32e législature, 1re session













The House met at 10:02 a.m.




Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I wish to report to this House on a decision announced by the federal Minister of Agriculture, Eugene Whelan, yesterday.

This decision attacks the very foundations of farm income stabilization legislation in this country and it is evidence of the increasingly callous attitude being taken in Ottawa towards our nation's farmers.

Yesterday Mr. Whelan announced that Ontario's hog stabilization payments would be deducted from the federal hog payment. He made this announcement in the name of leadership and equity. I quote what Mr. Whelan said, "The federal government must show leadership in providing an equitable national level of assistance."

This announcement has very serious implications.

Under federal stabilization law, the federal plans guarantee producers of nine commodities 90 per cent of the five-year average market price, indexed for changes in the cash cost of production. This plan is inadequate. It has always been inadequate. Mr. Whelan himself acknowledged this back in 1978 when he introduced the idea of a plan that would pay 100 per cent of gross margin, with financial participation by producers.

Ontario agreed in principle with that plan. We knew that the 90 per cent plan was inadequate. Ontario, together with most other provinces, had introduced its own stabilization plans even before 1978 to make up for those inadequacies.

However, the 100 per cent plan was not pursued by the federal government and the provinces were left to carry on with their own additional programs. Now, with one casual wave of his hand, Mr. Whelan has swept aside all our attempts to make up for the inadequacies of his plan, and he has chosen to do it in a way that is unjust, inequitable and downright irrational.

Mr. Smith: Nonrational?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Irrational. You know full well what it is, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: The announcement says that the provincial payments for market hogs will be deducted from the federal payments. Ontario does not make payments on market hogs. We make payments on weaners through a sow-weaner plan. Our plan is very similar to Quebec's, but Quebec's provincial payments will not be deducted from the federal payments. Can anybody in this House tell me what makes an Ontario weaner a market hog, while in Quebec a weaner remains a weaner?

On top of all that, the federal government plans to deduct the provincial payment from sums paid out to some farmers who do not receive provincial payments in the first place. Those farmers are the straight hog feeders. The federal government's plan pays producers of market hogs; ours pays sow-weaner operators. Can anyone in this House tell me why a market hog producer should have his federal payment reduced by the amount Ontario will pay the sow-weaner operator? There is no logic in this, no justice and no simple common sense. My officials have asked Agriculture Canada for clarification of these points.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: It is really hurting them over there, Mr. Speaker. They cannot take it.

Mr. Whelan's plan is going to pay $8.96 per hog for the period between April 1, 1980, and March 31, 1981. Various administrative improvements should mean that the cumbersome federal plan will pay faster this time than in the past, but I submit that faster payment of smaller sums is not what stabilization is all about.

Stabilization is intended to protect the producer from violent price swings and rising production costs. The federal plan is not doing that. In the case of beef, Mr. Whelan himself recently said that every beef feedlot in the country is in a loss situation. Nevertheless, the federal beef plan is not making a payout.

I have asked my legal advisers to look into this situation. It has always been my understanding that federal legislation called for a 90 per cent payment, and I cannot see how Mr. Whelan can simply wave that aside. This action endangers the whole fabric of stabilization plans right across the country. Any one of them could be just as casually wiped out if Mr. Whelan decides to practice his idea of leadership on them.



Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Premier. Is the Premier aware of a column by Eric Dowd, which I understand is appearing today in a number of newspapers, which says that the Premier should be accused of having won his election on false pretences inasmuch as he had promised in the course of the election campaign to avoid any tax increases rather than to implement tax increases? Is the Premier aware of that, and is it a fact that the Premier promised to avoid any tax increases when he sought the support of the electorate of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have not had the pleasure of reading that distinguished journalist's column, nor have I heard any rumours he was writing a column. I really cannot answer the question until I see the column. However, I have tried to recall what might have been said during the course of the campaign. I must say I was asked about taxes on very few occasions during the campaign.

10:10 a.m.

Mr. Eakins: It certainly wasn't on television.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Of course it was not on television, because I was not asked about it, nor did the member's leader talk about it much even though he had a $2 billion methanol program he was going to finance out of -- what?

Mr. Smith: Darlington.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, out of Darlington generating station. With great respect, the government of Ontario does not finance Darlington, so that would not be a source of revenue for him. If my recollection is correct, he was promising the Metropolitan Toronto School Board 80 per cent of its costs.

I think I was asked whether the sales tax reductions would be extended. I think I made it clear that in my view I was doubtful about it, but I do not recall saying on any particular occasion that taxes would never be increased. It is obvious to everybody that the government must have revenues to finance those programs which it is obliged to finance.

I do not know whether Mr. Dowd has some quote or other from during the course of the campaign. I think I can honestly say that during the campaign neither the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) nor I really had our minds fixed on what the next budget might be and that I personally was not contemplating what the tax policies would be. I want to make it abundantly clear that I spent 44 days talking to many reporters and, unlike the Leader of the Opposition, I was never reluctant to discuss any issues with them. I did not focus my attention on any prewritten question which the --

Mr. Van Horne: How are you at debating?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have to tell you, I was always available, always prepared to answer the questions. I was not one who said "I will only answer questions on this particular issue" as I went from place to place campaigning throughout this province. I really am being frank. I do not recall, because this matter was rarely raised during the course of the campaign.

Mr. Smith: May I assist the Premier with his memory by calling to mind for him and the people of Ontario the statement he made at his press conference here at Queen's Park when he called the election? Among many other things he said, "We seek a mandate to combat inflation through smaller and more efficient government, avoiding tax increases and supporting those on fixed incomes," and so on.

Since the Premier's memory has now been refreshed, does he not feel that in going to the people of Ontario a few short months ago seeking a mandate on the promise of avoiding tax increases, he has now betrayed the trust put in him by the people of Ontario by imposing one of the most severe tax increases in living memory?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Because I am much older than the Leader of the Opposition, my memory perhaps goes back a few years longer than his. While he tries to suggest this is the most severe tax increase in living memory, the reality is that is not factually correct. It is not the most severe tax increase. In fact, as one assesses the budget carefully, the area of tax increase that has not happened as recently is the income tax, which the New Democrats argue is a progressive form of taxation.

The Leader of the Opposition argues because we have moved, like just about every other province of Canada, to an ad valorem tax with respect to gasoline, though not in terms of feed stock or fuel oil, and because we have moved to an ad valorem tax on tobacco.

I suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that he might review the budgets of this province going back a number of years. He will find there have been far more significant tax increases imposed upon the people of this province.

Mr. Foulds: But they've been rolled back -- your energy tax, your OHIP fee increase.

Mr. Smith: I cannot remember a $600-million increase.

Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect, I think if the member would go back to the tax measures and put them in today's dollars -- which is what one must do -- he would find without any question that there have been more significant tax increases.

Mr. Ruston: You rely on inflation.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, we are living with inflation. In my view it is one of the very significant problems. I would say this government has done more to deal with that issue than any other government in Canada, almost without exception.

I recall what I said on the day the writ was issued -- it was just about a year after the Leader of the Opposition had said to the people of this province, "Heavens, we should go to the polls tomorrow." Does the Leader of the Opposition remember that? That was the day after he had been out campaigning so hard for the federal leader he had dissociated himself from events of some eight months before, and thought what a great statesman he was and as a result wanted an election.

I would say that as a government we have been very successful in avoiding tax increases. I would say that the Treasurer, in his current budget, has avoided certain tax increases. The member did not see the sales tax go up, which has a very significant impact on the purchasing power of people, and I would say we have had some measure of success.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: This session of the Legislature reminds me very much of the one-week session in 1971 just after the government was re-elected with a majority. The same kind of arrogance is being displayed by the government today as when it had a majority at that time.

Mr. Speaker: Question?

Mr. Cassidy: I would ask the Premier, is he not ashamed of the fact that just two months after an election when the government promised to "keep the promise" he has come to the Legislature and, far from keeping the promise of avoiding tax increases, he and his government have, in fact, increased taxes on ordinary people across the province by $600 million this year and by an even greater amount in a full year? Has the Premier no shame at this hypocrisy?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I do not want to be provocative this morning and I will not say that when it comes to hypocrisy I have a lot to learn from the leader of the New Democratic Party. I will not say that. It happens to be true, but it is Friday morning and I do not want to be provocative on a Friday morning.

I think if he reviews the campaign very carefully, if he analyses the material that was used, if he looks again at those excellent commercials, he will maybe begin to understand: (a) why he lost so badly; and (b) what we meant by keeping the promise.

Mr. Smith: We understand now.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The promise was not promises by this leader or this government. The promise was the promise of the province, of its people and of its future. I have to tell the member, I am one of those who is immensely optimistic about the capacity of the people of this province to deal with the issues that confront us.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Supplementary, Mr. Peterson.

Mr. Peterson: The phrase is not "Davis can do it." The phrase is "Davis can do it to you."

Mr. Speaker: Do you have a question, Mr. Peterson?

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Premier this: Why would the Premier, in his government's deliberations on the budget, when he is extracting such a high price out of the public hide in terms of tax increases, not work far harder on the expenditure side of the budget? I am not talking about health care and cutting back expenditures there, I am talking about some of the silly expenditures that the government makes with no return.

I will give the Premier some examples of the kinds of expenditures that could have been cut to generate some revenue: selling off the land assemblies, the silly expenditures on advertising, on public opinion polls, on pulp and paper grants, and removal of sales tax for a limited period of time, which produces no new consumption. Why would the Premier not have insisted that the government be far more ruthless with government expenditures, particularly the silly ones, so he would not have had to take it out of the public hide?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think in fairness there were probably half a dozen questions. I will try to deal with the half a dozen questions. I would just point out to the Leader of the Opposition, in his interruption when I was explaining what keeping the promise meant, that was the real focus of the New Democratic leader's question that I was dealing with. I was not dealing with irrelevant material.

10:20 a.m.

I will try to answer the honourable member's questions. I recall very vividly a by-election where the member and, to a much greater extent, his leader, went into that great community and talked about deficits. I have listened to the member talk about deficits in this House and how they should be reduced. I have listened to him and his colleagues in estimate after estimate --


Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, the member should not interrupt for once. I am answering his questions.

Mr. Smith: He asked you about silly spending.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order. I caution the Leader of the Opposition for the last time. Mr. Peterson asked a rather lengthy question. Surely the Premier should be given the opportunity of replying in kind.

Mr. MacDonald: A point of order, Mr. Speaker: You are imposing restrictions on the opposition. If the Premier is going to be permitted to roam all around the map in political confrontations that are irrelevant to the question, you cannot impose restrictions on this side of the House.

Mr. Speaker: That is an interesting observation, but I am not imposing restrictions on anybody. If I were imposing restrictions, I might very well have restricted the honourable member in the length of his question. I did not. I am not, as I said yesterday, being unfair to either side, and I will continue to be fair to all the members of this House regardless of their political affiliation. I say to you and to all members, including the Leader of the Opposition, I will not be intimidated.

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

Mr. Speaker: Will you identify your point of order?

Mr. Smith: My point of order is that the debate in this House and the questions and answers in this House are supposed to be reasonably responsive to the topic at hand. A question has been asked, which question is very clear although lengthy because the honourable member had a long list of suggestions. The question was, why would the Premier raise taxes when he could have managed by cutting out some silly spending, which the honourable member listed. It may not have been silly, but the honourable member thought it was, and he listed it.

In answer to that the Premier started to recall, to ramble around, to discuss by-elections and whether we spoke of deficits in the past and things that may have been heard politically from time to time. The simple answer is to be responsive to the question that was asked. That is all we are asking.

Mr. Speaker: If that is all the Leader of the Opposition is asking, I would ask all the members to take it into consideration and to ask simple and direct questions.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Speaking to the point of order, Mr. Speaker, I just want to make it abundantly clear from my perspective that I think in the minds of some members there are two sets of rules. The opposition can ask questions that contain either a sarcastic or political overtone in their preamble and they expect us not to react.

I say to the Leader of the Opposition, if he asks a nonpartisan, nonprovocative question he will get that sort of answer. I am not an unreasonable person, but I do not think the members opposite can lead off, as the leader of the New Democratic Party did, by saying I am a hypocrite and not expect some modest, reasoned, relevant response. If we are going to deal with question period in a fair-minded fashion, it has to be understood that one cannot ask a question with a political preamble to it and not expect some modest political response. That is only fair.

Now, trying to deal with the specifics of what I think were five questions, with great respect to the member for London Centre, he said, "Why did you not reduce expenditures?" He included in his list of those expenditures we might reduce, not an expenditure decrease but the question of a tax reduction. That is not an expenditure decrease. The tax reduction was developed last fall. The member had every opportunity --

Mr. Peterson: It is called a tax expenditure.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The member raised it and I am going to reply to it. Do not tell me it was not part of the question.

The member asked whether last fall the Treasurer should have introduced a short-term stimulus program by way of reduction of sales tax on specific commodities. He had every opportunity to persuade others to vote against that. He had every opportunity to travel this province and talk to the automotive industry, say to the dealers in trucks, say to the white goods industry, say to the furniture industry, that the Liberal Party was unalterably opposed to that tax reduction.

I keep an eye on the press. Neither he nor his leader went to furniture factory after furniture factory, he did not go to General Motors, Chrysler or Ford truck divisions, and say that what the government of Ontario was doing was bad or was wrong.

Mr. Peterson: Yes I did.

Hon. Mr. Davis: If the member can show me where he did I will apologize within a tenth of a second.

The member then used the example of the government's program with respect to support of the pulp and paper industry. I do not quarrel with his point of view. He has expressed it. At least he has been consistent. But he did not go to the north and express it during the campaign with great regularity, and the reality is we differ on that point of view.

This government will say, without any fear of being intimidated by the member's great intellect or anyone else's, that the decision was made in the interests of the people of northern Ontario and in the interest of the provincial economy. The reality is that with the hundreds of millions of dollars invested by the pulp and paper industry because of the incentive given from this government -- and incidentally the government of Canada -- it has proven to be economically the right thing to do. We can differ on that. I do not quarrel with that. I think that is fair. That is an expenditure the member says we might have eliminated. No question. But we think it was right and we think it will pay economic dividends. That is item two of three.

I think the member is then going to suggest that we should not have assembled land. Maybe I can take the member back into history, perhaps before he was a member of the House. I look to the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald). We all have 20-20 hindsight whether we are wearing our regular or contact lenses. One can always bring into question 10 years later whether a particular geographic location was the right one to assemble for housing or industrial development. I do not quarrel with that. He can raise that as an issue any time he likes. Once again that is a judgement of government.

But I would ask the member for London Centre to go back into the early 1970s when we debated the whole principle of land banking. He may find that a few members of the Liberal Party of Ontario were urging this government -- there is no question the New Democrats were doing this -- to move even more enthusiastically into the whole concept of land banking.

With what has been happening over the past 10 to 15 years in land values, when it is all sorted out, there is very little doubt in the government's mind that the investment that has been made will be returned to the people of this province. There is no doubt whatsoever.

Mr. Riddell: Is this a speech, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The member for London Centre has given me five specific areas.

Mr. Smith: We asked you whether they are justified, that is all. We do not need a lecture on each one.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I just want to explain it. I thought you wanted to know all of this information.

Mr. Speaker: The Premier is replying in response to the questions which were asked. The Premier will continue.

Mr. Riddell: How much time have we spent on the first question?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would just give one illustration. I ask the member to take a few minutes -- I know it is not the happiest hunting ground for the Liberal Party -- to visit Scarborough. Go and ask the people of Malvern whether they think that was a justifiable investment by the people of this province in order to provide housing accommodation. That is just one example.

Mr. Peterson: What about Townsend?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I just have to tell the member that Townsend will be over a period of time.

10:30 a.m.

We have dealt with pulp and paper, the reduction in sales tax, which was totally irrelevant to the general thrust of the member's question, and land assembly. What was the other one?

Mr. Peterson: Advertising.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Advertising. The member questions the economics of government having a public information program for the people of this province. I simply have to say it is a policy pursued by just about every government I know. The opposition parties can quarrel about it, but that is the reality.

In terms of its impact, for example, take the energy conservation advertising. I was even asked by a member of the Liberal Party, "In the light of the fact that it is having effect" -- I think those were his own words -- "why is Ontario Hydro continuing to advertise the need for conservation when we have a surplus of energy?" I assume he felt it had some impact.

Surely communication to the people of this province in terms of buying Ontario-made agricultural products is important. The farm producers appreciate those programs. The member should ask his colleagues whether they want to see that sort of advertising or public information eliminated. The farmers I know -- and I know several -- feel that is an important program to acquaint the people of Ontario with the availability of Ontario-produced agricultural goods so they can buy them. I think that is a public responsibility and one which the farm community generally supports.

Mr. Foulds: Point of order, Mr. Speaker: Would you take into consideration that a four minute and 25 second answer to a supplementary question is a mite excessive?

Mr. Speaker: I would draw to the members' attention that there has been a lot of discussion this morning that has been completely irrelevant to the question period. This is your question period. Obviously, you may use the time as you see fit, but if we are going to have a five or six-part question asked, to try to answer it with a simple "yes" or "no" is almost an impossibility. If people will get up and ask questions of a specific nature then they can expect a specific answer.

Mr. Stokes: Those are Order Paper questions.

Mr. Speaker: You are absolutely right, I do not quarrel with that, but in actual fact it came forward as a supplementary. The question period will continue.

Mr. Smith: One of the simple minds on the other side is asking that the questions be made sufficiently simple for him to understand them.

Mr. Eaton: Nasty remark.

Mr. Speaker: Order. This is an example of the type of conduct that brings this whole assembly into disrespect in the eyes of the people of this province. There is no need for that.


Mr. Smith: I would like to direct a question to the Premier. Given that the Premier took, for him, an unprecedented step in voting against the private member's bill that would have supplied certain devices under OHIP to those patients who had mastectomies, can the Premier explain to the people of Ontario why he felt so strongly about that particular bill that he actually voted against first reading, so that the bill was not even permitted to be presented?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, once again I will try to be nonprovocative. I sat here yesterday and watched both opposition parties. I sat here Tuesday evening and I watched both opposition parties. I know the traditions of this House. No one is trying to limit the debate on controversial tax measures, least of all the government, but the Leader of the Opposition knows full well the traditions of the House have been for the passage of these bills on first reading, because second reading provides a total opportunity for full and lengthy debate, if necessary, on those particular measures.

I sat here and listened to the bells ring on the first bill; the members were in the House. I heard the second bill being called; I then heard the Leader of the Opposition say, "Ring the bells again." It was obviously a deliberate attempt on his part to disrupt the traditional and orderly workings of this House.

Yesterday afternoon, in what has been designated for private members' debate -- we had been tipped off in advance; there are no secrets in the Liberal caucus -- I sat here and watched the Leader of the Opposition direct his people to vote against a bill that he himself and the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) had never read. They had no understanding of what was in it. Once again we went through a process where on first reading the orderly workings of this House were delayed by an hour to an hour and a half.

I think it is fair to state that the members opposite on Tuesday evening and yesterday afternoon deliberately tried to do away with the traditions and the orderly work of this House -- at the very last stages, and not when private members' hour was called. I point out that distinction to the Leader of the Opposition.

There is no question that I have not participated in debate in the private members' hour; I felt that I should not. But this was not in the private members' hour; it was the introduction of a private member's bill, which I think one can argue, in terms of the Camp commission -- which, incidentally, I support -- contravened the main thrust of that report, which suggested that private members' bills and resolutions should not have a financial impact on government policy. One can argue that.

It was introduced by the member. There is no question that this government, this side of the House, reacted so as to demonstrate that if the members opposite wish to act in this disruptive fashion, if they want to depart from the traditions, then we too have an opportunity to do so. I say that to the Leader of the Opposition, but I say it with regret.

I think the private members' hour is important. I think private members should have the right to introduce bills as long as they come within that parameter.

I can give this undertaking to the Leader of the Opposition: If we sense that we are all going to endeavour to co-operate to a somewhat greater extent, as perhaps we will as days go by from March 19, without limiting the right to oppose -- no one is objecting to that at all, but I think we can do it in an intelligent, perhaps less emotional sort of environment and in a way that will bring a greater measure of respect to this Legislature -- if that happens, there will be no opposition to a private member's bill on first reading.

However, I do think the House leaders should have a discussion as to what the general understanding is, not about the specifics of the content of a resolution or a bill but to ensure that it does not put all of us in the position where we are debating a money bill or a bill that has significant financial connotations.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, a point of order: If a bill is brought in and it violates the rules of the House because it has financial implications, is it not your right and duty to say that the bill is out of order and not to have your rights and duties usurped by the government by voting it down on first reading?

Mr. Speaker: It is indeed; and, as you know, I have the matter under consideration. I did not see the bill before its introduction, of course. I have read it --

Mr. MacDonald: Do you not normally see bills before they come in?

Mr. Speaker: No. How can I? It is the first introduction. That is the whole point: introduction of bills. Surely that is basic.

That, I think, indicates part of the problem of this House. There is a lack of understanding of procedure, obviously. No, I do not get prior information, nor do I see the bills. As I said, the matter is under consideration. I hope I will have a ruling on Monday for the House, and we will deal with the matter then.

Mr. MacDonald: May I pursue the point of order? If it is under consideration on this bill, how are we going to avoid a repetition of this kind of situation in the future, where your rights and obligations, before you have a chance to exercise them, are usurped by the government by voting it down on first reading?

10:40 a.m.

Mr. Speaker: With all respect, I think that my rights or the rights of this House are not being usurped by anybody. What has happened is that the bill was voted down on first reading, and it was just voted down on first reading. That does not mean it cannot be introduced. As I said before, I have the matter under consideration. I will have a ruling for you on Monday.

It may be advantageous to have prior discussions among the House leaders to come to some agreement or conclusion before bills of this type are introduced. I leave that to the members' good judgement, but I do not have any way of knowing what is in a bill beforehand.

The question period will continue.

Mr. Ruston: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I want to make a correction with regard to the Premier's statement about yesterday's orders and so forth.

The House leaders were aware that there were going to be votes on first readings. So for the Premier to get up here and say there was a leak in the Liberal caucus is absolutely ridiculous, and he ought to withdraw the statement. We were all aware of it, and so was his House leader.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Your conscience is bothering you.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Smith, will you continue, please?

Mr. Cunningham: Just like your buddies in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Show some respect for your leader.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, since the Premier must surely be aware that the very same bill was presented last year and was not ruled out of order on any financial basis, and since the Premier has basically said in his answer today that he and his majority voted against this bill to aid mastectomy patients basically to get even with the opposition for having voted against the budgetary measures of this government on first reading, does the Premier feel that is a responsible and proper way for a government in Ontario to behave, to try to get even by blocking a bill that might have aided the victims of mastectomies?

Will the Premier at least assure us that now his government will introduce a bill, as suggested by the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) and the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip), to assist under OHIP with prosthetic and orthotic devices, as well as with devices for mastectomy patients?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think the Leader of the Opposition is endeavouring to put this government in the position of being opposed to something that, in an emotional sense, a lot of members would support. The way he phrased his question was not lost upon me. Can I just point out to him, and I will review it once again, that we sat here and witnessed what I think was childish, infantile behaviour. He is talking about the traditions and the practices of this House. That was what the issue was yesterday afternoon.

Mr. Smith: We are talking about the answers we get from the Premier of Ontario. Do not stand there and lecture me. These are the worst answers ever received from a Premier of Ontario. We are not going to accept those answers.

Mr. Speaker: Quite obviously. All parties in this House are using the standing orders to their advantage to disrupt the operation of the House. In actual fact, they are only penalizing themselves.

Mr. Smith: There is no disruption.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Speaker: Order. The Leader of the Opposition will please contain himself and allow the Premier --

Mr. Smith: We are entitled to know. Voting is not a disruption.

Mr. Speaker: I did not say that.

Mr. Smith: Well, you said we disrupt the House.

Mr. Speaker: Order. You will allow the Premier to continue to answer your question.

Hon. Mr. Davis: As I was saying, Mr. Speaker, we sat here Tuesday night -- the Leader of the Opposition asked a supplementary, and the supplementary was exactly the same as the initial question; so the answer to the supplementary is going to be basically what I said on the main question.

Mr. Smith: It was not. I asked if you were going to bring in a bill.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The Leader of the Opposition knows full well that this government is prepared to discuss issues of that nature as long as they do not have a significant financial implication. That has to become government policy. That is how the --

Ms. Copps: When did it become government policy? Answer the question.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Please do not interrupt. I do not want to get into --

Mr Smith: Will you introduce a bill?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. A question has been asked. This is your question period, as I mentioned before. It is your assembly, to represent your constituents. I am sure you have not brought any great pride or honour to any of those people by your behaviour during the past few days. Please allow the Premier to reply to the question that was asked.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is asking a supplementary question or making a statement about a mandate to avoid taxes while still in his seat. The Speaker is making a genuine effort, and I will try to restrain myself. The honourable member wants to be provocative because he has not gotten over March 19.


Hon. Mr. Davis: It takes a big man to accept defeat. To answer directly the question about what bills the government will introduce and what policy matters it will deal with, obviously that will be revealed to the House when it is done.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Although it is difficult in view of the Premier's answer, I will try to ask the supplementary question in as nonprovocative a way as I can.

Can the Premier not be clear? Can he tell this House whether it was in an act of vindictiveness that he took the initiative in blocking my colleague's bill when he did not know the contents of that bill? It was fundamentally different from the action the opposition took because, as a result of the budget, we did know the content of the bills the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe) and the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) were introducing.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I can say this with total objectivity, in all humility and with all modesty. One of the least vindictive persons I know happens to be the member for Brampton. Nothing I do in this House is done with any vindictive motivation whatsoever.

Mr. Mackenzie: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: In the five and a half years I have been in this House, I have never felt as strongly that my privileges as a private member of this House were clearly threatened as by what happened yesterday.

As my colleague has said, our opposition was not that we did not know it was there. The bills were on the floor. The budget was on the floor, and that is what we were debating. What this government did was block a private member's bill. It did not even allow us to put the bill on the floor. That is a threat to the right of every member of this House. That is what is at stake here. It is not what is in the bill. It is the principle involved as to whether private members of this House have rights or not.

Mr. Speaker: Nobody's privileges have been abused. The procedures under the standing orders of this House were followed.


Mr. Speaker: Order. The bill was introduced for first reading in the normal way. It was accepted. It was put to a vote and it was defeated. There is nothing out of order. Nobody's privileges have been abused.

Mr. Mackenzie: None of them even knew what was in the bill.

Mr. Speaker: Did the member know?

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, if I may speak to the point that was made by my colleague the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) and by my colleague the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie), it is one that you must take under advisement.

I am simply saying that the rules of this House make a very clear distinction between private members' public bills, private members' public business, and government bills. What my colleague is trying to say is that if the government -- and it was the government that voted against the introduction of the bill of my colleague the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) -- were to persist in that course, it would be a total abnegation of the rights of private members to get any business as public business on the floor of this House by way of a private member's bill.

Will you please take the matter under advisement? It is much more serious than the way in which it has been treated so far in the House this morning.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you, Mr. Renwick. I will be pleased to take the matter under consideration.

10:50 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order: I think the House leaders should have a discussion, because I am not sure that there are those many distinctions between private member's public bills and government bills as it relates to the standing orders. I am not going to comment on that. But I think it should be clearly understood that this government did not vote against the bill. That bill can be reintroduced. We voted against the introduction of the bill. There is, as I understand the rules of this House, a very distinct difference.

The Speaker called for those who were in favour of introduction of the bill, not whether the bill should receive first reading. That is a very significant distinction because, as I understand the rules, the bill may be reintroduced. I could be wrong, but that is my understanding of the procedures of this House.

Mr. Speaker: That was my initial understanding as well.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have left the debate on this issue to the private members, but I wanted to raise it with the Speaker directly. I refrained from raising it with the Premier until I had to chance to speak in the question period, because I too want to express a great deal of concern at what could be a very dangerous precedent. The Premier himself appeared embarrassed at the actions of his back-benchers in initially deciding to oppose the introduction of that bill.

In view of the very destructive consequences in terms of the parliamentary traditions, which include respect for the rights of the minorities as well as the majority, can we have an assurance from the Premier that, since the government through its majority has got the right to get its business on the Order Paper even if it is opposed on first reading, the private members of this House from all parties likewise will have the right to have their business put on the Order Paper and that never again will the government use its majority to prevent a private member from putting private members' business on the Order Paper by means of the introduction of a bill?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, just so that the public who is watching this will not get the impression that the New Democratic Party is always virtuous in these matters --

Mr. MacDonald: There was no preamble to the question.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen. There was a preamble to the question, and I say to the leader of the New Democratic Party that in any majority situation the majority has an obligation to respect the rights of any minority representation. There is no question about that. But I also say to the leader of the New Democratic Party that the minority has some obligation to respect the rights of the majority in this House as well and that we have a responsibility to conduct the affairs of the government.

I do not think he demonstrated that respect on Tuesday evening or on Thursday afternoon. I was not embarrassed by my private members yesterday afternoon at all. I felt badly about the way the whole thing developed yesterday afternoon. I sat here in some puzzlement as to what was happening, just as I sat here on opening day and listened to the leader of the New Democratic Party embarrass his colleagues, particularly the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), in a way that still I have not forgotten, because I think it was very bad business.

Mr. Cassidy: Is the Premier then saying, and he said it first to the Leader of the Opposition and now he has said it here, that unless the members of the opposition parties co-operate with the majority in a way that the majority deems to be acceptable, that it is the government's intention to threaten to gag the right of private members to put business on the Order Paper of this Legislature?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I chose my words very carefully, and no objective person could get that impression. I must remind the leader of the New Democratic Party that it was the Premier of this province who entertained the idea of having the Camp commission. I was the most supportive one of having that commission. I received some modest criticisms about it from people both inside the House and outside.

If the leader of the New Democratic Party were to go back in the history of this House, he would find it was the Premier of this province who pressed most aggressively for the introduction of the private members' hour in the way that was recommended by the Camp commission. I defy the member to find in Hansard anyone who spoke in public or anywhere more aggressively about the need for the private members to have this opportunity. This government and this Premier have no intention of varying from that basic principle.

I remind the leader of the New Democratic Party that we all have a responsibility in this House -- not just the government but all members. I am making it abundantly clear that we have no intention of derogating in any way from the private members' rights and privileges as long as there is an understanding --

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

Hon. Mr. Davis: Let me finish. I am trying to be nonprovocative.

Mr. Smith: You are a good boy.

Hon. Mr. Davis: There are some Fridays when the Leader of the Opposition really should --

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Stay home.

Mr. Riddell: You were answering the question over here, not over there.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, I am answering the question. I think it would be beneficial to the workings of this House if the House leaders were to sit down and have some discussion. I mentioned this a year ago. I sensed the private members' bills and some resolutions were getting into an area that really should be government policy and opportunities for debate in the throne speech and budget debates.

Mr. Foulds: That is the Speaker's decision; that is not the House leaders' decision.

Hon. Mr. Davis: All right. With great respect, the Speaker pointed out that he does not see the private bills. I am only concerned about moving in a direction where private members' bills and the proper debate that follows could be prejudiced because they are primarily money or financial bills. I think the House leaders could help us all by having some discussions on that issue.

Mr. Riddell: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: If normal procedures had been followed yesterday, we would have debated a second private member's bill introduced by the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel (Mr. J.M. Johnson) pertaining to more government funding for tile drainage programs. Was it the intention of the government to block that bill because it would mean more finances?

Mr. Speaker: For the information of all members of the House the item the member refers to was not a bill; it was a resolution. There is a difference.

A new question, Mr. Cassidy.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, if I could return to this matter with the Premier, and seeking not to be provocative, I understand the Premier is saying he has been a strong supporter of the private members' procedure in the past, and I acknowledge that. However, he seems to be saying the government today believes that, if in their view there is not an appropriate amount of co-operation coming forward, there is no longer going to be support for the rights of the private members. In fact, there is a thread there which, if carried out to its full extent, would mean that no opposition member could put a bill on the Order Paper to have it debated.

I ask once again, does the Premier not recognize that if the rights of the private members are to be respected, never again should there be that opposition on first reading that prevents a private member's bill from getting on the Order Paper? Will he accept that principle and assure the House that the government will follow it?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I will just repeat what I said --

Mr. Foulds: Don't repeat what you said. Just answer the question.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The member for Port Arthur's leader asked a question that was almost verbatim to the original question. In answering a supplementary question that is identical to the main question, I think I have the right to give my answer the way I did on the original question. Surely that is my right. The member, please, should not say I have to abide by what he thinks I should say.

The leader of the New Democratic Party has asked whether I support the private members' hour, the private members' procedure, and the answer to that is a categorical yes. I make it abundantly clear that in nothing that has occurred, no matter how he might try to twist what I have said, in no way have I indicated that the government is using any sort of majority in terms of eliminating or derogating from the private members' privileges. I would not do it. I have no intention of doing it.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have to express a little regret that the Premier will not give the assurance --

Mr. Speaker: Question, Mr. Cassidy.

Mr. Cassidy: There is no assurance there. I remind the House that the term of this government will go on for at least three years, and the slogan of the party in "1984" was "War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength." One could add, a promise is not a promise and we have a government that is threatening to run roughshod over the rights of --

11 a.m.

Mr. Speaker: Do you have a question Mr. Cassidy?


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Premier. Can the Premier explain why it is that the Treasurer's budget speech last year devoted a major portion to the matter of interest rates and followed that up with a discussion paper on the question of interest rates, but in this year's budget, despite the problems that every sector of the Ontario economy is having with interest rates which yesterday reached a level of 19 per cent in the Bank of Canada rate, there is all of one sentence in the budget speech which refers in any way at all to the question of interest rates?

What other conclusion can we draw from this than that Ontario agrees with the federal government's policy and the high interest rate policies of the Bank of Canada and has no policy alternatives on interest rates to offer at all?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I will go back a little bit in the history of last year's budget just to recall a few things to the mind of the leader of the New Democratic Party. I am not being partisan -- I really am not -- but if he goes back he will recall not only discussion in this House but also discussions between members of his party and others relative to his concern about whether the budget might contain a vehicle whereby interest rates and their impact could be discussed in a way that would not put him in the position of voting against the budget. I am telling him it happened and he happens to recall it.


Hon. Mr. Davis: That is right. He did not want an election last spring. We debated interest rates here in this House. They related, at that moment in history, I guess primarily to mortgage interest rates. We undertook to produce a paper by the ministries of Housing and Treasury and Economics as to its impact and to provide a vehicle for debate here in this House.

I think it is fair to state that one reason there was greater emphasis, the reason a discussion paper was contained in the budget document, was the suggestion of the New Democratic Party that this would be a vehicle whereby we could discuss and debate this issue but where they would not be put in a position of having to vote against the budget and force an election which they quite obviously did not want. I think the member should remember that and should share it with his colleagues, because they knew that. That was one of the reasons, the member remembers.

There is no question that the interest rate problem at this moment in history is every bit as great as it was a year ago, if not more so. I guess the Treasurer could have taken three or four paragraphs to state the obvious. I do not think it is necessary to take half an hour in the budget to express further the concern of this government, which the Treasurer and I have expressed in answers to questions and in statements.

We have dissociated ourselves from the federal interest rate policy. We have had some fun with the official opposition with respect to it being its friends in terms of the present government of Ottawa. I think we have made it abundantly clear that we do not support the interest rate policy of the government of Canada. Maybe the Treasurer could have said it again Tuesday night, but I think it has been said two dozen times since the House convened.

Mr. Cassidy: It is normal in the major economic document of the government of the year to talk about the major economic problems of the province. That is why I find it so surprising that there should have been no substantive mention of interest rates at all.

The Premier clearly recalls a bit of history with respect to the New Democratic Party. He may also recall that the reason that the government was prepared to have the discussion paper on interest rates last year was that the government was not exactly that keen to have an election and, therefore, it decided to accede to the demands of one of the opposition parties in a minority situation. But the moment it gets a majority the question of interest rates suddenly has no relevance at all as far as this government is concerned.

Mr. Speaker: Proceed with your question, Mr. Cassidy.

Mr. Cassidy: My question is, will the Premier say what the municipalities of this province should now do when, for example, Sudbury is facing a borrowing rate on debentures at 17 per cent, Windsor is passing resolutions to protest the interest rates because its short-term borrowing is now up at the level of 19 per cent, Durham has had to postpone selling $5 million in debentures because of the high interest rates, Essex county cannot build a day care centre because it cannot issue the debentures, Waterloo is having to defer major capital projects because debentures are impossible to issue, and Sault Ste. Marie feels it is lucky to be able to have a commitment to some debentures at 15.25 per cent?

What are the municipalities to do when they find Ontario is not going to their defence to bring interest rates down, when they find their municipal grants are going up by only 10.5 per cent? They are now facing either major cutbacks in capital works or major increases in property taxes to pay for needed public services because this government will not defend them against the high interest rates.

Hon. Mr. Davis: In answer to the preamble to the question, I want to disabuse the leader of the New Democratic Party of one bit of history he referred to. I felt very strongly last spring that it would be irresponsible to have an election. I would make a prediction for the leader of the third party: The results would have been roughly the same. That is my own personal assessment.

I would say to the leader of the New Democratic Party that he can phrase his question any way he likes and he can say this government is not coming to the defence of the municipalities with respect to interest rates. This government has spoken out vigorously with respect to federal policy. The municipalities know that. Any reasonable head of a municipality, and that applies to 99 per cent of the heads of our municipalities, is fully aware the interest rate policy is that of the government of Canada.

They are concerned about it but they are not really looking to this government to solve the problem because they know we cannot lower interest rates. When they go into the market they are going to have to pay. Fortunately, through good management as a provincial government we do not have to go into the market. That is one of the great pluses in the budget.

If Ontario Hydro goes into the market, it is going to have to pay whatever the rate is. We have no vehicle to alter that and it too will have to face whatever the interest rates are on the day it goes into the market. The answer is simple: All of us are faced with this problem.

One or two municipalities are postponing certain capital works. It is unfortunate but I have to tell the honourable member this government has made that decision. There are some capital works we would like to proceed with. There are a number of capital projects that would have validity in terms of their need but we have had to make those decisions. We are not moving ahead with some capital projects that the Minister of Education and Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson), the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) and others of us would like to see move ahead, because it would put us into the position of having a larger deficit and having to borrow at the present rates. That is one of the tough decisions one has to make when one is in government.

Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I agree with the Premier's recollection of history where he bought off the NDP with a piece of paper. But I want to ask the Premier, while recognizing he cannot solve all the problems, why would he not now reorder some of the spending priorities for some immediate interest rate relief for those people most hard hit? This is obviously a matter of judgement. We disagree with him and he disagrees with us; that is fair enough, but that is his responsibility. That has to be our collective first priority. Why would he not do that?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am looking forward to the honourable member's budget contribution. I may not be able to hear it all but I assure him I will read it. I always do; that will come as a surprise to him. I am sure he will have some specifics Monday afternoon as to where he might reorder the priorities. The reality is -- and I am sure the member will pay attention to this on Monday -- when he looks at the amount of discretionary funding available to this provincial government, he will find it is a relatively small portion of the total budget.

Mr. Peterson: I have given you some specifics.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Do not get excited. When one takes out our transfer payments to the municipalities, to the school boards and to the health system in this province, one is then down to a relatively small portion of the total budget.

Mr. Peterson: You sound like the federal Minister of Finance, Allan MacEachen. What is the matter with you? That is what the feds say.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am just telling the honourable member what the reality is in terms of our expenditures. Let him take a look at it. I have not totalled the figures, but I would be surprised if more than 75 per cent of the provincial budget does not go by way of transfer payments. It is somewhere close to that figure.

Mr. Smith: The same is true of the federal budget.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, if the honourable member wants to defend the federal budget and the federal interest rate policy and if he wants to try to transfer it here, I understand that.

Mr. Smith: You always say they are dumping it on you, and you are dumping it on the municipalities.

11:10 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, come on -- that is what he is trying to do. Listen, let's have a little fun this morning. He is protecting his brother in Ottawa -- I will not even mention his father-in-law this morning; it is his brother in Ottawa he is trying to protect today, and we know it.

Incidentally, I do not take exception to some things the honourable member says, but I think it is unfair to say to the New Democrats that they were in any way bought off. The honourable member's own party was very nervous during those four years on a number of occasions. The honourable member himself chickened out on a number of occasions during those four years, and if he had any sense he would still have chickened out.

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


Mr. Swart: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I refer to a new precedent that has been set in this House this morning, which had not been set during the five and a half years I have been here, and that is that there have been no backbenchers' questions at all. All the time was taken up with the questions of the leaders --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Swart: May I finish my point of order?

Mr. Speaker: Order. Nothing is out of order. Please resume your seat.

I agree with you totally, and that has been my bias, if I have had any bias: to favour the back-benchers. I would suggest to all parties that they speak to their leaders and their House leaders. It is a point well taken, and I am glad you raised it. Thank you.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Order, please.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, you interrupted me before I put my point of order.

Mr. Speaker: Well, please state it.

Mr. Swart: I would ask you to investigate the time that was taken on the leaders' questions, and determine whether in fact the Premier of this province did not take up more than half the hour in answering his questions. Would you determine some procedure whereby his answers can be shortened so that the rights of people such as myself, a back-bencher, are not abrogated by the government over there?

Mr. Speaker: I will be pleased to do that. We do keep track of the time, as you probably know, and I do not really disagree with what you have said.

Mr. Smith: On that point of order, Mr. Speaker: I believe that the assistant clerk has a list right in front of him of how many minutes were spent on the questions and how many minutes were spent on the answers. If you would care to give us those figures we would certainly all be well advised.

Mr. Speaker: I will be pleased to take a look at them and report back on Monday, but not today. I have not seen them. I would like to have the opportunity of going over them.



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.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I believe that by this point everyone knows the contents of this bill. Thank you.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I wish to table the interim answer to question 89 standing on the notice paper.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 7, An Act to revise and extend Protection of Human Rights in Ontario.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, the amendment to the Human Rights Code which has been introduced this session is long overdue. The government is taking credit for bringing in this change to the Human Rights Code, but it should be hanging its head in shame because it is four years since the Ontario Human Rights Commission held its own inquiry into the operation of the code and made very substantial recommendations for change.

We have waited four long years for a single change. In fact, we went through a false start when changes were introduced a year ago for handicapped people, but in such a form that segregation was proposed for the handicapped rather than bring them into the ambit of the Human Rights Code. So another year was lost while the government went through this false start.

Then, of course, the bill was introduced very late in the session of 1980, so that it would be before the electorate when the election came, but so late that there was no time for debate or possible public hearings and it died on the Order Paper in 1980.

Finally, after the election, we have a new bill; but during all those years how many people suffered discrimination, how many handicapped people did not have opportunities open to them and were discriminated against in a thousand ways, in access to places, in access to jobs, in simple access to services? Did this government care that over all those years thousands were denied their human rights?

While the new bill has many good clauses in it, it will be no better than the old one unless the government does a better job of enforcement and public education. It will remain a piece of Tory window dressing if the government does not put more funds into staff and introduce measures that will reduce racial and social tensions in Ontario. There always seems to be lots of money for things such as 21 parliamentary assistants -- a record -- costing $136,500 just in salaries, but there never seems to be money for enough human rights officers in order that cases may be dealt with expeditiously.

The new code will not end the gross discrimination against women and the handicapped unless a more vigorous affirmative action program is adopted by this government. The government's commitment to human rights will be demonstrated only when it ceases to violate its own code. Will the clause in the new bill stating that it binds the crown stop the government from discriminating against single parent males who are denied the same rights to family benefits as single parent females? Will the government instruct the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to end the hiring practices that resulted in the board having 3,837 male employees and only 81 permanent female employees in 1979?

The government's commitment to human rights is questionable since it rejected Bill 3, which provided for equal pay for work of equal value, even though the Legislature had given this bill second reading. Just lately, the government blocked a private member's motion to provide for a change in the appointments to agencies, boards and commissions so that such appointments would reflect the diversity of Ontario. The government blocked that bill without allowing it to come to a vote. This seems to indicate that its commitment to the bringing forward of ethnic groups, more women and other groups who are not adequately represented in those appointments is very questionable.

11:20 p.m.

Will the government also show its commitment by strengthening its own affirmative action programs for crown employees and putting that into legislation, as was urged by the Ontario Status of Women Council last fall? Progress in moving women from the clerical ghettos to better-paid administrative posts has been painfully slow in the public service. In fact, in the latest report from the women crown employees office, a new target has been set for moving women into higher-paying posts. The new target is for the government to seek a minimum representation of 30 per cent for women in all management modules and bargaining units by the year 2000.

How long do we have to wait? Women now constitute 41 per cent of total public service employees but they constitute only 23 per cent of the administrative modules and only 6.6 per cent of what is known as the program executive series.

If the Ontario government really believes in affirmative action for the handicapped, for women and for other disadvantaged groups, why does it not follow the United States' lead in making the adoption of an affirmative action program a requirement in every government contract? The new bill does have a provision saying those who receive government contracts and grants must observe the sections of the Ontario Human Rights Code relating to employment. I would have thought everybody must observe those sections. All those clauses do is provide an additional penalty for the holders of government contracts or grants, the penalty being that they would lose their contract or grant if they violated the code. Surely it should be taken for granted that all citizens of the province and all employers will observe the code.

Moreover, the government is discriminating against women when it fails to provide adequate day care for working mothers and refuses to accept the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. This is a form of discrimination that restricts the rights of women to equal employment opportunity.

The government is discriminating against the handicapped when it fails to ensure access to personnel departments and work places where handicapped persons might seek jobs. It is all very well to give sales tax exemptions to a handicapped person who operates a car -- and that is a new provision that was just brought in -- but if he can only drive the car to the outside of the factory building and cannot get into it to get a job or to get to the personnel office, the exemption is not of much benefit.

The Ontario government's true concern about human rights will also be evidenced if it undertakes the kind of public education and research needed to promote understanding and compliance with the act. Under the previous legislation, the Ontario Human Rights Commission had the power to undertake such activities but precious little was done. The power is retained in the new act, but will it be used or will the code be another piece of ineffective Tory legislation?

There are some advances in the new code on which I would like to comment. Bringing in the handicapped at long last is one of the outstanding ones. The recognition that affirmative action is needed for women, the handicapped and other disadvantaged groups is welcome. The establishment of a race relations commission is also very necessary and I hope it will be able to reduce the racial tensions in our society. I also hope we will find a means of dealing with the racial hatred that is being developed by the followers of the Ku Klux Klan.

There are sections in the new code which suggest that anybody whose actions or counselling would lead to a violation of the code should be in violation of the law, but I think the clause is very weak and needs strengthening.

The clause providing damages for mental anguish is definitely an advance. When a complaint is lodged and a finding is made that there has been discrimination, the clause requiring a report within 30 days from a board of inquiry is certainly a step in the right direction and recognizes there have been long delays from some boards of inquiry. As we all know, justice delayed is justice denied.

The clause outlawing discrimination in housing to recipients of public assistance is a very necessary one. There is no justification for landlords singling out certain sections of society and refusing them accommodation for any reason other than that they do not pay the rent or that they are destructive tenants.

The clauses in the act outlawing various kinds of harassment are a welcome addition. Sexual harassment is one of the most important, but there are other kinds of harassment, such as the harassment of supervisors on the job and the harassment of one employee by another or one tenant by another. There is also harassment by landlords --

Hon. Mr. Elgie: It is all covered.

Ms. Bryden: Yes, that is what I am saying. It is a good thing these are covered. I hope there will be strict enforcement of these clauses.

There is some concern about the use of the word "persistent" attached to the clause about sexual harassment or to the clause saying that it must be a "course of conduct." These will have to be looked at very carefully when we are in committee stage.

I have mentioned some of the good things in the bill but there are also some omissions. Among the omissions are provisions for class actions. It is true the commission can group complaints if it so chooses, but complainants should be allowed to bring forward class actions if there is a whole class whose rights are being violated.

There is the omission of political beliefs, which should not be a ground for discrimination. There have certainly been cases where people have failed to get jobs or failed to get promotions because the employer disagreed with their political beliefs. In some cases, they have been denied the opportunity to have normal leaves of absence to be political candidates. If this was specifically outlawed we would be protecting our democracy and this is one of the areas I would like to see added.

Another omission is the question of sexual orientation, which I think is a matter of human rights. I know that individuals in this province have lost their jobs, or been refused housing accommodation, or been denied promotions because the employer or the landlord disapproved of their lifestyle or what they did in private on their own time.

11:30 a.m.

I am opposed to any discrimination against any person because of that person's beliefs, culture, or lifestyle, as long as what the person does is legal and does not harm others. I am totally opposed to the sexual exploitation or anyone, whether man, woman or child. There are laws against this, and I believe they should be strictly enforced.

I am also opposed to the proselytization of any particular form of sexual activity in the schools. I believe a civilized society has to be based on a tolerance which says to our fellow human beings, "I may not like your religion, your culture, your political beliefs or your lifestyle, but as long as they are legal and not harmful to others I respect your right to follow them."

I wanted specifically to speak about how the code will affect women and what the limitations are at present in the current bill. I have mentioned, on the question of sexual harassment, my worry about the word "persistent." With regard to affirmative action, I have mentioned that there should be contract compliance clauses added, which would make it a requirement of a contract that the employer file an affirmative action program, and that the program be monitored by the government so we can have some real action, in the private sector particularly, on affirmative action. I think the same clause should apply to the government, that it should also have to have definite affirmative action programs, possibly put into legislation, so that it is following a course of action that will change the present imbalance we now have.

Looking at the statistics, while women constitute almost 52 per cent of the population, they get only 58 per cent of the wage level of males. They are the first to be laid off. They have less seniority because of the childbearing years that in many cases cause them to drop out of the work force; yet this government continues to block an amendment to the Canada pension plan that would compensate women for those years when they drop out for childbearing purposes, and would allow them not to lose their Canada pension plan benefits because of that drop-out period. Those years would not be counted.

This government alone has been blocking an amendment to the Canada pension plan for many years. I think practically all the other provinces want that amendment, and that seems to me an indication of how much this government really is committed to the human rights of women.

There is no doubt that women are a disadvantaged group. Many of them are confined to part-time jobs. There is no protection for part-time jobs, or very little such protection, under our labour laws and under benefit programs, and this is another area where, if we are going to end discrimination against women, we must bring in standards for part-time workers.

There is one clause in the new code which brings in family as a new ground for discrimination, and it is prohibited, but they have put an exception in there. One can be discriminated against by an apartment owner, if one has children, in an adult building. I think it is completely unacceptable in our society that people who have children should be treated as second-class citizens. I can see the necessity, perhaps, for having an exception for senior citizens' apartments which are for senior citizens only, but I cannot see an exception which says that all other apartments should not be open to people with or without families.

There is a clause that prohibits discrimination on the grounds of marital status. That was in the previous code, but there is a new clause in this code which says that it does not apply when somebody seeks an apartment in a building which has four or fewer units if the building is owner-occupied. I fail to see why there should be this exception, because presumably the units are self-contained. It could discriminate against single parent families. For example, the owner could decide not to accept single parent families. It could discriminate against single people. The owner could decide not to accept single people. I think people have to be judged on their merits as suitable tenants by the owner but I do not think sex, marital status or family should be one of the grounds on which they can refuse to accept a tenant.

There is another area in the new bill that gives me considerable cause for concern. That is clause 20, which gives an out for all insurance policies of any kind from any possible violation of the code if the policies differentiate on account of age, sex, marital status and any other prohibited grounds.

I can see there are some policies that do have to be adjusted according to age, such as annuities, but I think this blanket exemption puts the government in a position where it does not have to start looking at the unfair differentials in present contracts of insurance, for example, auto insurance.

The previous Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, now the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea), said he was going to look into the question of discrimination in insurance policies on account of age or sex and put them, if possible, on driving records. He made a big announcement about this and said he had been talking to the insurance companies, but so far nothing has happened. He has now moved on to another portfolio. I hope the new Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Walker) will continue to look into this question. I think if we took this blanket exemption out of the human rights code, the government would be under pressure to see that all of these various kinds of contracts of insurance were looked at so there was no discrimination in them that is of an unfair nature.

Another omission from the code is that a woman can still be fired for pregnancy, because there is nothing in our Employment Standards Act that really says an employer cannot fire you for any reason he likes. It is true we do have pregnancy leave period and she can take a certain amount of time off, but if she wants more time the employer can fire her or he can decide when she comes back that she cannot look after her family adequately.

I had a woman who came to me and said she had qualified for a very good job with a trust company. She had an MBE degree and they thought she was definitely capable of doing the job. But when it came to asking her about her family arrangements for looking after her two children, when she said her husband intended to look after them and work on a different shift, they rejected her on the grounds this was not a secure enough arrangement because he might change his job or his shift. Therefore, they refused her the job.

11:40 p.m.

It seems to me this is completely unacceptable and any discrimination by an employer on account of the arrangements individuals make for their families or their desire to have families -- in other words, pregnancy -- should not be allowed as long as they are physically able to perform the job.

These are some of the shortcomings of the bill and they should be looked at carefully.

In conclusion, I would like to say we will not end discrimination in this province until the government takes on much wider programs of affirmative action, much wider programs opening up apprenticeship training, manpower training and on-the-job training to women and handicapped people. We will not end discrimination until there is much greater action from the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) -- who is in the House although I do not know whether I have her attention -- in eliminating sex stereo- typing in the schools, and from the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations in eliminating sex stereotyping in advertising. Until these things happen, we will not bring equal opportunity to all sections of our society.

Another area of new concern is what is known as the microelectronics revolution or, more popularly, women and the chip. It is rapidly growing in this province and country. When this microelectronics revolution comes to its peak there will be a real decline in the number of clerical jobs available for women.

Right now, about 75 per cent of women are in clerical jobs. This is a real threat to employment opportunities for women and there is a great need for retraining of women in the clerical field. I have not heard of any programs from the government to respond to this electronic revolution. I think this is an area it is going to have to look at if we are going to have a society in which there is equality of opportunity.

Mr. Robinson: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill and my comments this morning will be brief. I think there comes a time to step back a little from the chapter-by-chapter and point-by-point pieces of the legislation itself and to look at exactly what it is we are attempting to accomplish.

Briefly, I want to go back historically and remind all members of this House that Ontario was the first province in Canada to introduce a human rights code many years ago. I think it is fair to say we have always been the leader in this country and I would dare say of almost any democracy in the western hemisphere as far as human rights protection goes. That becomes the point of the whole piece.

I do not think this government or any other government can legislate what public opinion is, what the public will is, how the public shall react in a given situation or what the public's attitude shall be. Those are things one simply cannot legislate into place in a democracy and expect them to be effective. I fully believe that in Ontario we have a system of human rights, a protection of people against other people and from other people that is a model of envy throughout North America.

There may be less discrimination as such within totalitarian states, within Communist states where people do not dare to have opinions of their own, but that is not why thousands of people from other countries come year in and year out to live in this province. That is not why we have such a multicultural weave of the fabric in the community. People come here because they believe they can be themselves. They can bring their heritage with them, they can bring their traditions with them and yet they can be part of the most flourishing democracy the world has to offer.

In terms of the bill itself, once again I think the minister has demonstrated the sensitivity of this government in coming forward with legislation which may go some distance yet to prevent more kinds of discrimination, may again enhance the lack of discrimination, and may take another step against discrimination in this province. I do not think we have the power as a government or that we have the mandate from the electorate to demand how people will think or act. We want people to act decently and civilly and humanely, one to another. That is the ideal of democracy. I think we are much farther along that road than anyone anywhere else.

In conclusion, I would simply make one other point in response to a comment made by the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) in his remarks in this House a week ago. He said we had the opportunity in Scarborough this time to make the light rail transit system accessible to the handicapped. That argument has been made many places and many times both locally and here in this House over the past number of months, but that is only the first step. It does not address itself to the question of making the Toronto Transit Commission system accessible in its entirety. There is little point in putting in one little part, having people get on the LRT system at the Scarborough Town Centre, ride it to Kennedy Road, and then have nowhere to go from there.

We are the enlightened leaders in human rights in this province. I continue wholeheartedly to support the efforts of the bill.

Mr. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Bill 7, An Act to revise and extend Protection of Human Rights in Ontario. I do so with a sense of pride in and satisfaction with the fact that one aspect of the bill on which I intend to concentrate my remarks has been eventually accepted by government after prodding them to act for some seven years. I refer to the elimination of discrimination because of a physical handicap.

I first raised the issue in this Legislature in 1974 and asked government to take action, but apparently we were a little too far ahead of our time and government hesitated to act. I recall asking the then Minister of Labour, Mr. Guindon, if he was considering requiring employers to hire a certain number of handicapped people, not setting a quota at all, but at least having handicapped employed in a given industry, especially where they could perform the requirements of the job. The government not only hesitated to act in 1974, but rebelled against acting at that time.

In the same year, about two weeks later, I asked the then Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, Mr. Clement, if he would increase opportunities for the handicapped to obtain employment by hiring handicapped women as cashiers in government stores. I was referring at the time to the beer and liquor stores. I could not see why a handicapped individual could not be punching a cash register just as easily as one who is not handicapped. Naturally I am referring to a physical walking handicap, rather than a handicap requiring the manipulation of arms and fingers.

11:50 p.m.

I also asked the provincial Treasurer, Mr. White, in November 1974, to see that the handicapped would have access to polling subdivisions. Generally, in the past, the polling subdivisions selected by the returning officer were selected in private homes without taking into consideration the difficulties in walking of certain individuals. I can recall asking him to give consideration to providing some type of opportunity for them to vote without actually having to go into the residence, and I did suggest that the ballot box could be taken to the outside where the handicapped individual was in a vehicle so he or she could mark the ballot and then deposit it in the box. Since then we have gone a long way.

In my own community in the last provincial election the returning officer in Windsor-Walkerville made arrangements for every single advance poll -- and there were four of them -- to be on ground level so that the handicapped could be wheeled in very easily to exercise their franchise. I think it was a very forward step, and I really commend the returning officer in the Windsor-Walkerville area for doing this. I understand that was not a general practice even though it may have been suggested to other returning officers.

We can still go beyond that stage, and we hope government does extend the right to vote in a way similar to what Manitoba has done, and that is the write-in ballot. The individual is sent two envelopes; the individual has the right to indicate on one of the forms that he or she is the individual, and it is witnessed by another person. The individual then marks the ballot in secret and inserts it into a special envelope that in turn is inserted into the main envelope and sent in. That is one of the procedures used in one of the provinces in Canada that is worthy of copying and implementing in Ontario.

At one time in the Legislature we did debate the bill that I had introduced -- it was first introduced by me in 1975 -- an act to amend the human rights code. It was an act to eliminate discrimination because of a physical handicap. That legislation dealt solely with the physically handicapped, and at that time the other types of discrimination, I understood, were being taken care of or were the concern of others. I was solely concerned with the physically handicapped because of personal and family experiences I have had. It was strange that it was not accepted at that time.

I regret very much that it was not accepted. One of the cabinet ministers made a comment that I found extremely strange for a cabinet minister. I asked him if he would amend things in the labour laws for handicapped people. He replied: "I think the human rights code is something that is apart. We can dilute the code by putting other incidental things in that really are not fundamental to it. I think race, colour and creed are things we are trying to protect in the human rights code." Then he continued to say, "If we start putting things such as the handicapped in it I don't think it will do much for the handicapped, and I think it will detract from the basic principles of the code." That was May 16, 1975. Imagine the thinking of an individual, a legislator, back in 1975, when it comes to some type of consideration for the handicapped.

We have gone a long way, and I appreciate the minister's acceptance of some of those recommendations that I had made in the introduction of the bill to amend the human rights code, which was introduced every year since 1975 -- not this year, because the minister had done more than I had suggested: I was talking solely about the physically handicapped; he amended the complete code, which was a substantial improvement over my suggestions.

The only thing I regret is that if it had been accepted in 1975 when it was first introduced, it is more than likely that we would have had what he is introducing here today operative already. There may have been other additional types of discrimination that could or would have been introduced between 1975 and today. It does disturb me very much that we were so slow in taking into consideration those for whom the handicap is difficult enough without us discriminating against them.

I commend the minister for introducing this bill. I could speak, I would say, almost ad nauseam on the topic but it is going to be extremely repetitive; my present comments may already be repetitive with the number of speakers who have preceded me.

There was one other item that I did want to mention in my comments. When we are talking about discrimination, I can tell the minister that his government and his colleagues discriminate. It may not come under the human rights code, but when one finds something that is not right and that could be corrected by the ministry and by cabinet in general and it is not done, one is discriminating against that individual or group of individuals. I make mention of my own community and the fact that over the years we have not been given our fair share of the resource equalization grants. We pointed it out to the minister of the day; but he did not correct it, so that over the five or six years, the city of Windsor has been discriminated against to the tune of well over $40 million. No attempt has been made by government to correct that. They have made no attempt to repay a debt that they have to the community.

I know this may not be on the principle of this bill directly, but it is another type of discrimination that has been practised by this ministry over a substantial number of years. I do not want to say that discrimination was because of political differences between the city of Windsor, the county of Essex and the government here, but regardless of whether it is discrimination against the individual or discrimination against a municipality, discrimination is wrong. It is wrong regardless of who or what body is being discriminated against.

I am looking forward to the bill being sent to committee so that other individuals and organizations can make presentations to that committee. I trust that government will not turn back substantial, constructive, good recommendations and suggestions that may be presented to them by groups, bodies or individuals who may have only one purpose, one type of discrimination that they are looking forward to having eliminated.

By everyone making a small contribution, I hope we will arrive at an amended human rights code that will be the best that we can arrive at today.

As far as discrimination is concerned, we are never going to eliminate it but we may minimize the amount of discrimination that may be exercised one against another. Why do two individuals fight? It is because they did not like what one may have said to the other, so they discriminate against one other because of thought or action. We do hope that discrimination, regardless of whether it is a physical, mental or emotional or any type of handicap, can after some fashion be eliminated, and if not eliminated, minimized.

12 noon

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I would like to endorse Bill 7, An Act to revise and extend Protection of Human Rights in Ontario.

I was interested in the minister's opening statement concerning section 4 of the act as it relates to employment. Last year when we were discussing the bill on second reading, I brought to the attention of the minister the policy set by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario in hiring its employees. Prospective employees would have to answer such questions as: "Do you have any degree of disability? Do you have a hidden illness? Have you committed a criminal offence?" I felt that should never be authorized under government legislation for a government body in this particular area, in the sense they could be discriminated against. In some cases they have been.

In the minister's opening statement he makes reference to this particular area. On a number of occasions I have brought up the matter of persons who have been ill-treated in job security, persons who have been injured in industry and, in particular, persons who have a workmen's compensation claim.

The minister said, "The new code will protect the victims of past injuries, including those who have received workmen's compensation benefits, against discrimination on the grounds of their disabilities, subject only to bona fide occupational qualifications." It seems to me one minute the minister is removing the discrimination, but then is applying it again, if I interpret that correctly.

The minister is shaking his head to show he does not mean it that way. I hope he can give us a clearer understanding of what he means. I am a little bit puzzled when I look at the words "bona fide." The question is, who is to make that decision? Is it going to be the courts of Ontario or is it going to be the commissioners who make that final decision?

I think the minister is as well aware as I am that qualifications still are required. In industry today, where a person has been injured and placed in a lighter, modified category of employment, a number of industries will say, "Based upon that, you are not being accepted back into full employment with this particular industry." I am aware that does take place and I am sure the minister and other members are too.

The Workmen's Compensation Board says, "Light modified work, light duty work." There are many places where these persons may be employed in industries that say, "Your services are no longer required based upon your degree of disability."

In this particular area, based on my experience while working in different industries in Ontario, I know employers in a number of industries have access to a computerized system which can tell them the credit rating of any person seeking employment. This can deny that person the right to a job in Ontario. They can also obtain a record of injuries. Since we are into computerized areas of society today, that information is available to almost any industry which can tap the system. I think the government taps it too.

I would like to have some clear understanding of what the minister means by "bona fide," that he is not going to take that right away.

I look at section 9, which concerns age. It says in subsection (a) that "'age' means an age that is 18 years or more and less than 65 years." I could agree with that, but I think there is another area where we looked at handicapped persons in Ontario who should be considered under this bill.

Many persons have a degree of disability, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, et cetera, who are aged 14, 16 and 17 -- in that area -- who are being looked after by their parents at home at considerable expense. If one wants some assistance from the government, one would have to be aged 18, the age of majority, before one could qualify for provincial assistance in this particular area. I agree with the government's policy to decentralize many of these institutions and to let these persons come back and enjoy family life as much as they possibly can under the circumstances.

I suggest we should be looking at an area that provides some assistance to families. There are cases where both parents have had to work to support a person with a degree of disability. We find now that one of the parents may have to quit work so as to stay home and look after the child. There is discrimination in government legislation in this area. I suggest this legislation should include some assistance based on income for such families.

On a couple of occasions I have had cases brought to my attention of families who have lost their homes as a result of the cost of providing medical services and special care for a child at a home, because of the age differential between 14 and 18. I suggest this is an area we should look at. I am sure the minister, being the humble person he is, will look at this area.

There are other areas I am concerned about. I had the pleasure to speak on a private member's bill presented by my colleague the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. Newman) which brought attention to the handicapped's needs. I find there is discrimination in the employment of these people. I was hoping the minister would have something under section 4 where a number of employees have no access to the Ontario Labour Relations Board --

Hon. Mr. Elgie: What has that got to do with this bill?

Mr. Haggerty: I am bringing up the point of discrimination. I think this bill discriminates against employees, 70 per cent of whom have no access to Ontario's labour courts. They can be discriminated against, they can be improperly dismissed, they can be fired and they have no way --

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Not for anything prohibited in this bill they can't.

Mr. Haggerty: That it is not spelled out in detail, and that is what I am afraid of. I suggest an avenue should be provided so that these persons do have a right to grieve if they are dismissed improperly. One of the other members mentioned persons who worked part-time in a number of cases. There are many persons who can grieve if improperly dismissed in this area. I suggest these persons should have a right to go before the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

As a member of the Ontario Legislature, I am concerned that I have been discriminated against. I would like to have a file before me but I do not have it today because of the moving of some members' offices. I have to operate for a month out of cardboard boxes, and I cannot pick up the file I wanted. However, if I recall correctly from memory, it involved the decision of the Ontario Human Rights Commission relating to sports activities in the province, particularly to minor softball. Certain constitutions are set up within a governing body.

There is a case in which I have to disagree with the commission's final decision relating to areas where both sexes compete. It relates to sports activities for the young -- minor hockey, peewee hockey, whatever it may be -- or softball in this particular decision. It said girls now have the right to play on boys' teams. This does not happen in the Olympics. We do not find girls competing there against boys and vice versa.

Where the constitutions of these bodies refer strictly to males, I do not think females should have a right to be on those teams or to claim discrimination if they are not permitted on them. If the girls want to organize in a particular sports activity, they have that right. The same thing applies to the boys. I think you have to draw a line in this area. There is competition that can be developed on both sides without depriving the other of their rights. I think the boys have a right to say, "I want to be in male competition," as much as the girls have a right to say, "I want to be in female competition."

12:10 p.m.

I come from an area that has had good sports groups that have taken championships in Ontario, particularly the women softball players in Fort Erie. They are champions across Canada. But there are no boys playing on that team, and I think there is a reason for that.

I think we have to draw the line. The decisions of the commission have perhaps gone a little bit too far in this particular area. There are certain constitutions that say one is for boys and one is for girls. This is the way it should remain. If they want to have joint hockey teams or ball teams then they can go that route. But I suggest that the competition is distinct between the two sexes, female and male, and that it should remain that way.

I know the Ontario Softball Association is not too happy with that decision. I wish I had that file with me; I would read it into the record. They do have some disagreement with that decision, and I have to agree with them. We can get carried a little bit too far when we talk about discrimination as it relates to males and females, and particularly as it relates to sports. We have to draw the line.

I support the bill, but I bring to the attention of the minister that there are some areas of concern. Perhaps he would like to give further explanation of section 11 of the bill.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I want to make some remarks on second reading, but I do not want to go on at any great length. Most of the points I want to cover have been covered.

As I said informally to the minister a day or two ago, I think it would be useful for us in summarizing the position of our party to signal very clearly to the minister the matters that we consider to require amendment in the bill when it gets out to committee. Rather than wait until that time, I propose to indicate very clearly to the minister the major areas that we consider to require his attention so that when we get into committee we can deal more expeditiously with it.

It will be the target of our caucus, to the extent that we have any control over it, particularly with a view to the public submissions that may be made to the committee, to have the bill reported back to the assembly and passed before the date of the summer recess of this assembly, if that is possible. It does seem appropriate, particularly in the International Year of Disabled Persons and with July 1, as I understand it, the International Day of Disabled Persons, for us to have in place the new human rights code.

When I say that I want to deal with the amendments to the bill that are of concern in our caucus, I do want specifically to exclude at this time the discussion of the provisions relating to disabled persons. We have some concerns, but we have only recently received a number of submissions from the Coalition on Human Rights for the Handicapped. We have not as yet had an opportunity to meet with them and review their submissions, but we will be doing that and trying to sort out those of their suggestions that we believe have merit and those that perhaps are covered in some other portion of the bill.

Recognizing that in committee we will be dealing at some length with questions relating to disabled persons, I do not intend now to go into the very specific provisions of the bill as they relate to that extension of the rights of the commission and the inclusion in the bill of the rights of disabled persons. When we get them sorted out and when our caucus is in agreement, I would like to send them on to the minister again so that they could have some consideration by the minister and his advisers before the committee commences.

I spoke at some length on the predecessor bill, Bill 209, on December 9 last year when it was before the committee; so there is no need for me to reconstruct that particular debate or to add to the comments that appear in Hansard and continue to be matters of real concern with me.

What I now want to do expeditiously is to move directly to the major areas of concern with respect to the amendments of the bill.

My first concern deals with the first recital in the bill. While it refers to the original Universal Declaration of Human Rights as proclaimed by the United Nations, which is a very appropriate and proper reference, it has no reference to Canada's adhesion and the binding nature on this province, which in due course will be effected by legislation, of the two international covenants to which Canada is a party under the United Nations.

There should, therefore, be included at the end of the first recital a reference to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It seems to me it would be appropriate that a revised and amended bill should recognize the kinds of extensions of rights that are given consideration in those two covenants to which Canada is a party and by being a party has made binding upon this province as part of the federation of the country.

My second area of concern deals with a major position that we wish the minister to consider seriously. I want to deal with it in relation to the definitions of "discrimination" and of "equal" that are in the bill and specifically in relation to section 1 of the bill, recognizing, of course, that if the scope of the bill and the principle that we are illustrating by using section 1 for that purpose were adopted, it would also require consequential changes in section 2(1), section 3, section 4(1) and section 5.

Our concern is the extremely restricted and rigid jurisdiction that the bill confers on the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The phrases used are "prohibited grounds of discrimination" and "contrary to law," and the bill provides that everything the commission can do for practical purposes must come foursquare within the itemized list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. So in the very initial instance there is a prescription and a restriction on the work of the human rights commission to come within the strict boundaries of the statute. I am going to suggest to the minister that the time has now come to make a step forward in providing for a loosening of that rigid jurisdictional restriction.

I proposed it to him in somewhat technical language but, to make my point clear, we think that the first section of the bill should read: "Every person has a right to equal treatment in the enjoyment of services, goods and facilities without discrimination and in particular, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, without discrimination because of race, ancestry place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, age, marital status, family or handicap."

The purpose of that would be to provide what we are saying in the bill, that in Ontario there is to be no discrimination. We are detailing certain itemized lists of prohibited grounds, but not on an exclusive basis. That would provide a degree of flexibility. Let me illustrate that somewhat briefly by looking at the definition of discrimination as it appears in the bill.

12:20 p.m.

We think that the definition of discrimination, which in a very real sense is the gut clause of the bill, should be amended to read: "'Discrimination' means differentiation resulting in an exclusion, qualification or preference because of a prohibited ground of discrimination and in any other case without bona fide and reasonable grounds."

In that way we would have a situation where we have very clear itemized lists of prohibited grounds for discrimination, but we would also provide the clear position for the commission so that, if a complaint were made about discrimination on other grounds or for other reasons that do not happen to fall foursquare within the tight limitations of the bill, the commission would have jurisdiction to listen to the complaint, to deal with the complaint and to strike the discrimination down if it could not be supported on bona fide and reasonable grounds.

I think that would do an immense amount to allay the concerns that are abroad that there are areas of discrimination not touched by the bill and that there are areas of discrimination which, even in the listing of the functions of the commission, could not be dealt with by the commission, because each of the functions that is operative are closely restricted to the jurisdiction granted to the commission under the bill.

Consistent with that, we would like to see the definition of "equal" -- because the two words "discrimination" and "equal" appear in each of the operative provisions of the bill -- to be enlarged to read: "'Equal' means subject to all bona fide and reasonable requirements, qualifications and considerations that are not a prohibited ground of discrimination."

I believe the minister will understand that I am not a legal draftsman. All I am trying to do is to illustrate the principle of a major concern of this caucus about the extent of the jurisdiction. We have tried to marginally increase that jurisdiction by providing a discretionary authority to the commission, through the medium of the definition of discrimination, and the definition of "equal," which is used in the bill. I have illustrated that in the particular instance of section 1 of the bill, referencing of course the fact that, if accepted by the government, it would require other changes in certain of the other sections in part I.

The third item that has been of concern in our caucus -- and we are somewhat in a quite distinct position from the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party -- is that our party has a policy that would include the term "sexual orientation" as one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Ontario Human Rights Code.

I listened with considerable interest to the two members, one from the Liberal Party and one from the Conservative Party, the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) and the member for St. George (Ms. Fish), and I was struck and impressed and interested that those two members, in their own way, are in the exact tradition of the former member for St. George, who always had the courage to stand in the House to introduce the bill to provide that sexual orientation would be included as one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination.

It is interesting that the member for Hamilton Centre in a sense is a successor to the member for St. George, being in the same party, and it is interesting that the member of the Conservative Party is in the same tradition a successor to the former member for St. George, because she now represents the riding of St. George in this House. I commend them for saying they want to have the matter dealt with in committee and, if necessary, on the floor of this House so we can find out where we stand on this fundamental extension of a civil libertarian requirement.

We are under no illusion about the difficulty with respect to this matter. Our position has been very clear at all times. We hold that it is an extension of a civil liberty without which there would be continuing discrimination in society. On that simple ground our party will propose the amendment or will support the amendment, depending on how it comes up before the committee.

We have had people ask us why we did not say so on Bill 209. That was very simple, very straightforward. There was nobody out there anywhere listening to what we would have said. Our position would have been totally distorted in the atmosphere that existed and was created in the period leading up to and immediately after the municipal elections in Metropolitan Toronto and subsequently during the provincial election campaign. Our sane, sober, reasoned voice would have been totally lost.

The question is of immense concern to us, given the sense of concern that so many people expressed at the time of the raids by the police on the bathhouses. We have never taken any position on those raids. We believe those are matters that will have to be worked out in the processes of the court. We shared certain concerns, which I think many citizens did.

Our assessment had been that if anyone would have listened and would not have distorted our position we would have taken the same position earlier in the debate on this matter. When we propose or support the amendment for sexual orientation as one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination -- on the sole ground of civil liberties -- it will have to take place not only in section 1 of the bill but also, as I understand it, in sections 2, 3, 4 and 5.

If I could move on to the next area, we want the minister to seriously consider the deletion in section 6 of the bill of the word "persistent" in the sexual solicitation provision. We think where one person is in a position of authority over another there is no solid reason why there must be some form of persistent conduct to protect the subordinate person against that kind of solicitation.

We welcome the introduction of the bill, but we think the question of the authoritarian relationship between a superior and a subordinate should in itself be sufficient warning that any sexual solicitation, as spelled out in the remainder of that clause of section 6 of the bill, would of itself be a breach of the statute. I think it would be a significant warning that people in authority cannot use their position of authority for that kind of purpose. I think there is a great deal of merit in a reconsideration by the ministry of the deletion of that term.

I just want to make that very simple distinction. We are not talking here about fellow employees or co-equals. This clause in the bill deals with the position of superior and subordinate.

12:30 p.m.

My colleague the member for Scarborough West raised the anomaly in the definition of age, and it did appear to us to be a drafting error of significant proportions. I checked the bill to see whether there was some way in which my concern could be allayed and that perhaps it was not a drafting error. But it is now quite clear to me that, as stated, "9. In part I and in this part (a) 'age' means an age that is 18 years or more and less than 65 years."

Just to use one clause that struck me clearly, when one then looks at section 2(2) of the bill, one finds that a person may not be harassed by his landlord or agent because of his age. Then one looks at the definition of age and finds that age is limited to between the ages of 18 and 65, and one says to oneself, "Well, I guess I am protected against harassment as long as I am 65 or under, but the moment I become 66 I fail to have the protection of the code."

I say with great humility that it seems to me the definition of age perhaps requires a redefinition. We attempted to make that redefinition for a substantive reason. Our suggestion is that age should mean an age that is 18 years or more and, for the purposes of section 4(1) only, less than 65 years. Of course, that is in relation to employment. It looked to us as though that was the appropriate point at which the 65 years should be addressed.

Let me be clear, the question of mandatory retirement is a question that is open and is being discussed. In this caucus we do not have a position on that.

Hon. Mr. Leluk: You voted against my bill.

Mr. Renwick: With great respect to the minister, I do not recall the incident, and it was certainly not our intention to foreclose the discussion on the question of mandatory retirement. Our position was that there are arguments on both sides that need to be sorted out and dealt with. I do not think we should delay the process of this bill to settle that question, which is going to take a great deal of consultation elsewhere.

We and, I am sure, the members of each of the caucuses had the benefit of a brief aide-mémoire statement or help from the legislative library research on some of the aspects and arguments pro and con of the mandatory retirement argument, those that were considered in this particular memorandum to have relevance and others that were not. It helped a great deal to sort that out.

I did want to say that, apart from what appears to us to be the drafting error about the definition of age, it raises that substantive question. I did want the minister to know this caucus is not in a position to state our policy with respect to the mandatory retirement argument. Therefore, we think that at this point in the bill, because of the processes of policy formation within our party and the extensive consultations that must take place, we must maintain this 65 years of age, which is tantamount to saying, as the Minister for Correctional Services (Mr. Leluk) said, that at this point the 65 years of age should be maintained, but we are quite open to the discussion that must take place surrounding that difficult question.

In connection with affirmative action or what are called special programs under section 14, I do not understand why the authority of the commission should be excluded with respect to "a special program implemented by the crown or an agency of the crown." There is a clear provision in there that the commission can take certain initiatives, can do certain things. But then when we come down to the affirmative actions of the affirmative programs of the government, we find the government has decided it is to be free and clear of the commission. We would urge the deletion of section 14(5) of the bill.

I would now move to the question of insurance in section 20 of the bill. To raise the matter, we in our caucus have agreed we want to move an amendment that would delete section 20 from the bill completely. I think it is absolutely essential that the committee of the assembly that is going to look at this bill should listen with very open-minded concern about the role of the use of otherwise-prohibited grounds of discrimination for the purposes of establishing rate classifications for automobile insurance and life insurance and perhaps with other ramifications.

I want to point out as clearly as I can to the minister that I trust his ministry will look at the reports of the select committee dealing with automobile insurance and with life insurance. There are a number of concerns involved in it. In relation to automobile insurance it is clear our committee was very impressed with, and wanted to see in this province, the elimination of age, sex and marital status as criteria upon which the rates for automobile insurance would be established. The reasons are given in our report. They are available to be considered.

The minister will also recall that the former Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea), grandstanded this particular issue and then had to climb down because the former minister was not able to withstand -- no minister of the Conservative government holding that portfolio is able to withstand -- the combined lobby of the insurance industry.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) will recall that his colleague the member for Scarborough Centre, in August 1979 startled the industry with the unexpected request that it devise an alternative system that does not penalize individuals on the basis of age, sex and marital status. The minister will remember that he grandstanded the issue. The industry would have to have very solid reasons before he backed down from that position. Well, we did not hear very much more about it. As far as we can understand it, the insurance industry is thinking about making some kind of a proposal during 1981 about this issue.

I make my first point on automobile insurance, but it will apply again and then I will not have to repeat it. I think it is wrong to have questions of prohibited grounds of discrimination related to insurance dealt with in the Insurance Act and not in the human rights code. There are some minor provisions in the Insurance Act dealing with some of these matters. The superintendent of insurance of this province and those in charge of the regulation of the insurance industry in this province, for whom I have immense respect, are not the people who should decide whether a person is being discriminated against in relation to the rates and classification they are placed in for the purposes of insurance.

Let me make the second point: As far as life insurance is concerned, there has been a considerable amount of discussion about whether or not on public policy social grounds -- I am not talking about actuarial grounds -- there should be any distinction between men and women for the purpose of life insurance or for the purposes of annuity contracts. Again, I refer the minister to the report of the select committee dealing with this matter.

12:40 p.m.

There is no question that the distinction made between the sexes on the basis of longevity or life experience is actuarially all right; we said so. But the time has come in this province -- and there are certain things which are very apt that need to be said on this issue -- that as a matter of public policy it should no longer be so. I want the minister to give consideration to it, because we would like to have an informed, intelligent discussion of that matter when it comes before us.

Let me make a third point in connection with the insurance one. I was struck and upset and concerned on that committee to find the extent to which, without any actuarial basis, we are requiring people with medical impairments of one kind or another, or what are called in the International Year of Disabled Persons "disabilities that people have," to pay extra premiums -- people who are rated substandard and therefore have to pay extra premiums for their insurance.

I think it is essential that the commission be given the authority to say, "Yes, you can support discrimination on premiums to be charged to people with disabilities if and only if it is on an actuarially sound basis." The recommendation of the committee was that the life insurance industry must start from the premise that everyone is a standard risk, and must only rate a person as substandard or deny coverage on the basis of personal risk characteristics if those characteristics can be proved to require systematically that an extra premium be assessed.

In appendix E to the report there was a list of a number of disabilities that have resulted in the charging of extra premiums to disabled persons because of their disabilities. Perhaps I should put on the record, if I can locate the particular appendix, some of the grounds on which risks were rated as substandard. I know the Minister of Labour will be interested: gout was one of them. Deafness was a ground for a substandard rating, as were blindness, deaf-mutism, insanity, cleft palate, crippling disablement -- lameness or limp -- spinal deformity, mentality subnormal, and mongolism.

They list a number of others; I am not going to read the complete list. I simply say, not just because it is the International Year of Disabled Persons, although that is a very important reason for dealing with it, that there has to be an outside agency of the status of the Ontario Human Rights Commission to look at the question of traditional discrimination against people by the insurance industry in its rating classifications for life insurance. I think it is a matter of immense concern.

The position of our caucus is that this is not a function that should be left in a separate cubicle with the superintendent of insurance under something called the Insurance Act. We have to understand that and we have to be clear about it. I would hope the minister would seriously ask his advisers to look at the proposition of transferring the discriminatory-nondiscriminatory language of the Insurance Act into the Ontario Human Rights Code and dealing with it on a separate basis, and letting the insurance industry justify its position to the world, if it can, only on actuarial grounds.

I want to turn now briefly to the functions of the commission on section 26 of the bill. The functions of the commission are listed. I need only say they are circumscribed and I hoped the amendment I proposed originally would allow some lessening of the limited restrictions that are placed on the exercise by the commission of its authority.

Let me use just one example, Mr. Speaker. We think of the human rights commission as an agency for the correction of public attitudes by way of education, studies and that kind of thing. Let me just read the function: "To develop and conduct programs of public information and education and direct and encourage research designed to eliminate discriminatory practices that infringe rights under the act."

That is all they can do. If it were to turn out, for example, that the question of sexual orientation were not included in the bill as finally passed by this assembly, there is no authority for the assembly to do anything in analysing or researching or doing something about public understanding of the questions that are involved in the gay rights concerns which are expressed pro and con in this society at the present time.

Just as important to us, if not more important, is the question of affirmative action programs. We think the commission must have the backup authority to order an affirmative action program. I emphasize the word "backup." It has to be seen that this commission is -- by suggestion, by recommendation, by discussion, by persuasion -- going to try to get affirmative action programs introduced. But when the time has come that they think they have to take affirmative action, we think that in addition to recommending, the commission should have the authority to order the introduction and implementation of the special plans or affirmative action programs.

It raises a big question, I know, that must be discussed, but I want the minister to be absolutely clear about the reasons he will not give the commission that authority if he persists in that view.

I had the opportunity to discuss this bill with some people who were very interested, not in the affirmative action program as such, but about the problem of clogging up the commission with its complaints procedure. How do you solve that problem? Do you solve it by adding extra appeal provisions? Do you solve it by some multiplication of opportunities for the complaints to be heard? We felt you cannot do that; it would just bog it down more in the problems it has.

But affirmative action programs offer a way out. Instead of a one-on-one complaint against an individual employer or fellow employee or landlord, there may well be circumstances where an affirmative action program instituted in a given place will eliminate a large number of complaints. It would clearly signal to other people in the same circumstances in the community that this was not an acceptable basis and it would do a great deal to relieve the case load on the commission. We think that is an important and valuable new thrust of work for the commission. I hope the minister would consent, in reconsidering that, to deal with it in that way.

We also think, in regard to compliance in government contracts, that the commission should have authority in appropriate circumstances to require the contractor working with the government to file with the commission an appropriate affirmative action program to make certain there will be compliance. We also think it would be advisable in most instances to give the commission authority to monitor compliance by the government contractor. Otherwise, I am afraid the compliance provision in the contracts will again be left entirely up to some individual to see whether he has a right to complain in some way under the code.

12:50 p.m.

I get no sense that the Ministry of Labour is going to assume the responsibility, and no other ministry of government is going to accept the responsibility, of monitoring the compliance by government contractors with the provisions of the human rights code, even if it is incorporated by reference, as it is, into each and every contract entered into by the province in the carrying out of its work.

I have half a dozen other items but I am not going to delay the House with them. I just want to note them and itemize them for the benefit of the minister so he can cover them.

We have not as yet resolved our consideration of the question of whether political beliefs should be included as a prohibited ground of discrimination. We were not thinking of ourselves; we were thinking of the Tory members. It would probably be advisable for them to have that in to protect themselves against discrimination because of the political beliefs they hold. It does seem to us that there are real problems with that, but one of these times I will try to indicate to the minister what our position is on that question.

On the question of the power of the commission to reconsider, I am delighted he took out the dreadful words "final and binding" as he revised the bill. But the question is still there; the complainant does not have any real right except to file his complaint. From that time on, it is entirely in the hands of the commission as to what happens to his claim. It has been ameliorated by allowing a complainant with an adverse decision against him to ask the commission to reconsider, and farther down the road, if he is denied a board of inquiry, to ask the commission to reconsider.

In the reconsideration, will the minister give consideration to putting in the bill a provision that any panel of the board that has dealt with the original complaint must not deal with the reconsideration; that it must be a new panel to look at it the second time? It seems to me that would help someone. I did not want to get into the problem of saying, "He is having to appeal to somewhere else," and so on, because the guts of the human rights commission work and the values of the code over the years have been the extent and the degree to which there has been some speedy resolution of conflicting concerns on as an informal a basis as possible, but I hope the minister will consider that.

We have not solved the problem of the adults-only buildings as yet, but we will consider that. We certainly do not think the consent of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) should be required to any prosecution. It is tough enough to get a justice of the peace in this province to accept a charge for prosecution under the code without adding the Attorney General as another roadblock to the prosecution of people. I do not know of a single solitary rationale that should put that obstacle in the path of a person who believes an offence has been committed and takes the normal process of going before a justice of the peace to see whether or not an information or a charge can be laid in connection with it.

The minister will clearly recall the application form my colleague the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) raised in the assembly on a number of occasions. We have looked at the bill at considerable length and, as far as we can see, that point is not covered in the bill. The minister may think it is, and we would be glad to discuss it in committee, but that kind of application for employment should be totally prohibited and the commission should have the authority to deal with such questions.

Finally, I would like to ask the minister whether he will consider including in this code the provision that now stands in section 1(1) of the present code: "No person shall publish or display or cause to be published or displayed or permit to be published or displayed any notice, sign, symbol, emblem or other representation indicating discrimination or an intention to discriminate against any person or any class of persons for any purpose because of the race, creed, colour, sex, marital status, nationality, ancestry or place of origin of such person or class of persons." I would like to understand why that clear-cut provision is not included in the present proposed revision of the code. At some point I trust the minister will reconsider.

Mr. Speaker, I trust we have signalled our major concerns of substance about the bill to the minister, that when the bill goes to committee we will have an opportunity to have an informed and reasonable discussion about our concerns, and that some of them will appeal to the minister and we will have some success in getting certain of those amendments, in any event, included in the bill.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure what is going to happen, given the time here. I had remarks to make but they would certainly take more time than there is. I am sure the minister wants time to respond to many of the remarks that have been made. Could I have some direction as to where we are going with this, please?

Mr. Speaker: I would entertain a motion to adjourn the debate.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I quite appreciate the members of this House can determine the course they wish, but I had some view that there was an understanding that this debate would terminate today and the matter would be referred to committee. If that is not your wish, that is quite all right with me.

Mr. Speaker: I am not aware of any such understanding between the parties. I am not sure; does anybody have any direction or information?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: It was between the House leaders.

Mr. Speaker: I was not made aware of it.

Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, it was my understanding that the House leaders felt it would likely continue on to another time.

Mr. Speaker: To continue on with the debate in the House?

Mr. Stokes: Yes, sir.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: That is not so.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Sweeney?

On motion by Mr. Sweeney, the debate was adjourned.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: It was my understanding from the government House leader, and I only have his word for it, of course, that there was an understanding that this would be finished by one o'clock and would be referred to the resources development committee for further debate.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, if I remember correctly from the House leaders' meeting there was certainly no indication from any of the parties. In fact, in looking at the legislation for Tuesday night it was made fairly clear that if we were not finished the human rights code, we would finish it on Tuesday and go into the Massey-Ferguson bill on Tuesday. We certainly cannot cut off the debate on such an important piece of legislation.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, it was not my intention to cut off the debate. I am referring to a conversation just 20 minutes ago with my House leader. I was given to understand that there was an agreement.


Hon. Mr. Gregory: I am not making a federal case.

The House adjourned at 12:58 p.m.