32e législature, 1re session



































The House met at 2:02 p.m.



Mr. Smith: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: On June 22, 1978, the Premier (Mr. Davis) in this House reaffirmed a policy that he had declared on August 8, 1975, with respect to the Spadina Expressway, in which he had said: "The provincial government will grant to the city a three-foot reserve across the route of the former expressway as proposed, such reserve to be held in perpetuity by the city." Note the term "grant."

He confirmed that, as I say, in this House on June 22, 1978. Yet he has sent a letter, which was raised in committee yesterday, in which he said that at the time he made the statement he really intended a lease of a three-foot strip to each of the city of Toronto and the borough of York. Since then there has been some disagreement at the borough of York and he is not sure how it is going to resolve itself, but he really intended at the time a lease. If he intended a lease and simply misspoke himself in 1975 when he spoke of a grant, then in my view he should not have reconfirmed here in the House the policy of a grant of a three-foot strip.

We have been led to understand that there was going to be a grant of a three-foot strip. We were told in this House in 1978 that was the policy of the government. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to inquire with the Premier, when you have an opportunity, as to whether he was intentionally saying one thing to the House while meaning something totally different, in which case he would have been misleading the House, or whether he simply misspoke himself at the time. It seems to me he was very clear that he intended to grant a three-foot strip, and now he is speaking in terms of a lease. I ask that you find out whether it means a totally new policy on the Spadina Expressway.

Mr. Speaker: The Premier is not here to reply to the Leader of the Opposition's point of privilege. I am sure he will like to do so when he does return. I shall be glad to take it up with him.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, on that same point of privilege: Will you be prepared to make a ruling and suggest that it is unbecoming to this Legislature to have the first minister of the crown breaking promises, as he appears to have done in this particular case, and in particular sending letters out to members of his caucus so that the Tory back-benchers would act like trained seals in carrying out the Premier's will.

Mr. Speaker: No, Mr. Cassidy, I will not make an instant ruling in that regard.


Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order and a point of privilege.

I have to say, in reference to the remarks of the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy), he obviously was not here to hear the budget the other night, or has forgotten about it, when he talks about broken promises.

This matter refers to the meeting of the standing committee on public accounts held this morning and to the Ministry of Health and two particular members of the public service, the Deputy Minister of Health, Mr. Tom Campbell, and the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health, Community Health Services, Dr. Boyd Suttie.

As you will know, Mr. Speaker, as you were a member of the committee, the public accounts committee last year dealt with the health service organization of St. Marys Health Centre. The committee spent a number of meetings on that, and in its 1980 report tabled in this House in December the committee, composed of all three parties, had this to say in one paragraph on page 30 of said report:

"The committee is also disappointed by the apparent lack of concern with the question of value for money displayed in our hearings by the officials most directly charged with the responsibility for the program, Dr. Boyd Suttie and Mr. Ray Berry. In particular, the committee is disappointed with the quality of responses to requests for information and with the lateness of these responses which served to hinder the committee in its work. The committee is also displeased by the lack of co-operation by the ministry with the Provincial Auditor and his comparison, at the direction of the committee, of the roster of St. Marys clinic and the patient list of nearby fee-for-service practices."

This was the first time in the history of the public accounts committee in Ontario that a member of the public service was named for what we considered obstructionist tactics in terms of the committee, and it caused us to spend a couple of extra meetings on this particular item.

Subsequent to that report, the committee asked the auditor to compare the rosters of St. Marys with the rosters of private physicians in the area and to report back to the committee. On May 7, 1981, two weeks ago, the Provincial Auditor tabled his report in regard to St. Marys clinic, outlining certain matters and indicating there were some serious problems in regard to this health service organization.

The committee requested that the deputy minister, Mr. Campbell, and Dr. Suttie attend the meeting this morning of the public accounts committee. The deputy minister was phoned a week ago, May 14, and asked to make himself and Dr. Suttie available to the committee this morning. That was followed up by a letter which was received by the deputy minister on May 15.

The clerk of our committee received a response from the deputy minister, Mr. Campbell, yesterday at four o'clock indicating that he and Dr. Suttie had a prior commitment and could not be available.

I ask you, Mr. Speaker, as the protector of the rights of this House, to look into the following matters:

1. Why were the deputy minister and Dr. Suttie not available to the committee this morning, given the fact that they had a week's notice and given the fact that this report of the Provincial Auditor of May 7 was delivered to the deputy minister at the same time the committee received it on May 7?

2. Why, and I consider it completely discourteous and unacceptable, did the deputy minister wait until the 11th hour, four o'clock yesterday, to inform the committee through the clerk that he and Dr. Suttie would not be available?

3. Will you ascertain where the deputy minister and Dr. Suttie were this morning at 10 o'clock? It is my information that Mr. Campbell's office was phoned, asking for the information as to where Mr. Campbell was, and a reporter was informed by a secretary, I believe, or somebody in the deputy minister's office, that this information was not available to the public.

Given the history of the obstructionist tactics, the delaying tactics and the nonco-operation of the personnel in the Ministry of Health, I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to look into this matter and to report back to the House with a view to giving the individual members of this House some bit of responsibility, indicating to the members of the public service that they do have a responsibility to appear before committees when so asked and that they do recall they are public servants. It may become obvious that they are running the province, rather than those people opposite, but if so, let us know for sure.

2:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, speaking to the point of order, and I am sure you will want to hear it anyway, I should first of all point out to members of the House that a meeting has been scheduled for two weeks hence, at which time there will be an opportunity for Ministry of Health officials to respond to the allegations made about lack of co-operation which, I submit, the true record will show are unfounded. In the last two or three years no ministry has been in attendance before more committees than the Ministry of Health, and no ministry has been more co-operative.

As to the whereabouts of the two gentlemen in question, Dr. Suttie had some commitments that could not be broken. I do not think it is in any way --

Mr. T. P. Reid: What were they?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I sat here and listened to the honourable member. Will he kindly listen to an answer just once, instead of trying to railroad things through the way he always does?

I can tell the member where the deputy minister was. He was with me in a cabinet committee meeting where we were considering what I thought was a very important matter of policy. I do not think it is in any way bad manners or an affront to the committee, or an affront to the House, to send a letter saying, "Please." That is not --

Mr. T. P. Reid: At the last minute?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Why was it at the last minute? Perhaps the long weekend intervened and they did not arrive in time, but I believe the letter was sent at the end of last week.

Mr. T. P. Reid: It was dated May 20.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Except for political purposes, I do not believe that this can be construed in any way as an affront to any member or to the House.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a comment on the same point. I wish to raise this because I feel it is a very serious matter. I believe, of all the committees of the Legislature, the public accounts committee is traditionally seen as objective and nonpartisan in the parliamentary procedure. One of the symbols that reinforces that role of the accounts committee is that the chairman, in all parliamentary systems, is traditionally chosen from the opposition.

For some months there have been a number of questions surrounding this before the Ministry of Health. It is not as if the Ministry of Health officials first received the concern of the public accounts committee on May 7. They received the actual report of the auditor and some of his suggestions.

It would have been a responsible action by the ministry officials concerned, if they could not appear this morning, at least to have given their reasons to the chairman of the committee. The committee is not unreasonable. The officials did not even have the courtesy to suggest another date. We had to spend an hour trying to arrange that in the committee itself.

If there were legitimate commitments that could not be broken, the committee would have been reasonable. Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, I believe it is your duty to indicate to the public servants of this province that the primary duty they have is to reply to the responsibility of the Legislature and to account to the Legislature for their actions, because the members of that committee represent the Legislature and not merely the government.


Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of privilege concerning the Premier. The Premier stated unequivocally in 1975 that he would give to the city of Toronto a three-foot strip to stop the Spadina Expressway.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Mr. Ruprecht, that point has already been raised.

Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege, if I may --

Mr. Speaker: Carry on; I will hear you.

Mr. Ruprecht: My leader has already touched on some of these issues, but I think this is a very serious situation and I should have the right to rise on a question of privilege, because my question of privilege differs from that of my leader. If you will permit me to ask the question, Mr. Speaker, I will appreciate that.

The Premier indicated five years ago that he had given -- and I quote his letter -- "ironclad guarantees to the city of Toronto that a three-foot strip would be given to the city in order to stop the extension of the Spadina expressway." In a letter of May 19 he now says he wants to change that to a lease on the grounds that the borough of York has changed its mind. The mayor of York was at our hearings yesterday, and she says she has no intention of changing her mind nor has she changed her mind one iota. That is why I would like to ask the Premier whether he will not mislead this House --

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Ruprecht: That's right. In 1976, in response to Mr. Lewis, who said, "I would like to address a question to Bill," the Premier stated, in reference to the three-foot strip: "If it has to be in some other location, I understand there is no problem with that."

Because of the very serious nature of this situation, the Premier should make very clear whether he intends to maintain the three-foot strip on the same location or whether he intends to have it shifted to another point, when that makes it possible that the Cedarvale ravine would continue in terms of providing a roadway that would then allow traffic to go on to Bathurst Street and later to Spadina Road.

I would like clarification so that the people of Toronto will not he misled and they will not have a feeling of being misled by the Premier.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, replying to that purported question of privilege, and with the greatest of respect --

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: The point of privilege --

Mr. Speaker: Just a minute now, please. The point of privilege was raised with the Premier; he should have an opportunity --

Mr. R. F. Johnston: My point is that it is not a point of privilege at all. It is a question and should be placed as a question.

Mr. Speaker: You are right.

Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect, I was not here for the Leader of the Opposition's remarks. I would never presume to suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that it was not a point of privilege, but I am suggesting it. The reiteration of what I do not think was a point of privilege by the member for Parkdale (Mr. Ruprecht) -- who quite obviously has not had consultation with his leader yet this afternoon -- indicates that the researchers, whoever they are, have not given them the proper list of questions or points to raise.

If the Leader of the Opposition wants to ask a question, which is the traditional fashion, or if the member for Parkdale, who perhaps has not yet learned the traditions of this House, wants to ask a question instead of not even quoting accurately in his point of privilege, I will be delighted to answer by way of a question properly put.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I respectfully ask that you consider at some point reading the precedents concerning privileges. I think we are straying a long way from what is meant by --

Mr. T. P. Reid: The arrogance did not take long, did it?

Hon. Mr. Wells: This is not arrogance.

Mr. T. P. Reid: You are trying to run the Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.

Mr. T. P. Reid: It is a decision for the Speaker to make.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I recognize completely that it is a matter for the Speaker. I say with respect to the Speaker, I am asking --

Mr. Smith: He can do it without your help.

Hon. Mr. Wells: What does the Leader of the Opposition mean? With his party's help but not ours?

Mr. Speaker: Order. Mr. Wells will continue, please.

2.20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Wells: All I am saying is that, as I read the standing orders, a matter of privilege is when our privileges, our individual privileges or our collective privileges as members of this House, have been somehow denigrated or acted against. This particular very important point, I submit, should not be turned into another excuse to ask a question about government policy, which is what it is being used as.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that you consider at some time the whole matter of points of privilege and perhaps at your convenience inform the members of the House exactly what points of privilege are, because I think all of us may have at times used this as a matter to gain the floor and make a particular statement. I submit to you that it is an important matter where we as members of this House can raise those things that have been done against our individual privileges or against the collective privileges of the House, and it should not be used as a matter merely to get a point before this House that is not a point of privilege.

Mr. Speaker: Your point is well taken, Mr. Wells. The member did rise on a point of personal privilege, which he did not identify. I was waiting for it to be identified; however, it was not.

Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Are you prepared to make a ruling about members of this House from the government side trying to lecture the Speaker? The Speaker's chair is an independent role within this Legislature and he should not be taking orders from over there.

Mr. Speaker: I can assure the honourable members on both sides of this House that I understand the duties and responsibilities I have undertaken. I am not directed, nor will I be directed, by members from either side. If I am --

An hon. member: Do not let that gang over there intimidate you.

Mr. Speaker: I think the honourable members know me well enough to know that I am not one to be intimidated either. I just want to make that point very clear.

Now, may we have order and continue with the routine proceedings? Before we do, I wish to draw the attention of all honourable members to the fact that we have had --


Hon. Mr. Davis: The members opposite are just eroding the private members' hour.

Mr. Speaker: You are right.


Mr. Speaker: We have been privileged to have several young people here to help us in our deliberations, to help us with the many duties that have fallen upon us. According to established custom, I am going to read their names into the record as a way of saying thanks to each and every one of them, and upon reading these names I expect all the members of the Legislature to express their thanks.

Diane Allan, Fort William; Brendan DeTracey, Quinte; Tricia Eaton, Middlesex; David Fear, Peterborough; Sally Fereday, Ottawa South; Rita Gill, York Mills; Kurt Greaves, Lanark; Andrés Gulabsingh, Halidmand-Norfolk; Ralph Hart, Brant-Oxford-Norfolk; Gregory Jackson, Simcoe East; Kenny John, Hamilton Centre; Cheryl Lenardon, Port Arthur; Laura Matthews, Wentworth; David Mayhew, St. George; Nancy Morgan, Windsor-Sandwich; Todd Paralusz, Lincoln; Virginia Pettit, Grey-Bruce; Gregory Pinnington, Kitchener-Wilmot; Jamie Prpic, Sudbury; Karen Swift, Parry Sound; Janet Thompson, Sault Ste. Marie; Catherine Watson, Riverdale.


Mr. Smith: Maybe the pages will tell us which one of them was sent for a package of jelly beans; that was in the Hamilton Spectator the other day.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Probably it was for the Premier; Ronald Reagan is his idol.



Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Treasurer whether he recalls his Premier saying in September 1979, when the Conservative government in Ottawa was raising oil prices, "A price increase would be a mistake and a distortion and a clear raid upon the spending power of the average citizen of this province." And further: "There is only so much you can take out of an economy by means of energy price increases before that economy begins to suffer and suffer seriously."

In view of those strongly held sentiments, how can the Treasurer justify the raid on the spending power of the consumers of Ontario that he has perpetrated by his ad valorem gas tax, which not only adds to the cost of fuel but also multiplies and compounds any other increases in the cost of fuel that will happen from time to time?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I recall those words well. In the period of time since then, inflation has been real. We have had a cents per litre or cents per gallon unit fee which needed to be adjusted. The rate of inflation justifies an ad valorem base.

The calculations I saw in the Globe and Mail, allegedly from the Liberal finance critic, tell me that if ever this government were run by that party, they would not even know how to add, let alone multiply.

Mr. Smith: Since the Treasurer's answer for his willingness not only to accept and add to higher oil prices but also to compound them and piggyback upon them and multiply them every time they occur is that there is inflation about and that justifies his increasing the inflation, does he not feel somewhat like a person who is ranting and raving against prostitution while not only living off the avails of prostitution but also rushing in to build a new wing for his own coffers whenever a new house of ill repute is being built?

Surely the Treasurer must understand and surely he can give a better answer to the people of Ontario than simply saying that, since there is inflation about, he is justified in compounding and multiplying that very inflation at the cost to ordinary citizens.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Ranting and raving I have learned from the Leader of the Opposition; prostitution he can still teach me something about.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the Treasurer say what has happened to the opposition that Ontario has shown in the past to the increases in oil prices that are being demanded by Alberta when it is now the case that Ontario will profit in terms of Ontario government revenues every time oil prices are raised under the national energy policy?

Is it not the case that, thanks to this new ad valorem tax, the interests of the Premier of Ontario are the same as the interests of the Premier of Alberta in terms of increasing oil prices, and why has the government changed sides in that way?

Hon. F. S. Miller: First, Mr. Speaker, the taxes I have raised apply to distilled product; they do not apply to crude oil. Roughly 40 per cent of the total crude oil in this province is used for gasoline, I am told, and roughly 16 per cent is used for middle distillates for transportation purposes. Therefore, about half of the total crude oil in this province is used in the transportation sector, and about half of it is used as feedstock or for home heating purposes, which is something we did not touch; keep that in mind.

Second, one has to recognize that the fuel bill in this province for petroleum products last year exceeded $7 billion. Our increase in take in a whole year through $1 a gallon will be $20 million. Does the member think we would be interested in seeing the price go up just to get $20 million when it costs us $7 billion or $8 billion?

2:30 p.m.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I wonder whether the Treasurer remembers that when the government was on the opposite side of this issue he presented a calculation to this House of the number of jobs that would be lost with every increment and increase in petroleum prices. Will the minister now please do a calculation and table in the House the number of jobs that will be lost because of the ad valorem taxes?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, again the honourable gentleman has forgotten that I said the crude oil feedstocks for industrial purposes and for home heating purposes are not taxed on the ad valorem base.

Mr. Speaker: A new question.

Mr. Roy: Are you not going to allow a supplementary on a topic as important as this?

Mr. Speaker: There have been four supplementaries.

Mr. Roy: As far as I know, there were only three supplementaries.

Mr. Speaker: Order. A new question.

Mr. Roy: I just want to know --

Mr. Speaker: Order. There have been sufficient supplementaries.


Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, you are going to have to be more flexible than that.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. It was suggested last week that I was not being consistent. For the past week I have followed this procedure; nobody has complained about it, everybody has accepted it and I will carry on this way.

Mr. Smith with a new question.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the Treasurer, who seems to feel he is justified in raiding the spending power of consumers and piggybacking upon the increases in oil prices, whether they be from Alberta, the federal government, the companies or any other tax, and multiplying and compounding those taxes and that penalty to the consumers of Ontario.

Can the Treasurer explain to the House why it is that, in the face of crippling interest rates and record high levels of inflation, about which he had nothing to say in the budget, he has now compounded the problems of the ordinary citizens of Ontario by raising the level of personal taxation in Ontario -- which includes income tax and the Ontario health insurance plan premiums -- to 58.5 per cent, which is the highest level of any province in Canada?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the member likes to play with figures. The fact remains that I can show that no province in Canada spends less money per capita than Ontario. We are the most efficiently run province in Canada in terms of provincial-municipal spending. That tells me we are not taxing the consumer in this province.

Can the member tell me what other government is keeping its costs below inflation in this country? Can he tell me that the federal government has done that? Can he tell me if the federal government --

Mr. Speaker: The minister is supposed to answer questions, not ask them.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I accept that, Mr. Speaker, because he has no answers and never did have.

Mr. Smith: The explanation for the gas tax -- the change of their view of the right and the need to raise gasoline prices -- seems to be justified by inflation, according to the Treasurer, who seems to feel that when people are feeling some pain it is his duty to make sure they feel greater pain. And he now justifies his increase in personal taxes -- including income tax and OHIP premiums -- to the highest level in Canada on the basis that he is not spending the money as rapidly.

Can the Treasurer tell us whether he has even the faintest idea what impact this is having on the ordinary citizens who already cannot make ends meet and now, in addition to everything else, have to pay some $300 to $400 a year per average family simply because the Treasurer believes that once they are suffering from inflation they might as well as suffer big?

Hon. F. S. Miller: The honourable member talks about the lowest-income people and then talks about the average-income family at the same time. They are not the same people.

I took steps in the budget to alleviate the problems for 60,000 more taxpayers in Ontario, removing them from the rolls at the lower end, and the member knows it.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The Treasurer has put forward a budget that promises inflation at 12.1 per cent in 1981 and has offered nothing at all in terms of a response to bringing down inflation in Ontario. He has brought in a budget that will increase taxes by $600 million, or more than one half of one per cent of the gross provincial product in Ontario, despite the effect on unemployment, which he predicts will be 295,000 people unemployed. Why has there been no answer to unemployment in the budget? Why has the Treasurer totally ignored the need for Ontario to take action to protect consumers against the 12 per cent inflation rate?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, if the member thinks there was no answer to unemployment in the budget then he obviously does not understand budgets. I suppose if one is in the New Democratic Party that is automatic. The fact remains that, through the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development document, we did a great deal for employment in this province. We have more than 100,000 more people at work right now and one half of one per cent less unemployment than a year ago. The member knows that.

He knows no other government in this country has done as much as Ontario to cut its take from the average taxpayer and to reduce the funded debt. Today the debt of this province in terms of a month's revenue is half as great as it was when Mr. Leslie Frost was Premier.

Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the Treasurer not think his failure to deal significantly today with any of the questions on these major tax increases is going to give people the impression that he personally does not have a great grasp of what he has done?

My second point, and a most serious one, is that at a time of serious inflation, about which even the Treasurer mouths platitudes on its seriousness, he has contributed, even by his own officials' admission, through an inflationary budget. How can the Treasurer possibly do that at a time of record inflation, when at the same time he has offered no relief from the vicissitudes and ravages of inflation to any person in this province? How can the Treasurer stand there and contribute to inflation and do nothing about it?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, at least I believe what I say in public. The member knows full well we have tackled the problems. Would he have me spend more money?

Mr. Peterson: I would have cut your spending in stupid places.


Mr. Speaker: Order. You asked the minister a question; give him a chance to respond.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I did not hear the honourable member talking about cutting anything during the campaign; I heard him talking about spending a lot more of the taxpayers' money and raising the deficit of this province.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. In the budget we received on Tuesday night the Treasurer said, "Some members think that premiums are not an appropriate health financing vehicle."

Is the Treasurer not aware that is also the opinion of seven provinces across Canada which do not have health premiums and that it was also one of the major recommendations of Justice Emmett Hall, the architect of medicare in Canada, when he made his report a year or so ago entitled, Canada's National-Provincial Health Program for the l980s: A Commitment for Renewal? Would the Treasurer explain why he has chosen to increase this regressive tax through health premiums instead of beginning the process of eliminating health premiums and putting the cost of health on to a progressive tax base?

Hon. F. S. Miller: The honourable member seems to think if I take it off premiums it disappears. It does not; it still comes out of the total fund. I say in the budget --


Hon. F. S. Miller: You wonder why people go away from this House daily shaking their heads in disbelief at the disorder of this House.

2:40 p.m.

Mr. Speaker: Order, order. The minister will respond to the question asked by Mr. Cassidy, please.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I have a right to be heard, not yelled at.

Mr. Speaker: Indeed you do, and so does every other honourable member of this House. Now you will please proceed.

Mr. Cassidy: Don't be so touchy; it's your budget.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order. Did you want to get a response from the minister?

Mr. Cassidy: Of course, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Then please let him proceed. Mr. Treasurer.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Order. If the members are really interested in seeking responses to their questions, I would ask them please to keep the din down to the point where the minister can hear what he is saying and I can hear what he is saying. Mr. Treasurer.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to try to defend OHIP premiums. I hope you will accept that. We have stated in the budget that in fact we were ready to look at the alternatives, such as payroll taxes. We would like responses from anyone, be they unions, companies, consumer groups or members of the opposition parties, as to the other ways of doing it that would be fair. We started with the premium system and I think roughly 70 per cent of the premiums are being paid by corporations at the present time.

It is a reasonably well accepted system at the present time. It pays for about a quarter of the total health care cost. It went up 15 per cent this year when the cost of health care went up 15 per cent. I believe the people of this province are intelligent enough to know that if something goes up 15 per cent one pays 15 per cent more for it. I believe they believe they are getting very good value for their health premium dollars and that they have the best health care system in Canada.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the Treasurer not aware that health premiums in Ontario are double the rate of health premiums in the two other provinces, Alberta and British Columbia, that have them? Can he explain why it is that the government has been prepared to raise health premiums by 43.7 per cent since 1977? Why is he prepared to levy that kind of unfair tax, yet he has not been prepared to take any measures to implement the unanimous recommendations of the select committee on health care costs, which said there should be a tax credit system to ensure at least that everybody who is entitled to get premium assistance should get it, and not just the one in three who now are entitled to get premium assistance?

Hon. F. S. Miller: The Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) tells me that the spending on health care is up about 60 per cent in that same time frame. I was Minister of Health, as members may recall, in the years --


Mr. Speaker: Order, order.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The fact is, if I recall the figures in 1974 when I became minister, health care spending in this province in total was about $2.2 billion. This year it will be about $5.6 billion.

Mr. T. P. Reid: That's management?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Is the member complaining? There is a gentleman who thinks we spend too much on health care, the member for Rainy River, the labour --


Mr. Speaker: Order, order. The minister will respond to Mr. Cassidy's question please.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The fact is we still raise roughly $4.3 billion to $4.4 billion of health care moneys through the general progressive, in quotes, revenues of this province. The balance is raised in a premium and I would argue that many Ontario citizens are very satisfied with that system.

Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary to the Treasurer and I would hope that we can get a simple straightforward answer from him. In answer to the first question put to the Treasurer, he still did not indicate to us why seven different studies in Ontario on this theme in the last decade have not provided enough evidence for him and his colleagues in cabinet to come up with the conclusion that these premiums are a regressive form of taxation, that they should be got rid of, and that instead of exploring the possibilities, the government will take the leadership to get rid of them and give us a guarantee they will disappear over the next year or two when the Treasurer finds a way of coming up with the money. Why does he not give us a straightforward answer to that?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I do not think the member would understand one.

Mr. Wildman: Will you quit being such a jerk?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, do you mind talking to that gentleman?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Did you hear that?

Mr. Speaker: No, I did not, I am sorry. I will take a look at Hansard and make a decision at that time.

Hon. F. S. Miller: That gentleman who called me a jerk on the record is supposed to be intelligent enough to be the critic for the NDP for Treasury, and I do not like that talk.

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I will withdraw the word "jerk" and just ask the Treasurer to answer some questions. Is he now ready to send this out for another study? I will withdraw the word "jerk" and ask when he is going to answer some questions in this House.

Mr. Speaker: That is not a supplementary.



Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the Treasurer --


Mr. Speaker: I will caution the member for Ottawa East.

Mr. Roy: I am sorry, what is the problem?

Mr. Speaker: Sit down. Order. That is the last time. Mr. Cassidy.

Mr. Cassidy: I have a new question for the Treasurer, Mr. Speaker, but I say to him if he is not prepared to defend his budget, which was a bad budget, the worst we have seen in this province in 20 years, then he should be prepared simply to stand aside as Treasurer. If he cannot stand the heat, he should get out of the kitchen.

My question to the Treasurer is about the apparent blindness of Ontario to the monopoly overcharge by the oil companies which has taken about $9 billion from consumers in Ontario over the course of the last 20 or 25 years. Can the minister explain why it is that the Ontario government ignored completely the report of the monopolies branch of the federal government when it reported on the monopoly overcharge levied by the oil companies?

Why was the government not prepared to lift a finger in order to get back for consumers in the province the billions of dollars they had been overcharged by the oil companies when that report came through a few months ago; but why is the Treasurer now prepared to turn around and tax consumers for oil and gasoline, and specifically to allow a tax that is a tax on taxes, that is a tax on costs, that is a tax on profits, and that is also a tax on those monopoly ripoffs?

Hon. F. S. Miller: The honourable leader of the NDP suggested if I could not stand the heat I should get out of the kitchen. I have the option, he does not; I was not invited to leave by my colleagues.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The content of that question, which relates to the report in Ottawa on the oil companies, is best asked more directly to the Minister of Energy.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I would have to indicate at this time that I really did not hear the question put. If the leader of the third party would rephrase his question, I will attempt an answer.

Mr. Cassidy: Briefly, my first question was: How would the government defend the fact that it is prepared to soak people purchasing gasoline across Ontario, but it was not prepared to lift a finger when the federal combines branch report indicated gasoline consumers in Ontario had been overcharged by the oil companies because of their monopoly to the tune of billions of dollars over the course of the last 20 years? Why is the minister prepared to tax the little guy who drives a car, and not prepared to lift a finger to protect people against the oil companies?

2.50 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, may I share two observations with the leader of the third-party members of the House?

Firstly, the honourable member I am sure has not overlooked the Isbister report, which of course was commissioned by this government some years ago, and indicated the interest of this government in the consumer's point of view.

Secondly, I think it is a bit premature to write off the involvement of the government of Ontario at the moment with respect to the federal report, because, as the honourable member will know, some consideration is now being given to starting some public hearings with respect to that report. We are at present studying that and giving some consideration to what our involvement in that might be. As I understand it -- and the members should not hold me to these dates -- those public hearings are scheduled to commence some time in early July, if memory does serve me correctly.

Mr. Cassidy: I have a supplementary to the Treasurer. Would the Treasurer explain how, even in a majority government, he can justify introducing a tax measure in the Legislature on Tuesday that will give to one minister of the crown the power to declare arbitrarily what the tax on gasoline will be and to increase that tax by any amount without reference to the public, without reference to the Legislature and without even reference to the cabinet, and to do so on only two days' notice? How does he defend that kind of arbitrary tax measure?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I would argue that whether I like it or not, most tax measures remain reasonably arbitrary. They are decisions that are made by a government to raise its moneys.

The fact remains that I raised $603 million more through tax measures the other night. The increase in the spending budget of the Ministry of Health alone this year was $650 million. Their average was very close to a 15 per cent increase. We have set our priorities very high on the social service side. We have kept our spending below inflation while providing the important and necessary needs.

We have to look at the whole tax base and the capability of the tax base in this province to support the spending of government, and take some from each level. The taxation of distilled products has traditionally been a provincial field occupied by all 10 provinces in this country at one time or another. It has been occupied to a large degree in the last few years by the federal government, which is desperate to try to get its hands on some money from any source it can.

Mr. Cassidy: The minister is not talking about gasoline.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I am talking about gasoline. They moved into gasoline at a time when they put the 10-cent tax on -- wasn't that about four years ago, Mr. Premier? All 10 provinces objected to that, because rightly or wrongly it had been a field used to support the necessary provincial services provided by provincial governments. The federal government got into major problems because of the imbalance of revenues in this country -- I refer to those at length -- and had to access fields traditionally left for the provinces.

Secondly, in that period of time I believe we are almost the last province -- I think only Nova Scotia is currently left without an ad valorem base for fuel taxes --


Hon. F. S. Miller: Of course Alberta has none. Alberta has none because we are sending our money out there, and they can use our money in place of taxes. I envy them, but the fact remains that they do.

Mr. Roy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to ask the Treasurer how he expects to have any credibility when he says Alberta's increases, for instance, are exorbitant, when in the past he called Premier Lougheed greedy, when he tried to lecture the federal --

Hon. Mr. Davis: No.

Mr. Roy: Yes, the Premier used that term.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Ask your question, please.

Mr. Roy: The Premier has a selective memory and he knows it.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Roy: I would like to ask the Treasurer, Mr. Speaker, how he expects to have any credibility at all in lecturing the federal government about inflation when most of his budget is profiteering from inflation. Is that what he meant in the last election by "keeping the promise"?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, since I became Treasurer we have seen Ontario's share of the gross provincial product, the taxes raised in this province, decline a full two points. That, I think, is very important. We are taking fewer of the dollars created in this province. I think the gross provincial product this year in this province is about $125 billion or $126 billion, give or take.

Mr. Breaugh: What's a billion?

Hon. F. S. Miller: The fact remains, I may be closer to the truth than he is when the year is out. We won't know until then. That's a 25 per cent increase, as I recall, since I introduced the budget two years ago. We have seen our share of that, in spite of inflation, decrease. That, to me, is a measure of good government. It's a fact that we have been able to control our costs and our share of the moneys created in this province better than our colleagues in Ottawa and better than our colleagues in most other provinces.

Mr. Cassidy: I would like to ask the minister, as the final supplementary, just what he considers his responsibility to this Legislature to be, as a parliamentarian, when he is prepared to put forward a piece of legislation that not only has an ad valorem tax in it but allows another minister of the crown to determine the taxable value of gasoline and effectively to put that taxable value at any figure he chooses.

In other words, the minister of the crown is being given the right to determine how much people across the province will have to pay in gasoline taxes, without consulting the Legislature or even consulting the cabinet. He could set that tax at any figure, he could even double it arbitrarily, without coming back to the Legislature. Surely this House deserves better than that if we are to maintain a parliamentary system in Ontario.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I think the implications in that question are quite serious. He is implying that somehow we would distort the marketplace assessment. All the law permits us to do is to use southern Ontario prices to determine the tax. We don't even use the price of fuel in the north; we are simply using southern Ontario prices that are factual. They are not subject to interpretation; they are factual. Percentage additions to price have been used for years; they have been used for a number of things such as alcohol and wine in the past. We are simply changing our method of calculation.


Mr. Peterson: I have a question for the Treasurer. On page 22 of his budget he says, "President Reagan's program is clearly designed to promote economic growth and it will have positive spillover benefits for our economy." He is extolling the virtues of Reagan's economics: tax cuts and spending cuts. If he believes this is going to work in the United States, why did he adopt exactly the opposite philosophy of increasing taxes, punitive taxes as they are here?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Again, Mr. Speaker, the critic for the opposition shows how little he knows about the American system. He knows full well they don't have an indexed personal tax base. He knows full well I will in fact reduce the tax burden at any constant level of income even at the new rate next year.

Mr. Reagan, with his inflation-prone tax system in the US, automatically benefits from inflation. He can make a nominal rate change and it still gives them a lot more revenue in the course of the year.

The member's leader is telling him the answer to the next question so I hope he will listen carefully to both of us.

The fact remains that Canada took that kind of measure several years ago. My revenues from personal income taxes in this province this year would have been 51.6 billion more than they are had we not had indexation in place. Therefore we are doing exactly what Friedman said a government would have to do, making a nominal rate change rather than profiting from inflation.

Mr. Peterson: Supplementary: The minister is now taking credit for indexation. In fact, his total take from personal income taxes this year will go up 22.4 per cent, which is beyond the level of indexation and the savings on the other end of the system, just so he understands it.

There is another discrepancy I do not understand in the minister's fiscal thinking: On the one hand, how can he give a $250-million tax expenditure program on sales tax cuts which expire at the end of June, in large measure to encourage consumption, and on the other hand punish those people who have to buy fuel in order to travel and to move about this province? He is giving with one hand and robbing with the other hand. What does he really stand for, or is he just trying to steal more money out of the public purse the easiest way he can? He is trying to pluck the goose with the least amount of hissing.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Again, when one sets the kinds of taxes one will increase or change in any way in the course of the year, one has to look at a given economic situation. I carefully explained on November 13 last year that we were in for two quarters of recession, that in fact savings levels were fairly high but the psychology of the marketplace had been such that many people were reluctant to buy things; that because interest rates were high there was some resistance to capital and durable goods. Therefore we took selective tax measures to create employment in this province. They were spectacularly successful. In the meantime, I came in with a cash requirement $200 million less than I predicted at the beginning of the year.

3 p.m.

Mr. Wildman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could the Treasurer admit that the sales tax exemptions that will end at the end of June really only had the effect of moving around purchases, that we may indeed see a slowdown in those kinds of purchases after the end of June, and the only growth he is expecting is as a result of what he hopes will happen in the United States?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, again I did not even try to deny that at the time. I pointed out that I was not trying to create a great many more total sales but trying to put them into a time period when men and women in this province needed jobs, and I did that.

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Treasurer: In view of the Treasurer's statement in budget paper A that over the past three years wage increases have greatly lagged behind inflation, how can the government justify personal tax increases and increases in Ontario health insurance plan premiums that will take an additional $300 per year from the average family making up to about $25,000 a year and putting the rates at the highest levels in the country, when at the same time he is refusing to increase taxation in the corporate sector one bit?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I addressed the question of corporate taxation versus personal taxation by pointing out that in the last three or four years we have increased corporate taxes several times. Whether the member likes it or not, we are in a state of affairs where some of our neighbour provinces are into a price war on corporate taxation. Quebec slashed the corporate tax rate from 10 per cent to three per cent. British Columbia cut it to eight per cent from 10 or 11 per cent. Our rates are now at the high end of the scale in this country. We have geographic advantages, but we cannot afford to have major tax disadvantages if we are interested in work.

Mr. Wildman: Will the Treasurer confirm that for a family of four earning about $15,000 a year, the rate of tax is about 80.2 per cent when the personal income tax and the OHIP premium increase are taken into account; that for $20,000 a year it is 69.7 per cent; for $25,000 a year it is 65.3 per cent -- not the ridiculous 48 per cent that he tries to maintain by ignoring OHIP premium increases?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the member is making observations.

Mr. Mancini: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Has the Treasurer had an opportunity to read the fancy fact book that was put out by his colleague the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman), where he stated that wages in Ontario were lower than in many other jurisdictions and that the time for construction of plants was significantly less in Ontario than in any other jurisdiction? He went on for 100 pages making statement after statement as to why industry could receive many benefits for coming to Ontario. Does the Treasurer not believe that he therefore had an opportunity to increase the corporate tax rate and go a little easier on the average working person?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Let me read back to the honourable member something his leader said, and I think he should understand what his leader said.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I can answer the member's question any way I want to -- that is one of my rights -- or I can refuse to answer.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order. New question.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I had not answered that question when you came to your feet.

Mr. Speaker: I did not know whether you were going to.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I wanted to, but he interrupted.

The Liberal leader said Canada cannot compete with industries in the developing world --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The minister is answering the question. If you want to hear it, fine. If you do not, we will pass it along to someone else.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Because Third World workers earn much less than Canadians, he said wage levels must be kept down if Canadian exports are to be competitive on world markets. Those are his words. One has to take a number of factors into effect when one looks at wage levels. We have had over the past years a reasonably good record of productivity increases versus unit cost increases, making our province quite competitive compared to our neighbours.


Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. A statement appears on page 12 of the budget, one which he reiterated the other night probably with tongue in cheek, and I quote, "Let there be no doubt that this government fully recognizes the importance of the farm sector to the Ontario economy and the substantial contribution of the farming community."

Can the Treasurer indicate to us specifically how he intends to help the agricultural industry in this province in view of the fact little was said in the budget indicating any meaningful assistance to the farming industry?

Considering the percentage of the total provincial budget devoted to agriculture has been declining steadily over the years, certainly since I have been here, and now stands at one per cent -- imagine, one per cent of the total provincial budget -- and also, considering no mention was made of any action to be taken on the repeated request by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture for an immediate interest subsidy program and the reinstatement of the junior farmer establishment loan program, and considering there was no mention of the acreage improvement fund to drain a million acres of land in northern and eastern Ontario as promised in the BILD program, what is the Treasurer going to do to lend credence to his statement in the budget that this government fully recognizes the importance of the farm sector to the Ontario economy?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, he and his colleagues have read their questions well. I would point out --


Hon. F. S. Miller: At least I had the courage to do it, something he may never have had.


Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes, and a heart attack right afterwards.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister will address himself to the question, please.

Mr. Cunningham: What did you tell them in the campaign?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Listen, you are not worth answering.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Mr. Riddell asked the question and I presume he is anticipating an answer, Mr. Miller.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The member for Huron-Middlesex assumes that the promise in the budget to remove all property tax on productive agricultural land is not worth anything to the farmers of this province. I tell him, if he thinks that is worth nothing to the farmers of this province he had better go back to his riding and talk to some of the people there and discover it is a pretty important thing to the farmers of this province.

Second, the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) and I met and intend to keep on meeting with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture to do what we can to improve programs at a time when neighbouring jurisdictions like Quebec are getting a great deal of help. Do you know why? Because Quebec each year gets $1.8 billion of federal transfers through the equalization program, $1.5 billion of which comes out of Ontario.

Mr. Riddell: I wonder if the Treasurer could tell us what his proposed property tax change for 1982, if it comes in, is going to do to prevent further bankruptcies from occurring in the farming industry today? Whose backs are the members opposite going to ride on when the farmers can no longer carry them?

3:10 p.m.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The farm community itself will say that not all sectors are in trouble. They will define at least two groups, I understand -- young farmers and red meat producers.

Mr. Riddell: What has the Treasurer got against young farmers?

Mr. Speaker: You have already asked your supplementary.


Mr. Speaker: Order, order.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I have members in my family who are young farmers, in red meat production -- beef farmers. I have some understanding of it. Father has to stay in this Legislature until we break even in the beef business, at which point I can retire. The honourable member has a vested interest in solving the problems of the beef industry -- so I can go home.

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The Treasurer argues that the budget's contribution to the welfare of agriculture was in terms of relieving tax from farm land and buildings. He is being selective in saying this because he has also wiped out the 50 per cent rebate on taxes that now exists. Would he care to inform the House as to what the net impact of that is going to be for farmers? Are they going to get any increase at all since he has wiped out the 50 per cent -- a fact he chooses to ignore?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes they will, Mr. Speaker. One of the problems we have right now is the definition of a farmer. I think the farm community is going to work with us on that. The honourable member and I would agree we do not intend to help hobby farmers or people who are using farms as tax evasion. We are interested in helping sincere farmers.

Right now the federal government is taxing back the 50 per cent grant Ontario has given farmers. Therefore our money is going into the federal Treasury. The honourable member and I have no vested interest in seeing that continue. We want to get our Ontario dollars back into Ontario farmers' pockets and there will be a material improvement.


Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Treasurer, who failed to put into his budget the sort of housing speculation tax that I proposed in the resolution I tabled last Thursday. How can the Treasurer fail to take advantage of such an obvious source of revenue as the enormous speculative profits being made in the residential housing market? Why does his budget stick it to ordinary home owners without taxing housing speculators, particularly those who are making huge profits in the Metropolitan Toronto area?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, a fundamental difference between the honourable member's party and mine is trust in the marketplace. We used the speculation tax at a time when that marketplace was out of control. If the member had heard the Toronto Real Estate Board announcement today, he would have heard about a tremendous slump in housing in Toronto in the last two weeks. They are predicting housing prices will fall 20 per cent by fall.

Mr. Philip: Perhaps I may send to the minister an example of that great marketplace he puts so much faith in. How can the Treasurer refuse to institute such a housing speculation tax to curb speculation which put up the price of a house on Beaches Avenue in Toronto by $88,000? Is it the normal working of the marketplace that allows a house that sold in June 1980 for $57,000 to be sold last month for $145,000, even though it was by no means fully renovated? It gave a profit to that speculator of 196 per cent in eight months.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I hope at the luncheon with the real estate operators the member paid for his own lunch, now that he is attacking them. I understand that is who he had lunch with.

This is one of the traditional approaches the member's party has started to take lately -- always to read a specific case into the record. Of course one will find specific cases, but that does not mean the whole system is not working.


Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Treasurer. The Treasurer's budget for spending on apprentice and manpower training this year of some $125 million is not one dollar higher than last year. This province is already short 3,000 skilled workers, and that figure could reach as high as 35,000 by 1985. In view of the fact there is room for only one out of every four students who want to enter apprentice programs today, how does the Treasurer justify cutting back spending when inflation is running, by his own rate, at 12 per cent? How does he justify not enriching the programs, as he should have done?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, under the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program we have a good deal of emphasis on retraining and training. The ministers of Labour (Mr. Elgie) and Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) are working very effectively, and I think they can give the member the details on the numbers of people entering skills training areas. I have been very encouraged by them. We have not solved all the problems, but let me assure the member a great deal of progress has occurred in two years.

Mr. Wrye: Since the Treasurer is so certain that funding is adequate to solve our shortage in the skilled trade area, to help get our economy moving again and to reduce unemployment, maybe I could ask him how he justifies the increase in funding to our post-secondary institutions? There are institutions that are so hard pressed for money that they have begun to lay off staff, and I would point out to the Treasurer that the latest estimate of layoffs at community colleges alone numbers 500 academic and support staff. How does he justify so underfunding those schools that layoffs and unemployment have become the order of the day?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I wish the member would co-ordinate his questions with the front bench because I was hearing questions a few moments about spending too much money and wasting it. Now he is telling me to spend more.

Mr. Cooke: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to ask the Treasurer why it is that in the recent changes in the tuition structure in this province we are now in a position in Ontario where the students of the province are contributing as much to post-secondary education as the province is because the rest of the money comes from the federal government? What does the Treasurer have against working-class kids going to university in this province?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the member's background is, but I am a working-class kid who went to university. I did not get any assistance. There was no government help at the time I went. We pay five sixths of post-secondary education at this time through general revenues.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: My question is to the Premier, Mr. Speaker, with regard to his intervention yesterday in the committee's deliberation on the Toronto bill on the Spadina Expressway and his seeming move away from his promises of as early as 1975 to have a three-foot strip granted to the city of Toronto.

Will the Premier tell us why he asked us not to pass that motion when the motion only allowed the city to receive that land, if granted, not ordering it to be granted, when he knows that motions from York in opposition to that have been around for at least two years and what they are mainly concerned about now is compensation? Why did he use the term "lease" for the first time in any correspondence I have seen from him, rather than the word "grant"? Was it to make us all feel that perhaps his commitment to the stopping of the Spadina Expressway is not as strong now as it used to be?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition -- I will not say erroneously, but I think questionably -- raised this as a matter of privilege or whatever it was.

Mr. Smith: Legitimately.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Why does he not just ask a question about it, like the member for Scarborough West?

Mr. Smith: I don't need any instructions from the Premier on how to raise points of privilege.

Mr. Speaker: The Leader of the Oppositon has had ample opportunity to ask his question. With great respect, I would suggest that the privileges of the back-benchers of this House be recognized.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I was really trying to solve the problem for two members who had raised this in another fashion earlier, so I would not have to deal with it twice.

I did not make an intervention yesterday. I wrote a letter to the chairman of the committee. I personally did not attend. I see in the third from last paragraph where the phrase was used, "by way of grant or lease." The word "grant" is still very much there. I notice that the member perhaps overlooked that and perhaps the member for Parkdale (Mr. Ruprecht) did not really see that when he was making his reference. I just want to point it out.

Mr. Smith: Read page one, paragraph three.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Does the member want me to read the whole letter? I really do not think it matters.

3:20 p.m.

This issue was really decided in 1971, not in 1976. As I pointed out on a number of occasions, it has now been some 10 years since the Spadina Expressway, technically the Allen Expressway -- it has been called other names --

Mr. T. P. Reid: The Davis ditch.

Hon. Mr. Davis: That is correct. I know the party opposite would have built it. Their leader went to one of the very distinguished controllers in North York urging her to be a candidate. I know why. Unlike the Liberal Party of this province, we do not flip-flop on issues. Our position on this has been totally consistent.

I met with the mayor of the great city of Toronto some two weeks ago. We discussed a number of issues and this was one of them. I made it quite clear to him that I did not think the solution lay in a city of Toronto private bill. I think this is a matter of provincial government policy enunciated by this government. We have sought and will continue to seek ways and means to bring it to some finality. I also pointed out, though, something the member should remember -- and I am sure the mayor of this city understands this too -- that as long as I am Premier the Allen Expressway will not be extended below Eglinton Avenue.

Mr. Smith: As long as you are Premier, that is right; exactly.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Be polite for a change and listen. You might learn something.

Mr. Cassidy: That is a new loophole.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, there is no loophole.

The member has been talking about the parliamentary system and democracy. The reality is that no matter what mechanism is used, whether it is a grant to the city of Toronto, whether it is a 99-year or 2,000-year lease, this Legislature in its wisdom -- and I think it would be a lack of wisdom -- would have the legal capacity to expropriate that three-foot strip. If this Legislature decided to do so at some point in history, it could build the Spadina Expressway. That is the reality.

I say to the people of this great city, to the member for St. George (Ms. Fish), who was on top of this well before the member for Parkdale and well before the Leader of the Opposition, who is totally ambivalent on this subject, that as long as I am Premier, no matter what legal device may be used, the Spadina --

Mr. Cassidy: That is the new loophole. It is like rent control.

Hon. Mr. Davis: It is not a new loophole. Speak to the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick). He will tell the leader of the New Democratic Party what the facts of life are in terms of what the law can and cannot do. We will solve this problem. As long as I am head of the government of this province, I say -- regretfully for some citizens -- the Spadina Expressway will not go below Eglinton Avenue.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Unlike the members opposite, I am not saying the Premier only mentions the word "lease." He does mention "grant," but it is the first time he mentions lease and a number of us are concerned about that because of the greater flexibility. Will the Premier give us a promise today to show his intent is true and not just that some time in the far future we will get action? Since the Premier is not accepting a private bill, will he bring in legislation now before the summer recess so that we can pass a bill providing that three-foot strip and any compensation he needs to give to York to buy them off?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I do not quarrel with the balance of the member's question, but regarding the last phrase of his question, I have never looked upon this as giving compensation to buy off York. The chief magistrate of that community has some points of view. I gather from the press they may not be exactly what I felt they were a year or so ago in our exchange of correspondence. If the mayor of that great municipality is now saying she agrees there should be some negotiation to solve it, that is what we have been seeking for five years.

Once again, I point out in very simplistic terms, we would like to have had this settled two or three years ago. We are dealing with people who have different points of view. We do not want to impose if we do not have to. The reality is that there has not been a grader or a yard of concrete laid south of Eglinton Avenue since 1971, and I can say until 1984, and perhaps beyond, it will not happen -- as long as I am Premier of this province.

Mr. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the concern in Toronto is that the Premier may have reached an agreement with certain individuals that during his stewardship of the government nothing will happen, but that he will do nothing to put a permanent block in the way, may I ask how he reconciles that with his present statement in his letter of May 19, "When I first made that commitment, it was my understanding there was opposition and so on, and he said his intention was to lease a three-foot strip, even though his commitment clearly said the government would grant to the city a three-foot reserve.

Since he now says nothing is really permanent, why did he not say that in 1975 when he said, "I would hope this would be more than a symbol of our resolution with respect to Spadina, but a legal, permanent barrier, the presence of which would end all future speculation and diminish for all time the aspirations of those who continue to hope for some future reversal of the Spadina decision"?

If it is all the same, a lease, a grant, or anything else, why does the Premier not do what he originally promised and grant, not lease, the three-foot strip to the city of Toronto as he originally led people to believe he would?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, with great respect, the Leader of the Opposition is perhaps unintentionally and perhaps without sufficient knowledge distorting it.

Mr. Smith: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I have read the Premier's speech into the record. If I am distorting, it is simply because I have quoted verbatim the Premier's speech of 1975.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I really do not wish to get into a legal argument with the Leader of the Opposition. My commitment or the government's commitment is very clear, and that is not to see the Spadina Expressway extended south of Eglinton Avenue.

Mr. Smith: You will close your eyes and you will not see it happen.

Hon. Mr. Davis: At least I have not said to half a dozen different people that I may or may not do it, unlike the member. We have been totally consistent on this issue and we are going to stay consistent on this issue. Our task is to get some reconciliation if possible between the city of Toronto and the borough of York. The borough of York has been less than enthusiastic about granting that three-foot strip of land.

Mr. Smith: So now it is a lease.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, the member should ask the legal adviser on his right. One can grant a lease. That may come as a great shock to him. Is that not right, I ask the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt)? One can have a lease that has the binding effect of a grant.

I was pointing out to the member for Scarborough West (Mr. Johnston) that this Legislature can pass a bill -- I make this clear -- giving three feet to the city of Toronto. It is also possible for this Legislature at some future point -- it will not happen as long as I am in this position -- to pass a bill taking away that three-foot strip.

The reality is we will have this problem solved. I cannot say to the honourable member it will be done by the end of June. I told the mayor of the city -- this was two weeks ago -- that we hoped to have it finished during this session. I hope we can do it by way of negotiation so that it is not necessary for us to pass legislation.

Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.

Ms. Copps: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I understand the Premier said in his remarks today that he had some correspondence with the chief magistrate of the borough of York. Having sat on the standing committee on general government yesterday, where there appeared to be some --

Mr. Speaker: What is your point of order, please?

Ms. Copps: My point of order is, has there been correspondence between the --

Mr. Speaker: That is not a point of order.

Ms. Copps: Would the Premier be prepared to table the correspondence he has had with the chief magistrate?

Mr. Speaker: Order. Would you resume your seat please?

Mr. Cunningham: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: Having attended the same sessions, I must admit there is some confusion for some of us in view of the variance in the statements made by the Premier and the chief magistrate for the borough of York.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Would you identify your point of privilege? Have your privileges been abused?

Mr. Cunningham: Oh yes. I believe we have been misled. The chief magistrate says one thing; the Premier says another. What is the story?

Mr. Speaker: That is not a point of privilege.



Mr. Barlow from the standing committee on general government presented the following report and moved its adoption:

Your committee begs to report the following bills without amendment:

Bill Pr6, An Act respecting the city of Lambton; Bill Pr7, An Act respecting the city of Windsor.

Your committee would recommend that the fees less the actual cost of printing be remitted on Bill Pr7, An Act respecting the city of Windsor.

Motion agreed to.

3:30 p.m.



Hon. Mr. Henderson moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Bernier, first reading of Bill 74, An Act to amend the Livestock Branding Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to remove the individual identification of purebred livestock from the act.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Mr. McCague, first reading of Bill 75, An Act to amend the Town of Wasaga Beach Act, 1973.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, the section to be added by this bill deems the town of Wasaga Beach to be a township municipality for the purposes of the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act.


Hon. Mr. Ashe moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. McCague, first reading of Bill 76, An Act to amend the Tobacco Tax Act.

3:55 p.m.

The House divided on Hon. Mr. Ashe's motion for first reading of Bill 76, which was agreed to on the following vote:


Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Brandt, Breaugh, Bryden, Cassidy, Charlton, Cooke, Cousens, Davis, Dean, Di Santo, Drea, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Foulds, Gillies, Gordon, Grande, Gregory, Grossman;

Harris, Henderson, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Johnston, R. F., Jones, Kells, Kennedy, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk, MacQuarrie, Mackenzie, McCaffrey, McCague, McLean, Miller, F. S., Mitchell, Norton, Philip, Piché, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Renwick, Robinson, Rotenberg, Runciman;

Samis, Scrivener, Sheppard, Shymko, Snow, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Stokes, Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Wildman, Williams, Wiseman, Yakabuski.


Bradley, Breithaupt, Copps, Cunningham, Eakins, Edighoffer, Elston, Haggerty, Kerrio, Mancini, McEwen, McGuigan, Newman, O'Neil, Peterson, Reed, J. A., Riddell, Ruprecht, Ruston, Smith, Spensieri, Sweeney, Van Horne, Worton, Wrye.

Ayes 79; nays 25.

4 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Ashe moved, seconded by Hon. F. S. Miller, first reading of Bill 77, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act.

Mr. Speaker: Shall we dispense with the bells and take the same vote?

Some hon. members: No.

4:40 p.m.

The House divided on Hon. Mr. Ashe's motion for first reading of Bill 77, which was agreed to on the following vote:


Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Brandt, Cousens, Davis, Dean, Drea, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman;

Harris, Havrot, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kells, Kennedy, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk, MacQuarrie, McCaffrey, McCague, McLean, Miller, F. S., Mitchell, Norton, Piché, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Robinson, Rotenberg, Runciman, Scrivener;

Sheppard, Shymko, Snow, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wiseman.


Bradley, Breaugh, Breithaupt, Bryden, Cassidy, Charlton, Cooke, Copps, Cunningham, Di Santo, Eakins, Edighoffer, Elston, Foulds, Grande, Haggerty, Johnston, R. F., MacDonald, Mackenzie, Mancini, McEwen, McGuigan, Miller, G. I.;

Newman, O'Neil, Peterson, Philip, Reed, J. A., Reid, T. P., Riddell, Roy, Ruprecht, Ruston, Samis, Smith, Spensieri, Stokes, Sweeney, Van Horne, Wildman, Worton, Wrye.

Ayes 64; nays 42.


Hon. Mr. Ashe moved, seconded by Hon. F. S. Miller, first reading of Bill 78, An Act to amend the Ontario Pensioners Property Tax Assistance Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Ashe moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. McCague, first reading of Bill 79, An Act to amend the Corporations Tax Act, 1972.

The House divided on Hon. Mr. Ashe's motion for first reading of Bill 79, which was agreed to on the following vote:


Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Brandt, Cousens, Davis, Dean, Drea, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Havrot, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kells, Kennedy, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk, MacQuarrie, McCaffrey, McCague, McLean, Miller, F. S., Mitchell;

Norton, Piché, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Robinson, Rotenberg, Runciman, Scrivener, Sheppard, Shymko, Snow, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wiseman.


Bradley, Breaugh, Breithaupt, Bryden. Cassidy, Charlton, Cooke, Copps, Cunningham, Di Santo, Eakins, Edighoffer, Elston, Foulds, Grande, Haggerty, Johnston, R. F., MacDonald, Mackenzie, Mancini, McEwen, McGuigan, Miller, G. I., Newman;

O'Neil, Peterson, Philip, Reed, J. A., Reid, T. P., Riddell, Roy, Ruprecht, Ruston, Samis, Smith, Spensieri, Stokes, Sweeney, Van Horne, Wildman, Worton, Wrye.

Ayes 64; nays 42.

4:50 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Ashe moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. McCague, first reading of Bill 80, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Ashe moved, seconded by Hon. F. S. Miller, first reading of Bill 81, An Act to amend the Racetracks Tax Act.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Philip moved, seconded by Mr. R. F. Johnston, first reading of Bill 82, An Act respecting Insured Services under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

Mr. Speaker: Shall the motion carry? Those in favour will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

May we dispense with the bells? Bring in the members.

If all members will remain in the chamber, we can carry on very quickly.

The House divided on Mr. Philip's motion, which was negatived on the following vote:


Bradley, Breaugh, Breithaupt, Bryden, Cassidy, Charlton, Cooke, Copps, Cunningham, Di Santo, Eakins, Edighoffer, Elston, Foulds, Grande, Haggerty, Johnston, R. F., MacDonald, Mackenzie, Mancini, McEwen, McGuigan, Miller, G. I., Newman, O'Neil, Peterson;

Philip, Reed, J. A., Reid, T. P., Riddell, Roy, Ruprecht, Ruston, Samis, Smith, Spensieri, Stokes, Sweeney, Van Horne, Wildman, Worton, Wrye.


Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Brandt, Cousens, Davis, Dean, Drea, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Havrot, Henderson, Hennessy;

Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kells, Kennedy, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk, MacQuarrie, McCaffrey, McCague, McLean, Miller, F. S., Mitchell, Norton, Piché, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Robinson, Rotenberg, Runciman;

Scrivener, Sheppard, Shymko, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wiseman.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Smith, on a point of order.

Mr. Smith: On a point of order Mr. Speaker: The record will --

Mr. Speaker: Order. You will have to wait until this is over.

Mr. Smith: Well, it's on the subject of the vote, but I'll wait.

Ayes 42; nays 63.

5 p.m.

Mr. Smith: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I would like to indicate as a matter of historical significance that this is the first time the Premier (Mr. Davis) has voted on a private member's bill. He has never previously voted on a private member's bill --

Mr. Speaker: That is not a point of order, Mr. Smith.

Mr. Smith: -- and this was a bill to provide --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, Mr. Smith. You are out of order.

Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: As a member of the select committee on the Camp commission report of about five years ago, I was in part responsible for the procedure under which private members' legislation was put in a form that, to this Legislature, was more progressive and, I think, more reflective of the need to give private members rights than in any other parliamentary system in Canada and possibly within the whole parliamentary system around the world. It is a matter of great regret to me that the government has chosen to use its majority power to prevent a member --


Mr. Speaker: Mr. Cassidy, order. Order. It is not a point of order; nothing is out of order. You did not raise a point of order, so therefore I declare that --

Mr. Cassidy: If I may be permitted to make my point of order, then you would --

Mr. Speaker: I will allow you to identify your point of order if indeed you have one.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, my point of order was that the privileges of the private members of this House have been abrogated by the government's action in preventing the right of a private member to get his or her legislation on to the Order Paper.

Mr. Speaker: There was nothing out of order.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I would ask you to consider, on the whole question of the introduction of private members' bills, whether any proposal that involves a change in the benefits under the Health Insurance Act or any similar piece of legislation constitutes a money bill and is therefore out of order.

Mr. Foulds: On that point of order, Mr. Speaker: The government is fond of saying OHIP premiums are not a tax. If that is so, the minister cannot have it both ways.

Mr. Speaker: I think the standing orders are quite clear on the parameters and guidelines for private members' bills. I have not seen the bill, of course, and I will take a look at it.

Mr. Philip: On the point of order raised by the Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker: The bill in fact is permissive; it uses the word "may," not "shall." This same identical bill was introduced in the last session of the Legislature and was carried on first reading. Therefore I suggest to you that it is not ordering the expenditure of money and therefore is in order, and I ask you to consider that.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you very much, and indeed I will.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I submit to you -- and I know you will give it careful consideration and rule at some future point -- that any legislation introduced from any point in the House other than the Treasury benches that involves the possible expenditure of public moneys is in fact a money bill and is out of order.

Mr. Cassidy: On a new point of order, Mr. Speaker: I would ask you as Speaker and as the defender of the rights of the private members of this House to consider very carefully, to consult with those people with whom you consult and to consult the authorities, with respect to the use of the majority to prevent a private member's bill from coming to this Legislature. If that were to become a precedent it would mean that a member of the opposition could never exercise his rights to use the private members' hour, and that is indefensible.


Mr. MacDonald: I have a small point of order, Mr. Speaker. I draw to your attention, and I hope this will not happen again, that the Leader of the Opposition rose out of order in the middle of the vote to make his point of order. Therefore, that apparently gave him precedence to have a point of order; you gave it to him even though the leader of this party rose to deal with an issue that was within this party's consideration with the introduction of that bill. If the Leader of the Opposition rose out of order he has no precedence.

Mr. Breithaupt: That is a small point.

Mr. MacDonald: I agree.

Mr. Speaker: That was not the point on which he was recognized. In fact he rose, as the member said, out of order. He was called and he retained his seat. The Leader of the Opposition is just that -- the leader of the official opposition. In the matter of rotation we have always recognized that points of order, questions and so forth start with the official opposition; then they go to the New Democratic Party.

Mr. Cassidy: So you gave him precedence.

Mr. Speaker: I recognize that, but that has happened before on supplementary questions. I have always recognized in rotation, and I will continue to do so in fairness.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order --

Mr. Watson: You are back, Albert. You did get in.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Roy: I think he has raised a valid point of order for your consideration, in the sense that the standing orders have set aside times for private members' business and bills. I think it is important that you consider the government's use of its majority in this fashion. The member made the point it would prevent the introduction of a private member's bill. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to give that matter serious consideration. It could undermine any attempt by an opposition member to introduce legislation. I quite understand that members are embarrassed by their actions across the way --


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Roy: -- but I think it highly improper. They should be ashamed over there.


Mr. Speaker: Order. That point had been raised and identified earlier. I have assured the House I will give very close consideration to the point raised.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day could I have the consent of the House to revert to motions?

Agreed to.



Hon. Mr. Wells moves that notwithstanding any standing order of the House the ballot item of the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel (Mr. J. M. Johnson) be deferred for consideration until next Thursday, May 28, and that the scheduling according to the order of precedence be revised accordingly.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The point is, Mr. Speaker, that for the remaining time today we can handle the ballot item of the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds),

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I wish to table the answers to the following questions standing on the Notice Paper: 75, 79, 80, 81 and 86; and the interim answers to questions 82 to 85 inclusive and 87 and 88. See Hansard for Friday, May 22.

5:10 p.m.




Mr. Foulds moved second reading of Bill 3, An Act respecting Advertising by Governmental Organizations.

Mr. Foulds: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I would like to reserve whatever time is available to me to wind up, and I would also like to thank two servants of the Legislature who have helped me with the legislation.

I would, first of all, like to thank David Phillips of legislative counsel, who has always provided private members with excellent work in drafting bills. He did an exceptionally fine job in drafting this one, because I think he avoided in legislative terms some of the pitfalls and some of the obvious arguments that could be used against a different kind of legislation. What we have done here is not to try to ban a certain kind of advertising such as lifestyle advertising or advocacy advertising, which is very difficult to define in legislative terms; we have got to the heart of the matter and prohibited advertising of a certain type. I will get to that in a moment.

Second, I would like to thank Don Krueger of the legislative library research and information services, who threw together a good many articles about this question from magazines across the world -- United States publications, Canadian publications, trade publications and European publications.

It is a question that has begun to cause considerable concern to advertisers themselves, to social scientists and to politicians. There is a good deal of very interesting and intriguing literature on the topic, and I recommend it to members of the House.

It is a real pleasure to introduce and to have had this bill come to debate, because it is, in my view, extremely important to have a public debate about the scope, the purpose and the need for government advertising. Bill 3, along with its companion bill, Bill 4, which we will not be debating today but which I hope the government will introduce at some future time, would severely restrict government advertising. But it is important to understand that it does not ban government advertising nor does it abolish so-called lifestyle advertising. Maybe that should be done, but that is another argument.

Bill 4 bans all government advertising during the course of an election, except if it is an emergency, and that emergency has to be agreed by the leaders of the opposition parties. Bill 4 is modelled after the Saskatchewan legislation, which withdraws all government advertising during the course of an election campaign.

Bill 3 very simply says, and this is the heart and core of the principle of the bill: "No governmental organization shall advertise if the effect of the advertisement is to promote directly or indirectly the political party to which the members of the executive council belong." That is the heart of the bill; that is the important principle that I believe this Legislature must approve and must pass.

If this bill in principle is not passed, it is a clear admission by the government party that it has been using public funds to promote its party interest, and I recognize the seriousness of that charge. If the principle of this bill is defeated or blocked, those voting against it are voting against a very fundamental principle.

There may be other clauses in the bill that need some revision and I would be happy to do that during debate in committee stage.

I do quite genuinely expect support from all parties. My friends from the official opposition, the Liberal Party, have indicated they will support the bill. People in my own caucus have said they will support the bill. The minister who is now the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Ramsay) has publicly gone on record to say he is opposed to government advertising of the kind I am objecting to. I quote from an article printed in the Globe and Mail, March 13, 1981:

"The Conservative candidate for Sault Ste. Marie in the Ontario election says he is embarrassed by the government ads. Russ Ramsay, PC member in the last Legislature, said that if he were in a position to have the final say he would not allow the ads to run. Mr. Ramsay, a former broadcaster, made this statement in response to a suggestion at a public meeting that the ads -- particularly 'Preserve It, Conserve It' and 'Good Things Grow in Ontario' -- were blatant messages aimed at the voter and were immoral."

So I expect there will be support from all sides of the House on second reading and that there will be suggestions from the government members to improve the legislation.

Let me outline the reasons for the bill:

First, government advertising in Ontario has grown by leaps and bounds in the past four years. The expenditure has grown, at least doubled if not quadrupled, since 1976, while other areas of government expenditure such as hospital beds, social services, et cetera, have been restrained to the point of cutbacks. From what I am able to gather from the Provincial Auditor's figures, this area of government expenditure had gone up to at least $23 million by March 1980. That is the first reason we need a bill of this kind: because the kind of advertising the government is getting into is very extravagant.

Second, the report of the Office of the Provincial Auditor dated January 14, 1981, indicates some serious concerns by the auditor. After determining that total government advertising costs for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1980, were at least $23,874,432, the auditor went on to say: "In addition to the amount shown in the summary, we have determined that some advertising costs have been included in the services code 471 -- other services."

In other words there were additional expenditures. They did not know how much, and the auditor goes on to say it would be a very lengthy and expensive investigation to determine that. At that point the auditor and the public accounts committee did not have a further opportunity to report to the Legislature because the election had been called on February 2.

The auditor goes on to say: "It is also possible that advertising costs have been included in other service codes." So as well as the two categories he could clearly define and account for, there are serious possibilities that there are additional hidden sums of government money being spent on advertising.

Third, there was a clear and crass abuse of public funds to promote the Progressive Conservative Party by the use of government advertising -- most blatantly in the last two years. In particular, the kind of advertising such as the Ministry of Energy's "Preserve It, Conserve It," the Ministry of Agriculture and Food's "Good Things Grow in Ontario," and the Ministry of the Environment's "You're Clean Ontario," clearly have no informational value for the public. These advertising campaigns merely promote the political party in office. They do not supply to the electorate a needed service; they are propaganda pure and simple -- clever and slick but propaganda.

I have more ambivalent feelings about tourist advertising. The advertising done by the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, particularly outside the province, can be advocacy advertising and it should be, to encourage people to come to Ontario. The only government advertising I have seen on the Buffalo channels from New York state is deliberate government advertising to encourage Ontario people to go and visit New York state. That is legitimate.

I have not been able to check whether this is done legislatively or not, but it is interesting that New York state does not advertise heavily on the American channels that we get in Toronto -- not the way both the federal and provincial governments do here.

5:20 p.m.

Fourth, there has been a deliberate attempt by the government to conceal the total amount of the advertising budget. Last fall when I put a question on the Order Paper, number 301, asking for the details of government advertising expenditures, it was simply not answered. That question was followed by a series of detailed questions for each ministry put by members of the Liberal Party. By December 12, when the House adjourned, those questions all remained unanswered even though an interim answer on October 20 and 21 promised that information would be available on November 30.

This spring the questions have been put again by me, along with a series of detailed ones by members of the Liberal Party. Again the interim answer has been that the answer would be ready in mid-June, just before the House adjourns. What bothers me is, it is my information that the information has been gathered internally, is available for tabling and the government simply will not release it. I ask the serious question, why is the government hiding this information?

Fifth, the government continued to run -- and this is quite serious -- those questionable ads at the best times during the course of the recent election campaign. The massive expenditure of public funds on provincial government advertising by the Conservatives leading up to and during the past election campaign was a shameful abuse of power and a scandalous waste of taxpayers' money. The "Preserve it, Conserve it" campaign was cynically designed by a government too long in power. It was designed for straightforward propaganda reasons and for crass political gain.

The Election Finances Reform Act of this province was clearly intended to control advertising during elections. The Conservatives found a loophole in that law and used it ruthlessly. They seem completely unconcerned that they were violating the principles of that law and were forcing the taxpayers to pay for their electioneering.

Mr. Bradley: The Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses did nothing about it.

Mr. Foulds: Exactly, and I hope the member who interjects will make that point because it is an important and valid one. If I have time I will at least try to refer to it in my remarks.

I must say that in the trade journals I examined, it would appear the federal government has been just as guilty. I suspect other provincial jurisdictions have been just as guilty. I quote from the advertising and marketing section of the August 23 edition of the Financial Post. This was about the Canadian unity campaign that was designed federally. "There is some negative feeling among the advertising community on two fundamental issues: one, that the campaign is a waste of government money because other problems should have a higher priority; and secondly, if there has to be a campaign, then the soft-sell, mushy approach is far from effective."

If it is to convey information, I think the soft-sell, mushy approach of that kind of advertising fails.

Another executive, R. James McCoubrey, president of Young and Rubicam, was equally unimpressed. He said: "The tone of the campaign is superficial and doesn't provide any information that is useful or relevant. I believe that it is intended to nudge opinion polls so that the government can act unilaterally. It is a sorry thing to use that pap to touch the national conscience."

The same can be said of the environmental ads and the energy ads. It is interesting that private advertising at least has to meet the ethical standards developed by the advertising industry, and section 36 of the Combines Investigation Act disallows statements that are misleading or false. There is no such protection against government advertising. Why is it our democracy has no protection against misleading advertising by government and no avenue to challenge government propaganda?

I want to refer briefly to the fact that when the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) brought this matter to the attention of the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses, it decided not to act. Chairman Arthur Wishart was quoted as saying, "The act does not give the commission authority to look at government advertising." He added: "A commission created by government should not advise the government on what or how to advertise. It would be an error and the commission is not competent to do it." I suggest that my bill would give the commission authority to do it and that the commission should get the competence to do it, because some supposedly neutral watchdog has to protect us and the public.

Finally, I want to refer to an article by Morris Wolfe in Saturday Night of December 1980, in which he makes a very interesting argument against advocacy advertising, particularly by government. It is not an argument I entirely agree with but he makes comments that I think are worth reading into the record. He talks largely about the federal government's unity campaign, but he also says:

"Because Ontario supports the federal government's position on the constitution, it hasn't felt the need to become involved in constitutional advertising of its own" -- as some other provinces did -- "but it has found other ways to use advocacy advertising. A public opinion survey commissioned by the Ontario government revealed that people in Ontario were concerned about the environment and felt the provincial government wasn't doing enough to protect it. So the government simply hired an ad agency to change the public's perception."

It is cheaper to change the way people think than to change reality; that is the shameful thing. The government did not move to change the environmental problems; it moved, by an advertising campaign, to change people's perception of the problems.

"One TV ad offers some vignettes of beautiful Ontario -- deer lapping water, et cetera -- while an actor says, 'I am an engineer. I work all over the world, and Ontario is the cleanest place I know.... As Leonard Brockington, the first chairman of the CBC, put it in 1939, 'Above all, there should be no preference for wealth. Freedom of speech is not for sale.'"

Unfortunately, we now recognize in this day and age freedom of speech is for sale. Governments with huge advertising budgets, companies with huge advertising budgets can say more than the average person, and they can say it effectively through those media.

I think there is a legitimate place for government advertising, obviously to promote tourism outside our borders, or to promote useful programs such as the use of seatbelts. I think that is legitimate. I think some health ads, although I disagree with some of the lines and the flavour of them, can change lifestyles, such as the Participaction ad that encouraged people to keep fit. Even some of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Affairs ads, such as "You Are Your Own Liquor Control Board," have a value and a place. It is not all cut and dried, and that is why I have tried in this bill to tackle it the way I have.

As to Hydro ads, it is legitimate for Hydro to advertise, it seems to me, in order to compete with Imperial Oil and natural gas. I have some questions about the truth of some of their ads, of some of the styles, and I have serious questions about the timing. That little man holding a piece of uranium in the palm of his hand was misleading in image, if not in substance. While I disagree with that particular ad, I do not disagree with a crown corporation like Hydro having the right to advertise.

I would like to conclude with a few general remarks. I believe it is extremely important that the government have a responsibility to do more than live up to the letter of the law. It has the responsibility to set an example for everyone in the province. To make that responsibility crystal clear, I have introduced this bill and we are debating it on second reading.

The bill I am proposing today makes both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law much clearer. If passed, it would allow the government to engage in legitimate government advertising that includes informing the populace about the many government programs available, such as those for the farmers through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. There is very little advertising spent on that, but a lot spent on "Good Things Grow in Ontario."

5.30 p.m.

It is legitimate for government to include some kind of advertising to counter propaganda from the private or private-interest sectors, such as citizens' coalitions, which may be attacking worthwhile government programs. However, what this bill does is to separate the interests of the people as represented by the government from the interests of the party that happens to form that government.

Mr. Robinson: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased indeed to have the opportunity to speak in the debate on the bill introduced by the member for Port Arthur. It is most gratifying to be able to participate in a debate that so earnestly and obviously concerns itself with the public good; but then that appears to be a supposed exclusive specialty in the member's party. To me the idea that a government of which I am proud to be a member is somehow misusing public funds to promote partisan ends is insulting and borders on slander.

Like nearly everyone in this fine province I have been exposed to a great deal of advertising by this government. I do not want to deviate from the subject of the debate, but I would like to say that the quality of this government's advertising is first rate. We are regarded as a pacesetter by those in the know in the advertising and marketing world. Quite frankly I am very glad that it is so.

Far from being an indication that the government is somehow derelict or irresponsible, the amount and quality of Ontario's advertising is essentially and primarily a sign of this government's determination to communicate with the people of this province. Our advertising is a sign of our determination to promote the highest possible quality of life for our people. It is a sign of our determination to involve everyone as fully as possible in all aspects of life here.

Mr. Riddell: What a lot of hogwash.

Mr. Robinson: Hogwash is something the member for Huron-Middlesex may be familiar with.

To suggest that our motives are less than this is blatant nonsense. Perhaps it is motivated continually by the envy of the choice made by Ontarians last March 19. Certainly the insinuations and innuendoes that appear to lie behind this bill are most reprehensible.

I invite the assembly to consider for a few moments the reality of communication today. As the late, great Ontario citizen Marshall McLuhan said so often, "We live in a world that is saturated with information." We have on the one hand hard-sell messages from the honourable merchants of all kinds of substances that, used in moderation, are not harmful to our citizens. On the other hand there is a tremendous need for a countervailing force, for information in an accessible and persuasive format to remind our people that, in spite of all the temptations there are in the marketplace to let our eating habits go, for example, or to abuse the consumption of alcoholic beverages, it is up to the individual to take personal responsibility for his or her own good health.

Good health does begin at home. It is imperative that the government spread this kind of message. Who else will? Who else has the resources? Who else has the concern for human welfare?

I am well aware that this is not the type of ad that the honourable members opposite are howling about. I think their basic complaint may rest in the very name of our party. It is pretty hard to imagine a decent ad using words that even remotely resemble "the New Democratic Party of Ontario." We are promoting public awareness of the importance of sound health, a clean environment, energy conservation and other important issue areas because it is incumbent upon us as a government to do so.

My party has served the people of Ontario well and honourably for a good number of years. At this point in time nearly any communication emanating from our ministries is bound to be identified to some extent with the Progressive Conservative Party, if only because people have come to expect this party and this government to provide the best in services and management of our province.

To prohibit the honourable ministers of this House from being identified by name and thereby associated with ministry programs would in essence deny the voting public the privilege of knowing to whom they should throw their bouquets as a reflection of their opinion on the program.

If I may, I would like to do a little show and tell at this point. Some members of the third party have a habit of referring to Saskatchewan -- and the member for Port Arthur mentioned it again a few moments ago -- as some kind of exemplary Utopia. I believe that has something to do with the prevailing government there; I could be wrong. I would like to show members the kind of advertising done by the New Democratic government of that province. A publication called Trade and Commerce is distributed across the Prairies and has full-page, full-colour ads on behalf of the government of Saskatchewan, naming the ministers.

Let us go further: let us look at some of their newspaper advertising for a minute. On urban affairs: "Renters Apply for Your Rebate." For National Wildlife Week -- there is something the NDP can associate with -- "It's Cookout Time for Kebobs"; of great provincial significance, I am certain. Then they want to talk about energy for a minute, preserving and conserving it: "Aiming for Energy": I am sure it makes the point equally as well as our ad does.

I believe I saved the best for last when it comes to talking about government and party identification. This is from the Leader Post, Regina, Saskatchewan, April 4, 1981 -- an interesting time. The ad was placed by the transportation agency of Saskatchewan, certainly a government agency. The heading is "Breaking the Stalemate." It has a picture of, and an interview with, the minister, Gordon MacMurchy. I am sure that could not in any way reflect upon the partisanship of the government.

Mr. Foulds: Do two wrongs make a right?

Mr. Peterson: Oh, two wrongs make a right. I see.

Mr. Foulds: I did not say that.

Mr. Robinson: The member was just telling us how wonderful things were in Saskatchewan.

Mr. Foulds: I simply pointed out that Saskatchewan --

Mr. Robinson: Yes, the member did. If this is any indication of the communication policies the NDP would follow, I believe the bill we are debating today is rather questionable in its intent. It is also unrealistic in its potential application. It is a highly insulting and irresponsible piece of legislation.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, if one wanted evidence of arrogance, pompousness and contempt for the legislative process, we have had an example of it here this afternoon. First an honourable member attempted to introduce a private member's bill earlier that would have given certain relief from OHIP premiums to women --

The Deputy Speaker: Mr. Roy, I am having difficulty discerning whether you are speaking to the bill.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, do not interrupt my comments. Is the advertising in Saskatchewan relevant to this bill?

The Deputy Speaker: I am only thinking of the private member, the member for Port Arthur, so he can learn from your remarks. I am hoping your lead-in will not be too long.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I trust your intervention into my discussion will not be taken off my time.

The Deputy Speaker: Thirty seconds.

Mr. Roy: What I was attempting to show is that a member tried to introduce a piece of private member's legislation, something that is sacred in all parliaments, and this was blocked by the majority government led by the Premier (Mr. Davis).

Second, we have a bill presented by the member for Port Arthur, one that is a very important piece of legislation dealing with what I consider to be one of the most blatant abuses of public funds by governments at all levels. The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere got up in an arrogant and pompous fashion and, with no apology whatsoever, distorted the whole principle of the legislation.

The whole principle of the legislation is not government advertising. Of course governments have to advertise programs, as the member stated earlier. They have to advertise certain matters such as seatbelts or a variety of programs dealing with senior citizens. That is not the issue we are concerned about and which I want to speak to in the 10 minutes I have. What is of great concern is the abuse on the part of government in using public funds either to conduct public opinion polls, as this government has done, or to promote itself or members of the Conservative Party. That is the issue we are concerned about. I have never seen anything so blatant as in this last election.

5.40 p.m.

Do you want the figures? Listen to them. In 1978-79 the Ministry of Energy had an advertising budget of $30,000. In 1979-80, leading into 1981, the election year, their advertising budget was $4.7 million. That famous "Preserve It. Conserve It" ad ran all the way through -- prior to the election, right through the election and in fact right through the election days, contrary to the regulations of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. That is the abuse.

Mr. Kells: What is the federal budget?

Mr. Roy: I am not here to talk about the federal government. We are here in this province. That is the advertising we are concerned about.

The Ministry of Health in 1978-79 had a budget of $287,000. In 1979-80 their budget went to $1.5 million. In other words the advertising budgets of all government departments -- and I could go on; I could talk about the Ministry of the Attorney General, which went up from $70,000 to $625,000 -- went from $12 million to $24 million right at election time.

You saw these advertisements, which the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Ramsay) talked about earlier, which he was embarrassed about: the advertisements of "Preserve it, conserve it," the ads dealing with "Good things grow in Ontario," "Clean water in Ontario" and so on. That is the concern we have: that public funds are being used through government advertising to promote a party, a government or certain individuals. If that is allowed to continue it will, in my opinion, undermine the whole democratic process.

What is of more concern to many of us and to the member for St. Catharines, who complained to the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses about this, is that the election commission, which operates under the Election Finances Reform Act, seems to express no concern whatsoever through its chairman about this type of advertising.

During the election I wrote the commission to complain about particular advertising on the part of government, that in fact it was an abuse of public funds, and secondly that it circumvented the Election Finances Reform Act, which prohibits advertising during a specific period of time leading to the election.

I explained that to the commission, and of course they responded. I have here a letter from the chairman dated February 6, 1981. He states, "This problem was first raised in 1975, and of course, unfortunately, we have had legal opinion to the effect that the act does not give the commission jurisdiction to look at any advertising on the part of government" -- something that the commission has under the federal statutes. The federal election commission can look at government advertising, but this commission does not even have the power to look at that.

When I asked the chairman in a later letter, "Why is it that if you have known this since 1975 no one has brought forward amendments at least to allow the commission -- one would think you would at least prohibit such advertising; if you want to use it during nonelection time at least do not use it during an election period and offend the principle of the Election Finances Reform Act." Not only did they state that they did not have the power, but the chairman said, "Personally I am of the opinion that a commission of this kind should not have the function or responsibility to pass judgement upon the content of advertising by a government and to adjudge whether or not it is permissible."

I am sorry to say that if this is the attitude of our Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses, and if that is the position taken by the chairman, I do not have much faith in that chairman. If he takes the position that they not only do not have power but do not want the power, and if they take the position that the government can have a field day, that there are no guidelines whatsoever, that any advertising, as long as it is by a commission or anyone else under the guise of government is permissible, then there are no ways to review this advertising, there is no way to curtail this type of advertising. Such things as the Election Finances Reform Act become meaningless. They become meaningless. I was sorry to hear the previous member try to make fun of this and try to say that we are against government advertising. That is not the issue.

The federal Liberals have abused this as well. It is undermining the federal process, but I will say that the biggest abuse by the federal Liberals was during the referendum debate last year. For the referendum in Quebec, they spent gobs of money on advertising which, in fact, was intended to serve a purpose, to promote a particular cause. At least the cause was national unity.

Mr. Kells: Oh, you're making exceptions are you?

Mr. Roy: Is somebody objecting over there? In fact, their purpose in Quebec was to try to get the people of Quebec to vote against separating. Is anybody challenging that?

The point I want to make is that at least there is some noble motive on the part of the federal advertising whereas these birds, these beggars over here, are using public funds to promote themselves. All the guidelines, all the controls that we thought we had under this act, are being seriously abused. I am sorry to hear members on that side consider it not to be an issue at all.

I have all the respect in the world for the member for Sault Ste. Marie, who had the courage during the last election to say that he was embarrassed by that type of advertising. I want to underline the courage he displayed. He is the only person I know on the government side -- and he has some experience in the field of electronic media coverage, advertising and so on -- who displayed that courage. I want to say the member for Sault Ste. Marie showed an awful lot of guts and an awful lot of objectivity, something that was not shown by anyone else, when he said he was embarrassed by that sort of advertising.

I want to say what is of concern to us is the fact that I do not think the press in this place, especially the electronic media, are doing the job they should be doing. We are left in a situation where the press does not fulfil its obligation to get the facts out, whether it is election time or between elections.

What we have is the situation where the government, the Tories, do not particularly care whether the press do their job, because they can buy time. They buy time with government and with public funds. I want to say that unless some curb, legislation such as this, is brought forward to curtail this type of advertising, the abuse will continue and nothing less than the undermining of the democratic process will take place.

Ms Bryden: Mr. Speaker, in the very short time I have, I would like to say that this bill would not have been necessary if there had not been such a blatant abuse of the government's right to advertise and to spend taxpayers' money on advertising. It is the abuse that this bill addresses.

We have moved from informational advertising to advocacy advertising, to advocacy of a particular political party. It has been carried on during election campaigns when all candidates are supposed to be on the same footing and to have equal time. Was there any opportunity in an ad for candidates to say, "This government is dangerous to your health"? That is the kind of advertising that might have been given equal time.

We not only have advertised a political party, we have canonized cabinet ministers in ads, and often the ads have put forward false information. There has been no opportunity to challenge that information or to get a cease and desist order. This is why we need this kind of legislation.

The government also went in for a number of half truths in the ads. They spent almost a million dollars on advertising the pensioners' tax grant, but in most of the ads they did not even mention that 100,000 people were going to get less under that pensioners' tax grant system than they got under the old tax credit system.

They spent almost half a million dollars on trying to persuade people that their equal pay law meant equal pay for work of equal value. But the women of this province know it does not mean that. So the bill is necessary, but it must have Bill 4 with it to prevent the abuse of the use of any kind of government advertising during election campaigns. In those days when the campaign is on, government business is suspended and so should government advertising be suspended. The bill does provide that if there is an emergency then government advertising could continue.

5:50 p.m.

Mr. Speaker: Ms. Bryden, your time has expired.

Ms. Bryden: I would just say, Mr. Speaker, that we need both Bill 3 and Bill 4, because this government has so abused advertising.

The following members having objected by rising, a vote was not taken on Mr. Foulds's motion for second reading of Bill 3.

Baetz, Cousens, Dean, Drea, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Gillies, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Henderson, Johnson, J. M., Kells, Kolyn, Lane, MacQuarrie, McCague, McLean, Norton, Piché, Pope, Robinson, Runciman, Shymko, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Timbrell, Treleaven, Walker, Watson, Wells, Williams -- 33.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, in accordance with the standing orders, I would like to indicate to the members of the House the business for the rest of this week and next week. Tomorrow morning we will continue with amendments to Bill 7, An Act to revise and extend Protection of Human Rights in Ontario.

On Monday afternoon, May 25, the official opposition budget reply speech will be made by the official opposition financial critic. If time permits, following that we will have second reading of Bill 48, An Act respecting Massey-Ferguson Limited.

On Tuesday afternoon, May 26, the New Democratic Party financial critic will deliver a reply to the budget, and budget debate will continue until six o'clock. In the evening the House will consider legislation continuing second reading and, if needed, committee of the whole House on Bill 48. Following that, if time permits, we will have second reading of Bill 20, An Act to amend the Personal Property Security Act.

On Wednesday, May 27, three committees may meet in the morning, those being the administration of justice, general government and resources development committees. On Thursday, May 28, we will consider private members' ballot items 4 and 5 standing in the names Mr. J. M. Johnson and Mr. Smith. In the evening on Thursday, May 28, we will continue the budget debate, as we will also do on Friday morning, May 29.

The House recessed at 5:55 p.m.