32e législature, 1re session


The House resumed at 8 p.m.


Mr. Smith moved, seconded by Mr. Ruston, resolution 36 under standing order 63(a):

That, noting the government's continued refusal to table significant information which led to the Premier's decision to purchase 25 per cent of the common shares of Suncor Incorporated, a decision to be ratified on November 20, and the overwhelming need for additional financial support for health, education, industrial revitalization and energy substitution programs instead of the commitment of $650 million to the Suncor purchase, this House no longer has confidence in the government.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I want to discuss this motion, basically, under two headings. First, I want to discuss the deal itself and, second, I want to talk about the secrecy surrounding the deal. I believe both of these are very important topics. Both of these should be well and thoroughly understood, especially since it is our understanding that the government had at least the original intention to sign this deal tomorrow. If we are to judge by this morning's press, there might be some delay. Perhaps, if the minister speaks a little later, he will advise us of when he does anticipate signing this deal. But the signing, I gather, is imminent. I think it is important that we thoroughly understand the deal in all its aspects.

Let me speak first about the Suncor purchase itself and, later on, about the secrecy surrounding it. To deal with the purchase: When I see my friend the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) here, I recall that old Wayne and Shuster routine where somebody says to Julius Caesar on the Ides of March, "Julie, don't go." I say to the minister: "Bobbie, don't sign. Don't sign, Bobbie."

I know Malcolm Rowan wants it. He needs his pension set right now. He deserves his reward for all those years in the Premier's office. I understand how difficult it is to be serving coffee to the Premier (Mr. Davis) from time to time. With all due respect, he can find another job somewhere and earn an honest living. He does not need to have the province set him up for life in this way. Frankly, I can think of no other good reason for the purchase of these Suncor shares.

Let us talk, however, about this particular purchase. First of all, this is the kind of expenditure that I know the mayor of Geraldton would never have considered. This is the kind of purchase no one in public life could seriously undertake, given the financial circumstances facing the administration of this province.

First of all, there is the cost, which we have discussed at length. I do not want to labour points we have already discussed, but we know $650 million is to be assigned to this. We also know high interest is to be paid; whether it will be 17 per cent or whether with a little delay we might get it down to 16 per cent -- we will see -- or maybe 14 per cent, it is a lot of money. The Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) may feel that 15 per cent interest rates are comfortable, but they are not comfortable for very many people, let me assure the minister.

In any event, there is a high cost to be paid for the Suncor purchase, and this is at a time when the Treasurer has professed great concern with the size of Ontario's deficit. The Treasurer does not miss a day when he can chastise the government of Canada for deficit financing; but here, in a province that does not have the money to pay for it, we are going to go out and borrow at today's interest rates to buy something we do not need. This really does not make a lot of sense.

The first problem is the cost. The second problem is that we are in a situation where energy is a serious concern for the future. Certainly anything that would secure our energy future would be very welcome, even if it were expensive, but no honest man can stand before the people of Ontario and suggest that this deal secures additional oil for Ontario that otherwise would not be available to us.

The simple fact is that whatever oil may come from the tar sands of Alberta, which is the major place that Suncor produces, is already under federal legislation and will flow to market just as readily if Malcolm Rowan is not sitting on the Suncor board as if he were sitting on the Suncor board.

His window, out of which I suspect will fly a lot of money but into which will come little that is illuminating -- his window on the oil industry is of precisely zero value in terms of bringing additional oil into Ontario. Further, I point out that his window on the oil industry is of less than zero value in terms of anything we can do with the information that might just happen to come his way at lunch at the Oilmen's Club.

In point of fact, we do not regulate the oil industry in Ontario, a fact that the Minister of Energy will come to understand once he gets used to his relatively new portfolio in which he has been for only a year or two now. It will take him a while longer, I am sure. Soon it will dawn on him that we do not regulate one iota of the oil industry and, therefore, having a window on it is utterly without value.

The minister will say that, because of Canadianization, more federal tax money will flow directly or indirectly to Suncor. That money may be used for exploration. Conceivably they may find something when they explore, and that way, by being the agent that catalysed the flow of federal tax dollars to Suncor, we will be able to take some credit if they happen to use that money to find additional oil. Nothing could be more fallacious. Any other Canadian company, preferably one that is not as much in debt as we are, could do the same by purchasing the same 25 per cent of Suncor, and yet no one will. They have all turned it down.

Further, if we want to have a government buy it, then for heaven's sakes tell Peter Lougheed to buy it. Lougheed has the money; he has the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund. The industry is located in his province. They are his damned oil sands. Why are we buying a company in his province? I understand my good friends from the New Democratic Party. I understand that in their case the idea of government buying anything that moves is going to be popular. It does not matter where it is, it does not matter how much it costs, it does not matter if it is an industry we need or we do not need --

Mr. Cassidy: We will not buy the Liberal Party of Ontario. Be assured of that.

Mr. Smith: I have seen the NDP's financial picture, and they could not afford to buy even us. Almost anybody could, but they could not.

Mr. Cassidy: I heard you were selling it.

Mr. Smith: The fact of the matter is that we expect the NDP to buy anything that sounds like it is a company, because the whole idea of governments owning things makes them happy. Please understand that I have no objection to government ownership of companies where some logic and common sense might say it is a good idea. For instance, I would sooner have bought Denison than see us get into a long-term contract with Steve Roman.

Why in heaven's name would we wish to buy a company in the tar sands of Alberta? The minister says to us, "That's where the action is." Does the minister realize the message he is giving to people when he says, essentially, that it is worthwhile to borrow money to invest in an Alberta resource enterprise when we do not have money to invest in our own manufacturing companies? Does he not understand the message?

8:10 p.m.

If the government says Ontario is no longer where the action is and we have to go and invest elsewhere, does he understand the message that is being subtly transmitted? It is being transmitted along Bay Street and throughout our society in Ontario that the government basically has given up on Ontario being able to reverse its present industrial decline and has decided instead to get into speculative investments in the oil business, because that is where the big shooters are; that is where the action is.

I wish the minister would rethink his statement when he said to us he is investing there because that is where the action is. That is a terrible selling short of the potential of this province. During the provincial election, the minister points out, I had some critical words for the direction of our economy. I said we were tenth and last in economic growth, and so we are. I said there were going to be massive layoffs in Ontario, and so there are.

I said South Cayuga was a boondoggle, had nothing to do with environment and was a white elephant that should not have been chosen, and I have been proven correct. I said there would be acid rain problems that would menace our tourist industry and it was about time the government did something about it, and so there are. I said that 13 grades of school probably could be compressed into 12, and so they can be.

Admittedly, they won the election, but the simple fact is, that is no credit to anything they may have said or to the way they are running the province since they won it. Certainly if the people knew --

Hon. Mr. Welch: We showed we believed in the people of Ontario.

Mr. Smith: That is why the government is investing in Alberta and that is why the minister is telling us that is where the action is.

Hon. Mr. Welch: We will tell you why in a few moments, as soon as you sit down.

Mr. Smith: I am looking forward to hearing why.

Hon. Mr. Welch: We happen to believe in the people of Ontario.

Mr. Smith: The minister believes in the people of Ontario by sending 37,000 of them out to Alberta, and now he is sending their money to follow them. We know how he believes in the people of Ontario.

The Suncor purchase will not secure a barrel of oil, not one, for Ontario. We go on. Will it secure jobs for Ontario? Apart from a job for Malcolm Rowan, it will not secure a single job for the people of Ontario --

Hon. Mr. Welch: Can't you make your point without being so personal? Surely the issues are the issues. Leave people out of the issues.

Mr. Smith: Leaving the people out of the issues is exactly the habit of Ontario's government at the moment. The people would like to know something about this issue.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Why do you have to make your point by being so personal? Why don't you talk about the issues?

Mr. Smith: Really, now. Is the minister going to tell us his father was a clergyman the way the Minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Baetz) tells us?

Hon. Mr. Welch: My father was a railwayman. Why be so personal? Surely you can make your points without being so smart.

Mr. Smith: I see.

When one invests money in Ontario, the money will circulate through the economy and it will create jobs. If one invests a dollar in Ontario, the multiplier effect will bring about a job-creating mechanism that otherwise would take $3, $4 or $5 to create. But if one invests the money outside Ontario, there is not the slightest hope that any jobs will be created in this province.

We are facing a 20 per cent increase in layoffs in Ontario in one month alone, and we are investing $650 million without the hope of creating as much as one job in Ontario. The deal makes no sense at all from any reasonable point of view.

The answer we get from the Treasurer, who of course is dead set against the deal, is that it will pay off financially. He says the assets of the company are very great and valuable and, with the passage of time -- with the increase in the price of oil to be commanded by tar sands oil as a result of the new pricing arrangement between Ottawa and Alberta -- the company will make a lot of money and Ontario will find itself having turned a capital gain by having invested at this stage of the game. The company's prosperity in the future will redound to Ontario's financial gain somewhat down the line. That is what we are told.

That is very interesting. In the first place, I hope that is true. I really do. There is no reason why I, as a citizen of Ontario, should wish upon the Suncor purchase the same fate that befell the purchase of Townsend for $54 million, of South Cayuga for $36 million and of the Pickering lands for $270 million. I do not wish upon Suncor the same miserable fate those white elephants met with in Ontario and the costs that the people have had to bear. I hope it turns out to be a good speculative investment.

But what in heaven's name are we doing speculating on the stock market when we have many other priorities far more important in front of us in Ontario?

Will it be a good speculation? That is difficult to know. I am told by my friends on Bay Street that there are a good many buys available now on the market. I am told that there are certain resource companies that can be picked up pretty cheaply and might do pretty well as the years go by. I am told that there are a number of bargains in real estate available because of the high interest rates and so on. It is conceivable that Suncor may turn out to be an amazingly profitable company in the future.

But, again, what business is it of Ontario to be speculating in the oil business? There can be no conceivable justification for that in the face of all the other problems in front of us. I could understand the heritage fund speculating on the oil industry. They have the money, and they need a place to invest it. The brokers say that might not be a bad place 10 years from now; what else are they going to do with their dough? That is fine. But we do not have the money; we have to go out and borrow it.

I appeal to my friends of all parties to use their brains. Why would we want to go out and borrow at today's high interest rates in a province that already has far too high a deficit? Why would we want to go out and speculate on the stock market at this time? Can we think of nothing better to do with our money than to go out and buy speculative investments? Is that the limit of the imagination of the government of Ontario?

We are told the new price will be favourable, and we are told that with Canadianization great incentives will flow to the company. As a consequence of Ontario buying 25 per cent of Suncor shares, a lot of money will flow from the federal government into the Suncor treasury as they continue their exploratory program. That will increase the earning capacity of Suncor and presumably will result ultimately in an upward valuation of their assets. I understand that; I am not unaware of that.

But I wonder if the Minister of Energy has taken a moment to consider just how much these assets will need to appreciate to make the deal a good one. We have been assured by the Premier that we are going to make 15 per cent on our money. Obviously that will be after we have paid for the money; otherwise, we will be losing, because if we pay 15 per cent or 17 per cent and we earn 15 per cent, we are no further ahead. So it is presumed, and it has been said in this House, that the 15 per cent will be on top of the 17 per cent the money would cost.

Take a moment and think, ladies and gentlemen in this House. Take a moment and think; $650 million at 17 per cent interest comes to an interest cost of about $110 million a year. Figuring $110 million a year, if we are going to make that back plus 15 per cent on top of that, we are going to have to make, roughly speaking, $200 million a year -- $100 million to pay off the interest and $100 million to earn the 15 per cent on the $650 million we are putting in. So about $200 million a year would have to come to us.

8:20 p.m.

Mr. Cassidy: That is cockeyed.

Mr. Smith: Why?

Mr. Cassidy: You are double-counting.

Mr. Smith: No, no. They say we are going to make --


Mr. Smith: Listen to this. Think a moment. I understand the NDP has difficulty with simple arithmetic. The member worked for the Financial Post. The amazing thing is he worked for --

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Let the Leader of the Opposition go through it again then.

Mr. Smith: I will go through it again, Mr. Speaker. Just imagine --

Mr. Cassidy: I used to make my living at this.

Mr. Smith: I hate to say that his success in journalism was equal to his success in politics; I really do not want to say anything.

I simply say that if one is going to spend $650 million and if that money has to be borrowed -- is the leader of the third party with me so far? -- one has to pay interest on the money. If interest is being paid on the money and all the earnings that come in are going to be less than the interest being paid, then really one is not much farther ahead. I venture to say one is even a little bit farther behind if the interest payments are greater than the earnings.

The leader of the third party is with me so far? Excellent. Now the Premier is not so foolish a man as to stand up in front of the people of Ontario and say he anticipates a 15 per cent return at the same time as he anticipates the money is going to cost him 17 per cent, because he would be admitting to a chronic loss of two per cent a year on the whole deal.

Mr. Cassidy: That is what he is going to do.

Mr. Smith: The member may think he is going to do it. But the Premier says he is not going to do it. He says, and the Treasurer indicates, that the 15 per cent return will be over and above the cost of the money because, if they are going to lose two per cent per year in perpetuity, why spend $650 million for the privilege of doing that? There are cheaper ways to lose a couple of hundred million dollars than to spend $650 million to start with. I hope the basic economics have now been understood by all members of the House.

Assuming then that what he is saying is that we are going to make 15 per cent on top of the 17 per cent it costs us, that means we have to make $200 million on our investment alone.

Mr. Cassidy: It's still cockeyed.

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Bradley: He wants you to buy the whole company.

The Deputy Speaker: It is all right. I follow it.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I will persist. So we have to make $200 million a year.


Mr. Smith: Believe me, I always knew NDP economics were suspect, but today it has been proven.

Mr. Speaker, we have to make $200 million, if you accept our premise. You understand that, don't you? You are an intelligent man. We only own a quarter of the company; that means the company has to make $800 million. That is after tax, because a lot of good it is going to do us to make money before tax. It has to be after tax. So they have to make $800 million after tax for us to make 15 per cent above the cost of what the money is costing us; otherwise, why are we going to invest $650 million?

Even if we are counting it twice, as the member says we are -- in other words, if we do not count the cost of the money we are borrowing -- even then we are talking about $400 million after tax; that still comes to before-tax profits roughly in the same range. That means the company is going to have to be approximately 10 times more profitable, between six and 10 times more profitable, than it has been in its latest year of operation.

Admittedly, it only means it has to be maybe four or five times more profitable than it has been in certain other years of its operation where it did a little better and, admittedly, it will do better than it did this year because the new price it will get for its oil from the tar sands will be quite favourable. But why should we believe this company is going to suddenly increase its profitability by somewhere between six and 10 times, between 600 per cent and 1,000 per cent, overnight? No other company believed that. Twelve other buyers looked at this company and all turned it down.

It is possible; I do not say it is impossible. These things have happened before; there have been bonanzas. For all I know, tomorrow they may discover oil somewhere; it is conceivable. But is it reasonable that we should spend this kind of money in the hope that this company will multiply its profits by 600 per cent to 1,000 per cent in a year's time? It does not make sense to me.

All right. Wait. They say, however, that it can be accomplished. We, of course, ask where the proof is of this, and I will talk about that when we come to speak of the secrecy.

But I want to say something else at this point about the price --

Hon. Mr. Welch: On the price?

Mr. Smith: On the price -- on spending money for this as opposed to other things.

Look around you, Mr. Speaker. We find ourselves now in very difficult economic times. We are facing perhaps one of the toughest winters that Ontario people will have known for some time. We are going to have record bankruptcies in small business, farms are going under and layoffs are being announced daily by the hundreds: Shop-Rite has just closed down, and we are going to have 650 or 700 people without work; we have the additional Massey-Ferguson layoffs today, another 200 indefinite layoffs and no date for their recall.

Every day people are suddenly thrust out on the street, worried about their future, unable to meet their mortgages, unable to pay their rent and without the flexibility of being able to move around. Frequently a family earns two incomes just to try to survive; the wife may have one job and the husband may be laid off, or the other way around.

This is real hardship. How can the government then say to these people, that instead of putting money into manufacturing, retraining and new manufacturing industries for Ontario: "We do not have any money for you. These are tough times. You are going to have to put up with this kind of tough winter. You are going to have to lose your investment in your house or in your small business or in your farm. We do not have any money for you." And how can the government then turn around and spend $650 million to buy a quarter of an Alberta oil company? The priorities are crazy. The priorities make no sense whatever.

Look around at our energy problems. We have energy problems -- heaven knows we do. Ontario does not have oil. We know that. So what is the answer? The answer surely is not to buy an oil company when they are going to sell us the oil at the same price whether we own them or not. The answer is to substitute for oil, particularly in vehicles, so that gasoline and diesel oil will be replaced by something we can make here in Ontario.

If we were to put a fraction of this money into peat or fuel alcohol, that money ultimately could create tens of thousands of jobs in Ontario. It would allow us ultimately to keep within the borders of our province, once the programs have come to fruition, billions of dollars that now flow out of Ontario to buy gasoline. It makes no sense to assume that we are stuck with oil forever and to pay a heavy price just to get on the bandwagon to own some oil shares in Alberta.

The priorities are crazy. Look at our resource industries. Agriculture is in trouble. The deputy minister himself said two days ago that we are in danger of losing our best farmers. He said we do not have a plan for agriculture. We need money to help these people. The forest resource industry is in trouble. They are shutting down towns all over the north, and if we do not reforest, if we do not replant trees, there will be permanent ghost towns in northern Ontario; and the minister will live to see that. We do not have money to put into the forests of northern Ontario; we are limited in the amount of money we can spend. But we can buy an oil company in Alberta. It does not make sense.

What about the human resources? In the field of health, the minister now is talking about introducing user fees, introducing a tax on the sick and the elderly. Why? Because he says we do not have money. The government has money to buy an oil company, but it does not have money for the sick and the poor.

8:30 p.m.

Today I had occasion to visit just around the corner at the University of Toronto. I went to see the department of geology. I went to see that department because it happens to be a world-class department; it was compared with the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They have a world-class department, and they are housed in a building not far from here, just around the corner, a little walking distance.

I wish the minister had been with me to see what the cutbacks in higher education that the province has implemented over the years have done to the department of geology. Thank God, there are good people there, and they are going to continue to make that a world-class department if it kills them. But they are on the brink now; they are very worried.

The minister should come with me to see the classrooms with benches that no high school or public school in Ontario would tolerate they are so antiquated. He should come and see the flooding that occurred in two of the major rooms they use for dealing with their rock specimens and for certain lectures that take place.

He should come and see where millions of dollars' worth of equipment is housed so close together that they cannot even service the equipment, because they cannot get between machines; they are supposed to have four and five feet between them, but there is no space for the machines.

He should come and see sensitive electron microscope machinery costing millions of dollars constantly being shaken by the rattling in the pipes in a 90-year-old building that is right above these machines.

He should come and see huge flakes of paint falling from the ceiling on to this equipment, making their readings meaningless from time to time, and see dust getting into all the machinery they are using.

This is geology. Even the most pessimistic members of the government, who may not believe we can do anything in manufacturing, even they believe mining has a future in Ontario. The graduates of this program are snapped up when they are ready, but they are being trained on microscopes, practically all of which are totally obsolete. When they go into industry, which has the latest equipment, industrialists cannot believe the students are still working on equipment that is several generations old, equipment that was thrown on to the scrap heap by industry years ago.

The minister should go and see the way they have to tear apart one microscope to get parts from it to put in another, because those microscopes are not made any more and they cannot find parts anywhere. Let him tell them the government has no money and then explain to them how it can spend $650 million on Suncor. That is what I am talking about. It has no money, but it can spend this money on speculation.

Mr. Piché: I just can't believe this discussion is going on in this House tonight. It's nonsense.


Mr. Smith: One of the wonderful things about being in politics is the chance to have occasion to share ideas with minds as brilliant as that of the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché). It really makes the entire exercise worthwhile, I must say. It adds to public life a certain flavour that is matched only by comments from the member for Timiskaming (Mr. Havrot) and the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve). It is one of those pleasures in life one has to be here to appreciate.

The government has indicated it has lost confidence in the people of Ontario when instead of making an investment in their minds, in their research, in their education, in their health, in the human resources of Ontario, and instead of helping them as they become entrepreneurs, it has decided the only place worthy of a massive investment is the resources of Alberta. Why do they prefer the resources of Alberta to the human resources of Ontario? That is what the Suncor deal is all about.

What about the secrecy? The abuse of the democratic process we have seen in this House in the last month or so is without parallel in Canadian history. To begin with, this deal which we heard about on the day we returned from the summer recess, was announced to us by the Premier (Mr. Davis) in this House at 2 p.m. on that day.

On that very same day, meetings of the Conservative caucus and cabinet had been held. The Conservative caucus and cabinet were told nothing of this deal. Three Conservative cabinet members were told about the deal and one of them, the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), vehemently and violently disagreed with it. It was totally against his principles. Unfortunately his principles did not take him to the point where, as a man of honour, he would resign as he should have done. No one else heard of this deal.

The Premier came into the House and announced the purchase, much to the surprise of the people sitting behind him. We then stood and said to the Premier -- this was the beginning -- "Could you explain to us the rate of return you expect and how you are going to pay for this deal?" The Premier said to us, "Come to the press conference at 4 p.m. and you will hear all about it." That was the beginning of the arrogance which knows no parallel.

At that point we went on to ask for a compendium of information which, under the rules of the House, we are entitled to when such a major statement is made in the Legislature. For well over a week we received no compendium at all -- nothing. Eventually, a pile of propaganda and garbage consisting of the annual report of Suncor, available in the library, and a speech once given by the Ministry of Energy on the exact opposite topic -- namely, how to get away from oil completely and how to get on to conservation and replacement -- is presented to us and alleged to be a compendium answering the questions of how they will pay for it and how much money they will earn from the deal.

Insult is added to injury when the Speaker in his great wisdom and based, I am sure, on impeccable advice, tells us a compendium may be, under the rules of the House as he interprets them, anything the government says is a compendium even if it is a Mickey Mouse comic book.

We then adopted other tactics. They made continual reference to the compendium which did not exist. They refused to table any of the studies. We said, "Would you table the studies which led you to make this purchase?" They said, "No, we cannot table them." They refused to. We said: "Would you answer the question, how do you expect to get a 15 per cent return? How are you going to pay for the deal?"

They refused to answer. Finally, we had a filibuster. We tell them we want the information. At that point the minister comes in with crocodile tears and tells us, much as it hurts him to do this, he is thinking of the poor civil servants who have to buy groceries and whose cheques will be delayed if he does not bring in closure. Oh, the crocodile tears, Mr. Speaker.

8:40 p.m.

Mr. Piché: You are against civil servants. Let the record show you are against civil servants. Let the record show that the next day it was proven.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Cochrane North, thank you very much. He is resting with a drink of water, and he is ready to continue. Let him finish and you can evaluate whether he is or is not.

Hon. Mr. Welch: He is being provocative. He is ignoring the needs of the real people, thousands of real people. They are being held hostage by that man.

The Deputy Speaker: Mr. Minister of Energy, I do not want to debate with you. It is his debate.

Mr. Smith: I think you should throw the minister out, frankly.

So the minister cried his crocodile tears, and those very salty tears ended up causing moisture to fall on the first closure order in 100 years in the Legislature of Ontario. But the next morning, we found out what it was all about. We went to the committee and said, "The civil servants now can get their groceries. All these problems are behind us. Let us now, in the committee, have a chance to get answers to these vital questions on the largest single purchase made by Ontario in many years." The Tories on the committee voted, with the exception of the member for Leeds (Mr. Runciman), who did want information, and who has since been substituted for by the brilliant --

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Point of privilege.

The Deputy Speaker: A point of privilege by the honourable --

Mr Smith: I didn't mention this character's name. I won't sit down for that member ever. I am not going to. There is no point of privilege.

The Deputy Speaker: Would the Leader of the Opposition sit down for me please. I would like to hear what the point of privilege is. As you well know, the chair has authorization as to whether a point of privilege should be recognized. I will listen to the point of privilege and I will quickly try to rule if it is or is not.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: My point of privilege is that on behalf of the member for Leeds, I just wanted to thank the Liberal member for mentioning his name and getting his name in Hansard. Thanks very much.

Mr. Smith: Is that is not an abuse, Mr. Speaker? Was that not an abuse?

The Deputy Speaker: He was taking advantage a little bit of the rules of procedure in the Legislature.

Mr. Smith: With the exception of the member for Leeds, the Tories on the committee voted to prevent the matter from being discussed. They then tried to say they were not trying to prevent it from being discussed. They then went on to say it could go to the House leaders. It went to the House leaders. And they met, and decided the right place for it was the committee. We went back to the committee.

In the meantime, the Progressive Conservative caucus was able to hear certain experts, so-called, who came to talk to them in private to tell them some of the things that could not be told to us.

I doubt they enlightened the members there very much, but none the less they had access to at least try to ask questions. Unfortunately they probably did not even know what questions to ask, and that is why they were not enlightened. They did have the opportunity to ask questions.

We then went back to the committee and said, "All right, why do we not now hear in committee, where all three parties are, the same people who were heard in the privacy of the Tory caucus?" The Tory majority stood up and said "No, we do not want to hear about this at all."

Mr. Piché: That is not the way it went. I have to disagree. You are premature. Put it on record: that is not the way it went. I voted the right way.


The Deputy Speaker: Order please.

Mr. Smith: The simple fact is that, in all the time I have been associated with politics, and I used to have some association before I entered provincial politics, in all the time I have observed high-handed and arrogant actions by governments of every political stripe, I have never seen or participated in any way in the high-handed arrogance, the contempt for the people and for democracy, that has been demonstrated by the government of Ontario on this Suncor matter.

This goes beyond all bounds I have ever even read about in the Parliament of Canada or the Parliament of Ontario. There is no conceivable reason why the people of Ontario should not have answers to the questions: What do you expect to make on the deal? Why do you expect to make it? How do you expect to pay for it? Those are perfectly reasonable questions.

If there is secret information that needs to be whited out, such as where their next gas well is going to be, where they get their present bargains in equipment or what piece of real estate they plan to build a refinery on, that can be whited out. We always said that. But the simple, basic questions have to be answered.

To use their majority in the House for closure, to use their majority in committee after committee to prevent the facts from being brought out, is the ultimate in high-handed arrogance. As far as I am concerned they have gone beyond the pale in terms of the arrogance and the contempt for democracy they have demonstrated.

I have to ask this. What is the purpose of having a Parliament at all if merely having a majority means they can prevent any topic from being discussed anywhere, any time, by the elected representatives of the people? What is the purpose at all? I know they have lusted after a majority since 1975. I know they hungered for it, thirsted for it, slobbered for it and practically stole for it, but the fact is, having the majority does not mean they do not have to answer to parliament.

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I want to remind the honourable Leader of the Opposition that at times he does get slightly provocative. The member for Mississauga East (Mr. Gregory) --

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, a point of order.

Mr. Smith: Tell him to go back to his Christmas cards. What is this jerk standing up for now?

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Point of order.


The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Is the member for Mississauga East going to sit down? Please sit down. I want to remind you that I recognized you for your point of order. Wait a minute, you got carried away in regard to your discussion.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: I did not.

The Deputy Speaker: Yes, you did in regard to your discussion with the Leader of the Opposition. I could not get your attention. You kept carrying on a discussion. In that regard I feel you had your say. I am not going to recognize your point of order. I will ask Mr. Smith to continue in a reasonable manner.


The Deputy Speaker: Order please. Just before I recognize the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie), I want to say to the Leader of the Opposition that I felt possibly some of your phrasing might be a little unparliamentary in regard to the standing orders of the Legislature. You may not remember them without having Instant Hansard available, but I would appreciate some statement along the line that you would retract whatever was offending the government whip.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, if there is anything unparliamentary in what I said, I am happy to retract it. Now I want to continue.

The Deputy Speaker: We have another point of order from the member for Hamilton East.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: It was my understanding we had agreed on the time frame which I believe was 45 minutes for each party. With respect to this House, I think it is time the Leader of the Opposition understood he is well over his time already.

8:50 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: That is what I was trying to say.

The Deputy Speaker: I notice the whip is getting a little disturbed, and I should know that. Let me tell the whip --

Hon. Mr. Gregory: You are right.

The Deputy Speaker: I have the floor. Let me tell the whip that in my estimation if he were doing his job somebody would have told me the member had a time limit on him. I did not know that.

I will ask the Leader of the Opposition to sum up his statements, please.

Mr. Smith: Let me conclude, Mr. Speaker --

The Deputy Speaker: Very quickly.

Mr. Smith: Let me conclude by saying that never before have the rights of the people of Ontario -- not my right to know anything, but the rights of the people of Ontario -- been so abused as by the Tory majority in this House. They have their majority, they have misused it and they will never get another one.

We have no confidence in this government. There is no fathomable reason for the purchase to have been made, and the sooner the people of Ontario realize the mistake they made in electing them the sooner they will start the work towards replacing them the next opportunity they have.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I intend to share my time with some of my colleagues. I do not feel I am enthralled with the sound of my voice the way the Leader of the Opposition seems to be with his, because he has been carrying on tonight what sounds like a one-man band.

I want to remind him that we had an election in Manitoba just a couple of days ago. The last Liberal at the provincial level between Ontario and the west coast went down to defeat and stood number three. I want to remind him that 10 years ago there was a Liberal government in Saskatchewan. They had the same attitudes towards public ownership as the Leader of the Opposition has displayed here in this House, and it is significant that there is not now a single Liberal in the Saskatchewan assembly, either.

They have this traumatized attitude when it comes to public ownership. I remember how they dipped and dived in order to avoid making the government take over Denison Mines three and a half years ago, an investment that would have made sense for the people of Ontario. In that case we had the facts: we knew how much money was there; we had the report. It was a publicly-traded company, and we knew perfectly well that for the $300 million we gave interest-free to that corporation we could have taken them over and brought an essential public resource into the hands of the people of Ontario.

While I have no confidence in the Liberal Party in this province, I have no confidence in the government either. As a consequence, when we get down to the vote later this evening -- and the vote is going to be on whether this House has confidence in the government or not -- I am going to vote no confidence in the government, and so are my colleagues in the New Democratic Party.

We have no confidence in this government because of the way the government is mismanaging the economy of our province right now. We have no confidence when day after day --

Hon. Mr. Welch: What about Suncor?

Mr. Cassidy: I will talk about Suncor. What about Massey? What about Shop-Rite? What about Houdaille? What about Admiral?


Mr. Cassidy: What about the way the Conservatives have encouraged the free enterprise system here in Ontario? What about the Treasurer who told the House today he thinks Allan MacEachen is too tough on foreign investment, who told the House today he wants to see more tax loopholes for people who are rich, who told the House he thinks the penalties on investors -- what penalties there are in the federal budget -- are just too much to be borne? What about the kind of Reaganomics we are getting here in the Ontario Legislature?


Mr. Cassidy: Yes, it is. It is support for the high interest rate policies: that is what we are getting from this government.


Mr. Cassidy: Where? I heard the Treasurer get up today, and he systematically said that the federal Liberal Party had no industrial policy.


The Deputy Speaker: Order, please, the member for Sudbury.

Mr. Cassidy: The member for Sudbury is obviously stung to the quick.

Mr. Piché: Are you opposed to the purchase of Suncor? I want to know. You know I like you. Tell me.

Mr. Cassidy: The member for Cochrane North is a lovely fellow as well. Just the wrong party, that is all.

The fact is for a long time this province has needed a game plan which would allow us to take control of our industry. We have not got it from the Tories. This province has needed a game plan to ensure our workers are trained for the jobs opening up. We have not got it from the Conservatives.

Mr. Piché: You will never sell Dash-7 with that attitude.

Mr. Cassidy: That is a federal crown corporation.

This province has needed more than $150 million worth of investments in the industrial development of our province and that is all we have from this gang over here. Last March they announced a plan they called the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program. They said it would go on for five years. The Treasurer said in the House today, "They have spent it all, boys." There is not a nickel more for any kind of industrial investment or policy coming from this government.

Hon. Mr. McCague: He did not say that. With all respect he did not say that.

Mr. Cassidy: Sure, he did. He said $614 million has been committed. I hope the federal government will come through with a bit of money but the fact is the Conservatives in Ontario have shot their bolt. They have nothing left in their arsenal at all in terms of coming through in order to see jobs and industries created and industries strengthened. The workers of this province have no way they are going to get a job.

We have 319,000 people unemployed in our province. We had a forecast a week ago from the federal Minister of Finance that said unemployment in Canada is going to be higher for the next six years than it is now. That means unemployment in our province is also going to be higher.

We have a government in this province that says it does not give a damn when one third of a million workers are going to be without work in our province from now until 1987.


Mr. Cassidy: Sure, it will be different workers at different times. But I have three kids growing up in this province. I do not want them to live in a province where there are a third of a million people unemployed.

I do not want them to live in a province where we short-change people who are sick or aged. We have put user charges on everybody in sight because of the backward policies of this government. If the question before me tonight is whether I have any confidence in this government, in its determination and ability to turn this province around, the fact is I have none of that confidence at all.

I would like to talk for a minute about the Suncor move. I have been looking through some of the facts and figures here and I lead a party that believes it is about time we grabbed hold of the resource wealth of this province and used it for the people of Ontario; we happen to think public ownership of the resources makes an awful lot of sense.

I happen to be a Canadian, and that means public ownership of resources in other provinces makes sense as well.

Mr. Smith: Let Blakeney buy it.

Mr. Cassidy: I happen to think Allen Blakeney was doing a good turn, not just for the people of Sasketchewan but for the people of Canada, when that province acquired 51 per cent control of the potash industry there for the people of Saskatchewan.

I happen to think the Conservative colleagues of the Minister of Energy and the Conservatives here should use the Heritage Fund treasury they have in Alberta to Canadianize the industry and bring it into public ownership. That should have been done a long time ago and not just now.

There are many things we should be doing but when one comes to this government, are they really bringing Suncor into public ownership? No, we are getting 25 per cent. We are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. We have the Premier who is jealous of Hon. Darcy McKeough. Darcy has a gas company so the Premier wants his own oil company. He is going to spend $650 million of the public money in order to get, not a whole one --

Mr. Watson: Tell us another one.

Mr. Cassidy: That is right.

Mr. G. W. Taylor: That's a Stuart Smith --

Mr. Cassidy: Oh, the member is offended by that, is he? The fact is he is offended by that as well. Maybe Darcy put him up to it. Maybe Darcy is going to come in for 13 per cent.


Mr. Cassidy: It is because the gas is blue. That is what they really decided they wanted. The fact is at this stage we have not got the facts to tell just how good an investment this is. The Leader of the Opposition thinks it is a bad investment because he is opposed to any kind of public involvement.

Mr. Smith: Do not be stupid.

Mr. Cassidy: And so he says, "Reject it." I would like to know whether we should not be taking 51 per cent right now in order to have control, and everything that means in terms of how we could use Suncor as an instrument, not just for development in western Canada, but also for development here in this province.

9 p.m.

We have enormous potential oil and gas wealth in Hudson's Bay, which has never been touched or explored, and on Canada lands here in Ontario. But the fact is we do not know just how much the Ontario Energy Corporation will have to put into the sidecar company. We know, however, that the sidecar company will probably have to be 75 per cent financed, not by Suncor but by the Ontario Energy Corporation, in order that it benefit from the Canadian ownership provisions under the federal national energy policy.

I have been looking at some of the profit figures for Suncor. Their profit back in 1976 was $23 million; $36 million in 1977; $58 million in 1978; $170 million in 1979; and $306 million in 1980.

Mr. Smith: And what is it this year?

Mr. Cassidy: This year we do not know. This year it is down substantially, but it will bounce back, because on September 1 the federal government, which this Liberal leader in Ontario is disowning, changed the rules. The rule change is enormously beneficial to Suncor in terms of the income coming in from its synthetic oil holdings in Saskatchewan. But we do not know exactly what the impact is going to be.

I do not know how to value a company whose profits have gone from $36 million in 1977 to $306 million in 1980. It is going back down in 1981 and somewhere along the way the government says we are going to get a 15 per cent return on the investment made by the people of Ontario or, one way or another, $100 million or so a year. I am not sure how that is going to be achieved, but I happen to think that people in this province, not just me or my party here in this Legislature, have a right to know. People in the province have a right to know whether we are backing away from 51 per cent now, which is surely available, because of the ideological hangups of a government that is prepared to support Canadianization but is not prepared to support real honest public ownership and public enterprise on behalf of the people of Ontario.

These are the kinds of questions we would like to know the answers to, but we have been blocked. The Leader of the Opposition has gone on at great length about the parliamentary manoeuvres that have been used by the government, which has used and abused its majority to appoint -- as I suggested yesterday, its public relations are obviously being run either by Genghis Khan or by Attila the Hun --

An hon. member: Or Bud Gregory.

Mr. Cassidy: Or Bud Gregory, that is right. The three stand together.

This is a cynical government and that is why it is hard to have confidence in anything it does. It is a government that does not really put its heart into public ownership and that is why it is hard to have confidence that it will use the public ownership or the control of Suncor for the benefit of the people in this province. It is a government that is uncommitted to real economic planning. It is a government that is uncommitted to producing a real economic and industrial strategy. It is a government that is uncommitted to guaranteeing good jobs for the people of Ontario, in particular the young people.

I happen to think we can turn this province around. I happen to be committed to ensuring that we have adequate social services, decent medicare, health and safety for every worker in Ontario. I think the industrial slums and ghettos we are at risk of having created because of labour legislation we have in the province, because of the attack on workers that is being aided and abetted by this government, does not need to exist. I happen to believe this province could and should be a model for people not just in Canada but in North America and the world around, in terms of the quality of life we could have.

Under those conditions, I cannot vote confidence in the government. If I had the choice, I would not vote confidence in any of the other parties in this House, or I would try to amend this no-confidence motion. It does not matter what is in the terms of the motion. The question tonight is: Do we have confidence in the Premier and do we have confidence in the Minister of Energy or anybody else on that side to lead this province out of its economic problems right now? The answer is there is no way they are going to get confidence from me or from the NDP.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, it is regrettable that there was not some indication at the beginning of this debate with respect to the apportionment of time. There could have been some more development with respect to this very important debate.

I want to indicate that at the outset we had felt this was to be a disciplined debate and that there would be an opportunity for others to participate. Hopefully, since the official opposition has exhausted all of its normal time for that, we might be able to accommodate it. Time will see whether that is possible.

Under the circumstances, it is perhaps very fortunate that we have people in the gallery today of the calibre of the Armourdale Progressive Conservative youth to watch this particular debate. It is a very important night for young people to have this opportunity to listen to --

Mr. Smith: They agree with us.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I will leave it for them. Not only do I have respect for today's young people but, as a democrat, I also have respect for the electorate generally when they make their decision. I do not chide them when the results are over. I believe once the people have gone to the polls and made their decision, they should not be lectured with respect to what the result was. They wanted us here, and that is what they decided to do.

Mr. Van Horne: If that is the case, quit the lecturing.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I ask the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne), is that not where the ultimate accountability lies in the democratic system? Is it not with the people? Four years from now, we will go to that jury, and we will have all of the accomplishments of this administration to discuss. We may well remind them where the member stood on some of those issues at that time as well. Will that not be interesting to remind them in that regard?

I say, not only to the Armourdale Progressive Conservative youth but also to the people of Ontario, that it is about time we had this debate. It is about time we had an opportunity to review the real issues we are discussing here insofar as this particular matter is concerned, and not to be sidetracked by the phoney issue of secrecy. We will talk about that; it has been nothing but a red herring across this whole debate. This is a matter of leadership; this is a matter of the energy policy of Ontario. Let us talk about it, just for a few moments. There will be others who will want to join in this debate.

I suggest, as I have already mentioned to the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio), a neighbour of mine from Niagara Falls and a neighbour from St. Catharines -- we chat about these things from time to time in an unofficial way -- that the debate tonight is not so much about Suncor as it is about leadership.

I think the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) is very much interested in leadership. No doubt he is attempting to persuade others with respect to his approach to leadership. Maybe I can help him tonight with respect to this particular matter, as I would help his colleagues who travel in that troupe around the province in that collegiate way to discuss this whole matter; they were in my area just recently. The member will find they are very fine people and, no doubt, very perceptive. Some of my best friends are among them.

I have a great deal of respect for people who may hold other points of view, because I believe there is a great dedication. I never ask people to agree with me. I always want to respect their point of view. I say to the Leader of the Opposition, as he prepares for his swan song, with or without the connotation of lame-duck leader, which of course bothers him very much at the moment --

Mr. Smith: Don't you wish I were.

Hon. Mr. Welch: It would be very helpful in the interests of the people of Ontario if the member were not so preoccupied with that and became reasonable again. That is what I wanted to point out to him. One of the great lessons as far as debate is concerned is that ridicule and personal character assassination are not effective rebuttal. That is a lesson he has not learned, and that is why he is leaving in February. I have been wanting to get that off my chest for some time.

The Deputy Speaker: Yes. I allowed you that opportunity, and I think now --

Hon. Mr. Welch: Anybody who would think that to be an effective leader it is necessary to tear down the personality of someone else, I think --

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Mr. Minister, I have a question of you. Are you now going to start officially with the resolution that is before this House?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes, I think you have been very wise to --

The Deputy Speaker: -- remind you about that. Thank you.

9:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Consistently over the years, this government has demonstrated its ability to recognize opportunity and its ability to lead. I want to suggest this evening in the context of this very important debate that there are many examples of such leadership and of the inability of the opposition to recognize opportunity.

May I draw the attention of the House in a historical way back to 1963, when this party, in government, authorized Ontario Hydro to invest in nuclear energy. It was a time when most other jurisdictions in North America were turning to oil and natural gas or coal-fired electrical generation.

Today, as a result of that decision 18 years ago, one third of Ontario's electricity is produced from uranium. Today, electricity from nuclear power is one half the cost of electricity produced from fossil fuels, whether oil, natural gas or coal.

Predictably, this government's nuclear power decision in 1963, 18 years ago, was strongly opposed in this House on the grounds that it was inappropriate, untried technology and, besides, there were other, cheaper ways to produce electricity. Read the record of 18 years ago.

Where are the doubting Thomases today, I ask? Where are they? In the context of this debate, what an economic disaster it would have been for the people of this province to have had the Liberal Party in power during that particular period. Today, in 1981, the people of Ontario, as my colleague the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe) so correctly points out, would be suffering the penalty of much higher electricity costs from that lack of vision and lack of leadership.

I suggest with a great degree of humility that the strong position we are in today is because of the foresight shown in 1963. Will members not agree with that?

Mr. J. A. Reed: What's the new price for Darlington? Tell us what it is.

Hon. Mr. Welch: That is just one example. We all remember, including my honourable friend the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. A. Reed), the dark days of early 1975.


The Deputy Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: They don't like to hear the facts.

Hon. Mr. Welch: We all remember those dark days, as my friend from Guelph, the member for Wellington South (Mr. Worton), understands, because he has been here a long time. We all remember the dark days of early 1975, when the industrialized world was still experiencing the effects of the Arab-Israeli war and the Arab oil embargo. It was clear that Canada was very vulnerable to the political instability of the Middle East. It was clear that as a nation we would have to achieve energy self-sufficiency. It was clear too that this country --

Mr. Bradley: They bought an oil company.

Hon. Mr. Welch: If my friend the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) will wait -- I will send him a copy of this if he cannot wait.

Mr. Smith: I've already read it. It's not worth the paper.

Hon. Mr. Welch: That just shows the openness of the present administration. The member had this in advance. I know the access he has to the gallery, because he is there constantly, always making sure they get his name spelled correctly, although I cannot see how they could misspell his name.

It was clear too that this country of ours had petroleum resources in abundance to achieve self-sufficiency but that Canada needed time to invest in new technology to develop its tar sands and frontier resources. Syncrude, Canada's second commercial tar sands plant, was in jeopardy because of the private sector companies which had withdrawn from the joint venture set up to construct the plant.

Mr. Smith: Suncor is not going out of business.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Well, why?


The Deputy Speaker: Order. Please allow the minister to complete his remarks.

Mr. Smith: Well, he is talking about Syncrude. This is about Suncor. Suncor is not going out of business. Suncor is making money.

The Deputy Speaker: I am sure he is going to make it tie in some way.

Hon. Mr. Welch: It is obvious that there is a bit of background, a little context that we want to establish here.


Hon. Mr. Welch: I thought they were the ones who wanted all the information and all the facts. Now they are trying to stifle debate in the House by their interjections. They shout like blazes to stifle some clear development here.

Mr. Smith: I can't hear you, Bob.

The Deputy Chairman: Order. Let's hear this.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Syncrude, Canada's second commercial tar sands plant, was in jeopardy because one of the private sector companies had to withdraw from the joint venture set up to construct the plant. As the Leader of the Opposition perhaps does not know, because I do not know whether he was even here then, Ontario, at the invitation of the government of Alberta and the other private sector companies involved in Syncrude, stepped in along with the federal government to fill the gap.

Our $100-million investment in Syncrude was criticized in this House, if one can believe it. It was criticized on the grounds that Ontario was being taken to the cleaners. Indeed, many of the same kinds of comments were expressed then as are being expressed today. It was the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald), if can one imagine it, who said, "The Premier has been taken." The then leader of the third party had much the same thing to say. The record speaks for itself as we talk about that investment.

Syncrude was built within three years. It has produced 77 million barrels of oil which, I remind the members of this House, is contributing to Canada's energy security -- oil that would not have been produced if governments, including this government, had not taken the courageous and far-sighted initiative to make that investment and to help make that happen.

Three years after our initial investment, when we had achieved our objective of saving the Syncrude project, we sold our interest in the plant for $160 million. After the Ontario Energy Corporation paid back the initial investment to the Treasurer with interest, the taxpayers of Ontario received a clear $35-million profit.

The issue is leadership, the ability to recognize reality for what it is and to act in a comprehensive and coherent way to place this province of ours in the best possible position in a very uncertain world, and not only to make decisions for today but to be bold enough to consider the needs of tomorrow as well.

9:20 p.m.

This government's record of leadership in energy, as in so many other fields, has been demonstrated time and time again. Whether it is investments in nuclear energy, in Syncrude, in energy conservation, in solar energy, in alternative transportation fuels or its effective policy initiatives in crude oil pricing, the province has played and continues to play a leadership role in energy in this country.

Mr. J. A. Reed: I can't swallow that.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Then I will excuse my friend.


The Acting Speaker Mr. Cousens): Order, please. The Minister of Energy has the floor.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I have spoken of reality. The reality is that Ontario is a resource-rich province almost totally dependent on other jurisdictions for its fossil fuels: oil, natural gas and coal. In fact, in 1980 Ontario purchased 75 per cent of its energy needs from others. That is the reality we face, and it is against that background that we developed our energy policy over the past 10 years or more.

Our policy has been and continues to be based on the premise that Ontario is part of the Canadian federation; that no province is really an island unto itself; that we cannot and must not build walls, as the Leader of the Opposition would have us build walls, to insulate ourselves from the abundant energy resources found in other parts of Canada.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Why don't you do your share for Canada, then?

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Welch: It is obvious that if the member for Halton-Burlington, who is the energy critic, really wanted to participate in this debate, he would have spoken to his leader and reserved some time to participate. Now he is trying to get into the debate by interjections. His leader has denied him an opportunity to participate; so why does he not just recognize that and listen?

The policy of Ontario is based squarely on the recommendations of the advisory committee on energy, Task Force Hydro, the McKeough energy report, the select committee on Ontario Hydro affairs and the Royal Commission on Electrical Power Planning. It is a policy that has allowed Ontario to benefit from relatively cheap nuclear power, from the foresight to establish the Ontario Energy Corporation, from our investments in Syncrude and Polar Gas and from lower gasoline, home heating oil and natural gas prices than otherwise would have occurred.

Our investment in Suncor follows in that tradition. It is a tradition with a proven track record. That the government has entered into this agreement should not come as a surprise to any informed observer of energy issues.

I wonder if I might have the permission of my colleagues at least to show why I do not think this should come as any surprise. Let us go back to October 10, 1980, a year ago or more. I had the opportunity to announce, and I am quoting, "that the Ontario Energy Corporation will actively seek opportunities to participate in the Canadianization of the oil and gas industry in line with the federal government's announced policy to reduce the level of foreign ownership in the industry." That is one year ago, October 10, in this House.

Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Just so the minister is not inadvertently misleading the House, I would like him to cite where he said that. I happen to have Hansard for October 10, 1980, in front of me. I happen to have the statement that he issued at that time, and it is not in that statement. Therefore, I would like the minister to cite the other statement he must have made that day --

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the honourable member's advisers or his research people have told him. I was asked that question about two weeks ago by his research staff. I told them it was a statement, and it was the energy note that was tabled along with that statement.

Mr. Foulds: It was tabled?

Hon. Mr. Welch: That is right -- tabled with the statement. There it is, right there all the time. I hope he takes that as --

Mr. Foulds: You didn't say it was just tabled.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I do not know what the communication is within that particular group, but that is exactly what happened. That is what it is, and it is dated; it goes back a year ago.

Mr. Smith: You didn't read those statements.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Welch: In the national energy program, released with the 1980 federal budget after my announcement of October 1980, the federal government's policy of Canadianization was reiterated, and new policy incentives were announced.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: On the bottom of page seven of the statement that the minister has just read, and I believe he said this exactly a moment ago, he said, "On October 10, 1980, I announced that," and he gave quotes, "the Ontario Energy Corporation" and so on. He made no such announcement.

There may have been a document in which, in the fine print, somewhere in the middle of the document, that may have been said. Such a document may have been tabled at the time of an announcement. Conceivably that paragraph may have been there. I have no idea. He did not put it in the compendium. He has never referred to it since. He did not announce it, and I would like him to change the word "announce" simply to say that he tabled a document in which there was a paragraph that said that.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Do members see what this illustrates? It illustrates that they have had all this, but here they are crying about not having enough material. I suggest to them that they have not even read the material they have. There is proof positive of the fact, because that has been around for a year and they have not even read it. It is in the annual report, the very annual report that they have referred to the standing committee of the Legislature. There it is, on page nine. They have not even read what they have.

Boy, we really are secretive! We really are hiding stuff from them! They do not even take the time to read it, and they are trying to fool the people of this province. They are trying to fool them on some phoney issue of disclosure when they have not even read the tons of stuff that have been sent to them already.

Where do we get this report? There it is, right on page nine. Can members imagine? That has been around for a year.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Is that the annual report of the Ontario Energy Corporation?

Hon. Mr. Welch: No. It is on page nine of the annual report of the Ministry of Energy for 1981.

Mr. Foulds: Page nine? Did the minister read that into the record?

Hon. Mr. Welch: No. What I read into the record was this.

Mr. Foulds: Oh, so you are re-reading it into the record now? Fine.

The Acting Speaker: Order, please. The Minister of Energy.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I will leave it for my honourable friend in the New Democratic Party who is my critic to admit to himself in the privacy of his own room what he has really read with this material.

Mr. Smith: When was this brought to your attention? At supper time? Be honest. When was this brought to your attention? At supper time?

The Acting Speaker: Order. The members will refrain from interjecting.

Mr. Smith: Malcolm brought it to your attention at supper time tonight.

Hon. Mr. Welch: But the Leader of the Opposition is admitting that he has not read it as of 9:30 tonight. He has not even read it yet.

The Acting Speaker: The interjections are not required within the debate. The Minister of Energy.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I can't believe it.


Hon. Mr. Welch: We will send them another truckful. That is what we will do.

Mr. Kerrio: What does this have to do with the Suncor purchase?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Oh, did the member not know that secrecy was part of the issue here? Why, I bet he has not even read the stuff that was filed as a compendium.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Kerrio: You haven't said a thing. This is a decoy and you know it.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I believe that. The whole secrecy issue is a decoy.

Mr. Kerrio: It has nothing to do with it.

Hon. Mr. Welch: That is right.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Stuart is going to find his researcher.

Hon. Mr. Welch: My word, I bet there will be some heads rolling in that reseach office tomorrow. Those fellows cannot even read reports.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I do not think they have any heads in their research office.

9:30 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, if I might get back to the continuity here: In the national energy program, released with the 1980 federal budget after my announcement of October 1980, the federal government's policy of Canadianization was reiterated and new policy incentives were announced.

As members will recall -- those who carefully read all this material will have read this -- as far as the federal government was concerned, one of the objectives of Energy Strategy for Canada, published in 1976, was to increase substantially Canadian ownership of the petroleum sector. This important national policy paper stated in addition:

"While there has been some reduction in the level of foreign ownership of the industry, the objectives have not been met. Perhaps due to a preoccupation with oil security objectives since the mid-1970s, the set of energy policy instruments has not been sufficiently conducive to increase Canadian ownership of the sector."

As members of this House will appreciate, the challenge of the 1970s was to ensure that the needs of Canadians as consumers were protected. Appropriate energy pricing and security policies were pressed vigorously during this period by the Premier of this province and successive Ministers of Energy.

Shortly after assuming this portfolio in September 1979, as many members will recall, but I am sure not all have read it, I issued a restatement of our position, called Energy Security for the Eighties: A Policy For Ontario. That happened to be two years ago.

Mr. Breaugh: How many years ago?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Two.

The major thrusts of that policy were adopted by the federal government in the national energy program. With the agreements with Alberta and other producing provinces, the fundamental objectives of our policy on pricing and security remain in place.

But if the interests of Canadians as energy consumers had been well protected during the 1970s, the interests of Canadians as owners -- and I underline that as a very important distinction -- of their energy resources lacked the same degree of attention.

The national energy program last October, a year ago, painted the picture starkly. I quote now from that policy: "By ignoring the problem of foreign ownership in the past, Canadians have lost a significant share of the benefits of having a strong resource base. If we fail to act now, Canadians will lose once again." That is the policy of the federal Liberal government of our country.

This federal policy paper goes on to describe the initiatives taken in other parts of the world to develop a largely domestically owned public sector role in the oil and gas industry. I think it is very important, both for the young people from Armourdale for all the rest of us in Ontario, to really understand what this policy means. "Within Canada," says the policy paper --

Mr. Mancini: You can't fool the young people of Armourdale. They can see through that concept.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Even my friend the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) will understand this, because he is a young man with a future.

Mr. Mancini: What a cheap shot.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I am not commenting on the future, but he is a young man.

I am now quoting from the national policy. This is our country.

Mr. Kerrio: And your friends.

Mr. Mancini: What does that have to do with the secret Suncor deal? Tell the people from Armourdale what that has to do with it.

Mr. Kerrio: Say it if you dare, "our friends in Ottawa."

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I am a Canadian; and after the people have spoken, one deals with the government of one's country.

The Acting Speaker: On the motion.

Mr. Smith: Why don't you tell Frank Miller that? He doesn't think much of it.

Hon. Mr. Welch: May I get back to quoting the national policy?

Mr. Smith: Is Frank Miller not a Canadian?

Hon. Mr. Welch: The member for Muskoka (Mr. F. S. Miller) is a great Canadian -- a great Canadian of Scottish background.

Mr. Kerrio: He's a Tory Canadian. He's not a pinko.

Mr. Smith: He disagrees totally with what the minister has just said.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Welch: May I plead with members just to grasp this in the context of the national policy. That policy paper goes on to describe the initiatives taken in other parts of the world to develop a larger domestically owned public sector role in the oil and gas industry. I want to quote from that paper, because I think it is very significant.

"Within Canada the provincial and federal governments moved in a similar fashion." Listen to this: "Most provincial governments have for years been directly involved in electrical generation. More recently, several provinces, including Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan, have established corporations partly or wholly owned by the provincial government with a mandate in oil and gas. The federal government created Petro-Canada."

This section of the national energy program concludes: "Governments the world over have recognized the uniqueness of the energy sector. Its dramatically increased importance in the economy requires special measures. Canada's rich energy strength makes the need to act even clearer. The structure of the energy sector will be a major factor shaping the structure of the Canadian economy. Canadians must play a greater role in this sector."

I think that is very important. If Canada's goals for ownership of our resources --

Mr. Breaugh: Where is the quote from Joe Clark? We are waiting. You remember him.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Will my friend not agree that if Canada's goals for ownership of our resources are to be achieved, Ontario is going to have to do its part? This is an area where we again are showing the leadership that is the hallmark of this government. Our policy is based on some fundamental principles, including the goal of Canadian crude oil self-sufficiency by 1990, rejecting world oil prices, a benchmark for pricing Canadian crude oil and increased Canadian ownership of the oil and gas industry.

Mr. Breaugh: What does Joe Clark say about that?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Ontario's energy policy is backed up, as the member for Oshawa will know, by many specific and broadly based programs.

If I may, I want to give some indication of what we have done during the last 18 months: (1) on the subject of heat saved, a five-year, 60-community, $5-million program of aerial thermography and home energy audits; (2) a $75-million, five-year program to stimulate the development and marketing of alternative transportation fuels in the province; (3) a $50-million, five-year program to accelerate solar energy programs across the province.

But that is not all. Ontario has set up specific energy security targets to support the province's goal of crude oil self-sufficiency for Canada by 1990, and we have all those facts and figures to share with the House at any time. It is obvious this province of ours has a comprehensive, coherent energy policy because this party in government has shown foresight and, above all, has shown some leadership in this area.

Interestingly enough, Ontario's policies have been adopted by others and now form a significant component of national energy policy. Ontario's policies have saved Ontario consumers billions of dollars.

I wonder if I may be permitted to deal briefly with a further allegation of the Leader of the Opposition, contained in the motion and elsewhere, to the effect that the investment in Suncor could be better employed in energy substitution programs, specifically alcohol production. This allegation presumably is based on the Liberal Party's fuel alcohol policy statement released in the dying days prior to March 19, 1981. Let us talk about it.

Mr. Mitchell: What did it say?

Hon. Mr. Welch: I am glad my friend asked. I just happen to have it here.

Mr. Cooke: Were they not going to nationalize Chrysler on that one?

9:40 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Those were desperation days. I forgot which day it was. The proposed policy is seriously wanting, it is narrow in scope and if it were to be pursued could be highly dangerous for the energy security of this province.

The Leader of the Opposition, may I remind the member, wants us to gamble. He talks about speculation. He is inviting the people of Ontario to gamble that methanol, using wood as a feedstock, will be a viable alternative to 50 per cent of our gasoline needs by 1995.

Mr. Mancini: Why can they do it in Brazil?

Hon. Mr. Welch: I will talk about that.

At this time -- and I underline this -- there are no commercial-scale alcohol plants of the type envisaged by the Leader of the Opposition operating anywhere in the world.

Mr. J. A. Reed: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I just want to point out to the honourable members of this House that there is a point at which one begins to do something.

The Acting Speaker: Your point of order?

Mr. J. A. Reed: Yes, I would like to make my point of order. In North Carolina, a consortium of companies and investors known as Peat Methanol Associates has prepared a feasibility study for the production of 614 tons per day. Construction will begin in 1982, and production will begin in 1984. I want to say one thing further. If the minister does not understand what Professor Morris Wayman is doing with power alcohol production in western Canada, he does not know what is going on in the country.

The Acting Speaker: The Minister of Energy has the floor.

Hon. Mr. Welch: At this time, Mr. Speaker, there are no commercial-scale alcohol plants of the type envisaged by the Leader of the Opposition operating everywhere in the world. Yet he would have us pursue alcohol, particularly methanol from wood as an alternative fuel to the exclusion of all others. Certainly there is a place for --

Mr. Mancini: That is incorrect.

Mr. Smith: We never said to the exclusion.

Mr. J. A. Reed: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: Neither my leader nor this party has ever advocated fuel alcohol production to the exclusion of any other energy resource. Speech after speech in this House by the energy critic has stated time and time again that energy has to be developed in Ontario on the broadest possible base.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, on that point of explosive privilege, may I say quickly there is certainly a place for alcohol and there is a place for alcohol in Ontario's transportation future. I expect to make an announcement setting out the details of a comprehensive alcohol program in the very near future.

Mr. Kerrio: Why would you do it if you do not have any confidence in it?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Wait a minute. The whole point is about to be made consistent with what the interjection was suggesting. In my view, alcohol for transportation will continue to be only one among a broad range of alternatives, which will include propane, electricity, compressed natural gas and hydrogen.

Finally, it is alleged that the money to purchase Suncor will be better used, says the honourable the Leader of the Opposition, to provide additional financial support for health, educational and industrial revitalization. It is further alleged that this investment does not add one additional barrel of oil or provide one job in Ontario.

Mr. J. A. Reed: That's right. That's what the Premier (Mr. Davis) said.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Does the member want to restate that just before the axe drops? Does he want to state that again?

Mr. Smith: The axe is dropping on your own foot, my friend. I read your speech, and that is all that is being hit by it.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Halton-Burlington. Is this a point of privilege?

Mr. J. A. Reed: Well, the minister has asked me to restate it. I just want him to know I was at the press conference when the Premier said there would be no new industry in Ontario as a result --

The Acting Speaker: Thank you. The honourable minister will please respond to the motion.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I really have been trying to. Let us take a look at these claims against the background of that further interjection from a member who has been denied --

Mr. Smith: Frank Miller said there were no jobs in oil.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Well, let us take a look at the claims. As with so many of the opposition's allegations, they happen to be without foundation. An opportunity such as the Suncor investment is a very important one. If we fail to recognize and take advantage of this opportunity, the people of this province are going to be the losers.

Mr. J. A. Reed: We asked how.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Just lean back and listen. Suncor provides the province with a considerable number of benefits, not the least of which is that it starts the Canadianization process of a company which to this point has been 99.8 per cent foreign-owned. Ontario, through the Ontario Energy Corporation, has agreed to purchase 25 per cent of equity shares of Suncor for $650 million. The purchase involves the payment of 50 per cent cash and 50 per cent by way of a 10-year note from Sun Company.

Mr. Smith: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: We have repeatedly asked the Minister of Energy whether the second half of the purchase would be by way of notes back to Suncor, whether it would have to be paid for out of profits and deferred dividends or in any way out of money made from the company itself. We have pointed out that, if that is the case, the 75 per cent shareholder would have to get three times as much profit taken out of the country. The minister has always said that has still not been decided.

Now he is standing up again today and saying what the Premier originally said, even though he has repeatedly refused to answer in this House how they are going to buy the second half. He is back to his original story now, and he has to answer the question as to whether the dividends will flow south of the border.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you. The Minister of Energy.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I will start from the beginning again. Ontario, through the Ontario Energy Corporation, has agreed to purchase 25 per cent of equity shares of Suncor for $650 million. The purchase involves the payment of 50 per cent cash and 50 per cent by way of a 10-year note to the Sun Company.

The terms of the debt, however, are subject to more favourable financing being arranged prior to closing. As a result of the negotiations with the Ontario Energy Corporation, the Sun Company has agreed that it will use its best efforts to sell another 26 per cent of Suncor shares to Canadians. If it does not achieve that objective by 1986, the Ontario Energy Corporation has an opportunity to negotiate in two stages a further purchase of 26 per cent of Suncor shares.

The Sun Company has also agreed that Suncor shares will be offered to the Canadian public. As well, it has been agreed that Suncor will undertake an aggressive exploration and development program. The interests of this province with Suncor will be advanced by its proportion of representation on the Suncor board and, as well, this investment permits Ontario to have greater influence in national energy policy-making, influence and leverage we would not otherwise have if we were not in an active position in the oil and gas scene.

Ontario, as I hardly need to remind members of this House, neither makes the rules governing the oil industry nor regulates those rules. Therefore, as the rules of the energy game change, Ontario has to find other ways to influence national energy policy.

The Suncor purchase enables this province to have greater sensitivity to the fast-changing energy scene, to have a seat at tables that otherwise would be denied to it and, as a result, to advance further the interests of the consumers of Ontario in energy matters.

As well, the Canadianization of Suncor enhances Canada's security of energy supply, as it will enable that company to take advantage of the new incentives for the development of unconventional oil resources. Such incentives are now denied to Suncor because it is foreign-owned.

The point I have just made is graphically borne out by comments made just today by the president of Suncor, Mr. Ross Hennigar, when he told a meeting of petroleum analysts in New York that Suncor's capital spending will average $500 million a year over the next three years, more than double the amount projected for 1981. Mr. Hennigar stated that there is a good future for energy development in Canada, provided the developing companies are Canadian-controlled. The prospects for oil and gas companies in Canada that remain foreign- controlled, he says, are anything but good.

9:50 p.m.

With respect to the employment implications in Ontario, if one examines carefully that news release dated today, November 19, which was issued, I see here, at 11:30 -- and I am very surprised that the Leader of the Opposition has not made reference to it already -- one sees that he goes on to make a reference that I think is of interest to Ontario, because included in these investments is the Samia refinery. We see that some $350 million is to be spent in Sarnia. It is estimated this will involve 1,000 direct construction jobs at the Suncor refinery at the height of the project, not taking into account the multiplier effect for suppliers. Is that not interesting for Ontario?

Mr. Smith: They were going to have to repair that anyway. Do you think they are going to do that because you bought in? Do you think they were going to continue to let it go to ruin if you hadn't bought in? Tell the truth, will you.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Read it there. He says all this is made possible because Canadianization plans for his company are well under way, and we are involved in that. It is a very positive step.

Our Suncor purchase is a good investment for Ontario and its taxpayers. Suncor is Canada's fifth largest fully integrated oil company, with interests in the oil sands, frontier lands, oil and gas production in western Canada, more than 900 retail distribution outlets in Ontario and Quebec, an Ontario-based refiner and an Ontario-based petrochemical company. For every dollar invested in oil and gas exploration in western Canada, 42 cents is spent right here in Ontario. Let us not overlook that, I say to the Leader of the Opposition. So, by any measure, an active, vibrant oil and gas industry means jobs and income in Ontario.

The business of government involves making judgements about a multitude of competing demands. If this province does not build and grow, if we do not seize opportunities as they come along, then wealth will not be generated in this province for hospitals, schools or social services. It is not a question of choosing between an investment in Suncor and other desirable objectives; it is a question of creating opportunities so that today's and tomorrow's generations can have the services that will enhance the quality of their lives.

Ontario cannot afford to gamble on our energy future. We can and should invest wisely in that future. May I suggest, as my time expires, that Suncor is a very wise and timely investment.

The Deputy Speaker: I see no members to my immediate left --

Mr. Mackenzie: They have used all their time.

Mr. Smith: We used up our time, and the Tories used up their time. It is just the NDP that is left.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I do not know how an ordinary citizen like myself -- and that is exactly how I class myself, with a family and the usual bills -- can take this debate here tonight very seriously. I find that a little bit sad. I do not know what the Minister of Energy proved with some of his performance a few minutes earlier other than that he could put on as good an act as we saw from the leader of the Liberal Party in his presentation. We seem to have a real bunch of hams at it tonight.

I want to deal first with the Liberal so-called no-confidence motion. As far as I am concerned, it is an absolute farce. The Liberals say one thing in their motion when they clearly mean something else altogether, and the subterfuge is typically Liberal. I wonder how they can make the argument they are making over Suncor, or use Suncor as the excuse.

I was out in Saskatchewan in 1971 when we took that government back, and I was amazed at the kind of arguments we were getting from the Liberal Party in Saskatchewan. They were almost identical to what we were hearing today from the leader of the Liberal Party in Ontario. Out there they were not making sense about the benefits of public ownership, and we were dealing with potash at the time. I remember a few years back, when that party would not support the ownership of Denison in terms of the supply of uranium for our nuclear reactors in this province.

The Liberals talk about the lack of information to support the proper evaluation of a 25 per cent purchase. To that extent, they are accurate. There has not been enough information given in this House, in spite of what the Minister of Energy would like to have us believe. It is equally true that there is not enough information to reject it either. I think most people in this House understand that.

I am not really sure what happened with some of the Conservative back-benchers. Some of them were upset, and they had a briefing session. If we are to believe the Minister of the Energy, that they got no more information than was already available to us, they were seduced very cheaply.

The overwhelming need for additional support, as is pointed out in the Liberal motion, for health, education, industrial revitalization and energy substitution can be accepted on its own, but it is such a grab-bag of needs, and all supposedly from the $650 million we might save if we did not go ahead with Suncor, that it cannot be considered a credible argument in terms of a no-confidence motion.

I am surprised they did not add to the grab-bag list so that they might cast their net a little further by adding day care, environmental measures, small business relief or interest subsidies. It might have made more sense when they were casting their net to try to use an argument to support their no-confidence motion.

The intent is obvious. They would like to hook in the NDP. They would like to hook in every other group in the community that is concerned with their budgetary problems. Also, I have no disagreement with the loss of confidence in this government, except that I did not have any to start with. I doubt if many of us do.

Mr. Kerrio: Bob, who are you going to vote for?

Mr. Swart: Vince, you are to the right of the Tories.

The Deputy Speaker: Order. I remind the colleagues of the member who is speaking that they are making it very difficult for the chair to listen to his remarks. Will you please refrain?

Mr. Mackenzie: The government's inability to deal with the real problems in Ontario, whether it is interest, unemployment, plant closures or the medical and social needs of its people, has simply confirmed the government's incompetence and the fact that nobody in his right mind can have any confidence in this government.

I suspect they are on the same road as Manitoba. They may have a little more finesse than the Manitoba Tories, but I suspect they are also going to see the same results before too long.

This motion is about none of these things: the lack of information, the need for funding for other measures or the lack of confidence in the government. When the Liberals in their motion make the comment that "instead of the commitment of $650 million to the Suncor purchase ... " they tell it all as far as I am concerned. They do not have the guts to speak the truth.

What they are saying, very clearly and very loudly, is, "We do not agree with public ownership in the resource field, and let us not allow this to be the thin edge of the wedge." Instead, they use a back-door opposition to move a no-confidence motion, not putting on record clearly what their position is, which is a disagreement with this kind of public ownership. Instead, they are trying to use it as a tool to move no confidence in the government.

10 p.m.

I really wonder how they can be at such odds with their federal brothers, who had the courage, albeit with our prodding, to go ahead with Petrocan. I find the Liberal members so far right in their position that they put Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan to shame. I think their irrelevance matches that of the Liberals in Manitoba. But I doubt if that reminder will help a bit, because I suspect that any such reminder is lost on the kind of ideologues we have in the Liberal caucus.

The tragedy of the government position on this is the equal amount of phoniness we find in it. The 25 per cent purchase they are talking about gives us nothing concrete in this province and could very well be a financial bonanza to the Suncor company. Certainly, it helps them in terms of trying to achieve the better than 50 per cent Canadianization so they can benefit from some of the federal moneys available.

That in itself is not enough reason for the purchase. Canadianization is not public ownership of a natural resource that we could put to good use for the people in this province. I wonder what is in it for the Premier and the Tory party in Ontario. I wonder if he wants to be a player on the national scene. Maybe he has federal ambitions. Who knows?

In this party, the ownership and control of our resources, with the returns coming to the benefit of the people of the province, is what we are all about and what majority public ownership is all about in Ontario.

One only has to take a look at some of the areas where we have moved, and I think the potash industry in Saskatchewan is a prime example where it has really paid off in terms of the people. In terms of procedure, I think if the government is going to move into effective planning and public participation in the resource industry in this province and in this country, then it has to be honest with the people up front and lay out the problems and the potential benefits; it has to lay out the information.

If the government and the energy minister of the province had done that, instead of the secrecy we have seen -- what almost appears to be connivance in terms of the arrangement the opposition cannot get hold of -- we would have been on the road to some positive move into the public ownership field. Instead, by the way he has handled it, he has made it a dirty thing in this House.

We do not have all of the facts. The Conservative motivation is unknown; and that is pretty obvious, because the philosophy of public ownership is so alien to so many of them.

I cannot have any faith in this government, but that does not mean the Suncor purchase is not a good idea. It does not mean it is wrong. It should be 51 per cent. It should be public ownership. It could be a super move, but I have not been able to convince my colleagues of the phoniness of the Liberal position in this House.


The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Honour- able colleagues, the chair is having great difficulty listening to the honourable member make his remarks. If you could refrain slightly on interjections, we would appreciate it.

Mr. Mackenzie: Simply because I have not been able to convince my own colleagues of the phoniness of the Liberal no-confidence motion, I do not intend to vote for the motion. I would not vote against my colleagues -- in six years I have not done it -- but I simply tell the members that as far as I am concerned it is a pox on both of your houses, because I cannot have confidence in this government. That motion is so phoney it does not deserve the respect of a motion in the House. It does not deserve the respect of any member in this House. It is just phoney from the word go.

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I will speak briefly on the motion because --

The Deputy Speaker: Order. I have the microphone. There was some indication that the party on my immediate right has used up its time now.


The Deputy Speaker: I am looking to the House leaders, of whom I see two here, the member for Scarborough North (Mr. Wells) and the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon). I have not been --

Mr. Nixon: If they have three minutes, they can be our guests.

The Deputy Speaker: We are wasting more time.

Mr. Nixon: They don't have any time left. Let's hear the NDP position.

The Deputy Speaker: All right, there seems to be an agreement that if the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) is going to be speaking, then, as the member for Port Arthur indicated, the time frame will be a little later than was indicated.


The Deputy Speaker: Well, is that we are going to do? I am at the mercy of the House.

Mr Foulds: On that point of order, it is my understanding there was an agreement to split the time. It is my understanding the Clerk's table did not take the time, because they did not receive instructions properly to do that.

Mr. Nixon: On the point of order, I have kept track of the time, and all the rest of the time until 10:15 is NDP time. We would like to hear the third party's position from them.

The Deputy Speaker: Any comment from the House leader? No? Well then, the member for Algoma.

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I was beginning to say that I was rising to participate in this debate briefly so that there would also be time for our energy critic, the member from Port Arthur. It is obvious what the position of the New Democratic Party is in relation to this motion.

Mr. Nixon: Some are for and some are against.

Mr. Wildman: We have very little confidence in this government. There is no question about that, and that is not a new position, surprising as it may seem to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk.

Mr. Nixon: Are you going to take a walk too?

Mr. Wildman: No, I am not. I am going to participate in this debate.

The debate in this motion, as I understand it, is about confidence in the government, confidence in the policy of this government in terms of Suncor. It might be argued that we, as a party that does believe in public ownership and does believe in public participation in the resource industries, should be supportive of the government in its purchase of 25 per cent of Suncor. The point is, however, that this government, if it has done anything, has given public ownership and the process of buying into the resource sector a bad name. The fact is, it could have got involved in the resource industries of this province and it has chosen not to.

It has chosen to move into the oil industry, which, frankly, will give us some return on the transfer of wealth as a result of the Alberta-Ottawa oil pricing agreement, which is acceptable. Unfortunately it is leaving the control of the company in the hands of the American parent firm; the government does not have any real say.

The arguments given by the Premier as to why the government should become involved in the industry related to a window on the industry, related to security of energy in the future for Ontario, and also related to exploration for Ontario, perhaps in the frontier lands in the Hudson Bay area. We all know that all those arguments applied earlier and still do apply to public ownership in most of the resources, specifically in the resources related to energy in terms of uranium in Ontario. At the time of the Wellesley report and the deal with Stephen Roman and his friends, the government chose not to accept that position. Now it is accepting it.

It does not wish, however, as it did at that time, to share the information with the public. It will not tell us how it came to the conclusion this was going to benefit it or benefit the people of Ontario. It will not tell us whether the 25 per cent is a deal that is worthwhile. It will not tell us if it even considered 51 per cent or controlling interest. It will not tell us why it has chosen to get a little piece of the action but not enough to have any real say in what this company does in terms of the development of the oil industry in this country.

10:10 p.m.

We do not accept the argument that a government should fear knowledge, should fear giving information to the public. We cannot accept that. We cannot accept the argument by the Minister of Energy that McLeod Young Weir's advice that it was a good investment was good advice but he cannot share it with us. We cannot be left with idle speculation as to the reasoning behind the decision that it was 25 per cent as opposed to 30 per cent or 35 per cent, or why it is enough to have a minority interest in a company and not to have real control, not to have some say in what a company does.

I reject the arguments used by the members of the official opposition that $650 million should not have been used. We do not know whether it should have been used or not. We do not know whether it should have been used in a different way. We do not know whether more money should have been invested. We do not know whether this was enough.

I have no confidence in the way this government operates and certainly no confidence in the way this government becomes involved in the industry.


The Deputy Speaker: I will ask the government House leader how we work this out. What is the rationale of this?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, in consultation with several of my colleagues who have been here, I have been informed that my colleague the Minister of Energy took 42 minutes and there are three minutes more to which this party is entitled. I am also informed the Leader of the Opposition took 50 minutes. All I am saying is, I would submit to you that the member for Scarborough Centre should have three minutes.

The Deputy Speaker: While the House leader has the floor, it is my understanding there was agreement between all parties to take 45 minutes each and that the vote would be taking place in another three minutes.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, the Liberals went over on their time, and our timing shows the Conservatives went over to 49 minutes. Will you let us have the last few minutes to let our energy spokesman speak, and will you tell those characters over there who want to create a farce out of tonight to sit down?

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. To have a compromise would we allow --


The Deputy Speaker: Order. Would you allow me my proposed compromise, which is that the member for Port Arthur should have two minutes and the minister two minutes?

Mr. Foulds: Three minutes, Mr. Speaker. If the government House leader and the Liberal House leader want to bring this place into a chaotic state, they can continue to break the agreements that were made among the House leaders, as they are trying to do tonight.

The Deputy Speaker: Order. Would the member for Port Arthur agree to two minutes? You only had three left anyway. Then we will hear from the minister for two minutes.

Mr. Foulds: I will take three.

The Deputy Speaker: All right. Will you take three and the minister take three? Agreed.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I regret the pull of the debate tonight, because we have before us a serious question indeed, which has been dealt with frivolously by this House.

I am a great admirer of the minister. He is a man of great skill, but he is also perhaps the most artful dodger this House has seen. This debate is not about Suncor; this debate is about confidence. This party has no confidence in that government or the official opposition. We are voting no confidence in this government because the minister is a confidence man; because he has given, it is true, bushels of information but he has not given us the truth.

We have before us a choice. We in this party believe in public ownership, but this is not public ownership, this is a fraud. Putting those beggars over there in charge of public ownership is like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank. This is state capitalism of the worst sort. This is state capitalism that props up the capitalism of the private sector and drains the public treasury.

What I object to is the rewriting of policy that the minister is attempting to do. In the obscure pages of his energy notes he did not announce this thing, this acquisition of a private oil company, as one of his 10 key points. He now makes that a primary part of his energy strategy. He has no energy strategy; it is an ad hoc matter.

The Deputy Speaker: One minute.

Mr. Foulds: Either the government is stupid, because it acquired the oil company without the kind of detailed study Hydro did to acquire the uranium industry -- which it then rejected because of its ideological straitjacket -- or it is secretive and it did that study and is not releasing it to the public.

When this party becomes the government in 1985, when we take the uranium mines under public ownership, we will be frank and open with the people of this province. We will reveal to them the reasons and the documentation on why we take things like the uranium industry and Inco into public ownership, and we will demonstrate why that is good for the province economically, why it is good for the province socially and why it will create full employment in this province.

The Deputy Speaker: Time. Now the Minister of Community and Social Services for three minutes.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I regret tonight that a very considerable portion of the motion of no confidence has barely been discussed in this House. Perhaps it is because the portion dealing with social services in their broadest aspect was thrown in merely as a political ploy to try to trap those on the left into supporting a rather meaningless and ineffective motion by the Liberal Party.

The ability of this province to continue the finest social service programs in the world and to sustain a sensitive and humane society depends on our ability to pay the cost of a presence that is genuinely helpful to people who are genuinely in need. Not to seize the opportunity to sustain this ability for the economy to generate additional revenues from which social funds flow would be virtually criminal. As a matter of fact, it would be a very serious dereliction of duty to the very vulnerable in our society, who will continue to look to government for social programs -- be they education, be they health, be they in the area of direct social programs -- for their access to the opportunity of the province of opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, I remind you that 65 cents on the dollar of the provincial government budget goes to social services, and there are --

The Deputy Speaker: One minute.

Mr. Smith: It goes to interest on the public debt.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Well, I will tell the Leader of the Opposition, he is showing more sex appeal tonight than he did for 45 days when he travelled the province with all the appeal of a wet grape.

Mr. Smith: On a point of privilege: I have to admit there is no one more expert on wet grapes than the minister who has just spoken on the matter.

10:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Drea: He is the first one since Lenin who travelled the province in a sealed compartment. That was by his own choice.

The Deputy Speaker: Ten seconds.

Some hon. members: Three, two, one, blast off.

Mr. Nixon: Time is up.

The Deputy Speaker: Order, order, order. With all due respect, he did not get his 10 seconds in. Now come on, here it goes. Ten seconds.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, there is one thing that should be very clearly on the record: If we are to continue spending two out of every three cents on the dollar to make this the province of opportunity, then we must seize the opportunity to generate an economy that will continue to generate those funds.

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


Boudria, Bradley, Breaugh, Breithaupt, Bryden, Cassidy, Charlton, Cooke, Copps, Cunningham, Di Santo, Eakins, Elston, Epp, Foulds, Grande, Kerrio, Laughren, Mancini, McClellan, McEwen, McGuigan, McKessock, Miller, G. I.; Newman, Nixon, O'Neil, Philip, Reed, J. A., Ruston, Samis, Smith, Spensieri, Stokes, Swart, Van Horne, Wildman, Worton, Wrye.


Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Birch, Brandt, Cousens, Cureatz, Davis, Dean, Drea, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kells, Kennedy, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk;

MacQuarrie, McCaffrey, McCague, McLean, McMurtry, McNeil, Miller, F. S., Mitchell, Norton, Piché, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Robinson, Rotenberg, Scrivener, Sheppard, Shymko, Snow, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wiseman, Yakabuski.

Ayes 39; nays 66.

The House adjourned at 10:33 p.m.