32e législature, 1re session


The House resumed at 8 p.m.


Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion that the Treasurer of Ontario be authorized to pay the salaries of the civil servants and other necessary payments pending the voting of supply for the period commencing November 1, 1981, and ending March 31, 1982, such payments to be charged to the proper appropriation following the voting of supply.

Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, when the clock interrupted me at six o'clock I was talking about a demonstration model for wind energy. I am not going to rehash what I have already put on the record, not only earlier this afternoon but also on many occasions that have provided me with an opportunity to do so in the past. With regard to wind energy, it does have very practical application in those areas of the province where the only source of energy generation is diesel fuel oil, the cost of which is anywhere from $3 to $5 per gallon.

As the members know, with the recent announcement of an agreement between the federal government and the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, we can look forward to the unhappy prospect of having oil and gasoline double or triple in value within the next five years.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Maybe in price but not necessarily in value.

Mr. Stokes: In price; the member is absolutely correct. This has significant and disturbing implications for everybody in Canada; it has for people in southern Ontario. I would like to contrast that with what it is going to do to the cost of essential fuels in northern Ontario, particularly in those communities north of the fiftieth parallel which have no ground transportation and rely exclusively on air transport for all the services they require, all the food supplies and equipment which are essential for keeping life and limb together in those remote northern communities.

To project all of this to its almost ridiculous conclusion, if they are paying between $3 and $5 a gallon for diesel fuel oil in those northern communities now, they will be paying from $6 to $10 or from $12 to $15 a gallon for diesel fuel oil. I ask members to consider what will happen if we continue to use the old ways of generating electric energy in the north. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications is a heavy user of fuel oil in those northern communities, as is the Ministry of Natural Resources, the federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Department of National Health and Welfare.

I asked one of the superintendents of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, which is responsible for providing essential services for a good portion of our first citizens of the north, to give me a ball-park figure of how much fuel oil his department alone consumes in those far northern communities for the operation of schools and all the other things they are responsible for. He said they use about 420,000 gallons of fuel oil in those communities.

Multiply the $3 to $5 that it is costing now by a factor of two or three. By the time this energy agreement runs its course in 1986, you can see that either we are going to have to stop providing those services to northern communities, as limited as they are, or they are going to drain increasingly the consolidated revenue fund of this province and, of course, the counterpart of that in Ottawa, the Treasury.

I think it is absolutely essential that we take a look at the dollars we are spending, not only in the energy field but also in all other fields. Since the amendment that was moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Smith) asks specifically for detailed information with regard to the Suncor issue, it is absolutely essential that we use the overall sums of money the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) is looking for in this interim supply motion to make sure we get the biggest bang for our buck, not only in wind energy but also in peat.

I am not going to go into a long, detailed dissertation about what we learned at the peat symposium just a week ago. But I think it is important I remind every member of this House that it was brought home very vividly and very convincingly that we are particularly blessed with this resource in Ontario and that we have a joint federal-provincial fund called the Canada- Ontario agreement, dollars for industrial energy demonstration projects. It is specifically designed in Ontario.

What is the agreement about? In Ontario, our major source of energy is oil, even though we produce very little in our province. With Canada importing 20 per cent of its oil, and the security of foreign supply always in question, it is important that we utilize new and innovative approaches to both conservation and renewable energy forms, which include all of those I have mentioned. That is why the governments of Canada and Ontario are sharing the costs of a five-year, $58-million agreement. The conservation and renewable energy development and demonstration program is designed to encourage the demonstration of promising technologies for energy conservation and renewable energy as they apply to industry.

8:10 p.m.

I have written a letter to Mr. Hugh Macaulay, chairman of Ontario Hydro, asking him specifically if he will intervene and act as the vehicle for an application of these funds for a specific project involving the technology based on peat that the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. A. Reed) and I have been discussing. We have it in abundance right on the outskirts of a small hamlet in my riding called Armstrong where, until we made an amendment to the Power Corporation Act about a week ago, they were paying 40.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for power at the commercial rate.

Armstrong is not an isolated community in the overall scheme of things in Canada. It is in the heartland of Canada. It is one of the linchpins keeping western and eastern Canada together. The main line of Canadian National runs right through the heart of this hamlet of Armstrong. Yet it is costing small commercial users, who operate diesel generators in that community, 40.5 cents per kilowatt-hour to buy power from Ontario Hydro, simply because we have not found it practical to hook them up to the transmission grid of Ontario Hydro.

We have the resource right on the doorstep. We have the technology for the gasification of peat. We have obviously demonstrated a need. Here is a vehicle to accomplish just what we are trying to do with this Canada-Ontario agreement.

While the Treasurer, the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch), the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) and the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) are not here at the moment, perhaps we have some executive assistants or parliamentary assistants who will bring my words to the attention of those ministers, because here they have a real and genuine opportunity to prove to all of Canada, to all of the world, that they can be leaders in this kind of technology.

They do not have much time, because at this peat symposium we were made well aware that Hydro-Quebec has already embarked on a demonstration model on Anticosti Island using the process of the gasification of peat to operate what it calls a dual-fuel engine that will use diesel fuel oil for 10 per cent of the time and peat moss for the other 90 per cent of the time to do expressly what all those ministers I have mentioned earlier say they want. Even the Treasurer says they want a window, they want a piece of the action. Here is a really significant way they can get a piece of the action if they have the will to get on with the job.

One other area we can get into is the hydraulic generation that is still going untapped in Ontario. I am not talking about very expensive hydraulic generation potential like a Beauharnois, a Churchill Falls, a Niagara Falls or something like that. I am talking about many locations in the north, close to existing communities, where there is sufficient stream flow to install immersible generators.

The Minister of Energy knows precisely what I am talking about, because we have both visited a plant where we not only saw them producing the immersible generators to be utilized in this way but also we actually saw them in operation. This is not a technology that we have to spend many years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop; it is already there. We have the resource, flowing water, and we have the need, where the community is paying far too much for generation by the use of diesels. They have water flowing right by their doorsteps. There is another technology that is right there waiting for us to pick up if we have the will to get on with it.

There is one other thing that I want to mention in this debate. I suppose I have come almost full circle. I started out by sort of castigating the Treasurer and those who support him for their criticism of people on this side of the House for being irresponsible in not granting five months of interim supply, which will amount to several billion dollars between now and March 31, 1982. 1 want to remind him of the fact that we live in a parliamentary democracy, one where we sometimes forget we have a responsibility to it as much as it has a responsibility to us.

After I finished speaking at six o'clock, I went down to the main foyer, which you. Mr. Speaker, so graciously allowed the government of Ontario to use for hosting our Hungarian guests. I think that was an excellent use of these facilities, and I commend you for carrying on that process, sir.

The Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch), who also happens to be the Minister of Energy, among many other things, reminded them of the reason why they decided to come to Canada and to Ontario. It was because they could not tolerate the kind of government, the kind of political philosophy, that caused the uprising of the Hungarians in 1956. They sought refuge in Canada, and I think they have benefited from it, as have all of us as Ontarians and Canadians.

He said, 'This is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves of the freedoms we enjoy and the responsibility that we have collectively to appreciate the democratic process."

I want to remind you, Mr. Speaker, and everybody else who cares to listen to me, that what we are engaged in here this evening, questioning this interim supply motion, is the democratic process. Why we live in this province and in this country is because we have the right and the responsibility to question the expenditure of public funds. We have the right to demand full disclosure along with the many freedoms that all too often we take for granted. Sometimes we deny the freedom to know to others. The essence of what this debate is all about is the freedom to know.

8:20 p.m.

I do not think the Treasurer has anything to hide, nor do any of his colleagues. I think they can probably justify the $650 million for which they are asking as being for a worthwhile undertaking, and that is for us to become much more energy self-sufficient. I could have found much more innovative ways to spend it if the Premier or the Treasurer had said to me, "Here is $350 million or $650 million; now you decide how you are going to spend it.' Believe me, I do not think it would have been in Suncor. It would have been in all these things I have been talking about since I have had the privilege of addressing this Legislature.

However, the government is committed to spending that $650 million. I do not think that is all bad. But I think the Treasurer, who is reading some kind of paper over there, has a responsibility not only to this House and to this institution of parliamentary democracy but also to the people out there whose money he is spending at this time. I do not know how seriously he thinks about not only his democratic right but also his democratic responsibility. Sometimes I think he is much too cavalier about it. He is one of the people who takes this process for granted.

I want to tell the Treasurer that if he ignores the democratic process, if he ignores this assembly's right to know and the public's right to know, we all suffer a little bit in the process. I think he does so at his own peril, because he has probably the second most onerous and responsible position in this process we call democracy in Ontario.

I do not think he realizes the onerous responsibility, not only to himself but also to the 8.6 million people in Ontario he presumes to speak for. That is what this debate is all about. If he really believes in the democratic process, he should stand up and say so. He should give us the information we are entitled to, let us pass this interim supply motion and let us get on with the business of running this province on behalf of the 8.5 million people we presume to speak for.

Hon. F. S. Miller: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: There is no person for whom I have more respect than the speaker who just sat down, in terms of respect for this House. In the course of his remarks, he has said I am the author of the lengthy interim supply debate. At the same time, at the end of his remarks, he has implied that I have no respect for this House.

I point out that it is the very respect I have for this House that has had me, in the beginning, extend the interim supply debate so that it did have a broader topic and scope. I hope I am showing the same basic approach tonight. I do not think he has seen any move by me to change that.

Mr. Stokes: That really was not a point of order. He is differing with the emphasis I am placing. I am not accusing the Treasurer of being ignorant about what this whole process is all about. All I am saying is the condition placed upon the passage of this interim supply motion by the mover of the amendment was that we will give the Treasurer interim supply for two months as opposed to the five months he asked for. If he provides us with the kind of information we think we are entitled to, we will sit down right now and call the previous question.

I thought maybe the Treasurer was intervening to getup and say, "We are prepared to make this disclosure to you and get on with the business of the people of Ontario." I am not saying the Treasurer is being mischievous or callous or anything like that. All I am saying is I do not think he fully appreciates the responsibility he has as Treasurer, not only to himself and to this Legislature but also to the people of Ontario. If he gets up and provides us with that information, we can get on with the estimates of the Ministry of Northern Affairs. It is as simple as that. If he wants to get up and provide that information, I am sure we can call for the question right now.

Mr. Sweeney: I assume, Mr. Speaker, at least up to this point in the proceedings, that the Treasurer is not willing to accede to the most reasonable suggestion made by the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes). I would be quite prepared to yield the floor to him if that were the case, but I do not see very much activity over there. Anyway, let us move on.

I begin by reminding all my honourable colleagues on both sides of the House that we are participating in a unique occasion. Certainly not in the six years I have been in this Legislature have we held up a supply motion. I have checked with some of my colleagues who have been here for a longer period of time than I have, and they cannot remember the last time a supply motion was held up. I say that to try to drive home the point that we really do believe this is a serious issue.

There is no game playing going on here. There is no attempt to deliberately thwart the activities of this House and to prevent them from moving on at the normal pace; that is not it at all. We want to make very clear to our colleagues opposite and to the public outside this Legislature that we genuinely believe we are dealing with an issue that is important to the members of this House and to the members of the public outside this House.

Exactly what is at stake here? I would like once again to pick up on the remarks of my honourable colleague the member for Lake Nipigon. The first thing that is at stake is our responsibility as members of Her Majesty's loyal opposition in the province of Ontario. Let us, right off the bat, cut out the guff about our trying to blackmail the government, about our trying to obstruct, about our trying to put up obstacles just for the sake of putting them up. That is not the issue at all.

The first issue here is our responsibility as members of the opposition to oppose when we genuinely and deeply believe that what the government is doing is wrong or, in this particular case, when the government does not give us enough information even to permit us to support them.

Under certain circumstances, and given the facts, we might even be prepared to support the government on this issue. That is part of the problem: we do not know. But, first and foremost, our responsibility as an opposition is to oppose when we believe that the government is not acting in the best interests of the people of this province; and, second, it is to remind the government that its responsibility is to govern and to do what needs to be done.

What other problems do we have to face here? We have to realize that we are talking of a very large amount of money. The members of the government will recall that on previous occasions we have questioned, we have challenged and we have criticized when they have spent sums of money into the millions on something like Minaki Lodge, when they have spent millions on something like the jet, when they have spent millions on something like their advertising and their polls. In all those cases we pointed out that we did not think those were wise decisions. But we did not move in this way because, as large as those sums of money were, they were dwarfed by the amount we are talking about in this issue: $650 million is a lot of money, no matter how you cut it.

My colleagues have already demonstrated that, when the interest on top of that is compounded at 17 per cent over the life of this deal, we are talking of another $2.4 billion, for a total bill to this province, and to the people who pay the bill in this province, in excess of $3 billion. That is a lot of money, no matter how you cut it.

There was a time when someone said, "What's a million?" We surely cannot say, even in this day and age of astronomical figures at all levels of government: "What is $650 million? What is $3 billion?" That is a lot of money, no matter how you cut it, and that amount of money has a serious and significant impact on the economic health of this province.

8:30 p.m.

It is our duty and responsibility to challenge the government if we believe it is going to expend on behalf of the taxpayers of this province those kinds of dollars in a way that may not be justified and in a way that has not been justified to the members of this Legislature at this time.

Second, and I believe this is the point the Treasurer perhaps more than anyone else in this House realizes right now, it is significant that it represents a rather dramatic reversal of the government's own stated aim of moving towards reducing the deficit which, by the way. members of my party support. We have long lost track of whatever year it is going to be now. Even the Treasurer and the government he represents no longer project a date but, somewhere in the foreseeable future, we might even reach the point of a balanced budget in this province again.

Nevertheless, I think the Treasurer has got general agreement from all sides of this House that we should continue to move towards reducing the deficit. What do we find from this particular folly? That is the only word we can use at this point until we are given evidence otherwise. We have the Treasurer's own economic report of September 30 of this year in which he points out to us that a projected deficit of $997 million is now going to be increased by $469 million, an increase of 47 per cent.

I ask the members on the government side. when was the last time they can remember when in the third quarter we were projecting an increase in the deficit of 47 per cent? I ask any one of them, can they remember it? Is there anything on record to show the deficit of this province increasing in midstream by 47 per cent?

It is significant. We are not talking about small potatoes or pennies here. We are talking about a very significant reversal in the economic policy of this government of moving towards reduced deficits, which all sides of this House support. The Treasurer says in his own report, "The most significant change was brought about by Ontario's purchase of a 25 per cent interest in Suncor, a subsidiary of the US-owned Sun Oil Company." That is the most significant source of a 47 per cent increase in the deficit of this province.

Finally, why must we oppose it? It is because we recognize this purchase, this economic folly does not meet the needs of Ontario. It is folly until they prove to us otherwise. I said right at the beginning that all the evidence available at the present time leads us to believe it is folly. Until they are prepared to show us otherwise by giving us the background, the economic data, the reports from their advisers that show otherwise, we have no other alternative but to think of it as economic folly. That is our job: to challenge the government to prove otherwise.

Let us move on. What are the needs of this province, needs which even the government itself has projected, stated and announced over and over again? In a province with 300,000 people out of work, our first need is to provide more jobs for our people. We cannot do it ourselves. We recognize the government cannot provide 300,000 jobs overnight or even in the foreseeable future. But we also recognize, in working with business, industry, management and labour people in this province, we can provide a significant number of those jobs. We can cut into that 300,000 unemployed in this province, but not with this. It has not been demonstrated to us that this deal, this purchase, this government investment, will create one single job, never mind 300,000 or anywhere near 300,000. It will not create one single job, at least not in Ontario.

What it may do is continue to speed-up the flight of skilled people out of Ontario moving towards the west. We know, for example, that last year 37,000 Ontarians had to leave this province of promise, this province that has said over and over again, "A place to stand and a place to grow." They had to leave this place and go out west, most of them to Alberta. That is where Suncor has all its infrastructure in Canada, at least the bulk of it. Maybe that is the message the Treasurer has given us. Maybe that is how he is going to provide jobs for Ontarians, by investing in a company that has its infrastructure outside Ontario and possibly this will provide for the creation of jobs outside Ontario.

Maybe we are seeing a whole new strategy, a whole new set of tactics from the government of Ontario, the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) and the Treasurer. Is that how we are going to create jobs? Is that how we are going to help the 300,000 people. We are telling them, "You have to leave Ontario; you have to go to Alberta because that is where we are investing our money, young ladies and gentlemen of Ontario. That is where the government of Ontario is going to put its bucks; that is where it is going to put its hope; that is where it is going to put its future; that is where its vision is, not in Ontario."

My God, I hope not. I hope that really is not the government's new strategy. If it is, it is a strategy of defeat and despair and that is not what Ontario needs. It needs hope, promise and confidence and this deal does not provide it.

The other thing the government has said over and over again is that this province needs more industry -- building up an industrial base in this province. Once again we look around and ask in vain, we even plead: Show us where this deal will add one iota, one inch to the industrial infrastructure of Ontario. We cannot see it. We know it is certainly going to add to the infrastructure in Alberta. It is probably going to add to the infrastructure in Pennsylvania, depending on what they do with that $650 million. We sure do not know what they are going to do with it.

I doubt very much if the Treasurer knows what they are going to do with it. If he does, we would certainly appreciate him sharing that knowledge with us. We do not know what they are going to do with that $650 million or the initial $325 million we are giving them. They are going to do something with it but there has been no proof yet -- at least the government has not given it to us -- that they are going to spend any of that money in Ontario, that they are going to add anything to the industry of Ontario. Are they? Once again, I will gladly yield the floor if the Treasurer can answer that question.

Hon. F. S. Miller: No.

Mr. Sweeney: No, that's right. First, we need jobs and this does not do a thing for us. Second, we need more industrial development and this does not do a thing for us.

What is the third thing the government has said over and over again that we need? We need greater independence with respect to energy supply. They say we cannot continue to be held ransom to forces outside our borders, whether those forces be in the Middle East, the United States, Mexico, Alaska or even western Canada. Ontario cannot afford to continue to be held ransom -- that is what they keep telling us. So once again we examine this deal and we ask ourselves whether it in any way adds one little bit to security of supply. Does it give us any movement whatsoever to an independence of supply? The answer once again, no matter how many times we ask, has got to be no.

I would certainly appreciate it if any member on the other side of the House can tell me otherwise. Those are the kinds of answers we are looking for. The Treasurer wonders why we oppose, why we accept our responsibility and our duty to oppose this deal. It is because it does not do anything for Ontario.

8:40 p.m.

It was mentioned before, it was questioned philosophically, whether the members of this party could accept the premise of the government being involved in investing in the resources of this province, and in the industry of this province, to meet its resource needs and the industrial needs. The answer is a categorical yes. We believe the government should be involved in such things, but we believe it should be involved in such a way, in such a manner, using such strategies, that it is going to help meet Ontario's needs, it is going to create new jobs, it is going to create new industries, it is going to build up our research and development base, it is going to increase our supply of energy, it is going to make us more independent than we are now.

I doubt we will ever be able to be totally independent, at least in the foreseeable future, but at least let us move in that direction. But we have to keep saying to the Treasurer this does not do that. We would be quite prepared, despite the financial implications of increasing the deficit by 47 per cent, at least to entertain the economic viability of that move if it directly met the needs of Ontario. But it does not. So, therefore, we have to oppose it.

I finish this section of my comments by pointing out, as the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) did a few minutes ago, that it is in the parliamentary tradition that an official opposition, a loyal opposition, a responsible opposition, must challenge the government when such economic decisions are made, whether those economic decisions are a part of the budget, whether they are a part of a supply motion, whether they represent a motion of confidence -- whatever it is. It is in the best parliamentary tradition dating back as far as any one can remember that the loyal, official and responsible opposition must oppose. That is its job.

We are being asked in the Treasurer's motion to grant him moneys for salaries and other necessary payments. We are telling the Treasurer, on the basis of what he is doing and what he has done in the last few weeks, we cannot grant him those moneys. We cannot, because we speak for a very significant part of the population of Ontario. The members of my party, and the candidates who stood for my party in the last election, garnered in excess of one million votes. One million people said to us, "We are giving you the responsibility to go to Queen's Park, to go to the Legislature of Ontario to speak for us and represent us." That is a lot of people in this province.

I know the Premier is fond of saying over and over again, "You people on the other side have to accept the realities of March 19." We have to keep telling the Premier he had better take a good look at the realities of March 19. It is true he has a majority of the votes that were cast, but he seems to forget that of all the potential votes, all the people who were eligible to vote, he only got 25 per cent. That is not a really significant mandate and even he knows it.

The other thing the Premier is loath to mention from time to time is that approximately 44 per cent of the people who were eligible to vote in this province did not vote at all. The voting turnout in this province was what? -- 56, 57 per cent? Something pretty close to that.

There was an article recently -- I think it was in Saturday Night magazine -- that described the last election in Ontario as a good example of the politics of anaesthesia. The theme of this article was that in the last election the Conservatives put the electorate to sleep with their bland politics.

I do not think they put them to sleep at all. I think the people of Ontario were wide awake; I think they knew what they were doing when they stayed home. They were sick and tired of the kind of politics the government presented; they were sick and tired of the kind of politics this issue represents. That is why they stayed away. It is our responsibility as an opposition to speak up even for them, even for those who chose not to speak for themselves because they were so disenchanted, so frustrated and, in many cases, so angry at what the politics of this province represented.

I too will accept a certain amount of responsibility for those 44 per cent who stayed away; so will my colleagues. We did not do the best job we could have done either. We admit that. We have already admitted it; my leader admitted it today. But it still speaks volumes. Mr. Speaker, every time the Premier of this province reminds us of the realities of March 19 you had better think of those other two aspects of it, because they are pretty serious.

There are people outside this assembly, dedicated public volunteers, and every member knows them: the trustees of our school boards, the trustees of our hospital boards, the governors on our university boards, the volunteers who are on the boards of governors of our children's aid societies -- I could goon and on. I am sure you, Mr. Speaker, could add another half dozen groups -- people who are out there fighting for their constituency, who are trying to do the job they were elected to do or they have volunteered to do.

Do members know what this deal has done to them? Let me share with members what just one of them said to me recently, a man who was both a trustee on a school board and a trustee on a hospital board. He said, "All along the Premier, the Treasurer and the individual minister -- whether it was the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell), the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) or the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) -- came to us and said, 'We are sorry. We would like to give you more money for your school board, we would like to be able to give you more money for your hospitals or for your university or for your children's aid society, but we just do not have it. That is the economic reality facing Ontario today: we are having economic problems and shortages the same as everybody else is.'

And he said, "You know, I really had come to believe them. But no more. If any one of those ministers or that Premier comes to me again and says, 'I cannot give more money to the school boards and the hospitals and the university boards and the children's aid societies' I will not believe him any more. Because when the government can go out and find $650 million to invest in that kind of deal, when they can spend $10 million on a jet, when they can spend $25 million on Minaki -- that used to jade us, but somehow or other we could live with it because that was part of politics. But when they can find $650 million they said they did not have? Well, I do not believe them any more."

There probably are thousands of school trustees and hospital trustees and members of boards of governors out there who suddenly realize the falseness of those kinds of claims. They do not believe him any more. That is perhaps one of the greatest tragedies in this whole affair, that he has lost credibility. I would be willing to bet anything there are several of his members, perhaps mostly the ones in the back benches who have not become so jaded yet, who are meeting those people and do not have an answer for them. I ask the Treasurer how he can answer them. What is he going to do the next time they come to his office? How is he going to answer them?

8:50 p.m.

We just heard of a situation recently -- I think in Peterborough if I am not mistaken -- where one man said, "Given this guff, this kind of practice, these kinds of actions, this kind of behaviour, maybe we should have a tax revolt in this province." I am not supporting that. But the fact is we have people in this province who are so upset and frustrated and angry about what this government is doing -- and this is a classic example of it -- they are even talking of a tax revolt.

I would remind the Treasurer what happened in California. Before Proposition 13 everybody laughed. It could not happen, but it did. Need I say what it has done to the services provided in that state? He probably knows better than I do. He has access to computers and hundreds of civil servants. They can tell him a lot faster than I could what it has done. Is that what he wants to happen in this province -- that kind of a dumb deal? Is he prepared to pay that kind of a price for it? I have to ask him and only he can answer. I do not know how he is going to answer it.

He keeps telling us he has been advised this is a good deal. But we have to question it. With the figures available to us we have to wonder how he can call it a good deal. As I understand it, in the best year Suncor ever had; it showed a profit of $300 million. If it takes that entire profit and splits it up among its owners and the government gets 25 per cent of it, if it ever does follow through with the deal, what would it end up with -- $75 million, something like that? Yet at $650 million at 17 per cent, it is going to cost them $110 million a year.

I do not know whether the Treasurer's people are using the old math, the new math or something in between, but as someone who has to manage his household budget at least once a month, if he is going to have to pay out $110 million and he is only going to get $75 million back, it seems to me he cannot call that a good deal. I would like to see the figures that justify that deal.

The other reason it is said the Treasurer got it was because he wants a window on the industry. What is a window on the industry going to do for him? As one of my colleagues remarked earlier, he may be opening a window but it is for darn sure, by the way he is going about it, he is closing a lot of doors. That is significant. But even if he gets a window, what does it do? He does not have any control over anything. Twenty five per cent does not give him any say to speak of. The other 75 per cent makes all the decisions.

He keeps saying there is another 26 per cent available. But who is going to get the other 26 per cent? There is a pretty good chance he is not going to get it. He does not know who is going to get it. He does not know whether the people who do are going to be friendly, whether they are going to be co-operative, whether they are going to have the same goals and objectives as he does. Heck, even if somebody else does get the 26 per cent, they have more than he has. They have a bigger say than he has. He keeps saying it is a good deal but we do not know whether it is a good deal.

I want to speak just briefly to the members of the government and point out to them that in times past, when we have asked the Premier of Ontario how he reacted to some statements made by the PC Party in Ontario that were not exactly flattering or supportive of the party, he was fond of saying: "We represent a party that can speak up, that has independent speakers, independent thinkers, independent actors. We do not collar all our people in and pull all the strings."

Maybe now is the time to show us by actions rather than words that some of those people over there really are independent, because we have lots of reasons to believe they all do not support this. We have lots of reasons to believe the constituents they represent sure do not support this. If they are all that independent then let us hear from them. Let us hear them say they do not agree with what this government is doing.

The Treasurer certainly has said it. What was it the Treasurer said in May 1980? "Taxing Canadians to buy existing industry is a misallocation of resources and a waste of time." That is what he said a year and four or five months ago.

It must be difficult for the Treasurer of this province to swallow what has been done, to be forced to defend what has been done. But what about the rest of them over there? I would really be surprised if they all agreed with this -- even most of them. Let us see whether the words of their Premier are real. Let us see whether they have any independence. Let us see if they represent the people who elected them, rather than loyalty to their party. Maybe now is the time to stand up and tell us that.

That is what this debate is really all about. It determines whether or not people in this Legislature are willing to stand up for their beliefs, willing to take risks for their beliefs, and are really willing to do what they believe. Let us see.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): Mr. Grande from Oakwood.

Mr. Breaugh: Try again.

The Acting Speaker: In that case I will go to the honourable member for Oshawa.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I want to join those members who speak in favour of the amendment. I find this process we are going through rather remarkable, because usually this kind of motion is reserved for Friday mornings, a little later in the session when a lot of tired members are in the Legislature and not a great deal of action takes place. In about 15 or 20 minutes an expenditure -- unstated but which we all know will be millions of tax dollars and sometimes more -- whips through here.

Mr. Shymko: Tell us about Saskatchewan.

Mr. Breaugh: What would the member like to know about Saskatchewan? I would be happy to tell him a great deal about Saskatchewan.

The Acting Speaker: Order. We are talking to the amendment.

Mr. Breaugh: I am just responding. He obviously has an educational need and I am trying to fulfil it.

The Acting Speaker: The debate is on the amendment. The honourable member will talk to the amendment.

Mr. Breaugh: On the amendment. Maybe if you would stop the interjections on that side, Mr. Speaker, I would try to adhere to the amendment.

The Acting Speaker: On the amendment.

Mr. Wildman: They are getting involved in the oil industry; that is more and more like Saskatchewan.

Mr. Breaugh: We are getting very close to Saskatchewan. I want to spend a little bit of time on the concept of the amendment before the House and the motion itself. I find surprising the attitude on the part of the government toward the members of the Legislature daring not only to move amendments but speak to a motion. And -- foolish me -- I thought that is what a parliament was all about -- that the members from each of the constituencies had an opportunity to come down here to scrutinize the estimates of the government, to debate the motions that are put before the House.

I sense from the opposite side -- there are those crying, "Foul" -- the feeling that the members are not supposed to talk about the business before the House. They should not delay it in any way. I heard the Treasurer today, even before the debate began, getting ready to unload all of the threats about what would happen if we dared to speak to this motion.

Mr. Wildman: That was only because of the trained seals, though.

Mr. Breaugh: Yes, there were a few trained seals and stooges who stood up to support them in that stand. But I find that a surprising thing for the government, at the beginning of a debate on something to say --

Mr. Stokes: In fact, he is standing up right now.

Mr. Breaugh: Barely. It is a kind of half-stooge lean there.

Mr. Bradley: Are you suggesting that was an orchestrated question?

Mr. Breaugh: It might have been.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

9 p.m.

Mr. Breaugh: It is possible. It has happened before in the history of this Parliament that once in a while someone in the back asks a question of someone in the front because he is supposed to. He does not really want to know the answer, but he has been told to do that.

Whether that happened or not the relevant point is that is supposedly what a Legislature does. I find it remarkable, for example, there has actually been a little media attention about a motion of supply. I do not recall that happening often in recent history. I suppose in days of yore people actually paid attention to it.

I find it amazing, too, that the form of the motion before the House and the amendment thereto are rather vague. One has to understand the background of the situation before either the amendment or the motion itself makes sense. I daresay if the public came in and read the motion as printed and the amendment which has been put forward they would not understand what it is all about. One needs to have a little bit of schooling, of education --

Mr. Stokes: A lot of people over there don't even know.

Mr. Breaugh: Someone just mentioned there are probably a lot of members over there who do not even know, some of them awake, some of them not awake. We cannot expect them to be both Tories and awake. That is too much; I understand that.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Don't needle the people of this province.

Mr. Breaugh: I beg your pardon. The Minister of Labour is interjecting temporarily. I really would like to hear his words. Are his jackboots getting rusty?

The Acting Speaker: Order. The member for Oshawa has the floor to debate on the amendments.

Mr. Breaugh: I appreciate that. There is this whole aura of how a Legislature works. Is it fair and reasonable for opposition members to seize upon this motion, it being put properly before the House, and then debate it? I had always assumed that was precisely what a Parliament was for -- that government members and members on the other side may put motions to the House. The reason they are putting them there is for purposes of debate.

The second aspect I want to touch on is do we in this Legislature have a right or an obligation to understand all the details of a government proposal, in this instance the purchase of shares in Suncor? I would put it a little differently from other speakers I have heard. I believe it is the public who are paying tax bills who have a right to know. They have a right to know all the details of the purchase of the government shares in Suncor. They have a right to know exactly why the government of Ontario, through one of its agencies, could put some kind of confidentiality clause into an agreement like this.

The people of Ontario who pay the taxes have a right to know what their government is doing. More than that, I believe they have a right to know why a government is doing that. Perhaps more pertinent, they have a right to know exactly how the government of Ontario is doing it. That speaks to this motion of supply.

But for members of this Legislature I think it goes a little further than that. We have what I would term an obligation to know all those details. We have an obligation to see a compendium of information that surrounds the major announcement of a purchase on the part of the government which gives us an informed opinion about precisely whether that was a good deal, a bad deal but good in the long run or good in the short run, to see exactly what all the details of it were. That is what we are here for. It is our obligation to be informed.

I find it ironic that at the same time the government is refusing to provide members of the Legislature with information, ministers of the same government purportedly are preparing freedom of information legislation. They are holding seminars.

Mr. Wildman: Where is the Minister without Portfolio?

Mr. Breaugh: Yes, I wonder where the minister responsible for that freedom of information bill is tonight. I do not see him here. If I were in charge of setting up freedom of information from the government's point of view, and I had to come into this House and sit and watch while the government tried to blockade opposition members finding out anything about a deal the size of the Suncor deal, I might have a tendency to stay away as well, just as that minister is doing tonight.

There are some strange aspects to all of this. I do not understand all the ins and outs of it. However I do understand there is an obligation on the part of members on this side -- and I would think just as strong an obligation on the part of members on the government side -- to have at their disposal all the details and the information, the hows and the whys and the wherefors, of a purchase of shares in an oil company of that stature.

I think all members in here, whether the secret four in the cabinet who knew in advance, other members of the cabinet or just ordinary members of the government party, have an obligation to understand precisely what is going on.

The amendment talks to something that seems to me to make eminent good sense. If one looks at the government motion that was put forward, it is asking for supply moneys for a five-month period, and the amendment seems to me to be a very rational one; it simply reduces that time.

Quite frankly, I do not see how the government can make an argument that it cannot handle its business, that it does not have its projections, that it does not have its house in order to be able to accommodate the amendment. I am one of those who believe this government would have a tough time organizing a two-car funeral, but even it should be able to estimate its business a little better than it does.

Traditionally, at this time of year we are faced with a motion of this kind, because the government has been unable through all of its computers and civil servants and wise people it has advising it -- those it will identify and those it will not -- to judge the public business accurately.

Motions of supply have become rather common in here. But I think there is an obligation on the part of this Legislature to take a look at this particular amendment and say to the government, as I think opposition members have made it reasonably clear through question period and related activities, "All we want is to see the details of that particular deal, and we are asking for compliance with the standing orders of the House."

We are understanding, I hope on all sides, of the nature of the deal and that there may well be parts of it that cannot yet be made public, but that is probably an excuse for the kind of pitiful compendium that was presented when the announcement was first made.

I want to speak briefly about the nature of the major portion of the funds that would come out of this supply motion. I drove by Kingston Road today, and I saw a station that used to be called Fina; there is a new game in town, and it is now called Petro-Canada. I thought in my careful research that this was part of a national energy program put forward by a political party in this country; and I am a little amazed, because I thought that political party was the Liberal Party of Canada.

I thought it had gone this group over here several times better -- one might even say the whole hog -- into the oil business, and I thought this whole thing called Petro-Canada was put forward and roundly applauded by certain prominent Liberals, some even in this Liberal caucus at Queen's Park.

Mr. Nixon: All that information was public. There were a lot of people who bought stock ahead of time.

Mr. Breaugh: The member is correct; there was certain insider trading -- I believe that is the term -- on that setup. But that notwithstanding, I was quite shocked when I saw that the national government had already implemented on a large scale the purchase of a major oil company and it is on the streets, as proposed by the federal Liberal Party. So when I came in here this afternoon and heard that the provincial Liberal Party was totally against that notion, I found that a little strange. I am not looking for consistency from the Liberal Party --

Mr. Nixon: It is like the NDP on the constitutional debate. Which side are you on on that one?

Mr. Breaugh: Well, we are drawing out the analogies there.

The Acting Speaker: Order. We are talking to the amendment.

Mr. Bradley: Yes, there's a good question. Which side are you on on the constitutional debate? Are you with Broadbent?

Mr. Nixon: Or do you make up your own mind?

Mr. Breaugh: I am always with my federal leader.

The Acting Speaker: Talking to the amendment.

Mr. Breaugh: I was, to say the least, dumbfounded when I came in here and found that some of my colleagues in the Liberal caucus were now opposed to this kind of quasi- nationalizing of an oil company. I find it a little amusing, quite frankly, that the Premier in making his announcement could not quite bring himself to say the government was going to nationalize an oil company. He was not quite prepared to do that, but he is prepared to "Canadianize."

He does that with 25 per cent of the stock, and I guess he just sits around and waits for somebody to pick up the next 26 per cent of the stock. Perhaps that will happen, but it has not happened yet -- although I understand there is that little rider in the agreement that, if nobody else wants to dance, the Premier will find the additional sums of money and make that happen as well, in which case I suppose he will be forced to say he did nationalize an oil company. I am a little at a loss to understand why he had to go to Ohio to do it, but none the less I welcome the intervention of the government in that particular sector.

9:10 p.m.

I listened very carefully to our previous speakers on this particular debate go through the list of all the other things the government of Ontario could have done and perhaps even should have done. It should not be surprising, from the number of other alternative fuel sources that have been discussed many times before in this House and put forward by this time, that members of almost every political party in the province have come to realize that there are many energy sources other than oil and that the province of Ontario, like the federal government, ought to be heavily into those fuel development areas.

It should not be surprising, I suppose, having fought an election based around restraints and the slogan "Help keep the promise," without particularly stating what the promise was, that the Tories in Ontario would attempt to nationalize. I am not making an argument that they have done so successfully. I am not even making an argument that it should be the priority. None the less in the supply motion our moneys will be set aside to make the province of Ontario a player in the energy field, and I do find that to be a supportable notion.

It would be nice and I think it would be important and preferable to have all members of the Legislature fully cognizant of the particulars of that financial arrangement. I am a bit confounded by the Treasurer and the Minister of Energy, who are both absent just now and who have resisted so wholehoggedly, so to speak, providing information to the members. I do not understand that. It seems that is a simple request contained in our standing orders. It seems to me to be quite a reasonable request as well.

For most of us who participate in this particular debate there are several important aspects to it, not the least of which is to determine precisely what we are talking about in the motion. The amendment changes the motion just slightly from five months to two months. That is the wording I have. That certainly is supportable; but underlying the amendment that is currently before the House are all of the peripheral events and the arguments that have been made about the details of that arrangement.

I want to finish on this one small note: I want to say to the government that it is important for this Legislature to have the information it is now requesting. It seems to me to be quite a reasonable proposition that has been put forward, by both opposition parties, fairly well so far in this debate and I am sure it will be completed at some point in time with a vote. There is nothing as serious or as sinister as has been suggested on the opposite side. Quite frankly, I am waiting to hear from ordinary members of the government party. I am waiting to hear from the silent majority over there who have an opportunity now to jump into this debate to provide the members on this side with a slightly different perspective.

I am sure the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling) is anxious to participate in this debate and to provide us with the government's latest position on freedom of information. I am sure that he has a white paper, a task force and probably several other weapons at his disposal, and that he is about to get right in the middle of this debate and provide us with all of the good reasons why, as the minister in charge of freedom of information, he has to sit on all this information. I am waiting with great anxiety. I know --

Mr. Wildman: They had better get freedom of information for cabinet ministers. Those guys didn't know anything.

Mr. Breaugh: Maybe we should suggest, without going whole hog on this, that a first stage in freedom of information is get hold of the Gang of Four over there, find out how they found out about the details of the Suncor deal and spread it through all of the other limousines in the cabinet. He could find out exactly what those four had that, for example, the member personally did not have. When he finds out about that part of freedom of information, maybe he can spread it to the ordinary members on that side and then to all the members on this side and eventually even to the taxpayers in Ontario who will foot the bill for this exercise.

I find the motion is eminently supportable, and I support it gladly.

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, we have heard at great length the same old story about what information the members opposite think they are entitled to as far as the Suncor purchase is concerned. However, they have found this to be a convenient item on which to delay the supply motion. I do not think we can go any farther in this debate without putting on the record the implications of what we are talking about, and I want to do just that.

All offices of government were notified not to issue any cheques after Friday at five o'clock. A very wide range of payments was affected, and some of those start today.

Each day approximately 4,000 regular ongoing supplier payments are issued, amounting to about $6 million; approximately 15,000 regular Ontario health insurance plan claim payments to individual subscribers, amounting to about $500,000; about 450 cheques for extended care and homes for special care, for a total of $12 million.

Special schedule payments are as follows: Ontario youth employment program payments to 1,850 employers, amounting to $2.6 million; beef assistance payments to 650 farmers, amounting to $2.2 million; unconditional grants to 60 municipalities, amounting to $16.5 million; and community renewal payments to 15 municipalities, amounting to about $18.5 million.

Tomorrow there will be general legislative grants to 14 school boards, amounting to about $21 million, we hope, and payments to 17 mental retardation facilities of $5.4 million.

On Wednesday, November 4, there will be general legislative grants to 29 school boards, amounting to $23 million.

On Thursday, November 5, there will be general legislative grants to a further 28 school boards of $26 million. The government payroll is also due that day. I understand that members of all parties in the Legislature have been asked at least to conclude the debate before that so these cheques can arrive on time. There are about 75,000 cheques in total, amounting to about $57 million. There are also assignments to credit unions to the tune of about $2.2 million.

I think this underlines the urgency of getting this debate concluded, and I hope the members of the House will see fit to do so.

Mr. Wildman: Why did you not bring it in sooner than you did?

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have been waiting for the government to start this sort of pressure, and my reaction is exactly like the interjections that have come from my left.

The Treasurer introduced his motion for interim supply 90 minutes before the deadline. We can say that he is intransigent in not delivering the information we demand, but I suppose we can say even more seriously that he lacks the grey matter. That means he may even be so dumb as not to realize that this sort of motion has to be debated in this House for more than a few minutes and rubber-stamped, particularly when he more than any other member knows how important the recent initiatives he and his colleagues have taken are when viewed in the context of the whole budget of Ontario and in relation to those programs that have been removed from the budget or were never included because of a lack of funds.

Frankly, I was appalled when I learned from the House leader and others that this debate was to be postponed until Friday last, just a few minutes before the deadline. It really amazes me that the Treasurer would ask his colleague to schedule such an important debate with such a small time allotment.

9:20 p.m.

It may be tradition, but I do not know of another occasion when a Treasurer, a few weeks or a few days before asking for interim supply, has tacitly supported such an unusual and insupportable expenditure which, as I understand it, will not come before the House in any other but the ordinary course of events, sometimes months after the date. There is no indication that the minister is bringing in special legislation to finance the acquisition of 25 per cent of Suncor.

As a matter of fact, examination of the legislation that established the Ontario Energy Corporation clearly indicates that they have the power, using the province's credit, to make such an acquisition. As I recall, the last time they did this was when they bought a very small, almost minuscule, share of Syncrude. It was done not with any legislation coming before the House; it was simply done under the powers of order in council in support of the Ontario Energy Corporation.

I feel that the Treasurer is sort of a babe in the woods when it comes to politics. I think he seriously thinks that he has a chance of succeeding the Premier to the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party. If he seriously thought there was some chance of that, I suggest to him he might as well dismiss it. He was the one barrier that should have restrained the Premier, who in his bad judgement decided single-handedly to go ahead with this over the Treasurer's objections and with no cabinet support of any significance in the overall scheme of things.

If the Treasurer seriously thought he was ever going to be Premier of this province, he should have announced his resignation the first day when he came into the House and was subjected to the questions, particularly after his ridiculous comments to the press in which he implied that this was not his baby; that, in fact, he was not supporting the Premier. He had to have it both ways; he had to indicate to his friends on the benches and elsewhere that he was not associated with this.

If he had any intestinal fortitude, if he had any concern for the Treasury over which he is the chief guardian and, way down the list, if he had any thought of ever becoming leader of the Conservative Party, he should have come in here and resigned.

What a great prospect for his political future; and at the same time he would have done something for the Treasury of Ontario and the taxpayers. But, as I say, he was the only hurdle left to hold the Premier back from the kind of decision that we find governments make more and more when they are in office too long.

If one wants to apply this to any other government in Canada, one can do so. It really has to do with the same mentality that would lead the Premier to decide that he has to have an $1 1-million airplane. He is so concerned about his status with his fellow Premiers and others that he wants to move away from the provincial stage on to the national stage and leave far behind any of those embarrassing moments back in the 1970s when he tried to act as a sort of world-class political figure and was slapped down by this Legislature in the same way we are trying to restrain the government now.

He wants to expunge. once and for all, those little smudges on his record which may be apparent only to him. He has to have that airplane. He has to be even with the Premier of Alberta. He has to be thinking about the national stage. I can see the backroom Tories who say, "Yes, Bill, you deserve that plane."

The same sort of thinking leads the cabinet ministers in Ottawa each to go on a separate plane to Winnipeg. I agree entirely. The same sort of thinking in this government situation leads the Premier to feel that he is an authority and a power unto himself.

It was a joke when we learned that he did not consult with the Tory caucus even though they were in session up to about an hour and a half or two hours before he came here and made the announcement in the session. As somebody interjected, I suppose he could not trust the Tory caucus to keep quiet for a couple of hours they could not keep a secret. He may have thought that, as a matter of fact. But, even if one dismisses that, is it not strange that the Premier could not go and tell his close political buddies down the hall there with the raised stage at one end?

I happened to notice one day when the door was open that there is a stage at one end for the power brokers to sit up there in their easy chairs with the member for Mississauga East (Mr. Gregory) in the middle, sort of indicating what is going to happen next. For the Premier to sweep in and deliver the word, would have saved his friend the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) from further embarrassment. He had to whip the dogs off the poor minister's heels and say, "Look, boys, even though this sounds ridiculous, we are going ahead with it anyway."

This, of course, was described in the press as a good, clean discussion between the caucus and the Premier. The word came out that he just went in and said: "Look, this is what we are going to do. Are there any questions? I am glad there are none. I have to go now."

The Deputy Speaker: Speak to the motion.

Mr. Nixon: It really amazes me that the Premier, who has come from his antecedents out in Peel county, has come to the point where the power of his office has so infected him that he could make such a decision and make such an announcement in the House, without consulting the only people he really should be relying on, his own powerful, strong backers who will even swallow this: his pals in the caucus.

Then for him to rely on the Treasurer and the Minister of Energy -- and was there one other? Perhaps not -- for him to rely on just two or three members of his cabinet in making such a decision really harks back to the time that we bought the big land sites down in Haldimand and Norfolk counties. That was when the Treasurer was feeling his oats -- not this Treasurer but one of his predecessors; a rather ineffectual person, as we saw at the time, politically and otherwise. He decided, without consultation, and talked to the Premier, who was then in his callow days in that office, and told him that we had to buy two city sites. We are not debating that, Mr. Speaker, and I do not intend to dwell on it, but it is the same sort of thing: the absence of political judgement.

Somebody said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We are not talking about the kind of corruption that leads to the misallocation of funds. We are talking about the kind of corruption -- those television lights are going to ruin my speech, because I am going to have to start right at the beginning, right at the very first.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Turn to the left, Bob.

Mr. Nixon: 1 hope my mother watches the late news.

Mr. McNeil: I hope she doesn't.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: This is probably your big moment, Bob.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Remember to enunciate clearly.

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Nixon: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your support and the fact that you, at least, want to know what I am saying.

To begin at the beginning of my remarks, I do want to say that it is a very strange thing that the Treasurer and the Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet (Mr. McCague) would be drawing to our attention all of the bills that will not be paid tonight, tomorrow and the day following unless this debate concludes.

I believe that it is specifically the responsibility of the Treasurer on two counts. The Treasurer has allowed his colleagues in government to go forward with the kinds of expenditure which should not and cannot be supported by the members of this House, and he has used the bad political judgement that has become his hallmark in thinking the special interim supply would be supported in just 90 minutes last Friday.

When we look at the amendment, it simply requires the Treasurer to return to this Legislature about Christmas time, or the end of December -- any time in the last two weeks -- to get interim supply again if he needs it. The Treasurer surely knows that the planning of the work of this Legislature, if we are going to go by those traditions which we all hold so dear, is that we do try to vote supply for the whole of the budgetary year before we adjourn at Christmas. Sometimes we go up to a couple of days before, as the pressure to get various pieces of legislation enacted comes to play before the holiday season.

In my years here, there has never been an occasion when the House did not support the government or get voted down by a government majority in approving the granting of all the supply needed to the end of the fiscal year, which is March 31. The idea of requiring interim supply from the end of the session to March 31 has always seemed ridiculous to me. That is one of the many reasons why I feel the Treasurer made a mistake in bringing forward the motion before us in the House at the present time.

9:30 p.m.

It seems the Treasurer hardly knows what is going on here. It seems he has somehow made this personal political commitment to become the Premier of Ontario without having any right to have such a consideration. His understanding of the political process is weak, but even weaker is his understanding of the responsibility he holds as Treasurer which is in many senses an independent one.

Certainly he has to support his administration, although from time to time, as he sort of slip-slides around the initiatives taken by the Premier and others, one must wonder where his loyalties lie. But if there was any thought he was going to take some sort of independent position in safeguarding the Treasury, he was the one person who could have stopped the Premier of Ontario from taking this unilateral decision to acquire 25 per cent of Suncor, which is the reason for the debate tonight.

Even at that point, if the Treasurer and his close advisers, if even the government House leader -- who is not here; he is in Ottawa at the constitutional conference -- had simply had the good sense to provide a reasonable compendium of information, it could well be this debate would not have taken place.

The government gave us the annual report of the Ministry of Energy with the minister's own picture there and that of Malcolm Rowan, which sort of reinforces and underlines the small problems we have with the ministry from time to time. It gave us that and copies of the Minister of Energy's speeches. We get unlimited numbers of those day after day in our mail. I presume actually most members of the government ask their secretaries to winnow out that tripe as it comes in so they do not have to bother with the stacks and stacks of press releases from the Minister of Energy.

There was a time when we felt he was the minister who had the main inside track to become Premier in the short period of time after the resignation of the incumbent. But I have a feeling he has given up. Somehow or other, his people are still turning out these terrible speeches, the ones that begin: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for me as Minister of Energy to be addressing the Kiwanis Club tonight. I understand there are many other functions on in town, but I am delighted to be here with the 20 or 25 people who were able to come out on such a stormy night."

It is all there. If one has time to read it, they ought to be put into what one might call a compendium, but not the kind of compendium we are looking for.

I would say that the annual report of the Ministry of Energy and a few old press releases from the Premier and the Minister of Energy do not a compendium make. I would even suggest that the letters that were tabled, albeit late according to the rules, which were the covering letters to two of the reports, should certainly have been put in that compendium.

It is interesting to note, as my colleague the leader of the party said earlier today, that both of those covering letters are dated the same day, even though the duty of one of the eminent organizations was to review the decisions and the material submitted by the other.

There is something strange going on there, I suppose we find it particularly frustrating since we feel, along with the back-bench Tory members -- and there are very few of them, of course -- that we have not only the responsibility but also the right to know at least a moderate amount of the basic information that led the Premier to make this unilateral decision.

There should be no surprise on the part of the Chairman of Management Board, who has listed to us the number of cheques and the amounts that will not be paid as this debate goes on tonight, tomorrow, Thursday and Friday. I notice he did not extend his list into next week. He should get his minions in the financial information and accounting policy branch to scurry around and find out about that. Obviously they are not very busy over there.

There are plenty of people who are digging up this sort of information to bring strange and unusual pressures to bear to end a debate which the people on the government side felt should have been finished in just a few minutes. They felt they should have had the authority from the House to spend the money to acquire a 25 per cent interest in Suncor, a matter which has never come up for rational or reasonable debate in this House and which they do not have to present to the House by way of a statute or a bill.

So the people opposite are very poor politicians indeed. They should have known these matters were of such strength and importance as to require substantial debate here. And we hope that by our actions, which are democratic and proper, they can at least be persuaded to table in this House a reasonable compendium of information for us, for the backbench Tories and -- I hesitate to add it but I suppose it is true -- for some of the cabinet ministers themselves, perhaps even the Chairman of Management Board (Mr. McCague), otherwise we are not going to get the basic information that will enable us to make the kinds of judgements on this matter we believe are important and in the best interests of the people of this province.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a number of things to say about this issue, and if time permits I would not even mind saying a few words about some of the other problems that could be discussed under the topic of interim supply.

I would remind the member for Lincoln (Mr. Andrewes), since he is new to the House and in view of his intervention in the House today, that interim supply is a means by which the Legislature can decide whether we are or are not prepared to give the government enough funds so they can continue its operations. It may sound a bit archaic or a bit conventional or a bit too much in accordance with the traditions of parliaments that go back to the Magna Carta, but it is a tradition that the grievances of the citizens can be raised and ventilated in the Legislature before the granting of supply to the government.

As my friend from Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) pointed out, that is a tradition which has nine centuries behind it. It seems to me the government might have had some awareness of exactly what the situation was before they tried to I am through interim supply with only 90 minutes of debate and tried to get it from now until the end of March -- in other words, before they tried to do away with the process until the end of the session.

What is at issue right now when the government does not have supply is a very difficult but fundamental question. The question is this: In the last two and a half years, since the grants to Ford Motor Company in Windsor for their new automobile engine plant, we have had a series of major interventions by the government of Ontario in the private sector. We have had the pulp and paper program that was worth $200 million, we have had the decision of the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) on the degree to which the government should be involved in Chrysler Canada Limited, we have had the loan guarantee for Massey-Ferguson Limited and now we have the question of Suncor.

In the case of Massey the deal came up some months ago. We have yet even to see the deal or the arrangement that was made, and the government's promise of tabling the agreement by June has not been fulfilled. In the case of Suncor we are told the government, through the Ontario Energy Corporation, made a number of agreements about confidentiality before negotiations began and therefore cannot give information to the House or to the public.

That kind of confidentiality is quite simply not appropriate when the government comes to deal with the people of Ontario. If we are going to have any kind of parliamentary accountability we cannot also have the kind of "confidentiality" that pertains in the private sector.

Let me sketch what the differences are. Suppose, for example, that an Ontario company of investors in the private sector had decided to purchase a major stake in Suncor. They could have signed a deal respecting confidentiality; they could have assured the principals of Suncor in Pennsylvania the information would not become public. But the principals of the acquiring company would have known everything they needed to know. The report from their investment house as to whether or not it was a good deal would have been public to them; the report of the chartered accountants would have been public to them; the information made available by Suncor would have been available to them if an acquisition were being made in the private sector.

9:40 p.m.

Now we are dealing in the public sector. We are sitting here, 125 of us, in the Legislature where we form in a funny way the board of directors of Ontario. That board of directors is not just four cabinet ministers and the Premier. It is not just the cabinet. All of us in this Legislature represent the people of the province and in our varying ways we are accountable to the people whom we represent in Ontario.

But I cannot go back to my people in Ottawa Centre or go back to the people across the province as leader of the New Democratic Party and say, "Yes, I know it was a good deal," or "Yes, I have some severe doubts about the deal," because all that has been made available to me is a compendium of information which consisted of the second quarter report to shareholders of Suncor, Suncor's annual report for 1980, a statement by the Premier and a bit of background information made available to the press at the time of the announcement by the Premier the day this Legislature resumed on October 13. There is nothing more.

I know perfectly well the government had more to go on than that when it made its decision. The Minister of Energy, who is here now, and the Treasurer know that is the case as well. It would have been irresponsible for them to have spent $650 million of the public's funds on the basis of reading an annual report from Suncor, or on the basis of reading the second quarter results of the company.

It would also have been irresponsible for them to have acted on the basis of a two-page letter from McLeod Young Weir or a one-page letter from Price Waterhouse, documents which have now been tabled in the Legislature thanks to questions which came from my friend the member for Port Arthur.

The fact is the government had a great deal more to go on but it is hiding behind the question of confidentiality. I am not sure whether even the cabinet as a whole has been entirely brought into the light about this deal. There has been speculation that if the cabinet had been asked to vote on it, rather than being told by the Premier that it has a fait accompli, the vote would quite likely have been 24 against and the Minister of Energy, the Minister of Industry and Tourism and the Premier in favour. I guess the Treasurer would have had to vote against it as well, even though he was privy to the deal, in view of the statements he has made in the House.

In other words, even the cabinet is not sure of it. I think the government as a whole has done a lousy job, of justifying this purchase of 25 per cent of Suncor. It has done a lousy job of justifying this expenditure of $650 million. I find myself, as leader of the NDP, leader of a party which has argued for many years that there ought to be public involvement in resource industries, in particular those of Ontario, but I do not see why the devil I should have to do the government's work in defending this purchase.

It seems to me they should do their own work. Now that they have acknowledged what we have said for many years. that there is a legitimate role for government to play in owner- ship of resource industries, then let them eat cake. Let them eat all their past words. Let them go ahead and justify why they have now reversed their stand and acquired a company when they have damned the New Democratic Party for so many years for advocating those very things.

As my friend the member for Algoma said, let them explain why, if it is good to buy Suncor, it did not make sense to use a $300 million advance to buy Denison Mines and Rio Algom? Instead of advancing that money interest-free, why was it not used to acquire majority control of those companies?

If the government has $650 million for Suncor, then let it explain why we could not get Falconbridge now. One could buy Falconbridge twice over for $650 million and bring a refinery into the Sudbury area that would create 2,000 or more jobs right now. Let the government explain why it was prepared to give $200 million in grants to the pulp and paper industry for a net loss of jobs in northern Ontario but was not prepared to get equity for the people of the province in return for the major investment we made in that important resource industry.

This gang is inconsistent. One day they are prepared to nationalize, the next day they say it is just a pinko plot from the New Democratic Party. I think they should be consistent for once and, if they are prepared to take over 25 per cent of Suncor, explain why they would not do the things in those other important resource industries.

I hear some moanings and groanings from the Liberal Party over there. The Liberal Party is like the push-me pull-you, you used to get in the Dr. Dolittle books because the federal wing of the Liberal party is all in favour of the national energy program. The national energy program says we should Canadianize the oil industry. It says we should endorse Petro-Canada. It says the people of Canada should take 25 per cent of any oil discoveries on the Canada lands which make up most of the Arctic and the Northwest Territories.

The national energy program is being damned to the most eternal. It is being damned by Republican congressmen and senators in Washington. It is being treated in the United States as an expropriation of legitimate interests of the multinational oil companies who mainly emanate from the USA. That is what they think of the national oil program and energy program, proposed by the federal Liberal Party.

I wish those Republican senators and congressmen could have heard some of what we have heard today from Mr. Sweeney, some of what we have heard from Mr. Nixon, some of what we have heard from the Liberal energy critic, Mr. J. A. Reed, and what was heard from the Liberal leader, Dr. Smith. All appear to have gotten into bed with those right-wing reactionaries down in Washington who think that the federal Liberal government should back away from the expropriation, as they see it, of the energy industry.

Those Republicans down there, those zealots of Bonzo economics, those supporters and adherents of Ronald Reagan's policies, would find themselves entirely at one with the policies of the provincial Liberal caucus. Nothing is more opposed than what the Liberals here say when you juxtapose it with what the Liberals have been saying in the federal Parliament about acquisition of Canadian control.

Mr. Bradley: Reminds one of the New Democratic stand on the constitution.

Mr. Cassidy: I have been standing with Ed Broadbent and eight provinces of this country. There are no Liberals to stand with Pierre Trudeau because they have all gone. They ran and they left.

The Deputy Speaker: Speaking to the amendment.

Mr. Cassidy: The next thing the Ontario Liberals will be saying is that it is time to sell more of our manufacturing industry to multinational interests and to foreign control because --

Mr. Mancini: We never said that.

Mr. Cassidy: It is just about to come. If ever the multinational oil companies were looking for friends and were looking for defenders they will find them in the Liberal party in Ontario.

Let me get back to last Thursday. There was a meeting of the House leaders and the House leader for the Conservative party, who is now trying to save Canada up in Ottawa, said to the opposition House leaders: "I think we are going to need interim supply tomorrow after all. Our spending authority runs out on Saturday." He did not want to be premature about it so he dilly-dallied from October 13 until about October 29 before making that proposal.

Then he went on to say, "You know, fellows, this is a bit of a drag having to come back every three or four months to get authority for interim supply, so I think I will ask for interim supply from now until the end of March so we do not need to worry about these parliamentary niceties any more." The Liberal House leader said he was not so sure about that.

The House leader of the New Democratic Party said quite adamantly and coolly, "You should not do it." He said, "We are prepared to look at interim supply going until the end of December but not beyond that." He made it very clear it was an outrageous and unreasonable demand for the government to come in at the last minute and to ask for spending authority from now until the end of March.

The Treasurer should understand that now the Tories have a majority, interim supply has become pretty important. It is almost the only way by which the opposition parties can bring issues of pressing provincial importance to the attention of the government. It is the only way they can get the government to actually recognize and to listen to those concerns rather than rolling over them the way they can roll over almost anything else -- the way the situation is now that the Conservatives have got a majority. But the government did not listen.

In addition to that, my energy critic, the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds), said, "Would you please give us --

9:50 p.m.


Mr. Boudria: Foulds for leader.

Mr. Cassidy: I see he has massive support from the Liberal caucus as well as from many members in the New Democratic caucus. Thank you, fellows, on his behalf.

Mr. Boudria: You are welcome.

Mr. Bradley: We supported you too, Michael.

Mr. Cassidy: Thank you very much.

Mr. Speaker, that question was answered with one letter which said, "This is the opinion of McLeod Young Weir"; but nothing else came in. We have been looking for information about Suncor as well because, among other things, we thought there were a number of very legitimate questions which needed to be raised so we could be comfortable with the deal and so this House could judge whether or not the government had made a mistake in failing to go for 51 per cent control of Suncor at the very beginning. Because right now what we have is a proposal to take 25 per cent.

It will be consummated on November 20 and we will then be in a position which is neither fish nor fowl. We will not have the advantages of what the Liberals are proposing, which is that we do not spend the money and we do not have any control or involvement at all, nor will we have the advantages of 51 per cent control. Fifty one per cent control would mean that not only do we have a window, but we can direct Suncor in terms of making sure its operations are of the maximum advantage to the people of the province. We can make sure the manufacturing that goes on for Suncor's operations in western Canada is done in this province. We can make sure Suncor works for the maximum benefit of the people of Ontario. That is what we can get with 51 per cent control.

In addition to that, if we had 51 per cent, there would be a very big return immediately into the hands of the Canadian-controlled/Ontario-controlled Suncor because of the tax and incentive advantages which are given to companies with 50 per cent Canadian control under the energy policy that was announced about a year ago. The government did not do that and we have not been able to find a way of asking those questions. We have not been able to get the information on which we could base those questions. In other words, we are like mushrooms right now; we are kept in the dark and fed a limited diet of horse manure and that is all.

I would suggest the compendium that has been provided is quite inadequate and that before very long we need to redefine exactly what a compendium means. I was a member of the select committee on the Camp commission and it was clear we did not intend the compendium would be the perfunctory collection of documents we were given in the case of the Suncor affair.

As things stand right now, the number of statements that have been made by the government have not been adequately backed. The government says in the limited information that was made available there would be a 15 per cent return on the Suncor investment. Now 15 per cent at $50 a share is equal to a return of $7.50 per share. I am not sure whether the government meant dividends or whether they meant earnings, but even if we granted they meant earnings, Suncor's earnings were down in the second or third quarter of this year. They have had some problems. In other words, they are not achieving their targets right away. I would like to know what the government knew in estimating the earnings of the company which were only 69 cents a common share back in 1977, $1.11 in 1978 and $3.24 in 1979, would have continued to rise at such a rapid level there would be a 15 per cent return on the investment.

I would like to know as well how the government intended to pay the interest on the $325 million which it intended would be borrowed from Suncor at double-A or triple-A lending rates. The interest alone at 17 per cent amounts to about $50 million a year. If the government intended to get a $50 million dividend from its holdings in Suncor, that meant the company would be paying about $200 million in dividends a year, and $200 million in dividends a year happens to equal something close to one third of all of the dividends that were paid last year by all the foreign-controlled oil companies operating in Canada.

Suncor does not represent one third of the volume of production or assets of the foreign- controlled oil sector in Canada. It is considerably less than that. It may be that a change in dividend policy would have been required, but I think we should also have known what the tax position would be. If those dividends were paid out I presume the Ontario Energy Corporation would be exempt from federal taxation. Is that the case or not? We do not know and we cannot tell until we actually see the information made available to us.

I asked some questions in the House today. For example I asked what the situation would be with respect to acquiring 51 per cent. Had there been any recommendations from McLeod Young Weir or from Price Waterhouse? What would have been the tax advantages and disadvantages? As my friend the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) pointed out, there is $300 or $400 million in working capital sitting in Suncor, which is relatively rich in short-term liquidity.

How much of that could have been turned out and put into the hands of the Ontario government in order to offset the costs of getting 51 per cent instead of 25 per cent of the company? What will be the amount of money Ontario will have to put up front if it goes into a joint venture with Suncor for exploration in the arctic or western Canada? With only 25 per cent ownership in the corporation, what are the prospects of Suncor deciding it will put its priority in the Canada lands into the area of Hudson Bay, which is in this province and will have direct economic spinoffs for this province, rather than putting all its bucks into western Canada and a few into the frontier lands as has been its recent policy?

Mr. Boudria: Are you for it or against it?

Mr. Cassidy: I happen to think it is probably a good deal and I will give the members a couple of figures I have been able to discover that indicate what may lie underneath the Suncor deal and that may have led the government to say they wanted to take acquisition of 25 per cent control of the company.

Mr. Boudria: Let the record show that the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon) is applauding.

Mr. Gordon: You are darn right. You fellows are so far right you are on the side of Attila the Hun.

Mr. Cassidy: Let me give the House an example. The member for Sudbury was in favour of acquiring Inco until he became a Tory and then he decided he was against it.

Suncor is listed as having 141 million barrels of oil equivalent in terms of oil and natural gas reserves. That is one bit of information we have been able to acquire in the course of our research in the last couple of days. If that oil was valued at $30 a barrel -- and the price will quickly go up to that with the energy policy and the energy deal with Alberta that has been announced -- the net oil and natural gas equivalent is worth somewhere between $3 and $4 billion. Quite apart from the great Canadian Alsands plant, the refinery in Sarnia and the service stations in this province, that means for $650 million we are acquiring a quarter of $3 or $4 billion worth of oil and natural gas. That is not bad. In other words, we are getting that, in the ground, for exactly what we are paying right now. That is not bad because everything else comes in for free.

On another basis of evaluation I have had a look at the 10-K document that was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. I have heard the minister and the Treasurer say they cannot reveal what Suncor is all about, because they have made a vow of confidentiality. The confidentiality Suncor is pleading when it deals with McLeod Young Weir and the Ontario Energy Corporation is a joke after one tries to read the documents that have to be filed according to federal law in Washington.

In Washington, Suncor, which has had about a fraction of one per cent of its shares in public hands through its preferred share issue, was compelled to file its production costs per barrel or per cubic metre of natural gas and oil last year. It has been forced to file its production cost per barrel of synthetic oil at the Alsands plant. It has been forced to file its reserves of oil, natural gas and synthetic oil equivalent. All these things are on public record and that is why it appals me that the government tries to hide behind some sort of veil when so much of the available at the point the compendium was made public. The government did not even need to publish their own documents; they could have given us a lot of stuff that was there in the public record if they had bothered to have any sense at all about their obligations to this Legislature.

10 p.m.

I have been checking into that. Suncor has 7,346,000 cubic metres of net proven oil reserves. Their value is about $525 million according to the net profits estimates that are in the Securities and Exchange Commission documents. Suncor has about 10,000 million cubic metres of natural gas in reserves; their value by my very rough calculations is about $620 million. It is sitting in the ground but that is what they could get in profits if they pulled it out of the ground today and managed to find a market for it.

Suncor has gross proven reserves of synthetic oil that are eight times as great as its proven reserves of traditional oil. It has 56 million cubic metres, which, at the prices now offered under the national energy policy and the agreement with Alberta, are a profit on the order of $6 billion, although it will take about 20 years to get that oil out of the ground.

I cannot bring it back to present value, but getting a quarter ownership of $6 billion worth of synthetic oil for $650 million may not make such bad sense. My frustration as leader of the New Democratic Party is that when these crypto-Socialists go into this over there, these Tory pinkos -- where is the Minister of Energy's pink tie? -- do not make enough information available for us to know whether what we suspect is true or not. In addition, if what we suspect is true they do not make enough information available for us to ask, "Why the devil did you not go whole hog and take 51 per cent rather than just the 25 per cent you actually took over?"

That is why I find myself extremely frustrated. If Suncor were to pay the kind of dividends the Treasurer or the Minister of Energy has talked about they would be paying more in dividends this coming year than they earned in profits last year.

So something is out of whack. If Suncor is as good as they say we should be taking 51 per cent. If this is a defensible investment then for God's sake let them defend it. If this is a parliament then for God's sake let the government be accountable to the parliament rather than simply try to tell us that daddy knows best information could and should have been made or that papa Frank and papa Bob have got all the answers and we do not need to ask any more questions at all.

I am just looking at some more of the questions that I had here. I am looking also at the form 10-K. It is interesting to know that the working capital of Suncor has gone from $86 million in 1977 to $356 million today; that the assets of the company have doubled from $915 million to $1.7 billion between 1977 and today; that the company's profits, their funds from operations, have gone from $94 million to $418 million in four years; that their earnings from operations have gone from $36 million in 1977 to $306 million in 1980; that had this government been prepared to endorse the concept of Canadianization with some bucks just three or four short years ago they could have bought Suncor's Canadian operations probably twice over for the amount of money that today is giving us only 25 per cent. We want to have some of those kinds of figures as well in order to find out whether they made a bad deal because they did not act soon enough or whether it is a good deal today.

We have been looking at the share prices of some of the other oil companies and it is interesting that, in the market the week ended October 9, 1981, and paying the highest share price in those weeks, $650 million would have purchased 76 per cent of British Petroleum. 41 per cent of Shell or 61 per cent of Texaco.

Maybe there were better deals available in the market for $650 million than we have now, but we have not had the information from the government to know exactly what it was working with. what kind of deck it was playing from.

By the way, the Minister of Energy has yet to explain why he spent $8,600 entertaining his campaign workers when that was only $900 less than we paid in our entire campaign in the riding of Brock with Heatherlee Kilty, who should be here in the Ontario Legislature today.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Instead of me?

Mr. Cassidy: Yes. I told her on Saturday night I would say that here in the Legislature, and I say it right now. But since it is getting late I do not want to go in to all the stuff about election expenses. I just want to suggest to the government it should refer that question about a ceiling on election expenses to the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses.

There should be a ceiling on those expenses comparable to the ceiling that exists now at the federal level if we are ever to get clean elections here in Ontario and if we are ever to get away from the situation where the Conservatives are able to buy the election with "Preserve it, conserve it" ads and with the kind of gross overspending in which the Minister of Energy and all the Conservatives who were re-elected to this House indulged. I will not make that speech. I will make it somewhere else.

I want to make this proposal. I suspect when the Ontario Energy Corporation entered into its negotiations with Suncor that, because the majority was back, happy days were here again, it was April or May and people did not realize there are certain responsibilities even when one has a majority, and it did not think about the obligations of the government to this Legislature.

When they were asked for confidentiality, which might be normal in the private sector, they said, "Sure." They were wrong to say, "Sure." They should have said, "Look, we will keep it under wraps until the deal is announced, but then we are going to have to come clean to the Legislature and tell it what we did and why, and share with them the advice we were given."

It is going to take some time to unravel the mistakes made back in the spring. It is going to take some time to explain to Suncor's American parent why its information must be shared with the Legislature of this province. It may he because we have not gotten into this yet that it may take a bit of time to develop some mechanism by which certain information, which even the New Democrats might agree should be legitimately private, can be shared with the three parties without necessarily becoming public.

I want to suggest there is a precedent in the Legislature for doing just that. Some months ago a committee of this House was created because of the joint pressure of the opposition parties to investigate the Re-Mor affair. The Attorney General of this province (Mr. McMurtry) swore blind that he did not believe the information he had in his files should be made available; the investigative information had to be confidential and could not be shared,

We then proceeded to innovate. We set up a three-party group sworn to secrecy in which members, and I believe researchers, jointly had access to all the Attorney General's information but were sworn that the only information that would be made public was that agreed to be made public by all three parties. That particular deal worked.

That deal could work now on the very limited amount of information that might be required to be kept secret. I would suggest that when we got down to looking at the Suncor documentation, the McLeod Young Weir reports and the Price Waterhouse reports and so on, we would find that large amounts of that information were already in the public domain, that other parts of that information were matters of opinion which should be made public if the government is to be accountable in its dealings with the private sector, and that very limited amounts needed to be kept private.

10:10 p.m.

I therefore want to suggest to the government that tomorrow, when we come back, they take it upon themselves to break the logjam into which they have now gotten themselves because of the stupid way they have handled this particular affair.

I am aware of the fact that certain cheques will not be sent out tomorrow and were not sent out today. I would like to make sure that my legislative assistant is paid when pay day comes along on Thursday, and there are 50,000 or 60,000 other civil servants who are anxious to get paid on pay day as well. If they are not paid, the reason will be the government's obstinacy in not understanding how the parliamentary process ought to work and in not understanding its obligations to share information with the opposition parties and with the public.

My proposal is very simple. I suggest that the government now acknowledge the impasse into which they have put themselves and be prepared to accept interim supply for only one month, until the end of November. My colleague the member for Algoma indicated we would support the motion of the Leader of the Opposition, as we will, but I intend now to move a further amendment that will grant the government supply for just a month, until the end of November.

Two things can happen between now and the end of November: In the first place, by November 20, we are told, the deal with Suncor will be signed; the impediments that may exist right now, because negotiations are still having the "i"s dotted and the "t"s crossed, will be over. Second, there will be the opportunity for the government to reconsider their stonewalling and to find means by which information that they now say is confidential can be shared with the Legislature.

If the government in its wisdom decides that it intends to continue to stonewall, so be it. Beginning November 30, or thereabouts, we can start this process all over again. As far as I am concerned, since the issue is whether or not the Legislature of Ontario will have information on which we can make sound and informed judgements, we can sit here for a week, a couple of weeks or more than that. The government, if it wants to he so responsible, can deny the welfare cheques for people to give Christmas presents for their kids and can deny the civil servants the money they need to pay for their Christmas turkey and everything else; so be it.

But I am suggesting that there is now a means by which they can back away from this confrontation, by which they can make available the information that the Legislature needs and by which they can do so while we are assured that the one and only sanction we in the opposition parties now have, the right to debate interim supply, will continue to be there.

I suggest to the government that the other option they have is one that is not only going to be unacceptable to this Legislature -- it is one that will sour relations in this Legislature for the next four years -- but also will be unacceptable to the people of the province.

There is a rule in this House that allows for closure. It allows for the government, without notice, to bring in a motion that says the debate should be terminated and a vote should now be taken. As I recall, debate is not even permitted on the motion. It is an arbitrary kind of legislative rule which probably should not exist on our rule books. If the government intends to try to stifle debate like that, then on their heads be it.

We have had enough problems with rulings, which I am afraid to say we have not always found to be satisfactory, coming from a chair that was appointed by the government side. If the government chooses to abuse the rules of this Legislature by imposing closure, then we are going to be in a situation where there will be nothing but confrontation and battles from now until the election that will take place in 1984 or 1985.

I suggest that it makes an awful lot more sense right now to bend; to recognize they made a mistake in the spring; to tell their people at the Ontario Energy Corporation not to do it again; to acknowledge that they have to get some new rules for dealing with government intervention into the private sector; to make information that we require available; and to give themselves a month in order to make that information available.

I want to suggest as well that in the Re-Mor committee we have a precedent by which all parties can be involved in deciding whether there is a certain limited amount of information that should still be left private and confidential and not made public.

I would now like to move my amendment. I hope very much that we can have an indication, even this evening, from the Treasurer or the Minister of Energy that the government will be prepared to go along with this because, let it be very clear, if there is any blocking of cheques right now on the ground that the government cannot pay them, the reason is its obstinacy and the way it has handled this particular issue.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Cassidy moves, seconded by Mr. Wildman, that the amendment to the motion for interim supply be further amended to read, "commencing November 1, 1981, and ending November 30, 1981."

Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, I want to rise to speak briefly on the amendment and now the amendment to the amendment. The members opposite are already starting to provoke me, Mr. Speaker. I do not want to get into a tangle of words with them yet, but it may come during the course of the conversation.

Mr. Speaker: Just ignore the interjections.

Mr. Boudria: I will address my remarks to the subject at hand, Mr. Speaker, because I am sure that is what you want me to do.

We in the Liberal Party are very concerned about the lack of proper financial management exercised by this government. We think it is most unfortunate that the government is choosing at this time to spend $650 million on a company and on a venture that will do nothing to bring jobs to Ontario.

The member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Shymko) is saying he wants to hear that again but, Mr. Speaker, we have to say it ad nauseam, I suppose, to make the government understand that it is very important. Maybe that member does not care about the fact that the people in his riding need jobs instead of investing in an oil company in Alberta, "where the action is," according to the words of some of the cabinet ministers.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Boudria: A few members in the back row there are getting excited, and I do not really blame them. If I had to put up with what was going on in the front row of that--

Mr. Speaker: Will you address your remarks to the amendment, please?

Mr. Boudria: Yes, Mr. Speaker, but I was just referring to the fact that they share my concern, I am sure. They are only frustrated because they cannot express it the way I can as an opposition member of this Legislature.

Mr. Ruston: They are muzzled over there.

Mr. Boudria: Maybe that is a good word; they are muzzled.

Let us discuss what Suncor is going to do for Ontario. Last week we saw a full-page ad in the Toronto Sun. I see the very learned journalist sitting up there in the press gallery. This full-page ad in the Toronto Sun stated, "Come to work for Suncor in Alberta." So the government of Ontario is investing money in a company that will create jobs in Alberta.

Is this what the purpose of the government of Ontario is? Are we not supposed to invest in and create jobs in Ontario? It is fine for us. It is very nice. I know the government of Alberta is also a Tory government, but surely there is something more important than creating jobs in Alberta, when we think of the hundreds of thousands of people in this province who are looking for work, the people in my constituency and the constituencies of the members opposite who go to their riding offices on Fridays and Saturday mornings complaining to them that they cannot make ends meet with the welfare cheques they are getting and those kinds of situations. What can those muzzled members across there tell them? They can say, "I was not really involved." I suppose that is the only thing they can say to them.

I see the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon), who was applauding the Suncor deal a while ago, is applauding some more. I certainty hope it is on record that the member for Sudbury and the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) are applauding the fact that the government of Ontario has given up on this province. They are applauding that. Shame on them.

10:20 p.m.

Mr. Piché: Who wrote your speech? Did Mr. Nixon write your speech.

Mr. Boudria: I hear the member for Cochrane North is asking who wrote my speech. It was certainly not him.

Mr. Piché: We won't elaborate.

Mr. Boudria: Some of the members over there are saying that they want my predecessor back, but that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. I will try to ignore those interjections the best I can, Mr. Speaker, but you must appreciate that it is very difficult, as I am sure you will understand.

I must say in passing, though, that my predecessor was 11 years without speaking in this Legislature. I am not going to try to beat that record. Maybe some of the members have been 11 years without speaking, and that is the kind of representation that the member applauds, but it is not the kind of representation that I intend to give to the people of Prescott-Russell. They have had enough of that nonsense.

Mr. Speaker: Now to the amendment.

Mr. Boudria: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I think this move on the part of the government is an admission of defeat. We heard the government tell us that Alberta is where the action is. The other day a cabinet minister said that, "Alberta is where the action is." That is shameful.

An hon. member: Are you trying for the leader?

Mr. Boudria: No, I am not trying for the leader.

But what is even more disappointing to hear tonight, Mr. Speaker, is that the New Democratic Party also has given up on this province. They want us to buy 51 per cent of an Alberta company instead of 25 per cent. They have given up twice as much to that tune as they have; they are even worse.

They want to buy a company that is based in the United States and owns resources in Alberta. That is the best thing that the NDP can think of doing with our money here in Ontario. That is shameful on their part. Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Order, order. The member for Prescott-Russell has the floor. Will you please address your remarks to me?

Mr. Boudria: Yes, Mr. Speaker. Through you, I want to say how disappointed I was tonight to hear the NDP speakers say that the best thing we can do with our money in Ontario is to invest in oil wells in Alberta. I thought the NDP had a policy of nationalizing Ontario industries, a policy of doing something with our industries here in Ontario. They, like the government, have given up. They want to go where the action is as well, or where they think the action is: Alberta.

We in the Liberal Party think the action is here in Ontario, Mr. Speaker. I am sure you share our concern for that.

Mr. Brandt: Tell us where the oil is.

Mr. Boudria: Some of the members on the other side say, "Tell us where the oil is." Maybe those members have never heard of alternative energy. Our very learned colleague the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. A. Reed) has been explaining to the members for a long time where we should be investing in energy to become self-sufficient in energy. We will never do it by investing in oil wells some place else. That is no way to become self-sufficient in energy.

The way to achieve that is to find resources of our own here in Ontario, not in Alberta, not in Pennsylvania and not in any other place. Ontario can only become self-sufficient in energy by investing in Ontario energy. I am sure the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) will agree with that. I am sure that the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) will agree that bringing those kinds of industries to this province would be a commendable thing. I do not want to address too many remarks to the Minister of Industry and Tourism on that. I am sure he must have tried his best in cabinet to have that money invested in Ontario, because that is the job of the Minister of Industry and Tourism. I am sure that is what he is concerned about.

As a matter of fact, we look at all the cabinet ministers and we think that every one of them would be concerned about Ontario, but it seems that collectively they are not. So how can we explain that individually they are all concerned yet all together they are not doing anything?

The members in the back row, I am sure, feel like saying something about that. They are not complimentary towards the Suncor deal.

Mr. Wrye: Ask them to defend it.

Mr. Boudria: That is right. My learned colleague the member for Windsor-Sandwich says, "Ask them to defend it." No member in the back row there stood up and made a brilliant exposé of just how worth while this venture was. They do heckle occasionally across the floor.

Mr. Wrye: Buy Suncor and close Laurentian University.

Mr. Boudria: My learned colleague the member for Windsor-Sandwich has been touring the province lately, and he knows we should be investing money in this province in our universities and our schools rather than in companies that are based elsewhere.

I have a little letter here that I wrote to the Premier (Mr. Davis), and I want to share it with the members if I can get the undivided attention of this House. Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Will the member for Cochrane North please refrain?

Mr. Boudria: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Prescott- Russell will please address his remarks to me.

Mr. Boudria: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was just going to do that.

I have here a letter that I wrote to the Premier and, since some members seem to be interested in my reading it, I will read it to them. The letter goes like this: "L'Honorable W. G. Davis, Premier ministre et président du conseil, Legislative Building, Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario."

Et ma lettre dit comme suit:

"Cher Bill, Je viens vous exprimer ma grande déception en apprenant que votre ministre de l'éducation, Bette Stephenson, ne pourrait pas nous assurer la construction immédiate de notre école de langue française à Orléans.

"Vous connaissez sans doute les problèmes des écoles françaises dans Orléans…"

Je suis content que le député de Carleton-Est (M. MacQuarrie) soit assis là, Monsieur l'Orateur, parce que le député de Carleton-Est cette école-là à laquelle je réfère dans ma lettre est située dans son comté. Il ne s'est même pas levé dans cette assemblée pour parler de cette très importante question. Alors j'espère qu'il va porter attention aujourd'hui.

"Vous connaissez sans doute les problèmes des écoles françaises dans Orléans, soit les écoles Préseault et Reine des Bois qui sont utilisées" --

Mr. Speaker: A point of order; the member for Muskoka.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Pourquoi vous discutez en tel problème?

Mr. Boudria: For the benefit of all members, I am reading a letter in response to the government, which is telling us it cannot build a school in our riding, yet it can spend $650 million outside this province and $10.6 million to buy a jet. I was just about to read to members how this government has money for all those things but cannot invest in our children, who are the future generation of this province. Now, if I may continue with my letter:

"Certaines classes ont même lieu, à l'heure actuelle, à l'ancienne école St. François qui est un immeuble mal ventilé, sans terrain de jeux et possédant un toit défectueux."

Et je dit comme suit dans ma lettre:

"Si vous avez besoin de fonds, permettez-moi de vous suggérer que si vous vendiez votre avion, nous pourrions facilement avoir notre école, ce qui serait, à mon avis, un meilleur investissement."

Et je suis certain que le Trésorier serait d'accord que d'investir l'argent dans l'éducation de nos enfants serait un bien meilleur investissement que dans un avion réacteur pour lui et les autres membres de son cabinet.

I know the Treasurer is saying that I am making a mistake, that we should not be investing in education, that we should buy jets with our money, that this is a better form of investment. I do not agree with that statement. I think there are much better ways to use our money than in buying a jet, especially when we have all these great needs.

It would be fine if we had lots of money in this province; if we just did not know what to do with it, we could buy ourselves all these expensive toys and invest here and there and be generous and all these kinds of things. But this is the same government that has been preaching to the people of this province, as my learned friend the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) was saying a while ago, that we have got to economize; we really cannot do foolish things with our money because we need it for all kinds of important things. What kind of example are they setting? It is terrible.

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

The House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.