelchairs. Public telephones are being designed with dials that can be reached from wheelchairs without strain. Mechanical engineers and computer specialists are designing new and better artificial limbs and more efficient ways of getting patients comfortable with them. The list is long and it spells out a moving story about thoughtful people who believe life can be lived fruitfully by persons deprived of physical freedoms the rest of us take for granted.

"There is, however, a great deal more that needs doing. There are prejudices to overcome and they are not lightly overcome. They exist in the work place; the competence of handicapped people is too often being prejudged, before they are given a try at the job. There is still widespread public difficulty about how to 'relate' to handicapped people: it amounts almost to fear and it compounds -- unnecessarily -- the difficulties of bearing a physical handicap.

"The cure for prejudice is contact. Provide handicapped citizens the means to get about more, to circulate better socially, to mingle with the ordinary citizen at public events, and knowledge will take the place of prejudice. Barriers will crumble. Handicaps will be seen for what they are -- not barriers to normal life on their own but only by virtue of society's attitudes. Then the waste -- of human potential, of social services that need not be provided if handicapped people are allowed to be independent -- will be seen in its awful magnitude. And ended.

"Surely a city as big and as generous as Peterborough can afford to join the movement and open up its city hall -- the head and heart of the community -- to handicapped citizens. It would be not only a service but a gesture to the truth of one essential fact of life: Nature has handicapped us all. It is how we overcome our handicaps that measures the worth of our time here."

I am sure members will agree that the Peterborough Examiner articulated the views of its citizens very well. I am aware of the $12 million that the provincial government has allocated for various programs in Ontario. But did it have to take all these years for the government to recognize its responsibilities? Did it have to take the United Nations resolution to draw its attention to the problem?

When we enter this chamber, in the lobbies behind us we notice that finally this year, 1981, the government has built some ramps to make it easier for the disabled to enter the west and east visitors galleries. That is about 90 years after the building was first constructed. I would hope that if more money is needed, and it will be, this government will restructure its priorities and give less money to the wealthy pulp and paper companies and more to our 800,000 disabled in Ontario.

I represent a riding which is indeed blessed, one that boasts two universities. I appreciate the fine comments that the member for Cambridge (Mr. Barlow) made only a few minutes ago. I hope that the program he discussed here, the microelectronics development centre, comes to Waterloo because they will not even have to use all the energy to travel from Cambridge to use the facilities of Waterloo. They can locate that almost in my backyard and have it right on the university campus, the north campus which is just waiting for a development centre of that nature. Time will tell how that goes.

Waterloo boasts two universities, six insurance company head offices, a distillery, a brewery -- and I am waiting for a winery to locate there -- a few large industries and dozens of small businesses. Small businesses are of particular interest to me because they are the backbone of our economy. They are more flexible and, therefore, adapt quickly to change in the market. They are labour-intensive and create new jobs more quickly and cheaply than do capital-intensive businesses. While government policy has done much to assist medium and large corporations through the use of tax incentives, write-offs, credits and deferrals, little has been done to aid small business.

4:10 p.m.

A study by the federal small business secretariat shows that despite a nominal corporate tax rate of 46 per cent, large corporations on average actually pay taxes close to or below the 25 per cent preferential tax rate accorded small businesses. Officials in the secretariat state that the effective tax rate of the smallest companies is actually about 23 per cent, while the effective tax rate of the largest corporations is actually closer to 20 per cent. So, in actual fact, small businesses do not get the same benefits as the larger industries do, while the latter also have easier access to the large sources of money.

Among the threats to the viability of small businesses in Ontario, the most important are a lack of managerial and entrepreneurial expertise; a shortage of capital, which restricts both the startup and expansion of small business; and tax policies, including the present system of payroll taxes, which imposes a heavy burden on small businesses. There are no compensating public policies to offset this drain on profits, which restricts capital formation and, therefore, the ability to finance growth.

The Davis government remains committed to encouraging large foreign-controlled multinationals to locate in Ontario. Last spring it published a booklet called The Profit Centre, designed to attract big foreign companies to Ontario. The present government spent $138,750 printing 15,000 copies of this booklet, at $9.25 each, to give away to prospective takers around the world. The document is now into its second printing.

Last fall the same government spent another $170,000 on 2,500 copies of a glossy booklet bound in plexiglass called Fact Books -- Why and How to Set Up Business in Ontario, Canada. Obviously, though they put in Canada, they were not expecting to market that particular booklet or distribute it in Canada. That amounts to $31.76 each for more material designed to sell Ontario to any and all foreign bidders.

In 1979 and 1980, the Davis government committed $325 million through the employment development fund to assist large corporations, most of which are very prosperous, to do even better. By comparison, small business received direct assistance of only $4 million in 1979 through the small business development corporation program, and the government has alloted them no more than $10 million in 1980. The priority of this government is clear.

In November 1980, the Ontario government announced that the employment development fund was being replaced by a new body, called the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development, otherwise known as BILD. It appears that BILD is simply the EDF with a new name and less money. In 1980-81, the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, which is charged with the support of small business, allocated five per cent of its budget and six per cent of its staff directly to this purpose through the small business unit of the ministry. To add insult to injury, the spending estimates of the small business unit have actually decreased this year.

This government has steadfastly refused to institute any government procurement policies to favour small business, either directly or through subcontracting provisions, even though the significant beneficial effects of such policies have been documented in the United States and elsewhere.

Specifically, as far as we are concerned, an industrial strategy for Ontario proposes: First, a procurement policy which requires the government of Ontario to undertake its purchasing, wherever possible and reasonable, from Canadian-controlled firms or from foreign-controlled firms which comply with our code of corporate behaviour; second, new arrangements to encourage individuals to invest in Canadian businesses; third, new incentives for research and development, including special assistance in the form of a cash rebate for Canadian-controlled small businesses; fourth, entrepreneurial advisory services and educational programs for small businessmen; fifth, an improved apprenticeship program; and, sixth, a special program to assist Canadian-owned auto parts manufacturers by providing loans at subsidized rates for capital expansion and development.

Last, but not least, I want to put in an appeal for assistance for the farmers. Many have laboured long and hard to be able to build up some sort of equity in their farms, particularly in the beef and hog businesses, and now they are losing them at a record rate. This is largely due to the insensitive and inhumane attitude of this government. I implore the government to take up the challenge, live up to the mandate it received on March 19 and help the farmers, the small businesses, the disabled and all the others who look to the government for courage and leadership and not craftiness or rhetoric.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise again in this new parliament as the member for Riverdale and participate in the throne debate. I am honoured to represent the area which has been good enough to return me on a number of occasions to the assembly. I feel, as other members have expressed it, a certain sense of humility about the obligation which is imposed on one to represent the particular constituency that has sent one to this assembly.

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate you on your appointment to the chair of the assembly. Many have spoken about it. I have confidence that you will, in a dispassionate, objective good-humoured way, make certain that we adhere to the rules of the House. That is what we all want to do. So much of the procedures of the House are involved in the substance of what we do that a knowledge of the rules is almost imperative for an effective assembly. I know that you, sir, in your own judicious way will make certain that we will maintain that evenhanded objectivity which is an essential ingredient of civilized debate in the assembly.

I do, however, want to dissociate myself from the decision which was made when I was away in the early days of the assembly, namely, your habit of calling members by their surnames rather than by the constituency they represent. I do not in any sense stand here as a person wedded to tradition, nor do I have any particular concern about changing traditions which no longer serve any useful purpose. But it does seem to me very clear that we are not here in our individual capacities.

We are here as members of the provincial parliament or, more accurately, as members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario by virtue of being the member for the particular riding we represent. So I intend, sir, to adhere to the tradition as I understand it because I think it speaks to the very nature of the parliamentary representative system. That is why the move to a colloquial method of address in this assembly is one I do not support.

I want to pay tribute to the 10 fine members of my party who were not re-elected. The other two members who are no longer here chose to resign. The House is the loser by the departure of those members. Each of them contributed an essential part to the life of this assembly and worked with extreme diligence. However, in the fortunes of politics they were defeated in the last election.

That is in no way to comment about the new members, whom I hasten to welcome to the assembly, particularly those who in the course of an election won their seats from members of the opposition. Change seems to be a necessary ingredient for the rejuvenation of the assembly. I naturally regret that the new faces are not on this side; we could have used from 12 to 30 more members in this caucus. It is interesting that this party has the opportunity of gaining more in the next election than either of the other two parties. I look forward to that particular challenge.

Let there be no mistake. I do not like to lose; our party does not like to lose. But, if I may paraphrase Casey Stengel, "If I've got to lose, I would rather lose with the NDP." That is my position. We will be here to fight the government, to distinguish our positions from those of the government and the opposition throughout the next four years until we have an opportunity to redeem our fortunes at the polls. When that time comes there will be a significant resurgence of support for the New Democratic Party.

4:20 p.m.

There are a number of things I want to talk about, but the time is short today as this debate moves on to its close. I will have an opportunity in the budget debate to speak more specifically about matters of concern to me in my riding of Riverdale. I am not even going to take up the time of the House on this occasion to put my case for the GO station at DeGrassi and Queen Streets in the Riverdale riding. I am going to save that for some more appropriate occasion.

I want to move very quickly on to that elusive thing of talking about the future. I want to get some sense of where we are at. There were three major things which struck me coming out of the election. We all have our impressions and conjectures about it, and these are only impressions and only conjectures, but they puzzle me. They are a part of the puzzle we are going to have to live with for a long period of time while they get sorted out.

It has been said that victory perhaps permits gestures that defeat does not allow. I could not help but be struck by the fact that there were two victors in the two largest provinces of Canada in elections very close to being back to back, in Ontario and Quebec, and yet the responses of the victors were totally different. We had the Premier of Quebec being magnanimous in victory, being generous in victory, having some sense of reaching out to the people in the province.

Since March 19 I have not heard from the Premier of Ontario a single gesture of magnanimity of any kind. I say that not because I pretend to compare the personalities of two entirely different and successful political leaders in Canada, but because in the world of politics the response is intriguing. Is it because the Premier of Quebec had a certain assurance of his position in the province and the position of his party? Is it because of that sense of assurance that he was able to be generous and magnanimous and open-minded immediately after the election and in the days that followed? And is it perhaps because the Leader of the Conservative Party and Premier of Ontario (Mr. Davis) is not certain of his position or the position of his party with the electorate?

If that is why, then this assembly is going to be a combative one. It intrigues me, because when one really looks at it -- and it is no compliment to the Liberal Party or to the New Democratic Party -- as my colleague the member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis) put it, with the very low turn out, the margin of victory of the Conservative Party was paper thin. I suppose that is what has conditioned the Premier in his response to the basic questions which were before the electorate of Ontario.

A second matter that intrigues me is that we have begun to notice, certainly in the Metropolitan area and I am certain in other parts of the province, that a small, intensely religious and militantly moral group of activists have selected single issues, usually issues appealing to ancient traditions, to influence the politics of Ontario.

I need not go into the whole question of single issue politics and its origin and development in the United States, nor do I in any sense suggest for a moment that anyone in the provinces does not have a right to put any position he wishes to put on matters of political concern within this province, but I raise again, as an unanswered question and part of the elusive future of politics here, is that going to become a dominating concern of our politics in Ontario? Or is it, as it is at the present time, simply going to be one of those ephemeral side matters affecting the electorate at particular times but not of any fundamental nature and not touching upon the fundamental problems of politics in Ontario?

I would rather hate to see this forum become diverted to intensely individualized moral questions at the expense of the major questions of politics in government, but that may well be the future. I simply raise it as a question because in my own riding of Riverdale we sense the particular single-issue focus that was brought to bear in the last election. I am not particularly concerned about it, but I think it is a matter that all of us fighting for seats in this Legislature must be aware of. I hope in its own way it does not become, in my judgement, a dominant part of political life.

Let me turn to the third matter, and in the long run the most important matter. Ontario politics, as I see them, certainly since the war, perhaps since the turn of the century and maybe since Confederation, have been overwhelmingly concerned with what is fashionably known as economic growth. The Conservative Party has been in power in Ontario during a long period of almost unprecedented economic expansion. They were ousted only during the one period of the economic depression, and I am inclined to think that economics were at the basis of that defeat. I need not be a Marxist in my thinking about economic matters to say that in the time I have been in politics this was the first election in which each of the three parties sensed instinctively that the election had to be fought on the economy.

Whatever one can say, whether one appreciates or disagrees with the quality of the campaign, day in and day out the leaders of each of the parties tried to speak to something called the economy, something called the economic issues. In that particular fight and in that particular election, the Conservative Party position, as expressed by the Premier, the rhetoric, the ideology behind the rhetoric, the propaganda about the economy, was the reassuring view that not only is the economic growth of the province a matter of belief grounded in fact, but that there is no mythology about it, that it is real and solid and we must not in any way disavow our commitment to that belief.

On the other side, we had the Liberal Party and its leader, who devoted his attention solely to trying to say that Ontario was slipping economically in relative terms. I will not speak about their solutions. The Liberal Party seldom has any solutions other than that perhaps, if given the chance, it could do something better than it thinks the Tories could do. In any event, it is fair to say that the Liberal campaign, fought on the issue of the economy, did not make any dent or impression on the Conservative Party or on the electorate in the province. And we paid that price.

The New Democratic Party again fought the election on the issue of the economy. We tried to put the alternatives of socialist solutions to economic problems for the first time in a single-minded way before the electorate, and we were quite unsuccessful. Indeed, there have been many people who criticized the New Democratic Party for having departed from its traditional social concerns and for having spent so much time speaking only of the economy.

It is my sense, for what it may well be worth, that the future will see the economy still as the focus of the next campaign in Ontario because none of us know what that future holds. I happen to think, in its own way, the Conservative Party tried to sell the people of Ontario the idea that there was not going to be a staged deindustrialization of the province, that it was going to continue to be the industrial heartland of Canada, that it was going to continue to expand and develop, and that the prosperity of that economy would determine the extent and degree to which social programs would be maintained, or whether we were going to have to forfeit, because of low economic growth, many of the social programs which have been put in place and have been so valuable in the province over a period of a number of years.


I have a funny sense that behind the rhetoric of the Conservative Party was a sense of the deindustrialization of the province, carefully screened in its rhetoric and carefully cushioned by the projection of something called the BILD program. One could call it pork barrel politics if one wanted to, but the fact of the matter is a series of specific projects were put forward by the Conservative government to try in some way to cushion the economy of the province as it moves down in its stages of deindustrialization. Behind all the rhetoric of the BILD program, they are concerned about the deindustrialization of the province.

It is clear to all of us that the Conservative government, in moving to support the automotive industry, in moving to support Massey-Ferguson, in moving to support the pulp and paper companies has determined by its methods to arrest, if it can, that decline in the Ontario economy.

I think its choices are bad. They are not going to work. That is not to say the state of those industries did not in many cases require that support. Otherwise, the cost in jobs would have been politically disastrous, let alone socially unacceptable in the province. But there is going to be no necessary recovery of the automotive industry, subject to one qualification I will come to. There is a real risk as to whether Massey-Ferguson can really become an Ontario-based Canadian company again after the frolics its management was about all over the world.

My colleague the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) and my colleague the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) can speak better to these matters than I can. But there is real concern whether any modernization program for the forestry industry in northern Ontario, supported by government funds, must mean, because of the technological changes involved, a decrease in the ultimate range of employment in those major industries.

We have the government cushioning, one after another, major sectors of the economy that are in decline and are faced with real and significant problems. Certainly, at the present time, the forestry industry has been making a respectable profit but, as everyone knows, in the long run those industries require government support to be viable and to exist.

Is it perhaps behind the attitude of the Premier in his moment of victory that he is leading the province and southern Ontario in particular to becoming nothing but some kind of offshore service station for foreign capital? Is the future of southern Ontario really going to be devoted to the provision of services, convention centres and tourist attractions of one kind or another? Is that the future the economy has in store for the people? One cannot turn around the attitudes of people in Ontario after such a long period of economic growth, certainly since the Second World War. One cannot turn around their attitudes in one election.

Our party put in place basic foundation stones and building blocks of a program for this province that will maintain a distance from the United States, that will revitalize this economy, that will as a participant in the Canadian confederation contribute to the independence of Canada in a way that is sadly lacking in the policies of the Conservative Party in Ontario and of the Liberal Party in Ottawa.

There is no question that until we establish some sense of economic distance from the United States the elusive thing called Canadian independence will escape us. That is going to have to be done. We cannot have the recurring crises of inflation and high interest rates reflecting only our response to the United States of America and expect Ontario economically to thrive and be the kind of focal point for the industrial development of Canada we would all it like to be.

I can touch upon a number of other matters, but there is only one in particular I am going to take a moment to speak about before I move on to another special matter. We all received today in the assembly the report and the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp) spoke about it, of the select committee of the House of Commons dealing with disabled people. The document, called Obstacles, is the third report of that committee.

When I was away in the early days of this session on holiday, I had an opportunity to read that report. I say to the government that the comment in the throne speech is totally inadequate to meet the needs reflected in the 133 recommendations contained in the report. If the government had any sense of the importance of the matters raised relating to the participation by disabled people in the life of the country, it will see to it, before this assembly rises in June, that a select committee of this assembly is appointed.

That committee would have clear and specific purposes, namely, to review each and every one of the 133 recommendations of the report; to determine to what extent the items covered in those recommendations fall within provincial jurisdiction and to what extent they require harmonious working between the federal government and the provincial government and their co-operation to carry them out; and to report back to this assembly when it reconvenes in the fall, around October 1, with specific recommendations as to what can be done in Ontario to dovetail the activities in Ontario with the recommendations in that report and the action of the federal government, and also what action we can expect from the municipalities of the province, so that in co-operation and harmony we can work together in order to make certain there are clearly seen to be specific changes of benefit to disabled persons in their participation in this society.

I say to the government it will be in default if it does not seriously consider some recommendation similar to that in the course of the next few weeks in the assembly.

I want to finish. I could deal with Re-Mor; I could deal with plant shutdowns; I could deal with pension questions; or I could deal with any number of topics, but there will be other occasions. At the moment I want to deal with one matter, the constitution of the country. As I understand it, there has been no indication from the government that the select committee dealing with the constitution is going to be reappointed.

May I simply read to the House the heading of our report on the constitution, The Task Ahead. The report was tabled last fall and was debated in the assembly. The government has never been anxious for this assembly to understand the constitution of the country, let alone the intractable problems we will be faced with in the future, regardless of the success or failure of the matter before the Supreme Court of Canada with respect to the constitutional amendments covered in those resolutions.

4:40 p.m.

The select committee was reappointed, but died with the dissolution of the assembly at the time of the call for the election. In The Task Ahead, the following was stated: "Severe time constraints, coupled with the breadth of the matters included within the scope of constitutional reform, have compelled your committee to narrow its focus primarily to the 12 items under discussion by the first ministers this fall." Those are the 12 items which are listed in the index to our report.

"There are, however, many other constitutional subjects of equal and, in some cases, greater concern, that require further study. The process of constitutional reform is likely to take some time and its progress is not subject to measurement in weeks or months. Given the importance which our committee attaches to this process and given the significant role which the Legislative Assembly of Ontario will play in the ratification process" -- that appears to have disappeared, depending on the result of the reference to the Supreme Court of Canada -- "it is imperative that attention be focused on the following substantive questions."

This was the agenda of matters remaining outstanding that the committee was to deal with. They are not dry as dust topics; they are topics touching upon the heart of the federal system in the country. They include the doctrine of concurrency, the federal spending power, the role of municipalities, electoral reform of the House of Commons, native peoples, transportation, the process of constitutional change, resource industries -- taxing, ownership and royalties -- immigration and citizenship, education, taxation, agriculture, foreign policy, labour relations, environment, consumer protection, tourism, health, social services and income security, formula and process of equalization, and the implications of the British North America Act, section 133, of which my colleague the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) spoke at length yesterday.

The report ended by saying, "In view of these considerations, your committee recommends that its work be continued." That was the unanimous recommendation of an all-party committee of this assembly, which was accepted. The committee died, and I hope it will be reconstituted.

A little guessing game about the Supreme Court of Canada might be of some interest. I would not be surprised -- if the Premier happens to hear this, it is not a betting proposition, because I bet him on another occasion on a constitutional matter -- but it may well be that the Supreme Court of Canada is placed in the position of having to say that whatever the nature of the federal system which is evolving in Canada may be, it cannot be changed unilaterally by the Parliament of Canada when there is the opposition of eight Premiers heading the governments in eight provinces of Canada, comprising 14-plus million people in Canada, and when it is supported only by the federal government and two provinces, comprising something in the nature of less than 10 million people.

Put into mathematical terms of a formula, it may well be that simply the court will say, "Whatever the benefits, whatever the merits may be, however necessary those things may be, if over two thirds of the provinces of Canada, representing over 50 per cent of the population, do not support it, then we must turn the matter back and let it develop under some other process." That may well be the case.

The other side of the coin has been put time and time again but, regardless of the result, the areas of concern in the constitution which were set out in The Task Ahead in the select committee's report require urgent attention. I am going to encroach for about three more minutes to try to state very clearly one area of fundamental and basic concern about which there is a total misapprehension. I do not know what the answer to it is, but I think we have to be clear about it. That is one of the reasons members of this assembly have to understand it.

The process under the equalization formula, which was adopted many years ago in order to maintain the standard of basic services in all of the provinces at the same tax burden, was dramatically changed by the increase in world oil prices and the question of sharing of the revenues in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. The equalization formula averaged 19 specific provincial taxes, of which four related to oil and gas.

In the days of low oil prices, it did not matter that the federal government had only marginal access to those revenues. But then the increasing price of natural gas and oil began reverberating throughout the economy, which meant that these equalization payments to all of the provinces that were entitled to them -- not Ontario; we can come to that at some other time -- were going to have to be paid by the federal government out of its revenue sources without any significant access to the revenues that were going to flow to the oil-producing provinces.

What has happened is that in the gradual process of movement towards higher prices to meet the legitimate claims of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the equalization payments of the federal government to the so-called have-not provinces have increased immeasurably. But the federal government does not have access to any of the revenues flowing to the oil-producing provinces that will permit that equalization formula to work, except as may develop in the course of this long drawn-out negotiation.

Not only was the equalization formula threatened, the financial stability of the government of Canada was threatened because it chose the route of deficit financing to meet the gap -- both to subsidize the cost of the imported oil to keep the price down and to meet the additional equalization payments. Its only alternative was to increase the income tax. If one does that, by the very nature of the federal taxation system, the per capita income tax for residents of Ontario payable to the federal government would rise at a very significant rate. Everyone in this House knows what the electoral hazards for the federal government would be if it chose that route.

We in Ontario have to understand the price which this process of negotiation requires. Strange as it may seem, world price for oil in Ontario and no equalization payments obligation on the federal government might well be the very best for Ontario. But we must solve the equalization formula -- restructure it or settle what its terms are going to be -- for, regardless of the legal format of the constitution, if those financial questions are not solved, we will not be able to maintain the independence of the country.

It is for that reason, among many others, that I feel it is essential for members of the assembly to be aware of the implications of the financial negotiations which are going to take place.

4:50 p.m.

Finally, I would like to refer briefly to the response in the House of Commons of the Minister of Finance on this question because the negotiations which are going on with respect to the relationship between the federal government and the provincial government are absolutely immense. As members know, the House of Commons has established a task force that has been dealing with the established program financing arrangements. On February 25, in response to a question related to one aspect of this matter, Mr. MacEachen had this to say:

"What we have said, which is clear in the budget projections, is that for 1982-83 and 1983-84 we expect to secure savings in the field of intergovernmental transfers to the provinces in the amount of $1.5 billion. The intergovernmental transfers at the present time amount to $17 billion. We are looking forward to the examination of the parliamentary task force, which will assist us in reaching our position before we present it to the provinces."

If the House of Commons, for whatever reasons, had the wit and wisdom to establish some kind of task force to try to study and understand the implications of those kinds of cuts, then in rough-and-ready terms if we are talking of $1.5 billion, we are talking of $500 million for Ontario on a roughly one third basis. If they are talking about those kinds of cuts, those cuts will come at the expense of the programs that have been established year after year through the moneys that have been payable by the people of Ontario. If we start to dismantle them and to reduce the level of services, then we are going backwards and not making the kind of progress that we in Ontario deserve.

The government must involve the members of the assembly, if for no other reason than to make certain that they at least know the nature of the problem. The nature of the problem, as I have tried to outline it and as I understand it -- and I can well be quite wrong in my analysis -- concerns that fundamental financial negotiation related to the equalization payments, related to the way in which the federal government will have to cut back in order to reduce its deficit financing position, or else raise taxes which are unacceptable. Where among the programs of this province is the $500 million going to come from? Where is the cutback going to come from? That is my way of saying to the Premier, "I can well understand why you have not been able to be gracious in victory."

The problems are intractable; they are extremely difficult. This party will endeavour to put forward what the Premier is always talking about, namely, positive and constructive suggestions as to how this country and this province can enhance their independence and achieve the kind of economic security that will permit our social programs not to be curtailed, but to be expanded and developed, in order that the quality of life for everybody in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada can be as high as we can possibly make it, given the potential of the province.

Mr. McNeil: Mr. Speaker, may I, first of all, take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment as Speaker of this Legislature. Having been associated with you since 1971, I know you will carry out your responsibilities in a manner befitting the high office of Speaker. I would also like to congratulate the member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz) on being named Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the committee of the whole House and the member for York Centre (Mr. Cousens) on becoming Deputy Chairman.

In addition, congratulations are in order to those former back-benchers in the government who are now members of the executive council and who will be developing the policies of this government in the years ahead.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Mr. McNeil has the floor.

Mr. McNeil: I would also like to congratulate all those members who have been re-elected, and the new members who have been elected, on their first opportunity to serve in this House.

The riding of Elgin, which I have the honour to represent, was created prior to the election of 1934.

Mr. Nixon: It used to be Mitch Hepburn's riding.

Mr. McNeil: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk is quite right. It was won in the election of 1934 by the late Mitchell Frederick Hepburn who was the last Liberal member for that riding.

The riding has remained with the same boundaries since that time, with the exception of the years 1967 to 1975, when three municipalities from the then county of Norfolk were added. Today two of those municipalities are represented by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk and one municipality is represented by the member for Haldimand-Norfolk (Mr. G. I Miller).

I feel it has been a great honour for me to represent this riding in the Legislature for a number of years. I might say that Elgin riding has a strong agricultural base in addition to two urban centres, the city of St. Thomas and the town of Aylmer. Our agriculture is very diversified, with excellent fruit and tobacco farms, successful dairy operations, extensive hog and beef farms, some large poultry operations and a great many cash crop farms, growing a large acreage of corn, soy, white and coloured beans.

In 1985, the county will be hosting the international ploughing match. I know all members would be most welcome to the county of Elgin in October of that year.

This government has a long and steady record of service to agriculture. As a farmer myself, I have been grateful for the high quality of that service on many occasions. As a member of the Legislature, I am proud to be a member of a government that has built this service to the high standards that now apply. In my present position as parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) it has been my privilege to witness the delivery of that service at first hand.

Service provided to agriculture is a service from which the whole of society benefits. It is this government's firm belief that food production is best effected by the present system based on the family farm. The farm family is the backbone of our society.

Mr. Nixon: What are you going to do about high interest rates?

Mr. McNeil: Well, they are created by the federal government. I think the minister will be making a statement in this House on Thursday about his meeting with the federal Minister of Agriculture. I understand that the Minister of Agriculture for Canada has said that they will assume some of the responsibility. They are finally realizing that there are high interest rates which are costing the farmers of this province and of Canada a great deal of money.

The ownership of productive land by individual family units has given our society its solid basis. This remains true, even though only a little over four per cent of our population now lives on farms. It is the dream of many city and town people to own a farm and raise their family in the rural traditions which are the very root of a free society. For these reasons, it is crucially important that we maintain a strong agricultural community in this province. It is also for these reasons that all of society benefits from programs which serve to strengthen agriculture.

5 p.m.

I would like to review a few of the programs provided through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to show this House what I mean. I should like to begin with the extension service. Ours is the oldest such service in North America and is one on which the others are modelled. This service began in 1907 with the hiring of six young men known as district representatives. It has grown until every county, district and region in the province has an agricultural representative. Around this nucleus grew a multitude of services, including specialists in everything from home economics to agricultural engineering.

There are about 130 ag reps and assistants throughout the province. They serve the more than 65,000 census farms in this province and are assisted by some 25 engineers and nearly 40 home economists. The ag rep services exemplify one of the guiding principles behind the government's agricultural programs, namely, accessibility. The ag reps and their assistants are within easy reach of their client population. A farmer can stop by the ag rep's office when he is in town or he can ask the ag rep to make a farm visit. Either way, a farmer gets the service he needs within a few hours of asking for it.

The extension service of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has changed with the changing times. It continues to offer advice and information in the traditional areas of livestock and crop management but, increasingly, business and financial management advice have been provided. Today's ag rep is engaged in youth work, livestock, crops, soils and farm organization work as well as management and finance. In other words, they deal with all the matters which are vital to the agricultural community.

The farm management program is one of the most complete and comprehensive carried out anywhere. The extension staff conducts the program at the local level where close contact with farm families makes this a highly effective advisory service. Management advice can cover anything from the use of the Ontario farm account book to the latest information on tillage practices. The program is well-received.

The members might be interested that more than 24,000 people attended meetings on farm management in 1979 and 1980, almost 130,000 came to livestock management meetings and more than 51,000 to soil and crop management meetings. In addition, extension staff conducted more than 53,000 individual consultations in the same three areas.

The extension service is well-known for its youth programs with the 4-H clubs and junior farmers. In this work, the government fully supports their efforts. It is an investment in the future. Much of the leadership work is done by volunteers, many of whom came through a 4-H and junior farmers program themselves and are testimony to the success of these programs down through the years.

Each year between 1,200 and 1,500 adults volunteer their time and effort as leaders of 4-H clubs. The purpose of 4-H is to provide experiences for our young people which will increase their agricultural skills and assist their personal development as individuals and members of a community. Under the motto, "Self-help and community betterment," the junior farmer organization provides opportunities for young people to develop a sense of social responsibility, the ability to lead and an awareness of their duties as citizens. These are goals we can all identify with and goals this government certainly supports.

Next year the extension service will be celebrating its 75th anniversary. It has an honourable history, and I am sure this House will wish to join in paying tribute to our ag reps, past and present. Seventy-five years ago, the ministry hired six young men to start this service. Today, the present staff of 130 includes eight young women.

Speaking about youth programs, as I was a moment ago, it is appropriate here for me to include some remarks about the educational opportunities this government makes available for young people in agriculture. The ministry supports four colleges of agricultural technology in four strategically located centres. Each college tends to specialize to some degree in topics of particular interest to each area as well as offering courses of a more general interest.

For example, New Liskeard College keeps a flock of sheep and does a great deal of work on problems of raising beef in the north, Kemptville College is known for its dairy herd and for work done on early maturing soybeans, Centralia stresses field crops, while Ridgetown is known for work in swine as well as crops.

In addition, all of the colleges offer courses in general agriculture, while some offer specialized courses, such as agricultural lab technology, food service supervision or agricultural business management.

The oldest of the colleges is the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph. The University of Guelph operates the Ontario Agricultural College under contract to the ministry and carries on the traditions established by the college that made Ontario famous for agricultural education. The Ontario Agricultural College opened its doors in 1874. The most recent agricultural college opened its doors in 1958, and this fall a new college will be added at Elford.

Agriculture has seen immense changes in that period, but the education offered in our colleges has kept pace with all of those changes. Today's graduates can do anything from operating a computer terminal to setting up a bookkeeping system, supervising an institutional food service or performing complicated laboratory procedures. The schools offer the best farm management education available; so that the student who studies in the more traditional areas is capable of meeting just about any challenge that may occur in the operation of a farm.

Around 30 per cent of our farmers have post-secondary education. That is a pretty good rate; however, it is the ministry's goal to encourage farmers and over the next five years to raise that rate to 50 per cent in order that Ontario farmers may have an opportunity to further their education in the field of agriculture.

One of the ways to assist farmers to upgrade their education is to make it possible for them to study while they work their farms. Through the colleges, the government has for some years provided just this opportunity. For more than 20 years it has been possible for any citizen of Ontario to take a diploma in agriculture or horticulture through the independent study program at the Ontario Agricultural College. An agricultural diploma has been added to this program; so it is now possible for a person to study agriculture by correspondence while running a farm or working on one.

Literally dozens of short courses are offered each year. One college, New Liskeard, offers all its courses in two-week modules so that northern farmers can travel the distance to study without taking an inordinate amount of time away from their farms. Anyone who is active in farming knows this is very important, particularly in that area.

5:10 p.m.

Enrolment in the colleges continues to rise and agricultural college graduates continue to have an extremely high success rate in finding work in their chosen fields soon after graduation. I have had the opportunity to meet many of these young people at various functions, and I continue to be impressed by the quality of their work and by the enthusiasm they bring to agriculture. Our most important agricultural resource is our young people, and I think the future of farming is in good hands in this province.

Ontario agriculture is an extremely diversified industry producing more than 200 different commodities. The government's programs are designed to meet the varying needs of this highly diversified sector of our economy. These programs are also designed to keep Ontario agriculture up to date with new technologies, new products and new methods.

The incredible productivity of Ontario agriculture is readily seen in the following statistics. It might be interesting to know that in the 1930s a farmer could feed 10 people. By 1950, that figure had risen to 21. Today an Ontario farmer can feed himself and 60 other people. That immense productivity is a tribute to our farmers, to our agribusiness and to government programs.

Some of that productivity can be attributed to government-funded research. The government of Ontario has by far the biggest research budget of any province in Canada. We put more than $23 million into 900 research projects ranging from nonchemical pest control to energy-efficient greenhouses, from developing cold-resistant crops to trout farming.

Research in Ontario has paid off at the rate of 40 to one. For every dollar of public funds invested in agricultural research, society at large has reaped $40 in benefits. That is a tremendous accomplishment, and it shows the wisdom of this government in supporting research.

As a result of agricultural research, Ontario is self-sufficient in grain corn. Thirty years ago, hardly any corn grew here. In the next few years we will see the same results with soybeans. Already there are crops of soybeans in eastern Ontario where only three or four years ago there were none. I believe it is reasonable to look forward to the day when this province will be nearly self-sufficient in just about anything that can grow here, and a great deal of the credit for this will belong to our research program.

Self-sufficiency is an ambitious goal and one we may never reach for a variety of reasons, but I think we could come very close. The number of government programs aimed at boosting production of a range of crops show this government's determination to come as close to self-sufficiency as possible.

The Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program to upgrade fruit and vegetable storage is a case in point. Together with a program to upgrade one million acres of agricultural land by means of drainage and scrub tree removal, the agricultural productivity incentive program, its forerunner, and the capital grants program have accomplished a great deal in modernizing Ontario agriculture.

We can see the results on a drive through any part of our countryside. There are new barns, new storage facilities and new erosion control projects, many partly funded by government programs. These programs represent a $165-million investment in the plant and machinery of agricultural production, and they generated another $500 million worth of economic activity in the rural areas. These programs are good examples of government assisting farmers to help themselves.

Drainage is another program where the principal aim is increased productivity. In fact, good drainage is the single most important factor in increasing productivity. This government is making funding available to farmers at a reduced rate of interest to cover two thirds of the cost of a drainage project.

Mr. T. P. Reid: "Cover up" is the right phrase.

Mr. McNeil: Well, one does cover up drains. I will inform the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid), an expert in agricultural production, that it is rather necessary to cover drains.

Last year the program contained $27 million. In all, $107.8 million is outstanding on these loans. That represents thousands of well-drained productive Ontario acres. More than $200 million has been spent on drainage by Ontario farmers in the past decade. At the present time, about three million acres have had drainage upgraded, and another three million will be upgraded around the turn of the century. I think we have every reason to be confident that this will come about in the future, as it has in the past, through the combined efforts of government and farmers.

Farming can be a precarious business, subject to market swings and inclement weather as no other business is. This government believes that the farm family cannot be asked to bear those risks unaided.

Mr. Nixon: I thought the member was going to do something about the weather.

Mr. McNeil: That comes under federal jurisdiction. The member should speak to his friends in Ottawa about it. Of course, the Ontario Liberal Party is not speaking to the federal Liberal Party at the present time, is it?


Mr. McNeil: Mr. Speaker, to help spread the risks that our food producers must take, this government has introduced two very important programs; these are crop insurance and stabilization. They are not giveaway programs. They spread the risks, they do not eliminate them. Farmers, after all, are businessmen. They do not want government taking the initiative from them. Crop insurance and stabilization, therefore, are administered and partly funded by the government. The farmers pay premiums on crop insurance, and they pay fees to the stabilization plans.

In 1980, there were crop insurance plans for 38 different crops. In some, as many as 95 per cent of the growers insured their crops. In all, there were 28,000 contracts covering 1.7 million acres. Those insured crops were worth around $400 million, with premiums of $27 million. This program has come a long way since it was introduced in 1966. Indications for the year 1981 growing season show farmers are insuring their crops at a rate that could lead to $500 million worth of insured crop this year.

There are five stabilization plans in effect at the moment. Stabilization plans are established at the request of a majority of the producers of the commodity in question. Four field crops -- soybeans, white beans, winter wheat and grain corn -- currently have plans. Under the terms of these plans, payouts are made when market prices fall below a certain level that is calculated on a formula that includes an allowance for production costs.

Last year prices held well for these crops and no payout was necessary. It was a different story, however, for the fifth plan. This plan covers hogs, and hog prices were low last year. Members might be interested to know that the plan paid out $9.3 million to enrolled producers. That amounts to just over $50 per sow. That payment covered the first period of the plan from April 1980 to September 1980. For the second period, which ran to March 1981, there will be another payout.

5:20 p.m.

In this Legislature we hear a lot about what the government does and does not do, but I want to point out something. The other day I was listening to the CBC -- that was before the strike -- and I heard a report that the Quebec government paid out $3 million to hog farmers to cover a period of 18 months. I think our plan compares very well indeed.

Stabilization plans have definitely proved their worth. In the 1970s it was the cow-calf stabilization plan that saved our beef producers, and it looks as if the sow-weaner plan is saving our hog producers.

This government stands ready to establish a stabilization plan for any commodity group that shows it wants one. The legislation that was passed in this House allows any producer group to have a plan if a majority of producers favour that idea.

I have only been able to touch on a few of the government's agricultural programs. There are many more, such as herd improvement, food inspection and marketing, to list only three very general headings. All of them are geared to support farm families in their dedicated efforts to produce the food that we all depend on.

Mr. Riddell: The member wouldn't give that speech back home.

Mr. McNeil: I am quite prepared to give it anywhere.

We have some of the world's finest farmers, and they are producing some of the highest quality food grown anywhere. Those farmers deserve our support, and they will continue to get it from this government.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak on the throne speech as representative, once more, of the riding of Haldimand-Norfolk, although it would be much better if I could do so from the other side of the House. After five years of dedication and hard work, I was sure that we in the Liberal Party could accomplish it after 37 years of the same government.

For many reasons, however, we were not able to accomplish that. One was the fact that we could not get a debate of the party leaders to get our policies before the people of Ontario. Another was that the Premier (Mr. Davis) and the government called the election at a time when the fewest people were likely to exercise their franchise. Only 57 per cent of the electorate turned out at the polls, which is a disgrace. We should be encouraging our citizens to take part in the election and exercise their franchise, because it is very important that we keep our democratic system alive.

I welcome all the new members who now sit in the Legislature along with the members who have been around for many years. I believe the new member for Lakeshore (Mr. Kolyn) has a brother down in Simcoe whom we know quite well. I was quite surprised to see that Al was running, particularly for the government party. As well, the member for Northumberland (Mr. Sheppard), whose son lives in Simcoe, came along at the opening of the session to get acquainted.

I also congratulate the new Speaker and Deputy Speaker for taking on the responsibility of controlling the House. At the same time, I want to give our former Speaker, the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), due credit for the job he did over the past few years.

Getting back to the election, I felt that we Liberals had a good shot at it because of the fact that this government has been around for 37 years. They have become tired and dictatorial. If the people had been given a change to really see it as it is, I think they would have made a different decision. Just one example of their attitude is the fact that they want to use the South Cayuga site in my riding for waste disposal.

The member for Elgin (Mr. McNeil), who is the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson), just gave us a lengthy speech on what the government has done for agriculture. But it did not give our young people the opportunity to acquire this land.

We pointed out in the election that many of our young people are leaving for western Canada for the opportunities there, because they cannot get access to land in Ontario. A good example is South Cayuga which under the old classification is 90 per cent class one and two agricultural land. Under the new classification it is class one, class two and class three.

The government should not be in the land buying business in the first place by its purchase of massive sites such as South Cayuga, Pickering, Edwardsburgh and Townsend. It has stripped the heart out of these communities and towns and, consequently, our young people cannot get their hands on any of that property. If they can get it, they have to compete with the foreign investor who is able to come in with his dollar at a devalued rate. Our dollar is devalued compared to theirs, and we have to compete.

This government does not have any assistance plans such as exist in other provinces in Canada. I guess Quebec is the closest example. It is trying to assist the young farmer to get him back on the land and to give him an opportunity to get his hands on something. Even at a time when interest rates are running higher than anything that has ever been experienced before, this government does not see fit to do that.

I have had calls every day this past week from farmers needing assistance. They have family farms that have been in the business for 10, 12, 15 and 20 years and one, in fact, for a lifetime. The bank is beginning to close in on them. We have tried to point that out to the Minister of Agriculture and Food. There are not only fruit farmers but also tobacco farmers, dairy farmers and vegetable growers as well as pork producers and beef farmers. They run the whole gamut.

To see if this government really cares about agriculture, go back to 1979 when it brought in the interest rate assistance and did not even give consideration to the tobacco industry.

I agree with the comments that agriculture is the backbone of our community. It is the backbone of our province. It is one way of feeding the hungry in the world. But if the government does not give our young people a chance to get their hands on it, if it continues to cover it up, pave it over and dump our waste on it, then we are not going to have it available for our young people.

That is one of the areas I want to point out to our new Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton). I hope he is more flexible and realistic than the one we had in the past. I have a lot of respect for the last minister as a person but, in carrying out his duties, he was carrying out the wishes of the government without any concern for the future of the good agricultural land we have in Ontario, particularly in that part of Ontario in the valley of the Grand River where the heat units are second-best in Canada.

If the government establishes a waste site in that particular location, it could affect the fishing industry in Lake Erie, which is probably second to none in the world as far as fresh water fish is concerned. It produces 75 per cent of Ontario's fresh water fish and more than 50 per cent of that in Canada. I do not think we would want to ruin that business.

Also, with the availability of all sorts of water, irrigation could play a role in the future. Further, we have all kinds of industry being established in the area at present, for example, there is Stelco, a major steelmaking firm, probably the largest in Canada. There is also the establishment of an industrial park of 6,500 acres in the city of Nanticoke, with 3,000 acres being set aside for the steel plant and 3,500 acres for industrial development. We have two plants in that area. We have water service available.

It is time to focus on the existing municipalities that have industrial parks and give them a hand, rather than coming out to virgin areas such as South Cayuga to dispose of our industrial waste. We should be doing it in regions and not transporting it across the province. Each area should take care of its own. Industry should have some responsibility. I know it would if it was given the right incentive.

I think the Minister of the Environment has his work cut out for him. It is a crucial time. We have to deal with the problem; there is no doubt about that. But we have to consider the future of this great province. We have to consider the future of that particular area of Ontario. That is the area I was elected to represent, and I intend to fight, as I have indicated many times in the Legislature, so that we are protecting our future.

5:30 p.m.

It is not myself I am concerned about; it is our young people. I am concerned so that they may have an opportunity to get their hands on something they can share and so that they can have something to look forward to. That is the basic concern of the members of this Legislature, whether on this side of the House or on the other side of the House. We hope to have influence so that we can give some direction along that line.

The previous speaker has indicated that we are increasing our production. I think Ontario's food production is really declining. Just 15 years ago, Ontario farmers produced more beef, pork, poultry, eggs, dairy products and vegetables than we could eat. This is no longer the case. Ontario accounts for between 35 to 40 per cent of Canada's imports of agricultural products, at a cost of about $1.5 billion yearly. Mr. Speaker, can you imagine that?

Referring to my own riding of Haldimand-Norfolk, Misener Steamship Line is proposing a development at the mouth of the Grand River, at Port Maitland, with the intention of establishing an elevator where we could have access to the St. Lawrence Seaway and the export market and with proper depth where those ships come in. There is no point in putting up the elevators if we do not utilize that land to its best effect to provide those elevators with the stock.

The particular area of Ontario I represent needs tile drainage, and that is all it needs. It is class one, class two and class three land; but if it were properly drained, it would produce with anything in the country. Therefore, I am asking the Minister of Agriculture and Food to give consideration to setting aside this land to be utilized for agricultural purposes for our future generations, with proper drainage provided, and examples could be set by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food for land improvement.

A long way down the road, future generations will be thankful if we take this leadership and show concern for that part of Ontario.

Another concern we have in the riding is for the small municipalities. Before the election campaign I was invited down to the chamber of commerce at Port Rowan to explain our proposals. The election was coming some time in the future; it had not been called at that point. I was trying to explain to them about this government and the way it was forcing the waste disposal site on South Cayuga. They said: "We don't give a damn what happens in South Cayuga. What are you going to do for us? We have lost four businesses in the past year. Do you have any plans to give our little community of about 1,000 people any assistance?"

I want to point out to the House that Port Rowan is at the gateway to Long Point. We have the Backus Conservation Area. We have provincial parks on Long Point. We have Turkey Point, Normandale, Port Ryerse, all of which are fantastic summer resorts with a lot of history and great places to spend a vacation. We have asked the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) to designate this area for an information booth so information can be provided to the tourists we should be attracting.

The area really has not been promoted as extensively as it should have been. Within 100 miles of that area we have access to millions of people in Toronto, Buffalo and Detroit, and that is one more reason why my colleague the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) and myself were supportive of the Talbot Trail. I will say thanks to the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) and the Minister of Natural Resources for cooperating and promoting the Talbot Trail, which has now been established. I think the signs are being put up at the present time by each municipality from Windsor to Buffalo.

I know that our area can play a tremendous role as far as tourism is concerned. The people would enjoy it, it would help business, and we would just like to have a little share of that money put back into the area to encourage and attract people.

Only last Thursday night, at the Wintario draw down at Dunnville, the comment was made by the people running the draw that it was the first time they had been to Dunnville. Dunnville is located on the Grand River only a few miles from Port Maitland. It is a fantastic recreational river. I hope we will be able to travel by boat from Port Maitland to Brantford in my lifetime. They replaced the dam at Caledonia last year with a lock to give access to the Upper Grand. I think the plan is to replace the dam at Dunnville, which is 150 years old and needs upgrading. Only this week the Dunnville Chronicle said: "Dam Needs Work, Councillors Told." I know money was set aside during the election, indicating that they would be upgrading it.

Only last Saturday I had the opportunity to canoe down from Caledonia to Cayuga with my son; we were canoeing for cancer. It was about a three-hour trip. It is the first time I have had that opportunity since last year. It does not cost a cent. All you need is the canoe and a little energy to follow the current down. I would not want to canoe uphill, but going down is great.

On the way down we ran into a school of fish. I could not believe it: The water was about a foot and a half deep; we could see the fish bouncing ahead of us as we coasted down with the canoe and we could hear the fish hitting the bottom of the boat. They were big fish, two and a half feet long.


Mr. G. I. Miller: You will not see it if you do not get out in the morning. You have to get up early, Mr. Speaker. We have so many great things, and it does not cost a cent to see them. I say to all the people in Ontario who live in the city, just come down to Haldimand-Norfolk; the tourism is fantastic, the facilities are great and I want to see them improved.

Another area of concern is several small ports or marinas. One is at Murphy's Harbour. It is not a designated port, a federal port; it does not qualify for assistance in cleaning out the harbour, but it is filling up with sand. Again, we are trying to get it designated through the federal government and the Ministry of Natural Resources here so that we can get some assistance, because they have accommodation for 100 boats. They do not have access to it, and they cannot afford to do it themselves, because it is a $100,000 job; it is a major job. But I think that, working together with the local marina operator and the local people, we can improve that facility so it can attract people also.

There are many areas I want to speak about, but I want to share my time with the former Speaker of the House; so I think I will leave it at that at present. We have other issues, such as Townsend, housing, job opportunities for our young people and the closing of the Essex automotive parts plant in Dunnville. Again, we ask the Minister of Industry and Tourism to make a special effort to assist some of these small towns and the problems they have in terms of plant closings.

Up to this point that plant is still running empty, and a letter from the Canada Employment Centre in Dunnville indicates that "600 to 800 people are registered with us continually. If this figure is compared with the gross population of 5,000, and considering that perhaps 3,000 to 4,000 are participants in the labour market, a rough estimate of the unemployment rate would be from 12 to 20 per cent." This clearly indicates that Dunnville and our small towns need help. Instead of opening up new town sites such as Townsend, that money should be directed and assistance given to the small municipalities so they can survive. They are our roots and our future, and this is what I would like to see happen.

We will bring other problems to the attention of the House. We have four years to do it. I am certainly glad to have the opportunity to bring a few of the problems to your attention today, Mr. Speaker.

5:40 p.m.

Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, I want first of all to congratulate you on the heavy and onerous responsibility you have accepted on our behalf. I think there is evidence already that you are carrying on the tradition I tried to establish in this House of being fair, firm, impartial and consistent. I hope you will continue in that vein.

I also want to congratulate your two deputies, the Deputy Speaker and the Chairman of the committees of the whole House and his Deputy Chairman, on the onerous responsibilities they have accepted on our behalf and wish them well in their new tasks.

I also want to join in the sentiments expressed by many speakers in this throne speech debate in welcoming the new members on all sides of the House to what is sometimes called, perhaps erroneously, the most exclusive club in Ontario. I want to suggest on their behalf, and on behalf of all the older members who have not had the opportunity to visit that geographic entity called northern Ontario, that perhaps the new Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) will undertake a tour of the northern part of this province, something we have not had since 1972, when we visited northeastern Ontario. The junket prior to that was in 1968, when we toured northwestern Ontario.

Hon. Mr. Norton: It would be educational too.

Mr. Stokes: It would be an education for many of them, including the minister who just interjected. It would give him an opportunity to see what 15 members out of the 125 who have the privilege of sitting in this House are speaking about constantly. In most instances, we think we are voices crying in the wilderness, because in the overall political scheme of things, if one wants to be politically crass about it, when we are only 15 members representing four fifths of the province, in a geographic sense we have to holler that much louder and that much longer, and we have to be that much more convincing to get the kind of attention we deserve in northern Ontario.

I want to remind you, Mr. Speaker, that in 1970 the government of Ontario announced its design for development program for northwestern Ontario. It was the first, other than that for the Toronto-centred region. It designated specific areas for potential growth based on greater utilization of forest and mineral resources and increased tourism activity. It specifically recommended the greater development of social infrastructure and diversification of the regional economy by attracting manufacturing industry and tertiary or service industry. More advanced phases of resource processing and manufacturing were to be encouraged to locate in northern Ontario.

More than 10 years later, we have both the federal and provincial governments offering hundreds of millions of dollars to the pulp and paper industry for plant improvement, pollution abatement equipment, reforestation and road construction for access to new resources. In many cases this has resulted in increased efficiency and a reduction in job opportunities through greater automation.

Industry complains that governments are legislating and regulating them beyond reason, while at the same time it clamours for financial handouts and tax concessions at the expense of the already overburdened taxpayers. In a society where free enterprise or a mixed economy system seems to be the order of the day, why is industry abdicating its responsibility, particularly in northwestern Ontario?

Let me give an example. The township of Nipigon has been negotiating with CP Rail, Imperial Oil and the Hudson's Bay Company to initiate a plan of downtown commercial redevelopment on land owned by CP, leased to Imperial Oil for bulk storage and required for a commercial shopping complex to be built by the Bay company.

If the township pays CP $145,000 for the land and pays for the relocation of the Imperial Oil bulk storage plant, estimated to cost between $100,000 and $200,000, and exchanges this parcel of land with the Bay for land already owned by it near Highway 17 in that community and valued at $94,000, this project can proceed.

This means that if the Nipigon taxpayers, without an industrial tax base, pay these large corporations in excess of $200,000, Nipigon can embark upon this downtown redevelopment project. It would be interesting to find out how much the people in the Nipigon area have contributed to the financial wellbeing of these three corporations over the past several decades. It would be more interesting to find out how many municipalities would permit a bulk storage plant in the very heart of their downtown area.

I am not presuming to speak for the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) but, getting back to industrial responsibility, what of the Atikokan situation where Steep Rock Iron Mines Limited closed their operations along with Caland and left nothing behind, after more than 30 years of operation, but a huge hole in the landscape? Incidentally, if you look at the financial records of Steep Rock Iron Mines, I think it was one of the few companies that, in its 35-year history in Ontario and in Canada, never paid a penny in income tax. What did they leave by way of a legacy to the member for Rainy River and the people he represents in Atikokan?

What guarantees have been forthcoming from pulp and paper companies that further processing will be done in northern Ontario to justify the large handouts to those companies? It is common knowledge that plant improvements financed in part by federal and provincial contributions will result in a loss of an alarming number of jobs, particularly in towns like Kenora, which is represented by the member for Kenora, the Minister of Northern Affairs.

I have had private conversations with the minister, and I know he is agonizing over the fact that we are spending a lot of taxpayers' dollars out of the federal and provincial coffers. The net effect is a total reduction in the number of jobs for a relatively small northern community with no assurance that further processing is going to take place to replace those jobs which have become redundant as a result of automation.

These are the kinds of promises that were given in the $1.5-billion Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program that was used to attract the voter to the way of thinking over there, on the assumption that if this government came up with $750 million over the next five years at the rate of about $150 million a year, with concurrent commitments from some other unknown source, either the federal government or the municipalities, perhaps the BILD program could see the light of day. We expect this government to keep those promises.

In the brief amount of time left open I want to sort of touch on the tip of the problems that are facing a lot of the people in northwestern Ontario and, I am sure, in northeastern Ontario, based on a concept that was undertaken several years ago called strategic land-use planning.

We felt that in northwestern Ontario we were in the vanguard of that kind of planning, and we had hoped that long before now we would have reached the point where we could have been making some candidate options as to the kind of land-use planning that would ensue that would allow us to make the best possible use of available resources whether they be in mining, forestry, tourism or recreational opportunities, thus making the best use of the land mass we have in such abundance in that area.


After this playing around and toying with the idea of strategic land-use planning over the past 10 years, complaints are now coming in to me from editorial commentators and from various interest groups in northern Ontario, saying: "Whatever happened to consultation? Whatever happened to sitting down and talking about the various options that are available in advance of the decision having been taken, particularly in the case of the Ministry of Natural Resources?"

If I had the time, I would read an important article from the Geraldton Times-Star, written by my Conservative opponent in the 1971 campaign, where he takes the government to task for either its unwillingness or its inability to communicate with people living in northern Ontario well in advance of any decision having been taken with regard to the proper use of the land mass we have in such abundance there.

I want to congratulate the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) for the initiatives he has taken, particularly with regard to the fields of telemedicine and medevac that will be brought to the people who live in the riding of Lake Nipigon and some of those smaller communities who cannot have the complete health delivery systems available in the more populated areas of Ontario.

He is taking certain initiatives, but one of the prime concerns he has failed to address is that, while we realize we cannot have sophisticated delivery of medical services throughout Ontario, at least we should have equality of opportunity to share in health services, something we are not getting at the present time because of geography, sparsity of population and distance.

We in northern Ontario have felt for a long time that legitimate travel to essential medical services should be a legitimate charge against the Ontario health insurance plan. If I had more time, I would be able to give the minister convincing and compelling reasons why this government should make that a matter of policy.

Another thing that concerns everybody living in northern Ontario, certainly those living north of the fiftieth parallel, is the high cost of transportation. Again, if I had the time, I would document very clearly the representations I have made on behalf of all those people living north of the fiftieth parallel who have access to the outside world only by air, a very inefficient and expensive means of transporting goods and people.

I have a commitment from the Premier that he is agonizing and rubbing his hands furiously, in consultation with all his colleagues, trying to come up with a solution to this. In answer to a very verbose, long and complex question I posed to him in this House, for which I was berated, he again gave me an assurance that he would be consulting with his federal counterparts to address this serious and important problem. I have seen no evidence they are any closer to a solution to the problem now than they were when I first raised it several years ago. That is another promise we expect this government to keep.

Another point I wanted to raise, simply because it was a definite promise by the Premier, by the former member for Cochrane North, Mr. Brunelle, when he was the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development, and by the Minister of Northern Affairs is an amendment to the Canada-Ontario land agreement of 1924 that would assist native people living in the far north so they could share in the financial benefits of resource extraction there.

The former member for Cochrane North, the Minister for Northern Affairs and the Premier have all said this is a very worthwhile undertaking. Again, if I had the time, I could document letters I have received from the Premier dating back to October 3, 1979, right up to my most recent communication from him. They all agreed that it is something worthwhile pursuing and that they were doing so diligently. Unfortunately, nothing useful or productive has emanated from all that hand-wringing and all the pious platitudes I have received from them over these many years.

Another thing that is worth while mentioning in the brief period of time available to me is the provision of infrastructure, an economic base for many of the communities in northern Ontario that are without it at the present time, by the orderly exploitation of our peat resources. Again, if I had the time, I could quote a letter that was sent by the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) to me in June 1980 indicating that this was seen as a viable alternative to traditional energy sources and that it would be pursued with the greatest of vigour. Just last week I received another response from the newly appointed Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) indicating they had not had sufficient time to formulate a policy for the orderly exploitation of peat.

I want to show members some peat moss deposits from selected areas in Ontario, to indicate that people have been looking at and conducting an inventory of our peat resources in a very systematic way as far back as 1975. We are in our fifth year, yet within the last week I got a letter from the Minister of Natural Resources saying they really do not have any up-to-date data and as soon as they have some they will be formulating a policy. That is another indication that we think was tantamount to a promise, and we want to see that promise kept.

In another area, as a result of Bill 44, which was introduced in this Legislature in 1968, I believe, where there was a consolidation of school boards in the province, there was a commitment, which has been echoed on many occasions in this House and elsewhere since, that there would be equal opportunity in education for all students in the province regardless of where they resided.

If I had the time, I could give specifics of the problems facing some of those isolated boards in northern Ontario. In one jurisdiction we have four high schools where the combined population is less than 800 students. Because of the costs of duplication, many of those students are not even getting the core curriculum. That, in my view, is not equality of educational opportunity.

Perhaps I will have an opportunity, along with many of my colleagues who are concerned about these matters in northern Ontario, to discuss them in greater detail during the budget debate. I think I have highlighted just a few of the things, in terms of the commitment by this government to keep the promise, where that to date has not been the case. I am going to pursue them with all the vigour I can muster.

I hope that there will be sufficient financial resources -- the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) was here a little bit earlier -- so this government can address itself to the many varied and pressing problems in northern Ontario. That was my commitment to my constituents who sent me down here. It is a commitment I intend to keep, and I am going to pursue it with all the vigour I can muster at every opportunity made available to me in this House.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.