The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: I would like to draw the honourable members' attention to the presence of a distinguished guest in the person of Professor Martin Gilbert, fellow of Merton College, Oxford University. Professor Gilbert is the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill and is a guest of the Committee for Soviet Jewry. Professor Gilbert is an official observer in the Soviet Union for the World Conference on Soviet Jewry, Jerusalem, 1983.
I had the pleasure of meeting Professor Gilbert at lunch today, and on behalf of all members I would ask you to join with me in recognizing Professor Gilbert in the Speaker's gallery.
Mr. Newman: Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, May 29, the Ukrainian-Canadian community will gather to commemorate a horrific event in the history of the Ukraine. It was 50 years ago today, during the winter, spring and early summer of 1933, that the southern portion of the Soviet Union was ravaged by one of the worst famines of all time, yet this fact remains barely known today other than by the Ukrainian communities all over the world.
The great famine of 1933, when over seven million Ukrainians died, was not the result of a drought, a flood or a blight; rather, it was the result of a tyrannical regime's decision to break the back of a people. History is its own judge, but this unknown holocaust cries out for atonement.
As one who is proud of his Ukrainian heritage from my mother's side and saddened by the suffering of the Ukraine, I ask that all members of this House join in condemning this atrocity, this sin against humanity.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has not changed its use of terror as a weapon to subjugate peoples and nations. Afghanistan and Poland are only the two most recent examples. I, like my Ukrainian forebears, believe the spirit of a people cannot be crushed and that the Ukraine will not be Russified or assimilated. Slava Ukraina.
I am proud to have my leader, the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson), represent my caucus at the remembrance day rally to he held at Nathan Phillips Square on Sunday, May 29.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order regarding the annual reports of the registrar under the Loan and Trust Corporations Act.
Section 150 of the act requires the registrar to prepare an annual report for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, which "report shall be printed and published forthwith after completion."
Standing order 33 requires: "Ministers shall present all reports required by statute within six months of the close of the reporting period unless reasons for delay are given to the House." The last annual report of the registrar of loan and trust corporations tabled in this House is for the calendar year 1979.
On January 26, 1983, the registrar advised the chairman of the standing committee on administration of justice that, under the Loan and Trust Corporations Act, "the tabling of the 1980 annual report was not carried out in accordance with normal practice."
The registrar then undertook to make arrangements with the minister to have this done. The 1981 report was still at the printer in January. The minister's failure to refile these reports was pointed out to the Speaker on April 25, 1983. He said he was sure the minister responsible would take the action as requested. He has not done so.
I am recently advised by staff of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations that the 1981 report has been received from the printer but is not available and is under lock and key until it is presented to this House by the minister responsible.
I call on the Speaker to remind the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) of his obligation to present the 1980 and 1981 reports of the registrar under the Loan and Trust Corporations Act to this House forthwith. I submit that no reason for further delay in presenting these reports is tenable, given that both reports are available in the final printed version.
I am asking the Speaker to use his good offices to make sure the rules of this House and the statutes of this House are upheld.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure the Leader of the Opposition knows the minister responsible is in attendance, has taken full note of his remarks and, it is hoped, will act according.
Mr. Peterson: You said that a couple of months ago.
Mr. Speaker: We did indeed, but I do not have the authority to force him to table that document.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
SEED POTATO UPGRADING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, the extent and value of agriculture in northern Ontario is probably not well known in southern Ontario.
Mr. Stokes: How about a northern trip?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Come on up; come to Minaki.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think I have their attention. Talk about northern Ontario, Mr. Speaker, and they get all excited and jump right up.
Besides being world leaders in the resource fields of mining and forestry, many northern Ontarians are also cultivators of crops and raisers of livestock. The value of sales for agricultural products in northern Ontario last year was $95 million. There are over 4,200 farms in the north with over 650,000 acres of improved farm land. Farm capital in the north, including lands, buildings, machinery and livestock, is estimated at $740 million.
It is a tribute to the effort and tenacity of our early and present-day farmers in the north that such areas as Rainy River, the Timiskaming clay belt and Manitoulin Island are able to contribute to Ontario's overall farm production to this extent. The growing season is shorter in the north and the obstacles to farm development greater. The farmers of northern Ontario have accomplished a lot but the potential for development is even greater; this is where the government has a role to play.
My colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) has stated that there exist some three million acres of unused potential crop land in northern Ontario. Through programs such as the northern Ontario rural development agreement -- NORDA, as it is known -- our two ministries are providing assistance to farmers for land clearing and tile drainage to bring more of this crop land under cultivation. We have also made grants for the application of new agricultural technology in the north -- superior crop varieties, more-efficient forage systems, new types of barns and silos, and so on.
Today I am pleased to announce that with the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development -- members opposite will recognize it as BILD -- our two ministries will be supporting the construction of a seed potato upgrading and distribution unit at the New Liskeard College of Agricultural Technology. The SPUD program, as it will be known, is a $1-million venture that will have the goal of supplying enough early generation, disease-free seed potato stock by 1987 to produce 80 per cent of the province's seed potato needs.
Mr. Laughren: We will need a food terminal pretty soon.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes; that is next.
The provision of these seed potatoes to Ontario growers could result in the generation of an additional $3.2 million a year in seed potato sales throughout the province. In northern Ontario the program could add another 20 new growers to the local seed potato industry and add about $800,000 annually in gross farm income.
Mr. Sargent: Send us a copy of this.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Are the members opposite not interested in agriculture in northern Ontario? They are not interested in anything that goes on in northern Ontario. That is why they have no seats there.
Mr. Boudria: You are not even interested.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: We are doing things --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Would the minister please ignore the interjections?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The importance of the SPUD program to the province is appreciated when one considers that at present no base generation seed potatoes are produced commercially in Ontario. Each year about $4 million worth of seed potatoes are imported into Ontario. The New Liskeard facility and the expansion of our homegrown seed potato industry will thus assure Ontario growers of a secure supply.
Even more important, from my admittedly biased point of view, is the contribution the SPUD program will be making to the accelerating growth of northern Ontario agriculture and the development of its economy.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food, who is in New Liskeard this afternoon, has asked me to convey to members the announcement of a major addition to the existing education building at the New Liskeard College.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: More good things for the north and members opposite will not listen; they are not interested.
This capital works project, funded again by BILD, is part of the new job creation initiative announced by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) in his May 10 budget. The building will include all administrative and teacher offices, a 35-seat lab, the library, including the northern Ontario resource centre, a 150-seat lecture theatre, three classrooms totalling 160 seats, and student meeting rooms. This project will go to tender in August and construction is scheduled to start in October of this year.
STUDY OF MORTALITY OF MINERS
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I would like to table a report entitled A Study of Mortality of Ontario Miners 1955-1977, Part 1. This report is an extension of a pilot mortality study of uranium miners, published in 1974, and the studies carried out for the 1976 report of the Royal Commission on the Health and Safety of Workers in Mines. Subsequently it was decided to broaden these epidemiological studies to include all types of miners.
The report I am tabling today, which has been cosponsored and funded by my ministry, the Workers' Compensation Board and the Atomic Energy Control Board, is the first part of that expanded study. I would like to acknowledge the excellent work of the authors, whose activities were directed by Dr. Jan Muller.
The report covers some 50,000 miners and analyses the causes of approximately 6,700 deaths among that cohort between the years 1955 and 1977. It is, as members will observe, a lengthy, technical document and the principal findings are not easily summarized in a short statement. In general terms, it concludes the mortality rate of miners as a whole is not markedly at variance with mortality rates in the industrial population at large. In the words of the report:
"In most cohort mortality studies on industrial populations using general population data as a standard for comparison, fewer deaths from the various causes are observed than are expected. As a result of the healthy worker effect, mortality rates in industrial populations usually range from 60 to 90 per cent of that in the general population. A healthy worker effect was observed in all groups of Ontario miners for most of the causes of death. Fewer deaths were actually observed than expected, based on the Ontario population."
None the less, there are findings which are exceptions to this general conclusion and which merit particular attention. For example, the report confirms an increased incidence of lung cancer among the uranium miners, a conclusion first reached in the 1974 pilot study. In addition, an increased risk of lung cancer was observed among underground gold miners. While the absolute number of deaths from this cause is not in percentage terms large, it is significantly higher than would be expected in the general male population.
Similar statistical findings are made with respect to deaths from silicosis and from silico-tuberculosis in certain cohorts, although generally speaking in those cases the majority of deaths occurred before 1969. In recent years the number of new cases of silicosis has declined markedly. Finally, by way of summary, the report reveals a higher-than-expected incidence of accidental deaths among miners from both occupational and nonoccupational causes.
There is no doubt that further work is required in all these areas to determine, to the extent possible, causative factors, and to develop even more effective preventive strategies than are now in place. While the study does indicate the need for further work, it is important to put the findings in perspective.
For one thing, the study examines a group of men who for the most part worked in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Conditions in the mines have changed markedly since then. Time does not permit a detailed recitation of the positive remedial steps taken with respect to dust conditions, improved ventilation, more effective inspection, survey activities and the like. Few would deny that substantial improvements have been made, especially since Dr. Ham's report in 1976.
in addition to the actions taken by the mine operators themselves, the government has taken significant steps to improve its inspection, monitoring and enforcement capabilities. I refer in particular to the consolidation of all the government's health and safety capabilities in one ministry, to the passage of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 1978, to the complete revision of the mining regulations with the active assistance of labour and management, and to the Burkett inquiry in 1981 resulting in a set of safety recommendations, the majority of which have been effectively implemented.
Despite these achievements, it is important in matters involving health and safety not to be complacent. I therefore do not wish to give the impression the government will cease to be vigilant in this criticial area of public policy. Indeed, the publication of this report is evidence of our continuing concern and determination to pursue the particular issues to which I have referred.
The second phase of the study, which is already under way, will take into account other important issues such as smoking habits and the evaluation of the lung cancer deaths by cell type, as part of our continuing attempt to pin down with more precision the causal factors of industrial disease among miners. The report on the next phase of the study is expected early next year.
As for the immediate future, I wish to advise the House that a meeting has been scheduled for mid-June with representatives of the employers and the workers in order to enable the authors of the study to elaborate on their findings. This meeting will enable industry, labour and government to continue their co-operative efforts in this important field and to begin to formulate appropriate responses to the issues which the report has identified as requiring further attention.
Finally, I would advise that Dr. Jan Muller is in the Legislature today and, following question period, would be prepared to discuss the report with any honourable members who wish to do so for further clarification.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the minister responsible for women's issues. Given the minister's great intelligence network, he will no doubt be aware by now of the suggestion from our party and the recommendations of the Women's Perspective Advisory Committee with respect to the control of pornography in this province. I know the minister has had a chance to review this; if he has not, I will send him a copy.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I have one.
Mr. Peterson: I knew you would have it.
Is the minister prepared to recommend to his colleagues -- because there is a variety of ministers involved in this matter -- that Ontario must become involved in the regulation of videotapes, given the explosion of pornography that has come through that mechanism in the last year or two? Is he prepared to recommend to his colleagues that this House should strike a select committee this summer so that members from all parties can wrestle with the issue of community standards and get them enshrined in law, so we can start dealing with this very serious problem in society?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, as the Leader of the Opposition now knows, I have had access to the report of the Women's Perspective Advisory Committee to the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, together with his press release. I have not had a chance to go through this material, but I plan to do just that. Naturally I think this is an issue that benefits greatly from the review and study of all sectors of our provincial community, and I would accept this as a very valuable contribution to a very important public discussion.
I plan to be brought up to date by the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor) and the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) concerning their negotiations and discussions with those in Ottawa charged with responsibility under the Criminal Code. I would certainly join with anyone who feels that something of a very positive nature has to be done to protect people from exploitation and that we must be careful in our definitions in this regard.
So in view of the fact that we have had this exchange, I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that I will go over this material and that I do plan to consult with my colleagues who have responsibilities with respect to law enforcement and the administration of justice, as well as with the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie).
Mr. Peterson: The minister realizes, I know, that words and concern will take us along for a while, but then they have to result in concrete action. He recognizes that a variety of ministers is involved. The Solicitor General has made some public comments on this issue in the last little while, as has the Attorney General; indeed, it also falls into the jurisdiction of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. That is why we have to look to this minister in his new status for leadership on this particular issue.
Is the minister prepared to recommend to his colleagues that there should be stricter enforcement? Will he undertake to recommend to the Attorney General that he get in touch with the federal Minister of Justice to change the wording of the Criminal Code to broaden the obscenity provisions to make sure that violence and exploitation of young people are considered obscene?
Will the minister recommend to his colleagues that we do strike that select committee this summer? Given the court problems pertaining to censorship and the fact that a determination has to be made whether these are bureaucratic or political judgements, would the minister undertake to strike that select committee this summer so that concerned members from all parties can wrestle with this most difficult issue, thereby coming, I believe, to the fairest and most successful resolution of this definition of community standards? Surely that is a reasonable request.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I am quite prepared to take the suggestions and observations of the Leader of the Opposition into consideration. Perhaps he will appreciate that I would prefer to defer giving specific answers to some of his particular questions, or defer making commitments until such time as I have had an opportunity to go into this matter in some detail with my colleagues.
I can assure the member there is widespread interest throughout the province. It is not really an issue of partisan emphasis, but one that really says, as the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out, that no one can condone seeing individual people as the victims of violence or other exploitation.
I will take the suggestions of the member under consideration at the same time as I have the opportunity to review the report of the Women's Perspective Advisory Committee.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, will the Deputy Premier take into consideration the very specific recommendations made by the National Action Committee on the Status of Women in the statement it issued on March 12 this year with respect to the changes in the Criminal Code? They were:
First, that in section 159, which is one of a group of sections governing "offences tending to corrupt morals," the word "obscene" should be replaced by "pornographic";
Second, that the word "pornography" should be defined as "a presentation or representation, whether live, simulated, verbal, pictorial, formed, videotaped or otherwise represented, of sexual behaviour in which one or more participants are coerced overtly or implicitly into participation, or are injured or abused psychologically or physically, or in which an imbalance of power is obvious or implied by virtue of the immature age of any participants or by contextual aspects of the presentation, and in which such behaviour can be taken to be advocated or endorsed";
Third, that in section 281 of the code dealing with hate propaganda, the definition of "identifiable group" should be expanded from those people distinguished by colour, race, religion or ethnic origin to include women.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, as I understand the question, the honourable member has asked whether, as part of the consideration, that particular submission and those suggestions would be included; the answer to that would be yes.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary to the Deputy Premier and to the minister in charge of the umbrella of women's issues is in regard to Project P.
As the Deputy Premier will know, Project P, a joint project of the Metropolitan Toronto Police and the Ontario Provincial Police, was cut from six officers to four about one and a half years ago. This was about the time that the proliferation and the problem of videotapes really began. We have been informed by those officers that they have great difficulty in discharging their responsibilities.
Will he consult with his colleague the Solicitor General with a view to moving the co-ordination of Project P directly under the Ontario Police Commission and giving that group of officers the resources it needs to do a proper job of seeing that the laws at present in place are enforced?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, it is my information that the Solicitor General has been corresponding with his counterpart in Ottawa. If the question is whether I will be consulting with him concerning how he feels this responsibility can be improved upon, that would be one consideration and part of the study that I would want to get under way very quickly.
TOXIC WASTE DISPOSAL
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment with respect to the Pauzé landfill site in Perkinsfield near Midland in the great riding of Simcoe Centre.
The minister is no doubt aware of the history of this particular landfill site. Just to refresh his memory, and as he flips through the pages of his briefing book to bring himself up to date, I will remind him that it operated in the 1960s as a garbage dump without the appropriate Ministry of Energy permit. He will be aware that the ministry finally issued a provisional certificate of approval in 1970 for solid waste only and that then the dump promptly began to receive dangerous liquid industrial waste.
From reading his briefing book, he will be aware that the ministry learned in 1973 about the toxic waste dumping at Pauzé. It did not stop dumping. It did not prosecute and, even though the landfill site was leaky and sitting on top of the Perkinsfield ground water drinking supply, nothing was done.
The minister will be aware from looking at his briefing book that the ministry issued a provisional approval for liquid waste dumping of the specified amount being received by the Perkinsfield dump at that time. He will also be aware that the ministry found out soon afterwards that Pauzé was accepting more liquid waste than the ministry had specified, and still no action was taken.
My question to the minister is this. Why has he chosen not to prosecute, given the plethora of evidence that he has, including affidavits from people who have illegally dumped? Why did he do nothing? Why has he taken so long even to issue an order to close the dump a year and a half from now when we have contaminated a great deal of drinking water already?
Hon. Mr. Norton: How long do I have, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: Very briefly, please.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Come on, now. After a question like that?
Mr. Peterson: Read the answer from your book.
Hon. Mr. Norton: My friend's sarcasm really does not do him justice. He should show some of that scintillating humour he showed on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. a couple of weeks ago --
Mr. Speaker: Now for the answer, please.
Hon. Mr. Norton: -- rather than this nastiness that he prefers to engage in in the House.
Mr. Peterson: You didn't say anything.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Show a little Peterson's Ontario style.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That's right. The new image of David Peterson.
Mr. Speaker: Will the minister address the question, please?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I would like to have an opportunity to do so, Mr. Speaker.
First of all, the honourable member surely is aware that before 1970, approximately, we were not involved in the licensing of the landfill sites; so the history before that time can hardly be laid at the feet of this ministry.
With regard to the alleged plethora of evidence to which he refers, I would like him to share the details of all that with me. Certainly there have been reports of questionable activities around that landfill site. But as far as illegality in dumping in that site is concerned, I can recall off the top of my head really only one incident or perhaps one series of incidents in which there has even been any remote confirmation of such allegations.
The fact of the matter is that the evidence that exists is not sufficient on which to found a prosecution, given the lapse of time that has occurred since the alleged dumping. I believe an affidavit was provided by a truck operator who claims that back in 1976 or thereabouts some material was dumped there that might have been dumped illegally. We have not been provided with or been able to find evidence the nature of which would provide the basis for a prosecution. I can assure the member that we have not been dragging our feet on this one.
The member refers to knowledge of the contamination of ground water. That knowledge is really quite recent. We have monitored that site over the years and, to the extent that it has been monitored, there was no evidence until the past year or year and a half of some potential problem with the ground water in that area. We are now moving with great haste to address that problem. At the moment there are consultants working constantly on the site, establishing the perimeter of the plume, and we will take whatever action is indicated to be appropriate as a result of the work now being done to define clearly the extent and nature of the problem. And I did not read a damned thing from my book.
Hon. Mr. Snow: The Leader of the Opposition read the question right out of his briefing hook.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Peterson: Without consulting his book, the minister will be aware that there now is a perceived threat to the drinking water at Ecole des Saintes Martyrs Canadiens. He will be aware by his own examinations that the drinking water of the school is threatened. He will be aware that the ministry now has discovered 1.6 parts per billion of phenol in the school well, which exceeds the Ministry of the Environment's drinking water guidelines of one part per billion. He will be aware that his ministry's response to the officials at the school was to pour Javex into the well and everything would be fine.
Does the minister believe that is an adequate response to a situation where clearly his own guidelines are being violated?
Hon. Mr. Norton: The phenols that the member referred to as being present in the school water supply have not been confirmed, to the best of my knowledge. I know there has been some suggestion, and obviously that is being followed up on. In fact, one has to be careful -- at least, on this side of the House one has to be careful; you can be as loose as you like over there -- about drawing too hasty conclusions with respect to cause and effect.
The fact of the matter is that there are sources from which material can be found in trace amounts, in ground water or well water particularly, that may not be related to landfill, so the definition of the plume as it currently exists would indicate that if there is in fact a problem with the water at the school it may well not be related to the landfill site.
There was at least one other well in the area, and I am not trying to cover anything up or suggest that we are not taking every bit of evidence seriously. All I am saying is that not only do we have to take it seriously but we have to make sure that we define clearly where the source of the problem is. We know there is a problem relating to the landfill site, but it may not be the same as the problem relating to individual wells in some instances. We want to be sure of that. If there is any confirmation of the problem with the school water, then certainly we will not hesitate to deal with it.
Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell the House what his ministry is doing to stop the movement of the plume that has been confirmed outside of the site? What is his ministry doing to stop the escape of any further contaminants from the site? Can he tell us why his ministry is recommending the movement of illegally dumped contaminants at the back of the site, a portion of the site that is not licensed to accept any waste? Why is his ministry recommending that those contaminants be taken out of the pit and spread across the rest of the site when that site, under his own licence, is not currently licensed to accept that kind of waste?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, there are several questions involved in that.
An hon. member: Pick one.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Pick one and leave him with a question on the record unanswered? I would not want to do that.
First of all, with regard to the plume, the particular method by which we would either stop the migration of the plume of contamination from the landfill site or take other appropriate remedial action would clearly be determined by the outcome of the hydrogeological work that is going on at the moment. We are working through consultants not only to determine, as I mentioned to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson), the perimeter of the plume but also to try to determine the precise nature of the movement of the aquifer in that area.
There has been a variety of suggestions, and we now have the consultants working on a clearer and tighter definition. There is no immediate threat to the wells on the road to the west, about which we are obviously concerned in the longer term but not in the short term because of the rate at which the migration is taking place. I think we have fairly reliable information on that. It would be a matter of quite a lengthy period of time, at the rate at which it migrates, before that contamination would reach those wells.
There is a variety of technologies that might be used to deal with the plume migration if that becomes necessary or is indicated as a result of the work that is going on at the moment.
With regard to the sludge that the member referred to -- I presume that is what he is referring to -- which was dumped somewhere off the perimeter of the site, we are aware of what that is and in fact we know where it originated. I think his description of it is somewhat exaggerated. What has been proposed by our regional staff is to have that excavated from its present site and moved into the approved, authorized landfill site where, on the basis of the best information I have from our technical staff, it would be essentially harmless.
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, since we know there are phenols in the drinking water at the school, as reported by the minister's official, Mr. Embree, and since we know there are plume migrations from the landfill site, can the minister advise us if, while his ministry was conducting the investigation, he checked thoroughly into the waybill systems that were operated by Chemical and Petro Waste Disposal Ltd. to determine the exact nature of the material that was deposited there and the destination to which the chemicals were supposed to go, in order to get adequate information to determine -- to the best of his ability; under his present waybill system, anyway -- exactly what was dumped in there on the nights alleged by the truck driver who swore the affidavit?
Mr. Speaker: Just before the minister answers that, I would ask the co-operation of all members please in limiting their private conversations in the House so we may wait with rapt attention to hear the answers. I will hold up proceedings long enough for everyone to go back to his proper place.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, in order to deal with the question raised with respect to phenols in the water, it is my understanding on the basis of the most recent information I have from the staff that subsequent tests have indicated that the levels of phenol indicated in the earlier test of the school water have not in fact been confirmed as being from any off-site source but rather were from construction maintenance that occurred at the school.
The member is nodding his head yes. If he was aware of that, I question whether he is doing himself or the public any justice by not acknowledging it in his question and by rather suggesting in his question that it was related to the landfill site. I try to function with some integrity on this side of the House and I hope the member does the same. If the member had knowledge of that before he stood up to ask his question, then he was not being very open and honest with the members of the House.
Mr. Elston: The minister is not doing his job. He is responsible for maintaining some sort of integrity in the field and he is doing nothing. He should answer the question. His waybill system is no good at all.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
TORONTO AREA WATER QUALITY
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, it is with some regret that I have to tell the House that the next question is for the Minister of the Environment. The question concerns the Toronto area watershed management strategy study, which was released last week and which refers to the very extensive pollution that was found in both the Humber and Don rivers feeding into Lake Ontario.
It has been two years since this study was started. Its purpose has been: "To seek out locations where water quality requires improvement and to develop cost-effective measures for achieving that improvement." Yet there is nothing in the study, nothing in the letter from the minister to the Toronto area members that indicates either the sources of this very extensive pollution or the measures the ministry plans to take now, immediately, to deal with this very real problem, which has a potential impact on the water quality and indeed even on the drinking water of literally millions of people in this area.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, first, dealing with the latter part of the member's question, I think -- I believe this was included in the report -- there is at this time in the testing that has been done at the mouth of the rivers within the drainage basin, no indication of any detectable impact on the water quality in Lake Ontario, certainly as it relates to any water intake sources there.
It is important that the member understand that this is only a step in identifying the nature of the contaminant problem in the rivers. This particular report was not designed or intended to prescribe the appropriate long-term abatement strategy. I suggest, however -- and I believe this is included in the report -- we are confident that, with one possible exception, the contamination is not the result of any point sources. I presume that members know what I mean by point sources as opposed to, for example, industrial discharges or sewage treatment outlets. In reading the report the member will notice that the problem of contamination increases quite dramatically, essentially at the upper boundary of Metropolitan Toronto in the much more densely populated areas.
It is highly likely, especially given the information we have about other densely populated urban areas, that the bulk of the problem of contamination in those waterways originates from storm water runoff and so on. We cannot simply have massive areas paved over, with a high, dense population, and expect that the normal contamination that is deposited on the streets in Metropolitan Toronto and on the lawns of Metropolitan Toronto does not to some extent eventually find its way into the watershed. I think the member will find that that is the main source. We will be working further on it as time goes on.
Mr. Rae: The minister still has not indicated what the ministry plans to do to stop this very extensive pollution, to stop the pollution of polychlorinated biphenyls, to stop the pollution of trace organic compounds, to stop the pollution of ammonia and phosphorus and all the other problems that were found in the study.
In 1950 the Don Valley conservation report labelled the lower Don "the most polluted river in the province considering its volume of flow." That was 33 years ago. The government of Ontario and other governments have spent $250 million on sewage treatment. Despite that expenditure we still have this report showing such alarming quantities of PCBs and other very dangerous substances at the mouth of both these rivers.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: What corrective action does the ministry plan to take, given the fact that it has done this study and has had two years to look into it since 1981?
Hon. Mr. Norton: First of all, the suggestion that we have had two years to look into the report since 1981 is nonsense. The report has just been completed and released. We are certainly looking at the problem. It is not a simple problem; it is a very complex one. We have devoted a lot of resources to producing this report.
With regard to the question of improvement, first of all, I thank the member for at least giving some credit for the work that has already been done. Just a few years ago there were several sewage treatment plants, for example, discharging into those rivers. That is no longer the case because of the action taken by this government, in conjunction with municipalities, to replace the sewage treatment facilities that existed before, in an effort to improve the water quality in those rivers, which has been done with success, although obviously not with perfect success.
We have also taken other measures with regard to industrial pollution control in those areas, so that we can say with some confidence that we know it is not from a point source. That is a significant accomplishment. If the member can show me any other urban area the size of Metropolitan Toronto where one can stand up with confidence and make that kind of statement, then I will eat my shirt.
Mr. Rae: Why don't you walk on the water instead?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I will jump in the water instead if that will make the member happy. I will swim across the Don or something like that. The fact is that there has been, and the member knows there has been, very significant improvement. The problem now, I believe, relates primarily to urban runoff.
We signed an agreement with the federal government in this country just recently last fall, as a matter of fact -- pursuant to the international agreement with the United States, and we are now embarking upon the next phase of watershed pollution control in Ontario, which specifically addresses the problems of urban and rural non-point-source runoff contaminants.
Hon. Mr. Norton: The member asks how he can help. I suppose he could stop driving his car, stop gardening --
Mr. Speaker: At the risk of offending the member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent), I have to say that that was a very complete answer.
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question of the minister who threatened to eat his shirt in front of us. He can go ahead if he wishes.
In November 1978 another Minister of the Environment, Dr. Harry Parrott, was very proud to release a small blue book, which is still provided free at the book store. He released under his name a little booklet called Water Management. Among other things in that booklet he undertook to ensure that those water bodies whose quality of water complied with ministry guidelines would not be degraded any further. Second, he wanted to ensure that all those areas that were already polluted in 1978 would not be further damaged by the actions of anyone in Ontario.
Can the minister advise us specifically what his ministry did between 1978 and the present, when this report came out, to ensure that there was not a complete and further degradation of the three rivers studied in the report?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, as part of our ongoing work on industrial abatement, this has obviously been a significant factor in maintaining the water quality in those rivers.
If the member looks carefully at the report with an objective and open mind, he will find a number of the trace contaminants that were identified are there but are not above the water quality guidelines that are established in this country.
It is because we are such an honest and open government in this province that the member has the opportunity to --
Mr. Foulds: The only thing open in this province is the sewers.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Norton: -- raise these issues and get the kind of full and frank answers the members get from this side of the House.
Part of the effort that has gone on since 1978, of course, has been to define further the nature of the problem with regard to the water quality in those rivers. That in itself is a very significant step forward. I would challenge the member to look at the water quality in such comparable bodies of water in any urban area in North America. I think he will find that Toronto rates very high.
Mr. Elston: Could you swim across the Don?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I said I would if the member could prove me wrong.
Mr. Rae: The minister says he cannot identify any point sources. I point out that there are IS dump sites that have yet to be adequately examined. The north Toronto sewage treatment plant goes directly into the Don River. There is also the fact that 25 per cent of the industrial waste goes through the sewage treatment plant system because the government of Ontario has yet to solve the problem of how to dispose of toxic waste.
What does the minister intend to do about the fact that as a result of the findings in this report it is now clear that Ontario is not meeting the requirements of the Great Lakes water quality agreement?
Hon. Mr. Norton: First of all, we are well aware of the fact that there are landfill sites in the watershed area; but of those there is really only one -- and I have mentioned that it was with the exception of one possible point source; I recall specifically saying that in my earlier answer, and I think Hansard will confirm it -- that we think is possibly a source of some contamination in one of the rivers.
With regard to the international agreement with the United States on water quality in the Great Lakes, I think we are doing a fine job. This report will clearly lead us in the next steps that I have already indicated are part now -- as of last summer or fall, when I signed the agreement with the federal government -- of the next phase of improving water quality through addressing the problems of urban runoff and rural runoff.
That is a much more complex question than addressing point sources, but we do not shy away from complex problems on this side of the House. It may take us a while to get a complete handle on urban runoff, but I can assure the member we will do it.
Mr. Rae: One wonders if there is a standard for word pollution.
STUDY OF MORTALITY OF MINERS
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is of the Minister of Labour. It concerns the mining mortality study that he released today. I want to ask a question of the minister with respect to those deaths that are related to silica.
The minister will know that for gold miners, whose numbers are growing because of the new discoveries that have taken place in northern Ontario, and for those in the mixed ore field, the number of deaths that can be attributed to silica was very high indeed, far higher than was expected, and this represents a most disturbing fact.
Given the fact that the government has had four and a half years to establish a regulated statutory standard for silica and for exposure to silica, why has the government not moved in the one area where there is something it can do and where it would have a very real result in protecting the health of miners who are working underground?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise the honourable member that we are relatively close to finalizing the designation of silica as a designated substance and we hope to be moving forward on it in the not too distant future.
Mr. Rae: I have to temper the welcome of that until it actually comes. It has taken four and a half years since the government indicated it was intending to do it. The minister will know that this may mean many people have been exposed to a level of silica dust they should not have been exposed to.
My second question to the minister concerns other recommendations of the Ham commission in 1976, which included assigning standards for toxic substances and keeping a central registry of chemicals. Given the very real problem of cancer that was again found in the report with respect to a great many miners -- underground gold miners, mixed ore underground miners and uranium miners -- how long is it going to take before the government introduces a central registry and ends the situation where asbestos is the only mining substance regulated?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I am not in a position to give a commitment today as to the registry. I would like to respond to the earlier part of the remarks made as a preamble to that question -- that is, in respect to deaths from silicosis. The majority of those deaths occurred before 1969, and in recent years the number of new cases of silicosis has declined dramatically. I think that should be read into the record today.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, on another aspect of this report, the minister will know the study points out that the number of violent deaths over the study period was double the expected average. It says on page 26 that the study did not address itself specifically to a detailed analysis of those deaths but suggested that a very high priority should be given to a detailed study and to remedial action aimed at the prevention of violent deaths both inside and outside the work place.
Since I do not see it within his statement, can the minister advise what kind of action he intends to take to follow up on this suggestion in the first report?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the honourable member at the outset that we plan to follow up on the matters that have been raised by this excellent study. As I indicated in my statement, the first step will take place when the authors of the study meet with representatives of the employers and the workers in mid-June. I am looking forward to that occasion because I think it will trigger the various remedial steps that will have to be taken.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, can the minister explain why, in the section dealing with violent deaths, the study did not separate deaths on the job or in the work place from other types of violent death? Why do we have deaths caused by falling loose included along with deaths from drowning and from automobile accidents?
Even with that, the study indicates 11 times the number of deaths that might be expected from violent occurrences in this study. If that is the case, is the minister prepared to implement some of the proposals we have made and that have been made by many studies for roll bars on underground vehicles, for overhead protection on those kinds of vehicles and for securing overhead protection in the mines of this province?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I believe that both management and unions have co-operated on implementing the recommendations of the Burkett report, and we are continuing to review the circumstances.
I also want to refer to the earlier part of the question the member posed to me about the higher-than-expected incidence of accidental deaths among miners from both occupational and nonoccupational causes. The question was an excellent one, and I think it could best he answered by the author of the report, Dr. Muller, who is here and who would be prepared to give the member the precise information he has asked for.
COMMERCIAL FISHING MODERNIZATION PROGRAM
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources.
The Ontario Council of Commercial Fisheries has responded to the ministry's commercial fishing modernization program by making three recommendations; namely, it wants an improvement in the assessment process, it wants an improvement in policing, and it has asked for a return to centralized control at Queen's Park to ensure that decisions made by the ministry will be uniform, which in the council's view will provide the same treatment to fishermen in every jurisdiction in Ontario.
I would like to ask the minister whether he has responded in any way -- positively, I would hope -- to these recommendations, inasmuch as the commercial fishermen basically have accepted the premise of the modernization program but feel it cannot function without these recommendations being adopted by the ministry.
I will refer to one specific example so the minister will know what I am talking about in terms of policing at present. Canadian commercial fishermen fishing in Lake Erie, in Canadian waters, are being asked by the American Coast Guard to submit to stop-and-search procedures. Surely this indicates to the minister that there is something very seriously wrong when Canadian commercial fishermen have to submit to stop-and-search procedures by foreign vessels. I use that as only one example.
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member is aware, the modernization report for Ontario commercial fisheries was the product of a joint government-industry committee that met for two years, analysed a number of problems and came up with some joint recommendations.
It is fair to say that those recommendations are not universally accepted by the various commercial fishing groups that operate within the umbrella of the Ontario council. I personally have been having meetings with different user groups from western Lake Erie, eastern Lake Erie, Lake Huron and eastern Lake Ontario with respect to their positions on the report and their problems with implementation of the report, including a timetable of implementation.
It is fair to state that there was a general feeling that there had to be more assessment capability. We have been working on a number of ways in which this can be done, including more direct dollars being spent by the ministry in assessment units located in the Great Lakes system and inland, because that is also a problem.
We are looking at joint assessment teams with the commercial fishermen, with permanent and part-time Ministry of Natural Resources staff going out in the boats of the commercial fishermen and examining their catches right out in the lake, as opposed to some of the artificial systems we now have.
On the issue of policing, there is no universal point of view among the commercial fishing groups. A number of them do feel there has to be more policing by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Some of them feel there should be more self-policing. In fact, western Lake Erie commercial fishermen approached me two weeks ago with an alternative proposal for self-policing as opposed to MNR policing and just to have MNR verification teams in place at certain central points.
We are looking at all those alternatives before we have a final policy in place. We intend to consult a lot more with the various commercial fishing interests and the Ontario council before finalizing it.
I should say we have tried to have a more cohesive policy co-ordination program emanating out of Queen's Park that will affect the decision-making processes at the district level. I have asked that any changes in any new commercial licences be sent to Queen's Park before they are issued by the district offices so we can have some co-ordination and input into them on a central basis and therefore get back to the interest groups right from my office.
The policing problem on Lake Erie arose because of a couple of incidents last year. I think the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) has probably made the member aware of them. They resulted in the seizure of an Ontario commercial fishing boat and its being detained in American waters for a period of some four weeks because of their laws. They had gone over the border and were fishing in Ohio waters without authorization, and therefore they were subject to American laws.
To try to prevent that from happening again we have become quite openly involved with the state of Ohio, the state of Minnesota and the state of Michigan in joint enforcement efforts. We would have joint teams of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources along with Ohio and other state officials in these boats, and they would be doing some of the processing or verification. The alternative is going to be that we will have the kinds of seizures and detention processes in the American jurisdictions that cause even more serious economic impact on the commercial fishermen of Ontario.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, it is strange that the minister says he has been meeting with the fishermen. Since the Eastern Lake Erie Trawlers' Association has not been afforded the opportunity to meet with the minister or the regional office staff to discuss these proposals, will the minister agree to delay the implementation of such proposals until the association can meet with the minister's officials to discuss the proposed changes?
The other thing I am concerned about is the number of fishermen who will be put out of business. Will the numbers be maintained or reduced?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the Eastern Lake Erie Trawlers' Association's problem is. I just had a group of independent eastern Lake Erie commercial fishermen in my office on Monday, I think, discussing their problems with the modernization report. I have had the western Lake Erie fishermen, both the independents and the larger producers, in my office.
If we can schedule a mutually convenient meeting with them or have their concerns voiced through the Ontario council, certainly I will be willing to do that. I think on one other occasion I met with the honourable member and some of the commercial fishermen with respect to some of their problems, and I will be glad to do that again.
There is some recommendation that was accepted by both the Ontario Council for Commercial Fisheries and the government with respect to the transfer of existing licences.
Mr. Speaker: I think the minister has answered the question.
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, in response to the initial question, the minister mentioned Lake Erie and other inland lakes. While he is looking at commercial fishing on inland lakes, will he collaborate with his colleagues the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) and the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) to improve the economic benefit of commercial fishing, particularly to native people, on inland lakes?
When one considers that pickerel is selling for 65 cents a pound to the fishermen while down here on the market it costs anywhere from $6 to $7 a pound, why will he not collaborate with the two ministers I mentioned to increase the economic impact by having them process on the site instead of selling the vast majority through the Freshwater Fish Marketing Board in Winnipeg?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that in conjunction with some federal government initiatives we are looking at some ways to get processing plants in some of the inland lake regions of northern Ontario. It is an issue we have been discussing with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans for two years now. We have put two specific proposals before them, and we understand they are now discussing them with selected commercial fishing groups that the honourable member referred to in his question; so we hope there will be some progress.
There is no doubt that in some parts of Ontario, transportation costs and other problems have resulted in very marginal returns for commercial fishing. This is a situation that concerns us in the long term; we are hoping to work with the Freshwater Fish Marketing Board to improve the situation, but I cannot offer the member any easy, quick answer to that problem.
STRATEGIC LAND USE PLANS
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources. Can he tell us what in the world is happening with his strategic land use planning process, which has been demoted from plans to guidelines? Why is there a delay after 10 years and millions of dollars have been spent in getting to this stage of the development?
Why has the minister not bothered to refute some of the outrageous charges, particularly those by the forestry industry aided and abetted by the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier), which have undermined if not demeaned the entire land use planning process in Ontario?
When is the minister going to stand up and tell us why he has allowed this to happen to what was a legitimate exercise in the province?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, I announced last year we were embarking on a system of open houses, and we did have about 130 of them around Ontario through the late spring, summer and early fall. We had about 10,000 people either write or attend as a result of those open houses. We had seven public forums in late November and early December in regional centres throughout the province. In January we had a two-day meeting with some of the interest groups to try to put forward the conflicts.
The whole process of land use planning in its latter stages has been to allow the various interests in the province to have a chance to put their points of view forward and to rebut any of the points of view that might be put forward by other interest groups. That is a perfectly legitimate exercise to go through. Some interest groups have refuted some of the statements made by the Ontario Forest Industries Association and others, or have called for more substantiation than has been given to some of their allegations, and that process will probably continue.
The cabinet committee on resources development has begun its consideration of the land use plans. We have also had meetings with a number of ministries which will be involved in the land use planning program in the future. We anticipate the cabinet in full will start deliberation on this issue next Wednesday.
I maintain what I said in March, that we hope this matter will be finalized in the early part of June, and a public statement and the recommendations of the Ministry of Natural Resources as supported by the cabinet will be issued to the public.
Mr. Laughren: I appreciate that partial answer to my question. I wonder whether the minister can elaborate on why he has allowed some of the outrageous charges to be made. What is it that has turned him from a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed tiger on planning into a pussycat?
Perhaps he could explain further the role of the Minister of Northern Affairs. What is it?
Mr. Kerrio: Leo the lion tamer.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Laughren: Can the minister tell us what has changed his thinking to give cause for the Minister of Northern Affairs to say in Thunder Bay a couple of weeks ago: "Mr. Pope has come over to my way of thinking"? Can the minister tell us what has caused that change?
Hon. Mr. Pope: We issued proposed district land use plans last year. We invited public comment, which came in the form of 10,000 letters and comments and at the seven public forums throughout the province where people had an opportunity to debate one another's point of view and did so.
It can be said that outrageous statements were made on all sides on many issues. It is up to the Ministry of Natural Resources to assess those statements and to come to a conclusion. That conclusion will be found in the final district land use plans as they are issued.
The member knows, if he goes back to the speeches I made at the St. Lawrence Hall, what our policy has always been. We said it here in Toronto to the parks council meetings, to the parks advocacy groups --
Hon. Mr. Pope: Oh we did not, did we? If the member goes back and reads that speech very carefully, he will see that we talked about multiple uses and not allocating land or resources to a single purpose.
When the final results of the land use plan are published, the member will know that once again this government has listened to the people of Ontario.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, we certainly wonder when that is going to happen.
I think the minister in his answer really hit upon the problem connected with the strategic land use plan implementation. He provided a forum for debate but he did not provide any forum for negotiation. He knows very well that since last fall I have asked him repeatedly to consider providing just such a forum, because many of the problems and areas that seem to polarize people can be negotiated away.
Will the minister once again reconsider the convening of a forum so that negotiation and conciliation can take place and these issues, which now are well defined, can be laid on the table so the citizens in this province can establish the fact that we have common ground and so we can identify those problems and negotiate away as many as possible?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, the whole purpose of the public forums and open houses was to allow people to get to understand each other's points of view, to discuss them and to seek out some common ground. I think that happened.
The honourable member made the same point when he was in Sudbury recently. Unfortunately, the member does not remember, because I do not think he was present at the time, but we did have a two-day forum on January 23, exactly as he suggested.
TEACHERS' SUPERANNUATION ACT AMENDMENTS
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. As the minister is aware, the deadline for teachers to resign their positions from boards of education across Ontario is the last day of May of every year. No doubt she is also aware that in the absence of the introduction of legislation pertaining to the Teachers' Superannuation Act, teachers who are very close to retirement and might be tempted to choose early retirement if the conditions were right, are opting to stay on staff for another year instead.
Will the minister give a public commitment in the House today that the amendments to the Teachers' Superannuation Act, which have been discussed with the Ontario Teachers' Federation, including the provision that would permit pensions to be calculated on the basis of the best five earning years as opposed to the best seven earning years, will be introduced during this session and will receive the three readings and royal assent that we would like to have before the end of this session? Will she assure the House that these changes will be retroactive to 1982?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows quite clearly, the intent has been to have the legislation ready for introduction in this session. I cannot apologize for the fact that the legislation is not ready at this point. It is currently in the hands of legislative counsel.
Mr. Nixon: That is the same excuse the minister gave last year.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I think the honourable member is incorrect. The negotiations or the discussions had not been completed last year.
Legislative counsel does have it in hand at this point. It is my hope that it will be ready in the very near future for presentation to the process before it proceeds to the House.
The Premier (Mr. Davis) and I have made it abundantly clear on at least two or three occasions that the legislation will be retroactive. The Premier has made it very clear to the Ontario Teachers' Federation it is our intention that the legislation should apply to all teachers who have made the decision to retire from May 31, 1982. Those teachers who are considering the possibility of retiring this year should be very much aware of that at this time and probably would have been as a result of the communications capability of the OTF.
Mr. Bradley: We want a firm commitment in the House. We are talking about retroactivity, and the minister knows what that means.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Bradley: In view of the fact that there is next to no infusion of young people into the teaching ranks of the province, and in view of the fact that the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) apparently has said to the Ontario School Trustees' Council that there will be no increases in teachers' superannuation benefits unless totally funded by the teachers, will the minister please give a firm commitment, which I did not hear -- I think I know what she is saying -- that the information contained in this bulletin is incorrect, and will she say clearly that she is going to proceed with that legislation this session with, of course, the co-operation of the opposition?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I do not know how much more clearly I can say it. If legislative counsel manages to achieve the very difficult task of completing a translation of the intent of the legislation into legislative language, which I gather is necessary, then of course we will be able to do just that; it depends upon that at this point.
However, I should remind the honourable member that what he read in the OSTC bulletin was, perceive, an interpretation of what the Treasurer had said, not just to OSTC but also to the OTF, I believe. I think his statement was that there would be a component of those increased benefits which very definitely would be the responsibility of the teaching profession; they were not all going to be borne by the body that takes the place of employers in this somewhat anomalous situation, the provincial government.
Mr. Martel: Are you reducing it to 85, Bette?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I could just transfer it to the school boards. Okay?
Mr. Martel: I just want you to reduce the age level.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I do not like to comment on the obvious, but I want to draw to the attention of honourable members on all sides of the House that in my opinion this has been one of the worst question periods for some time.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: That's for sure. The questions were atrocious.
Mr. Nixon: The Minister of the Environment is just back from a holiday --
Mr. R. F. Johnston: He should blush under his tan.
Mr. Speaker: I did not mean to set off a riot by accusing anybody. The fault lies on both sides, and I ask the co-operation of all members.
Mr. Nixon: The Minister of Education's speech will go well with her standard speech about teachers getting too much money.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That is not what I said. Did you read what I said?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
CONVERSION OF RENTAL UNITS
Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition that was signed by many people who were demonstrating today in front of 200 Jameson Avenue about the conversion of apartments to hotels. The petition reads:
"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario to take immediate steps to protect us against unscrupulous landlords who evict tenants in order to create furnished, hotel-like suites. This change not only eliminates valuable rental units but these hotel-like suites will destroy our community by creating giant flophouses in our neighbourhoods."
STANDING COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Robinson from the standing committee on social development reported the following resolution:
That supply in the following amounts and to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1984:
Ministry administration program, $11,697,100; heritage conservation program, $22,498,200; arts support program, $66,085,800; citizenship and multicultural support program, $10,173,600; libraries and community information program, $29,942,000, and ministry capital support program, $50,882,700.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON REGULATIONS AND OTHER STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS
Mr. Kerr from the standing committee on regulations and other statutory instruments presented the committee's report which was read as follows and adopted:
Your committee begs to report the following bill with certain amendments:
Bill Pr6, An Act respecting the Borough of East York.
Your committee begs to report the following bills without amendment:
Bill Pr24, An Act to revive Smith Bros. & Sons Builders Ltd.
Bill Pr25, An Act to continue The Corporation of the Township of Owens, Williamson and Idinton under the name of The Corporation of the Township of Val Rita-Harty.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the standing committee on resources development be authorized to sit on the afternoons of Monday, May 30; Thursday, June 2; Monday, June 6, and Wednesday, June 8, 1983.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
MORTON TERMINAL LTD. ACT
Mr. Newman moved, seconded by Mr. Wrye, first reading of Bill Pr27, An Act respecting Morton Terminal Ltd.
Motion agreed to.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS IN ORDERS AND NOTICES
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker. I would like to table the answers to questions 9, 190, 193, 195, 196, 197, 198 to 200 inclusive, 201, 202 and 206, the interim answer to question 204, and the answers to questions 35, 36, 39 to 139 inclusive, 141 to 175 inclusive, 177 to 183 inclusive, 185, 187 and 188 [see Hansard for Friday, May 27].
ORDERS OF THE DAY
The following bills were given third reading on motion:
Bill 14, An Act to amend the Land Transfer Tax Act;
Bill 35, An Act to amend the Tobacco Tax Act;
Bill 36, An Act to amend the Small Business Development Corporations Act;
Bill 37, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act.
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BUSINESS
REQUEST FOR SUBSTITUTION
Mr. Peterson: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I am very embarrassed to ask you this and it is completely my fault, but I was under the impression that I was on first this afternoon and not second. There has been an intolerable conflict in my own schedule. I ask you to ask the House for unanimous consent for the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) to carry my private member's bill on this occasion.
Mr. Speaker: The House has heard the proposition. Can we have unanimous consent?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I think in this case, since it is private members' hour, we should hear from the gentleman who is going to be first in the debate.
Mr. Nixon: We are not asking for a change in the schedule.
Mr. Peterson: I requested a change of schedule and that was not granted. I was hoping we could work that out, but for some reason it could not be worked out. Because of my personal problem -- and I am sorry to impose on my colleagues in the House -- I am asking if the member for Windsor-Sandwich could take the bill in my name.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Sorry.
Mr. Speaker: Do we have unanimous consent?
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have no objection. I would simply remind my friends to the right that in the past it has been those members who made objections to changes.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I would bring to your attention and to that of the member for Sudbury East that this is an unprecedented situation where there is no one withdrawing a bill, no one going out of order. The member for Windsor-Sandwich is simply going to speak for the leader of the party on the second reading of the bill, so would he kindly let the air out of his balloon?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I want to apologize. I had heard the suggestion a few minutes ago to switch the order and I knew that should depend on the member for Wentworth (Mr. Dean). I did not hear the suggestion that the speakers be switched, but that is quite agreeable.
Mr. Speaker: Now may we have unanimous consent?
STEEL INDUSTRY INCENTIVES
Mr. Dean moved, seconded by Mr. Kolyn, resolution 3:
That in the opinion of this House, and acknowledging the increased economic hardships facing the people of Hamilton-Wentworth and of other parts of Ontario arising from the depressed outlook for the steel industry, the Minister of Industry and Trade should:
(a) immediately organize a regional manufacturing show in Hamilton to provide a forum for local manufacturers to display items which they import at present and to create an avenue for mutual interchange of product need and manufacturing capability;
(b) maximize industrial development opportunities, particularly in import replacement given the high degree of imports of machinery and equipment, in respect to major projects in the oil and gas sector with a view to joint ventures, licensing and acquisition of new technology, to enable Ontario to broaden its industrial base; and
(c) pursue discussions with the government of Canada to ensure that Ontario receives a fair share of contracts from the frigate program.
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Dean has moved private member's ballot item 2. I would point out to the honourable member that he has up to 20 minutes for his presentation and may reserve any portion of that time for a windup in the debate.
Mr. Dean: Mr. Speaker, I would like to reserve five minutes for a windup.
I welcome the opportunity today to discuss the outlook for the steel industry in Ontario and to propose some immediate measures that can he taken to stimulate the steel industry and to assist the people of Hamilton-Wentworth through a particularly difficult economic period.
In Hamilton-Wentworth, the steel industry is not only our major employer, it is also a strategic industry for the continued viability and prosperity of our economy. In many nations, the steel industry is viewed as the stepping stone to industrialization and prosperity. After all, much of the success of the industry in Japan can be attributed to the prowess of its steel industry.
However, in recent years the entire industrial world is profoundly changing the way it uses men and materials, capital, and manufacturing processes. As an example, let us consider the down-sizing of North American automobiles. It began with the need to save fuel. It is ending with the saving of everything: rubber, steel, glass and, above all, labour. The simple fact is that a given standard of living in our country no longer requires the same amount of iron and steel, labour, energy, rubber or glass it once did.
To continue the illustration with automobiles, we find over the 1977-82 model years that Ford, for example, sloughed off some 1,000 pounds of various materials from its vehicles, reducing its average car weight from over 3,700 pounds to 2,700 pounds in five years, a drop of 28 per cent. Most of this was steel. Autos are only the beginning. A similar sort of down-sizing has begun in housing and its satellite industries. As housing shrinks, so does the forest products industry and a whole range of building materials from cement and glass to insulation and copper.
Steel is perhaps the most glaring casualty. As recently as 1976, the United States steel industry shipped nearly a quarter of its total output to the auto industry. By 1981, the last year for which complete figures are available, that figure had dropped from 25 per cent to 15 per cent.
Peter Gordon, the chairman and chief executive officer of Stelco, best summed up the situation in a recent article in Saturday Night. He refers to the traffic in the city of Hamilton as "the fleet," and the passing waves of vehicles when viewed from the Stelco Tower in downtown Hamilton do indeed convey the impression of an organized flotilla.
"The fleet," Mr. Gordon points out, "is not what it used to be. Not long ago, the average age of a car on the street was four years; today, it's eight. The fleet's weight, which is mainly a function of the amount of steel that's gone into it, has changed dramatically as well. The cars that pass Jackson Square weigh a third less than they did in 1971, the year Jackson Square was completed."
To aggravate this situation further, for the first time in our history the Canadian steel industry faces a serious problem of overcapacity in its steel-making facilities. Even more capacity for finished steel will come on stream when Stelco's hot strip mill at Nanticoke is completed. With a great sense of timing, yesterday's Spectator, Hamilton's daily paper, carried an account of that fact -- the production of the first coil of rolled steel at Nanticoke on May 24, a very auspicious date. It simply underlines the point I am making.
The new mill will allow Stelco to produce close to one million tons per year of additional finished steel. That increase, in conjunction with the output from Dofasco's proposed new mill, raises doubt as to whether our troubled economy can absorb it all in the near future. We can only hope that the new high-quality output will help solve some of the overcapacity problem in basic steel-making by allowing the industry to expand its market.
In the past 32 years, almost as long as this government has been in power, the number of steel-producing countries has risen to 76 from 32, more than double. Five countries -- Brazil, Mexico, India, South Korea and Taiwan -- have more than doubled production since 1972. Whereas they produced 18.9 million metric tons per year a decade ago, they now turn Out 45.5 million tons, a 150 per cent increase.
Plainly the oversupply of steel will grow as more Third World countries try to secure their industrial independence from the great powers, conserve foreign cash reserves by pursuing policies of import substitution and enter the market with the advantage of a low-paid labour force. It is this scenario, combined with the forecast that western consumption will rise only 1.3 per cent annually until 1990, that is worrying the traditional steel producers.
There is no question our Canadian steel industry finds itself in an increasingly competitive situation. This international scenario often translates into an economic instability for the people of my area, Hamilton-Wentworth, and for many other parts of our province and our nation, who are directly or indirectly dependent on the wellbeing of our steel industry.
I want to make it absolutely clear that I am not an advocate of the gloom and doom philosophy we hear from some quarters at times. I have great confidence that our economy will turn around and that our steel industry will regain its competitive advantage. There are already positive signs pointing to an economic recovery of five per cent or more in the first quarter of this year.
The main ingredients in the recovery to date have been a depletion in business inventories during the final quarter of last year, thus creating a demand for new orders, and the lowering of interest rates which has produced the boom in new house building and has triggered consumer buying of household durables. This trend will be assisted by the measures in our recent budget, as introduced by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller).
The problems currently facing the Canadian steel industry primarily relate to the recession rather than structural weaknesses. While steel producers in Europe and the United States are struggling with old, outdated plants and technology and excess capacity, the Canadian industry has grown relatively quickly in the past 20 years and has installed state-of-the-art technology.
We are proud our Canadian steel industry has an impressive record of success. This is even more evident when compared to the record of steel firms in the United States on the one hand and the intense competition in international markets on the other.
Traditionally, Canadian steel makers have laid great stress on technological innovation through improved efficiency. As an example, Canadian steel makers have become world-renowned for their pioneering achievements in oxygen steel-making and steel-rolling technology.
The most recent example of innovation in process is provided by Stelco's invention, the coil box. It does not sound very romantic but it is very important in the steel industry. It is probably the most significant advance that has taken place in hot strip steel-rolling technology in many years. Not only does this device bring down the capital cost of constructing hot strip mills and improve the metallurgical quality of steel strips, but it also considerably reduces the amount of electrical energy required in the mills. Those of us who have seen the coil box work marvel at its simple efficiency.
Also, in order to ensure continued participation in one of its major markets, the steel industry is working closely with auto makers in the development of an entirely new range of lightweight, high-strength steels. In addition, Dofasco has introduced a paintable, galvanized steel named Ultracoat, which will be used in many automotive components to reduce corrosion.
I am sure this trend towards greater sophistication will continue in the steel industry throughout this decade.
The first-quarter results of the three large integrated steel producers paint a picture of an industry still being hammered by the recession, but they also point to a recovery, at least from the final quarter of last year.
Other steel-consuming industries, capital goods in particular, remain weak, and recovery in the steel industry could be delayed until late this year or 1984. Our local economy is battered, although improving. The recommendations in my resolution are intended as a stimulus to our local economy in the Hamilton-Wentworth area which has been particularly hard hit as a result of this reduced demand for steel.
First, the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) should organize a regional manufacturing opportunity show in Hamilton to provide a forum for local manufacturers to display items which they import at present and to create an avenue for mutual interchange of product need and manufacturing capability.
My objective is to ensure that local producers get a clear picture of the demands and needs for specific products and that buyers will gain an appreciation of the capabilities of manufacturers in Hamilton-Wentworth and from nearby areas of Ontario. As an example, a bracket used to hang steam and water pipes is currently imported from Holland and is used extensively in this country. There is no reason it cannot be made in Ontario.
We have the capability in Hamilton-Wentworth and the surrounding area to supply a whole range of products, such as automotive parts, heavy machinery, machine-shop equipment, tools and dies, industrial textiles, aircraft and theatre seatings, to mention only a few.
Our economy is saturated with imports. We rank as the most import-saturated country of all members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. In 1981, Ontario alone received $35 billion worth of imports and suffered a trade deficit of $16 billion in nonfood manufactured goods. If we were to displace just 10 per cent of those imports, it would mean additional sales for domestic manufacturers of some $600 million.
In this connection, I would like to tell members of a real success story of an Ontario industry which has its head office in Hamilton-Wentworth. I am referring to Tridon Ltd., which manufactures small parts for automobiles, such as clamps and windshield wiper blades. Tridon has performed the 20th-century version of carrying coals to Newcastle: it is selling auto parts to Japan.
How do they do it? Not by waiting around until markets dry up. It is not easy, and it takes a lot of time. High on the list of "musts" are co-operation with federal and provincial trade missions and their staff, and a commitment to learn how the Japanese marketing and distribution system works. Tridon is an outstanding example of export production.
A regional manufacturing show as I envision it will provide other opportunities for manufacturers to see the need for particular products which they can produce in their plants. I am pleased to advise that the Minister of Industry and Trade just commented to me moments ago that he will see to it a show of this type is organized for Hamilton, to be held this fall.
Second, now that he has met my first request, the minister should make every effort to maximize industrial development opportunities with respect to major projects in the oil and gas sector. Given the high degree of imports of machinery and equipment in this sector, import replacement will enable Ontario to broaden its industrial base.
Our government has already begun some discussions with the United Kingdom to get Ontario manufacturers involved in joint ventures, licensing arrangements and technology transfers as a means of building added value into products that are now entirely imported by Canada.
In a move to close the technology gap in Canada's offshore oil and gas expertise, 42 Canadian firms met at an oil and gas seminar in London, England, this past March to discuss mutual opportunities with 325 British firms. The aim of the oil and gas seminar, which was initiated by Ontario's Ministry of Industry and Trade, was to involve British companies in a $35-billion development of Canada's arctic and offshore oilfields over the next seven years.
Mr. Dean: Believe it or not, the minister has never seen this speech until now.
It is estimated that a total of about 35 production platforms will be built in Canada for offshore production between 1983 and 1990 at a cost of about $1 billion each. This represents a potential worth billions of dollars for Canadian firms and a substantial stimulus for the Canadian steel industry.
Given the magnitude of this venture and the tremendous industrial and employment potential, particularly its impact on the steel industry, I urge the Minister of Industry and Trade actively to pursue joint ventures, licensing and technology in the oil and gas sector.
Last, this government should pursue discussions with Ottawa to ensure that Ontario receives a fair share of contracts from the defence department's purchase of six patrol frigates. The frigate program, estimated to cost $2.7 billion in 1982 dollars, will have two thirds Canadian content. Directly and indirectly, the Canadian patrol frigate program will lead to the creation of 8,000 or more jobs in this country. It will revitalize the shipbuilding industry, stimulate our steel industry and refresh Canadian competence in advanced marine technology.
In conclusion, and my colleagues will he adding more to these last two items, I urge the Minister of Industry and Trade to act quickly in the following areas: first, to organize a manufacturing opportunity show in Hamilton, which he has already indicated he will do; second, to pursue joint ventures, licensing and technology transfers in the oil and gas sector; and third, to bargain with the federal government for a fair share of the contracts from the defence department's purchase of patrol frigates.
These initiatives will stimulate the economy, particularly the steel industry, and relieve the hardship being experienced by people in Hamilton-Wentworth and in other parts of Ontario.
I would like to add, as a final footnote, it is interesting to observe that a member of the Hamilton city council who used to sit somewhere over in left field on this side of the Legislature introduced a motion at the last city council meeting using my wording to accomplish the same thing. It is nice that even those people know a good thing when they see it.
As the old saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I am very pleased that there seems to be general support, and invite all members of the House to support the resolution.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, I am most anxious to support this initiative in the form of a resolution in the name of the member for Wentworth (Mr. Dean). While I believe the resolution in itself only scratches the surface, given the difficulty that we have in our region, perhaps it is timely.
It is ironic that it comes from this member in so far as many of the initiatives described in his resolution could well have been taken by the regional council. I may be corrected, but I believe the member sat on that regional council from 1973 until his election to this assembly as a Conservative on March 19, 1981.
Mr. Wildman: When did he become a Conservative'?
Mr. Cunningham: Maybe March 18. Certainly the initiatives are worthy of support, but it is mind-boggling that we would be addressing ourselves to this very severe situation as it relates to the downfall in the economy in Hamilton-Wentworth and the difficulties the steel industry is facing after what appears to be the conclusion of this recession we have all struggled through.
It is really almost hypocritical that we could endeavour to deal with a subject as serious as this in not only as superficial a manner as this resolution but ex post facto, after the fact, while we have about 50 per cent unemployment in our construction trades in the Hamilton-Wentworth region and upwards of 22 to 25 per cent unemployment among our young people.
The regional council of which the honourable member was a member at the time, initiated in 1978 a study prepared by Currie, Coopers and Lybrand which was tabled for council's consideration on September 8, 1978. One of the conclusions in that report was that in the Hamilton-Wentworth region we had an overdependence on the steel industry.
I do not have a solution to that problem. I cannot suggest for a moment that we have bigger cars or larger boats or more bigger cars or more larger boats. I do not know the solution to that. In a very well written submission, this company indicated that our economy in that community cannot continue to function properly if we rely on our steel industry to the extent that we have.
They indicated in the report a number of advantages that we have as a community. They were: the availability of our labour force, and we have a very fine labour force in our community; the strategic location that we have, and I believe we are as ideally suited to moving products and goods and manufacturing goods as any community in Ontario; the blend of urban and rural living that the member for Wentworth and I can both speak to somewhat clearly so far as the beauty of both our ridings are concerned; the diversified industrial base; the community leaders, and the training and educational opportunities. I should take a moment to mention, in the absence of the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson), the very fine facility that we have at Mohawk College and the good work it is doing.
One of the final reasons they indicated we have a strength was the improving image of the region, which I might endeavour to deal with on a separate occasion in another form. They indicated very clearly there were some perceived weaknesses. I think these are things the member would have been well advised to address himself to. One was the lack of serviced land; another was the location of that land that was serviced, and the continuing difficulties that we have with highway access.
I should digress and say that as a result of the encouragement, badgering and initiative that this party has taken, we have finally cajoled the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) to make the kinds of improvements necessary to our Skyway bridge. We have finally dragged him, kicking and screaming, to provide GO Transit services to the city of Hamilton, long after those services were provided for Georgetown, Milton, Acton and Brampton.
We have the image of a dirty and smoky community. In many ways that image is enhanced because of the lack of commitment of our Ministry of the Environment to make the kind of improvements we need to that community. We can regularly listen to the air quality reports in our area and if it were a football score with us versus Toronto we would be pleased. But it is not. I am sad to say we rank on a regular basis as one of the worst areas, if not the worst area, in southwestern Ontario. I want to say unequivocally that is something about which I am not proud.
Having been to Tonawanda, having had a tour of some of the steel facilities there, having had a look at that very sad situation, I say without any hesitation whatsoever that the quality of our steel facilities is excellent. It is second to none. I believe their future, when the economy comes around, is great. But it is limited to the extent that we are not going to be building the kind of cars we used to make in the past. We may not have the number of cars and drivers we used to have.
Our role in the context of shipbuilding, or the extent to which we shipbuild, period, may not be that great. We therefore are going to have to involve ourselves in a collection of diversified activities whose range is far broader than the items listed in the member's bill, which I do support none the less. The service industries, meat and poultry supply, rubbers and plastics, the needles trade, metal fabrication, high-technology development, office equipment and transportation equipment -- we are well suited to be world leaders in all of these things, given the chance.
Certainly the idea and the concept of a trade day to be held in our area is an excellent one. I would take this occasion to commend the minister, who is in our presence today, for the work his ministry does with its international program. I have constituents who attend those international forums. They come back with orders, they come back with business and they sustain jobs in my community. I want to say that is an excellent idea.
But this suggestion of a trade forum is something that could have been initiated by the member during his eight- or nine-year tenure on regional council. We certainly do not necessarily need the provincial government to sponsor such a program in our community. This is an initiative, if we had had the leadership at the regional level, that could have been conducted some time ago so that businesses, other countries and other provinces could see the collection of small businesses and business opportunities we have in our own community.
The member made mention of Tridon. I drive past the Tridon plant regularly on my way to Queen's Park, particularly when we are picking up the mail in Waterdown. The Tridon plant is in Burlington, not in Hamilton-Wentworth.
Mr. Dean: The head office is in Hamilton-Wentworth.
Mr. Cunningham: I guess I was not listening carefully.
Mr. Dean: I said "the head office."
Mr. Cunningham: Oh, the office is in Hamilton. The plant is in Burlington; that is where the people make the product. However, it is a success story, there is no question about it.
The whole concept of Ontario involving itself in a very active way in the automobile parts market, and more particularly in the aftermarket, is something to which we should be giving serious consideration. We have in my constituency, Sandco Automotive on Highway 6 in the township of Flamboro, a small company that makes rocker arms. I think it employs 20 people, but it is one of the largest suppliers of rocker arms in Canada. It is a tremendous facility, located close to the steel and close to the transportation facilities, which takes advantage of the fine and well-trained people in our community. That is the kind of thing we can be involved in in a major way.
But while it is worthy of support, I would say it is really odd to see us dealing with this initiative on May 26, 1983, as we are well into what I hope is the conclusion of this recession. This was an initiative that should have been taken in the early 1970s or mid-1970s, at the minimum, at the regional level. Certainly once the Currie, Coopers and Lybrand report was tabled on September 8, 1978, it should have been the primary focus for consideration by the regional council at that time.
I know the member for Wentworth received -- likely on the same day that I did -- the business development action plan by our region dated May 4, 1983, from John D. Morand. I have gone through the document and think it is a very workable business development plan. It is certainly worthy of the support of all members of the Legislature. It is very comprehensive. But it is four years and change after the tabling of the Currie, Coopers and Lybrand report and a lot of suffering and a lot of economic dislocation have gone on in that interregnum. I can only say I wonder where these people have been.
In the last election, prior to March 19, 1981, Dr. Stuart Smith predicted so many of these difficulties, so much of this unemployment, so much of this economic dislocation, and he was referred to continuously as Dr. Negative by the government opposite, particularly the Premier (Mr. Davis). His words have been transformed into reality.
Mr. Allen: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to participate in a brief discussion of the resolution presented to us by the member for Wentworth. I want to support it not simply in its overall aspect; each of its three parts merits support.
I do not want to engage in a review of the problems of the steel industry in Hamilton itself. We are all aware that they are many and complex and that there is a rising tide of world competition in steel. This being the case, it suggests to me that there must still be manifold uses for that basic product. Therefore, perhaps the future of the industry in Hamilton and region is not as desperate as it might otherwise seem.
There are, of course, advances in technology still to be made in that area. I understand one of the latest of the furnaces at Stelco can produce in half an hour what used to be produced in four hours. I do not think we necessarily have to look too darkly upon that industry's prospects, especially when we realize that its difficulties at present are in part a reflection of an overall dislocation of trade and production internationally and in our own markets here in Canada, affecting steel products and many other products our economy produces.
I want to refer, as did the member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham), to the crisis that has overtaken the Hamilton economy. The jobless rate in our city is running at 16.7 per cent. If one adds in those who have given up looking for work, it runs upward to 20 per cent. Factories such as Consolidated-Bathurst, Allen Industries and Otis Elevator, which is in difficulty at the moment, all signal the troubled times in our local economy.
While this motion is very valuable and one I think we should pursue -- I am very pleased to see that the Minister of Industry and Trade has taken it up and given partial effect to it already -- it does not go nearly far enough. It begins down a road I would like to pursue further, not only with respect to its first portion having to do with manufacturers' displays. It would be very useful if that exercise were pursued across the province in every one of our industrial sectors so that we could pinpoint the import areas that could be moved in on readily and rationally for replacement.
Likewise, we should move towards a major industrial development policy that hinges precisely on import replacement. In those two respects I suspect the member to whom the member for Wentworth refers as a former member of this House who brought the question up at a recent council meeting in Hamilton was probably talking about import replacement long before the member for Wentworth began thinking about it.
This proposal does not have its origin across the way; it is a strategy we have spoken about at some length in this House time and time again. It is a delight to see that even in the far recesses of the opposite corners of the House it is beginning to take hold. I hope the virtue of the idea will commend itself more and more.
In many respects 38 years of Conservative government have left our industrial structure in this province in a state of underdevelopment and dominated by American branch plants, which are the routes through which most of our import dependency takes place. No other industrial nation sends 32 cents of every dollar spent on manufactured goods out of the country to purchase imports. Imports of manufactured goods cost Canadians $38 billion a mere three or four years ago. Only the depression in our economy now reduces that figure at the present time.
For example, our excessive reliance on imported manufactured goods also costs us hundreds of thousands of jobs. Ontario's 1979 imports represented 390,000 lost job opportunities. For every $1 billion worth of manufactured goods we import, this province forfeits over 16,000 jobs, $259 million in annual wages, over $16 million in federal-provincial corporate tax and $32 million in provincial and federal personal income tax.
Those are all losses pertaining to the problem the member for Wentworth is attempting to address. In my opinion he should be addressing the more fundamental structural problem that has overtaken the Ontario economy in the hands of an outmoded and unfortunate industrial strategy that goes back to the 1870s and 1880s in this country. Even last week at an industry education seminar, the president of Westinghouse in Hamilton marked it as an outmoded industrial strategy for the future and one that badly needed replacement.
I am happy to support this motion in its present form.
In the course of the election I went through and by which route I arrived in this House last June I had some remarks to make of a very similar nature. We had various campaign meetings at that time proposing that in order to enhance the Hamilton economy, we in this province needed to engage in a major import replacement program that would specifically target resource machinery areas where our overbalance of imports and exports has been a matter of note for some time.
The very show the member for Wentworth is proposing was one this party undertook to launch in the course of the 1981 provincial election. We set up an import show demonstrating that Canadians who import items in the machinery area lost something like $14.8 billion. However, when one balanced the exchange of exports and imports, there was a total outflow of $10.2 billion. Virtually all the industries that could be targeted that had significant problems in that respect were Canadian subsidiaries of American or foreign branch plants. That was where the deficit lay.
We used that evidence to try to suggest to this province that there was a great market for job creation in that sector. As one looks at the opportunities, they are no fewer today than they were then. Presumably there are no fewer opportunities in steel than in other areas. Specifically, as the member for Wentworth rightly remarks, we have an excessive imbalance of trade in the whole machinery area and such a handsome opportunity to replace imports in that sector.
What I want to suggest is that public investment is one area of economic activity in which it is extremely crucial that the government take a very vigorous and active role. Instead of trying to pick the winners blindfolded or even by holding shows to target a few areas that we already know vitally need import replacement, the government needs to create sector responses that will bring us abreast of the problem.
In this respect I notice that the member for Wentworth refers to discussions with the federal government that will enable us to lean on the frigate program. That is an area of public investment in defence, but none the less one that can be followed in a number of other areas.
When the provincial government attempted import replacement in the medical products area, the results showed the lack of vigour with which this party would pursue that kind of import replacement. For example, we aim to improve somewhat our 75 per cent rate of medical products imports in a program that began three years ago in conjunction with the federal government. Today the imports still account for 75 per cent of the Canadian medical products market. We have not significantly reduced the problem in that area.
While I am happy to support this program, I suggest it needs to be drawn on further in a number of directions. I certainly hope that in the future the member for Wentworth will be able to carry the Minister of Industry and Trade further in that imitation which is the sincerest form of flattery, namely the adoption of a New Democratic Party program of import replacements for Ontario.
Mr. Kolyn: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak in support of a most worthy resolution. The initiatives recommended by my colleague the member for Wentworth are necessary measures to stimulate our economy, and in particular our steel industry, which has been seriously affected by the recession.
These effects resound throughout the Niagara region in particular. I concur with my colleague: It is of vital importance to our province that the Minister of Industry and Trade maximize industrial development in the oil and gas sector by actively pursuing joint ventures, licensing and the acquisition of new technology in order to broaden Ontario's industrial base.
In the identified oil fields off our eastern seaboard and in the high arctic we have a truly massive potential for economic activity throughout Carada. Given this potential, it is imperative that both the federal and provincial governments ensure that a maximum number of manufacturing spinoffs of resource development accrue to Canada and Canadians.
For our part, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has made it most clear that this government is determined to identify the main opportunities that exist for our own industry from energy developments and to act sensibly and responsibly as a government to help ensure that those opportunities are not missed.
A case in point is the well-attended oil and gas seminar in England, which, as my colleagues have pointed out, was initiated by this government. Canadian and British firms got together to discuss possible joint ventures, licensing and technology transfer agreements in the oil and gas fields. At stake is the anticipated $35-billion development of Canada's arctic and offshore oil fields over the next 15 years.
There will be a requirement for some 35 production platforms between 1983 and 1990. In the Canadian manufacturing sector there is the capacity to provide a number of components necessary to the operation of these platforms. Ontario's healthy manufacturing base will probably get a lion's share of the contracts, and England is a suitable partner. Canada needs to have a partner with experience such as that gained by Britain's oil industry in the North Sea. We require additional technology, and England has derived such technology.
For Canadians like Mr. Charles McRobbie, sales manager for E. S. Fox Ltd. of Welland, process contractors and fabricators, the seminar was well worth while:
"We are very pleased indeed," he said. "We benefited greatly from this exposure because it opened up a whole new potential clientele for us. We talked to about 40 companies while we were there, and I would say about half of them would be acceptable for us for future joint ventures.
"The ministry's initiative will undoubtedly lead to many new Canadian sources for materials and equipment that may otherwise have been bought on the international market, thus maximizing Canadian content in all our purchases."
As a follow-up to the ministry's initiative, representatives from 100 British companies will be coming to Ontario to cement the relationship they made at the seminar and to investigate others. As my colleague has indicated, the manufacturing opportunity show in Hamilton would be ideal for manufacturers in southern Ontario to be informed of the opportunities opening up in this sector.
Another area that will be presenting opportunities for Ontario manufacturers is energy mini-projects. The megaprojects of two years ago have been shattered by the recession and falling world oil prices. Even today, scaling down could provide valuable spinoff benefits for our economy.
Of special interest because they would give a quick economic boost are projects to recover the hard-to-extract, low-grade oil from heavy oil fields and oil sands deposits in the west. Although Suncor is the recognized pioneer in this field, BP Canada and Imperial Oil are seen as having the two most promising smaller-scale oil sands projects this year. BP's experimental oil sands venture at Wolf Lake, Alberta, and Imperial Oil's pilot oil sands projects at Cold Lake, Alberta, can be the beginning of an energy projects revival.
I was pleased to see in Tuesday's Globe and Mail that BP Exploration Ltd. of Calgary will begin construction immediately of a $200-million oil sands project at Wolf Lake, about 150 miles northwest of Edmonton. This is an important step. This project will be the first oil sands development scheme to use enhanced recovery techniques on a commercial scale. It will also stimulate a renewed interest in the development of Alberta's massive oil sands reserves.
Federated Co-operatives of Saskatoon has also proposed a $400-million upgrader at its existing refinery to process Saskatchewan's heavy oil. Talks between Federated Co-op officials and the Saskatchewan and federal governments are nearly complete. Meanwhile, Ottawa, Alberta and Saskatchewan are negotiating a financial package with Husky Oil of Calgary on a proposed $3.5-billion complex, including an upgrader to process heavy Lloydminster blends from the two provinces.
I was pleased to see that several measures in the recent federal budget created a more favourable environment for the oil industry to undertake these energy projects. The federal budget reduced upfront costs for enhanced oil recovery projects and introduced measures to allow companies to deduct capital expenses against the petroleum and gas revenue tax so that no tax is paid until the project has made enough profit for the sponsor to recover the investment.
The revival of these energy projects is important not just to western Canadians but to all Canadians, particularly those in Ontario. I need not remind honourable members that for every dollar invested in oil and gas exploration in western Canada, 42 cents are spent right here in Ontario.
Suncor's $335-million refinery upgrader at Sarnia will create over 700 construction jobs and save 25,000 barrels of crude oil a day by 1984. In addition, Suncor's investment in its Sarnia refinery will stimulate the manufacturing-based economy of our province. Ontario companies supplying materials and equipment for the Ontario Hydro cracker will be making steel pipes, feed exchangers, boilers, pumps and electrical parts. As a result of Suncor's Canadian procurement policy, between 85 and 90 per cent of the $335 million will be spent in Canada, most of it in Ontario.
Our friend the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) has been reminded before on occasion that E. S. Fox Ltd. in his riding will be receiving a $1.25-million contract as part of the Hydro cracker project. Muirhead Engineering Ltd. in Agincourt, ITT Canada, Gruening Steel Services in Sarnia and Foster Wheeler Ltd. in St. Catharines, to mention only a few Ontario companies, will also be receiving substantial contracts.
Energy projects are good for our economy. This government must work towards maximizing opportunities for Ontario industries in the oil and gas sector. For that reason I support my colleague's resolution and urge all members to do the same.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say how happy I am and how happy all of us are on this side of the House to endorse the private member's bill put forth by the member for Wentworth.
Unfortunately, I say this with some sadness. I am sure the member for Wentworth and the government members are aware that the regional municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth originally contacted them about this show some three years ago. I was speaking just a few moments ago to the regional economic development director, Mr. Morand, and I am sure he would be very happy to know that the program has been approved.
The cost of the show will be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $20,000. It seems to me that when a region the size of Hamilton-Wentworth has to negotiate over a three-year period for $20,000 for a regional trade show, that is the crux of our problem.
Of course, we are going to endorse this program. Of course, everybody on this side of the House -- I think I can speak for both opposition parties -- will wholeheartedly endorse any solution to get Hamilton out of its economic quagmire. I suggest, however, that the member for Wentworth and his government have had plenty of opportunities during his tenure over the last two years and before that to help Hamilton. In fact, on almost every occasion they have turned their backs on our community.
The two projects about which the member for Wentworth spoke very eloquently in his speech were the Stelco development at Nanticoke and the development of windshield wiper blades at Tridon. Anybody who knows the geography of the Hamilton area will know that Nanticoke is outside the area and Tridon is in the city of Burlington.
We must do two things to rejuvenate and revive our community. One is to ensure that with adequate transportation measures we can attract good and viable development and business establishments into our community; the other is to diversify. That diversification has to look beyond simply allowing the community to ebb and flow with the ebb and flow in the steel industry.
This does not necessarily mean the steel industry cannot be improved on. I am very interested in the second part of the private member's bill, in which the member says he wants the Ontario government to pursue discussions with the government of Canada vis-à-vis fair contracts for the frigate program. The member will also know that the regional municipality of Hamilton is already engaging in discussions with the federal government to ensure that the Hamilton-Wentworth area gets its fair share of contracts from the frigate program.
That has, therefore, already been done. We know that the ministry has been in discussion with the city for three years to run this manufacturing program. I suggest a $20,000 regional manufacturing program, while it will do much to address the problem of import substitution, is not the answer to our economic woes. I point to this government's refusal, for example, to ensure that the Skyway bridge be made of steel. The member asked the minister, in one of the few times he has spoken out in the Legislature, whether he would ensure that the bridge be made of steel, and the minister refused to do that. When the minister was questioned outside the House, he would not make a commitment to have the bridge made of steel.
Why is it that we had to wait almost a decade to get GO Transit into our community, and when it is brought in, it will be a double-track system so that people will have to disembark and embark again in order to go between Toronto and Hamilton? That is another folly, another decision by this government to prevent Hamilton from having the opportunity to flex its economic muscles.
I suggest that while this manufacturing show, which has been under discussion for three years, will go one small step towards import substitution, if the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and, indeed, the government of Ontario would stop giving Hamilton short shrift when it comes to major transportation and other industrial interventions, we would not find ourselves in the situation we find ourselves in today.
It would seem to me that at the same time as the member will be negotiating with the region to make sure the Ministry of Industry and Trade goes ahead with this project, the member and the minister should also be intervening with this government to bring out programs that will allow our community not only to survive, but to thrive. I would suggest that is far beyond the rather simplistic approach outlined in this private member's bill.
Obviously we are going to support it. It is "motherhood" to support it; it has to be supported. At the same time, the problems facing our community are far deeper and far more fundamental than that which would be addressed by simply engaging a manufacturing show to show products within the communities, among distributors and manufacturers who have a chance, because of the very nature and the closeness of our community, to discuss their products on a fairly regular basis.
Again I would point out that if the member for Wentworth were really concerned about economic rejuvenation, he would look beyond simply addressing the problem of steel production. Diversification is the key. For example, we have to go ahead with the Hamilton-Scourge Foundation, the uplifting of the boats so we will have the kind of tourism attraction in our community that we are seeing in other communities.
It was not too long ago I am sure the member for Wentworth-North will remember -- when we saw a typical example of how this government has treated our community. They put out a tourism map to attract people from all over Canada to our great province and they left Hamilton off the map.
It would seem to me that these are the kinds of interventions that should be made: the Scourge program; making sure the Skyway bridge is made of steel; making sure, for example, that the beverage-can problems be settled so the steel industry is not again left out in the cold; making sure we have good and adequate transportation systems between Hamilton and other centres so we can get our products out to the market in the most competitive way possible.
These are some of the solutions. In order to encompass those solutions, it would seem to me that the member would have to look far beyond a simple regional manufacturing show.
Having said that, I am very happy on behalf of our party to thank the government for finally, after three years, deciding to accord us $20,000 that can be used for a regional manufacturing show. I understand from Mr. Morand that a memo on this issue was sent out to council about four months ago, and we are hoping that the trade show itself may be able to take place in either October or November of this year or early next spring at the latest. I understand the lead time is about six months. Members can rest assured that we in opposition will be there joining our hands with government when this $20,000 megaproject, which is going to save Hamilton, will be introduced.
Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I will start out by saying that I will be supporting the resolution of the member for Wentworth even though I find some distaste in so doing. It is not distaste for the resolution itself but distaste for where it is coming from, simply because with the exception of the trade show, on numerous occasions the things being proposed in this resolution during the course of this spring session, and especially since the introduction of the budget some weeks ago, have been rejected by the Premier (Mr. Davis), the Treasurer and the Minister of Industry and Trade.
I find it somewhat of a farce to have to deal with the resolution coming from the back benches of that party, albeit from a member who is concerned about his own community and who is proposing approaches to the economy in Ontario which have been so repeatedly rejected by his cabinet colleagues. I think all the members from Hamilton are very concerned, as are members in all communities across the province, as to how to turn the economy around and start it growing again in Ontario.
I would like to say to my colleague the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps), I think we are all fighting for the same thing, but we need to he careful that we are fighting for the right thing. In her remarks, the member for Hamilton Centre mentioned the Skyway bridge and building it of steel. I want to point out to her that if the bridge is built of steel, the steel will all come from Sault Ste. Marie because Stelco and Dofasco do not produce that steel. If the Skyway bridge is built of concrete there will be more Hamilton steel in it than if it were built in any other way. So we should be careful to fight for the right things in terms of jobs in Hamilton.
The approaches that are set out in this resolution, the approaches of looking to import replacement and to joint ventures such as licensing and acquisition of new technologies to enable Ontario to move ahead economically, are all the kinds of things this party has been talking about for a full decade.
I ask the member for Wentworth to look through his Hansard indexes, because it is very easy to pinpoint a topic discussion like this in the Hansard indexes. I ask him to look back over the Hansards for the past decade on the topics he is referring to in his resolution.
I ask him to look and see who has been raising these issues, because they have all come from this side of the House. The majority of them, in terms of import replacement, joint ventures, etc., have been coming from this party. I ask him to look at the responses from cabinet colleagues in his own party, not only in this spring session but also over the course of the past decade -- the party of whom he purports to be an associate by being a member and voting with it on a regular basis.
I also ask the member to take the time to have a look at a document which the New Democratic Party caucus put out just before the presentation of the budget. It was a document entitled Ontario Can Work. This document does what the member for Wentworth has not done, unfortunately, in his resolution. He set out the clichés that are used in political life in Canada, such as import replacement, joint ventures, licensing and all of those other terms that we have been using in our economic discussions. Unfortunately he has not set out any of the specifics.
We will send the member a copy of the document, and we would ask him to take the time to go through it to see how we set out very specifically, sector by sector, the very kinds of things his resolution refers to. It sets out the very things the Treasurer and the Minister of Industry and Trade have refused to have anything to do with. Sector by sector, we have set out the specific approaches to import replacement, approaches this government could use to create real jobs in Ontario in joint ventures in areas that would provide training and retraining for our young and unemployed.
We have set out specifics for jobs in agriculture, accelerated capital works in Ontario, jobs in energy, jobs in the environment and a whole range of other specific suggestions. I ask the member for Wentworth to look at that document to see how well it fits with his resolution and perhaps to ask his colleagues why they have rejected in toto a package of economic initiatives in Ontario which he would appear to support.
Perhaps I can wrap up by saying we find it useful that at least some of the people in the back benches across the way are starting to crack and realize the inadequacy of the nonapproach that is being taken by the government towards the stimulation of the economy in Ontario. We have a situation where all the things this resolution implies are very true and very necessary, and we have a government that is moving in none of the areas that are mentioned except when it becomes an absolute crisis.
Crisis response to economic development is not only not a very good and logical approach to economic development, but it also becomes an approach that on an ongoing basis, costs far more than a positive and productive approach, to the questions of import replacement and joint ventures in those areas of the economy where the private sector is not prepared to deal exclusively on its own.
Mr. Cousens: Mr. Speaker, I thank all the honourable members for this magnanimous show of support, not only the support for the speakers on the government side but also the support that all honourable members are giving to this motion by the member for Wentworth. What we are talking about is something very basic. If we can do something to promote the buy Canadian policy and to promote business and the economy, then we want to do it.
It is a matter of doing it together. It is not a matter of the government trying to do it all; it is government providing an environment. That is one of the key things behind the suggestion of the member for Wentworth. If we can establish an environment in which our own Canadian enterprises are able to find the opportunities that exist within the marketplace, then they can have an even better chance to succeed because the research and the work to develop those markets is done for them. Then they can capitalize on it, make an investment and proceed with the opportunity of providing more jobs and more Canadian business.
There are so many things that need to be done in this regard. It is not just the Hamilton area; part of the honourable member's motion includes other parts of Ontario. Certainly within the high-technology area of which I am part, within the Markham area on the northeastern fringe of Metropolitan Toronto, an increasing number of companies are saying, "What can we do to buy from one another?" But what does each other have?
The idea that has been presented for the Hamilton area could well apply to other parts of Ontario, and I would like to see it applied to my area where we could bring a large number of companies together in an open forum to say: "Okay, here is what we have. These are our wares. Here is what we are doing." Then others can say: "Look, I can use this or that. I am having to import this and by importing it, it costs me more. I could buy it for less if I bought it from you." To have this kind of cross-fertilization of ideas, this kind of sharing, is a key thing for Canada.
Canada has been successful because people have worked together. I hope that as we continue to do this, we can continue to be successful.
Mr. Dean: Mr. Speaker, I thank the members from all sides for supporting my resolution, which I felt should have that sort of support. I am very glad to see that it has. I wish especially to thank my colleagues on this side of the House, the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Kolyn) and the member for York Centre (Mr. Cousens).
An hon. member: There was more support from this side than from that side.
Mr. Dean: We are delighted to have it from all sources. I am glad to see that a good idea can be recognized.
I welcome the reference to it by the member for Wentworth North as an excellent idea. I support what he said about our educational institutions being excellent. I regret he did not mention McMaster University, that great institution which is also an excellent one and which is my alma mater; otherwise it is quite good.
We will not go at any great length into the Currie, Coopers and Lybrand study, but the member will probably recall that following that study, there was a concerted effort during the two years I was on the council -- afterwards anyway -- to extend servicing, which as he said was quite rightly needed. It has been extended to industrial lands in all parts of the region, including Ancaster, Glanbrook and upper Hamilton. It is on the way to Flamboro the last I heard, and it certainly has been extended to that jewel of the region, Stoney Creek.
The member for Hamilton West (Mr. Allen) mentioned the desirability of government being involved in industry. Our government has a long record of creating a climate where business and industry can prosper, by good fiscal management and, above all, by encouraging small businesses, those backbones of our economy. I do welcome the member's support.
The matter of transportation has been raised by a couple of members. I am delighted there is general agreement that we need better transportation facilities in the Hamilton area, although it is true many of them are already in place. The Skyway program is well along and tenders are to close in June for construction of the bridge. The GO Transit program is going to be a really modern one; it is not a two-phase program, as has been suggested.
I also hope members will support all of us who feel it is extremely important to have better freeway access to the east end of the city. When the Red Hill expressway and the east-west freeway come up, I look for their support in recognition of the need for those.
I am very pleased that all those people who have spoken have supported it. We will get through with it. I again request that each member very seriously consider supporting this worthwhile effort, which I think will be a model for the rest of the province. As some members have mentioned, it should be carried on not only in Hamilton-Wentworth but in other places too.
I welcome the minister's announcement that he intends to carry through with the first part of it immediately.
The Deputy Speaker: I beg to inform the House that in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to assent to certain hills in his chambers.
Clerk of the House: The following are the titles of the bills to which His Honour has assented:
Bill 1, An Act to amend the Provincial Courts Act;
Bill 7, An Act to incorporate The Toronto Futures Exchange;
Bill 14, An Act to amend the Land Transfer Tax Act;
Bill 25, An Act to amend the Solicitors Act;
Bill 28, An Act to amend the Small Claims Courts Act;
Bill 29, An Act to amend the Estates Administration Act;
Bill 32, An Act to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act;
Bill 35, An Act to amend the Tobacco Tax Tax Act;
Bill 36, An Act to amend the Small Business Development Corporations Act;
Bill 37, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act;
Bill Pr4, An Act respecting the Missionary Church, Canada East;
Bill Pr8, An Act to revive Dave Holliday Limited;
Bill Pr10, An Act to revive Thunder Bay United Church Camps Incorporated;
Bill Pr11, An Act to revive Thomas-Hamilton-Webber Limited;
Bill Pr16, An Act to revive Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, The Church of the Virgin Mary and St. Anthanasius.
Mr. Charlton: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I want to inform the members that it was announced today the Arrow Shirt Manufacturing Co. in Hamilton will be closing its doors, with a loss of 160 jobs. That brings to nine the number of companies that have closed in Hamilton over the past eight weeks.
The Deputy Speaker: I point out to the member that is not a point of privilege.
INFLATION RESTRAINT AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Wrye, on behalf of Mr. Peterson, moved second reading of Bill 39, An Act to amend the Inflation Restraint Act.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak on this bill on behalf of the leader of the Liberal Party (Mr. Peterson), who introduced this legislation earlier in the session. It is similar to a hill I introduced on behalf of my leader and members of my party immediately following the passage of Bill 179 last December.
While many months have gone by, the issues we raised and attempted to raise during discussions of Bill 179 and the issues we bring to the attention of the House in this bill to amend the Inflation Restraint Act have not gone away. In fact, it is noteworthy to me, as somebody who has followed the rulings of the Inflation Restraint Board over the few months since it came into existence and began to make rulings, that many of the proposals, which I will detail in the next few minutes, are proposals whereby, if we had implemented them as amendments that we presented at the time of Bill 179's presentation, we could have overcome much of the mistrust and much of the lingering bitterness those in the public sector feel.
Our proposals would have brought a sense of equity, a sense of fairness and a sense of justice on the wage side, and much-needed toughness on the price side. They are proposals that are as relevant today as they were in December 1982. That is the reason we have brought them forward to the House: to see how members of all parties would feel, in terms of their presentation in this private members' hour.
I note that my friend the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Jones). the parliamentary assistant to the Treasurer, is here. He served the government on the committee. I might say to him that in my judgement he served the government well. His arguments were intelligent. I did not always agree with him and I perhaps did not agree with him very often, but his arguments were intelligently put.
I believe some of the amendments will speak to changes which I am sure the honourable member would have wished this legislation would have had, had we had the opportunity in December that we have today to begin to discuss the individual amendments which would bring that sense of equity to the act.
This private member's bill has really nine substantive sections, and it should be emphasized once again that they deal with important amendments. They are not an attempt to gut the bill; they are not an attempt to kill the act. Rather, because we support the concept of restraint -- and we supported it throughout the debate in this House -- they are an attempt to make the terms of restraint more equitable and fairer. They are consistent with the position that I and my colleagues put on behalf of the party in committee, and they are consistent with the position we took once this bill finally was returned to the House.
The first of the amendments to section 1 is the only amendment dealt with in this Legislative Assembly. In our opinion, it is so important that we have included it in the act and wish it to be dealt with again. I know the government considered this amendment seriously at the time before it rejected it.
The time has come, some four or five months down the road, for the government to reconsider the removal of the normal rights workers would have in administrative law; for example, the right to a hearing and the right to receive reasons for a decision. This is not merely an omission; it was actually necessary for the government to write into Bill 179 an exemption from certain provisions of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act.
I believe it is a laudable amendment that we are offering to the House and that I bring to the House for its consideration. Our amendment would restore those rights and make the Inflation Restraint Amendment Act fully subject to the Statutory Powers Procedure Act. In addition, it would provide the right of appeal to cabinet from any decision of the board, and thus the final decisions would be political and not bureaucratic. We believe that is a very important addition and it is one I commend to the House.
The second section of Bill 39 would exempt from the transitional provisions bargaining groups that submitted to binding arbitration on or before September 21, 1982, which, as Mr. Speaker will be aware, is the day that Bill 179 was introduced for first reading.
Our earlier amendments proposed an exemption from the transitional provisions for bargaining groups that signed an agreement on September 21, 1982. The original legislation read "prior to," and the government proposed a similar amendment at third reading which was accepted by all parties.
We believe this amendment is complementary to the earlier amendment and to the general tone of the legislation since it seeks to treat those groups which had entered into binding arbitration in the same way as those who had signed agreements. We believe that is the only fair and equitable way to deal with those employees who were caught by the provisions of Bill 179.
We have two purposes for section 3. This is one of those sections that have caused the board so much grief, which could have been avoided had we been able to bring our amendments to this House in the long months of debate over Bill 179, and had we found a government willing to hear our amendments and move on them. The first purpose of section 3 is to mandate a nine per cent transitional increase rather than the current increase of up to nine per cent.
We believe that to give an increase of less than nine per cent would obviously not be fair, since the settlements which were coming in in the days and months before Bill 179 were running in the range of 12 to 12.5 per cent. Many of the settlements in the public sector over which this government negotiated with its own employees in the two or three months previous to the introduction of that bill ran in the range of 12 to 13 per cent.
The second part of this section would remove the discretion of the board to set the terms for long-standing contracts and would allow free collective bargaining to apply up to the time at which the transitional provisions would come into effect. The government made the point that there were very few employees who were caught in this pre-September 21, 1982, transitional period. There was not a large number of employees, but it has become very clear through some of the actions of the board that the folly of the government legislation, which we warned of, has come to pass.
The greatest lingering bitterness is going to come from those employees who have been caught by this very arbitrary and unfair provision, which catches some employees not in a one-year wage restraint, not in a two-year wage restraint of nine and five, but over three years.
I bring to the attention of the House a recent letter to the Premier (Mr. Davis) from the Ontario Nurses Association in Thunder Bay which complains about exactly this kind of situation. There are 66 nurses employed in the homes for the aged in Thunder Bay, and the Inflation Restraint Board took a look at the agreement with the employer for the period of January 1, 1981, to December 31, 1982. The increase for 1981 was 31 per cent. The reason the increase was that high was to bring the ONA members who are working for the homes for the aged up to and give them parity with other nurses in the Thunder Bay area. Yet that board, in a very arbitrary action, slashed the increase and rolled it back to 16 per cent.
The ONA has pointed out, rightly so, that first, this was a freely negotiated settlement between the parties. Second, with the 31 per cent increase, the nurses would have gained only parity with other nurses in the community performing similar work. Finally, the employer, the city of Thunder Bay, in its presentation to the Inflation Restraint Board clearly indicated a willingness to implement the negotiated wage rates.
The city stated at the time -- this is the crucial issue that makes these three-year controls so unfair -- that the uncompetitive compensation rates were creating a morale problem and increasing turnover among the nursing staff. That is the problem for that one small group. My friends opposite may point out it affects only 66 employees, but surely it was up to us to bring fairness and equity to the legislation, as much as any kind of controls could which are rough justice in the first instance. Surely it was up to us to have eased the kind of rough justice as far as we could go. That is why we brought in this amendment.
Our proposed changes to section 4 involve a number of subsections. Probably the most important one is that the current legislation gives workers with a collective agreement a five per cent increase in the restraint year, while all others not covered by collective agreements are limited to not more than five per cent. Our amendment -- and I think it is a very important one -- removes this arbitrary distinction between union and nonunion workers.
Our second amendment is also very important. My friend the parliamentary assistant will remember this well. Group after group came before us to complain that those at the lowest end of the scale were going to be hit very hard by the minimum of $750 and the limit of $1,000. The discretionary amount of money was very marginal.
Our party took a very close look at that and decided a $750 increase -- or 7.5 per cent for someone earning $10,000 -- was simply not sufficient. Nor was it sufficient that the larger increase was at the discretion of the employer, with an appeal to the board. Our amendment would increase the minimum increase to $1,200, providing at that $10,000 range a 12 per cent increase, ranging to five per cent at $24,000. It would remove the discretionary aspect so employees and employers who were both hit by this act would not get into any long-term labour relations bitterness. It was a very important amendment and that is why we have proposed it in this bill.
Finally, subsection 3 would remove the restrictions on seniority and merit increases for persons earning over $35,000. The number of instances where people have come to me and other members of my party to complain about the problem with merit increases is legion. It was an attempt by the government to put in some controls where no controls were needed. It has caused all sorts of harm already and it will continue to cause harm long after the one-year period is past. We would commend that to the House.
Section 5 of our amendments contained in Bill 39 would reinstate the right to free collective bargaining on issues unrelated to remuneration and benefits. It would also allow not only for free collective bargaining but for arbitration or strikes if necessary on issues such as safety conditions. That has been taken away from employees in the Inflation Restraint Act. Once again, it will lead to a backlog of unresolved issues that have nothing to do with compensation. Those should be bargained now. They should come to fruition now, either through a freely negotiated settlement, binding arbitration or a withdrawal of services. Our amendment would change that.
We have fairly minor amendments in section 6 arising from other changes.
Section 7 of our proposals would bring the Ontario health insurance plan fee schedule under the act, making the payment of physicians and other practitioners subject to the administered prices section of the legislation. That is particularly applicable given that this government saw fit to give doctors what it would give no other public sector employees in this province.
That was a disgraceful decision on behalf of this government, which fiddled for months trying to make up its mind. When the day was long past, it finally had the courage to stand up and say, "We are going to do something." As usual, the government tried to make the doctors the villain of the piece when everybody knows that if this government had one ounce of political courage it would have said to the doctors, "You are caught under this Inflation Restraint Act just like every other public sector worker in the province."
My friends opposite may argue that the doctors are individual businessmen or whatever they want to argue. The fact is they are getting the vast majority of their money from the public purse and as such should have been caught by the act.
Section 8 of our amendments requires the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) to publish the criteria by which price increases are reviewed. Currently there is no such requirement that these criteria be known to the public. He would be required to publish the criteria and any amendments in the Ontario Gazette, circulate them to all public and regulatory agencies and provide appropriate public notice -- for example, newspaper advertisements.
Subsection 2 would permit the review of price increases which took effect after September 21, 1982, and which had been previously announced. Subsection 3 would allow anyone, not just the minister, to refer a price increase to the board for investigation. As we have obviously seen the need for that, subsection 4 is complementary to it.
The last section of the bill is to limit Ontario Hydro rate increases to five per cent during the control period without cost pass-throughs. That is obviously a necessary amendment. We would do the same for those landlords who have increases which are subject to the Residential Tenancies Act and they would similarly be caught by this legislation.
I will await the comments of other members and make some final comments in my wrapup remarks.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I have listened rather carefully to what the member for Windsor- Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) had to say, speaking, I presume, as his leader, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson), would have spoken. I have to say I am not terribly impressed.
Bill 179, the so-called Inflation Restraint Act, is, we think in this party and I think personally, a bad act and I am conscious that it is on the books today with the help of the Liberals in this province.
I am conscious of the fact that the main opposition to it by their leader was that it did not go far enough, that all workers should have been put under the Inflation Restraint Act, and I am conscious of the fact that, like the Liberal leader's federal counterpart, they want wage controls but no real price controls.
It is a grossly unfair bill and I want to say to the Liberals that their amendment to it is not going to make a silk-purse wage package out of public-employee-bashing sow's ear legislation.
What I find most obnoxious about the Leader of the Opposition's bill is that it implicitly accepts the principle that wage restraint, led by its application to the public sector, is a major answer to our economic problems in this province. The Liberal leader here has used his private member's spot not to deal with something in his riding, as is sometimes done, but to deal with an economic matter, and the economic matter he is dealing with is an attempt to dress up this iniquitous legislation that we have on the book.
He does not bring in a bill to deal with the billions of dollars of import replacements that we have here, to correct our mounting manufacturing deficit. He does not bring in a bill for an economic plan for Ontario. He does not bring in a resolution or a bill to call the federal government to reduce interest rates further and to hold them down, the most serious thing we are facing at the present time. He does not bring in a bill of real inflation restraint, dealing with consumer prices and consumer charges.
Instead, he goes for another coat of paint on a facade which has no depth or meaning in dealing with our real problems.
I suspect the main purpose of this amending legislation to the Inflation Restraint Act which we have before us is to try to recapture some of the support the Liberal Party lost among certain of its supporters when it backed this bill last fall.
It has been argued, and I am sure other speakers for that party will argue, that this amending bill corrects some injustices to certain workers, such as the public health workers, particularly those in the Niagara region, and it provides some minor additional price intervention. I admit it does that and that is why some of us in this party may support it.
Also, some of us may support it because the amendments that have been brought in are, generally speaking, amendments this party tabled when the bill was being considered last fall. The Liberal Party tabled them too, but this party tabled those bills when we were dealing last fall with such things as the use of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act; the right of any person, not just a minister, to request the Inflation Restraint Board to investigate an administered price, and the proposal that Ontario health insurance plan fees be included as an administered price. My colleague will be speaking in a few minutes on the matter of rents.
What Bill 39 does is so paltry, it leaves such injustices that it is very difficult to support it. In spite of the amendments, hundreds of wage contracts are still torn to bits; they are not put back together. Public workers are still the only target in the inflation restraint battle. Workers of their class are still left as the villains of inflation.
It is timing, too, here at this time. It is really a bit unreal. Eight of the 15 months have gone; there are only seven months left, if this bill were to become law. The bureaucracy to unravel what has been done in those months would be very massive and perhaps almost impractical.
If the leader of the official opposition wanted to do something real about fighting inflation, why would he not introduce an amendment for a fair prices commission or a public advocate, something that would be continuing so all inflationary prices could be dealt with adequately?
Has he forgotten what the person who is now the supreme authority, the czar with regard to inflation, Jack Biddell, said a couple of years ago before he got the job? He said: "Simply put, high inflation is a continuing, unacceptable rate of increase in the prices we have to pay for the goods and services we consume. To contain inflation effectively, we must slow down the rate at which prices are increasing. We must control prices."
He went on to say, "We did not control prices when we had the restraint before, except to control wages and some profit margins." He stated further, "Our efforts had some success, but not nearly what we might have had and could, in fact, achieve now, if we set about it in a more direct fashion by directly controlling price increases." That is what Mr. Jack Biddell had to say.
The Leader of the Opposition and his party, of course, do not really want even a modest form of price control. It is fair to ask why the deputy leader of the Liberal Party raised the issue of gasoline prices the other day as his leadoff question when his party does not want to have even any ad hoc control over anything other than administered prices.
I want to say to members over there, they are as insincere as the government about doing anything about prices. That is quite a condemnation. I hope they are not as ignorant, quite frankly, about what is taking place in our society.
Some of them may remember that about two weeks ago, on May 10, I asked the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) whether he would investigate the tremendous increase in the price of birth control pills, which had gone up something like eight per cent in six months, 19 per cent in a year and 53 per cent in two years.
He made a bit of a joke out of it, but then he went on to say, "However, I do notice that member consistently fails to point out the broad picture. Had he stood up and said in all honesty that from April 1982 to April 1983 the consumer price index rose only 3.2 per cent, we might have a better understanding of the overall price issue."
The minister who is responsible for consumer prices in this province says they went up 3.2 per cent in the year. The increase was, according to the consumer price index, 7.2 per cent. He is so unconcerned that he does not realize what is still taking place in our society relative to wages with regard to prices.
The Liberals over here on my right would not even be interested in having those things investigated because the bill they brought in still calls for only the investigation or the rollback, if that should be the case. The minister should have authority over only a few, a very few, administered prices in our society.
There was an article in the paper about a week ago on the tremendous increase in the price of non-narcotic pain killers. There was an investigation done by the Addiction Research Foundation in which it pointed out that the amount paid for these had increased 100 per cent from 1977 to 1980-81. It pointed out that their use had increased, but the man who did the research on it, a Mr. Jack Miller, said price increases would obviously be a large part of that increase in cost. Anybody who follows profits knows very well the profits of these drug companies are increasing quite dramatically; yet the Liberal Party wants to do nothing about prices.
It wants no real investigation of these sorts of things. It wants control over wages, and the Leader of the Opposition in this bill has set his economic priorities with regard to inflation --
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): The honourable member has exhausted the time allotted.
Mr. Swart: I want to tell the House, this is not my priority, nor that of my party.
Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to address this bill and I do so with a certain sense of déjà vu. The member for Windsor-Sandwich and I had a rather extensive and interesting debate on this very topic some nine months ago. It would appear that for some reason I am still having some difficulty coming to grips with, or understanding, that we have a whole series of amendments that were debated at some great length and discussed at some great length not all that many months ago.
That is the truth of the matter. The reality is that the Liberal Party, along with the third party, sat in this House and dominated this debate for well over 80 hours, which is some two thirds of the time we normally take in an average session, to try to defeat it. I can fully understand --
Mr. Wrye: No. Your party cut off the debate.
Mr. Brandt: I did not interrupt the member while he was speaking. Would he now give me an opportunity to address some of the things he has suggested in his remarks? I can appreciate the fact --
Mr. Brandt: The member is being provocative.
Mr. Epp: Why does the member not stop?
Mr. Brandt: If the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp) wants the floor, I will gladly give it up. I know he --
The Acting Speaker: The member has eight minutes.
Mr. Brandt: The point I want to make with respect to the comments of the third party is that I can fully understand the philosophical opposition of the third party in connection with a bill it finds totally unacceptable. They have made that totally clear and, quite frankly, I have to take that into account. I recognize it and I appreciate their stance. I do not agree with it, but I understand where they are coming from.
However, the official opposition confuses me, because it knows very well what its colleagues in Ottawa did. The members of the party I am a part of on this side of the House know what the members in Ottawa did. The members know what their restraint program called for and I have to say that when the provincial restraint program, Bill 179, which this government brought forward is compared in an equitable comparison with the federal legislation that some of the colleagues of the members opposite brought forward, ours is far more fair, far more equitable and addresses the problems in a much more direct fashion than anything that was brought forward by the opposition's Ottawa colleagues.
I have to take issue with the fact that these amendments are being brought forward some nine months after the fact. I think that is utterly ridiculous and I can understand -- I want to say this to my colleagues, since the members opposite are not listening -- that I can understand why the member for Windsor-Sandwich originally brought this bill forward some months ago; but then, through some strange metamorphosis, it became legislation presented by the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson), the Leader of the Opposition; and now the bill has gone back again to the member for Windsor-Sandwich.
It appears it is a hot potato and nobody wants to handle it. That is what it appears to be. I can understand why the member is not very proud of this particular bill and the amendments he is proposing. I am going to talk about some specifics in the bill that the member is going to have difficulty explaining to some of his constituents back home, because there are some problems with what he is talking about. Frankly, I do not know how the member who sits beside him can stomach some of the proposals in that bill, some of which are so totally ludicrous.
I will speak specifically to the five per cent limitation on rent increases. I can understand the third party's position on this, but I have great difficulty understanding those so-called free-enterprisers on that side of the House, particularly the member for Waterloo North, who had a bill before this House, as my colleagues will remember, on private property rights. Do members recall that? Now, I frankly do not know what private property rights have to do with this five per cent limitation on rent increases, but I see the two being somewhat hypocritical; I see somewhat of a problem bringing them together. I would suggest there are certain members of the opposition who may have at least a twitch of free enterprise left in them who may have that same concern.
Mr. Bradley: The ones who oppose Suncor, you mean.
Mr. Brandt: I didn't know we were debating Suncor.
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Brandt: In addition to the 80 hours that this House debated Bill 179, we spent some 35 additional hours on it in committee. And I did make sure to check with the chairman of the justice committee on this particular point. The very fine member for Oxford (Mr. Treleaven), chairman of the standing committee on administration of justice, who chaired that committee with great direction and authority during the difficulties we had with this particular bill, confirmed for me that we spent some 35 hours, as I recall, in additional debate on it. I recognize that a lot of it was a filibuster on the part of the third party, but the reality is that no bill during the two years I have been in this House has received more extensive scrutiny and debate, has been more carefully reviewed, analysed and considered and more sensitively brought forward by this government than this bill that we have before us and that we are talking about again today.
There is simply no reason for the government members to accept the amendments that are being proposed by the official opposition.
Quite frankly, the reason we cannot accept these amendments is that they do not make a great deal of sense once the program has been some nine months into its operation. Any kind of retroactivity that might be proposed in the context of the amendments would be absolutely unworkable and totally unacceptable. The fact of the matter is that they were unacceptable to the government months ago, and I can see no reason why the member is bringing them forward at this time.
The members of the third party have been arguing that perhaps the introduction of Bill 179, with or without amendments -- and I am pleased to see that they are not agreeing with the amendments, either --
Mr. Wrye: I want to have a vote so they will make up their minds.
Mr. Brandt: They made up their minds a long time ago. The Liberal Party is still trying to straddle the fence in a very wide fashion and is having great difficulty with it. I can understand that; the waffling position it takes so frequently where it cannot make up its mind as to where it really wants to go does not bother us on this side of the House; it simply brings back the reason we are over here and they are over there.
The problem they have with Bill 179 is that they cannot decide on a specific position on this particular bill. As the earlier speaker, the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart), indicated representing the third party, the difficulty the Liberal Party have is that perhaps they have upset some of their friends, who are now making representations to them, and they are trying to cover their tracks in connection with some of the amendments they are bringing forward.
Since the time Bill 179 was introduced without these ridiculous amendments it is interesting to note that the rate of inflation has gone down very substantially, consumer confidence has improved very substantially and the economy is looking much brighter and much more buoyant. In spite of the comments that were made by some of the earlier speakers, I would have to say that the reality of Bill 179 is that it is working.
Mr. Swart: Yes, 50 per cent more people on welfare.
Mr. Brandt: That is what is bothering the member for Welland-Thorold: that this bill is working. Let me tell him that his solution --
Mr. Swart: There are 500,000 more unemployed.
Mr. Brandt: -- the same solution that was used by that great man, Mitterrand, in France, which is simply to increase the deficit, increase spending and continue on in that kind of fairy tale world, has literally destroyed the economy of that country. The member has no other solution. The member has not got another proposal to bring forward before this House to substitute for Bill 179. The member knows it and I know it.
Mr. Charlton: The member for Sarnia is contradicting his colleague the member for Wentworth (Mr. Dean).
Mr. Brandt: The reality is, my friends, that if it were as simple as increasing the deficit and increasing spending, there would not be a poor country in the entire world. That is all the member is asking for. The member is asking for the status quo. He is asking for a continuation of what we had before, which in many instances could not be afforded.
I see that my time is coming to an end. I simply want to say in response to the proposed amendments that the government side cannot accept those amendments. We find them, first of all, extremely late with regard to when they were brought before this House. They are some nine months too late. As a matter of fact, even from a technical standpoint the bill itself was not brought before this House in the appropriate time frame.
The Acting Speaker: The member for St. Catharines.
Mr. Nixon: Now we will get the facts of the case.
Mr. Brandt: Let us get it straight now. Give us the facts. Which side of the fence are you on? Tell us that.
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the member for Sarnia, as I always do, as he attempts to move forward two rows into the cabinet. He certainly has made a case for that, if not for his stand on this piece of legislation.
As has been indicated, I suppose on many occasions, the initial reaction to Bill 179 was one of disappointment. So many people had expected, with the speculation that was running rampant in the summer, that some kind of total economic program or package would be presented before the House. We expected that one of its components would be restraint, but we expected there would be far more to that package. It was absent, of course. Instead, members of the Legislature were greeted with two bills, one designed to restrain public sector wages and salaries and the other permitting the government of Ontario to opt into any federal program of comprehensive wage and price controls.
While there were some vague suggestions at that time of future announcements of job creation measures, and cost savings were forthcoming, no total economic recovery package, which most of us had hoped for, was presented to the House at any time in that session. With an inflation rate significantly higher than that of most industrial western countries and with federal and provincial budgetary deficits soaring well beyond all earlier predictions, I think governments felt they were forced to take drastic measures to control their own costs and to prevent their deficits from reaching a point where confidence in their ability to meet their financial obligations was no longer present.
In the case of Ontario it should have been evident that panic had set in when the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) announced on May 13, 1982, the removal of sales tax exemptions on many essential items in an effort to boost severely sagging revenues. It would have been easy, and I think to a great extent true, to say that public sector employees were being forced to pay for the squandering of provincial government funds on such ill-advised ventures as the $650-million Suncor purchase, which indicates that the government really believes in the free market economy and private enterprise.
There was $40 million spent on government advertising and on another free enterprise venture, Minaki Lodge. The land banking schemes, of course, also add to the record of the government members as great free enterprisers. There were the lavish receptions and the famous downed executive jet for the Premier (Mr. Davis) and his cabinet.
Mr. Nixon: Bradley shot the jet down; and it went down like a Starfighter.
Mr. Bradley: The fact remains that the provincial deficit is soaring towards $3 billion and the government felt that action must be taken to halt that dangerous trend. Action also had to be taken on direct job creation programs and on the alleviation of the financial hardship being experienced by those most vulnerable during the difficult economic times. Any savings realized by the elimination of wasteful expenditures and by the restraint of public sector compensation should have been directed to those endeavours.
While the Ontario Liberal caucus supported a program of restraint, we were determined at that time, members will recall, to amend Bill 179 to eliminate many of the inequities that existed in the proposed legislation and to continue to keep the pressure on the Ontario government to come forward with a full economic recovery program. That is why we insisted that there be public hearings, and that is why so many of our members rose in the Legislature to point out the deficiencies in the government proposal.
Probably the easiest course of action to follow would simply have been to condemn the provincial government for introducing Bill 179 and to oppose it vigorously at every opportunity, allowing the government to accept the consequences of its action. To do so, however, would have been to ignore the reality of the 70-seat Conservative majority and to abdicate our responsibility to deal with the legislation that is presented to the House.
Instead of merely rejecting the legislation completely and refusing to examine methods of improving it, the Ontario Liberal caucus chose to propose several amendments that responded to the major objections voiced by opponents of the bill. From my own conversations and correspondence with representatives of the Ontario Teachers' Federation and its affiliates, for example, from my attendance at meetings at the provincial and local level with educators and from my reading of the briefs submitted and my attendance at some of the sessions and justice committee hearings related to Bill 179, I was aware of the vehement opposition of almost all public sector employees' representatives to the principle of the bill and of their desire to see it withdrawn.
I was also aware of their specific objections to certain provisions of the legislation, and I gave a commitment on behalf of the Ontario Liberal caucus to address those concerns in the form of amendments that were suggested in the press release of the Liberal leader, the member for London Centre, on October 19, 1982.
Among the proposed amendments to Bill 179 that we were committed to fight for and that are included in this bill is the restoration of the right to free collective bargaining on issues of a noncompensation nature, including the right to strike or seek binding arbitration if that right was available to any group of public employees before the introduction of the restraint legislation.
In addition to this amendment we proposed that full collective bargaining rights be restored for both monetary and noncompensation items for contracts unsettled in 1981. To address the injustice of limiting those at the lower end of the income scale to a significantly lower increase in actual dollars we proposed to raise the level of compensation permitted for this group above that which had been allowed by the bill. For those who have invested time and funds in securing additional academic qualifications and have met the other criteria for merit increases or progression on an established pay grid we would have amended the legislation to eliminate any unequal treatment.
Another area of genuine concern we had to address was the detrimental effect that the five per cent guideline would have on those close to retirement, and we recommended at that time that the government take necessary measures to ensure that those people not be penalized in the calculation of their pensionable earnings.
It was our view that the legislation should be amended to require that the Inflation Restraint Board publish the criteria to be used for its judgement of any price increases and provide written reasons for its decisions affecting employee compensation. As well, the right to a hearing for any party affected by a board decision, we felt, was essential as an appeal mechanism.
All costs and prices under the control of the provincial government should be subject to the same guidelines as the compensation factors: for example, Ontario health insurance plan premiums and Hydro. In our view, teeth had to be placed in the price review mechanism to ensure that cost pass-throughs and profit increases were not automatic.
It is interesting to note that, in difficult economic times and in circumstances where they have assumed the responsibilities of government, those who characterize themselves as the friends and allies of working people when in opposition sometimes find it necessary to take action that is contrary to the policies they have espoused in the past. We note as examples the governments of British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, which initiated certain legislation and measures that were contrary to what people in the organized union movement would have felt were good. We also had the example of the Parti Québécois government, elected with unprecedented labour and public sector support, which passed legislation that was far more dire in its consequences than that which was placed before the Ontario Legislature.
As the justice committee completed its public hearings on November 1, we in the Ontario Liberal caucus announced a list of specific amendments we proposed to introduce and a series of recommendations for government amendments in those areas of expenditure generation, which are the sole prerogative of the governing political party. It is unfortunate that those amendments never saw the light of day for a couple of reasons, the main one being that closure was imposed.
It was the view of the official opposition that rather than spend our time quibbling over minor amendments to the initial wording of this bill, we could have better spent our time on the meaty, important amendments to the legislation.
Unfortunately, the third party chose the other course of action. Believing in principle that the entire bill was without merit, they chose to filibuster in the House, giving the people opposite, who were waiting for that opportunity, an excuse to introduce two new precedent-setting forms of closure, which not only were used in the case of this bill to prevent our reasonable amendments from coming forward but which also can be used in the future to the detriment of all members of the House, regardless of which side they sit on.
I appeal to members of the House to give consideration to the amendments contained in Bill 39, brought forward by the Leader of the Opposition and supported by the member for Windsor-Sandwich in his speech. It is a reasonable number of amendments. They would have been reasonable to accept at the time the bill was going through the House in December 1982.
The amendments are the kind that would have made the Legislature work. People could have pointed to this Legislature and said: "Here is a government that is responsive to problems existing in a piece of legislation. Here is an opposition that is prepared to be constructive in its approach." We still have that opportunity. It would have been better at that time, but that opportunity remains to members of this House.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I will support this bill, not because the bill goes far enough and not because I believe in wage controls but, rather, as someone who has spoken at some length about the inflationary problems caused by the flipping of buildings, by excessive capital gains by certain persons and companies who can only be labelled as speculators rather than investors.
We see the amendment proposed in section 9 of the bill as essential until the Thom commission can make its report and until a new Residential Tenancies Act and Landlord and Tenant Act can be passed by this House.
At the time the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) introduced Bill 198, the Residential Complexes Financing Costs Restraint Act, 1982, the New Democratic Party introduced a number of amendments that are now mirrored in this bill.
First, we asked for disclosure of ownership. The NDP moved an amendment to require disclosure of all beneficial owners of more than five per cent of the shares of a corporate owner of residential property. We also asked for effective dates. We introduced an amendment, supported by the Liberal Party, asking for a five per cent freeze. This bill does exactly that and therefore, we have no alternative but to support it.
In moving an amendment to the bill to limit increases of all residential properties of five per cent until the bill was replaced by permanent improvements to rent review and to the Landlord and Tenant Act, the NDP submitted that a five per cent limit would cover all residential premises in Ontario in recognition that there are serious problems with rent review that go far beyond the issue of the pass-through.
In particular, we are pleased to see, as in our amendment which was defeated by the Conservative Party, that this bill deals with buildings that were occupied after January 1, 1976. Therefore, because of the consumer side of this bill, I have no alternative but to support it.
Although this bill does not go as far as our amendments, we recognize that it does at least give tenants a short time of relief until appropriate longer-term solutions can be found and implemented.
Week after week I have lineups of people in my office asking to get into Ontario Housing units. I have to face them with the fact that because of this government's inaction in the construction of affordable housing accommodation, 18,000 families are on the waiting list for Ontario Housing units.
When we look at the kind of rent increases that are being experienced, particularly in the private rental areas where buildings were occupied after January 1, 1976, we see more and more people asking for accommodation in government-subsidized housing.
Either the government has to implement a proper regulatory system or it has to subsidize -- be it in government-owned or government-operated housing, or in co-op housing, or in some other form -- those people who simply cannot afford to live in the private sector.
For the government to say this party has inflationary policies, when its very policies against regulation are forcing more people to apply for subsidies, is simply nonsense. The regulatory way is an anti-inflationary manner, rather than a pro-inflationary manner.
In some parts of Metro, such as Scarborough and Rexdale -- and, indeed, the members from Mississauga will recognize that increasingly larger numbers of buildings are not covered under rent review at all -- an increasingly larger percentage of the rental stock in those communities is new buildings and, of course, there is absolutely no protection.
It is unfortunate the Liberal Party voted with the Conservative Party to eliminate the post-1976 buildings from rent review in 1977 when it had an opportunity to vote on the side of tenants.
We are faced with a situation where, for instance, many of my constituents on Albion Road or on north Kipling Avenue, where the new buildings have been constructed, are faced with rent increases of $100, $150 or even $200 a month. This bill would at least relieve that situation for a short period. Therefore, I have no alternative but to support it, albeit it is a Band-Aid for a short period to stop these people from bleeding entirely.
One of the problems faced by tenants is that there has been countless flipping of buildings. This flipping, indeed the whole Cadillac Fairview fiasco, would likely not have happened, or it would have been very difficult for them to pull it off, if the Liberals had not sold out the tenants and voted against disclosure under the Corporations Information Act and had instead voted for our amendment under that act.
Let me give members an example of the kind of profits that some companies have made under the present rent review system. In the case I revealed on April 25, 1982, two buildings in Hamilton, consisting of about 200 units, were sold in January 1981, to Steveston Investments for $2.5 million. Steveston paid only $37,000 and financed the balance. The buildings were resold in April 1982 for $4.8 million, giving Steveston a 6,212 per cent return on investment. The first sale resulted in an increase to tenants of 12 per cent, and the resale resulted in the new owner making an application for a 30 per cent increase. That kind of speculation, as distinct from investment, must stop.
This bill provides a Band-Aid to a serious problem, but one must ask where the Liberal Party stands on rent review and landlord and tenant issues generally. They have not disclosed that. The Liberal federal Minister of Housing has argued for the abolition of rent review entirely and, indeed, his predecessor made the same arguments during the last provincial election on the Shulman television program where I debated with him on this very topic.
The former member for St. George and Liberal critic in this portfolio in the last House argued for the phasing out of rent review. Only last week the Liberals voted with the Conservatives to delay the handling of Bill Pr3, which would give the city of Toronto the right to stop the demolition of reasonable apartment buildings, particularly those in the downtown core.
While the Liberal Party has never spelled out exactly where it stands on tenant issues, we none the less welcome the fact that like the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), who introduced an amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act, an amendment I had introduced previously in which tenants are luckily being saved from eviction, the Liberal Party has seen fit to at least introduce legislation somewhat similar to what we had introduced as amendments to the earlier, very inadequate, temporary legislation introduced by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
We find the consumer side of this bill acceptable. None the less, it does not spell out exactly where that party wants to go. What happens in a few months when wage controls end? What happens in terms of tenant issues? What happens in terms of the consumers? The Liberal Party has not spelled that out. Their track record on tenant issues, when there was a minority government and they had an opportunity to do something about it, is abominable. Invariably, they voted on the side of the landlords and against the tenants. Even last week on Bill Pr3 they voted on the side of the landlords and against Toronto and the tenants.
None the less, because this bill does give some relief, until the kinds of changes we in the New Democratic Party have put on paper and had the guts to introduce so that everybody could see in broad daylight exactly where we stood through private members' bills in this House, until such amendments come forth from the government and the Thom commission has an opportunity to report and decent landlord and tenant or rent review legislation is in place, we feel this bill is better than nothing. Therefore, we will support Bill 39, An Act to amend the Inflation Restraint Act, 1982, introduced by the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Jones: Mr. Speaker, I suspect that a lot of us feel we are hearing an echo. As my colleague the member for Sarnia so clearly pointed out, after the more than 80 hours of debate that took place on second and third readings and the hours in committee, we did have the opportunity to deal further with the proposals before us in this bill today.
I would like to share with the member for Windsor-Sandwich some of the problems that exist with the proposals within the bill. I compliment him for some of the thoughts and expressions he gave earlier in the debate but, as we look at each of those sections, I ask him to consider a few things that are pretty vital to his proposals for changes to Bill 179.
I remind the member that there has been a wide acceptance of the bill by the public. It is working, and we are halfway into the control year. That aside, in his proposal on section 3 of that bill he talks of natural justice; we heard a great deal about this in the debate I referred to earlier, where they talk of hearings and written reasons and appeals. There is no appeal of arbitration awards or decisions of administrative tribunals such as the Ontario Labour Relations Board. The board's decisions are of the same character.
Like the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Inflation Restraint Board may reconsider, revoke or amend any decision it makes. Unlike most administrative tribunals, in most cases the board deals with oniy one issue in arbitration proceedings, wage rates, rather than a complex set of issues. It considers comparisons of compensation with other similar workers and the ability of the employer to pay.
Regarding section 9, where the member would exempt compensation plans for the transitional rules, I can have some sympathy with him on that. As he knows, and he has referred to it, we did have a change. But allowing awards over nine per cent for those subject to binding arbitration would in effect discriminate against workers with the right to strike.
On section 10, the intention of this legislation was not to force employers to give larger salary increases than they otherwise would, except in the case of very low-paid workers. As he mentioned, anyone earning $20,000 a year or less was already guaranteed that $750 and could have the review for an amount under the $1000.
I think that came up in the debate many times, and rightly so, as we dealt with Bill 179. We had to remind ourselves that many private sector employers have instituted wage freezes or even cuts and there is no reason why these should be prohibited by law for public sector employees or members of boards or councils, etc., particularly as it is part of a restraint program.
In section 12, the member would mandate the five per cent for unionized and nonunionized employees. What about municipalities that approached us and said they wanted the flexibility to have three per cent? In his proposal, we would be mandating that they must have five per cent and it takes away that choice.
The member proposes to change the increase from $1,000 to $1,200. Again, I would point out to him that the program already gives some low-income workers larger increases. If his proposal as suggested here went forward, a person in the minimum wage category could receive a 16.5 per cent increase. I would also share with the member that 61 per cent of classified staff in the Ontario public service earn under $24,000 and would thus receive an increase of over five per cent under his proposal in the bill before us today.
Regarding the removal of the prohibition of merit increases for those earning over $35,000 and the member's proposal to guarantee a minimum increase for all employees regardless of their compensation level, I would just ask members to remember that salary increments have been prohibited for those earning over $35,000 because it was felt that high-income earners should make a greater sacrifice than others. The effect of deleting subsection 12(5) would be to permit some employees earning over $35,000 to receive pay increases of nine or 12 per cent during that five per cent control year.
I would ask the member to give some thought to those proposals. They run counter to the whole philosophy of Bill 179, which is working so well in curbing inflation in this province. I would also ask him to reflect that most of Ontario's own-account employees earning over $35,000 will be affected by restraint measures for two full years because the 1982 budget restricted their 1982-83 increase to six per cent.
Mr. Speaker: Just before the member for Windsor-Sandwich stands up, I would once more ask the co-operation of all members in limiting their private conversations.
Mr. Speaker: I think he is trying to balance his budget.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, in response to both the member for Welland-Thorold and the member for Sarnia, who pointed to the long delay between the time Bill 179 became law and when this bill came to the House for debate, I wanted to point out that we on this side sponsored a private member's bill which was introduced the day after Bill 179 was given third reading. We attempted to bring this bill before the House in January but that attempt was not successful. So we have certainly been trying to get it here for some time.
We believe the impact of the bill is important enough that it should be retroactive and those employees who have money coming to them should get it.
My friend the member for Sarnia said we have had over 80 hours of debate. What he failed to point out was that during the 80 hours of debate when this Legislature was subjected to a long- winded filibuster, none of the amendments we have brought before the House today, save one, was ever debated. That is why we have brought these very important changes before the House even at this late hour for the consideration of the assembly. I thank my friend the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) for pointing out the proposed amendment concerning the tenants of this province. It is just one of many very important amendments we would have brought before the House back in January had we been able to.
I want to point out to my friend the member for Welland-Thorold that while he points out that the law was put on the books with the help of the Liberal Party, these amendments were never brought before the Legislature because of the party on my left, which prevented the very introduction of these amendments that some of his own members are going to support today. The essential issue is that finally we are able to bring our amendments before this House for the consideration of the assembly.
STEEL INDUSTRY INCENTIVES
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Dean has moved resolution 3.
Motion agreed to.
INFLATION RESTRAINT AMENDMENT ACT
The following members having objected by rising, a vote was not taken on Bill 39:
Ashe, Barlow, Brandt, Cousens, Cureatz, Dean, Eaton, Eves, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Henderson, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kells, Kennedy, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk, McCaffrey, McCague, McLean, McNeil, Miller, F. S., Piché, Ramsay, Robinson, Rotenberg, Runciman, Sheppard, Shymko, Snow, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Treleaven, Walker, Watson, Wells, Williams -- 41.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to indicate some of the business for next week. I might just indicate while there are many members present that the House will be adjourning at six o'clock on Thursday, June 9, and will not be meeting on Friday, June 10. Also it has been decided that the House will meet on Monday evenings starting on June 13. That will mean. I hope, Monday evening, June 13, and Monday evening, June 20.
Tonight we will continue with the budget debate.
Tomorrow morning we will deal with estimates of the Ministry of Government Services.
On Monday, May 30, we will complete the estimates of the Ministry of Government Services and, in the time remaining, consider government notice of motion 6 standing on the order paper.
On Tuesday, May 31, we will do second readings and committee of the whole, if required, on Bills 38, 34, 43 and, if time permits, Bill 41.
On Wednesday, June 1, the usual three committees may meet in the morning.
On Thursday, June 2, we will consider private members' ballot items in the names of Mr. Lane and Mr. Newman. In the evening, we will continue with the budget debate.
On Friday, June 3, we will begin the estimates of the Ministry of Revenue.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.