32e législature, 1re session































The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I know all three leaders will want to rise in the House and pay tribute to the late David Lewis. It was my understanding that both the other leaders were going to be later than they are, but they are both here a little earlier than I was led to believe they would arrive. In deference, I will wait for the Premier to make his comments and I will be happy to add mine afterwards.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, it grieves me greatly to note, on behalf of the government and on behalf of all members, the sad and untimely passing of David Lewis, former leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada.

Born in Poland in 1909, David Lewis came to this country and built through his own hard work, commitment and determination a career of service to all Canadians and to the cause of democratic socialism in which he so deeply believed. A lawyer, Mr. Lewis served as national secretary, national vice-chairman, national chairman and national president of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation between the years 1936 and 1961. He served as a federal vice- president of the New Democratic Party before being elected to the Parliament of our country and to the leadership of the party he served so long.

First elected to the House of Commons in 1962 and re-elected in 1965 and 1968 and again in 1972, he also knew his share of defeats in the many elections where he contested a constituency on behalf of the CCF and NDP. I do not rise in my place to merely indicate officially our government's sadness at his passing. David Lewis spoke for a vision of this country that was essentially humanitarian and decent. He spoke eloquently, with unlimited courage and heart, for a society of social justice, security, tolerance and decency within which personal opportunity and freedom could be enjoyed by all.

What we have lost in this country is a man who had the courage of his convictions; a man who rode the train in the 1930s and 1940s from coast to coast and from town to town, campaigning for causes in which he most deeply believed, with no remuneration, without thought for his own comfort or wellbeing. We have lost a man who humanized politics for many of us despite our fundamental differences of opinion over the best means by which to achieve commonly shared goals.

The product of working-class immigrant Canadians, a Rhodes scholar and a legal scholar of unparalleled ability and skill, a member of Parliament, a tireless political partisan, a committed social democrat, national leader of his political party, David Lewis symbolized through every stage of his life the opportunity that this country provides for all of those who are prepared to pursue it and the will which we all share to improve not only our own circumstances but also, more important, the lot and opportunities of our fellow citizens.

I know I express the most sincere and heartfelt sympathy of all in this House when I say to his devoted wife, Sophie, to his children and grandchildren, and particularly to his son and our former colleague in this House, Stephen, how deeply we all share the profound loss which they now must face.

The people of Ontario share with me, as they do with every member of this House, a profound sense of loss with the passing of a great Canadian, a committed social democrat and a citizen for whom the welfare of his fellow citizens was by far the greatest concern.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, all of us feel the same sense of loss which the Premier has expressed on behalf of the government and the people of Ontario at the passing of David Lewis.

I remember the first time I ever heard of David Lewis was when I was a university student and my father told me of this person, whom he had regarded as a hero, who used to debate at McGill and to stand up for left-wing causes in centres where they were not particularly popular and who, generally speaking, used to come out on the winning side because of his silver-tongued oratory, his great wit and his combination of intelligence and human compassion.

I feel that Canada has had very few people over the years in public life who combined that sense of merriment, that ability to put things in plain terms and that sense of dedication which allowed David to come from times that were very difficult, when they used to have to meet in basements in Montreal and elsewhere, eventually to the point where he was able to succeed not only in being elected but also in leading his party to a very substantial number of seats in the federal House. Almost all the ideas that David Lewis stood for have been incorporated one way or another by parties of various political stripes. I think it is fair to say that his influence will continue to be felt for many years to come.

All of us knew Stephen, of course, and all of us want to send our very heartfelt personal condolences to him, to the other members of the family, and to Sophie. I think for the most part we did not know that David Lewis was suffering from leukaemia, and his death was quite a shock to us all, in addition to being a very grave tragedy and disappointment.

All we can say at a time like this is that we can only be grateful that our country had the benefit of the life of David Lewis and his ideas and his spark and his humanity. We are thankful that he was with us, and we are deeply sorry at his death. We send our very deepest feelings of sympathy and most sincere condolences to his entire family, who must be not only sad but also very proud of the contribution that David Lewis has made to this country.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, the news of David Lewis's death came as a shock to everybody in this Legislature and to everybody within the New Democratic Party across this province. I too would like to say some words of tribute to a man who was a towering figure in the political life of our country.

The role he played within the New Democratic Party and in the formation of the New Democratic Party, and in the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation before that, was one that absolutely could not have been replaced in terms of the contribution of the party, which to such a degree he helped to mould, towards bettering life for average Canadians by seeing that this country got such great social programs as medicare, the postwar welfare legislation and hospital insurance.

2:10 p.m.

That contribution is in large measure due to the fact that, although J. S. Woodsworth provided the original inspiration for the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, it was David Lewis who, beginning 35 years ago when he became the national secretary of our party, was the man who provided the energy, the drive and the determination, and who held together a fledgling party, which at that time was often threatened with extinction but which survived in large degree because of the willpower that he brought to it.

David Lewis's role in the history of our country still remains to be written. It is one of my personal regrets that David Lewis's own account, his autobiography, was only half finished at the time of his death. He had written of some of the early years but had intended to write more in his time at Carleton University; now, alas, that will not take place.

His role in helping the labour movement come together in the formation of the Canadian Labour Congress, his role in the creation of the New Democratic Party out of the ashes of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, his role in taking on the leadership of his party and then his leadership of the party at the moment of its greatest triumph in 1972 -- all of those are a tribute to his skills as a politician and to his humanity and his capacities of leadership in the many roles that he had within the party and within the country.

But there was more to it than that, because in David Lewis the working people of this country had a champion; a man who was determined to fight for social justice, to fight for the principles of social democracy, to fight for the principles that were embodied in the Regina Manifesto of the CCF, which was adopted back at the founding of our party; and a man who was prepared to put the demands and the needs of his countrymen and of his party ahead of his own personal comfort or his own personal career and did so for so many years of the life that he spent here in Canada.

On a personal level, so many of us within the NDP owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to David Lewis. He was oftentimes our counsellor, a friend, a man who was prepared to provide support, advice and reassurance at times when things seemed a bit daunting, who had known defeat himself but was therefore able to talk and provide inspiration to us and the party as we fought for the ideals that he had fought for during so many years.

David Lewis was never a member of this Legislature, but I think that in spirit he was a member here because of the very close relationship that existed between David Lewis and Stephen Lewis. The very close contact between the two of them meant that David probably knew what went on in this Legislature better in many cases than did some members of the Legislature itself.

On a personal level, all of our hearts reach out to Sophie Lewis, to Stephen, to Michael, to Janet, to Nina, to all the Lewis family. It is a tragic loss; it is a death that comes as a shock to us all. We had all hoped, we had all expected, that David Lewis had many more fruitful years ahead of him. It is hard to think of the party or the country without David Lewis as a social conscience, David Lewis continuing to provide leadership, David Lewis as a link to difficult years in our past, and David Lewis as a beacon leading on into a future for our country based on the principles of social democracy, based on the social justice for which he fought all his life.


Mr. Speaker: On Thursday and Friday of last week several matters were raised that I agreed to take under consideration. First, there was the point raised by Mr. T. P. Reid, Rainy River, who raised what he considered to be a matter of privilege -- perhaps more properly a contempt of the House -- relating to the nonappearance of two public servants whose appearance was requested by the public accounts committee.

I was asked to look into this matter and to report back to the House. I must point out again, as previous Speakers have done, that it is this House which must deal with such questions, and not the Speaker.


Mr. Speaker: The problem of what constitutes a valid matter of privilege or a valid point of order seems still to be causing some confusion. Many members feel that if they are aggrieved by another member in the House they should rise on a point of privilege. While this may constitute a point of order, it is certainly not a matter of privilege.

If the words complained of offend any of the rules or precedents relating to order, then it is a valid point of order which must be raised immediately and not at a later date. If it is something that is genuinely out of order according to the rules of the House and not simply used as a method of gaining the floor, standing order 19(d) contains a list of actions which have been held to be out of order in debate. This list is not all-inclusive, but it does set out the most glaring breaches of order, such as making allegations against another member, imputing false or unavowed motives to another member, charging another member with uttering a deliberate falsehood or using abusive or insulting language of a nature likely to create disorder.

Privilege is entirely different, as a breach must affect one of the privileges of Parliament and its members. I direct the attention of the members to definitions of privilege in standing order 18(a) and in the nineteenth edition of May's Parliamentary Practice.

Standing order 18(a) defines privilege as follows: "Privileges are the rights enjoyed by the House collectively and by the members of the House individually conferred by the Legislative Assembly Act and other statutes, or by practice, precedents, usage and custom."

May's Parliamentary Practice, nineteenth edition, reads in part as follows: "Parliamentary privilege is the sum of the peculiar rights enjoyed by each House, collectively as a constituent part of the high court of Parliament and by members of each House individually, without which they could not discharge their functions, and which exceed those possessed by other bodies or individuals. Thus privilege, though part of the law of the land, is to a certain extent an exemption from ordinary laws. The particular privileges of the Commons have been defined as, "The sum of the fundamental rights of the House and of its individual members as against the prerogatives of the crown, the authority of the ordinary courts of law and the special rights of the House of Lords."

Examples of breaches of privilege are:

1. If an action for slander were brought against a member for remarks made by him in the House; or

2. When a member raises a matter of privilege to correct a newspaper report in which he claims to have been misquoted.

In the latter case, he really seeks to set the matter straight and has no intention of moving a motion with respect thereto. The procedure of moving a motion to bring a newspaper writer or editor before the bar of the House is one which has not been made use of in any jurisdiction in the Commonwealth for many years.


Mr. Speaker: The second matter was raised by the leader of the New Democratic Party, who suggested that, in blocking the first reading of Mr. Philip's bill on Thursday, the party supporting the government was blocking a private member from bringing an item of business before the House and of participating in the private members' afternoon.

The vote on Thursday only decided that the bill would not be given introduction and first reading at that time and, in fact, it was introduced without objection on the following day, Friday. It is therefore obvious that the member is not blocked from bringing his business before the House; and he is certainly not prevented from participating in the consideration of the private members' business, as he may use the bill in question if and when its turn is reached on the ballot if he so wishes, or any one of the other numerous bills which he has already on the Order Paper.

Finally, I was asked to rule on whether Mr. Philip's bill constituted a money bill. I have examined it carefully and taken legal opinion and have come to the conclusion that, as the bill attempts to confer no power on the government which it did not already have and merely requests the government to exercise that power, it cannot be considered to direct an expenditure. In fact, it appears to me that, as it has no operational effect, it is of no more force than a resolution and might be more properly introduced as such, requesting the government to take the necessary action.

2:20 p.m.



Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that I have received the report of the Great Lakes/Seaway Task Force from its chairman, Mr. Ralph Misener. I will table three copies of the report with the Clerk at this time. Copies of the report are being made available to each member through the legislative post office this afternoon.

As you will recall, Mr. Speaker, the Great Lakes/Seaway Task Force was created last year to examine the existing state of Ontario's portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway system to formulate a fuller understanding of how this great natural resource can fulfil its potential as an integral component of Ontario's overall transportation system.

The report of the task force outlines the concerns and comments of many individuals associated with the marine mode and offers to the province background information and recommendations that will prove useful in future negotiations with the federal government, municipalities along the seaway and representatives from other jurisdictions.

While I have not yet had the opportunity to read the complete report, as I just received it about an hour ago, I am familiar with the broad policy areas explored by the task force, having met with them during their deliberations. I am therefore aware of their concerns relating to the limited capacity of the Welland Canal and that they are calling for a reassessment of environmental issues relating to the ports and waterways of the province.

The task force is also calling for the creation of an information program that will better inform the general public of the economic and industrial importance of the Great Lakes/Seaway system within the diversified transportation mix of our province.

Throughout their deliberations, task force members were well aware of the economic, environmental and fuel conservation issues affecting the transportation industry today. With this in mind, their approach within the terms of reference set up for the study has produced a document that not only considers a wide range of concerns but also clearly indicates Ontario must take a stronger stance on Great Lakes/Seaway policy.

The importance of marine transportation to Ontario cannot be overstated. For example, more than 60 million metric tons of raw materials, grains and other commodities were carried through the Welland Canal in 1980. This immense movement of goods and products not only is important to the industrial sector of the province but also provides a major contribution to the Canadian overseas balance of trade.

As members will recall, my ministry recently established a marine and pipeline office, which will be the focal point for the co-ordination and development of the recommendations contained in this report. Through this office, programs such as the upgrading and expansion of Ontario shipyards and a $10-million annual investment in system improvements -- programs outlined in detail in the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program announced by the Premier (Mr. Davis) earlier this year -- will be administered.

Once my senior ministry staff has had the opportunity to further review the report of the Great Lakes/Seaway Task Force, I will make a further statement on the direction that government policy will take towards the marine mode.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I wish to note that we are honoured to have the chairman, Mr. Misener, and the members of his task force in your gallery this afternoon. I therefore want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation, along with that of the government of Ontario, to Mr. Ralph Misener and members of his task force for the time and effort put into the research, preparation and production of this report.

I also wish to add that Mr. Misener, his task force members and the technical advisory committee will be available to answer questions relating to the report in the media studio at 3 p.m. today.



Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Can the minister explain the very serious contradiction of policy between himself and the manager of the plans review section of his ministry?

I am referring, of course, to the Ontario Municipal Board hearing over the use of certain farm land in Vaughan township in which the plans review manager -- the same Mr. Pinder who wrote most of the Foodlands Ontario guidelines -- told the municipal board that the land in question should be preserved for agricultural purposes. At the same time the minister wrote a letter to the OMB urging them to rezone the land in favour of a number of real estate developers.

Why did the minister write the OMB with a position that was opposite to that held by the man who presumably had the most expertise in matters of this kind and who continued to hold his position in a day and a half of testimony even after seeing the letter written by the minister.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I do not have the file with me today. I believe the Leader of the Opposition is referring to a letter written maybe six months to a year ago, looking at an area of land that is not large enough to be an economic operation. The reason my letter went to the chairman of the OMB is as simple as that. If the honourable member will look at the land and the overall plan, instead of looking at the letters he thinks he has, he will find three or four small parcels of land that I suggested were not economic operations any longer.

Mr. Smith: The point is not whether I think these very large acreages would be economic as farms but that the expert within the minister's own ministry, whose job it is to know of these things, spent a lot of time looking at it and spent a day and a half testifying as to his opinion on the matter. The minister's own expert believed these lands ought to be preserved for the most part as farm lands, and he continued to hold that opinion even after seeing the opinion of the minister was somewhat different.

In view of this, can the minister explain why he is now supporting an appeal to cabinet via his letter? Since the OMB agreed with the expert in the ministry, why is the minister now supporting an appeal to cabinet by the developer's lawyer? This man is very familiar to the Premier. He is his former friend and law partner, Ronald K. Webb of Davis and Webb of Brampton.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: This points out quite clearly that the minister does not interfere with his staff and any recommendations they want to make. My letter went forth; my staff were left there to give whatever evidence they wished. That was the letter from me.

Mr. Swart: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: If the minister cannot interfere with his staff, at least he could have some discussion with one of his colleagues.

Is the minister aware that the plan originally had clauses for phasing of the use of that farm land, although not much of it was to be used? Is he also aware that the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett), now the proposed minister of municipal affairs and housing, deferred the phasing part of that plan and did not send it to the Ontario Municipal Board, although it had been requested? By the act he must refer it to the Ontario Municipal Board; it had been requested by APPEAL, the Association of Peel People Evaluating Agricultural Land, the group trying to preserve the agricultural land there, along with about 40 other items.

Can the minister find out for this House why the Minister of Housing did not follow the act and, like the Minister of Agriculture and Food, took the action to promote the use of that prime agricultural land for urban development?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, it shows that the honourable member does not know the area. He does not know the situation as it actually happened.

Mr. Smith: Since more than one member of the minister's own ministry repeatedly examined that land in very great detail, and since the manager of the branch who wrote the food land guidelines continues to hold the view that the minister is dead wrong in his letter, which I understand was based on a brief visit to the site by the member for Elgin (Mr. McNeil), can the minister say whether one of the realities of March 19, now that we are back to majority government, is that we are back to the times when friends of the government can make millions of dollars by means of a well-placed phone call by a well-placed person?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: It is easy to understand why that member is sitting over there. He does not want to face the real world. He does not want to see the facts come out. Again, we, as the government, let our staff make the decisions they wish and we, as ministers, make our decisions.

2:30 p.m.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. The minister is quoted in the Toronto Star of May 24 as making comments about reducing the 13 years of the curriculum to 12. She is quoted as saying: "What I have said publicly is that we could eliminate grade six or compress other areas of education."

Does the minister not think that it is immoral to give some opinion on the matter of compressing 13 grades into 12 since, when I asked her to give an opinion in this House on that very matter, she said she was unable to do so on grounds that it would be immoral to offer an opinion?

Can the minister explain why she refused to answer a question in this House on compressing 13 years into 12 but went out to another group outside this Legislature and spoke of the possibility of eliminating grade six?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition asked whether I was in favour of eliminating grade 13. I have not made such a statement and I will not. The question I have asked repeatedly for two and a half years is whether the educational experience that these young people acquire during the period of time in which they complete their secondary school honour graduation diploma could be compressed, and I continue to ask that question. I do not know whether it is possible.

I am prepared to listen to reasonable presentations on the subject, but I continue to ask the question. And it was asked in the form of a question, although it may not have been quoted that way. I am sorry, but I do not read the Sunday Star.

Mr. Smith: The minister's reading abilities or choices notwithstanding, can I ask her either to deny that she made this statement or once again to explain the basis upon which she made the statement? Her statement is: "What I have said publicly is that we could eliminate grade six or compress other areas of education."

Since we on this side had suggested that very compression of 13 years into 12 and were greeted with the point that she could not offer a point of view on that matter, I ask again for the minister to explain when she said publicly that you could eliminate grade six or compress other areas of education, and why she could tell them that and not us.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: If the honourable member reads his question from some days ago in the Legislature, I think he will find that he asked whether I was personally in favour of eliminating grade 13. I reiterate that for the benefit of the slow learner across the House.

As I said, I have publicly asked on a number of occasions over the past two and a half years whether it would be possible to compress that period or whether it was necessary to retain that length of time. I said on Friday morning to a group of school trustees that I had publicly asked the question, "Is it possible to eliminate grade six? Is it possible to compress in other areas of the educational system?" That was precisely what I had asked earlier, and that was the same statement I had made about the question I had asked in other forums.

It may be reported as a statement. I will be happy to look at the article; I have not seen it.

Mr. Grande: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister confirm that she is in favour of eliminating junior and senior kindergartens in our schools, since last year she did withdraw the grants to --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That's a new question.

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Given that there is a reference in the report of the secondary education review project to a possible compaction of grades seven through 12 but no reference whatsoever to grade six or anything below it, can the minister indicate what the curriculum reasons would be that she would even make such a proposal?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, another question that I have asked repeatedly is whether we challenge our young people sufficiently within our school system, and I do not know at this point, since I am not a professional educator like the honourable member, whether that is possible to do or not.

If there is possible compression between grades seven and 12 in order to achieve what the secondary education review project is recommending, perhaps as the inclusion of all of the curriculum within a shorter period of time, the question I would have to ask is whether it can be compressed in other areas as well. The question I have asked repeatedly is, "Is it possible to do the compression by the elimination of a year, or must one simply compact the entire educational experience into a shorter period of time?"

I do not know the answer. As I said, I am not a professional educator and, therefore, I am waiting for the considered opinions of all of those who have been charged with the responsibility of looking at this and who will be responding to the very preliminary SERP report, which the Leader of the Opposition wants to make its final report today.


Mr. Smith: Mr Speaker, on a point of privilege -- a very brief one and it will not be a difficult one: I just want to draw your attention to the fact that Hansard of May 4, 1981, shows in my questioning of the Minister of Education that I made several references to 13 grades -- graduates in Ontario requiring 13 grades, whereas graduates from elsewhere are accepted after 12 grades -- over and over again. At no time did I say that I thought grade 13 itself should be eliminated, but that the 12 grades should be enough instead of 13.

Mr. Speaker: I will accept that as clarification.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Premier about interest rates, now that the prime rate is at 19.5 per cent and may go even higher at the end of this week. The Premier has kept insisting that the interest rates are basically a federal matter, but is he aware that Ontario has a means to help protect people in this province against the effects of high interest rates? Specifically, since bank profits for the major banks were up by 56 per cent in the first three months of this year, will the government undertake to introduce an excess profits tax on banking operations in Ontario and use the proceeds to cushion interest rate increases for people who have mortgages, for small businessmen and for farmers?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, one can look at the profits for a period of time and say that would be a very easy solution. I repeat what I said twice last week: interest rates are set by the government of Canada. This government has no control over them. We have communicated to the government of Canada our reaction to the increasing interest rates, but at the same time, to impose an excess tax on the banks as a solution, just at first glance does not appear to be viable.

Mr. Cassidy: Since Ontario is such a large part of the national economy, is the Premier not aware that just for the five major banks in the first quarter of this year their profits went up from $277 million to $433 million, a jump of 56 per cent, and that increase occurred because they were profiteering on the basis of the increases in interest rates? Does the Premier not think Ontario should be prepared to come in with an excess profits tax, all of which could be avoided by the banks if the banks stopped charging such high interest rates and gave people in Ontario a better deal on interest rates and stopped imposing the increases?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I should point out to the leader of the New Democratic Party that he can single out the banks if he so wishes, but that a great deal of the mortgage financing is done other than through the chartered banks. A lot of the institutional money finding its way into the mortgage market comes from trust companies, from insurance companies, many of them located in Kitchener, and from many private sources. I guess the member would say, "Let's have an excess profits tax on those people who have their life's savings invested in mortgages."

Mr. Mancini: Supplementary: Has the Premier yet become sufficiently concerned that because of these high interest rates many hard working Canadian families will not be able to continue to live in the homes that they worked so hard these many years to buy and to keep up, and will he assist these Canadian families to keep their homes by implementing the program which he has had available since 1975 and provide interest rate relief to families who wish to keep their own homes and who are unable to do so because of the present high interest rates?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I can only say that from my knowledge everybody who has a home at present wishes to keep it, so that applies to everybody.

I think it is fair to state this government has always expressed a genuine concern with respect to mortgage interest payments, bank interest payments and any interest payments people have to make during these periods of high interest.

2:40 p.m.

This government is concerned, but I point out to the honourable member and again remind him that the interest rate policy is set by the government of Canada, with which he has a much closer relationship than we do.

Mr. Cassidy: Since Ontario has the constitutional right to put an excess profits tax on the banks and since that is one means available to this province to provide rate relief for farmers, small businessmen and mortgage holders, would the Premier tell the House and the province, is the government prepared to use the powers available to it to protect people in Ontario against high interest rates or has he abdicated his responsibility?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I will answer just the last part of the question. This government never abdicates its responsibility.

Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Speaker, I am not about to talk about MacEachen, the wrecker of homes, but I did want to ask a supplementary to the question the leader of the New Democratic Party asked of the Premier. In answering, the Premier said on the surface it did not appear feasible. I would pursue that a bit further. In view of the gigantic profits the banking firms have made over the past years, rather than looking at it on the surface, perhaps we could have a much deeper and broader look at the whole affair of bank profits.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) is always looking at legitimate ways to increase modestly the revenues of this province.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Premier relating to the equity of the tax system in Ontario. Does the Premier think it is equitable that after the increases in taxes announced last week a family earning $25,000 a year will, with federal tax, provincial tax and OHIP premiums, pay a tax rate of 31 per cent while the banks which operate in the province and across the country were paying in 1980 an effective tax rate of only 16.1 per cent of their balance of revenue? Is it equitable that people earning $25,000 a year should be paying an effective rate of tax, including OHIP premiums, almost double the rate of tax being collected from the banking system across the province?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think one has to be careful getting into these comparisons. I point out to the leader of the New Democratic Party it is not valid to draw comparisons between what we as individuals may pay by way of tax rate and what a bank or a company may pay. One must understand the banks also have shareholders and they pay salaries. People pay taxes on the salaries and taxes on the dividends from the shares they hold. Banks have good years and bad years. Some years the honourable member would be the last one to acknowledge that if the balance sheet showed something less by way of profit they should receive any modest consideration. This is true not just of banks but of corporation taxes generally.

I think the Treasurer pointed out to the members of this House that one can single out the banks or other areas in the corporate community, but the intention of this government is to remain competitive in terms of corporation or business tax. I think it is fair to state there are many jurisdictions where the corporate tax rate is competitive with ours and where we are not anxious to lose investment because the investment climate in terms of taxation levels may be somewhat more advantageous elsewhere.

Mr. Cassidy: The Premier is defending the fact that even though they had profits last year of $1.4 billion, banks should be paying a tax rate only half that of the average family in the province. Could the Premier explain the equity of the tax proposals being made by his government under which a family earning $25,000 a year will pay provincial taxes and OHIP premiums equal to 65 per cent of the federal rate, but a family earning $20,000 will pay provincial taxes and OHIP premiums equal to 70 per cent of the federal rate, and a family earning $15,000 a year will pay provincial taxes and OHIP premiums equal to 80 per cent of the federal rate? Why is it that the less one earns, the higher the tax rate in Ontario under the tax proposals the Premier is proposing in this Legislature?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think perhaps the member was not here last Tuesday evening, although my recollection is that he was. The tax proposals are being made by the Treasurer of Ontario. I will be delighted to get him to explain to the member the equity of the tax proposals he is presenting.

Mr. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Perhaps before the Premier washes his hands totally of the budget presented by the Treasurer, I might ask him, when he is talking to his Treasurer, to find out what the Treasurer's thinking might have been. I wish he would also ask the Treasurer how he could possibly bring in a tax on the profiteering that is already going on in terms of the price of gasoline, given the difficulty that people have in paying for gasoline and the fact that we are heading for many price increases from time to time and possibly even more than we already expected and know about. How can the Premier possibly justify piggybacking and profiteering and compounding those increases at the expense of the ordinary citizen?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am really doing my best not to be provoked today in spite of the Leader of the Opposition's initial question in reference to the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson). I will deal with that on some other occasion.

I would point out to him what the Treasurer said to him, that whatever the consumer in this province is paying, in spite of the seeds the Leader of the Opposition may wish to sow in the minds of the viewers as he performs here on this occasion, the reality is that the ad valorem tax that the Treasurer has suggested for this province is following what I think is done in every province of Canada with the exception of two. I would also point out that whatever the consumers are paying today with the new tax, it is substantially lower than they would be paying for gasoline and fuel oil if they had ever been sufficiently unwise as to adopt the Liberal energy policy for Ontario.

Mr. Cassidy: If I could ask the Premier to resolve the ambiguity of his last response to me, does the Premier support the tax proposals that were put forward by the Treasurer or does he repudiate them? If the Premier supports them, how does he defend a tax system that imposes a much heavier rate as a proportion of the federal tax on people earning $15,000 a year than on people earning $20,000 or $25,000 a year? How can he support a tax policy that effectively soaks the poor and makes them pay higher rates than people who are better off?

Hon. Mr. Davis: The tax policy does not soak the poor. Yes, I support the proposals presented by the Treasurer of Ontario.


Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Attorney General. All of us are aware that interest on rental deposits -- and parenthetically the interest on rental deposits is six per cent -- falls under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Walker). We are also aware that section has been appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada by the government of Ontario.

However, given that the Attorney General is responsible for the Residential Tenancies Act and that this act could easily be amended, either to increase the six per cent to somewhere around the going rate or the current rate, or so that the setting of interest on rental deposits could come under regulation, is the minister prepared to bring in a bill this spring to amend that section of the act?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I had not considered any amendment at this time.

2:50 p.m.

Mr. Epp: Given that the Attorney General has not considered this item to date, I wonder whether he would give consideration to it, take it to caucus and the cabinet and be prepared to bring in some amending legislation as soon as possible. As I pointed out to the House a few weeks ago, some of the larger landlords could make profits of around half a million dollars or more a year on paying interest of six per cent.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I will be happy to discuss the matter with the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and advise the members opposite as to whether there is any likelihood of amending legislation this spring.

Mr. Philip: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations has promised to look into the formula proposed in a private member's bill I introduced -- namely, tying it to the Canada Savings Bond rate -- would the Attorney General kindly look at that formula and ask the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations to report back when we can have an answer as to when some action will take place and we will have his views on the formula I proposed?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I do not see any reason that cannot be part of our discussions.


Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. Given that there are over 259,000 active corporations in Ontario, can he explain how it is that one of them, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, contributes about four cents of every dollar of provincial revenue while the other 259,000-odd corporations contribute a total of only 11 cents of each dollar? Could the Premier explain this apparently huge discrepancy in provincial revenue from corporations?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think that is a traditional differential well known to the members here in that the odd one has been involved in contributing to that differential.

Mr. Wildman: Could the Premier comment on the fact the Treasurer indicated in his budget that one of the reasons he was facing a revenue squeeze was the increasing number of corporate tax reductions, exemptions and deductions?

Is the Premier aware leading tax experts such as Richard M. Bird of the University of Toronto contend there is no evidence these measures actually work? They do not necessarily increase investment. Rather, they only ensure that provincial corporate revenues decline. Does the Premier not think something should be done about how little revenue the provincial government receives from corporations?

Hon. Mr. Davis: The government always assesses the level of revenue from the corporate sector. I will repeat what I said to the member's leader and repeat what the Treasurer said during his budget statement and since, that our corporation tax level is comparable and competitive with other jurisdictions. It is important we maintain this competitive environment in Ontario. I do not care what professor the member may quote, but having spoken to a number of people who are considering investing, reinvesting or potentially making new investments here in the province, I have to tell the member one of the first things they look at is the level of corporation tax. That does have some modest bearing on investment decisions.

Mr. Boudria: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could the Premier tell us why he is so concerned about the corporate tax rate being conducive to making sure foreign investors invest here, yet he is not concerned with having an individual tax rate to keep our young people here when they are leaving for other jurisdictions?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, may I point out to the honourable member that I did not specify foreign investment. I know that is a real concern to the member's party and leader, because he has made many speeches on this subject, although I saw little of it during the campaign itself, particularly after his editorial lunch with the Globe and Mail. But I know what goes on. I would point out to the member that I am not concerned --

Mr. Mancini: The Premier should not be so condescending.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not condescending at all. Does the member want me to share it with him?

I would say to the member that it is important not just for investment from outside Ontario but for people who are presently located here, perhaps even industry in the member's own riding. The level of corporation tax does have an impact on investment, and I think if the member assesses it carefully he may find that to be the case.


Mr. Piché: Mr. Speaker --


Mr. Piché: Thank you to my confrères.

Mr. Speaker, in making my debut in the question period as the member for Cochrane North, I would like to direct my first question to the Solicitor General in connection with the raise granted recently to the Ontario Provincial Police.

Is the minister aware of the repercussions that have been and are being caused as a result of the recent collective agreement between the province and the Ontario Provincial Police? Because of this settlement, which provides for an increase of $5,890 over a 21-month period and brings the salary of a first-class constable to almost $30,000 -- $29,825 to be exact -- effective January 1982, for an increase of 24.6 per cent, there is some concern over the repercussions felt in many municipalities.

As a result of this unusually high settlement for the OPP, municipal police departments have been under pressure to negotiate comparable salary increases to match the OPP settlement in order to attract new officers. It is, however, beyond the ability of these communities to pay such high salary raises. It would seem that the province, with its resources, would be mindful during negotiations of the effects created throughout Ontario, particularly in the smaller municipalities that operate their own police forces.

Would the minister comment on the situation that has resulted from a precedent-setting agreement between the province and the OPP, which apparently did not take into account the impact on municipal police forces? Will the minister assure municipalities throughout the province which operate their own forces, as they should, that this unusually high settlement will not affect municipally operated forces and that the ministry will find ways and means of assuring comparable wages for all police forces, municipal and provincial, since they are all equal in ability and qualifications?


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The minister has a very brief answer.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I am not a party to the salaries that have been negotiated for the Ontario Provincial Police, but I would like to add quickly that the OPP are worth every cent of them. I know all members would agree that we in this province are indeed very fortunate to continue to be served by such able, committed and dedicated men and women as those who serve on our provincial police force.

It seems to me that the total of the settlement is not out of line with the awards or negotiated settlements that have been made with respect to many of the major municipal and regional police forces in this province, and I think if one looks at the salary range for first-class police constables in Ontario there is not a significant variation, although I would be the first to suggest that perhaps the cost of living in some parts of the province is obviously greater than in others.

3 p.m.

As to the pressures that may have been placed on municipalities with respect to any bargaining under way, again I think it is quite clear. I would ask my distinguished colleague to remind some of his municipal friends that many of the settlements negotiated by municipalities and regional police forces -- quite apart from the Ontario Provincial Police -- are very much in line with this negotiated settlement. I certainly sympathize with the difficulties many municipalities face with respect to increasing policing costs, but given the importance of this crucial service to the citizens of every community, I think it is an expense most citizens are prepared to bear.

Mr. McKessock: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the Solicitor General now going to take the opportunity to raise the municipal per capita police grants to the same level as regions are getting to help offset the increases they will have to pay for policing?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, this is not a matter for the Solicitor General. I have no direct involvement in these grants. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) states it is still within his responsibilities. I was not sure whether this had been taken over by the new minister of municipal affairs and housing. I do understand that some greater amounts are forthcoming with respect to these per capita grants, but again I am not directly responsible for these grants.

Mr. Wildman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is it not the case that the municipalities have been given grants lower than the increase in inflation this year? The question really is not that the OPP increase was too great but that the provincial government is not providing sufficient resources to the municipalities of this province.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I am obviously not the minister responsible for these grants. I do know from the many discussions I have had with the Treasurer and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs that the needs of local municipalities and regions for policing is a matter to which they always give the highest priority.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to the Minister of Agriculture and Food about the matter of Vaughan township and the answers he gave me earlier. The minister said earlier that the area was not large enough to be a viable farm. Is the minister aware that he is talking about an area of 1,225 acres? Could he explain how it is that in these times an area of that size is thought not to be viable?

Mr. Pinder, the expert in these matters, in preparation for the hearing -- and I quote from the Ontario Municipal Board decision -- "spent two days walking over the lands contained in amendment 95, during which time he measured various land slopes, inspected buildings and interviewed farmers in and around the block 48 area, and he said that as far as he was concerned there were 975 acres that certainly were worth saving." Inasmuch as he took that length of time to examine it, will the minister tell us exactly how much time he and the member for Elgin spent in coming to the opposite conclusion?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: As I said earlier, I do not have the file here. Apparently the Leader of the Opposition does. Will he read the letter I sent?

Mr. Smith: Indeed. The problem is that I have read the letter. All the letter of December 2 said was, "With regard to the above file, it has come to my attention that the staff of my ministry commented on this application," and in his view the lands were similar to other lands in the amendment 95 area and were withdrawn. There are no reasons given.

In a previous very short letter, he says: "The proposed amendment to the official plan was brought to my attention by my parliamentary assistant, Mr. Ron McNeil. Mr. McNeil personally inspected the area, and he and I reviewed our ministry comments with my staff." Based on this discussion, he says he withdrew the objections of his staff.

His staff are experts who spent two days walking up and down the area examining an area of about 1,000 acres and found it to be viable farm land that should be saved. The OMB thought the same. Apparently the member for Elgin made some examination that was satisfactory to the minister to try to overrule the experts in his ministry. I want to know how much time the member for Elgin spent walking up and down the land, and what are his qualifications?

I want to know particularly whether the minister is now prepared to withdraw this ridiculous attempt on his part to push through something on behalf of developers and friends of his?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: When the honourable member starts speaking about the qualifications of my parliamentary assistant, I will put him up against that whole party any day when it comes to talking about agriculture. The honourable member knows full well that I was referring to a portion of that 1,200 acres. He does not want to bring that out here. I will bring the file tomorrow and show what I am talking about.

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the minister claims that he gives his staff the freedom to come to conclusions on the basis of their expertise, but he then exercises the freedom to countermand their conclusions, does the minister care to inform the House who made representations to him with regard to making that change? Is the Leader of the Opposition correct that a certain lawyer was the one person? Were there other people who came and persuaded the minister that he should countermand the decisions of his experts in his ministry? If so, who were they?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, my parliamentary assistant is a very capable farmer in this province. He was asked to go and view this property. As I say, I do not have the file in front of me, but I will certainly look and see, and I will bring back the answers either tomorrow or Thursday.


Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications.

Is the minister, along with his colleague the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier), still of the opinion that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is wrong in its denial of the right of cable television operators in northern Ontario to intercept satellite signals for transmission to their subscribers in northern Ontario?

Will the minister support the cable operators and their subscribers in opposing this denial of basic rights as enjoyed by most people in southern Ontario and certainly by the people in Quebec, who get French signals from the republic of France?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether the honourable member is asking if I still feel the CRTC is wrong; and I am not sure whether I would be right in saying the CRTC is wrong or the federal Minister of Communications is wrong -- perhaps both are wrong -- because that is my personal opinion.

One policy of the federal government with which I do not disagree is that there is a limitation of four on the number of United States signals that can be carried on a cable television system; that is, it is limited to the three commercial stations and one noncommercial station that any cable TV system here in southern Ontario is allowed to carry.

3:10 p.m.

The requirement limiting the number of US signals to four should be uniform across the province, and it should not depend upon how that signal is received. As the honourable member knows, cable TV operators can receive that many and more signals here in southern Ontario off air, by microwave or by land lines. To say that the cable system operators in northern Ontario cannot give their customers four United States signals because they have to get those systems by a satellite transmission, I think is fundamentally wrong. The cable systems in northern Ontario should be able to supply four US signals, the same as they do in southern Ontario, whether they get them by satellite, by microwave or off the air.

There is some progress being made on this, after a long while, but there should be more effort made and more signals on our Canadian satellites so that a further choice of signals could be available in northern Ontario. But, regardless of how many Canadian signals we have on the satellite, I think the basic rule of four US signals should be uniform.

Mr. Stokes: The Minister of Transportation and Communications and his colleague the Minister of Northern Affairs made a joint submission, through the Deputy Minister of Northern Affairs, before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in Geraldton a little over a year ago.

That is the reason I asked the minister whether he was still of the same opinion. If he is, what is he going to do in his representations to either the CRTC or the minister responsible, the Honourable Francis Fox, to see that the formula he believes is a true and a realistic one is made available to the people of northern Ontario? Does the minister not see that as his responsibility on their behalf?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I certainly do, and I have been attempting for almost the last six years to do exactly that. But for the past period of time it has been very difficult to get any meeting with or any message across to the federal Minister of Communications.

I cannot remember the exact date, but a communications ministers' conference was arranged to be held in Winnipeg, and shortly before it was to take place Mr. Fox notified everyone he would not be in attendance. The host minister from Manitoba cancelled the conference. The minister from New Brunswick called a meeting of provincial ministers of communications about a year ago and asked Mr. Fox to attend. Mr. Fox declined to attend that meeting.

I believe there was a meeting of communications ministers called for Quebec City in February by the Quebec minister -- it was during the election period, but it was called before that -- and we thought Mr. Fox would attend. Although I was not there, my deputy and other officials of the ministry were. Mr. Fox did not attend that meeting.

Mr. Stokes: Since you cannot get his attention, will you cite him for civil disobedience?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Snow: If the honourable member will just give me a moment, I am not through yet, Mr. Speaker.

We then arranged a communications ministers' conference for this spring -- in May or June -- again in Manitoba at the request of the Manitoba minister. I just got notice -- although I was scheduled to be there in mid-June for a two-day meeting in Winnipeg -- that conference has now been cancelled. I believe it was cancelled at the request of Mr. Fox, but he has agreed to attend the conference in Winnipeg in September. So it does not look as if there will be a chance for us, as provincial ministers, to meet with Mr. Fox, after all of those cancellations, until September. I hope that one will come about.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister indicate whether he has been in touch with the CRTC and its chairman, Mr. Meisel, to point out Ontario's position in this regard? And will he say whether he has had a response from Mr. Meisel?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, we have made representations at practically every significant hearing of the CRTC on matters relating to communications in this province.

To answer the member's question specifically, I would have to refer back to our files to see what replies we have received. I know we have sent a number of written submissions to the CRTC. I do not recall replies, but that does not necessarily mean those submissions were not taken into consideration in making the decision that was made recently, for instance, to put some of the Canadian superstations on the satellite.


Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. I want to ask the minister whether she agrees with the policy announced by the former Minister of Community and Social Services regarding attempts by the provincial government to encourage people who are receiving mother's allowance and other kinds of social assistance to become financially independent?

If the minister does agree with that policy, will she be prepared to investigate the situation at Niagara College, where a particular program that allows people to upgrade themselves academically so they can go into technical courses or obtain jobs -- which would allow them to get off social assistance -- is being cut back? Will the minister investigate that and take whatever action necessary to ensure that the former minister's policy is carried out?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the basis of the policy developed at Niagara College was, of course, the federal program which permitted the addressing of the basic knowledge requirement for admission to skills programs. As my honourable friend knows, his friends in the federal government have cut out that program completely. Niagara College has attempted to try to fund it on its own and has been unable to, and that is the reason for its demise this year.

It is a matter of grave concern to me and one of the reasons that we have been looking at the entire area of continuing education, particularly in the basic skills-basic knowledge requirement of a number of those who were unfortunately required to leave or voluntarily left the elementary secondary system before they could acquire the knowledge which they now need for entrance into a skill training program.

It certainly was not a provincial government activity that caused the demise of this program; it was their friends at the federal level who did it.

Mr. Bradley: In view of the fact that it is very easy to always blame the federal government when something does not go right but to take the credit when something does go right, will the minister tell the House what specific action she is prepared to take on an immediate and urgent basis to ensure that this program does not disappear and that these people who face unemployment or who face a situation where they are going to be on social assistance when they do not want to be are able to get off this and are able to take advantage of what was admittedly a very good program, I thought, at Niagara College?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: One cannot look at a program such as that in isolation. One must look at programs of similar nature in the various colleges throughout the system, and that we are doing.

Mr. Swart: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: When the minister is examining this program at Niagara College and blaming it all on the federal government, will she would look at the situation whereby the college itself has contracted with the federal government, under manpower retraining, for them to purchase all of the seats in certain trades because they need the money so badly that they cannot risk the situation of some fee-paying students not carrying on; so that many students in the Niagara Peninsula who have graduated from high school and now want to go into a skills trade are not able to get a seat at the college because of the action of the board?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, colleges are not permitted to sell all of the seats in any program to the federal government. There is a percentage that must be retained for students in the local vicinity who are not referred by Canada Manpower.


Mr. Philip: I have a question of the Solicitor General. Can the minister inform the House whether he has ordered a widespread inquest into the death of Kenneth Whalen and Carole Miller, who died in a Rexdale fire where arson is suspected? Can the minister inform the House what his investigators may have uncovered to date, since there are a number of very uncomfortable rumours spreading through the neighbourhood over this particular fire?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I have not had a report as of this moment, Mr. Speaker, but I will be obtaining a report and will report back to the Legislature.

3:20 p.m.

Mr. Philip: Will the minister assure the House, since Mr. Whalen is reported to have been the Rexdale commander of the Ku Klux Klan, that any investigation, or indeed any inquest, will look into the activities, if there are any, of that organized group in the Rexdale area?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Obviously we are very interested in the activities of the Klan in any area of the province. If there is going to be an inquest into this fire, it is not likely that it will relate to the purported or alleged activities of the Klan unless there was some relationship between these activities and the deaths of the two individuals.


Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the Minister of Education to a student information sheet being used by Ontario schools which requests children entering primary school to indicate their social insurance number. Is the minister not concerned that a social insurance number is being attached to a person's school record at that early age, and is she not concerned about the accessibility of those records in later years through computers to others who have knowledge of social insurance numbers?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member may not know, there is a very specific action taking place to divorce any identification of students in the educational program by number from the individual identifier that is used for social insurance. I do not think it is to be accomplished this year, but it is to be accomplished by the end of the school term next year. However, I shall explore that, because it was not my understanding that the number was to be used this year.

Mr. Boudria: If the minister is right in what she is saying, can she explain to the House why these envelopes are distributed by the unemployment insurance office to kids to apply for social insurance? They are distributed to three-year-old children as they apply to start pre-kindergarten in the fall when they will be four years old. One was distributed to my daughter.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Canada Manpower has absolutely nothing to do with the school system of the province, and I do not know how those envelopes could have been distributed through the school system. I will investigate that.

Mr. Boudria: They always are.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, they are not. They may be in the member's area, but they are not in mine.


Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, time is short; so my question to the Premier has two parts, if I can just have his attention. The Premier is fond of referring to the reality of March 19. I am fond of referring to the other reality; that is, the Premier's word.

Does the Premier recognize that there is a time limit on the credibility of his word? During his term of office as Premier, will he (1) introduce legislation into this assembly that will fulfil his commitment to the city of Toronto with respect to the extension of the Spadina Expressway and (2) file as quickly as possible, in accordance with the promise he gave to this assembly, the report of the former judge of the Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Campbell Grant, related to the Ontario Hydro contracts at Arnprior and Bruce?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, dealing with the second matter first, I will consult with the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry). I told the honourable member I would do that.

As to the first matter, I am still hopeful that we might resolve it without the necessity of a piece of legislation.


Mr. Villeneuve: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister of Labour, at what stage are the negotiations between Domtar in Cornwall and the workers? It is a very serious problem in our area, affecting not only the city of Cornwall but also the whole community around. This strike has now lasted seven months.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise the House that negotiations over the weekend resulted in a memorandum of agreement that will be voted on later this week.



Mr. Boudria moved, seconded by Mr. Van Horne, first reading of Bill 83, an Act to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to provide increased protection for tenants residing in mobile home parks who are forced to move from parks by a landlord who requires possession of the park for certain other purposes. The act currently requires the landlord to give a tenant 120 days' notice before terminating the tenancy agreement. The bill increases this notice from 120 days to one year.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the answers to questions 90 and 91 standing on the Notice Paper. (See Hansard for Friday, May 29.)



Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. McMurtry, that, notwithstanding any standing order of the House, estimates for the Provincial Secretariat for Social Development be referred to the standing committee on social development and be taken into consideration for up to five hours following the estimates of the Ministry of Culture and Recreation.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I am quite happy to agree to the motion, although it has come rather quickly and without much notice. I only want to ask the government House leader and the minister to make sure the briefing material is made available to the critics this week, because as yet it has not arrived and we are scheduled, I gather under the terms of this motion, to begin on Monday.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, Mr. Speaker. The arrangements have been made to have the material available, and this was done in consultation with the House leaders.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I was under the impression that a decision had been made at the last meeting of the social development committee that a private bill would be brought before the committee this coming Monday. Do I misunderstand that? The people involved have been advised of that.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, all we are doing is referring the estimates to the committee setting the order and the time for them. The scheduling and the dates when the estimates will be heard are up to the committee. They will order their own business.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, it is my very great pleasure once again -- I think this is the fifth time -- to rise on behalf of my party to present our views on the budget.

I must say I am delighted to see the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) here today. I know how very busy he is. I think it is the first time in my experience with two Treasurers that a Treasurer has decided not to be here on the day of the response. I know how terribly busy the man is travelling about trying to put out some fires, particularly at this time, but this had been scheduled for some time. However, that is his prerogative. It probably indicates, to some measure at least, the extent of his embarrassment over this budget.

3:30 p.m.

In my five years of criticizing the budgets on behalf of my party I have never seen one that is so easy to criticize and that is more iniquitous, given the economic circumstances. I hope in the course of my remarks during the next hour or so to lay out our view of the specifics of the budget. I will also set out what we would have done; in other words, our positive alternative to the budgetary practices of this government.

Before I start, I want to thank a few people who have assisted me greatly. We in this party are the beneficiaries of a great deal of expert advice from a number of people -- not only on our own staff but also across the province -- who share with us their points of views and who contribute to the development of our policy. I want to thank all of those people who have assisted us.

I say with some pride, on looking back over the years we have been responding, that I do not think we have said anything we are embarrassed about after the fact. Unlike the government, I do not think we can be caught in one duplicitous position. I do not think the government can catch us once where we have said one thing and where we changed our minds two or three months after. That is very much unlike the government. Through the campaign, through the budgetary documents, it has changed its fiscal and political strategy depending on the political forces at any given time, and it has almost lost credibility.

I am sorry the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman), the erstwhile Treasurer, is standing up to leave the House, because I would enjoy it very much if he would stay here and learn. This young man has demonstrated some capacity to grow and learn. If he were prepared to sit here at my knee for an hour or so, we might even turn him into the real Treasurer. Whatever meetings he has this afternoon, I can assure him none is more important to his political career than the time he should be spending here.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will read Hansard later. I will read it to my children.

Mr. Peterson: If the member does have trouble sleeping tonight, he can get a copy of Instant Hansard to console himself in his insomnia.

I do want to thank a few people specifically: These are research people -- Jane Shapiro, Sandie Giles, Norma Graver -- all of whom worked very hard at assisting me with my remarks, and Donald Gray, who is my trusty assistant for the summer, sitting up in the gallery.

Mr. Nixon: What about your colleagues?

Mr. Peterson: Of course, I owe a great deal to my colleagues. The political wisdom these gentlemen and ladies have demonstrated over the past years in forging a responsible economic policy augurs very well for the future of the Liberal Party in Ontario.

We have not been a party that has advocated unlimited spending. We are not like the NDP, who have never had to reconcile both sides of the balance sheet, the expenditure side and the revenue side. I see my old friend the ex-critic smiling like a Cheshire cat, relieved as he is of the duties he used to have. He is not a bad fellow, and I think he probably felt badly about some of the things he was forced to say to veil his Socialist principles under the guise of some sort of fiscal framework. I think he is probably very happy to be relieved from that burden. Now he can speak only to the expenditure side -- the great programs the NDP have to recreate the world in their own image.

We have fancied ourselves as being financially responsible. We have never made criticisms when we did not feel we had an alternative. We have never advocated unlimited spending. We were prepared to make cuts where we were prepared to make expenditures. As a matter of philosophy, our party does not believe we can go on in perpetuity and put the taxpaying public and our future generations into a perpetual burden of debt. I will be talking about that a little later, more specifically about some of the fiscal problems and the financing problems this province is going to face over the next 10 and 20 years. I have yet to see any attention to these problems from the government.

I think this budget is particularly interesting because it is just in the wake of an election. A budget is very frequently a political document -- at least it is used for political purposes. When we see the juxtaposition of what we were presented with last week and what was promised before the election -- indeed, what was offered in the last budget -- it strains everyone's credulity; it strains the credibility of this government. When one sees the stark juxtaposition of giving at one time and taking away severely a year later, he can see no consistency, he can see nothing except an ill-conceived perception of some economic or electoral gain.

I have no doubt the things said in the last campaign and in the last budget contributed in at least some small measure to the electoral success of our friends opposite, because they were totally different from what we have been presented with today. In that regard it is the most shameful budget I have seen in my brief years here and we have, at the same time, the most shameless Treasurer. He almost openly admits the political context in which he brought down this document and admits the great disparities that have come about.

I just want to give a few quotations of things we have discovered. In Decision 1975, a pamphlet of this government in the 1975 campaign, it said this: "In the Canada of 1975, no one has fought harder for the consumer and the taxpayer than Ontario's PC government. From the outset, Ontario fought against increased energy costs because higher costs meant fewer jobs and more inflation, and when Ottawa jacked up the oil and gas prices and increased by 10 cents the federal tax on gasoline, Ontario responded with a 90-day price freeze at the provincial gas pumps." They would have us believe it is a government of the consumers.

Let us go to a statement by the Premier (Mr. Davis) of this province at a press conference at Queen's Park when he called the election on February 2. He said, "We seek a mandate to combat inflation through smaller and more efficient government, avoiding tax increases and supporting those on fixed incomes," blah, blah, blah, as he is wont to say.

We had the Treasurer, when speaking about increased energy prices on a national basis say, "Increased energy prices are a mistake and a distortion and a clear raid upon the spending power of the average citizen of this province and of Canada as a whole."

That is the kind of ambiance they have created. We had a feeling before the last campaign, and the government tried hard to create the feeling, that all was well in Ontario, it was a "no tax increase" budget, in fact there was some extra money for one if one needed it; for example, if you needed a Wintario grant. We remember he sent a number of his ministers about the province with a great big bushel full of cheques, passing them out here and there for arenas or whatever was the order of the day, all symbolized by the quote from the great Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) saying, "Me and the Premier brung you this cheque." There was a feeling all was well.

Why should other people be critical of or complain about the economic performance of this government and this province over the past decade? What we will find when we do our analysis is the single most important problem facing this province is its lack of fiscal capacity. It is losing its ability to create wealth so that we can all enjoy the services we have become accustomed to.

The rundown in our economic health is forcing the government of this province to take a higher take from the average taxpayer and the average consumer and is creating a tax climate today that is most unattractive compared to other provinces. We are seeing that gradual rundown. I say with great pride that my leader pointed it out in the last campaign, although a lot of people criticized him and said he was Dr. Negative, but history will say he was right.

Maybe we have had too many moral victories on this side and not enough electoral victories, but one day we will translate that into an electoral victory. There is a stark juxtaposition of the dishonest approach this government takes. We have tried from our point of view to be specific about the problems and suggest solutions. I think two or three years from now people are more apt to see the wisdom of that point of view than they perhaps did in the last campaign.

I intend to talk today not only about errors of commission in the budget, but also about errors of omission. It was a singularly unimaginative document except in extracting money from the taxpayer's hide. There were no new wealth- creating initiatives, just a rehash of the old Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program that is already in disrepute in most circles. We saw little creativity except inflationary tax grabs contributing to higher prices.

3:40 p.m.

In spite of the fact that the Treasurer walks out of here and says the new ad valorem tax on gasoline is not inflationary, his own officials, who -- and it has been demonstrated on a number of occasions -- know very much more about the whole budgeting and financial process in the country than he does, admit that it is an inflationary tax. Now the Treasurer has, of course, a vested interest in higher oil prices to satisfy the unquenchable coffers of the Ontario Treasury. He is profiteering by inflation; he is contributing to inflation. It is exactly the wrong tactic at this time in Ontario's history.

I have had the experience in the last four or five days, along with my colleague the new financial critic for the New Democratic Party (Mr. Wildman), of appearing on a number of open-line shows, talking to a number of people and chatting about the budget, as we are wont to do. Interestingly enough I think the Treasurer was invited to all those shows. He refused to show up, because he was not prepared to defend this silly document in public. Rather than take criticism he avoided the forum.

We sat and listened, and it was not very interesting radio or television because there was no real conflict. No one defended the budget and no one of any substance phoned in to defend the government. There are a few people who phone in, of course, and say what a wonderful province we have and how grateful we should be to live in it. Of course we have. But the priorities of this government are wrong. There could be a fairer and more even distribution of wealth and more devices to create wealth in this province. That is what we are complaining about here. None of us wants to leave Ontario. We are all going to stay here and fight for what we consider best. That is not the issue,

But we talked to people who phoned to say: "I am a single mother. I have two children and I just cannot cope. How will I pay these extra taxes?" The story goes on from individual to individual, from small businessmen to farmers. Mr. Speaker, I know you have those kinds of people in your own constituency. What this budget has done, to some extent at least, is rob these people of hope. It has said to them, "No matter how hard you try there are certain forces conspiring against you: high inflation rates and high interest rates." Granted, they are not the direct responsibility of this government even though the results are. But now they are assaulted by an equally punitive budget that is going to extract more money from their disposable income and they are asking themselves, "How can I cope?"

I do not have an answer for them. I do not know what they can do tomorrow morning except tough it out, because there has been no promise held out in this budget. Therein, maybe, from a sociological point of view, lies the single most iniquitous thing about this budget: it is robbing people of hope. People who previously thought that by hard work and saving and doing what most people want to do in this life they could build for the future have now in some respects lost the hope of building for the future. That is a very serious phenomenon in our society as I know it, and that disturbs me very greatly. I know my colleague the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) would agree with those sentiments too, because he went through the very same thing I went through.

I wish the Treasurer had been there to hear that, because it moved me. There were other people far more harsh. They phoned and said: "The taxpayers of Ontario deserve what they got. They voted Tory -- let them suffer." I do not take that harsh view, because I think the economic and sociological repercussions of what we have done are too serious. We are going to use whatever devices we have on this side -- and unfortunately there are not nearly as many as we used to have -- to try to get this government to change its mind and reorder its priorities. Unfortunately, the biggest weapon we have in opposition today is rhetoric, and that is not always effective when we are facing a majority on the other side of the House.

We are going to continue the fight. We totally, fundamentally and absolutely reject some of the tax increases that have been presented by this government, particularly because of the politically dishonest way in which they were introduced. After a no-tax-increase budget last year we pay double this year. A lot of false promises were held out to the people of this province, and there is a sense of moral outrage from people who feel they were deceived last year.

Maybe the government is right. Maybe the government thinks people are not very smart or that they will forget what they have done. Perhaps they will be right four years from now. We will see tax increases again next year and see those wind down the year after that, and a budget with no tax increases just before the next election. That has always happened.

In the process of working on our remarks today, we did a review of the last 10 years of the budgetary process of this province. Always, without exception, the major fiscal distortions in the budget were in the year prior to an election -- in 1971, 1975, 1977, and last year, 1980. That is when you see the major aberrations. The citizens end up paying in the two or three years following that, giving the government their money so they can buy their votes. I think at some point there is a degree of cynicism that will set in that will defeat the government that continues to try that old tactic. That is my opinion. It is not going to be easy, but we are going to take that message to the people of this province in any event.

I want to talk about what we see are the economic realities of May 1981, what we are facing, what the government was facing, and what they should have been dealing with. We have virtually record-high inflation rates and interest rates. I do not think we have to get into a discussion today on who caused that. I recognize it is a federal responsibility, but the spillover effects of that are clearly a provincial responsibility for those people who reside in Ontario. There are ways that individuals, home owners and small businessmen can be protected and should be protected. I will talk about that in more detail later.

We are paying, as I said, not only an economic price but a very high human price for that phenomenon which is caused generally by external forces, forces beyond our borders. We have the responsibility to repair the damage at least in some limited way. We see small businessmen, probably the most vulnerable sector of our economy, being assaulted on a daily basis by these high interest rates.

A Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey said some 60 per cent of those small businessmen were creditors to bankruptcies and 57 per cent of those got nothing back. When one small business or a few start to go, there is an impact on their friends and neighbours and the people with whom they do business. You cannot regard the effects of high interest rates and inflation on these small businesses in isolation. They have an impact on society as a whole, and ultimately end up affecting us all.

We are also seeing a phenomenon where the average person in this province cannot afford to own a home. The average home price in April was $87,534. With an 18 per cent mortgage, 10 per cent down, and taking into account taxes and heat, and assuming the ratio of 30 per cent of disposable income should go to carry a mortgage, one requires a pre-tax income of $47,000. That is about $20,000 more than the average family income in this province.

We are removing hope. We are not offering the prospects and the hope for the future that we should be in gearing our political system towards offering that kind of promise. My colleague the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell), has spoken eloquently about the plight of the farmers. I get the impression, very sincerely, that he and his colleagues who work with him are the only people who really understand the plight of the farmers in this province and are prepared to do anything about it. Members have seen the passion and commitment with which he speaks on that issue. The government is being most foolhardy in not moving in that direction. What we have seen is a 75 per cent increase in farm bankruptcies in 1980 and net farm income down 32 per cent. All of these phenomena going on at the same time speak to a great deal of trouble in the economy in Ontario.

My leader has spoken before about the erosion of the middle class, this phenomenon that is dividing the working poor from those people who have some assets which are increasing in value through no particular accomplishment of their own. Those people who have money or assets today see them growing at phenomenal rates, way beyond what they are contributing to the gross national product, through that iniquitous phenomenon known as inflation. On the other side of that, we are seeing the people who are working, the majority of whose disposable incomes are going towards handling mortgages, feeding their kids and just surviving, and who are getting poorer by the day. If one goes back in history, one sees that one of the things that contributes to the destruction of a relatively stable society is the destruction of that middle class which happens to be its backbone and generally keeps it functioning. That is my judgement and the judgement of a number of other people.

3:50 p.m.

I was at a great investment seminar the other day where a speaker from the United States was saying that exactly the same thing is going on in the United States. We are seeing the destruction of the middle class. We are dividing those who have from those who have not. We are making that hurdle much harder to jump, and, as that goes, there are going to be a lot more assaults on the political system as we know it. We are going to see a much more distinct polarization. We are going to see more conflict and more tension, and we are going to remove that buffer, the middle class, which keeps society together. We are going to see many more political problems in the future if we cannot solve these kinds of problems and offer hope to people.

Do you know the Treasurer's response to all these problems, inflation and so on, Mr. Speaker? All he said about inflation and interest rates in his budget was this: "It is with concern that I view the levels of inflation and interest rates we are currently facing. This government is resolved to meet its responsibilities to limit the debilitating effects of high rates of inflation," whatever that means. Those were just a few words about the most serious problem we are facing and there was not one program to solve the matter. That failure to recognize all the problems in the budget this year, except with just a few platitudes, is a glaring omission in our judgement.

As I said earlier, the single most important problem in this province at the present time is the decline in wealth-producing capacity, and a lot of the other problems we have stem therefrom. The government's response to that was a raid, an assault on the taxpayers. They have given up the fight against inflation and are now profiteering from inflation through their ad valorem tax on motor vehicle fuels. They have given up the fight.

I have to give the former Treasurer, Darcy McKeough, with whom I had many arguments, credit for one thing, that even though he did not always perform the same way, he stood at least for some sort of fiscal rectitude, for trying to control government spending, for trying to cure the iniquitous force of inflation in our society. Now his government, or what remains of it, has given up that fight and is joining in and profiteering from inflation. That is an amazing conversion this government has gone through, rather than fighting a problem to profiteer from it, and doing that on the backs of the consumer and the taxpayer in Ontario. At the same time the response was to provide absolutely no new initiatives in the wealth-creation process in this province.

As I said, we saw the BILD program fleshed out a little bit more, we saw it recycled for the third time -- I will deal with that a little later, but I think it has been ineffective in most areas even though there are some specific parts of which we approve.

The Liberal priorities in budgeting would be these: number one, government policy and the might of government force must be focused on the creation of wealth in Ontario now, or else we are going to continue with the squeeze on social services and all the other cutbacks we have experienced for the past half decade at least.

Mr. Jones: That is what the whole BILD program was about, remember.

Mr. Peterson: If the member will wait a minute he will find out how it is not working. It was a cheap political document designed to get votes and not to accomplish very much else. Look at the number of new jobs it has created. Look at the handouts that were inappropriately given. Most rational people looking at that program say on balance it has not been very effective. But that is our first priority, and we would do it much differently than the government has done it.

Number two: as a government priority we must protect the disadvantaged, those people particularly hard hit by the high interest rates and inflation today. We recognize we cannot afford an open-ended program, we cannot afford universal support, but we could afford a targeted sectoral budgeted amount of money to help those people most in distress. We have specific ideas on how to do that, and they would be geared to income. That would be a much better disposition of $100 million today than a $260 million tax expenditure on retail sales tax cuts or $100 million for the pulp and paper companies which was not needed anyway. That is why we totally disagree with the priorities set by this government. That would be our second priority, to help those people who cannot cope now. Believe me, there are a lot of them.

When we are in our constituency capacity we are in a very different capacity than our political capacity, because then we get close to people. We understand what is bothering them and they come to us with their problems. I am sure that applies to my friends sitting on the opposite side. Who has not had people come to him and say: "I have troubles. I do not know what to do. My business is going under. I cannot keep up my mortgage payments." I have no idea what they say to them, but it is a real and immediate problem.

Not only that, it is not in society's interest to see home owners thrown out, businesses fail or people thrown off their farms. It is not in our long-term interest. I believe we have a social, moral and political responsibility in those areas.

In my judgement, a third area where this government has failed miserably in this year's budget is there are still a lot of unnecessary expenditures that could have been cut from the budget. A lot of money could have been reordered in terms of priorities.

Mr. Jones: What are they?

Mr. Peterson: To answer my friend, I will deal with those in a minute. I have already talked about them on more than one occasion. That money could have been freed for more productive purposes in the budget and that should have happened.

I want to document my original point on the decline of Ontario over the past decade and particularly over the past five years. In 1980, Ontario, with 36 per cent of the Canadian population, created only 20 per cent of Canada's new jobs. Ontario's unemployment rate grew more in 1980 than that of any of the other provinces. During the 1970s, Ontario dropped from a position of prominence among the provinces to last place in virtually every major indicator of economic growth.

Ontario is last in the growth rate of gross provincial product per capita, in the growth rate of per capita income, of personal disposable income, in the per capita growth rate of wages and salaries and value added per capita, in the growth rate of public investment and residential construction and in manufacturing shipments. That is documented. That is fact. I would like to give a couple of examples of what this means to the province's consumers in real terms.

In 1980, Ontario's growth in per capita personal disposable income was only 93.9 per cent of the Canadian average. If Ontario had managed to grow at the same rate as the rest of the country during the 1970s, each man, woman and child of the province would have had an additional $1,001 to spend last year alone. That is an extra $1,001 most Ontarians could have put to good use.

Between 1970 and 1978, Ontario was not last in everything. We were first in growth in per capita interest on the public debt. Our growth rate in this area was 23 per cent higher than the Canadian average. If Ontario had managed the same growth rate in interest on public debt as the rest of Canada, we would have saved $440 million -- $52 for every person in Ontario in 1978 alone.

That $440 million would have more than covered the $235 million the Treasurer is getting by raising personal income taxes this year and the $119 million he needs to get by raising OHIP premiums again. If we had been able to curb our debt level so that payments were no more than the Canadian average, we would not have needed to raise income taxes, OHIP premiums or the fuel tax this year to generate extra revenues for a desperate government. The consumer would have had more of his money left in his pocket to help make ends meet and to get the economy going.

Ontario's industrial growth performance during the 1970s was also significantly below the Canadian average in many categories, such as real domestic product for manufacturing, mining, construction, trade and utilities. This dismal performance translates into substantial job losses for the people of this province.

In 1980 alone, the number of manufacturing jobs in Ontario declined by 28,000. Any decline in manufacturing is critical to Ontario since manufacturing accounts for 30 per cent of the province's real output. Yet the manufacturing share of Ontario's employment has been dropping steadily from 27 per cent in 1971 to 25 per cent in 1979 and 23 per cent in 1980.

4 p.m.

According to the latest forecast of the Conference Board of Canada, Ontario will experience another decline in manufacturing output this year, by far the largest percentage decline of any Canadian province and more than double that of the country as a whole.

Capital investment in manufacturing for construction machinery and equipment also dropped in 1978 and 1979. While there was some recovery in 1980, it is not widespread and appears to have been more an aberration than a trend, because capital investment intentions of large companies for the period 1982 to 1984 reveal a continuing lack of confidence in the Ontario economy.

According to the most recent Statistics Canada survey, investment by large companies in Ontario will increase by only four per cent in 1982 compared to a 12 per cent increase for the rest of Canada. By 1983 and 1984, investment spending is expected to drop sharply in Ontario, 2.1 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively, compared to 9.5 per cent and 4.4 per cent increases for the rest of Canada. Indeed, by 1984 these companies intend to invest nearly $1 billion less in Ontario than during 1981.

This is simply not acceptable. Manufacturing is the source of Ontario's wealth and prosperity for the future. We cannot allow these declines in production, employment and investment to continue unabated. Yet this government seems either content with the situation or devoid of any ideas to redress the crisis. Not a gesture, not a mention, not a word in the budget was directed towards a revitalization of the manufacturing sector, except the BILD program, of course. I will have more to say on that in a minute, but first I want to complete the picture of Ontario's economic performance.

The Premier always compares this province to upstate New York, Michigan or Pennsylvania. It has been recognized that in many respects they are going through the same problems we have. In fact, Newsweek offered the opinion that in Detroit, Youngstown and Pittsburgh the productivity crises were largely symptoms of a degenerate disease that threatens the living standards today and for future generations. These are the generations with which the Premier would have us compete. We have to set our sights much higher.

It is hard to believe that during the 1970s Ontario's performance and real output was inferior to all other provinces in Canada, more than half of the US states, and about 85 per cent of the developing countries in South America, Latin America and around the world. This is the legacy of really a squandered decade and it is not as if we are only aware of this now. It is not only as if we had a great conversion after the fact. We were aware of these things going on during the 1970s I think this opposition had some responsibility in bringing them to the attention of the government. That is still the problem and the symptoms have gone unanswered.

This is the legacy of the Premier and this government. It used to be the province of opportunity, but it needs some vision, it needs to look at the future. It needs a comprehensive plan and an agenda and a priority for action. It is going to have to make some hard decisions about where it sits. They are not easy, but I can tell members they have not been made on that side of the House, and I will be interested to see what my friends to the left have to say tomorrow.

To answer my friend from Mississauga North's questions about our analysis of the BILD program, I want to talk about that, because that has been the only government response and in our judgement it is highly unsatisfactory.

We must address ourselves to the critical question of wealth creation. It must be part of a comprehensive overall plan which establishes priorities and goals and means to achieve them. This government's only contribution has been in the BILD program. This election ploy was announced with great flourish and fanfare and yet behind the fluff there is precious little substance.

The $1.5 billion the government proposes to spend during the future years does not in fact involve the expenditure of any new money. It is made up of $750 million, which will be spent over five years on unspecified industrial initiatives and which was first announced in the mini-budget of last November. There must be a limit to the number of times they can get mileage from the same old program. Of course, $750 million is to come from the federal government, local governments and the private sector. This means that the government is spending no more than $150 million a year, and those dollars are eroding with inflation. It is actually spending less than it spent with the employment development fund program in 1979 and 1980.

The BILD document, in true political fashion, contains a paragraph for every problem that has arisen in the last four years, but the program is so vague and in many cases so ill conceived that the federal ministers on whom they depend for some financial support, Herb Gray and Bud Olsen, could not respond to it seriously and asked for more details about the program. What is clear about this program is that it contains not a single job creation target, very few price tags and a few recycled ideas.

The most consistent response to perceived problems is to call for the creation of a board or commission to investigate the matter or to urge action or to recommend a course of action in another matter. In fact, it calls for the creation of 14 new government agencies. As soon as the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Walker), who is trying to cut these things out, finds out about that, those members over there are going to be in trouble.

Ontario needs more than this. The BILD program is not a blueprint for the future; it is a political document. It is a vague whitewash of our problems in the hope that they will go away of their own accord. That, of course, is the government's tradition.

BILD does not follow in the footsteps of the employment development fund, which it succeeds. Money is allocated without criteria, it is given where it is not needed and sometimes it is used for purposes other than those intended. It even lends itself to a lot of fraud in a number of cases. We have just had an interesting situation in London, Ontario, where it looks as if three small business development corporations have gone down the pipe, taking a lot of investors with them. It will be interesting to see what kind of monitoring the government is doing on that.

I suggested before that the employment development fund would be more appropriately called the employment depletion fund. A London Free Press survey, conducted in March, of firms receiving EDF grants which were intended to create jobs failed to turn up a single company that had created a job. Indeed, some companies had laid off workers; and one company in Sarnia, which had received $200,000 to create 296 jobs, has gone out of business entirely. The government is an unsecured creditor in that case -- at the bottom of the list, presumably.

One Windsor firm received $170,000 to create 60 jobs. They reported they had hired some and laid some off again. A London firm used the money for capital expenditure -- not labour -- at a new plant, which was then closed down. The main plant cut down production and, according to the president, "We have expanded but we have retrenched."

At best, the employment development fund was designed to assist large firms, many of whom were very prosperous, to do even better. In some cases it does not appear to have accomplished even that limited purpose. The purpose for which government money should be invested in industry in Ontario is to assist small and medium-sized growing Canadian-owned firms, particularly in the manufacturing sector, to compete and expand internationally. Small firms are our greatest source of wealth and new job creation.

In the most blatant perversion of this approach, the Ontario government has given $98.2 million to seven pulp and paper companies over the last one and a half years for plant modernization. These firms refuse to clean up and modernize their operations without government assistance, despite the fact that they all had healthy profit margins and some were even the subject of competitive takeover bids.

According to the report prepared for the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment, the grants were probably wasted, because the pulp and paper industry can modernize and still make money without government grants. One company executive referred to in the study indicated his company does not need the grant but took the money anyway because all the other firms did.

One can see the perversion of the private enterprise system where these companies are turned into corporate welfare beggars. And if they are not showing up down here with their hands out asking for some money even though they do not need it, they are not being responsible to their directors or shareholders. It is the government that is corrupting the system.

Domtar received $10.5 million in grants while recording a 1979 profit of $98 million, a year-end increase in net income of 55 per cent; for the six months ended June 30, 1980, net income increased a further 14 per cent on a 15 per cent gain in total revenue over the corresponding year-earlier results.

Great Lakes Forest Products Limited, a subsidiary of CPI, got $25.3 million while recording a profit of $50 million in 1979. For the nine months ended in September 1980, net income jumped 83 per cent on a 66 per cent gain in total sales over a year earlier.

Abitibi-Price received $15 million after having a profit of $115 million for 1979. For the six months ended June 30, 1980, Abitibi-Price reported net income on operations increased 13 per cent on a seven per cent gain in sales over a year earlier.

American Can got $4.6 million while enjoying a profit of $85.7 million in 1980 -- and on the list goes.

If the government wanted me to be specific about cutting back in expenditures and about the failure of the BILD program and why it was unnecessary, it has it; it is right there. We continue to give away huge amounts of money to firms that are profitable and do not need it. And if they were being honest, they would say they do not want it but come because it is offered. They told the Minister for Industry and Tourism they did not want it. If this were not absurd enough, in total these grants will result in the loss of 600 to 800 jobs. Surely the priority of any government strategy has to be job creation, but this is a job uncreation program.

4:10 p.m.

I want to talk about what we would do, what we would have done, our priorities and how we would have allocated these moneys. If Ontario is to alter its present economic and industrial direction, we must develop our priorities. The government must stop listening only to the loudest and squeakiest wheel and oiling it with ever larger amounts of unnecessary funds. This kind of ad hockery is not acceptable, particularly at a time when fiscal flexibility is so limited.

We must adopt a plan that emphasizes efficient use of resources, both human and natural. We must begin to train our young people for the jobs that are and will be needed. We must increase support to the universities, instead of slowly starving them of equipment and staff. We must undertake more applied industrial research and development. We must introduce significant incentives to selected manufacturing industries based on areas of determined growth potential.

The Ontario Liberal Party has been calling for a comprehensive co-ordinated industrial strategy in this province for well over two years and will continue to call for one until the government either gets the message or gets booted out so we can finally get Ontario back on the track again.

We believe a strategy must be developed and a set of objectives must be delineated. An industrial strategy for Ontario must emphasize the manufacturing sector and must have job creation as its primary objective. A strong, innovative manufacturing sector provides for a whole range of jobs from highly skilled technicians, engineers, scientists and craftsmen through white-collar professionals to semi-skilled and unskilled workers.

Again and again we have proposed improved apprenticeship programs for our young people. This call has been echoed by study after study, and year after the year the speech from the throne has promised new, enhanced skill-training programs, but nothing ever happens. I am looking at the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie), who is sitting under the gallery right now.

In fact, while Ontario in 1972 spent 12 cents on manpower training for every one dollar of unemployment insurance payment, the most recent statistics show Ontario in 1978 was spending five cents on manpower training for every one dollar of unemployment insurance payments. Ontario is the only province that has failed to increase manpower expenditures enough to keep pace with inflation. The Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson), in spite of her frown, knows we are right.

In 1972, the Ontario government also paid more than one third of the total cost of vocational and occupational training in the province. Now, while most other provinces have undertaken new efforts to train their unemployed, Ontario has reduced its contribution to the cost of retraining to one sixth, and ranks second to last.

The costs in both social and economic terms of not training our young people for the jobs required by industry are just too great. Industrial strategy must promote an indigenous research and development capability. We have proposed several incentives to encourage research and development, including cash rebates to Canadian-controlled small business equivalent to 15 per cent of their R and D expenditures.

Industrial strategy must also promote and assist small business in Ontario. Small business is flexible, able to adapt quickly and possesses great potential for technological innovation. More important, small business can create jobs more quickly and cheaply than capital-intensive industries, at about $5,000 per job.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business contrasted this cost with the job creation record of the employment development fund, now BILD, and found the total capital outlays levered by EDF grants were about $38,190 per job. It is not difficult to conclude which sector deserves government backing. It is only difficult to understand why this government has never done it.

Small business not only has great growth potential, but it is also a sector from which we will derive the greatest returns on our investment. We would support small business through a preferential government policy extending to Hydro and all other agencies and institutions of the provincial government. We would also implement incentive plans to encourage equity investments by individuals in Canadian businesses.

A comprehensive plan like this requires a reordering of priorities and a shedding of the baggage and shibboleths of the past. One of the advantages of changing government is that there is no emotional tie to try to justify some of the stupid programs of the past. Some time in the very near future, this province is going to be swept by a new broom and, not being committed to some of the errors of the past, we can take a fresh look at some of the priorities. We can only do this by reordering our priorities and expunging some wasteful expenditures, like $200 million in employment development fund grants and $120 million in pulp and paper industry grants.

People always ask, "If you guys are so smart, where would you cut expenditures?" I want to talk about where I would cut expenditures, because that is probably the biggest area of black in the budget. There has been no attention paid in the budget to cutting expenditures. Of course, we are not in favour of cutting hospital expenditures, but there are a lot of wasteful ones that could have been got rid of. That money could have been freed either to lessen the tax load or to invest in wealth-creating devices here in this province.

We would have put an end to the election-inspired sales tax cuts. The last round will cost about $260 million in lost revenue and will have precious little, if any, real effect on this province. It is not a stimulant. It has been proved that the import spillover is at least 50 per cent; so at least 50 per cent of that money went to subsidize jobs and assist people in other jurisdictions from which we import these things. That is where we start.

A Canadian Tax Journal study undertaken after the sales tax cut inspired by the 1975 campaign said that one possible effect was a slump in future sales. In fact, it robbed from the future, because people only changed the timing of their purchases and not the volume. In times of high inflation and higher interest rates it is all the more likely to be true. We are robbing from the future again.

On top of this, the increased levels of personal taxation imposed by the budget will surely curb consumer consumption in the future. So the combined effect of these contradictory measures to stimulate and then restrict consumer demand probably will be a drag on the economy at least to the equivalent of whatever benefit was bought for the $260 million last fall.

We must also get rid of some of the numerous white elephants this government has acquired over the past decade. Some of them, of course, are John White's elephants. There is a legacy of grandiose, fast-spending, easy-money policies of the Tories during the 1960s and 1970s.

In the early 1970s, the government began buying up land for the new industrial sites and new cities it envisioned for the near future. Unfortunately, they were consistently wrong about the attraction of these sites for residential and industrial development, and we are now burdened with more than $508 million in land investments that show little in return.

These investments include $280 million in North Pickering, or Seaton; $9.6 million in Edwardsburgh, now in its third incarnation growing trees; $47 million for Townsend -- and more money is being dumped in there daily; I am told that something like $60 million is going into the townsite development and municipal buildings when, God knows, we do not need it, and a further $52.5 million, that is an accurate figure, has been spent to promote Townsend -- $37 million in South Cayuga; $31 million in Saltfleet; $12 million in Cambridge; $20 million in Milton; $13.8 million in Carlsbad Springs, near Ottawa; $16.6 million in Whitby; $4.8 million in Oakville; $3.5 million in Windsor-Riverside -- and the list goes on and on and on.

Not only that, it is accumulating interest daily. It was such an embarrassment to the Ontario Housing Corporation, which owns this property, that it cut off the interest expenditure from Treasury. Treasury made a deal with them and perverted the bookkeeping so they would not have to pay the interest and so they would not make their carrying costs look as high as they are. The public accounts committee, under the very able direction of the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid), looked into this and recommended to this House and the people of Ontario that at least there should be an honest bookkeeping system. There are so many devices that this government has to hide the real cost of things, and that is just one example.

A $500-million purchase at today's interest rates is accumulating interest at least in the order of $75 million a year. How can we possibly justify soaking the taxpayers more when we are carrying on interest with that kind of ridiculous expenditure?

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, the Ontario Land Corporation will have $650 million tied up in Townsend, North Pickering and South Cayuga by 1985, even if it does not buy one more acre. These are all funds that could have been used to produce wealth in Ontario rather than be lost on shortsighted, unplanned acquisitions.

The list goes on and on about the Minaki Lodges, the polls, the advertising and all the things that in our judgement have gone into wasteful spending that is not properly allocated at this time, given the squeeze on government revenues. If it were 1960 and we had all this money left over, we could think of something to do with it. But we do not have those privileges today. We have to be far more disciplined in the ordering of our choices.

4:20 p.m.

There is one area where we feel the government has failed miserably, and that is university funding. I am glad the Minister of Education is here to know this. They are squeezing the university sector again this year. For the fifth straight year, I believe, they are funding that sector at below inflation rates. That is an area we think is sacred because of its investment in our future. In crass economic terms, it is an investment in the economic health and future of this country.

Ontario's operating grants increased at a slower rate than those of any other province during the period 1974-81. Operating grants to universities in the rest of Canada were increasing at a rate of about 65 per cent more than they were in Ontario. In terms of operating grants for university enrolment, Ontario declined from fifth place in 1974-75 to last place in 1980-81.

If I make any mistakes, my able colleague the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) will correct me, because he has been fighting hard. He has waged, almost alone, a personal battle in conjunction with his party to bring some fairness and equity to that sector.

The gap between Ontario's grant for a student and the average for the rest of Canada was a staggering $812 in 1980-81. In operating grants per capita, Ontario ranks ninth in 1980-81. In total expenditures by total personal income per province, Ontario ranked tenth in 1979-80. In terms of operating expenditures throughout North America, Ontario is one of the lowest. Of all state and provincial jurisdictions between 1978 and 1981, only four -- Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and South Dakota -- experienced lower rates.

Universities and community colleges across the province are feeling the pinch. At the University of Western Ontario, in the great city of London, 40 faculty members and 408 other staff have been cut since 1975. In this past year alone, the teacher-student ratio has increased by about 11 per cent. Equipment for basic research and experimentation is outdated and in poor repair. This is the case throughout the academic community. This is just one example.

Community colleges are experiencing extensive program cuts. At Algonquin College in Ottawa, 13 immediate program cancellations have been scheduled and 10 program reductions have been proposed; at Conestoga College in Kitchener, four courses have been suspended; and at St. Lawrence College, one course has been completely cancelled.

This is by no means a complete record of the courses and programs suspended or cancelled across the province. We are convinced that under this government the number will increase. After holding the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to a 6.6 per cent budget increase last year, it is now allowing an 8.4 per cent increase for 1981, well below the annual rate of inflation.

The government of Ontario has demonstrated its lack of commitment to skills training and to our colleges and universities. Pursuit of excellence is the key to our economic and industrial success in the future. While restraint must be exercised in government spending, it must not be indiscriminate. We must make our choices and use our scarce resources wisely. Our institutions for higher learning must be adequately funded. The province must assume its responsibility and provide satisfactory and reliable levels of money to our post-secondary educational institutions.

One way in which the Ontario Liberal Party would provide additional support for our universities and at the same time benefit Ontario's manufacturing industry would be through the promotion of applied research and development. We long have been aware of the critical role of research and development, and particularly of technical innovation, as the primary determinant of economic growth and competitiveness.

We also recognize the important roles that universities, industry and government play in promoting research and development and innovation and advances in technology. We therefore propose the creation of university-based, world-class technology and innovation centres. These centres would operate as joint ventures involving government, industry and the universities. They would have a mandate to develop new products and processes for selected manufacturing industries.

The universities involved would be asked to provide facilities and some expert manpower for the centres. Industry would also be invited to contribute both experience and technological expertise. Both would benefit from government funding, from money saved by pooling their resources and by avoiding unnecessary duplication of research efforts. It is a very different program from what the BILD program suggested or outlined --

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, it isn't.

Mr. Peterson: -- if my friend wants to take the time to read it.

There would be a number of incentives connected to those industries that are instrumental to an industrial recovery program. Among those considered might be auto parts, conventional energy, oil sands, heavy frontier oil, offshore field development, alternative energy machinery, including robotics, resource machinery, pollution control, electronics, and communication. The list goes on and on. We believe that these things would be very important here, and we would urge the government, in its wisdom, to consider them.

That is one of the few times I have talked about increased spending in a particular area, and I hope I have satisfactorily pointed out that there are a number of areas where money could be cut so that these expenditures could be made.

Before I get into the criticism of the specific tax measures in the budget and move a motion of no confidence, I want to talk briefly about the deficit funding position of this government. Members will recall that we have discussed this question almost every year, because it is of great concern to us. All our predictions are coming true. We are going to enter a fiscal squeeze in this province over the next decade that is going to be very serious because of the compounded debts of the past, and I want to talk about that briefly.

We have discussed this before, as I said. The majority of the deficits in this province over the past 10 or 15 years have been funded from internally generated pension funds. In fact, as of March 31, 1982, Ontario will owe the Canada pension plan 59.895 billion, it will owe the teachers superannuation fund about $4.7 billion -- that is in addition to about a $1.4-billion unfunded liability that does not show up in the books but which the taxpayers of the province are going to have to make good someday -- and it will owe the Ontario municipal employees retirement system fund $1.293 billion, for a total of $15.935 billion as the total of the nonpublic borrowing.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Almost $16 billion.

Mr. Peterson: It gets worse -- I am glad my colleague commented -- because they also owe the public service superannuation fund, through payments into consolidated revenue, another $2.955 billion, a fund that is treated differently from the other fund, for a total by March 31, 1982, of about $18.890 billion -- virtually $19 billion worth of accumulated deficits to the end of next year. Those figures are accurate, and I just wanted to share them with the members.

Mr. T. P. Reid: They are frightening; that is what they are.

Mr. Peterson: I will tell you why they are frightening, Mr. Speaker. I will not go into all the details, but the total interest payments today are $1.582 billion -- and that is just to the pension plans. There are other interest payments, too, that bring our total interest bill up into the $1.8-billion category, which is now 10 per cent of the provincial budget, or a 14.2 per cent increase from last year.

Every year one of the biggest single increases in budgetary expenditures, and one of the reasons we are having a squeeze as a percentage of total government expenditure on education and social services and all that kind of thing is the inexorable climb of debt servicing money. Every year that is occupying a higher percentage of the budget. If we chart that back over the last few years, we will find that is one of the most rapidly increasing parts of expenditure; it is up 14.2 per cent, up more than the transfer to almost every other area of spending this year. That is serious.

I want to talk about why we have a problem. This year Ontario will borrow $600 million from the Canada pension plan, but this year we owe $832 million in interest to the Canada pension plan for accumulated borrowing of the past $832 million. We are losing $232 million on that deal; we are falling behind. We cannot borrow enough from the principal to make up for the accumulated debt of the past.

If we take all the payments to pension funds this year, interest payments will be 94.2 per cent of the principal amount we can borrow from pension plans. That contrasts with about 10 years ago, when only one quarter of the amount we could borrow had to be turned back for interest on the pension funds.

In 1979-80, our interest payments were about two thirds, or 64.3 per cent; last year they were 92.6 per cent. But this year, as I said, 94.2 per cent of the principal amount we can borrow will go back in interest payments.

In a year or two, counting all pension plans in, not just the CPP where we are out of whack already, we will owe more back in interest for accumulated debts basically over the last decade than we are able to borrow from those same funds. That is called a negative cash flow. That is called a real financial bind. Where are we going to get the moneys to pay back those borrowings? Not only do we have that massive interest bill, but also we have a capital repayment program that I have charted for your benefit, Mr. Speaker.

4:30 p.m.

I do not want to go into all the details, but I want to show you this chart. In 1982, we will have to repay $69 million in capital; in 1983, $129 million in capital; in 1984, $131 million in capital; in 1985, $106 million; over the years 1986 to 1990, $2.215 billion; 1991 to 1995, $3.787 billion; in 1995 to 2000, $6.931 billion; and more in the future after that. Some day we have to pay back all this dough we borrowed, in addition to the accumulated interest over a period of time.

We have to ask the basic question: Where will we get the money? There are only two choices. One is to tax higher, and we are already seeing the evidence of that now in the punitive tax increases being extracted this year from the public hide, a lot of which -- 10 per cent of those tax increases at least -- are going to repaying debts of the past. The other is to go to the public marketplace in the future to borrow those moneys and to start squeezing it out of private enterprise.

One cannot talk about the pension fund borrowing and the deficit of the province, indeed of this country and other jurisdictions, without talking about the troubles in the capital market today. It is a known fact that over the next 10 years this country is going to need around $200 billion in the energy sector alone.

Where are we going to get those kinds of moneys, particularly if governments are competing -- which is highly inflationary -- for those finite amount of funds we have in this country? We can see from this that governments are a major contributor to inflation and that the Ontario government, although not as bad as some other governments, is a heck of a lot worse than a lot of other governments.

This government is always comparing itself to my friends in Ottawa. It should compare its fiscal performance to the fiscal performances of a lot of other provinces. It does not add up very well. There is a cheap, lame, anti-intellectual, stupid rationalization used by certain members opposite -- I notice one is just walking out now. There is one nasty lady, Mr. Speaker. I am glad she is leaving. She has poisoned the atmosphere of the House during this speech. But those are real problems, and I have yet to see my friends on the left ever address them. They do not really take them all that seriously, but I do. I take them terribly seriously.

I have yet to hear any answers from the government as to how they are going to handle those problems. I used to question Mr. McKeough, and I have questioned this Treasurer. They hope the Treasury is big enough, the economy of the province is big enough, to absorb those at those times.

Mr. Swart: What about the federal Liberals?

Mr. Peterson: No one is standing here trying to justify the economic management of the federal Liberals. I would be the last guy to do that. Sometimes, in fairness. I have to defend my brother.

We are dealing with this jurisdiction. I see I got the members opposite excited. I talked about a couple of numbers and I got them all excited, but those are real problems I wanted to share with the House. They are compounding on an annual basis. It is getting worse; it is not getting better. When we go to a major negative cash flow position in the next year or two, with all our funds combined, somebody on the other side of the House is going to have to come up with some answers. I do not think they honestly know what they are going to do.

The Treasurer alluded to the Royal Commission on the Status of Pensions in Ontario. In my judgement, pensions are another very important issue this country and this province will have to face over the next two or three years, and they are something I am terribly and intimately concerned about. I want to make just a few comments about pensions.

Unlike some others, I am one of those people who thinks the Haley report was quite a brilliant report. It was probably the most comprehensive report of its type that has been done in the last few years. A number of very substantial reports have been done in the pension area: the Confirentes report, the economic council report and a variety of others. I had the privilege to attend the great pension conference in Ottawa a month or so ago, to sit down with a number of representatives of industry, labour and a lot of other jurisdictions, to discuss these very serious problems that are facing our country.

One of the things that really concerned me about that conference -- and we had the very best spokesmen from the various points of view -- is that rarely did the opposing views meet. On the one hand we had the benefits people. Everybody agrees, of course, that it would be nice to pay people a lot more money to retire, and they just address it from the point of view of compassion: what we must do to assist the elderly poor in retirement. That is one set of arguments. On the other side, of course, we always talk about funding and how it could potentially bankrupt our country if we do not handle the funding properly, and of course about the disposition of those funds.

Rarely in that conference, unfortunately, was there good dialogue between the two sides, one addressing the other's problems. My guess is that a compromise of some type will come out of that. I see that the Treasurer has already made up his mind on a number of issues in a speech that he made, as well as in the budget, before the select committee gets at those very complicated problems this summer. I am looking forward to being on that select committee and reviewing the Haley commission report.

I have an open mind at this time. I think there are some good things about the provincial universal retirement system recommendation of the Haley commission and I think there are some bad things about it, but it is something I am going to look at very seriously this summer.

But before that select committee meets there are a number of things that can be done now. My party and I have advocated at least introducing some of the provisions. Certainly the childhood step-up provision is something that could be introduced now; it would show good faith with Ottawa and the other provinces. Ontario is one of only two provinces that have vetoed that particular move. It is something that would help the working women now in the calculation of their pension benefits.

There are a number of areas we could clean up now. We have to address vesting portability and the rotten deal that women are getting out of the whole pension program from this country. We can do some of those things now, some of the smaller issues. even before we address the larger issues relating to both pension reform and the macroeconomic ramifications of that reform.

I would urge the government at least to show good faith before that select committee starts to sit, and to institute discussions with the federal government to change some of those provisions.

One of my problems, of course, is that when we talk about increased contribution rates or an increase in the Canada pension plan, that is just more money for Ontario and various other provincial governments to keep and spend on their deficit. We postpone the ultimate reckoning that, as I was trying to impress upon you earlier, Mr. Speaker, we are going to have. We would just postpone that with more money and fiddle it out for another 10 or 15 years before we have to pay the piper.

It is my view that if the CPP contribution rates go up and if there is an increase in the CPP benefits -- a doubling or an increase from 25 per cent of the average industrial wage to 40 per cent or 30 per cent or whatever -- that money should not go to provincial governments to dispose of on current-account deficits. That money should be invested in the private sector. It should be mobile and volatile money seeking the highest rate of return from a selected group of Canadian investments; it should be invested in the capital interest structure, in the capital markets in this country, because this is one of the problems we have today. We have proved before that the $18 billion or so of money that the government had access to in the past 15 years has really been a catalyst for spending, has caused it to get involved in spending, a lot of which has been seen to be ridiculous after the fact.

I remember John White talking about land banking and saying: "I had all this money; I might as well have spent it. I could have bought shares of some other company, such as Massey-Ferguson, but I decided to buy land." It is that kind of promiscuous attitude with other people's money that got us into some of the problems we have today. I saw him in that committee making those kinds of remarks, and of course he has the most screwed-up views of fiscal management that anybody has ever heard, which are discredited even by card-carrying Tories today. But it is an indication of the kind of mentality at the time that felt they had all this free money and did not ever concern themselves with paying it back; and it is one of the reasons we are still paying for these mistakes in this budget. That being said, I like John White. He is from London, but he does not vote for me.

Those are just a few of the comments I want to make on the pension plan, on some of the provisions of the Haley commission, some of the things I think we should do this summer. Again I urge the government, there are some things we can do now. Let us do them now.

4:40 p.m.

The last part of my speech, and you will be glad to know I am drawing to an end, Mr. Speaker --

An hon. member: No, give us more.

Mr. Peterson: If you want to hear more, if I got a little encouragement I could go a little longer.

The Deputy Speaker: The Minister of Education was encouraged.

Mr. Peterson: If the Minister of Education stops frowning I will construe that as encouragement, Mr. Speaker. She is the only person I have ever met in my life who could hold a frown for six years. It is a remarkable achievement.

I want to talk about what this budget did not do. It did not attempt to address the problems of high interest rates and inflation, the impact on individuals and consumers. It did not put out a positive, concrete plan for economic recovery and revitalization of the manufacturing sector. It did not introduce measures that would stimulate new wealth creation. It did not commit itself to retraining young people.

As I said earlier, our second priority would have been to protect people who cannot protect themselves from the ravages of this high inflation. To that end we have submitted to this House, and have even brought a no-confidence motion on that basis, a comprehensive program on how we could help people withstand some of these assaults in the short term. If this goes on I would urge this government to look seriously at the kind of program they have in Quebec, where there is some sort of assistance for the working poor.

As I said earlier, the working poor person in that sector of the economy is increasingly taking it in the neck from a number of forces over which he or she has no control. Even though I am worried about open-ended programs that are terribly costly, it is something we have to do in the future if workers continue to carry the major brunt of inflation on their backs. As long as there are sharpies in the world they will be able to get around that, but as long as people cannot protect themselves we are going to have to look seriously at some kind of work income supplement program such as they have in Quebec.

I would urge the government and the Treasurer to at least start studying that matter so we could have a program ready at some time in the future if it became necessary. We are close to that time now. We are so burdening that sector of our society they just cannot breathe anymore. It is not in our interest to squeeze people until they have no hope left.

What they did with this document, in probably the most blatant revenue grab in recent history, is to increase OHIP premiums by 15 per cent. It is a regressive, punitive form of taxation which half a dozen studies have recommended should be abolished. Instead, this government increased premiums by 109 per cent over a five-year period, from $11 for single premiums in 1976 to $23 in 1981. It is an annual increase of 21.8 per cent, far outstripping the annual rate of inflation for those years.

The annual rate of increase in premiums also far outstrips the annual increase in the Ministry of Health budgets for those years. At an annual rate of 10.7 per cent, the Health budget increased only half as quickly as OHIP premiums. There is no excuse for continuing this cruel tax when alternatives are available and are used in seven other provinces.

At the very least, premiums should have been frozen this year and if the government, in its wisdom, felt it had to raise additional revenue it could have been raised by other tax devices. That is the least that should have been done this year.

The government raised Ontario's personal rate of income tax from 44 per cent to 48 per cent of the basic federal tax. This is an unconscionable tax grab at a time when consumers are already reeling from the ravages of interest rates and inflation.

It is incredible to me a government would choose to take more money out of the consumers' pockets, thus reducing discretionary income at a time when the economy is flagging, when six months ago the same government reduced sales taxes to stimulate demand.

The fiscal and philosophical inconsistencies in what has happened with government programs in the last year is absolutely staggering, it is no wonder people get confused when the minister cuddles them up with one hand while giving it to them with the other hand. The inconsistency is foolish, it operates in a counterproductive way and it is dumb.

At the same time, the government says, "We are relying on the Reaganite supply side economics of tax cuts and expenditure cuts to stimulate the American economy and it will have the derivative effect of stimulating the Ontario economy." They are moving in exactly the opposite direction here.

I said before, and I do not mean to be harsh, but I honestly believe he is wrong. I honestly believe the Treasurer has very little basic feel for what he is doing to the province. I think he is a victim of a number of advisers and he quotes back in the House the most recent advisers he has heard on a variety of different subjects, obviously with different points of view, but he has no personal philosophy of either taxation or fiscal management. He quotes back a number of different snippets of advice that he gets and when you put them altogether in the bag, Mr. Speaker, they frankly reveal a very changing kind of philosophy of how to run this government. We could disagree with the former Treasurer, but at least we knew what he stood for at any given time and at least we knew what the plan of the government was. This is a totally different situation.

For a family of four with an annual income of $30,000, the increase means a provincial income tax hike of $323 this year. If that family also pays its own health premiums, as do many small businessmen, another $72 of that is on this year's bill. Indeed, if the increased OHIP premiums are added to our personal income tax rates, Ontario has now an effective personal tax rate of 58.5 per cent, the highest in Canada in terms of personal tax.

Do not get the impression we are a tax haven any more. These kinds of personal tax rates are going to contribute to an increase in the further net migration out of this province. The last figures I recall were a net loss in population of something like 30,000, and those are not just the unskilled. Those are skilled people who want some promise and future in their lives and who just do not see that opportunity here today. There are too many headlines about the tax climates of Alberta and other places one can go in this country, and if we get too harsh and punitive in our taxation policy, for the reasons I have outlined, we are going to continue to lose more.

We are something like fifth or sixth worst now in terms of taxation --

Hon. Miss. Stephenson: Fifth or sixth best.

Mr. Peterson: Fifth worst or sixth best in this country, because there are 10 provinces. The minister should start teaching that in her schools.

It is interesting that with the highest effective personal tax rate in Canada, Ontario also has the lowest fiscal capacity. This means that rather than using our tax dollars to generate new wealth, the government has to use it to finance our deficit. It is a sign of an economy in serious decline.

This increased burden on consumers -- revenue from personal income tax is going up 22.4 per cent this year vis-à-vis an eight per cent increase in revenues from corporation taxes and it is required simply to keep our deficit position from worsening very substantially -- is perhaps an acceptable approach to raising taxes. If taxes have to be raised, our preference is to go through the personal income tax route.

We understand that, although we do not agree necessarily with the government at this time on where we need to stimulate demand. If that money was being used in a plan to revitalize the manufacturing sector and generate new growth, that is one thing. I do not mind going into debt to create new wealth, but just to sustain consumption on a current level, while creating all the problems of paying it back in the future, is not sound fiscal planning, in a household, in a business or in a province. And because our provincial tax rate is a percentage of the federal rate, it goes up when the federal rate goes up and there could be another blow to consumers this fall.

The government has changed the tax rates on gasoline, diesel fuel, railway diesel fuel, aviation fuel, cigarettes, cut tobacco and domestic beer from a set volume basis to an ad valorem percentage basis. It is clearly a case of profiteering from inflation, and in my judgement, of all the things that were done, this is the most pernicious and deceitful thing that could possibly have been done. They have given up fighting inflation. They are joining inflationary forces now and they are going to profit from the confusion. They are going to profit a lot more in the future.

If you think the take is high this year, Mr. Speaker, look ahead next year and the year after and the year after that as these prices compound. Today, at $1.50 a gallon, the government will get 30 cents or so in tax. If the rate goes to $2.50 a gallon, they will get 50 cents. If it goes to $3.00 a gallon, they will get 60 cents in tax, as opposed to the old unit tax. It is highly inflationary, particularly in this province at this time. The fact that the Treasurer could walk out of this House and say the budget is not inflationary reveals how very little comprehension he has of the measures he has introduced.

4:50 p.m.

This is the same government that sacrificed its federal leader on the altar of lower oil prices only last year. This House will remember how the federal Liberals ran around quoting the Treasurer and the Premier, who said Joe Clark and John Crosbie were profiteering. They decried price increases. They were quoted as saying it was a mistake, a distortion and a clear raid upon the spending power of the average citizen of this province. They said there is only so much one can take out of the economy by means of an energy price increase before that economy begins to suffer seriously.

That same government is now going to profiteer. It will contribute to inflation and it is protecting no one from its impact. There is not one program to protect anyone from the ravages of inflation.

Under the national energy program oil would go up at least $4.50 a barrel in 1981, 1982 and 1983. This is the best-case scenario. Of the $4.50 increase each year the federal government will get $2.50 off the top through a refinery tax for equalization of the oil price. The remaining $2 will be reflected in the wellhead price. Alberta will get about 80 cents a barrel out of the $2. With the new tax structure, Ontario will get 90 cents, but actually $1.12 because of the $1.15 Petrofina surcharge added as a result of the national energy program.

The Premier, who has bitterly fought these tax increases, is going to profiteer more than Alberta. The government has all these signs on the roads around the province saying, "Working together with you for Ontario," and "This streetcar brought to you by provincial funding." I think we should hang a little sign on every gas pump saying, "20 per cent of the price of this litre of gasoline is brought to you by the province of Ontario." That would be an honest use of the government's advertising policy -- for the first time.

This is the best case. It does not reflect new additional taxes, it does not reflect any new negotiations that come out of Alberta and Ottawa, it does not reflect any increases in refinery, distribution or retail margins of gasoline. Every time they go up there will be a compounded exponential growth in the amount of money the province receives. I am giving members the best; it is going to be much worse.

At best, Ontario consumers will now pay an additional 18 cents a litre instead of the 13.5 per cent they would have paid under the national energy program. This tax is wrong headed, it is unjust, it is damaging and it is cynical. It could not be more incorrect at this time. I would be very surprised if the back-bench members on the government side would view it, in all candour, any more favourably than does our party or do my friends in the party to my left.

The government will get $489 million in 1981 from increases in OHIP premiums, personal income tax and gas tax. Another $114 million will come from tobacco and alcohol tax increases and a variety of other tax increases and fees that only penalize the consumer further. It is very easy to hit those taxes and we are not going to make a major war about that, but we will make sure everybody understands what is happening.

Those who have the most difficult time making ends meet in these inflationary times are the hardest hit by these taxes. About 60 per cent of the increases come from regressive taxes such as OHIP premiums. We must wonder what this government is going to tax next in its major revenue grab in the year after an election. It sounds like a good news-bad news joke, but all we got was the bad news. We did not get the good news that was supposed to come after it.

We have $603 million in additional revenues this year and no new government incentives to help get the economy growing again. Net cash requirements will increase this year by 25 per cent. It will cost $5 million a day in interest which has gone up 14.2 per cent, one of the largest increases in spending in the budget. In fact, the government's net cash requirements, its deficit, would have been far worse had it not received $190 million in additional federal government transfers this year which it had not budgeted for. So one of the windfalls it is profiting from is a mistake in bookkeeping that both governments made last year. This government fiddles around with the deficit every year, as it did last year when it preflowed some expense to drive one deficit down and another one up.

I want to analyse that. If one really understood what the Treasurer was doing he would realize we almost cannot take the numbers we are being presented with very seriously. This government promised to balance the budget in 1981. That was a very major part of the commitment responding to the new mood of fiscal rectitude in this province. He said he would balance the budget in 1981. Then the Treasurer said, "We will balance it in 1984." In this budget, he said, "Well, we did a projection. and even in 1984 the projected net cash requirements will be $700 million." Then he had the temerity and the outright effrontery to say in the last line of his budget, "it maintains the province's commitment to balance the budget," whatever that means, yet by his own bar charts he is showing net cash requirements in 1984 of $700 million.

We see this blatant misuse of the truth on a daily basis. We say, "What can we believe?" If members sit with me and listen to people on the streets, they will hear them saying, "What can we believe?" They create such a different impression than what they deliver on. This promise to balance the budget is highly speculative at best. Last year, the Treasurer projected real growth of 0.3 per cent; in fact, it was down. We had negative growth last year of 0.2 per cent, off half a percentage point. He is projecting 2.4 per cent this year.

The Conference Board in Canada is projecting 0.4 per cent real growth for Ontario, significantly less than the 1.3 per cent growth rate forecast for Canada as a whole. The Treasurer is expecting 106,000 new jobs in Ontario this year. The Conference Board expects 29,000 new jobs and a lot of economists tend to agree with the board.

In commenting on the budget measures, Ben Gestrin, the chief economic adviser of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, said: "I doubt that under the circumstance, the province will be able to attain the 2.4 per cent growth rate Miller promises or that the number of new jobs will reach his target. The budget is bound to dampen consumer spending, because it is so restrictive. I cannot see these forecasts materializing. If they do not materialize, all of the numbers in this budget will be thrown further out of whack."

Roy Tarsish, the senior economist at the Ontario Economic Council, says he "fails to see how Miller will reach his new job and economic growth targets since there will be less demand by consumers to buy all sorts of products."

Peter Gusen, the senior economist for the Conference Board in Canada, said: "The message of the budget is clear; Ontario is no longer the land of milk and honey."

In fact, this is the price that the voters of Ontario are paying for having elected that government on March 19. Members will be very happy to know that my remarks have come to a conclusion, but I feel moved and obliged to present to you an amendment to the motion.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Peterson moves, seconded by Mr. Sweeney, that the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government be amended by deleting the words following "that" and adding thereto the following:

"The House regrets the 1981 budget fails to recognize the most serious and fundamental problems facing Ontario today and condemns the government for: Profiteering from the increase in the price of gasoline by the imposition of an ad valorem gasoline tax which compounds the effect of rising energy prices on Ontario's consumers; its deliberate betrayal of the Premier's commitment of February 2, 1981, to combat inflation through avoiding tax increases by adding a significant tax burden to Ontario's taxpayers through a major increase in the personal income tax;

"Further increasing OHIP premiums, so that the regressive form of taxation has now risen 109 per cent in five years or at an annual rate of 21.8 per cent, placing an especially unfair burden on low income earners; jeopardizing the quality of Ontario's universities and colleges by continuing to fund inadequately even the basic requirements of a post-secondary system;

"Refusing to recognize Ontario's industrial decline and the need for definitive industrial strategy as well as massive retraining programs for Ontario workers; having no policies to help low and middle-income earners avoid further hardship from the effect of rapidly rising prices; presenting no specific programs to aid small businesses, farmers and home owners to deal with the record-high interest rates; and failing to cut wasteful expenditures while increasing the deficit by almost 25 per cent. Therefore, this government lacks the confidence of the House."

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

5 p.m.


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.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I believe I was the one who adjourned the debate last, and I want to apologize to the minister if I in any way inconvenienced him at that time; but this is an important piece of legislation, which the minister himself has indicated on a number of occasions. Not only did I wish to have an opportunity to present a few views of my own, but I also wanted to be sure that the minister himself would have sufficient time to respond to the fairly large number of comments and suggestions that were made by other colleagues in this House from all three political parties.

First of all, let me point out how appropriate it is in this International Year of Disabled Persons that we are dealing with some particular sections of this legislation, those dealing with advanced rights and enhanced rights for disabled people.

When the election was called earlier this year, the minister will recall that a committee had already been struck to sit during the intervening period between the winter session and the spring session to deal with public hearings on this, and I was one who had some misgivings that perhaps we would not get back to it. I am most pleased, as are my colleagues who have spoken before me, that we have this legislation before us. Knowing this particular minister, I should really not have had any doubts that it would come back sooner or later, and I am glad it has come back sooner.

There have been a number of references to who should or who should not be included in this legislation, and I would like to raise a question with the minister if he would respond to it when it is his turn to get up, and that is, all the way through part I we continue over and over again to make a list, "that without discrimination," and then the list goes on, "race, ancestry, place of origin" and so on.

The question I have to ask the minister is, in each one of those sections why don't we just stop after the words "without discrimination"? Why do we have the list at all? It seems to me that whenever we start trying to include that kind of a list we run into two problems. The first one is the ongoing argument and debate as to who should or who should not be included, and the second one is that inadvertently some group in our society can be left out. I am sure the minister has some reasons, but I would like to hear why we do not. I appreciate that there might be some reasons and there might be a certain set of circumstances when some group might have to be excluded for a particular purpose, but there are other sections in the legislation where arrangements are made for that type of purpose. I would be quite prepared to see that done.

Second, I would like to draw the minister's attention to section 2 of part I, where we deal with, "Every person has the right to equal treatment in the occupancy of accommodation." We have a problem in my particular riding and I would not doubt it is repeated in a number of other ridings across the province -- whereby we want to set up small residential homes for retarded young people and retarded adults, but we come into conflict with the local bylaws, the local residential zoning. There seems to be some misgiving, there seems to be some difference of opinion with people outside this Legislature as to whether or not this particular section will deal with that.

Let me be very specific. In this particular case we have an institution called Sunbeam Home. The ministry responsible for it, the Ministry of Community and Social Services, has indicated that it will not advance capital funds to expand that facility even though the ministry itself admits it is seriously overcrowded. Their recommendation is that instead the institution and its board of directors move out into the community and set up these small residential homes and yet, as I have just indicated, on the other hand they are faced with the dilemma of a municipality that has zoning bylaws which prevent this from happening. Of course, we have the situation over and over again of local residential groups very strongly opposed to this.

I have indicated to some of the people in my community that, according to my understanding, this particular section of the legislation should come to grips with that. I have been advised by others that this is not necessarily so. Once again, I ask the minister, when he responds, to indicate the degree to which this section of the legislation is going to deal with that particular kind of problem.

I point out to the minister that it is a very serious problem. It seems almost insoluble and it appears to be repeating itself over and over again around the province. If the policy position of the Ministry of Community and Social Services remains as it is, that this practice should be carried out, then we are going to be tumbling into this situation again and again.

A third point is with respect to part V of the building code. I am sure it has been brought to the minister's attention. It was certainly brought to the attention of a committee of our caucus when a number of disabled people met with us in late November and early December last year. They drew to our attention the conflict between the intent of this legislation and the actual wording and provision in the building code.

The minister will be well aware of the fact that part V of the building code was added in 1975 specifically to deal with the needs of the disabled. However, it became fairly quickly apparent that there were a number of situations not being met by the wording of that part. It is my understanding that two study groups set up by the government reviewed the legislation and came back with a series of recommendations. Yet, very recently, changes and amendments to part V of the building code have been approved by cabinet, and those difficulties still remain.

If I may take a minute or two, I want to refer to an editorial in the magazine put out by the Ontario March of Dimes, dated April 1981, which states in a clearer fashion than I could put it myself where the confusion lies. I ask the minister to please speak to it. It is something we on this side of the House often have to draw to his attention, where it seems that two different government ministries are just not getting their act together.

I quote the editorial:

"The bill promises the handicapped person equal access to accommodation, while the building code restricts our access to an apartment building lobby. The Ministry of Labour initiates a handicapped employment program and guarantees the right to equal treatment in employment, while the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations hinders our physical entry into the work place."

Of course, they are referring to the building code again.

"The Canadian Transport Commission orders access to Via Rail, while transportation depots are removed from part V of the Ontario building code. The new human rights code promises access to the provision of goods and service; why, then, are doctors' and dentists' offices, beauty parlours, fire and police stations and many other facilities not included in part V of the building code?"

The Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) stated in a speech to the Legislature, "We all have an obligation to make the general physical environment, as well as a full range of social, economic and cultural activities, accessible to disabled persons." Why then does the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, a fellow member of cabinet, insist that the social policies necessary to make these major changes to part V of the building code do not exist?

I cannot put it to the minister in any better words than the final words of this editorial:

"What the heck is the policy of the Ontario government towards its disabled citizens?" I certainly ask the minister to speak to that.

My colleague who is the critic responsible in our caucus for this legislation, the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps), has brought up the question of sexual orientation. She made it very clear that there was not unanimity within our caucus. I think that is well known.

I have spoken on this particular issue in this House on at least two occasions, and I have indicated I believe that, despite his or her sexual orientation, every human being in this province should have access to such things as accommodation and employment. But I have indicated that I have one reservation, and I strongly suspect that, within the minister's caucus as well, that reservation is somewhat common. And that is a reservation about employment where young children are concerned, whether we are talking about schools, summer camps or whatever it is.

5:10 p.m.

I know the observation has been made that either there is discrimination or there is not: you cannot have it partway. I genuinely believe that in this particular situation -- and obviously I am not speaking for my party on this; I am speaking for myself alone, and I believe I am speaking for a number of my constituents, and it is on that basis that I make the comment -- I would be genuinely prepared to see sexual orientation added to the act if we could find some way to include that one limitation.

I am not sure whether I am reading the act correctly, but section 21(6) seems to indicate that there are times when employment can have certain exclusion factors. As I read section 21(6), it says, "The right under section 4 to equal treatment in employment is not infringed where..." and then there is a list of things. For example, education is included in it, and so is age. Now there are very specific restrictions.

The only reason I draw the minister's attention to this is that I do not believe it would be unnecessarily precedent-setting or necessarily inconsistent with the spirit of the legislation if it were put in in that way, because it seems to me -- again, I stand open to being corrected by the minister if that section means something other than my interpretation of it -- that it would be possible to deal with this very volatile, very delicate and very sensitive issue so as to provide for a certain segment of our community most of their basic rights but to recognize that, at least at this particular time in the history of our society and our province, this is a very real and a very genuine concern of many of our people.

I am not prepared to predict what Ontario society will believe is acceptable or unacceptable five years or 10 years from now. I simply ask the minister to respond as to whether that is even a possible way of dealing with this particular issue.

I want to close my remarks by dealing with an issue that is equally sensitive. About four years ago I had the opportunity to see a film that was produced by the Johns Hopkins Medical Centre. The title of the film was Who Shall Survive? It showed a baby who had just been born and obviously had some physical problem. It was quite quickly detected -- I believe within 24 hours -- that the physical difficulty was a blockage of the tube into the baby's stomach so that food was not able to pass right through. I understand there is a technical medical term for it, and I am sorry that I cannot remember what it is.

The doctor called in the young parents of this child and drew two bits of information to their attention. First of all, he discussed the physical problem and pointed out to them that the operation was not serious and that the success rate was very high. The other little bit of information that he drew to the parents' attention was that their baby also had Down's syndrome; in other words, it was retarded.

I watched that film -- I think it lasted about 15 minutes -- and it depicted the decision made by the parents not to have the operation done on the baby. The film went on to show us that over the next 15 days that newborn baby slowly starved to death.

Mr. Speaker, I think I can share with you and the minister that, of the 30 or 40 people who happened to be in the room viewing the film, there was not a single dry eye when it was finished. I know my reaction was one of shock. I did not believe that in our society those kinds of medical decisions could be made any more. I repeat that, other than the physical problem which was surgically correctable, the only other difference between this baby and any other baby was the fact it had Down's syndrome. The baby died.

I appreciate that I am using a very judgmental word, but I remember remarking within that group that this type of barbarity certainly does not happen here. I was rather quickly corrected by being told that those same kinds of decisions are made in the hospital here in Ontario that devotes itself to the medical practice that saves thousands and thousands of children's lives.

I understood that a senior medical doctor on the staff of the Hospital for Sick Children had written a report detailing that same type of procedure in that hospital just down the street from this Legislature. I do not think the minister will be surprised to understand that I had some difficulty getting a copy of that report. I finally got a copy of the Journal of Paediatric Medicine, in which the report was completely detailed.

It described this operation and it pointed out that every time the operation was done the medical success rate was well over 80 per cent. It also pointed out, simply as a matter in passing, that during a 15- to 20-year period at that hospital, 56 babies who had this medical problem also had Down's syndrome, and 44 out of that 56 did not have the operation. It did not have to go on to point out that those babies died, because I have been told by medical personnel that is all that can happen.

In other words, that is right here.

This piece of legislation deals with human rights. I suggest to the minister that is a glaring omission in this legislation. I fully appreciate the right of parents to make certain fundamental decisions about their children, but I question whether parents should have the right to decide if their children are going to live or die.

The minister might be aware of a comparative study done in England and in Philadelphia with respect to children who had spina bifida but who also had other medical complications. The report seems to indicate that a medical clinic in London, England, dealing with this situation and advising the parents, ended up with 95 per cent of the parents choosing not to have the necessary correctable medical procedures done.

In Philadelphia, another doctor with a similar kind of clinic dealing with exactly the same problems and advising his parents, had 75 per cent of the parents choosing to have the operation done. This is clearly an indication that we are not just talking about parental approval, although that is a factor.

I do not know the extent of this kind of practice in Ontario today, but I do know there is sufficient evidence that it has happened and may be continuing to happen.

5:20 p.m.

I fully appreciate there is no mention in this legislation with respect to it. However, if we are going to talk about rights, it seems to me we must really mean, as the second opening paragraph says, that it is going to be "public policy in Ontario to recognize that every person is equal in dignity and worth."

We have to be looking at some of the medical practices that are taking place in Ontario and at some of the decisions that are being made, and determine whether in this most auspicious year, this International Year of Disabled Persons, there is not something else we can do with this legislation as well.

I am generally pleased with the legislation. I support it. I am only asking if we cannot go one step further.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, my remarks will be rather brief -- first, because we have had the opportunity in December to review essentially the same bill in great detail and, second, because we will have a lengthier time in committee to review it on a clause-by-clause basis. But I think there are things that need to be said.

I am sure what strikes each of us about this proposed amendment to the human rights code is the degree of consensus there is about it, both within this Legislature and outside. I do not say that with any pride of authorship. We all know there is a very fine balance in society with regard to respect for human rights. There will be many who will say we have gone too far, and there will be many who will say we have not gone far enough.

All of us who have reviewed comments over the past few months can honestly feel we have achieved a good balance in this legislation which the majority of thoughtful people in society can accept. We can all take a certain amount of pride in the degree of consensus we have been able to establish, and the credit for that goes to each and every member of this Legislature. The comments have been favourable all the time, and the rights have never really been at issue.

The member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) and the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) have both talked about the fragility of the respect for human rights. In the case of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, he spoke about his concern that "there is an increasing amount of prejudice in society; indeed, worse than it was 20 years ago."

The respect for human rights is a fragile thing in society, but we can all take heart from the fact that, in spite of what I look upon as a healthy change in the cultural and racial mix in our community, in my view respect for our fellow human beings has continued to increase over the years.

I took great interest in the article written recently by Sol Littman in the Toronto Star -- I am sure many other members read it too -- in which he said that Ontario had always been a little bit ahead in terms of human rights legislation compared with some of our surrounding states. Because of that, he said, we have avoided some of the pitfalls others have fallen into. That does not mean everything is perfect, because life is not perfect. It does mean we have been able to have a certain social framework that we as legislators feel is appropriate and that indicates to people where we draw the line and what we say is discrimination that we will not tolerate.

I do not agree with the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, although I understand what he is saying. He and the member for Mississauga South (Mr. Kennedy) and myself have each had relatives in this Legislature in the 1930s and 1940s. I ask him to look back on those days and recall the signs that were on the beaches in Toronto. Although he can talk about what happened in the barber shop back in Brantford, 30 or 40 years ago those barber shops had certain restrictions -- not in Brantford, but in other areas of the province. Those things are gone; so I think we are seeing a change. I am a little distressed that the member thinks things are worse than they were in those days.

Frankly, I see nothing but a growing respect for human rights and the need to be progressive and to address new problems as they arise. What is significant about this legislation is that, if adopted, it will put this province in the forefront with regard to human rights in this country.

If I may, I want to refer to some of the specific remarks that were made by various speakers, not necessarily referring to them specifically. There was one comment made criticizing the reporting relationship through the Minister of Labour. We talked about this last December.

When the Ontario Human Rights Commission was first established, it dealt with problems that were primarily related to employment, and employment problems came within the purview of the Ministry of Labour. So it was a rather natural course of events that led to it being placed there.

Over the course of the years, the human rights commission has started to develop a certain independent initiative, such as the recent publication of Affirmation which, as the member for Scarborough West said, is an excellent, provocative editorial comment put out regularly by the commission. I think it is a great addition to the armamentarium they have.

As I am sure members know, the commission now produces an annual report which is reviewed by all of us who are part of the particular committee that reviews the Labour estimates. So there is that kind of reporting relationship that had its natural origins, and we have seen the human rights commission expand its areas of interest in terms of an annual report, and Affirmation and reaching out into the community.

I am certain members who have read the act have noticed that in this present legislation the human rights commission is not attached to any particular ministry. That is in recognition of the fact that times may change from year to year and decade to decade. The Premier and the executive council may decide at another time that it is more appropriate to have human rights delegated to another ministry or some other part of the government. We have addressed that particular issue, and I do not think one need be concerned that there is anything inappropriate about the reporting relationship through the Minister of Labour.

Someone made a remark that troubled me a bit. They called the human rights commission a reticent tribunal. I have always felt there are two ways to face human rights. There is the whistles-and-drums approach; then there is the solid, thoughtful consideration of problems, trying to conciliate issues and get a resolution that does more for society than the whistles and drums approach. I still believe in that approach.

I do not think the human rights commission should have been subject to some of the criticism it has had, because it never has believed in whistles and drums, and neither do I. Their accomplishments are many, but it is done in a conciliatory way that does not satisfy some people who like the other approach.

There has been some criticism with regard to delays and backlogs. Nobody argues that there are problems with that. The backlog has been reduced drastically over the past six months or so, but let us also acknowledge why there are delays.

The problems are getting more complicated. More important, or equally as important, there is no time limit with regard to the duration of a period for the filing of a complaint. The commission is now faced with complaints dating back five, six, eight or 10 years. That gets to be a very difficult problem to investigate. It is one that is corrected in this human rights proposal in that one can only come with a claim that goes back several months. That sort of thing will help to resolve the delay and backlog problem they have faced.

5:30 p.m.

It was suggested that perhaps the problem was one of funding and staffing and why did we not fund and staff them like the Ombudsman. I think we should know the facts before we say things like that.

For instance, the estimates of the Ontario Human Rights Commission for 1981-82 show a total budget of $4,137,000, not including additional amounts that will be made available for the addition of the handicapped and other new provisions of this code. On the other hand, the Office of the Ombudsman, for the same period 1981-82, has estimates of $4,693,000.

If one takes into account the fact that the handicapped employment program in my ministry is directly related to human rights, with a budget of more than $500,000, and that the equal pay portion of the employment standards has a very large section, and if one takes into account the money that is distributed by the Ministry of Culture and Recreation for activities that have a human rights relationship, then one would have to say that the budget available for human rights matters in this province is pretty large. I think that is a bum rap, to put it quite mildly.

I think the commission at the present time is well staffed and well funded but, with the passage of these amendments, there is no doubt that further funding will be required, and that is acknowledged.

Several members have spoken about problems related to the handicapped. The member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. Newman) has had a particular interest in this over the years. He can take a great deal of pride in the genesis of this kind of legislation in this province. Although in my opinion as a physician it was not necessary to do so, we have with some degree of specificity added diabetes mellitus to the definition of handicapped, simply because of concern expressed by him, along with other members in this Legislature. Frankly, I tell him as a physician that it was covered in any event, but for greater certainty we have included diabetes mellitus as well as epilepsy, because they were two areas of special concern to many members in this House.

The great question that has troubled many with regard to the physically handicapped has been the question of access. As I said in the debate in the House last December, we have endeavoured to look at human rights legislation as legislation dealing with attitudinal discrimination in society.

Along with our colleagues in Saskatchewan and in the federal government, we have felt that questions with regard to access should be dealt with after there is a prima facie finding of attitudinal discrimination. We think that is appropriate and goes further than the federal legislation, where they only have the power to recommend access changes. Our legislation, in line with what our colleagues in Saskatchewan have done, says that where there is discrimination, access may be ordered by a board of inquiry so long as it does not cause undue hardship.

My colleague the member for St. George and other members nave brought up the question of age. I said last December, and on this occasion, that age has been a very difficult question for us. The member for York West (Mr. Leluk) has for years been a great advocate of raising the mandatory age of retirement. With the exception of the third party, most of us in this House have felt emotionally that sort of thing is appropriate. I raised in my remarks last December, and again now, the fact that there are problems and that one only has to look south of the border where Congress is now looking at the effects that raising the age of mandatory retirement may have had on pension benefits made available to people. They have --

Mr. Haggerty: They are going to raise the retirement age because the pension plan in Ontario is pretty nearly broke. That is the only reason they have done it.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: That is exactly what I am talking about. It was one of the member's colleagues who very anxiously wanted to raise the age of retirement. I want to tell him that, emotionally, we all want to do that, but in doing so we must make sure we do not deprive people of certain rights they expect, and rightfully expect, when they retire.

We should not rush headlong into that; we should recognize that we must not deprive people of certain benefits they have come to expect following retirement, and we must be sure that we do not interfere with hiring and personnel practices, and with the problem of youth unemployment, by acting very hastily over an issue that we have strong emotional feelings about.

On the question of family status, with regard to multiple dwellings with a common entrance, again, I said last December and in public that we view this as a very difficult problem. There are people in society who choose not to have children, and that is their privilege. There are people in society who, having raised their children, choose to move into accommodation where they will be with adults. It is a very difficult balance, but one cannot cherry-pick in this life. If the members will read Life Together, they will see that the commissioners recognize that primarily it was a housing shortage problem and not a human rights issue and that it was a problem confined to three or four centres in Ontario.

That is the position this government takes, that it is a housing issue and that it should not be confused with a human rights issue. I appreciate the views of groups such as Justice for Children -- heavens, I have five children of my own, and I have been through the process -- but I think that again we have to respect the balance of people's rights in society and not confuse a housing problem with a human rights issue. I think that is the approach we have decided to take, and I hope that members will agree with it.

I will not comment in detail about the addition of harassment or of sexual harassment to the code. I am a little disappointed that some members object to the definition of sexual harassment. I think if they read the act carefully, they will see that the word "persistent" is not involved whenever there is some disciplinary action taken by a person in authority, so there is no discussion of persistence or patterns of conduct. If there is a reprisal, then there is immediate coverage within the act.

The element of persistence is one that has been raised in many briefs by a number of women's groups, recognizing that there are relationships in life and in the work place that are sometimes difficult to judge. That is the only reason we have endeavoured to move into this area, as the first province to do so, with a degree of respect for certain rights, but also drawing the line and saying that if there is a reprisal involved, there is no question of persistence.

Last December and again this year, members have talked about the lack of a section on class actions in the human rights code. I think those who have been involved in the study of law know that class actions in this province and in this country generally are very difficult actions. There are so many impediments to them that very few of them come to fruition; indeed, it is an issue that is being reviewed by the Ontario Law Reform Commission at this very time.

I would point out that there are now two Supreme Court cases which have allowed civil actions based upon a prohibition within the code; therefore it is now possible to have a class action, with the impediments that go with it in this province, at the present time in the civil courts.

I would also remind the members that if they read Life Together carefully they will see that Life Together did not specifically talk about class actions. It talked about what we have interpreted as group actions, and the human rights commission has the right to group actions now under the proposed legislation.

The member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) and the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) have raised concern about the provision of section 41, which requires permission of the Attorney General with regard to prosecution. I disagree with the member for Riverdale. That is not an uncommon procedure; indeed, if he reviews the Labour Relations Act, he will find the same process takes place there, except that in that particular legislation it is the Ontario Labour Relations Board that has to give approval to prosecute.

If we look at the sections we are talking about -- section 30(6), for example, "No person shall hinder, obstruct or interfere with the person who is investigating a complaint," et cetera, so there would be a criminal charge being laid against somebody for hindering or obstructing -- to our point of view and to the Attorney General's point of view that is something where there should be permission to prosecute required of him. A similar logic applies to section 8.

I ask members to consider those two things very carefully because they will find that is quite in keeping with legal tradition and does not impose any onerous burden or limit the rights of people to bring action under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

5:40 p.m.

The member for Scarborough West and the member for Riverdale were both critical of the new section 12, suggesting it was not as extensive as section 1(1) of the old code. I ask them to read not only section 1(1), but section 1(2) of the old code and then compare them with section 12. I think they will agree section 12 is much broader. Indeed, with the elimination of the old section 1(2), section 12 takes on a whole new connotation. If they read it over and take the whole section 1 of the old act into account, they will agree.

Many members talked about what they perceive as inadequacies of the code relating to affirmative action for women in the work place. I do not follow that logic. Here we have a new code which, for the first time in Canada, prohibits sexual solicitation and harassment; a code which now is fully extended to family and marital status; a commission which will have the power, on its own initiative, to recommend affirmative action programs to correct historical discrimination; a board of inquiry with confirmed powers with regard to ordering affirmative action programs, and, in addition and unknown to most of us because the conciliation process is a private one, several affirmative action programs per year initiated by conciliation.

I suggest this is a broad code, broader than any I know of in Canada, which respects the role of women in society and, in particular, in the work place. It should be commended rather than commented upon with regard to its perceived shortfalls.

The member for Riverdale pointed out the major areas of concern that his party will have. I will not go over them in detail because he spoke to me beforehand, really just to give me information about proposed amendments so we can do some thinking about them while we wait for the bill to go to committee.

The member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) suggested he was sorry he inconvenienced me last Friday. It was not a question of inconvenience; I had understood there was an all-party agreement that the legislation was finished and could get on to committee. If I seemed disappointed, it was because of that.

I think it is important legislation. I have worked hard to get it before this House. I have a conviction it is good and that it should go some place. Perhaps it was my disappointment that it was going to be delayed, even though I thought there was an understanding among all parties.

The member for Kitchener-Wilmot has asked why there is a list of prohibitions, why we do not loosen it all up as the member for Riverdale said. There is no argument about it. There are two schools of thought: one that it should prohibit discrimination in general and let society work out the ramifications as new situations arise; the other that there should be some degree of certainty with regard to the areas prohibited within this code so those who are in charge of the commission -- the commissioner, the investigating officers and the conciliation officers -- have some certainty about the matters they are assigned to deal with.

I happen to agree with that. I think they have had a difficult time in British Columbia where they have the reasonable-cause provision. The certainty that is in this bill and in all other similar legislation, except for BC, has been written for the same reason: to provide a degree of certainty in the minds of the public and those in charge of the Ontario Human Rights Code -- the commissioner and the officers who work within that system.

I do not know the answer to the group home issue and the effect this bill may have on it. It may be tangential or it may not. Certainly I have not explored that in great detail. Perhaps we can do that when it is at committee level.

Part V of the Ontario Building Code was mentioned. That does not come under my ministry and I do not propose to comment on it. With the publication of the most recent amendments to part V, the minister made it clear that consultations with regard to further change will continue. I accept that and I ask members of this House to accept that.

Section 21(6) was raised by the member for Kitchener-Wilmot and I think he may have some things we will want to talk about when we are at the committee level. He recognizes the reason for that section, as he recognizes the reason for section 17. Section 17, as members will recall, deals with the rights under part Ito nondiscrimination because of creed, and goes back to the British North America Act and the Education Act. Section 21(6) simply represents a recognition of the rights that certain religious groups and other groups have in society to have certain things in common. If members have any comments and suggestions that they think are valuable, we would be pleased to go over the section in great detail when the bill is reviewed in committee.

Finally, and I don't say this with any disrespect, I don't propose to get into a discussion of the presence or the absence of medical ethics in the past, present or future. Those are matters that are not deal with in this legislation nor by this minister. The member for Kitchener-Wilmot knows where those matters can be discussed.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for the standing committee on resources development.


Hon. Mr. Grossman moved second reading of Bill 48, An Act respecting Massey-Ferguson Limited.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, as the members are aware, extensive and ongoing discussions have been taking place between our government and Massey-Ferguson Limited for a substantial period of time. Those discussions, which began last August, have involved more than 250 international banks and financial institutions, as well as the federal government, Massey-Ferguson and its financial advisers.

Mr. Laughren: The minister took them all on.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: And won as always.

The discussions reached a critical stage in early February of this year when the international banks, including the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and other financial institutions, agreed to provide Massey-Ferguson with $520 million conditional upon the company raising an additional $200 million in new equity investment with the support of the federal and Ontario governments.

The agreement Canada and Ontario were negotiating with Massey -- and I should pause to point out to the members of the House that there are still ongoing discussions and negotiations among all the parties -- involves an issue by the company of up to eight million series D preferred shares having a stated value of $25 each. Canada and Ontario's liability is apportioned at 62.5 per cent and 37.5 per cent respectively, with Ontario's dollar liability limited to an amount not exceeding $78 million.

Mr. Laughren: Is it Larry Black or Conrad Grossman? Which is it?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Do I look like him?

Mr. Laughren: Yes.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Hardly. I look more like the member than Conrad Black.

The rate of interest proposed is one half the Canadian prime rate plus 1.375 per cent. These shares will be purchased by private investors. Canada and Ontario will be required to purchase the series D shares from their holders during the 10 years to 1991: (1) if Massey-Ferguson fails to pay dividends on the series D shares when payable, or (2) fails to redeem any series D preferred shares in keeping with the retraction privilege effective in 1991, or (3) voluntarily winds up or dissolves, which is highly unlikely.

The organization and affairs of Massey-Ferguson have been extensively reviewed by all participants in the refinancing package, including the international financial institutions involved and financial advisers to both governments. In addition, an independent report was prepared by an international firm of chartered accountants and business consultants.

5:50 p.m.

It is the considered opinion of all participants that, given the implementation of the $720-million refinancing plan, the outlook for Massey-Ferguson is favourable and the company has good prospects for a sound future. As part of the collective decision to become financially involved, our government agrees with the other participants in the refinancing plan that there is every reason to believe the company will survive and return to a position of strength. Further, it is our expectation that the federal and Ontario government guarantees will never need be exercised or called upon.

The members of the assembly will recall our talking in question period and at other times about the kind of commitments we would require of Massey-Ferguson in exchange for a refinancing plan. In accordance with the responses this government has given over time, I wish to report to the House today that, in return for making it possible for the Massey-Ferguson corporation to complete its refinancing plan, the governments are indeed negotiating an agreement that will include a great number of commitments from Massey-Ferguson.

Mr. Cooke: Let us hear about the commitments.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member will hear about the commitments.

Mr. Cooke: Is the minister going to negotiate the agreement we vote on today?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We have to have the power to do it first. While many of the covenants are still under negotiation, as I indicated earlier, the principal undertakings, which have now been agreed to, involve a major effort on the part of Massey-Ferguson to Canadianize its operations.

Mr. Cooke: Let us see the documentation.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member will when it is ready.

Mr. Cooke: After we vote on it.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The company has agreed to maintain and upgrade its production facilities in Canada; to ensure that any major North American investments for new product lines or for increased production capacity will indeed be made in Canada; to increase exports from Canada; to expand its efforts to source raw materials, to source machinery and to source equipment in Canada; to place increased emphasis on research and development in Canada, and to emphasize employment in Canada by maintaining at least a proportionate share of jobs in this country in accordance with the present employment levels.

Mr. Stokes: What principle of the bill are you speaking to, or are you just ragging the puck?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Just ragging the puck.

Mr. Speaker, the recent decision by Massey-Ferguson to close its operation in Des Moines, Iowa, will result in 220 new jobs in the great municipality of Brantford. Where is the member -- the member who just stepped out for a moment and the former member who stepped outlast fall. It will also result in 35 new jobs in this municipality, Toronto. This attests, I believe, to the commitment and good faith of tile company as the negotiations continue.

Mr. Cooke: You just lost all the support in Brantford.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Seventy-five million and I lost them all. Do not write that down.

There will be an opportunity for both the federal and Ontario governments to monitor the progress of the corporation and in particular its efforts to Canadianize operations. We intend to work closely with Massey-Ferguson to ensure that this particular objective is met within a reasonable time frame.

Mr. Laughren: That will make the international bankers nervous.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: They know they are in good hands.

We anticipate that final agreements will be signed by the company, all the banks involved, all the financial institutions and all the governments next month -- that is mid-June. For those members of the assembly who have been concerned about the contents of those agreements, I can assure all members those agreements will be tabled in this Legislature upon completion. I cannot table contents of an agreement that has not yet been signed and for which the negotiations are not yet complete.

Further, the other parties to the negotiation require -- rather sensibly, I believe -- that all parties to the negotiation be in a position to meet their obligations under the agreement and negotiations prior to signing. That is precisely the point of the legislation before the House. It authorizes us simply --

Mr. Laughren: You have your majority; is that not good enough?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We believe that even though we have a majority, we have to go the legislative route to get authority.

Massey-Ferguson Limited, as is the case with the NDP, has been going through a difficult time.


Hon. Mr. Grossman: Wait till you hear the next sentence.

These difficulties have placed a severe strain on management and staff at all levels of the operation -- like the NDP.

Mr. T.P. Reid: The NDP don't have any management.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: But they are strained.

I know all members of the House will join me in saying that the employees of Massey-Ferguson should be commended for their commitment to the corporation during the difficult period of time the company has gone through. As one member of this assembly who has visited the assembly line in Brantford twice in the last 12 months -- something I should point out that the former member who was speaking did not do -- I can attest at firsthand to the dedication of the employees to the job at hand and to the wellbeing of the corporation.

I am sure all members of this House will join me in applauding the degree of commitment those employees maintain for the firm and the product they make. The employees have made sacrifices already; they continue to be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to maintain the firm's operation, they continue to turn out a quality product and they continue to have faith in the future of the firm.

All levels of the corporation are to be commended for the way they have handled the past eight or 10 months. As we have seen with other companies, it is not easy to go through a period during which the public affairs of the company are being scrutinized and the business difficulties of a company are being spread across the front pages of literally every newspaper in the world.

To have been able to survive that sort of adverse publicity, and to have been able to survive that sort of attack on market share which comes from undermining the belief in purchasers that there will be a company in place to service and repair equipment later on down the line, required a great deal of co-operation, perseverance and dedication by all members of the Massey-Ferguson corporation.

In particular, Mr. Victor Rice, Massey's chairman and chief executive officer, deserves a great deal of commendation for his persistence and determination in assembling what is really a tremendously complex financial package, involving many segments of the world banking and financial community.

Mr. T.P. Reid: How about Conrad Black? Will he be included?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, he won't be included in my remarks today.

The fact that Massey-Ferguson exists today as a viable operation, still maintaining number one market share worldwide in spite of the adverse publicity it has had, is due largely to the efforts of Victor Rice.

I should like to express as well the appreciation of our government for the support, cooperation and involvement of the federal government and particularly the efforts --


6 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- now I am running short on time -- and particularly the efforts of my good friend the federal Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce.

Finally, the dedication of the new member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) to the people of his community should be given full recognition by this House.

Mr. T.P. Reid: Where is he?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: He is meeting some constituents right now as we speak. He will be back in the House in a moment.

Even before his election to this Legislature, that member served as an effective spokesman for the concerns of his community, and more specifically for the needs of the employees of Massey-Ferguson. We look forward to his continuing involvement as negotiations are finalized.

The future of Massey-Ferguson is important to both our province and this country. We wish the company great success, and welcome the opportunity to participate in its renewed strength and viability.

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

The House adjourned at 6:01 p.m.