The House met at 2 p.m.
ANNUAL REPORT, LEGISLATIVE LIBRARY
Mr. Speaker: I beg to inform the House that I have today laid upon the table the annual report of the director of the legislative library research and information services for 1982-83.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
SAFE DRINKING WATER
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I think the copies are being distributed at the moment.
I would like to inform the honourable members of certain initiatives to bring the best available technology to Ontario residents in the provision of clean and safe drinking water supplies and, in particular, action in the protecting of water quality in the Niagara River.
As members will be aware, my ministry accelerated its efforts in the development of new standards for hazardous contaminants some months ago. Since then we have put in place an expanded program of water testing aimed at providing an improved data base on chemical contaminants, their whereabouts and their possible origins. We have also purchased and installed a new mass spectrometer, high-resolution equipment that is designed to upgrade significantly our ability to detect chemical contaminants in trace quantities.
These moves will put Ontario ahead of most other jurisdictions in the world, and it is our intention to move progressively towards a situation where we can routinely monitor and test our drinking water for trace chemical contaminants. But that will not happen overnight. It will be very expensive and will take several years to achieve, but it will ensure that we are and continue to be in the forefront of worldwide efforts to protect people from the health hazards of toxic chemicals.
In order to advance this program of hazardous contaminants control and abatement, some time ago I instructed my staff to prepare to undertake a program of extensive technical and scientific research into the most effective, modern means of removing potential chemical contamination from drinking water.
There are a number of aspects to this program. First of all, it is an area in which we have for many years shared a joint interest and responsibility with the federal Department of National Health and Welfare. We have cooperated in scientific research, in the setting of drinking water objectives and in the exchange of information. I have invited the participation of both National Health and Welfare and Environment Canada in this Ontario project.
Second, to ensure the best scientific and technological approach to the program design, technical and scientific staff from my ministry and from the federal Department of National Health and Welfare have established at Ontario's initiative a permanent scientific working group, which will supervise the implementation of this new research endeavour.
Third, I would like to expand on the nature of the new initiative. It adds a new dimension to an integrated program of research that has been under way for some time. Members will be aware of the growing public interest in various alternatives and supplements to the existing technologies for the treatment of drinking water. In the past three years we have undertaken research in this area to help us determine the most promising and cost-effective of these technologies.
In 1979, we initiated one of the most comprehensive studies of the ozonation of drinking water ever undertaken in Canada. Results of that study are designed to tell us how ozone treatment will assist in decreasing the production of chlorinated organics in the chlorination process. Two pilot-scale projects were conducted at Lindsay and Brantford. I shall be tabling the results of that research study soon.
Over the past two years we have also collaborated with the federal Department of National Health and Welfare, in a study sponsored by it, to test the use of various coagulants in the removal of trihalomethane precursors from drinking water. That study is now completed; as soon as technical evaluation has been prepared by the two levels of government, I shall table these results in the House.
Our latest program, which I am proposing to undertake immediately, will extend these two research efforts to examine additional methods for the abatement of chemical contaminations in drinking water. These methods include the use of activated carbon absorption and the optimization of treatment plant operations. This program will cost about $1 million over a three-year period. I will be announcing the location of this program very shortly.
While many other drinking water plants around the world have used activated carbon absorption to remove odours, unpleasant tastes and colour problems, Ontario's research will focus specifically on the effectiveness and cost of carbon filters in dealing with trace contaminants at very low levels of detection, fractions of a part per trillion. Before we and local municipalities make any decisions regarding their use, we must be absolutely sure of their reliability. We also need a clear confirmation of the capital and operating costs that these technologies require.
I have stressed this is an area for joint federal-provincial co-operation. In fact, my ministry informed the federal government of our plans and asked for its assistance almost two weeks ago. Because of a high federal interest in this critical area, I have high hopes of its support, financial or otherwise, in this endeavour.
On the subject of protecting the water quality of the Niagara River, honourable members will recall that on September 27, 1982, I announced to the Legislature that I had instructed my staff to prepare a submission to the United States district court in western New York, requesting intervener status in the negotiations between the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Hooker Chemicals and Plastics Corp. concerning the S-area landfill site.
My announcement at that time caused great consternation on the part of the federal government, which appeared not to understand that the government of Ontario believes it has a duty to represent the interests of the people of this province whenever and wherever it is necessary to do so. This was also a departure from External Affairs' policy of tacit support, given the number of interventions made by my ministry in the past concerning long-range transport of air pollutants.
In correspondence with the Honourable Allan MacEachen, Secretary of State for External Affairs, and the Honourable John Roberts, Minister of the Environment for Canada, I agreed to accede to their plea to defer intervention and to enter into a process of diplomacy and discussion. This, they believed, would result in an interagency agreement giving Ontario full participation in the proceedings without the need to resort to the courts. After some considerable delay, I subsequently met with both ministers to urge the acceleration of negotiations with the United States.
At the same time, and throughout, I strongly maintained my option of filing our application for intervener status should the proceedings prove unsatisfactory. It is now nearly nine months later, and despite numerous meetings and considerable efforts on the part of my ministry, we are still not satisfied that the proposals made to us constitute our full participation in the negotiations in a manner that would adequately safeguard Ontario's interests.
Furthermore, on May 13 of this year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency announced a series of policy and administrative changes in its hazardous waste programs, in an attempt to accelerate site cleanups; and on May 16, the United States government decided to proceed with remedial investigations and feasibility studies with respect to the S-area under the auspices of the Superfund. In other words, negotiations with Hooker on that landfill site are at an end.
Given this change in circumstances, I wish today to announce the action my ministry will be taking to ensure its participation in matters affecting this particular site. The Niagara River improvement team will communicate with those in charge of the Superfund activities at the senior technical level, to ensure we have an opportunity to provide input as the investigations and studies proceed. Preliminary indications are that such technical input will be welcomed.
Since the final remedial action will be likely to be the subject of court proceedings, I have instructed my staff to file our application for intervener status immediately and thus seek a voice in the final litigation, which is likely to proceed this fall. No doubt the federal government will once again raise its voice in protest, but I must remind it that we can no longer afford to spend time on the unproductive route it seems to prefer, nor can the interests of the Ontario people be protected by well-publicized site visits on the part of the federal Minister of the Environment.
The time has come, despite federal misgivings, for determined action, and I will keep the Legislature fully advised of the progress of our application in the United States courts.
I have a further statement, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: You can appreciate that my leader has given me the statement just made by the minister. How many pages are there in the statement? It just happens to be short a few pages. I think it is pretty significant and important.
Mr. Speaker: I think the minister will see to it that you get a proper copy. You are missing page 10, apparently.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I am sorry for that, Mr. Speaker. I will certainly see to it that the honourable member gets a complete copy.
Mr. Nixon: You need a lot more staff.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Well, we are a lean and tough ministry, but we do not very often slip up on things like that.
Mr. Speaker: Now, having regard for the time, the Minister of the Environment.
BLUEPRINT FOR WASTE MANAGEMENT
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, last November I advised the honourable members and the people of Ontario that my staff and I were preparing a Blueprint for Waste Management, a plan for the development of a comprehensive waste management system to serve Ontario throughout the 1980s and into the next 20 years.
My intent was to initiate a comprehensive review of all present waste management practices, policies and controls, including legislation, to provide efficient measures that will ensure the protection of public health and the Ontario environment. I invited comment and submissions from all interests and individuals in the province for incorporation in our draft blueprint. We have reviewed those first submissions and drafted a blueprint, which is now ready for public review and further comment and refinement.
This document has been prepared in accordance with the four major principles I outlined in November: as many recoverable and usable material resources must be reclaimed from our garbage as possible; those who are responsible for producing, handling and disposing of wastes must be accountable for the way they execute their responsibilities; as responsible parties we must be informed on the issues and take part in the decisions that must be made to resolve them; and finally, our disposal practices must attempt to ensure that no waste ever becomes a threat to either our environment or our wellbeing.
On Monday morning, June 13, I will be meeting my commitment to introduce the blueprint in detail at the 30th annual Industrial Waste Conference sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment. With my ministry's blueprint team I will be setting out our proposals and releasing our discussion document for public review. I have made arrangements for copies of the blueprint and of my own presentation to be distributed to the members' mailboxes on Monday.
Over the next few months, my staff and I will be talking and listening to as many groups and interests across Ontario as possible. I plan to launch an active campaign to get people involved in the waste management decisions that must be made to complete the blueprint. In a series of public meetings, the ministry's team will receive and hear further submissions in detail. I will welcome any comments and suggestions that the honourable members may contribute to this process and to the formulation of a final blueprint for an efficient and comprehensive system of waste management in this province.
By year-end, when the next stage of public review is completed and I have reviewed policy options with cabinet, I expect to be able to outline for the members our action program to implement the comprehensive plan.
In conclusion, I would like to appeal to groups and individuals, municipalities, businesses and industry -- all sectors of Ontario society -- to review the forthcoming document and contribute to the development of this plan, each in his own way and with his own ideas.
JOB CREATION PROGRAM
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I have a very brief, but important, statement to make today.
I would like to outline to the members the job creation program that my ministry has developed for the 1983-84 municipal roads projects.
In total, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, through the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, will spend an additional $24 million to create jobs in the municipal roads, King's highways and provincial transit areas. Today I would like to report on the distribution of $17 million which is being made available to Ontario municipalities.
Along with the local government contribution of approximately $10 million, that sum should result in the creation of some 1,700 jobs. Such funds will allow regions, counties, cities, towns, villages, boroughs and townships from one end of Ontario to the other, to go ahead with over 256 much-needed projects, ranging from storm sewer and garage construction to bridge repair and a great many bridge replacements, while creating jobs for local citizens.
I have appended a complete listing of these projects to copies of this statement and I trust that almost every member will find a project of interest and importance to his or her riding. These statements will be presented later this afternoon. Within the next day or so, I will also be sending to each member of the House a letter advising him or her of the supplementary allocations to municipalities in their ridings along with a more detailed list of the accelerated work projects.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, with your permission I would like to announce the appointment of Donald J. M. Brown, QC, to head a commission of inquiry into the issue of wage protection in this province.
The problem of the protection of workers' wages when employers become either bankrupt or insolvent is a particularly troubling one at this time. The unprecedented number of bankruptcies and insolvencies in recent months has underscored this.
At present, the federal Bankruptcy Act governs the priority accorded to various claims on an employer's assets when bankruptcy is declared, and wage claims now are honoured only after the claims of all secured creditors, such as banks, are fulfilled. The result is that employees in this province generally recover only a fraction of their wages owing when an employer becomes bankrupt.
The complexity of this issue is considerable. While the federal government has explicit jurisdiction over bankruptcies and insolvencies, the province has constitutional authority to legislate over property and civil rights. Although authority is mixed, several court decisions to date have upheld provincial authority to affect the distribution of claims in certain circumstances.
The importance of an examination of the issue by the province is increased by the fact that the federal government has introduced five bills in the past eight years to amend its Bankruptcy Act, which has remained unchanged since 1949.
Although there has been some indication of willingness on the part of the federal government to upgrade the protection offered employees in bankruptcy situations, this intention has not yet resulted in concrete amendments. It is hoped that Mr. Brown's study will be of assistance in effecting action at the national level. We are extremely fortunate that he has agreed to undertake this inquiry.
Mr. Brown is a partner in the law firm of Blake, Cassels and Graydon in Toronto and has taught at both Osgoode Hall and the University of Toronto law schools. He has extensive experience in the field of labour relations and administrative law and has published numerous articles in these areas. In 1982 he was named chairman of the administrative law section of the Canadian Bar Association.
In this inquiry, Mr. Brown will canvass possible remedies within the jurisdiction of the province to secure the payment of wages and benefits in the event of an employer's bankruptcy or insolvency. In so doing, he will consult with employers, organized labour, financial institutions, the federal and provincial governments and other interested parties. It is expected that he will report on these topics before the end of this calendar year.
Mr. Brown is in the members' gallery and will be available in the lobby following question period today to speak to any member of the Legislature or to the media.
ONTARIO DEVELOPMENT CORP. PRINTOUTS
Mr. Sargent: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: Knowing your dedication to total fairness for the small guy and for the minority groups in the House, I bring this point to you.
In going through the estimates of the Ontario Development Corp., I have been given a printout of all the loans since its inception. Fifty copies of the printouts were to be delivered to me by Monday. I was told today they cannot afford to print out 50 printouts. This matter involves $671 million of hanky-panky we are trying to look at. I do not see why they cannot afford the sum of $1,000 to give me these printouts. I know you will order them to give me the printouts, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: I do not have that authority, as you well know. However, I would suggest you place your question to the appropriate person at the appropriate time.
Mr. Sargent: I will do it right now.
Mr. Speaker: No. Just resume your seat, please. Will the member for Grey-Bruce please resume his seat?
HEALTH FACILITIES SPECIAL ORDERS BILL
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, as members are aware, the vast majority of health services in Ontario are provided by dedicated professionals with the highest standards of integrity and commitment. For this reason we have what I believe is the finest health care system in the world and one that all of us can rely upon with complete confidence.
Of course, the provision of health care is a very large undertaking, and because of its size, includes a mix of public, private and nonprofit institutions and organizations plus individual professionals offering a wide number of services to the public. Each of the service areas in our health care system is governed by regulatory legislation which establishes the standards and criteria under which licences are granted to health care or health-related facilities and providers to which their operations and activities must conform in the public interest.
Unfortunately, however, deficiencies and abuses do occur from time to time in both public and private services, and when they are identified, the public expects the Ministry of Health to take swift and appropriate action to correct any problem that could place the care and safety of patients or communities in jeopardy. In the case of the public facilities, we already have authority to take direct action, but this power does not apply to privately owned services. Let me give the House some examples of this:
Through our inspections and audits in the past few years we have found a few ambulance firms misrepresenting the amount of service and staff they were providing. They claimed they had the required ambulances and staff on duty when they did not. We have been able to prosecute where obvious fraud is involved and have been able to pursue recovery of the moneys owed to us, but we have not been able to intervene directly in the operation to ensure that these fraudulent operators do not continue periodically to place the emergency services of their communities in jeopardy for personal gain.
Likewise, we have been able to prosecute operators of private laboratories for fraud, but we have not been able to suspend the licences of dishonest people who continue to be entrusted by physicians and patients to conduct and interpret tests whose accuracy is critical to the proper diagnosis and treatment of illness and disease.
In the case of some private hospitals, we have not been able to respond to the demands of coroners' juries that we immediately take action where the safety of patients is threatened, although ironically, as I stated, we are able to do this in our public hospitals.
Finally, our continuing problem with a few poorly operated nursing homes is familiar to every member of this House. This year my ministry has had to initiate legal proceedings against 32 nursing homes because the operators of those homes, after having been notified of violations of regulations contained in the Nursing Homes Act, failed to take the necessary corrective actions promptly.
Under the current legislation, the safety and health of residents remains under the control of operators during the period we are moving to revoke their licences. For example, we have been forced to rely on a rather cumbersome inspection process to oversee the care and safety of patients at Ark Eden Nursing Home for several months now, and I am advised the revocation hearing will not be held before October.
In the face of such frustrations, it is clear that additional safeguards are required to protect the health and safety of our people. Today I am introducing into the House a new bill which I believe will accomplish this objective. This bill, called the Health Facilities Special Orders Act, gives the Ministry of Health expanded authority for the regulating of nursing homes, ambulance services, private hospitals, medical laboratories and specimen collection centres.
Specifically, under the new bill, where the ministry believes the premises or operation of a facility is causing or is likely to cause harm to the health or safety of any person, we will have the right to move in and ensure that those using the service are adequately protected while proceedings are taking place to revoke the licence.
In the case of laboratories or specimen collection centres particularly, where levels of service or competence in some areas are inadequate and possibly hazardous to patients, we can order the licensee (a) to suspend any specific activity until such time as we are satisfied that the service has improved and the activity will not cause harm or (b) to cease the activity totally if we are not satisfied that it can be improved.
In each of these circumstances the ministry's intervention will be in effect as soon as it is received by the licensed operator, who of course will have recourse to the courts and appeal boards.
We will not manage any facility for any longer than necessary to ensure that the health and safety of everyone involved is adequately protected. This legislation provides appropriate limits on our involvement. However, we cannot continue to be frustrated by operators who are able to avoid the loss of their licence by bringing their operation into conformity briefly and then lapsing back once the hearing is over.
A licence to provide health care in this province is not an absolute right for anyone, but a privilege conferred by this Legislature under terms and conditions intended to protect the health and safety of all of us. This new legislation is consistent with this objective because it gives the ministry the power to intervene in any service or facility where the pattern of callousness, carelessness or dishonesty puts the health and safety of patients or the security of the community it serves into jeopardy.
In summary, we will be able to seek the revocation of licences on wider grounds, relevant to the fitness of the operator to hold a licence. Where we believe the health, safety or welfare of a patient or the public is being endangered, we will have the right to go in and do whatever is necessary to ensure the care and safety of our public and patients while revocation or other procedures are taking place.
In this way, all health care providers will see that the government is able to move against them with some reasonable assurance of success if they do not maintain adequate levels of patient care and protection. We will be able to do this while protecting the real property and facilities of the operators under legislation which provides limits on our tenure and a requirement for appropriate compensation.
The safeguards of both the courts and review boards will continue to be available, but operators will not be able to abuse them to delay correcting unsafe conditions or facilities, or to frustrate the expressed demands of the public that the protection of health and safety must be the paramount obligation of any licence holder. I know this principle has the unequivocal support of every member of this assembly.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I have a fairly short statement but it may run a little over the time allotment. I wonder if we might have the agreement of the House that I complete my statement.
Mr. Speaker: Agreed? Proceed.
ONTARIO ELECTORAL DISTRICTS
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I want to tell the House that today I will be tabling with the Clerk a notice of motion for debate next week to authorize a commission for redistribution of the electoral boundaries of Ontario, this commission to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
The resolution is phrased very similarly to the one of 1973, which preceded the 1975 redistribution to the boundaries now in force.
Special elements in this resolution guarantee that there be not fewer than 15 northern ridings, as is now the case, and that the total number of ridings after the redistribution will be not less than 125 nor more than 130.
These terms of reference for the total number of ridings reflect the data from the 1981 census, which showed that any significant population growth had occurred chiefly in certain urban areas rather than province-wide. Notwithstanding that localized trend, this resolution calls for a full province-wide distribution study, with a guarantee of 15 northern seats.
The three commissioners, one of whom will be designated as chairman, will be appointed shortly by order in council in the traditional manner.
I draw attention to one other element of the resolution. Before reporting, the commission will prepare a map with described boundaries of each electoral district or group of districts. The commission will invite the public to respond to the map by publishing the map or its parts in general circulation newspapers in the proposed electoral districts. Those notices in the newspapers will provide times and places of public sittings by the commission and for the lodging of objections and representations in writing before a specified deadline.
The criteria for consideration of boundaries are very similar to those earlier commissions that were appointed. The usual 25 per cent variance from the average district population is maintained, with the usual special circumstance exemption also maintained.
The criteria to be followed by the commission in proposing electoral boundaries are as follows: community or diversity of interests; means of communication; topographical features; population trends; the varying conditions and requirements regarding representation as between urban and rural electoral districts; existing boundaries of municipalities or wards thereof; the existing and traditional boundaries of electoral districts; and special geographic considerations, including in particular the sparsity, density or relative rate of growth of population in the various regions of the province, the accessibility of such regions or the size or shape thereof.
The usual reporting and assembly consideration of the report is also maintained in this resolution.
REGULATION OF TRUST COMPANIES
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my friend the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations with respect to his ongoing regulation of trust companies in the province of Ontario.
The minister no doubt will be aware that in his absence last Monday, I asked a question of the Premier (Mr. Davis) with respect to the licensing of Greymac Trust Co. Just to refresh his memory, I will remind him that company was placed on a monthly licence in July 1982 because of concern about its real estate investments and its mortgages.
The minister will also be aware that on October 29, 1982, a member of the minister's staff wrote to Greymac Trust, warning the company that its complete disregard for the Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. guidelines "places your insurance coverage in jeopardy and consequently is a situation we cannot countenance."
Admitting, as the regulator suggested, that the depositors' funds were in jeopardy, can the minister explain to this House why that very same day the licence was restored to a yearly licence, giving virtual carte blanche back to that trust company?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, first let me correct a misapprehension the Leader of the Opposition has. I know he still has the same incorrect understanding of the letter as he had when he asked that question of the Premier on Monday. The letter does not say the depositors' funds were in jeopardy. It says the CDIC deposit insurance would be in jeopardy.
Second, in that letter there were a number of areas explored with respect to practices of Greymac Trust. I am referring to the letter of October 29, to which the Leader of the Opposition has access because it is a public document, having been tabled in one of the court actions, Mr. Speaker.
He will also know, having read that letter, that there was a requirement that the letter be countersigned by the person who I think was the then general manager or acting executive chief officer, acknowledging receipt and agreeing to comply with the remarks made in that letter.
First of all, let me say in advance that the Leader of the Opposition having an in-depth understanding of the Loan and Trust Corporations Act, as he does and I know he has, will know that under that act there was no authority to limit licences to any period of one month. That was clearly pointed out to the registrar by those parties.
With that objection having been raised and with the concurrence of the company to correct some of its practices, the reasons for issuing the licence for any longer term would be understood by him very easily and very clearly. That is not to say the ministry regulators were going to abandon their interest and pursuit of problems as they saw them in the company, nor did they.
Mr. Peterson: I assume what the minister is telling us then is that his regulators broke their own act in putting them on a monthly licence for a period of time before they restored it to an annual licence prior to the takeover of the company, on which we have still not had the full story.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Peterson: I ask the minister why the highest sources in his ministry are telling the following to reporters from Maclean's magazine, on the basis of off-the-record comments: "The concern was not directly about Rosenberg. Rosenberg and his associates were in the unfortunate position of being faced with having their assets seized, in part because of views the government has never dared to express, although officials voice them to Maclean's on a strict off-the-record basis,"
What are these views of the ministry's highest officials that the minister has never dared to express? What is the government hiding?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: First of all -- answering all parts of the question, as I know he would want me to -- what the member is saying is that the regulators should not have applied any limit to the licence even though they had some concerns. If that is what he is saying, then I do not think he means that. He is really commending the regulators for their energetic activities.
He also is acknowledging the role he played on December 21 in giving government and the regulators the powers to impose stipulations with respect to licences. He knows that was a deficiency. He understood it was a deficiency and he knows he supported a correction of that deficiency. For that, I publicly said he did good stuff and he should carry on being responsible. He should try it more often, he might like it.
Mr. Speaker: Answer the question, please.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Let me also say that I too have read the Maclean's story with interest. If the Leader of the Opposition wants an answer to that question, he will have to ask Maclean's, because as far as this minister and this government are concerned there were no other reasons than the reasons publicly stated for the actions we took.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, can the minister say whether it is still the intention of the government to bring its white paper on trust companies before this House before we rise in a couple of weeks?
Can the government now assure the House that restrictions will be put on ownership of trust companies to prevent the situation where trust companies are treated as personal instruments of self-aggrandizement by individual financiers rather than as institutions devoted to the public concerns?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I indicated in my statement of April 19 that, assuming the Morrison report were received by the end of May, it was our hope to be able to table a white paper by the end of June.
As the honourable member will know, there was subsequently an action brought before the courts to quash the Morrison inquiry on the grounds of bias. The hearing on that issue took place last week. The courts did not accept that motion, and the Morrison inquiry and the preparation of the report are continuing.
When that report is received, those who are involved in the preparation of the white paper will review that document in the light of those comments and the report will be prepared and tabled as soon as it is possible to do so. That is all I can assure the member at this time.
Mr. Peterson: I understand what the minister is saying is that he was not misquoted but that Maclean's was deliberately misrepresenting certain off-the-record conversations that he and his senior officials had with those reporters.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Peterson: My final question is: given all the problems attendant to these trust companies, how can the minister countenance the ongoing violations of the act that were occurring even recently?
I refer the minister to the property at 113 Dupont Street in Toronto; that cost $289,000 to assemble in 1980 and 1981. Just this last April 13, the property was the subject of two new mortgages, the first to Continental Trust for $590,000 and the second to the company he knows, Dominion Trust, for $300,000. There has been no construction work done on the property, and there is no building permit issued, to the best of our knowledge.
What is the basis of this $300,000 second mortgage to Dominion? Presumably the minister was there on top of the situation and watching this company, which he prevented from being taken over in December 1982. The minister will be aware, if he is monitoring this situation, that one of the companies owning this property is in the process of having its charter cancelled for nonpayment of corporate taxes. How can he countenance that going on right under his nose?
Mr. Rotenberg: How many questions do you want? You have already had three.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Peterson: How can the minister countenance the situation at 220 Eglinton Avenue East in Toronto, where the minister will be aware that the building is mortgaged to more than 100 per cent of its purchase price? Is he aware that there is a further mortgage of $900,000 to a corporation represented by the Axton and Dexter law firm, this further mortgage representing well over 100 per cent of the acquisition price and assigned to Dominion Trust on April 18, 1983?
How can the minister allow this to go on and on, obviously violating the insurance guidelines, when he should be on top of it?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: If the Leader of the Opposition thinks the technique he is using and has tried to use now for several months -- and, I submit, unsuccessfully -- is convincing members that he has information the rest of the world is not aware of, then he is the only one being fooled. He knows very well I have answered on several occasions that there are a number of mortgage and other matters under review and under investigation in the trust companies referred to.
I have no further comment about those, but I do have a comment about the opening remarks of the Leader of the Opposition. I have said, and I say unequivocally, there were no reasons for the interventions made by this government other than the reasons that are on the table and in the public domain. To say otherwise, from my point of view, is inaccurate. If the Leader of the Opposition wishes answers to those questions, he knows who to direct them to, because I do not have the answers he is asking for. I only have the facts, and I have told the facts to this House.
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I would like to bring to your attention that one question took 10 minutes. At the beginning of this session you told us you were going to protect the interests of all the members by being tougher. I do not see this happening.
Mr. Peterson: That is an excellent point my friend makes.
DEVELOPMENTALLY HANDICAPPED PEOPLE
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Social Development in the absence of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie). She will be aware --
Hon. Mr. Davis: The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) is right there.
Mr. Peterson: I am sorry, he has been on my mind lately; in the absence of his colleague, his close friend to his left.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: That's the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea).
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Peterson: Permit me, after a year and four months, to make one mistake. My friends should not be so uncharitable.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Now for the question.
Mr. Peterson: The provincial secretary will be aware of the ministry's policy with respect to government-sponsored personal attendant care for handicapped individuals who want to live on their own, in the sense that it has no policy. She will recognize that going to an order in council through cabinet is a very demeaning, long and messy procedure.
She will be aware of the case of David Anderson in London, who had to apply for an order in council and wanted very much to live on his own but was not granted that privilege. She will also be aware of the case of Helen McMichael, a 42-year-old woman from Kitchener suffering from muscular dystrophy, who applied through an order in council for assistance to live on her own and was turned down by the ministry.
Mr. Speaker: I assume this is going to lead to a question.
Mr. Peterson: She will be aware of thousands of other people who would like that kind of care in this province. Why would she and her colleagues not develop a policy to look after these kinds of people with special needs, who want to be on their own, rather than dragging them through this demeaning process of the order in council?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I do not feel it is a demeaning process. There are many individuals in this province who have been granted, through an order in council, the opportunity for attendant care so they may live independently, on their own.
I am sure the honourable member would be the first to point out to us that there is a tremendous responsibility for the government in this particular program to ensure that such a person is going to be looked after properly. He would be the first to criticize if we just implemented a policy very quickly whereby those with special needs were granted the attendant care and money was turned over without the reassurance that they were going to be taken care of, because the member will appreciate that the needs of these people in some instances are quite necessarily for 24-hour care. He would criticize the government if we suddenly were to hand over thousands of dollars, with the initiative left to either friends or relatives to maintain that person and to make sure their needs were being met.
We are approaching this in the proper way. We are developing a program slowly, very carefully, making sure we do not experience some of the things that happened in California, where they quickly jumped into a program like this and found in many instances that people were being denied the very care the government was providing through financial support. I think we are developing it in the appropriate manner.
There are many people who have applied. After very careful consideration, the order in council has been passed and they are being able to live independent lives. I do not agree with the member; I think the government, through the Ministry of Community and Social Services, is showing a great deal of compassion for those people who want to live in this manner. I think it is an appropriate way to proceed.
Mr. Peterson: I remind the minister that she is not the mother of a lot of these handicapped people who do want to live on their own, who have requested orders in council and who have been turned down because she in her judgement did not feel they met the appropriate criteria.
I also remind the minister that the Ontario Advisory Council on the Physically Handicapped recommended some time ago that a mechanism should be available to allow handicapped individuals in need of attendant care to receive an allowance to meet these ends. That request was made some two years ago. Why has the minister not responded to that request, given the fact that, according to their estimates, some 2,600 people in this province would take advantage of that kind of a program and thereby free up chronic care beds or spaces in group homes? Why would the minister not respond to that most reasonable and sensitive request which would meet a number of ends at the same time?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: I just want to clarify one thing the member said. I do not make those judgements; they are made in the Ministry of Community of Social Services by the minister himself, who has taken a very personal interest in those people who would like to have attendant care. There are many people out in the community now who have received order in council approval and are very successful.
I again submit to the member that we are going about it in the appropriate way to make sure those people who apply for that kind of assistance receive the kind of care that is necessary to keep them in the community.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, the minister will be aware of the case of a young boy in Essex South; I have raised it with her, and she is very familiar with it. Does she think it is appropriate that a family should have to go to welfare, Easter Seal, private insurance companies and government to try to receive the kind of assistance that individuals need to stay at home as opposed to going into chronic care facilities in hospitals? For one thing, homes are better; and second, they are cheaper for the government.
Why does the minister not bring in a comprehensive program where these things are brought under the Ontario health insurance plan and they can be provided at home?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I would be the first to suggest and recommend that such a program be implemented if I were sure those people with those very special needs were going to have those needs met in every instance. I am not assured they would be. Certainly, in some of the examples we have seen in states in the United States where they have implemented such a program, they ran into a great deal of trouble. I would rather have a clear conscience, knowing we were making sure in each instance where this was provided that their needs were going to be met.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that this program was developed something like three or four years ago, if not longer, can the minister tell the House why a policy was adopted at that time whereby the cabinet was to view and consider every single application for order in council, and why it is that the majority of them are screened out and cabinet never gets even to see the majority of those applications'? Does she think that is an unfair way of dealing with that problem?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: No, Mr. Speaker, I do not; because in many instances it is an understandable desire on the part of people not to have to continue to live in an institution. Many of them make applications very quickly but, on further examination by the staff who undertake the review of those specific cases, it is determined that it is not appropriate for that person.
Mr. Boudria: But you never even get to see those reviews.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: No. We do not get to see those reviews. They are done and recommendations are put forward.
HEALTH FACILITIES SPECIAL ORDERS BILL
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health, who I think is in the Legislature.
Mr. Speaker: He is not in his seat. Perhaps the member can proceed with --
Mr. Rae: He made a statement today, Mr. Speaker. I am sure he would not disappear having made that statement.
Mr. Speaker: He is on his way.
Mr. Rae: He is on his way. I see his hand. I might say by way of preface that I myself was disappointed that the minister, in addition to reading out his statement, did not read out the first item in the appendix to his statement, which is the press release of my colleague the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan), who we all know deserves the credit for the creation of this legislation.
Mr. Speaker: Now for the question.
Mr. Rae: I wish to ask the minister a question with respect to nursing homes. Can he explain the absence in his statement today of any reference to the very real problem of the lack of programming in terms of rehabilitation, stimulation and recreation; the lack of any reference to any of those changes which are so necessary, both to the Nursing Homes Act and to the nursing home regulations? Can he explain to the House the reason for the absence of any reference to those necessary changes which have to come?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I thought it would be inappropriate to take the time of the House to review all that since it was well covered in my remarks of Monday night last, a copy of which I know the honourable member has. In those remarks I did indicate that programming was under review and that it would be something we would be dealing with later in the year, and not in this session.
Mr. Rae: I simply say to the minister those things have been under review for a very long time indeed.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: What kind of hope is the minister holding out for a resident, for example, in one nursing home who is a stroke victim but has a very alert mind? He is placed on the same floor with patients who are seriously and emotionally disturbed. What hope can he offer to those patients who, today, are not receiving the kind of occupational therapy they need to be able to get around? What hope is he offering to those many residents in nursing homes who feel the lack of standards, who feel the lack of enforcement, but who see no action?
The minister says matters are under review. When is he going to make the kinds of changes in nursing homes which will make them the decent places they should be for people all the days of their lives?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I really do not have anything further to add in response to the member's daily inaccurate speech.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, we have not had a chance to see the actual legislation itself, but if the addendum and the comments made by the minister are correct, he is introducing some fairly wide-ranging legislation, covering not only nursing homes but potentially emergency services and other problem areas as well.
However, one area that is glaringly absent from his statement, and I hope he will deal with this before the end of this session, is the whole notion of the role of the ministry inspection services and whether and when that information becomes public.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Ms. Copps: We know in the case of Ark Eden Nursing Home, for example, that his colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) contacted his ministry to let them know there were very serious problems, and the ministry did not act.
Is the minister, as promised, going to bring in legislation that will make sure reports on inspection carried out by his ministry are made public to everyone in the community; is that going to be included with this package?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, that is a good question. However, it is the same one that was asked last week and the week before and, not surprisingly, my answer is exactly the same as it was last week, the week before and at estimates; that is, all of that will be available, as promised, on July 1, 1983. It will be there.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, it is no miracle that the minister discovered the act is unenforceable in the spring of 1983, because this is the first time his government has ever tried to enforce the act.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Was that a question?
Mr. McClellan: No, it was not. My supplementary concerns another omission, which has to do with financial disclosure or financial justification; there is nothing in the act that does that.
In view of the revelations about the Heritage Nursing Home, which took a profit of $362,000 out of its business in one year alone while spending less than $2 a day on food and less than two cents a day on recreation and activity, and in view of the staggering profits of Extendicare, which is able to buy and sell insurance companies and bid on Crown Trust; why are there no provisions in his legislation, and apparently no provisions anticipated, that would require both financial disclosure for nursing homes that are funded by his ministry and financial justification of the budget and the financial statements of the nursing homes that are subsidized to the tune of more than $200 million a year by our taxpayers?
Does the minister intend simply to allow his friends in the nursing home business to continue to make these kinds of humungous profits?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, that was again a great speech and terrific histrionics. In fact, the honourable member and his leader ought to be speaking tomorrow evening up in Ottawa, except that is a thinking audience which would laugh them out of the place.
Might I say very simply, after all that rhetoric is done, that the day the member wants to make a proposition to this House that we should pay people, be it in a per diem to a nursing home operator or in salaries and wages to nurses, nurses' aides and other people working in nursing homes, on the basis of their individual wealth and their individual assets, then we can have a serious conversation.
But if he wants to suggest that the rates we pay should be directly related to the bank account of the nursing home operator, he should put the same proposition with regard to the bank account of the nurse's aide who is working in there, the Canadian Union of Public Employees worker, and let CUPE come and bargain and say, "I'm sorry; this fellow needs more money and this person has a lot of money, so let's pay them differently."
It is the same proposition, but the member cannot see it because profit gets in the way and he believes it must be dirty if it is profit. I apologize for that handicap he faces, but of course that is why he is over there after all these years.
Mr. Rae: There is one rule for homes for the aged and one rule for private-profit nursing homes, and that is the discrepancy we are talking about.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
BLUEPRINT FOR WASTE MANAGEMENT
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of the Environment a question about his announcement today, which I understand provided for a draft blueprint for a strategy that would lead to a public review process and finally would produce some kind of plan.
I would like to ask the minister what kind of credibility does he think the Ministry of the Environment has with respect to this draft proposal for a blueprint for a strategy for a plan when the spills bill has been delayed for 42 months, the waybill system has been delayed for 56 months, the Malvern bill has been delayed for 30 months, the perpetual care fund, since it was first recommended, has been delayed for 45 months, the environmental assessment advisory committee has been delayed for 22 months and the question of the funding of citizens' groups has been delayed for 63 months since it was first raised in an environmental hearing? What kind of credibility does the minister think his ministry has, given the delay in dealing with the questions of coping with the tremendous problem of hazardous waste disposal?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I think it is obvious that some of the issues the member cites predate his presence around this Legislature. Had he had an opportunity to be here throughout that time, he might have a better understanding of the complexities of some of these issues.
For example, the question he raised relating to the spills regulation is simple to answer but complex to resolve. There are meetings scheduled -- and lately there have been frequent meetings -- in response to the input we received from the public over a couple of months in the latter part of last year when the draft was finally ready for circulation to invite public participation.
A number of issues were raised. One of the most difficult to resolve, without the process we are undergoing at the moment, relates to the availability of the kind of insurance the regulation contemplated. We were getting from such private sector representatives as the Canadian Manufacturers' Association information that it would not be possible for them to get the insurance that was anticipated. The word we were getting from the insurance industry was that it was available.
To resolve that, we hired a consultant expert in the insurance field who has now reported to us. A meeting involving the Canadian Manufacturers' Association is scheduled for tomorrow, and one early next week which will involve both the CMA and the insurance --
Mr. Speaker: That is a tremendous answer.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I think it is important that --
Mr. Speaker: It is indeed.
Hon. Mr. Norton: -- the member should at least acknowledge that the problems we are trying to resolve are much more complex than he would portray them to be in his rather --
Mr. Speaker: Right; I was just going to ask that you summarize that.
Mr. Rae: I would like to ask the minister if he can answer me with respect to one particular issue and one particular problem, the funding of citizens' groups. In particular, I would like to draw the minister's attention to the fact that in London the Citizens Coalition to Maintain the Environment has spent $89,000 in legal and technical fees in order to voice its concerns at an environmental assessment hearing over the proposed incinerator at the Victoria Hospital.
The hospital had a $450,000 grant from the Ministry of Energy to put forward its side of the case. I would like to ask the minister, given the fact the hearing is now completed, whether he is prepared today to fund fully the payments that have been made by the citizens' group, in light of the fact that its arguments are very important and will possibly set a precedent with respect to other incinerators planned across the province.
Forgetting about all the complexities for the moment and focusing on the problem, is the minister prepared in this instance to act in order to allow citizens' groups to do their job for the environment in this province?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I would invite the member to think for one moment about what he has said. He is imploring me to abandon all sense of equity and fairness in the treatment of such groups, because he suggested I forget about the complexities and proceed on the one issue he has raised today without regard to the complexity of the situation. That is a foolish suggestion on his part. Even he should recognize that.
If he pauses for a moment and thinks about what it is he really is asking: first of all, that issue was resolved and it has always been resolved, that has not been an issue awaiting resolution. The policy of my ministry and the policy of this government is clear; we do not fund those groups. There is a provision in the consolidated hearings legislation for the awarding of costs.
Mr. Speaker: I think that was the question he asked.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, on a matter of personal privilege or order, may I address the matter?
Mr. Speaker: No, I think that was the specific question.
Hon. Mr. Norton: No, actually I was just about to address the specific question. In all fairness, Mr. Speaker, I was.
Mr. Speaker: I think you addressed it very well; thank you.
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, the minister will probably remember it was a predecessor of his who brought out a policy guidebook statement in November 1978, entitled Water Management, which indicated high-sounding principles of never endangering the quality of the water that was already found to be clean and well cared for in Ontario, and never degrading the quality of the water that was already degraded to a certain extent. In 1978, those were the programs. Since then we have had ground water contamination at Stouffville, Perkinsfield and at other sites.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Elston: The minister has failed to live up to the guidelines that the ministry set out in 1978. How does he intend to live up to the guidelines he is setting out in this blueprint he has just announced?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member surely recognizes that the specific problems we are now addressing at certain specified landfill sites he has mentioned are problems that have not arisen since 1978. In each and every one of those cases, the problem predates the existence of my ministry.
As far as the guidelines he refers to are concerned, I would invite him, on the other hand, to demonstrate where we have created the problems he has identified in the practices and policies of this government as reflected in waste management in this province in the period intervening, the period following that time.
We are living with certain historic problems and we are addressing them very effectively in this province. In fact, I suggest to him we are addressing them more effectively than any other jurisdiction on the face of the earth.
Mr. Chariton: Mr. Speaker, I would like to go back to the minister's original comments about the delays in proclaiming the spills bill. He is aware the question has been raised with him a number of times over the course of the last three years. When we raised the question with him last year, the only delay that seemed to be impeding the proclamation, and this is from the minister's own lips, was the finalization and circulation of the regulations. Why did it take him three and one half years to discover this insurance problem? When is he going to stop getting suckered by those out there who do not want this legislation in place and will continue to play these games with him to avoid it?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, there is something about the pot calling the kettle black; when the member starts throwing around the word "suckered," I think he had better look inwardly for a moment.
Hon. Mr. Davis: There are some 20 of them; I am referring philosophically.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That is right. The honour- able member is quite right in that we had the regulation drafted and ready to proceed last fall. By virtue of the fact the committee schedule would not permit the hearing, or at least the return to committee that my predecessor in this ministry was committed to
Mr. Elston: That is not so.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That is so.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections.
Hon. Mr. Norton: The member knows very well I went to the representatives of his caucus and that caucus, and the chairman of the committee.
Mr. Elston: The minister told us he wanted to do it this way. That was not the whole story. He should tell us the whole story.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I was ready to go to committee with it last fall. It was not my staff that prevented it happening.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Norton: May I answer the question?
Mr. Speaker: Just respond to the question from the member for Hamilton Mountain.
Hon. Mr. Norton: The facts will speak for themselves. I recall I suggested an alternative that we circulate it to the public for comment and we did that in the latter part of last fall. Surely the member would be the first to criticize me if I had circulated a document for public comment and then ignored the public comment.
Mr. Chariton: Answer the question. Why did it take the minister four and half years to find out?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Norton: In pursuit of resolving the issues raised by members of the public -- although they may not be members of the public the member would do anything to recognize or help -- we proceeded to try to resolve that.
Why were we not aware of that problem before? We felt we were getting reliable advice. That has now been confirmed. There were certain other members of the public who felt they were getting reliable advice that conflicted with what we were getting. That issue I hope will be resolved within the next week or so.
SAFE DRINKING WATER
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, I hesitate to ask this of the verbose minister. However, we had a question on the other statement concerning his intervention.
On the nine-page statement we received -- it was supplemented later by a 10th page -- the minister indicated he would be filing papers to take intervener status. Can he say why he decided to forsake the advice of the Canadian environmental department and the requests of the civilian interest groups? They requested he provide them with the financial and technical backing they required since they were already in the process of getting intervener status? Why would he endanger the whole issue by going ahead himself to open up another action on this issue?
Mr. Speaker: Before the Minister of the Environment answers that question, I would ask all honourable members to please curtail their private conversations in the House: the members for Carleton (Mr. Mitchell) and for Mississauga South (Mr. Kennedy). Thank you.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, surely the honourable member realizes I have been exceedingly patient and co-operative with the requests of the federal government since last fall. For nine months I have waited patiently, urging them at every step to take the next step, for what has turned out to be a nonproductive exercise. I have listened to their advice. I have urged them to move more swiftly and I have advised against their course of action.
However, recognizing their jurisdiction in international relations, I treated it with respect. It is clear it did not produce the desired results. Therefore I have taken the initiative I set out to take nine months ago before they delayed the process.
With regard to the private groups, we have dealt with that question before in the House. There is a very clear distinction between the interests represented by a special interest group, albeit one that has great integrity -- I am not questioning that -- and the responsibility that a duly elected democratic government has to the people of this province. I am not about to abandon my responsibility by passing it off onto the shoulders of a private special interest group whose members are not elected.
Surely, the member understands that distinction. I believe in responsible government and I will act responsibly. I am not going to slough off my responsibility on any action group, however good and full of integrity it might be.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, the minister certainly has digressed a long way from the former minister. In the estimates of October 23, 1979, the former minister made it very clear they were not going to participate in the hearings and made light of the fact that I suggested he should.
We have gone such a long time and have done nothing to clear up that waterway that we have gone past the point of whether there is going to be a cleanup or intervention or not. Now the minister says the program is going to take three years and $1 million to find out the quality of the water.
Having failed on the one hand to go over there and fight those people about dumping contaminants, does he not think he at least now owes the people of Ontario some kind of considerably shortened program that will get on with a job that has been needed to be done for the last five or six years? Why does he not tell us now that he is not going to live with three years and $1 million, but is going to go after cleaning the water up immediately?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, we are doing both things at the same time. We are not relying exclusively upon one course of action or the other.
We have been more involved in dealing with the American jurisdiction on the issue of water quality in the Niagara River than I recognize the member will ever give us credit for. My ministry staff and I personally have been involved constantly over the last couple of years on that issue. The member must recognize that about 99 per cent of the input into the Niagara River originates on the American side. Therefore, I have some limitations in terms of acting with any jurisdiction across the border.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Of course, we have been repeatedly successful in getting them to take action.
Mr. Kerrio: Three years is too long.
Hon. Mr. Norton: To whit: the Niagara Falls waste water treatment plant; New York state gives us credit for having precipitated the action on the part of the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States in releasing $6 million to rebuild that plant. The member cannot accuse us of not having taken action and sit there with a straight face, he must do it tongue in cheek; but he should not close his mouth too quickly or he might bite it.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, has the minister discussed the impact of the intervention with Pollution Probe and Operation Clean Niagara and their counsel? Can he tell us what steps he plans to take to ensure there will not be a problem of contradictory evidence being presented to the court by the interveners: the Ontario government and the two citizens' groups?
I am sure the minister will appreciate that has been the concern all along of Operation Clean Niagara, Pollution Probe and their counsel with respect to the possibility of intervener status being taken by the Ontario government. Can the minister tell us what steps he plans to put into effect to ensure that will not happen and that the case will be strengthened and not confused by the intervention of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I met with Pollution Probe quite some time ago and discussed that very issue. I cannot legitimately say I have met with the whole board or whatever of Operation Clean Niagara. I have met with Mrs. Howe and we discussed that very briefly at a meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake in which we participated a couple of months ago. I do not see that as a big problem from our side.
When I met with Pollution Probe I made it very clear we were willing to share -- and at that time had already given them a copy of our hydrogeological report on the S area -- our complete information with them as it became available. I foresee only one problem. Unless Pollution Probe changes its approach, which is that it will share none of its information with anybody, then there may be some risk; but it will not be created by our policy or our open approach. If at all, it will be because Pollution Probe is taking a very secretive approach to its generation of information.
ELMER THE SAFETY ELEPHANT
Mr. Samis: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Transportation and Communications on behalf of millions of Ontario school children.
Notwithstanding the minister's reputation as a big game hunter in Ontario, why has he grievously wounded one of the best-known and most beloved creatures in Ontario, Elmer the Safety Elephant, by eliminating his support for the materials being supplied to schools and police departments? Why did he pick on poor Elmer for a paltry $30,000?
Mr. Nixon: Nothing is sacred.
Mr. Boudria: You insulted Elmer.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, first, Elmer is alive and well. The Elmer program is still alive; it is still being sponsored; it is being administered by the Ontario Safety League, as it has been. The Elmer flags were always a program of the safety league and not of the ministry. That program is still being carried on; and we still have our programs, Sam the Safety Duck and all those other things, for the school children. Unfortunately, some of the publicity that came about regarding poor Elmer was not quite right.
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary question? I am not sure whether this is of urgent public importance, but I will hear it.
Mr. Samis: On behalf of the school children of Ontario I want to point out that the minister has spent $35,300 on the garage extension in Clinton; on this one he has saved $30,000. Why is the minister in effect privatizing, to a certain extent, safety programs in Ontario? What it means is that the Ontario Safety League has to go out and beg for money to make up for that $30,000.
Second, can the minister tell the school children of this province before they go on holidays if he has any plans to attack any of their other beloved creatures?
Hon. Mr. Snow: First, I am certainly not against privatization. I believe in private enterprise, which may be a different philosophy from that of certain people on the other side of the House.
The Ontario Safety League is an organization that my ministry works very closely with. We give the Ontario Safety League certain financial support by way of grants. We work with them on research projects.
No, we are not going to kill Sam the Safety Duck; he is certainly alive and well too.
WHITE FARM EQUIPMENT CANADA LTD.
Mr. Gillies: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Trade regarding the failure of the refinancing negotiations with White Farm Equipment Canada Ltd.
The minister will be aware that the banks called their loans from White Farm this morning and that the company has until June 16 to satisfy the banks before they enforce their security. In view of the fact that none of these loans are past due, in view of the fact that over 100 people are at this point still working at the White Farm factory in Brantford and in view of the fact that White Farm recently successfully renegotiated its finances in the United States, why has the government of Canada refused to continue these negotiations?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, it is true that all loans at the bank are current and there is no principal or interest owing on the loans. Basically, there is a fundamental difference of opinion between the federal and provincial governments with respect to restructuring. We have always taken the approach that in this interim period when the banks originally called the loan, which is 90 days ago, we would try to put together a proposal, or at least a restructuring, that might allow this company to continue functioning in Brantford and, we hope, in the international markets so that when there was a restoration of the market they would be able to take full advantage of it.
The federal government is of a different mind with regard to whether the White company can continue or should continue. In fact, our senior people were in Kansas City on Friday of last week and made an arrangement that might have seen a restructuring if there had been willing partners on the part of the provincial and federal governments. I do not know whether the federal government is prepared to be part of that or not, but I would suspect they are not. I think it is just a fundamental difference of opinion that exists between us and the federal government on the issue.
We stand ready to go through a restructuring, provided that the security of the public taxpayer is not in any away seriously altered. We think the value of the company is there; we think there has been no significant diminution in the value of the company in the last year. There is no willing buyer available, to our knowledge. We would be prepared to go through a restructuring, and we hope the federal government might take a look at it in that favourable light. However, if they choose not to, we hope they are right, because if they are wrong, it is going to lead to the loss of that business in Brantford, period. If that is the case. I think it would be very unfortunate. We happen to think we are right in the proposal but they have the authority on the question. That being the case, we are going to have to ride along with whatever their decision is.
Mr. Gillies: By way of supplementary: The receivership, in and of itself, is not a disaster if there is another willing buyer for the company. I would ask the minister, is either his ministry or the federal Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce aware of a willing buyer? Or is the federal government playing fast and loose with 1,000 Brant county families?
Hon. Mr. Walker: We know of no potential buyer. That is why we have attempted to restructure through a process with the current company that involves the Borg-Warner finance company from the United States. In fact, Borg- Warner is prepared to refinance the Canadian operation, having already refinanced the American operation. Borg-Warner recently put $38 million into the American operation, in the last few months, and were prepared to put forward a further $20 million to restructure the Canadian operation. We think that is probably the right route to go.
If the federal government is wrong, we have a problem. If they are right, and we hope they are, the company might survive. But in terms of receivership, we know of no potential buyer and we have canvassed all of them.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, since the minister was a leading proponent of the sellout of the formerly Canadian firm to TIC Investment Corp. a year ago, does he not think he can still maintain that high profile role, particularly since he believes the company, in its present incarnation, is viable? He could at least give the sort of assistance to the company that was extended to certain other companies in difficult times, so that the present ownership would have a continued chance to maintain its operation here, particularly in view of the fact that neither he nor his federal colleague have been able to find anyone, anywhere, apparently, who showed any interest in assuming the responsibility for the management of a continuing concern.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I think the answer to that, in short, is yes. We are prepared to try to find any possible way of resurrecting the company. We think if it goes into receivership, which it presumably will on June 16, it will be down for several months, and will not likely be resurrected for some time. If, on the other hand. a new buyer can be found, we are anxious to find one. We would certainly be prepared to be a part of any kind of restructuring that protects the interests of the taxpayer and, we hope, retains that company in an operative form in Brantford. We are worried about it leaving Brantford. That is the main consideration we have.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the minister that just last year, when he was instrumental in selling out this company to American interests, he said there were good values that came from foreign ownership, such as management expertise, technology transfer and capital. Since capital seems to be one of the problems in keeping this company going, would the minister at least look at some options like the buy-back policy to bring this company back into Canadian hands?
Can he guarantee that the technology this company has developed in its combine will not be transferred out of Canada if the company does go into receivership? That technology should stay here. I hope it can be used in Brantford. At this time, thanks to the lack of economic management of this government, four per cent of the people in that city are collecting welfare rather than working and paying taxes.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, the three points made in respect of foreign ownership still stand totally. The capital is available; the financing is available; the expertise is available. There is no question of that. We are prepared to look at the possibilities of a buy-back. The technology is mortgaged by the federal government, in essence, and the licences are there. It is highly unlikely that will be released to any other country. I do not expect that what the member is suggesting will happen.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Premier: Given the revelations of the last few days with respect to an Ontario resident who became addicted to the province's lotteries, and because that person may be sentenced later for fraud of $183,000, does the Premier have any intention of investigating how this could have happened without it being noticed or reported to someone in the Ontario Lottery Corp?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I do not quite understand the question. Is the member looking for another lottery, or what really is the intent of the question?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am serious.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Ruston: I will go a little farther. I tried to make the question brief, so maybe the Premier would have the opportunity to make his answer brief. I know of his moral fabric and his institutional and family background and that he would not want the lotteries to cause any problems to our families. It can happen, as we can see here and probably in many other cases. Her lawyer said $5,000 worth of tickets a week were bought at the same store. Does the Premier not think that storekeeper should have reported it to the Ontario Lottery Corp. or somebody to look into such a matter before it got so far?
Hon. Mr. Pope: A new Liberal manifesto.
Ms. Copps: You should know, you used to be a Liberal.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Lots of people used to be Liberals.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) used to be a Liberal.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Still is.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, she is not; she is a member of the "community party."
Mr. Speaker: Back to the question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is the "Peterson party."
I am really trying to get at the essence of the question. Is the honourable member suggesting that everybody selling lottery tickets should be making a mental note of who is buying and the number they are buying, and report it to the corporation?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is the impression I got.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Does the Premier think that possession of more than five lottery tickets should be a criminal offence in Ontario?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Answer yes or no.
Hon. Mi. Davis: That cannot really be answered yes or no, but in the 16 seconds that remain, I would not want to preclude a person like the member, with his economic substance from all the moneys he has saved by not eating as well as he should, from buying several tickets a week. It would be good for him, give him an outlet and divert him from the socialistic behaviour of his colleagues. He would find it a lot of fun. My bet is that if he won he would become a capitalist overnight.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleague, the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), and as a very special exception to the rules of the House, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the presence of our guests in the front row of the east gallery. There are five students from Fort Severn, which is some 1,000 miles away from this place, visiting us in this assembly with their teacher, Mr. Blythe. Next week they will have the pleasure of visiting with my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon and the Lieutenant Governor at home, but I thought we should welcome them for making the journey here today.
Mr. Speaker: I would like to join in the welcome and I sincerely hope they haven't been disappointed.
INSPECTION OF NURSING HOMES
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order with respect to the filing of documents by the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) on Monday last. In those documents was a list of the names of several nursing homes against which they were proceeding, indicating there were outstanding legal matters that were affecting the status or could affect the status of those nursing homes.
He listed the names of Brook Haven Nursing Home in the township of Turnberry and the Callander Nursing Home in the village of Brussels in my riding. At the date of the filing of those documents, and I communicated this information to the minister's office on Tuesday, all outstanding matters had been corrected.
They were in compliance with all regulations and, in fact, had to replace two doors that became out of date via new regulations.
Mr. Speaker, my point of order basically is that if documents of this sort, which cause a great deal of public confusion and cause concern among my constituents, are to be filed, all the information available with respect to any charges which are laid by any ministry, and which then become public through this route, and all of the documents relating to current status must and should be filed at the same time.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Mr. Eves from the standing committee on administration of justice reported the following resolution:
That supply in the following amount and to defray the expenses of the Provincial Secretary for Justice be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1984:
Justice policy program, $1,228,800.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
Mr. Harris from the standing committee on general government presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:
Bill 41, An Act to regulate the Granting of Degrees.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Was that an estimates report?
Mr. Speaker: No.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for third reading.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
HEALTH FACILITIES SPECIAL ORDERS ACT
Hon. Mr. Grossman moved, seconded by Hon. Mrs. Birch, first reading of Bill 64, An Act respecting Certain Health Facilities.
Motion agreed to.
PUBLIC SERVICE SUPERANNUATION AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wiseman moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Gregory, first reading of Bill 65, An Act to amend the Public Service Superannuation Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: If I might have the indulgence of the House, I have a motion. I was not aware of it at the time. Could I ask the House if we could revert to motions?
Mr. Speaker: Perhaps we could finish the introduction of bills and then revert. The Minister of Labour had already risen.
WORKERS' COMPENSATION AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Ramsay moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Ashe, first reading of Bill 66, An Act to amend the Workers' Compensation Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, this bill will increase compensation benefits for the province's injured workers by five per cent, effective July 1, 1983.
FRONTIER COLLEGE ACT
Mrs. Scrivener moved, seconded by Mr. Harris, first reading of Bill Pr2, An Act respecting Frontier College.
Motion agreed to.
AVIAN EMBLEM ACT
Mr. Pollock moved, seconded by Mr. Havrot, first reading of Bill 67, the Avian Emblem Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Gregory moved that the standing committee on resources development be authorized to sit on the afternoon and evening of Monday, June 13, 1983.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
The following bills were given third reading on motion:
Bill 2, An Act to provide for the Formulation and Implementation of Emergency Plans;
Bill 3, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act;
Bill 4, An Act to amend the Collection Agencies Act;
Bill 5, An Act to amend the Boilers and Pressure Vessels Act;
Bill 13, An Act to amend the Vital Statistics Act;
Bill 23, An Act to amend the Ministry of Government Services Act.
INCOME TAX AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Ashe moved third reading of Bill 43, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act.
Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of Mr. Ashe's motion will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
THIRD READINGS (CONCLUDED)
The following bills were given third reading on motion:
Bill 49, An Act to amend the Niagara Parks Act.
Bill 57, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
Bill 41, An Act to regulate the Granting of Degrees.
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BUSINESS
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY CONVERSION PROGRAM
Mr. Kolyn moved, seconded by Mr. MacQuarrie. resolution 6:
That, in view of the increasing efficiency and economy of converting to alternative energy fuels in motor vehicles, and as a further example of the government's leadership role in stimulating interest in and appreciation for energy conservation, this House urges the government to consider implementation of an alternative energy conversion program for all government vehicles, where such conversion is possible and financially cost effective.
Mr. Kolyn: Mr. Speaker, before I address the numerous merits of this resolution, allow me to thank those members from all parties who participated in today's earlier discussion on propane fuels. By all accounts, it was a pleasant and informative success. Many issues were clarified and I hope several insights were gained.
This afternoon I would like to build on the success of the luncheon gathering with my parliamentary colleagues, some of whom view certain aspects of this resolution with reservations and many of whom share my support for the resolution's purpose. I would briefly like to do three things:
One, clarify the objective of the resolution; two, discuss the reasons the resolution deserves the unanimous, nonpartisan support of this House; and three, interpret the importance and significance of this resolution's passage outside this House.
I shall begin by summarizing the goal I have set in presenting this ballot item. With this resolution, I am attempting to draw attention to and maintain interest in the immense amount of effort that is being invested in alternative energy fuels by this government, by other jurisdictions and by the private sector in our province.
All members are well versed in the fundamental transformation that has taken place in the world economy during the last 10 years, in regard to the cost of conventional energy. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is now 10 years old, its existence confirmation of the dramatic change that has enveloped our province and country.
As I reflect on the progress we have made in responding to that challenge with our fuel-efficient cars and energy conservation, I am struck by the distance still to be travelled towards new fuels and perhaps new methods of transportation and production. It is with this in mind I present my ballot item.
It is true I have concentrated my attention on propane fuel, a subject I shall soon describe in detail, but please do not be misled. I have highlighted propane in my efforts only because it is a fuel of tomorrow, ready for use today. In due time, compressed natural gas, hydrogen, methanol and other fuels will make a significant contribution in our society.
Today, however, I would like to confine my remarks to propane. My colleagues will not be surprised to learn that this government already manages an alternative energy fuels program and, I can proudly add, it is a program run with considerable success. One of the highlights of this off-oil policy is Drive Propane, a program operated in association with conversion of government vehicles to a propane fuel system.
Here are certain facts that may be surprising. There are 22,000 propane-powered vehicles in Ontario and more than 1,100 propane stations in the province to service them. More than $100 million have been invested in propane fuel systems by the private sector in Ontario. The province operates 700 propane vehicles, almost 10 per cent of the total government fleet.
Let me turn to the second order of business today. Why should this House endorse an alternative energy fuels program and, in particular, the government's commitment to propane? There is not time to answer this question in detail, so I shall be brief. For the following reasons, propane fuel, in the context of this resolution, merits the positive consideration of this House:
1. Efficiency: Propane is an economic fuel priced at between 50 and 60 per cent of the cost of gasoline. Individuals pay no retail sales tax or road tax on propane. Fleet operators receive an additional $400 from Ottawa to defray the costs of conversion.
2. Convenience: 1,100 propane stations are scattered throughout Ontario. Travel Ontario lists 450 stations, complete with addresses and hours of business. Filling up on propane is as quick and easy as filling up on gasoline.
3. Performance: Propane enters the carburetor as a vapour; therefore it mixes more thoroughly with air. As a result, propane burns completely and efficiently. Engines require fewer tuneups, engine parts stay cleaner, acceleration is improved and spark plugs last longer.
4. Ecology: Propane is a clean, lead-free fuel. As combustion is more complete, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions are significantly lower compared to gasoline. Propane-powered vehicles meet every pollution control regulation enacted by the tough Environmental Protection Agency in the United States.
5. Source: Propane is an abundant Canadian fuel. Currently, about 40,000 barrels of propane are exported to the United States and abroad each day. Were there a demand for propane, this exported amount could fuel an additional 560,000 Canadian vehicles with energy made in Canada.
6. Safety: Propane is as safe or safer than gasoline if used properly. This fact was detailed by the research film shown at today's luncheon. Some members might have missed it and some might have reservations about propane because of recent newspaper articles concerning the fuel, so I would note that when there is improper installation, refuelling or operation of propane systems or those of any other fuel problems will inevitably be encountered; nevertheless, the solution to these problems is straightforward.
The propane industry must be subject to whatever regulation and market encouragement exists that will guarantee the integrity of the fuel system. Just as in the early days of gasoline, propane users must be assured of honest, competent mechanics and high quality equipment.
Some members may wish to say the economic inducements I mentioned at the beginning do not apply to government vehicles. This is absolutely correct. There may not be one more vehicle in the provincial fleet that could be converted to propane economically. If this is true I shall be satisfied that we have tried to save taxpayers more money.
The government's objective in launching this program has been to demonstrate restraint to the taxpayers and leadership to the private sector in showing propane is here to stay as an alternative energy fuel. Regardless of our political differences these are two highly commendable goals worthy of the nonpartisan support of this entire House.
In conclusion, I would like to address the larger context within which the passage of this resolution so comfortably fits. Our acceptance of propane fuel as an alternative to conventional energy demonstrates the commitment this Legislature possesses towards future fuels.
Already the Ford Motor Co. produces a propane-powered vehicle. Chrysler Corp. is marketing a retrofitted propane vehicle. The major oil companies, which as recently as two years ago were indifferent about propane stations, are all accelerating their efforts to capture the growing propane markets. The 1,100 propane stations I mentioned earlier are only an estimate of the number of stations in Ontario. The exact number is hard to calculate because new outlets are opening each week.
The point is, the private sector has embraced propane because it makes sense -- and dollars too. We can stand back and watch as propane and other alternative fuels replace gasoline or we can show leadership. If there are no longer savings to be made from propane in the government fleet, that is good to know. I ask only that an effort be made to find out.
Moreover, there are other ways we can show leadership. Perhaps we should consider a procurement policy that favours off-the-line propane vehicles. That is one way of demonstrating our continued support of propane to General Motors, the only automobile manufacturer among the Big Three to stay out of the propane-powered new car market today.
Ministers of the government may wish to consider having their executive vehicles converted to propane. Members may already be aware that my colleague the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) is driving a propane-powered vehicle and demonstrating important leadership in that process.
Finally, each one of us may want to consider a propane vehicle for our personal use. If the type of automobile we drive, our driving habits and the frequency of automobile use suggest a propane fuel system, I urge my colleagues to investigate further.
Members may be interested to know that a vehicle converted to propane will pay for itself after 20,000 to 25,000 miles. For more information, I ask members to direct their inquiries to my friend the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller). He is raving about his propane vehicle, and his commitment to restraint is the stuff that great Treasurers are made of.
In conclusion, I shall repeat only one thing. This is a resolution with leadership as its purpose. Although propane fuel is still in its infancy stage here in Ontario, the fuel has been used for decades in Europe. Thus, it is up to this House to demonstrate the leadership necessary for our constituents and other jurisdictions to understand that we are serious about propane today and alternative fuels tomorrow. With the support of my colleagues we shall take one more step towards realizing that goal.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, at the outset I should thank the members on the opposite side for welcoming my comments. I am sure they realize I am going to support this proposal for a couple of reasons -- maybe more than a couple, maybe many.
First, I think the honourable member is putting forward a resolution that is worth supporting. He is to be commended for taking the time to invite members to meet with various officials from some of the ministries of whom we were able to ask questions in the areas of safety and costs. I appreciate that very much, and I thank the member for having taken the time to put on such a forum.
I find the resolution just a little difficult as it relates to a member putting forward some real leadership and then attempting to suggest he is representing a government that is taking the same kind of leadership. Members in all parties know that is not quite true. The government has had a commitment over many years, just as they do in many other policy fields.
Rather than go through new bills and procedures and put back on the record those things that have been put there before and those promises that have not been kept, I propose the following.
Until the next election, when we take over and put something meaningful into place by putting our money where our mouths are and doing the things we know have to be done -- which this government also knows have to be done but which it is not doing -- maybe one of the most meaningful things that could be done would be to take that member from the back row, put him in the front row and give him the responsibility to put into place what the government has been talking about for a long time.
Mr. Kerrio: The promises have been made. We need someone over there to keep the promise. "Keep the promise" is the key phrase.
The fact of the matter is that while we applaud this resolution, we fully support the member's criticism of his government's energy policy because in reality that is what he is doing. He has learned a little from the Premier (Mr. Davis) on how to skate around various issues, but really what he is saying is: "My government has failed to do this very simple thing. I would like the members to support me in order to maybe shake the government just a little without forcing them into doing something that should have been done a good long while ago."
It is perfectly obvious to us and to the member that this government does not take alternative energy seriously. We understand the frustration the member must feel, since he too has been begging the government for so many years for a genuine commitment to observe conservation techniques and renewable energy technology. The tokenism has just been ridiculous.
There is quite a difficult problem over there, because they cannot leave the alternative energy, the conservation and all those great and wonderful things that should he done in the hands of Ontario Hydro, as has been the case. The ministry has not taken the initiative. They cannot tell me that Hydro -- which has a definite conflict, as is now proven by its new thrust in going out again to sell the excess electricity -- is going to do anything meaningful in the way of alternative fuels, energy conservation or those things that go against the grain of what Ontario Hydro is attempting to do.
Given their druthers, the Ministry of Energy and Ontario Hydro are going to push hydrogen. We all remember when we were in high school that we took two tubes, introduced a flow of electricity, separated H2O into the various gases, took a little match and lit the one on the hydrogen side, heard the pop and knew there was energy there. Although it is not often said, we put four times the electricity in to get one unit of power out; so hydrogen is really not a fuel unless there is the major breakthrough that some of the great and wonderful scientists we have today are talking about and have in the works.
Unless there is such a breakthrough, we shall not see anything meaningful relating to hydrogen fuel, except in bailing Hydro's poor management out of 50 per cent overbuilding and in that way using up some of that surplus electrical energy we have. Then, if we use hydrogen, we will be using nuclear fuel, coal, oil and whatever else we burn and some hydraulics to propel our vehicles, which seems to be going backwards in this modern age.
Propane is a fuel that is on hand. It is something I personally have used for 25 years, not in a motor vehicle but in the forklifts around our plant and in some of our other machinery. It is nothing new to us. Propelling an internal combustion engine with propane makes uncommonly good sense. The only thing that hurts me as a Canadian is the fact that we are exporting such large amounts of propane. That should not be done.
Those fuels, if we had a real commitment by this government, would be used in a meaningful changeover into the propulsion of our vehicles with propane. There would be a meaningful thrust by the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) to bring more --
Mr. Stokes: One would have thought that policy was federal.
Mr. Kerrio: I am beginning to be very much less partisan; whoever comes up with a good idea, I am prepared to support.
In conjunction with not shipping so much propane out of the country and propelling our buses and our automobiles -- that is a place we cannot use electricity unless we go the devious way of using hydrogen; although I think electricity should be used in its form to power our intercity buses and railways, and we should bring more gas into this province. I am sure, by using common good sense, we could be completely self-sufficient in energy in this nation if we were to use the kinds of fuels the way they should be used.
The problem rests with the government over there. While the member is attempting to suggest his government has taken the leadership, he is really saying in his own way, "I think we should be doing something along the lines of my resolution." If the government were doing what he is suggesting it is doing, we would not need this resolution.
I have with me many copies of all kinds of publications put out by the ministry over the past 10 or 15 years. There is a terrible waste of taxpayers' money on these beautiful shiny brochures that tell us year after year what a commitment this government has to alternative fuels, to conservation, to all the things that augur well for Ontario.
If we were to go into it the way we should, we would have a jurisdiction here that would certainly create more jobs in relation to those kinds of carburation systems and their installation. We just have not had that kind of leadership. I am pleased to see a private member take the initiative over there. I am hopeful that the government is going to listen.
I am disappointed the Minister of Energy is not here, and that a few of the other ministers are not here. It is not good enough just to read Hansard. They should be here participating. They should be here to listen to those people who I think are much closer to the grass roots.
I think once one is elevated to the grand and glorious position of the ministers, one loses a little touch with the common folk. I say again to the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Kolyn) that this is a good bill, but it is not new.
Mr. Samis: It's a resolution.
Mr. Kerrio: I thank the member. This is a good resolution. We are going to support it. I am sure the members of the governing party are going to support it. I am sure the third party is going to support it. I think you have a winner here, Al. As I said before, I compliment you and I support your initiative.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Robinson): Just before I recognize the member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis), I remind the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) that the correct form of address during debate is by the member's riding name.
Mr. Kerrio: Al from Lakeshore; that's what I said.
The Acting Speaker: Sorry; I just missed the second part.
Mr. Samis: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Unlike Vince, I will not make any comments on --
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, on point of personal privilege: I think you missed the intent. I very seldom use anyone's name. I thought that in this instance I was telling that member I felt very personal about supporting his resolution.
Mr. Samis: I want to speak in support of the resolution. First of all, I want to compliment the members opposite. I know they are under the whip's orders and would all rather be somewhere else this afternoon, partaking in the festivities along the banks of the Ottawa River. As the member for Niagara Falls has pointed out, there are no cabinet ministers here. It is always the poor back-benchers who have to put in the long hours, while some of the higher-ups are enjoying some of the portals of power as they wing their way to the festivities in the capital city.
I want to refer to several matters, but I agree with the intent of the resolution. I wish the honourable member well. I apologize for the fact that I was not able to attend the session at noon hour, but I had a previous commitment and was unable to be there. Anything that improves the mix of different energy sources in this province is to be welcomed, even though I understand propane is derived from natural gas, which obviously makes us dependent on Alberta.
I think there are a variety of arguments in its favour, whether we talk about economics, environment or other matters. However, I wish to call to the member's attention some concerns I have, not so much about propane-fuelled vehicles as about propane conversions in Ontario. I am sure he is no doubt aware of them.
I want to make several references to an article by Nicholas Hunter in the May 18 issue of the Globe and Mail, entitled "Safety of Propane Conversions Causes Worry." Let me emphasize that this is not the first article on this topic, but I want to refer to it because it is the most recent one.
The main source of the article was a Michael Austin, who is chief instructor at a Toronto propane conversion school, where mechanics are taught how to convert vehicles from gasoline to propane. His basic allegation is that "fuel tanks on at least half the 22,000 propane-fuelled vehicles in the province of Ontario have been so shoddily installed that the lives of motorists are in danger." There are several quotes in the article.
I realize the ministry is doing an internal investigation of those allegations. I believe the investigation has not been completed, but I do want to put on the record some of the concerns expressed by Mr. Austin because I think they are serious and because he is in the field and has a certain credibility we cannot neglect.
He says, for example: "an Ontario government sticker put on vehicles to indicate the conversion has been done properly means only that the conversion company paid the government a $50 contractors fee and they got the stickers."
"He has recommended that special government inspection stations be set up across the province where mechanics could certify the propane installation has been done properly. Vehicles that pass inspection would receive a label that would enable them to fill up with propane at a service centre."
It is interesting to note that "the recommendation is similar to a proposal by the Toronto-based Insurers Advisory Organization of Canada, which calls for independent inspection centres throughout Ontario 'to certify that the original installation of the propane fuel system for each vehicle meets at least the minimum requirements.'" Apparently that organization represents 60 per cent of Canadian insurers and it has completed a report on the pros and cons of propane as an alternative fuel.
There are various other quotations in the piece. Mr. Frank Attard, fleet manager for Xerox Canada Inc., said he has heard conversions are done badly in a small percentage of garages and he is quoted as saying, "There are fly-by-nighters in the field and I would like to see the bad [operators] closed up." The article says, "Conversion locations have been springing up with the increasing popularity of propane as an alternative fuel in cars and trucks." But the question is, are they being properly regulated and are the jobs being properly done?
Mr. Austin is quoted in the article as estimating that conversions are being done in between 1,000 and 1,500 garages and conversion centres across the province and that there are about 5,000 people with licences that permit them to install propane tanks. "The conversions are getting sloppier and sloppier. It is totally disgusting." He cited the instance of a school bus in which the tank was mounted with insufficient clearance from the ground and pointed out that in a collision, liquid propane leaking on to the engine of the other vehicle would cause an instant inferno."
He also produced evidence of liquid lines done up with electrical tape so that "the line just hangs and lies on whatever it can." He also cited incidents of service centres filling propane tanks higher than the legal 80 per cent limit when the customers demanded it. He said, "Overfilling is very dangerous because with every 10 degrees of heat the fuel density increases 1.5 per cent."
Mr. Austin also charged in the article that conversion shops are cutting prices, and in turn the quality of their work, just to get business. "They're cutting corners, working faster and doing sloppier work. The longer this situation continues the poorer and more dangerous conversions will become."
Because of this man's occupation and his familiarity with the situation, I think those charges are fairly serious. I do not think it will seriously detract from the intent of the resolution, however, I really think the ministry has a serious duty to investigate his allegations and to clean up the situation if those allegations prove to be true.
That is not the first time allegations of that sort have been made. In April 1982, in a memo, ministry engineers J. I. Whiting and Marcel Djivre defended the principle of the switch to propane. However, they said, "We both have reason to believe that, following conversion under the existing purchase orders, our vehicles will be likely to endanger us, or any other occupant." They are referring to government vehicles that are being converted.
Mr. Djivre noted in his report that the Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. does not recommend converting to propane. He gave two instances from a case study the two men had done, one involving an AMC Eagle and the other a Ford Fairmont. In both cases he cited shoddy workmanship and the danger this meant for motorists across the province. He concluded, "The ministry's policy should be that where propane powered vehicles are used they should be factory-produced vehicles."
I note that the Minister of Transportation and Communications rides a propane-fuelled vehicle and it is a factory-produced vehicle.
I think the government's goal is to have something like 40,000 propane-powered vehicles on the road by 1985. I commend the government for its incentives to get people to try the propane option, but I really think it must protect the public interest in this question of conversion. It must have much stricter controls in the garages. We have to be assured that any car going on the road has a properly installed system.
I think the recommendation of the insurance people and Mr. Austin was an excellent one: to have independent centres set up in the province so people can bring their cars there and make sure the conversion was properly done. This would ensure these cars are in no way a threat or danger to any other motorist on the road. I think that recommendation is worth immediate implementation. It may cost a little money but if we save any lives and prevent any accidents, it will be an extremely worthwhile investment.
Propane obviously is going to be here for many years to come. The conversions will be here for many years to come as well. Why do we not ensure at the outset that every vehicle on the road has a properly installed conversion? I hope the member will also bring that to the attention of the minister, because I think as this becomes a more popular option the safety problems have to be overcome.
That is in no way meant to undermine the merits of the resolution. This is a prime concern of mine if we are going to move along this road. Beyond that, I want to say I will support the resolution.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I feel proud and privileged to be able to participate in the debate this afternoon in support of the resolution put forward by my colleague the member for Lakeshore. In so doing, I want to compliment him for the most orderly and effective way in which he presented his argument here this afternoon, It was most compelling and certainly very forceful.
I must also commend my colleague for the initiatives he has taken in setting up, for the benefit of all interested members of the Legislature, the opportunity to meet at noon hour today to have a briefing, so to speak. on the whole concept and use of propane. I think he is to be applauded in this unique initiative, which afforded any who had preconceived views on the use of propane the opportunity to come forward and become informed in a very objective fashion on the merits of its use, particularly as a transportation fuel.
It was helpful at that time to assist the member in the predebate period. Representatives from the different ministries, such as Mr. Alter from the Ministry of Government Services, Messrs. Grzesik, Patterson and Yoneyama from the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, Mr. Olah from the Ministry of Energy and Dr. Soots from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications were very helpful. They were accompanied by Mr. Brown from Consumers' Gas, Mr. McLeod from Robin Hood Multifoods, and Frank Attard from Xerox, who represented the private sector.
There was a good cross-section of representation. It was a reflection of the interest being shown both by government and the private sector as to the merits of the use of propane fuel.
Again I commend the member for Lakeshore for his efforts in this regard. We realize his initiatives are simply a reflection of the broader initiatives being taken by this government and that have been in place for some period of time.
In the same manner that the sponsor of this resolution put forward his arguments in a very orderly six-point fashion, so too I would like to build on that presentation by dealing with three other points that I think will help to flesh out the whole issue.
In this regard, I want to touch on the record of the Ontario government and the initiatives it has taken in the field of dealing with alternative fuels, notwithstanding the comments made by the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) in his very partisan remarks, suggesting that this government has been derelict in showing initiatives in this field.
I want to touch for a few moments on cost comparisons and show how propane is cost efficient and effective.
Last, but not least, I want to touch on and give credit to both the private and public sectors, citing some specific instances where these initiatives have contributed in a very meaningful and significant way to the early successes of the use of propane in the transportation field.
Coming back to the first point I want to emphasize, the record of the Ontario government demonstrates that this province and this government stand second to none in the initiatives that have been taken in the field of alternative and renewable energy programs and the development of policy in this regard.
I always have to admire the minister who represents that ministry. He himself is a personification of the ministry he represents. It is hard to keep up with our Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch) in his capacity of Minister of Energy and the many different directions in which he is taking this government on its broadening policy program of alternative and renewable energy programs.
I can only make reference to a few; even then I would not have touched on all of them. We have energy from waste and biomass; solar energy development programs; alternative transportation fuels, which is what we are about here today, along with remote power systems; and one of the areas in which I happen to have a particular preference, the area of hydrogen.
I have had some small and modest part to play, perhaps, in this government developing a meaningful research and development component in the field of the potential for hydrogen energy and its use in the transportation field. We now have in place the Institute for Hydrogen Systems, which is established as a research subsidiary of the University of Toronto. I think we are going to see some remarkable developments come out of their activities in the coming months and years.
But as stated and conceded by the sponsor of this resolution, hydrogen is probably the energy of the future as far as its practical use is concerned while propane not only is proven but is practical now because a system has been developed that makes it usable in today's transportation vehicles. I think propane will continue to be with us even after we have achieved the long-range objectives of bringing the use of hydrogen to its full potential.
This government stands second to none in these initiatives. That is why, while propane is simply an integral part of that overall program, it is a similar type of initiative that has to be applauded and is being looked at from all parts of the world. So this province has no apologies to make for the direction and programming that we have developed with regard to the use of alternative and renewable fuels.
With regard to propane specifically, the cost comparisons show without question the cost- effectiveness of using propane as compared to gasoline. It is shown that gasoline today is averaging around 45 to 48 cents per litre while propane is costing out at approximately 25 cents per litre; but, recognizing the BTU efficiency of propane is perhaps somewhat less than that of gasoline, you could cost out propane on a direct comparative basis with gasoline at about 31 cents per litre. So we definitely have a significant cost saving, and this has been proven in the fleet testing that has been done in co-operation with the private sector by a number of companies that have been involved.
Such organizations as Bell Canada, Work Wear Corp. of Canada Ltd. and Simpson-Sears Ltd. have all been involved, along with other corporations that use a large fleet of vehicles. In fact, it has been demonstrated and shown clearly in the report published by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications that there are cost savings to be realized in the use of propane.
The sponsor will want to respond to the safety feature on the basis of what the member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis) had to say, and I am sure he will allay that member's fears and reservations in responding to the recent articles in the newspaper, which I think are answerable. He can put the matter back in its proper perspective.
With regard to the initiatives of the private sector, again while I have simply mentioned the names of a few companies, I had wanted to go in some depth into the successes they have had that are published in Drive Propane: Summary of Fleet Demonstration Results Report, which came from the ministry in March 1982. I commend it for bedside reading to all members of the House, because it does clearly demonstrate that propane is a success and is here to stay. I commend the member for his initiative, and I am sure all members of not only this party but the House as a whole are supportive of this very progressive resolution.
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to join this debate and to compliment the member for Lakeshore for presenting this resolution and also for the presentation and the luncheon he provided just an hour or so ago.
I think it is absolutely necessary that we look at alternative fuels. Just to give members a bit of the cost, there are about four million vehicles in Ontario and they consume about $2.2 billion worth of fuel per year. Most of that is imported into this province, so there is a tremendous opportunity to save our balance of payments as far as both the province and the country are concerned. To give an example of the cost of fuel in Ontario: for every $1 increase in the cost of a barrel of crude oil, $100 million is diverted from our provincial economy.
We need alternative fuels for economic reasons, strategic reasons and health reasons. To outline the economic reasons, everyone knows, of course, that because of the activities of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries fuel prices have escalated and escalated so that today we have the highest price on the North American continent. This puts us out of competition with our American neighbours in the cost of our transportation and of producing our goods and services.
We need alternative fuels for strategic reasons because of the continued unrest in many parts of the oil-producing parts of the world and the possibility that our fuel supplies will be cut off. At this very moment I guess we are fuel sufficient in Canada, because of the recession we are actually in a net exporting position; but certainly when the economy turns around, we will be back to where we were, buying supplies from other countries.
We have supplies, of course, in the arctic frontier areas, but the costs are very high. To justify fuel from that area we need crude oil prices in the range of $40 or $50 a barrel to support that frontier exploration.
We need, then, to conserve fuel, because while we may be in a more comfortable position today, some day the barrel is going to run dry. We are wasting elements in our refining process. At present some is being wasted and some is being exported; we could use the latter in the case of propane.
I think most compelling is the reason of health. The member outlined safety, and I am not going to spend time on that. One of the damaging things we have in our environment today is lead, and I think we all have to accept our responsibilities in tolerating the use of lead in our fuel.
I have a message here from the Honourable John Roberts, Minister of Energy in the federal government: "Those of us who fill our tanks with leaded gas are contributing to a frightening health hazard, a hazard to our children. The Department of National Health and Welfare has concluded in recent studies that children, particularly those who live in our cities across Canada, were suffering serious effects from lead emissions, permanent damage like lower IQs, impaired hand and eye co-ordination, speech and hearing difficulties and a shorter attention span."
I would point out that in 1975, when we brought in some emission standards and changed the content of lead in gasoline, we were putting about 12,000 metric tons of lead into the atmosphere a year; now we are down to 7,500 tons, I think. But it is starting to rise again, and the manufacturers of cars are switching towards more economical cars. In their advertising they are making a point of the fact that their cars are running on leaded gas rather than lead-free gas. We are seeing a movement back to the use of lead.
There is another alternative fuel that also gets away from the lead program, and that is alcohol. While we have heard less of it in recent days, in the United States alcohol is still being used. They are not talking of it in terms of gasohol as an alternative to extend the fuel supply; they are talking of it as a replacement for lead because alcohol does the same job as lead. It raises the octane rating of the fuel, causes the motor to run more smoothly and to be more knock-free. There are tremendous opportunities in alcohol.
A few years ago when we were talking about alcohol as a fuel, I must admit that, within our caucus, I was one who was not much in favour of it. I saw it as a competitor for the fuel supplies and it really bothered me from a moral and sensibility standpoint to think of potential food, from which alcohol is produced, being substituted for a fossil fuel to drive our vehicles down the road. But the world food situation has turned around very dramatically in the last two or three years to the point where a country such as India, which we think of as a food-deficient nation, today is self-sufficient and is likely to be self-sufficient for a long time.
This is a diversion, Mr. Speaker, but I have always believed, and I think it has now been proven, that we never had a shortage of the capacity to produce food. We really had a political shortage of will among many of these countries to put the proper amount of money into their agricultural sectors to produce food. That has now turned the corner in many of the countries that depended upon us, so I believe that today we could divert some of our land to produce alcohol to produce lead-free fuel.
It is rather interesting to realize that one of the damaging aspects of lead is that it attacks the brain, especially in young children. That is where the worst damage is and the child is affected for life. In the countries that have shortages of food, it is mostly a shortage of protein; it is not a shortage of food but a shortage of protein and, of course, that is the building block for the brain cells. By using food to produce alcohol, one ends up with a byproduct that is very high in protein. So we could solve two problems: the problem of lead damaging the brains of our children -- and adults too as they follow along in our country -- and we could provide a cheap protein substitute to be used in underdeveloped countries to help in the development of their children.
There are other alternatives too, one of which is natural gas. When it comes to the amount of fuel Canada has, we are in a more surplus position with natural gas than any other fuel. In fact, they tell us we probably have enough natural gas in reserve to last for some 200 to 300 years. Natural gas can very easily be compressed and used in the same vehicle, I was told at our meeting this morning, with part of the same equipment as for the conversion to propane. That offers another alternative.
When we get around to the point of turning natural gas into liquid, I am told a container about the size of a breadbasket -- or a bushel basket I guess most of us would recognize -- would contain enough fuel to drive a vehicle about 800 miles. It probably would only have to be charged up with liquid natural gas once a month. We are not at the point where we have a cheap method of providing that fuel, but with the work that is being done, especially at the federal level where they are working on this, that is surely just around the corner. That is another alternative fuel.
I commend the member for his initiative in bringing this forth. Like my colleagues, I am disappointed that such a measure has to come in a resolution rather than in the form of a private member's bill and that it has to come from the back benches. Surely, the leadership that is required --
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Robinson): The honourable member's time has expired.
Mr. McGuigan: Leadership needs to be here, and perhaps that is a way of providing it.
The Acting Speaker: I remind all members that the mover of the resolution has reserved eight minutes which would leave approximately two minutes for the member for Oshawa.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I wish I had a little longer to talk on one of my favourite subjects, but I will take a couple of minutes to say as succinctly as I can that I support the resolution. One of the main reasons I do so is that there is now a wide variety of alternatives. Most of us are familiar with some of the more common alternatives such as propane, because they are now, I guess, available in every community. There are conversion centres and accessibility to propane. I have even seen a wood-burning automobile.
There is a variety of alternatives. What is lacking is an opportunity to use an alternative energy source on a large scale. The government of Ontario happens to be in a position to do that kind of testing that the automobile manufacturers, for example, are interested in when they have a marketable product and not so interested in when they have to break new ground.
One of the things Ontario could do on a fairly large and significant scale is to begin the use of alternative fuels; to develop, in ways which may seem strange to some of us, an alternative energy source and to take it through to the point where it becomes a practical energy source for the majority of the population.
If one looks at our ability now to sort of "grow" new oil, at new fuel sources and at the abundance of resources we have in northern Ontario -- which have never been used by the population of northern Ontario or anywhere else -- the real reason for the most part is there is not an opportunity to take a new energy source and test it on a large scale to make it what people in the automobile business would call a marketable commodity.
The province of Ontario, if it used the impetus --
The Acting Speaker: With regret, I have to draw the honourable member's attention to the fact his time has expired.
Mr. Breaugh: I know you will let me finish the sentence.
If Ontario takes the initiative suggested by this resolution it has an opportunity to develop in many ways much new technology in this province. That in itself makes the resolution eminently supportable.
Mr. Kolyn: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to make a few comments on the reading into the record by the member for Cornwall of an article that appeared in the Globe and Mail a month or so ago. As it happens, there was a letter in the June 9 issue of the Globe and Mail from a Mr. Jim Battle, the marketing manager of Universal Propane Ltd. replying to this letter. I would like to read a few paragraphs into the record.
"Re Safety of Propane Conversions Causes Worry (May 18):
"Both the headline and the style of the article cater to the emotional rather than the logical. Suggestions such as a provincial government 'white wash,' 'propane explosion,' and 'infernos,' as well as gross unsubstantiated generalizations, simply indicate a minimal amount of study on the part of the reporter.
"Any person who has been working within the propane industry for even a short period of time will acknowledge the strong rapport between the Ontario fuel safety regulatory branch and the propane industry, as well as the tremendous safety record propane fuel has enjoyed over the years. To report that any regulatory agency would condone 'unsafe' or 'shoddy' workmanship is just not truthful.
"Furthermore, your primary source of information lacks credibility. Who is Michael Austin? What is his background on propane safety? How long has he been working within the propane industry? Where did he get his facts?
"The safe-installation decal referred to by Mr. Austin is not issued by the Ontario government but by the Propane Gas Association of Canada."
He goes on and on. I just happened to see it today. I do not know whether the member for Cornwall noted it, but I wanted to put a little on the record as to that particular article.
Concerns have been expressed and I am sure we are all concerned about safety. I know the ministry of consumer and conservative relations --
Mr. Stokes: Conservative affairs.
Mr. Kolyn: The Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations --
Mr. Breaugh: You were right the first time.
Mr. Andrewes: That is the first mistake in a year and five months.
Mr. Kolyn: -- is concerned about safety and the regulations. We must always be mindful of updating and bringing in new and more updated regulations.
I will be brief in my summation because enough has been said already about economy, convenience and performance with this fuel. Moreover, I have attempted to put these benefits in the context of what this government's commitment is to alternative energy.
I want to go back to the emphasis and the prime concern of a lot of the members: the safety of propane. At 11 a.m. on May 27 of this year, a car travelling eastbound on the Gardiner Expressway was involved in a horrific accident resulting in the burning death of the driver and serious injuries to his wife. The car had stopped suddenly because of a stalled automobile in the road. A truck travelling at approximately 80 kilometres an hour behind the car was unable to stop. The truck crashed into the back of the car setting it on fire. The driver died instantly of burns and his wife, in the advanced stages of pregnancy, was rushed to the hospital with injuries. She later gave birth to a fatherless child by Caesarean section.
In independent tests involving the same type of car and similar crash force, scientists have found that automobiles powered with propane do not explode. The fire chief at the scene of the accident said the chances of that car exploding into flames if it had been powered by propane would have been remote at best.
I accept many members may be concerned about propane in relation to improper installation practice and the like, but these are problems we as legislators and the propane industry must deal with responsibly and effectively.
In conclusion, therefore, I would like to ask my colleagues to think of the woman and her child when they vote on this resolution. Since all the other features of propane have been so convincingly presented today, the members will agree one of the courses this House should take is in the form of leadership.
I would like to take a minute to thank the people involved for helping me get this resolution together and for the information that was provided to me. As the members all know, it is very difficult to get expert advice and information. It takes a lot of the experts' time to explain to us in layman's terms exactly what they are trying to do.
I would like to thank Stan Alter from Government Services with whom I have had numerous meetings. Stan is very involved in the installation of propane on government vehicles and checks into all of the allegations that are brought to his attention. A lot of the times the investigations turn up perhaps alternative causes of what happened. I want to thank Stan and Jon Kieran for helping me get this presentation together.
I want to thank all the members who attended the session; I hope it was useful for them. I certainly ask for their support. It was a pleasure bringing this motion to the House.
HUMAN TISSUE GIFT AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Van Horne moved second reading of Bill 45. An Act to amend the Human Tissue Gift Act.
Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, successful transplants of vital organs are on the increase because of improved surgical technology and improved medication, but we still have limitations in so far as transplants are concerned, because we still have a limited number of donors. It is for that reason I am presenting this bill to the House.
At the outset I would suggest that I too have had some excellent assistance from counsel provided to us, particularly in the person of Cornelia Chiu, who has been very helpful in the early planning of this particular bill.
Improved technology is very evident in most communities across this country that have medical facilities within them. My home riding is no exception to this statement. In the community of London, Ontario, we have had over the years an excellent medical school aided and assisted by excellent teaching hospitals and particularly fine facilities at St. Joseph's, Victoria, Westminster and the London Psychiatric Hospital.
We also have such excellent facilities at a relatively new hospital in London, the University Hospital. It is University Hospital which has become renowned in the last few years for its role in transplants. In particular, we have a transplant team leader in the person of Dr. Cal Stiller who, along with his staff and the full hospital group, administration included, has helped many citizens from Ontario and outside Ontario to a longer life through transplants.
I realize in presenting this bill that its chance of survival is virtually nonexistent because the government has a tradition of not accepting ideas that are forward looking from the opposition. Rather, the government is more inclined to shoot down the thoughts and then quietly, a month or a year later, resurrect all or part of our thoughts and bring them in under the guise of a new government thought. I fully expect that is what will happen today and yet I am delighted to carry on, knowing full well that I have had some small part to play in prodding the present government.
I know there will be an objection on religious grounds. It has already been pointed out to me by one of the government members -- I believe it was the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) -- that people of the Jewish faith would have some objection to this bill because of their beliefs about the body remaining intact. I understand and accept all religious groups having the right to their views, but I would submit this bill could easily accommodate any objection from the Jewish community, or any other community for that matter, through simple and reasonable amendments. If this bill were to pass today and go to committee, it could well be amended in a very simple way. If I have time in the wrapup, I will make reference to a simple amendment.
I would now like to get into a little substance about the bill and leave some time and opportunity for other members to speak.
I note that I have used up one quarter of the time allotted to me as the leadoff in this part of the debate, and I would ask the Speaker to indicate to me when I am down to five minutes to go so that I may reserve either four or five minutes.
Mr. Rotenberg: Watch the clock.
Mr. Van Horne: The bill is so important that I will be concentrating on my remarks and not on any mechanical devices that the member for Wilson Heights might be preoccupied with.
This bill calls for the establishment of a registry of consents and objections, and I am mindful of what we have in existence right now. When a person has a driver's permit, he may indicate on that permit whether or not he consents to part of his body being given on death. The form, however, is such that if one agrees, one signs the form and keeps it in one's wallet; if one does not, one is instructed to tear off and destroy or throw away that portion. There is no simple registry kept. if there is a registry, the definition would have to be so broad as to include the pocketbook or wallet of each person who has a licence in this province.
Beyond this, we know from experience that the vast majority of people, in spite of their good intent to donate part of their body, do not complete the form. In a couple of jurisdictions in the United States where a similar provision is made, a little research has been done to indicate that somewhere in the neighbourhood of two per cent of the eligible people actually complete the form they have in their wallet or on their person.
The numbers here in Ontario are slightly higher, from what I am told, but the fact of the matter is that this of itself is not adequate. First of all, not every person drives; second, not every person, if he or she drives, chooses to complete the form; and beyond that, in the event of some accident it is quite possible that the form may not be with the person in his or her wallet or clothing or wherever when he or she dies. So our present system is simply not adequate.
I would like to point out to the members that while the driver's licence approach to a registry is one avenue for quickly ascertaining a dead person's view about donating organs, we might add on to that general concept, and it might very well he possible for us to achieve the same thing through the Ontario health insurance plan forms, ensuring that everyone eligible for OHIP benefits in this province has the opportunity to express a view.
Beyond this, a second provision in the bill is that where there is no known objection from a dead person and no reason to believe that the person or his next of kin object, removal of organs would be permitted without the specific consent that would otherwise be required. This clause is an extension of the present law in that it gives the attending physician, not the transplant team, the authority to consent to the removal of organs for transplant if the doctor has no reason to believe that any objection exists. Where an objection from the individual or next of kin exists, no one could authorize the removal of any organs.
There have been an infinite number of stories in the press in the last year or two. It seems that daily the stories are increasing. I make reference to a handful of examples that I have brought with me. The Toronto Sun in November 1982 had an article headed: "Deathbed can be bed of life." Here is another article from the London Free Press: "Recipient of heart, age 24, dies."
Here is another one: "Kelly Gave Her All to Save Others' Lives . . . Happy recipients: four people were able to celebrate Christmas in good health because of 11-year-old Kelly Rae Flannery." This young lady from Michigan, who died, became the first quadruple donor in that jurisdiction.
The stories appear in front of us almost daily. Back in my own community, in the city of London, our local paper has featured, through its reporter who has considerable expertise -- I am referring to Mr. Neil Morris -- quite a study of this particular medical phenomenon. I would like to take a few snippets out of a feature article called "The Gift of Life" that he wrote:
"It's a good thing Charles Kennedy is a patient man. The 46-year-old father of three from London is waiting for the greatest gift someone could ever give him -- a kidney. Chuck, whose brother is ready to donate one for him, needs a special kind of kidney because of his body's sensitivity to all but the precise one. 'I'd give my eye teeth to get one and get out of here,' Kennedy says from his dialysis chair, a chair he's had to sit in for up to five hours at a time three times a week for eight long years.
"In the meantime, his doctors continue to watch for the right kidney through the international donor program in operation in London... Like many other healthy people, Chuck Kennedy never gave a second thought to the idea of donating his body organs for others before his kidneys failed. 'If they could come up and sit beside me for five hours I think they would really think differently.'"
"Dr. Cal Stiller, chief of nephrology and transplant services at the hospital, where about 220 kidneys have been transplanted into more than 180 patients (some received a second kidney after the first failed) since the hospital opened 10 years ago, says it is tragic how many valuable organs are lost because people, despite their verbal willingness to donate organs, never indicate it on their driver's licences. Studies show that while up to 70 per cent of people say they would like to donate organs to help others. only a small percentage put it in writing
"He stresses that under 'no circumstances' would he advocate mandatory removal of organs, although he says his proposal" -- which he has put forth and which I have picked up and had implemented in this bill -- "has been wrongly interpreted as such in some segments of the news media." There is certainly no intent for that. There is no intent, either, in this bill of mine for that to be mandatory.
Very briefly, let me refer to the bill and direct attention to subsection 8a(2), which reads, "The Minister of Health shall maintain a register of consents and objections that are filed with the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Transportation and Communications."
The feeling here is that, if it were the intent of the government to see this bill pass, or something like it pass, it may well choose to start with what it has in operation already, that is, the driver's licence possibility in the form it exists. It could, instead of being simply left in one's wallet, be returned to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and that could be the beginning of a central registry.
I have also mentioned the Ministry of Health, and that goes back to my earlier statement that it would be quite possible to have all people eligible for Ontario health insurance plan benefits complete a form or, if they are under the age of consent, have their parents complete the form and have that form come into the ministry's computer and again form a central registry.
The key in this first section of the bill is a central registry. In that form, be it through OHIP or the driver's licence, the person would say, "Yes, I do wish to donate an organ," or "No, I do not wish to donate an organ" or "I choose not to answer." In other words, there would be no dragging it out of the person. They could simply say, "No, I do not wish to answer this."
That information registered on the central registry would allow quick and easy access for physicians dealing with people whose condition is such that they are about to pass on.
The other section is subsection 8(b). I think that if anyone has any fears this particular legislation would mandate donations, I simply point out that subsection 8(b) could have an amendment to subsection 3(c) which could read, "The central register has noted the deceased person chose not to answer," or wording to that effect.
Mr. Speaker, I will leave the remaining four minutes and a few seconds to conclude the presentation of this bill.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have to say I cannot support Bill 45, An Act to amend the Human Tissue Gift Act submitted by my colleague the member for London North because my concern is that, whether or not it is his intent, he has come up with de facto, mandatory removal legislation. I cannot come to any other conclusion than that the effect of this act would be to provide for the mandatory removal of human organs for transplant purposes.
If one looks at the explanatory note, it is very clear. It sets up the central registry and then says, "Where no objection by a deceased person has been registered, and there is no reason to believe that the deceased had or that the deceased's next of kin have any objections, removal of organs for transplant is authorized without the specific consent that otherwise would be required."
In other words, the onus is put on the citizen to register himself or herself on this computer at some point during the course of their lives. If one does not take the necessary step of registering oneself on the computer, there is very little to prevent an organ transplant from taking place. If through neglect, lack of knowledge or ignorance the citizen does not preregister himself or herself as an objector to an organ transplant, there will be no objection.
The safeguard is supposed to be that the attending physician would somehow consult with the next of kin. But the language of the legislation is, quite frankly, rather alarming. It says that no person shall give consent where "the physician attending on the person. . . have actual knowledge that the person who died objected or that a surviving spouse, parent, child brother, sister or personal representative.
I put this interpretation on it, and I think it is a legitimate interpretation; if the doctor is ignorant of the opposition of the family, that is perfect justification for proceeding with the organ transplant. That is my understanding of that legislation.
Again, the effect of the legislation would be that if somebody had neglected to register himself or herself on the computer, there would be no basis for objection. It is kind of Orwellian, quite frankly. I am not trying to be rhetorical but I get more than a little nervous about this kind of measure.
If they punch in on the computer and one's name does not come up on the screen they will proceed with the transplant unless the doctor is personally aware of objections from the next of kin. If the doctor is unaware of those objections, that does not matter either. The only thing that can stop a doctor from performing a transplant is knowledge of an objection of next of kin. Ignorance is justification, in other words, as well as authorization; regardless of the actual feelings of family and next of kin.
It may well be that the family cannot be located when somebody is brought into the morgue. The family could have profound religious objections against these kinds of procedures, but if it has not been notified it does not have the opportunity to register those objections. The failure of the health care system to be in touch with the family is taken as consent to proceed with the transplant operation.
I am sorry, this is simply not acceptable. There are many thousands of people in this province who have very deep convictions about the treatment of the dead. Their deepest feelings, sensibilities and religious beliefs on many occasions are brought into play regarding the treatment of dead bodies and the kind of respect that must be accorded the dead.
There is no substitute for a voluntary donation system. The act is called the Human Tissue Gift Act -- I stress the word "gift." It is a gift. Even if we would like to make more human organs available for transplant purposes there is no way of reorganizing things to get away from this central fact that we are talking about gift relationships. We are talking about voluntary decisions of citizens during the course of their lifetimes to donate their bodies to the living after they pass on.
We cannot change this gift relationship with respect to human organ transplants any more than we can change it with respect to blood donations. Studies have been done and we have seen what happens to the blood bank system when it becomes a commercial enterprise. It leads to all kinds of problems.
It is a measure of the quality of life of a community, of the level of civilization of a society, whether or not that community is able to maintain a blood bank system on a donation basis. It is a measure of the deterioration of the quality of life when a society has to move to a commercial basis, to buying and selling blood, because people are no longer willing to donate it freely on a voluntary basis.
There is no easy way to solve these very difficult problems. Unless men and women have enough concern and compassion for one another so they are prepared to make these kinds of gifts to each other -- the gift of blood, the gift of life, or the gift of their human organs after they are dead -- there is nothing one can do about it. It cannot be legislated. We cannot make it a requirement. We cannot make it mandatory. We cannot force people to act in a profoundly human and caring way. It simply cannot be done. When it is tried then we end up violating people's fundamental rights.
Despite the obvious need for additional organ donations, and despite the concern and sincerity of the author of this bill and the very serious and real problem it speaks to, the solution is simply unacceptable. it offends the same very fundamental right that people have with respect to the way they treat and respect the bodies of the dead. We shall be forced to vote against this piece of legislation.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the author of the bill for the thrust of what he is trying to do. He wants to broaden the program of human tissue gifts, which I think is a good idea. He wants to find a way to get more consents, which I think is a good idea.
He feels the driver's licence is not necessarily the right way to go. He wants to get a broader registry, to get it somewhere on computers so that if a person does not have a driver's licence with him and there is a computer, the hospital can feed the name into that computer, can find the person's registration and know whether there is a consent, and then a transplant can take place.
What he is saying is that he wants to find a way of saving more lives. No one could object to that. For that part of his bill, I commend the member for London North.
However, the bill is very basically flawed. The basis of the bill is optional and the whole thrust of this has to be optional. When one has a basic, fundamental, moral issue such as this, be it moral, religious or whatever, that is optional, the only thing one can have is members of the public being able to opt in. One cannot have a situation where a member of the public has to opt out or else he is in the program. I think that fundamentally takes away the rights of the members of our society.
The honourable member indicates he might want to have an amendment at some future time. We are all aware that a private bill cannot be amended; we either take it as it is and vote for it or against it.
As I have said, in any of these kinds of moral issues there can only be an opting in; there cannot be an opting out. Unless one specifically chooses to go into the program and has specifically given consent, no matter how detrimental it might be to the program it has to be assumed that person has not given consent. Therefore, there is no way in a free society that we can say if a person has not specifically given consent, there is some way of finagling so a person's organs can be taken from him.
This is a very basic philosophical point that flaws the bill, and it applies not only to human gifts but also to any optional programs wherein there is a choice to a citizen. Several years ago we had a bill in this Legislature from a colleague of the member for London North about more moral or religious education in the classroom. Everybody agreed, except the proponent of the bill said everyone should get it except those who opt out. That kind of program, which even the majority might want, can only be given to those who opt in and not those who opt out.
I agree with subsection 8(a) concerning the registry of consent. I have no problem with it. If the government or if we in co-operation can devise a registry of consent, great. There cannot be a registry of objections. I think I quote the member for London North correctly when he said people can answer the question "Yes" or "No," or choose not to answer. It is in regard to those who choose not to answer that further on in this bill he seems to indicate if the attending physician did not think there would be an objection, they could take an organ. I say we cannot consent to even considering that kind of legislation.
The member did mention that I may have some personal sensibilities on this issue, and I do. Basically in Jewish religious law, the body must be buried intact. There are cases in Jewish religious law where if an organ transplant would immediately save a life and it is deemed to do so, it would be allowed. A kidney transplant may not apply, because it takes a while; it does not save a life immediately. But where someone is dying and needs a heart transplant to save his life, in some of those very exceptional cases, Jewish religious law will allow a transplant. Again, it could be only with the consent of the donor or his family.
Further on the idea of opting in and opting out: no matter what kind of program and how great the government advertising of this registry program -- and I know how members of the Liberal Party love government advertising -- there are going to be some people who will miss it. Some people you can hit over the head with it and they will still not get around to registering their objections. That is why we cannot support the bill.
Even if there were a complete registry, it would still not be foolproof. Let us say that on Highway 401, outside London, there is an accident one Sunday at 2:30 a.m. The victim is taken to the member's hospital. Somebody at the computer terminal in the London hospital will punch a few keys and get in touch with a central computer.
If a person is registered with a specific identification -- either his driver's licence number or his social insurance number; it cannot just be a name and address but has to be a unique identification -- and that number shows up on the computer with a consent, they can go ahead; there is no problem.
If for some reason the computer makes a mistake and the number does not show up, it is unfortunate that a transplant was missed but there was not a violation of anyone's rights.
The opposite side of the coin is if someone has registered an objection and the computer makes a mistake, which can happen, and does not show up that objection. Then the person who has fulfilled all his obligations, who has registered his objection, may still find because of computer error that an organ can be taken from his body for transplantation.
Another point about the bill is that the member for London North wants to leave the decision to the attending physician. I know he proposes that in sincerity, but it is in basic violation of the present act, which says no physician who took any part in the determination of the fact of death of a donor shall participate in any way in transplant procedures. In other words, two separate people have to make these decisions, which I think is proper.
As I say, despite the good intentions of the member for London North -- and I commend him for his good intentions -- I cannot in any way support a bill, be it because of my own religion or anyone else's religious or moral convictions whatever, involving this kind of moral issue, under which a person must opt out or be considered in the plan. Because of this basic flaw, there is no way I can support this bill.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to commend the member for London North for bringing to the attention of this Legislature another area sadly in need of reform. It seems to me this very member some years ago was responsible for bringing forward legislation which led to compulsory immunization in the schools. I think we have here another example of his fortitude and willingness to attack problems that are not being addressed and to try to find solutions for them.
I had a chance to go through my own licence, which I had signed. I guess I am one of the few who actually did sign consent under the Human Tissue Gift Act of 1971. As I was reading through, I realized that even when I signed part A, I checked off "Any needed organs or parts of my body," but I did not realize that I had neglected to sign part C, "My whole body by a school of anatomy for medical education or research."
It seems to me the present system is confounding and confusing even for those people who really do want to take the step. In fact, I have to disagree with my colleague the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) when he says we have to encourage people by the milk of human kindness.
I believe if most people were given the opportunity and if they did not have severe religious objections, they would want to donate their organs to try to help somebody else save a life. In fact, one can look to a specialist in the field of nephrology, Dr. Cal Stiller, from a hospital in London, who states: "Studies have shown that up to 70 per cent of people say they would like to donate organs to help others; however, only a small percentage put it in writing."
One of the problems the member for London North has tried to address in this legislation is the very issue of how consent is currently signed. In fact, by instituting it only in the licence, we are precluding all those people who may not drive or who may not have a licence from having an opportunity to donate their organs.
What the member has proposed here is a two-step process whereby at some point in the future those people who would become eligible for premium coverage under the Ontario health insurance plan would as part and parcel of their application package be asked: "Would you like to donate an organ to help save a life or to help science?" At that time the person has three options: One is to say yes; one is to say no; the third is to decline.
The member for London North has already indicated, in response to what I believe are very valid objections, that if there is a case where there is no record on the registry or on the OHIP registration of objection, consent or otherwise by an individual, then that individual should not be deemed to have consented.
What the member for London North is looking at is trying to bring in a streamlined process where each person who applies for a licence in this case or, eventually, who applies for OHIP would be asked the question, because all the good intentions of all the drivers in this province are not getting kidneys to those who need them.
While his private member's bill may have some drafting flaws -- and the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) was quite correct in saying that the member for London North embraces the amendment he discussed, but unfortunately, in view of the printing time, has not been able to incorporate it in the bill; what we have to look at is the principle.
We have a system now that simply does not work. We have a system where if you are lucky enough to be able to read the fine print of the Ontario driver's licence -- frankly, I can barely read it, and I have 20-20 vision; I would hate to see what would happen to a person with glasses trying to read the fine print of any consent needed or organs or parts of my body. So we have a problem with the present legislation.
What he is suggesting by virtue of this bill is to state that every person, in filling out his application form, should be asked that question. If he declines to respond or if he indicates he is not interested, then naturally his human right should be respected and his organs should not be taken for transplant. But it is laying out a process whereby everybody will be asked.
I dare say all of us in this Legislature would agree that we have 125 citizens here who are working for the betterment of the people in their communities, who in most instances really have the best interests of their community at heart and who, given the opportunity, would like to be involved in saving a life and in allowing somebody to see again and to be able to participate in all the wonderful things that science and technology are bringing us by way of corneal transplants, etc.
Yet I would also venture to say that if you took a poll of every person in this House as to whether he has filled out the form for donations on his licence plates, you would be lucky to get a 25 per cent response rate.
The fact that 70 per cent of people would like to have the opportunity and the fact of the inadequacy and inefficacy of the present program simply do not bear each other out.
The member for London North is asking all of us to endorse in principle a new system that will lay out the opportunity for all of us to state: "Yes, I am prepared to donate my organs," "No, I will not," or "I refuse to answer;" and if there is no record of any response by an individual in any way, shape or form, then that individual will be deemed to have given a negative response for the purposes of donor transplants.
It seems to me, although I understand the objections that have been raised have been raised in good faith, that we are looking at endorsing a principle of change to the present Human Tissue Gift Act, which is absolutely inadequate in this province, and that the first step should be endorsing the draft copy of a private member's bill that lays out a new framework that could be adopted to begin to address this problem.
We could send it out to committee if the government is prepared to endorse it wholeheartedly. We could make the amendments that would address some of the objections that have been raised. But surely the question here has got to be a recognition of the very direct and severe need to amend the Human Tissue Gift Act so we can begin to respond with human donors to the exploding level of technology, which allows us to do kidney, eye, liver and heart transplants.
I think we have shown it. For example, the member for Bellwoods mentioned the blood bank. I think Ontario has had a great reputation. Certainly, in the area of voluntary blood banking we are a great example to other communities.
I believe the citizens of Ontario care enough about their fellow human beings that we can also be an example in the area of voluntary tissue donation. Before that can happen we have to have in place a process whereby each individual is asked the question and comes up with an answer.
I would suggest the present licence application form does nothing to address that problem. The bill presented by the member for London North is the first step in a long road to redressing what is going to become a more critical problem as we see the areas of technology in transplants become more and more evident and available.
Bearing that in mind, I ask all the members to support the principle of the bill to change the Human Tissue Gift Act. It is an area that is obviously not working at the moment. I believe the member for London North is flexible enough to entertain many of the concerns raised, both from a religious point of view and also a civil liberties point of view. Those concerns can be addressed by an amendment similar in nature to the one suggested by the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) which we have not had a chance to put into print. We now have to recognize the need for change.
Bearing that in mind, I call upon all members to support in principle the need for a very severe change to the Human Tissue Gift Act.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I am very interested in this field. Since the member for London North is a calm and rational person on most occasions, I had anticipated I would be able to support his private member's bill in this regard.
The difficulty is this is one of those occasions when good intentions have gone somewhat awry. If one looks at the principles of the bill as they are printed, most of us would have some difficulty. I certainly do. I do not want to plead being old-fashioned, but perhaps I am. Perhaps what he has done in enunciating the principle of this bill is take good intentions and apply modern technology to it.
There is no doubt some rationale in trying to update the efforts that have been made so far around this topic and applying new technology to those good intentions, but I think he has gone too far. I find he has gone so far I cannot support it. I cannot support it even in principle and I must admit that bothers me somewhat.
The bill in front of us addresses itself to what I consider to be a serious problem in our society. That is, technology is kind of leaping ahead of what most people think in moral terms. A number of members have expressed their objections to it on religious and civil liberties grounds.
I think those objections are valid. They probably could be overcome but not in this bill. That is my difficulty because the heart of the bill says that somewhere in Ontario there will be a computer ticking away that says for each and every citizen there is the answer about whether one can do transplants, and that each and every citizen, whether he wants to or not, is going to have to say yes, no or maybe.
To be charitable, I guess we could say that is an idea somewhat ahead of its time. It is certainly ahead of my time. I cannot imagine a situation where a physician somewhere pushes a button and, by so doing, that means he can remove certain organs from a body on an operating table. That may come; there is no question about it. There may be a day in the history of mankind when we are all ruled by computers to this extent. I do not want to be around when that day comes, quite frankly.
I would like to think that, if I had some human tissues and someone out there was fool enough to want them after I am through with them, it is my choice to say: "Stick me on the computer and here is my little John Henry I carry with me. If you are fool enough to use any parts of my body when I am through with them, you have them." I have to say I want that to be my choice.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I heard you say that just last night.
Mr. Breaugh: Yes. There are days in this Legislature when I am personally convinced nobody wants any part of my body.
Mr. Nixon: Just your head on a platter.
Mr. Breaugh: I think the basic flaw in the bill is the principle that there will be a centralized source for this information and that everybody has to participate in it whether he really wants to or not. Unfortunately, I cannot accept that.
I could accept proposals to say that we expand with great diligence our current programs, that we should go to the population at large and try to make more people aware, that we try to pick up all of the little points where people could actually do this in a practical way on their health insurance number or their social insurance number, or that we provide tag systems or things they could carry in their wallets or purses or whatever. There are a multitude of things we could do to allow people out there to make the personal decision that they would be prepared to provide organs for transplant purposes.
But as much as I would be a proponent of doing as much of that as we could do, I am afraid I cannot accept the basic principle of this bill, that somewhere there is a computer ticking away, and if I do not catch it through some process that is not very clear in the debate so far, a doctor who has never met me in his or her life has the right to remove organs from my body. I do not think so.
I do not know whether they would want to or not, but I do not want to see us get to that point yet. There may come an occasion in the history of mankind when computers will rule our lives and our deaths in this manner, but I am not one who is anxious to see that.
So I think the member has proposed something we should all consider, and in listening to the debate this afternoon I sensed that members have done just that. They have thought about the positive and the negative sides of this.
I would urge the member to rethink the concept presented in this bill. I know the member for London North has always put his best intentions in front of us and I think that is what he has done here. I find the bill itself, in principle and in drafting, to be one I cannot support.
I would like to support the idea of expanding the knowledge of the population at large to the tremendous advantage in providing organs for transplant purposes; I would like more people to be aware of the human suffering and tragedy there is because a transplant organ is not available; and I would like them to be aware of the medical technology now present here in Ontario in many of our hospitals to provide tremendous gifts of eyesight and of life and death itself. But I just cannot bring myself to the point where I would accept a central registry; where someone in a very impersonal way, perhaps not even in a knowledgeable way, has decided that parts of this human body will now be taken by a physician and provided, perhaps for a good cause, to some other human being. There may well come a time when I will be ready to accept that, but this afternoon I am not ready to accept it.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I think the bill we have before us this afternoon obviously raises a great number of concerns in the minds of all members of the House because of the fundamentally important principles involved in the legislation.
The intent and purpose as expressed by the sponsor of the bill has been enunciated very clearly and forthrightly, as we have learned to expect from the member in question. Any issue he brings before this House always is an issue of some importance, and I think he is always respected for the views he expresses on issues brought forward not only by him but by others in this House. He is considered by many on this side of the House as one of the more moderate and enlightened members of the opposition, and we certainly respect him for that.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Sorry we can't say the same about you.
Mr. Williams: No, I would not expect the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) to say otherwise. But I think the concerns and objections that have been expressed by members on all sides of the House this afternoon unfortunately do have to prevail.
The member undoubtedly has good intentions in this matter, and I think he has gained a good deal of support in principle from members on all sides of the House. However, the bill is basically flawed for the reasons that others have stated. I do not think I have to repeat where those flaws exist; they are self-evident.
It was interesting to see that in an attempt to salvage this bill, the sponsor's colleague the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) made a great effort to justify the bill in its present form, although I think I did catch a stage whisper which indicated that even she felt the bill was flawed.
As has been the practice in this House, we cannot amend bills as presented to the House for debate. I know it has happened on more than one occasion that someone has found a technical flaw in a bill that has doomed its success in the private members' hour; if it had been picked up at the outset and properly amended, it would have made the difference between support of the House and failure. I regret to say that in this instance it is obviously going to fail for those fundamentally important reasons.
The right of the individual must not be transgressed upon by anyone, professional or otherwise, and no doctor should have the right to dictate or make a decision, based on professional judgement, to remove or take part of the human tissues of an individual. This is a right that has to be preserved, and it is something sacrosanct to all of us. There are few things in life today that people feel are sacrosanct, but this has to remain one major exception.
It is with regret that I too have to oppose the bill for those reasons --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I ask the co-operation of all members of the House in limiting their private conversations while we are listening to the submission being put forward by the member for Oriole (Mr. Williams).
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, am I correct in thinking that the member for London North had five minutes left?
Mr. Speaker: Yes.
Mr. Williams: How much time does that leave?
Mr. Speaker: About two minutes.
Mr. Williams: The other aspect of the bill is not as offensive, although again in a practical sense it does cause problems. I think the excessive cost of implementing and putting in place the type of computerized program envisaged by the member is just not practical.
We have tried-and-true ways of persuading the people of Ontario to donate their organs to society. Contrary to the views expressed by some of the members of the opposition, I think the public information program that is currently in place under the Human Tissue Gift Act, and as put forward by the chief coroner, is having an impact and is achieving the desired results.
While there are still shortfalls with regard to the availability of some human organs, a great deal of progress has been made because of the ambitious advertising program that has been embarked upon. This is one area in which I think there is no objection from either side of the House as to the merits of this advertising program. Not only is it being done with regard to the thousands of circulars available throughout Ontario in the form of the current explanatory brochure entitled Help Somebody Some Day, which I think is having a very significant impact itself, in addition the chief coroner's office has been doing some advertising through television to inform members of the public as to what they can do to assist in this humanitarian area.
I think we should continue to rely upon these conventional methods. They are succeeding and I think with renewed effort and vigour they will be even more successful in the days ahead. For those reasons, it is with regret that I have to oppose this legislation. I repeat what I said at the beginning: it is not often I vote against the member for London North, whose views I do very much respect.
Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious this bill is going to reach a quick and an immediate end within a matter of minutes.
Mr. Roy: No, not on the part of the Tories.
Mr. Van Horne: I think that I have, however --
Mr. Roy: They will scuttle this bill, just as they will stab Joe Clark --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Van Horne: The satisfaction I have in this private members' hour is not really too different from the ongoing satisfaction I receive from an organization known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Society of Canada. Those members who are not aware of that designation may have heard of Lou Gehrig's disease.
Some four or five years ago, the member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey) and I became involved in that venture -- it is a charitable organization -- and we are trying through our involvement to see that funds are raised for medical research. We have not yet been very successful. Of course the member for Armourdale had to leave the board when he was elevated to the cabinet.
I think this reflects my determination. As long as I am a member of the Ontario Legislature, I will do everything I can to bring to public attention the need for a Ministry of Health that will shape up and devote a little more attention to the various diseases and problems in our community.
It took the death of the late Premier John Robarts to bring about a stroke unit at University Hospital, the hospital to which I have referred in my opening comments. One wonders, if it were not for that unfortunate happening how long it would have been before more attention was given to the medical phenomenon of stroke.
We have through my presentation today drawn attention to the need for some mechanism for making available more organs for transplantation. There is not a person in this chamber who does not agree that medications and medical technology have improved tremendously. There is no one here who would not cry out for a lung, a heart, a kidney or a liver if he or she were desperately ill. Yet we find that members cannot agree -- even, I gather, on principle -- that we have to find some better way than this driver's licence form. This is not adequate and I think everyone agrees it is not.
I would like to conclude by thanking those who participated and yet at the same time by chiding those who speak against the gift of life. For each and every one of us, the life we have is a gift. For each and every one of us, as members of the Legislature, there is a need to consider some better way of finding organs for transplantation.
If members of the government cannot agree with this legislation in principle, I challenge them to find something that is better than what we have right now.
Mr. Speaker: While waiting for the clock to reach 5:50 p.m., 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 bills in his chambers.
Clerk of the House: The following are the titles of the bills to which His Honour has assented:
Bill 2, An Act to provide for the Formulation and Implementation of Emergency Plans;
Bill 3, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act;
Bill 4, An Act to amend the Collection Agencies Act;
Bill 5, An Act to amend the Boilers and Pressure Vessels Act;
Bill 13, An Act to amend the Vital Statistics Act;
Bill 23, An Act to amend the Ministry of Government Services Act;
Bill 41, An Act to regulate the Granting of Degrees;
Bill 43, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act;
Bill 49, An Act to amend the Niagara Parks Act;
Bill 57, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act;
Bill Pr25, An Act to continue the Corporation of the Township of Owens, Williamson and Idington under the name of the Corporation of the Township of Val Rita-Harty.
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY CONVERSION PROGRAM
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Kolyn has moved resolution 6.
Motion agreed to.
HUMAN TISSUE GIFT AMENDMENT ACT
The House divided on Mr. Van Horne's motion for second reading of Bill 45, which was negatived on the following vote:
Boudria, Bradley, Conway, Copps, Edighoffer, Kerrio, McGuigan, Miller, G. I., Newman, Nixon, O'Neil, Reid, T. P., Roy, Ruprecht, Ruston, Spensieri, Van Horne, Worton.
Andrewes, Ashe, Barlow, Birch, Brandt, Breaugh, Bryden, Cassidy, Charlton, Cooke, Cousens, Cureatz, Dean, Di Santo, Eaton, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Harris, Havrot, Hennessy, Johnson. J. M., Jones, Kennedy, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk, MacQuarrie, McCaffrey, McCague, McClellan, McLean, Mitchell, Piché, Pollock, Ramsay, Robinson, Rotenberg, Sheppard, Shymko, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Treleaven, Watson, Wells, Williams.
Ayes 18; Nays 49.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could indicate the business of the House for next week. The members are aware that by order of the House there is no session tonight or tomorrow.
On the afternoon of Monday, June 13, we will deal with the estimates of the Ministry of Revenue. On Monday evening, the House will be sitting and there will be a motion on the order paper for interim supply, followed by second reading debate of Bill 42.
On Tuesday, June 14, in the afternoon and evening, we will deal with legislation in this order: Bill 58; Bill 42, if it has not been completed; Bill 62 and Bill 66, the Workers' Compensation Board amendments introduced today.
On Wednesday, the usual three committees may meet in the morning.
On Thursday, June 16, in the afternoon we will consider ballot items in the names of Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Eakins. In the evening, we will debate the resolution standing on the order paper regarding electoral boundaries redistribution.
On Friday, June 17, we will deal with the estimates of the Ministry of Revenue and, when completed, they will be followed by the estimates of Management Board of Cabinet.
The House adjourned at 6:03 p.m.