32e législature, 3e session






















The House met at 2 p.m.




Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, today I am tabling in the House an economic impact study of the recreation programs of my ministry which has significant implications for the future of leisure services in Ontario.

This study has just been completed and was conducted for my ministry by Earl Berger Ltd. in conjunction with G. M. Stamm, Economic Research Associates and Mathieu, Williams, Letheren Associates. The consultants applied the tools and concepts of economic impact analysis to existing data on recreational activity and expenditure. As far as can be determined, it is the most exhaustive study of this type available.

Recreation has a human and social value in our society that goes far beyond dollars and cents. This contribution to our quality of life, in and of itself, fully justifies my ministry's commitment to this program area. Nevertheless, in these times of economic constraint, the ministry believed that quantitative data would strengthen our basis for program planning and setting priorities. We also suspected that recreation generated economic returns as well as social benefits which should be recognized in the formulation of government policy.

The study reminds us that almost everyone in Ontario is heavily committed to recreation. The average family spends $2,300 a year on recreational pursuits, which represents a total expenditure in the province of $7.3 billion. Municipalities spend more than half a billion dollars a year on recreation and the private sector invests more than a quarter of a billion dollars a year in leisure facilities. All this spending, let us remember, represents income for Ontario business firms and their employees. Recreational expenditure creates wealth and strengthens private enterprise.

The economic impact touches almost every sector of the economy. Registered figure skaters, for example, spend some $3 million a year just to get their skates sharpened. Amateur hockey generates spending far in excess of $400 million a year on everything from boot laces to potato chips. Thirty-five per cent of trips by tourists have a recreational purpose.

This study has estimated that each dollar spent by the ministry generates about an additional $9 in economic activity in the private sector. That is a nine-to-one payback on our $62.8 million budget for a total impact of $565 million. There are three elements in this calculation. The total includes the direct private spending linked with ministry programs, plus the multiplier effect as those additional funds circulate through the economy, plus the value of volunteer time.

Ontario has the highest proportion of volunteers to population in Canada, and our citizens donate about 20 million hours per year to leisure activities. It seems reasonable to value that time at the average provincial wage of about $10 per hour. Recreation, therefore, stimulates some $200 million worth of volunteer work each year, which represents a net addition to the economy and does not include the millions volunteers contribute in out-of-pocket expenses while supporting their chosen activity.

I emphasize that the $565 million dollar economic impact is the tip of the recreation iceberg. It reflects only the 14.5 per cent share of the active recreational pursuits which can be traced to the sports, fitness and recreation programs of my ministry. The figure excludes the positive economic impact on recreation of such provincial attractions as Ontario Place.

The study found that our many programs, ranging from capital support to organization development to fitness promotion, have cumulative and additive effects. The branches influence the vast recreation market in so many complex and interacting ways that the specific impact of each program area simply cannot be determined at this time.

I particularly wish to highlight the two case histories recounted in the report. The community of Sault Ste. Marie was studied in depth because of its experience in dealing with the problems of involuntary leisure resulting from unemployment. Enrolment in recreation programs in the Sault has risen sharply with the unemployment level. Recreation has helped individuals to maintain self-esteem. It has reinforced the social fabric of the community and it has generated much needed business and employment.

No one is suggesting for one moment that recreation is a substitution for jobs or job creation programs. However, the Sault Ste. Marie case study demonstrates that the ministry's programs are truly important to individuals and to communities during difficult economic and technological transitions.

These twin challenges were foremost on the agenda of the meeting held last week of the provincial and territorial ministers of sport and recreation. In this forum all the ministers expressed the view that recreation programs, as part of the wise use of leisure time, will play an important role in cushioning the social change we all face. As Dr. John Farina, head of the department of social services at Wilfrid Laurier University, said, "Leisure is not time to be filled but an opportunity to be fulfilled."

The second case study profiled the popular activity of ice skating and found a half-a-billion-dollar business. Spectators at amateur hockey games spend an estimated $64 million a year on admission fees and refreshments. The 12,000 teams spend almost $70 million just on ice time in community arenas.

Organizers of speed skating and ringette doubt that either of these sports would have taken root without ministry support. Our seed money endowed these groups with the credibility needed to attract other sources of funding and to persuade volunteers to lend their time and energies to their endeavours.

I would like to outline very briefly some of the major implications of these findings, which the ministry will be carefully considering in the months ahead. First and foremost, recreation has an economic impact of such magnitude that it should be considered a tool not only for the social development but also for the economic development of the province.

2:10 p.m.

Second, we have confirmation that tourism and recreation are closely linked, giving us further impetus to incorporate this relationship into the planning and delivery of ministry programs.

Third, recreation, and especially physical fitness programs, has major potential for human benefits and cost savings in physical and mental health. The Ministry of Tourism and Recreation has the resources, experience and programs in place to provide leadership in this field.

Fourth, the study tells us that volunteers have a tremendous economic as well as social value. The preservation of programs designed to encourage their participation and upgrade their skills must remain a top priority.

Finally, the vital impact of recreation on the social fabric and economic strength of Ontario communities should be recognized by municipal governments in their planning. My ministry is prepared to work closely with municipalities in this key area.

The major conclusion to be drawn from this report, as the consultants observe, is the durable and powerful belief in recreation by the people, the communities and the government officials of Ontario. There is an unyielding and widespread conviction about the social and personal benefits of recreation. Now we have firm evidence that the hold of recreation on the public mind is matched by its importance to the provincial economy.

The information in this report will be most valuable as ministry community recreation officials plan for the high technology future and the challenge it presents for the constructive use of leisure time.



Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy. He will be aware that last year Ontario Hydro customers as part of their fees for hydro paid some $270 million in interest on Ontario Hydro borrowing, being only part of the $1.7 billion in interest on the $16.3 billion owed by Hydro at the end of 1982. He is aware, no doubt, that Hydro plans to borrow another $22.2 billion in the next 10 years, bringing its total debt up to $38.5 billion.

Given that dramatic increase in borrowing and given the interest that will have to be paid, how high will Ontario Hydro have to raise its rates in the next 10 years to meet these interest requirements?

Hon. Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Speaker, I think the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition is one that has been speculated on by many, including the former Energy critic for the New Democratic Party over the weekend.

On the question of the current rate, the Leader of the Opposition is accurate in his figure of $270 million to service the debt. The figure that is popularly put out, what the former member for York South, the former leader of the New Democratic Party, talks about, is $40 billion in total debt.

I think at this point Hydro has embarked on a program to maintain its financial integrity, to keep some perspective on that financial integrity and to keep the rates below the level of inflation. They are confident that those rates over the next number of years can indeed be kept below that level of inflation.

I think it is appropriate if perhaps I could read a quote to members from a recent article that appeared in the Toronto Star: "Prominent ratings service Standard and Poor's drubbed the Bank of Montreal recently, saying its rating may be downgraded because the $670 million the bank paid for Harris Bankcorp of Chicago may have been too much."

The article goes on to say: "But weeks before, it made another announcement about Ontario Hydro. It reaffirmed Hydro's top triple-A rating, despite bad publicity over the utility's nuclear program and debts.

"There are only two other utilities in North America that share this triple-A status -- Dallas Power and Light and Texas Power and Light. And New York bond trader Carol Dizard with the Rothschild's Bank says: 'It wouldn't matter whether Hydro was downgraded. The market's perception is that Ontario Hydro is a really good credit of top value."

Mr. Peterson: By way of preamble to my supplementary, I remind the minister he is factually wrong on two counts. One, Hydro rates are going up 7.8 per cent this year, substantially above the rate of inflation, so that does not correspond with his point. Two, Ontario Hydro debt is guaranteed by the province of Ontario which has a triple-A credit rating. On its own Hydro would not have that. The minister knows that and I know that, so he is factually incorrect.

Would the minister not agree with me, given Hydro's prediction of 2.1 per cent per annum growth to about the year 2000, and assuming, let us say, an average borrowing interest rate payable of 10 per cent -- it could be higher or lower, I admit that -- by 1992 Hydro, according to the minister's own scenario, will have to pay close to $3.9 billion in interest? I am not talking about the capitalized interest that will have to be paid for when those plants come on stream.

That means, in very simple terms, that Hydro rates for borrowing alone, just for the interest component, will have to quadruple by 1992 to pay for the capital expansion program. Would the minister not agree with that figure?

Hon. Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Speaker, I think we are casting around here for figures. At this time, the projections on those kinds of figures relate, to a degree, to the market. Hydro will continue to borrow, and will continue to borrow at the market rate. I am not in a position to say what that rate will be next year or the year after, nor do I think the Leader of the Opposition is. What I read into the record bears repeating. It was not a statement of my own but one printed in the Toronto Star.

I recognize that the 7.8 per cent rate increase was the matter before the House last Thursday. I recognize that is above the current rate of inflation. I only reiterate to the Leader of the Opposition that 70 per cent of the costs incurred by Ontario Hydro are costs unrelated to the direct control of that organization.

Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, given the capital costs that have been described, given the costs of borrowing that have described, and given the capital costs of replacing the pressure tubes -- and that is a matter which is still under review -- can the minister guarantee in this House that in the next 10 years Hydro's rate increases will be below the rate of inflation? That is the question the people of Ontario want an answer to. Can he guarantee the rate of increase will be below the rate of inflation?

Hon. Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Speaker, I can only tell the member that in its most recent projections Hydro is confident that rate will be below the rate of inflation, notwithstanding the problems at Pickering and the problems of tube replacement, if that is a program it must embark on. The information that is coming forward is giving a different perspective on the possibility of tube replacement. As I said before, when that information is more accurate. I will report to the House.

Mr. Peterson: It is a major policy statement the minister has given today. I am glad of that, and I will remind him in the future of his commitment and the commitment of Hydro to hold price increases at below the rate of inflation for the next decade --

Mr. Speaker: Question, please.

Mr. Peterson: -- which does not square with what happened in this House last week, so he is off on a bad foot.

My question is, does he disagree with his predecessor, Darcy McKeough, who was recently quoted as saying that Hydro increases will outstrip substantially the rate of inflation for some long period of time in the future in order to pay for the capital expansion program?

2:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Andrewes: The Leader of the Opposition enjoys quoting to me statements by one of my predecessors, a former Treasurer of this province, a former Minister of Energy and now the president of the Union Gas company.

Mr. Bradley: Is the minister saying he is impartial?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Andrewes: I would want to think he is impartial in this kind of debate.

Although the president of Union Gas has indicated some concern about Hydro rates, I think he is dealing in projections and not in accurate facts, given the fact that all these borrowings are going to be related to the interest rate at the time. It is probably significant to read into the record a comment made by my former colleague in a statement he released to the Windsor Star with respect to comments on a speech he made in that great community.

The former Minister of Energy and president of Union Gas has said this: "I can hardly adopt a terribly critical stance, because I was present and involved during much of the planning which has led to the present overcapacity" of that utility. "The natural gas industry has problems which are similar in many ways, relating to the failure of markets to grow in line with the expectations of five to 10 years ago."

I recognize that many people are concerned in terms of the effects that the Ontario Hydro rate will have on the economy of this province. I think that utility has been eminent in terms of its integrity in trying to keep those rates related to a reasonable level and to limit the effect that rate will have on the economic future.

Mr. Peterson: I remind the minister that the interest charges alone will quadruple four times more in the next decade.

Mr. Speaker: Question, please.

Mr. Peterson: He had better check out his own facts on that.


Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the acting Minister of Health. It concerns payments made by the ministry to pharmacists across this province. How could the government possibly allow itself to pay out $10 million more to pharmacists than was required under the program?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I think my friend is perhaps exaggerating a little. He is quoting from a Southam News story, which appeared in the Hamilton Spectator, the Ottawa Citizen and a few others, that purports to indicate this money was paid out. I would be very concerned about this too, as of course I am, and I am looking into it.

This story is at great variance with what is said by the pharmacists of this province, who have indicated there are erroneous details in that story. Indeed, I guess in the last three hours I have been peppered with questions by a number of members of this House who have been approached by pharmacists over the weekend wanting to know what is going on and why the ministry is moving to do something unilaterally that they have no knowledge about.

The fact is that story is there. There is some indication that the method of payment -- a method I understand was agreed to between the government and the pharmacists -- has somehow been abused. I do not know whether it is being abused, but I intend to sit down and find out whether it is.

At this time, in answer to the question from my friend, I also want to assure the House that inquiry will involve meeting with the pharmacists. There is no question that we will sit down face to face with them to ask them about the details of that story.

Mr. Peterson: Is the minister going to include in those meetings the Deputy Minister of Health, Graham Scott? As the minister is aware, the Ontario officials admitted that this province alone paid at least $10 million too much through concealed profits taken by pharmacists on drugs supplied to welfare recipients and the aged. I understand that is according to the deputy minister.

He said: "We are alarmed that what had been a small margin for a return has become a new method of payment to the pharmacist." I find myself reluctantly siding with the deputy minister on this question.

Mr. Speaker: Question, please.

Mr. Peterson: What is the minister going to do to curb this abuse, another waste of taxpayers' funds?

Hon. Mr. Wells: My deputy certainly will be informed and will be involved in the meetings. He has been involved in a number of meetings about it now. All I am pointing out to my friend is that this alerts us that what may have looked fine as an original agreement may have worked to the benefit of one party.

I am not prepared to say for sure that has happened. I want to sit down with the pharmacists and discuss this allegation with them. It maybe that they are making too much out of the drug plan. It also may be that they feel this is an accepted way they should have been paid under the plan. We intend to sit down and work through the whole thing.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, will the minister clarify this, because I do not know that I heard him clearly on this subject. Was the Deputy Minister of Health or others in the Ministry of Health misquoted by the Southam News stories which appeared in Ottawa, Hamilton and elsewhere last Friday to the effect that for this year an additional $10 million was being paid out under the drug benefit plan?

Second, will the minister give this House an undertaking that no change will be made without the kind of consultation he has promised with the pharmacists and others centrally involved in this very serious matter? Will he give an undertaking in this House that no change will be made unilaterally -- effective within a few days, as some of us were told on the weekend by pharmacists -- until all parties are made clearly aware of what the government's intentions are in this matter?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, that was the very thing I was emphasizing in answer to the Leader of the Opposition's question. I am not going to give any assurances or any indication of what will be done until we have had a chance to sit down with the pharmacists. It would be unrealistic not to sit down and have meetings with them on a matter where certain allegations have been made against them and where I want to hear from them at first hand as to what the situation is. Yes, we will be meeting with them and no unilateral action will be taken.

I also want to indicate -- I quickly got out a copy of the story -- that the part about the $10 million is not a direct quote from the deputy minister. It is the reporter's indication of that attributed to Ontario officials. It is not part of the direct quote. The next paragraph deals with the quotes from the deputy minister.

Ms. Copps: Are you denying it? Is it correct or not?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I am not denying anything at this point.


Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a question to the acting Minister of Health concerning the Ark Eden Nursing Home. I am sure the minister will be aware by this time that a 21-year-old former resident of the home died on Sunday at the York County Hospital in Newmarket.

He was one of those people identified in the report on the nursing inspection that took place on June 29 and June 30. The nursing inspector said, "On further review, I have concerns about some areas of nursing and medical care which, in my view, could jeopardize the health and safety of the residents." She specifically mentions Michael Watson as one of those residents.

The minister will know that of the 42 residents who were in the Ark Eden Nursing Home, five have been removed to specialized care; five are expected to go to a group home in Richmond Hill before Christmas; five will go to a Barrie group home which is now under construction, and we hope they will go before Christmas; five will go to an adult group home in Barrie around Christmas; and three or four will go to Oshawa group homes, but the time frame is unclear.

There are 19 or 20 residents who are supposed to be going to Metropolitan Toronto, but there is no firm understanding, arrangement or timetable arranged for those residents.

Mr. Speaker: Question, please.

Mr. Rae: I wonder whether the minister could give the House an update with respect to the placement plans for all the residents at the Ark Eden Nursing Home. Could he give us some assurance that these transfers will be completed as soon as possible?

2:30 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I will take that question as notice and give an update as soon as I can.

Mr. Rae: I say with great respect to the minister, there are pressing matters in nursing homes which really do merit an answer and the full attention of the government and, I dare say, the full attention of the minister.

Can the minister explain the letter that was written by Mr. Paul Klamer on August 26, 1981, to the administrator of the Ark Eden Nursing Home? At that time Mr. Kiamer said: "I am prepared to defer renovations with regard to environmental health deficiencies." He said he was prepared to defer them until Mr. Bennett was aware of what the triministry program would require. We are still waiting for the requirements of the triministry program.

How can the minister justify a letter from the chief of the nursing home inspection service which meant there would be a perpetuation of the problems with respect to environmental health, the size and structure of beds and so forth for an extended period of time? How can he justify that kind of correspondence between the chief of the nursing home inspection service and the administrator of this nursing home?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I will have to take that as notice also. I will look into it and comment on it to the honourable member. I cannot do any more than that at this time.

Mr. Rae: This matter was before the minister the first day he appeared in the Legislature. The question of nursing home inquests is one to which his attention has been directed on a number of occasions.

Today, I had a conversation with the paediatrician who was in charge of the care for young Michael Watson at the hospital. He said very real concerns had been expressed, and were indeed expressed at the inquest involving the death of Richard Thomas, focusing on the issue of training, especially with respect to the adequacy of the training of staff for those residents with chronic respiratory problems.

Can the minister tell us precisely what progress has been made with respect to the training of nurses who are today, at this very moment, providing care for literally hundreds of mentally retarded residents in private-profit nursing homes? Precisely what kind of progress has been made with regard to the training of those nurses in terms of the kind of care they are providing for the residents of these homes?

Hon. Mr. Wells: The member is talking about the case of Michael Watson. There is a postmortem to be held today. As far as I can ascertain in preliminary investigations or discussions that I had this morning, care in the nursing home is not in question in the case of Michael Watson. Perhaps we are stretching it a little far to link that to some of the other events in that home.

Mr. Speaker: New question; the member for York South.

Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I thought I saw through the side of one eye the apparition of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry). He appears to have disappeared once again. I do have a very important question for him with regard to a decision of the Supreme Court of Ontario this morning in relation to the Inflation Restraint Act. I really would like to be able to pose that question directly to him. May I stand the question down until he arrives?

Mr. Speaker: Yes. The member for Essex South. Oh, just a minute. Order, please.

Mr. Rae: I understand he is coming.


Mr. Speaker: The member will proceed with his question.

Mr. Rae: I hope the Attorney General can stay for the whole question period. It would be nice to see him.

Mr. Martel: Is the minister canvassing already?

Mr. Laughren: When is the nomination?


Mr. Speaker: Order.


Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question for the Attorney General relates to the decision on the Inflation Restraint Act that was tabled this morning by the three judges of the divisional court of the Supreme Court of Ontario.

I am sure the Attorney General will be aware of the unanimous decision of the three judges. They found that the section of the Inflation Restraint Act that takes away the freedom to bargain and the freedom to organize is unconstitutional and of no force and effect.

I would like to ask the Attorney General how the government is going to respond to that decision, given the impact it has on a major piece of legislation in this province.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I have not seen the judgement. I understand it is a very lengthy one. I do not wish to comment on it until I have had the opportunity of reading it, which I think is a reasonable course of action.

Mr. Rae: I hope the Speaker will allow me to quote from the decision in order to ask the question. Mr. Justice Smith, who was one of the three judges in this case, in commenting on the submission of the Attorney General, said:

"The Attorney General submits that the applicants have failed to meet the initial onus of demonstrating that 'freedom of association' protects the specific freedoms asserted. He is saying in effect that they are qualified freedoms. I am of the view that the submission must be rejected lest the charter become emasculated by some undefinable process that would proceed from one case to the next on the basis of ad hockery."

I would like to ask the Attorney General how he intends to respond to a judgement that really cuts out from under the government the principal arguments it made in the Divisional Court with respect to the Inflation Restraint Act in dealing with the specific question of the freedom to organize and the freedom to bargain collectively. It says specifically that the charter would become emasculated if the arguments of the Attorney General of this province were adopted by the court.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As I recall, Mr. John Sopinka, QC, a distinguished counsel of the private sector, argued this case on behalf of the government -- I will be more particular, on behalf of the Ministry of Labour. I have not had an opportunity of either reading the judgement or discussing the judgement with him or anyone else. I am not going to simply adopt the honourable member's characterization or his interpretation of the judgement. On this side of the House, we have found it would be a rather risky course of action to pursue, just to adopt with some degree of blind faith the member's interpretation of a judgement or of anything else.

Mr. Rae: When this legislation was being debated, we specifically asked the Attorney General to table a constitutional opinion with respect to the impact of the Charter of Rights on this document. Given the fact that the court makes it very clear that the charter changes the nature and rules of the game with respect to freedom and with respect to the sovereignty of the Legislature in this province, can he guarantee that before we are presented with any other legislation with respect to the freedom of association or the freedom to bargain in this province, at least we will have the clear opinion of the Attorney General with respect to its impact on the Charter of Rights?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In this particular case, I know that the opinion of the senior law officers of the crown was obtained. Their opinion made, and still does make, great sense to me.


Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, the acting Minister of Health is aware that the Conservative government's program to offer assistance to Ontario citizens who are in need of assistive devices is extremely poor. The government offers no assistance whatsoever to women who have undergone mastectomies and are in need of breast prostheses or surgical brassieres.

In view of the fact that the most recent statistics from the Ministry of Health show that nearly 6,000 women in 1981-82 have undergone mastectomies and that 2,450 of those operations have been described as radical surgery, could the minister please give his views as to why the government of Ontario does not provide assistance through the Ontario health insurance plan?

2:40 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, at the minute, we have a program for those 18 and under. When that program was announced, it was suggested that after it had operated for a while it would be reviewed and then a decision would be made as to its extension. I cannot really tell the member anything more than that. I certainly cannot tell him that we are going to extend that program at this time.

Mr. Mancini: I am told that one woman in 10 will eventually get breast cancer, so the minister's answer for a long-term review is really inadequate. The acting Minister of Health will know that the Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Women's Issues (Mr. Welch) will be travelling to Windsor this Friday to attend a seminar being sponsored by the Women's Incentive Centre of Windsor.

The minister will be having a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Can he assure me and the House that this matter of prosthetic devices will be discussed at the cabinet meeting? Maybe we could have an announcement by the Deputy Premier, when he travels to Windsor, that the Ontario health insurance plan will cover breast prostheses and surgical brassieres.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I certainly cannot guarantee the member that it will be discussed at cabinet, and I cannot tell him whether it will or will not, because we do not publish the agenda of what is discussed at cabinet. A number of things are discussed there and in the fullness of time they become public through announcements.

I can assure the member, as I just said, that based on the experience of the program that was introduced and the assurances that were given then, reviews are being made. I am sure the Deputy Premier, in his capacity as Minister responsible for Women's Issues, will be bringing up the matter the member has indicated and it will receive a thorough study in the review that goes on. I did not say it would be a long-term review.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, due to the fact that I have had private member's bill now for about four years based on a number of cases I have had to present before the health board, and that the minister and his predecessor had an opportunity to look at that legislation on a number of occasions, when is he going to be prepared to introduce that type of legislation which protects women?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I think I answered the question for my friend a minute ago.

Mr. Martel: You mean never.

Hon. Mr. Wells: No, I did not say never. I said it is under review.


Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, has the Attorney General been made aware that in the Sudbury area we have a housing crisis for low and middle-income families? There are more than 260 families with more than 60 points on the requirements for getting into subsidized housing, and they have been given the back of the hand by both his Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) and the federal minister for housing.

Last Monday, a week ago today, a homeless family, Mr. and Mrs. Ken Landry, moved into an empty house owned by Central Mortgage and Housing Corp. The police have indicated they are going to lay charges under the Trespass to Property Act against the Landry family. Would the Attorney General, in view of the seriousness of the problem, declare a moratorium on trespass charges against homeless families who have moved into government-owned houses?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the Attorney General does not have any jurisdiction to declare any such moratorium in relation to offences under that provincial legislation or offences under any other provincial legislation. The responsibility for laying charges under provincial legislation is fundamentally with the law enforcement officers who have the responsibility for investigating these matters.

In discharging their important responsibilities in this respect, law enforcement officers do have a prosecutorial discretion as to whether it is in the public interest to lay charges in a particular case. This prosecutorial discretion in the public interest is exercised daily by law enforcement officers with respect to various provincial offences as a matter of public interest.

The Attorney General has no authority to declare a moratorium on the laying of charges.

After a charge is laid with the crown attorney's office, if it is a matter that is being handled by the local crown attorney's office, if it appears there is a clear public interest reason for not proceeding, the proceedings can be stayed. But we have no authority to declare a moratorium in advance.

Mr. Laughren: Would the minister stay the prosecution, to use his own words? If not, would the minister tell us just who should be responsible in this province, which is governed by the members opposite, for homeless families who have no place to live when charges are laid against them by the police and they are put out on the street? Where does the responsibility begin and end under the minister's system of government?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: When it comes to issues with respect to housing, I do not think the Attorney General is the appropriate minister to whom to direct the question.

Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary, the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne).

Mr. Laughren: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Would you allow me to redirect that question to the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor)? The Attorney General indicated that might be more appropriate.

Mr. Speaker: I cannot do that without the Attorney General indicating that.

Mr. Laughren: I think he indicated in his response that the question might be better put to the Solicitor General.

Mr. Speaker: I did not hear the direction.

Mr. Laughren: I did.

Mr. Speaker: I have already recognized a final supplementary by the member for London North.

Mr. Laughren: Boy, oh boy.

Mr. Speaker: Order. With all respect, just one moment please; you may sit down in disgust and not be satisfied, but I am telling you I did not hear the Attorney General direct me to redirect the question.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I did not, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, given the same concern as the member for Nickel Belt has, I would ask the Attorney General if he would redirect or direct comments to the Solicitor General or to whichever ministry he feels would be appropriate. Surely they are not going to sit there and just let the people in the Sudbury region who become homeless fall into the hands of the law for reasons such as this. Would the Attorney General direct the issue to the Solicitor General or the appropriate minister?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, that is not the procedure that is followed in this House. Obviously, we are all concerned about people who, for reasons often beyond their own control, are left homeless or destitute and are in need. These issues are dealt with on an individual basis.

The members opposite are trying to take important issues such as this and twist them into some sort of law enforcement issue when they may not be law enforcement issues at all. We look at individual cases. If the member wants to communicate the details of an individual case and his concerns, we will deal with them. Let us not play silly games over what may be a very serious issue.


Mr. Hennessy: Mr. Speaker, I direct my question to the Minister of Labour. The Port Arthur shipyards have laid off 200 workmen recently and on September 30 management locked out 65 employees. This is creating a severe hardship on the families of the workers. Would the minister look into getting both parties back together through the appointment of a mediator? It is very difficult for people. Those who came to see me to discuss the situation are at their wits' end because of financial and other problems.

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I believe a mediator was appointed back on June 20. Several meetings were held at that time, but the talks were adjourned pending the outcome of the Collingwood settlement. The talks and mediation resumed on September 19 or September 20, sometime around then. On September 26 a final offer was rejected and on September 30 a lockout commenced.

It is my understanding that Mr. Ray Illing, the head of our conciliation and mediation department, is now determining whether he can get the parties involved in further mediation. He is certainly attempting to do so, but he has to have the consent of both parties.

2:50 p.m.


Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I would like the minister's comments October 12, 1982, against the tenants at 20 Tremont Drive in St. Catharines. The minister will know it would have implications right across the province. Not only are there interlocking directors between the new owner of this building and the former owner, but each of these two companies is owned by a separate Liechtenstein company, the beneficiaries of which are unknown.

When the residential tenancy commissioners at the original hearing and the appeal hearing asked the landlord to demonstrate that the sale was arm's length, the company did not come forward with conclusive evidence to support its case, yet substantial increases were passed through to the tenants as a result of the alleged sale. How are tenants supposed to have faith in the rent review process if they are faced with increases when it has not been determined to anyone's satisfaction that a bona fide arm's-length sale actually took place?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I clearly do not have information about specific hearings that are dealt with by the appeal commissioners or the individual commissioners, but I know, as the member knows and as the House knows, the appeal commission and commissioners have periodically indicated that certain information was necessary for them before they would make a determination about whether rent hearings and rent increases should proceed.

They have shown that they have the power and capacity to deal with those issues. The chairman of the Residential Tenancy Commission was before our standing committee last November. We affirmed that position; and that appeal has been before an appeal panel consisting of members of that tenancy commission. I really cannot add to that.

Mr. Bradley: I know the government has responded to a situation last year, I believe it was, by designing a disclosure form for landlords to complete when their application involves financing due to a resale. The government has done that. I think the form states the following, "Failure to file the requested information may result in your application being deferred or rejected in whole or in part." Yet in this case failure to comply had absolutely no effect on the outcome. In essence, the tenants were penalized for being unable to prove absolutely that a sale was not at arm's length.

Would the minister not agree that in these types of cases the onus for proving that sales are bona fide should fall on the landlord rather than the tenants? Does it not then follow that, when on a rent review appeal decision released on the evidence is inconclusive and the landlord is unwilling to clarify the situation, the commission would be in error to conclude a sale is bona fide?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: The member knows full well that if any party feels aggrieved and feels there has been some impropriety with respect to the process, it is open to him or her to commence a judicial review application. From what the member tells me, that has not been done in this case. I must assume, therefore, that the parties did not feel it was a matter warranting a judicial review.

In any event, I want to clear up one other misstatement the member made, and that was that the government prepared certain forms. The government did not. The Residential Tenancy Commission did and, as the member knows, it operates in an arm's-length relationship with the government.


Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Solicitor General. Why is the proposed investigation into the Niagara Regional Police which he announced on October 13 so confined as to deal only with Mr. Kormos's charges of brutality when there is so much other information and so many allegations about misconduct of the force, particularly at the top, as reported over and over again by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and the St. Catharines Standard?

Further, is it not true that Detective Inspector Louis Okmanas of the Ontario Provincial Police, after interviewing gun dealer Mark DeMarco relative to his relationship with the police, suggested on page 29 of his 30-page report to Deputy Solicitor General Rod McLeod, dated June 23, 1983, that a public hearing by the Ontario Police Commission could prove to be the best avenue of ferreting out the truth in the accusations?

Why has the minister sat on that recommendation for almost four months and, with the additional accusations about brutality which have now been made, why did he not go the route of a public inquiry instead of calling for this very limited investigation?

Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, in all these matters I know the opposition members often want the most elaborate of investigations, which are sometimes not warranted. A public investigation in this matter is not warranted in my judgement at this time. There were a few instances and a few complaints. The matter will best be looked at by the Ontario Police Commission which is reviewing the matter.

There are two methods of investigation, both by the Ontario Provincial Police and by an independent police body that will look at the issues that are before them. When they have completed their findings, if there is something more warranted, I will look at it at that time and make a recommendation on whether a large scale investigation or a hearing of a larger scale is necessary.

Mr. Swart: How will the minister know if anything further is warranted unless he hears from the people in the area and those who would like to bring evidence?

Specifically, he must be aware of the prevalent public opinion in the Niagara region that investigations of complaints lodged against the police are considered "a joke or a farce." That is a quote from the Standard.

Specifically, I wanted to ask about the case of Laurianne Robert, a businesswoman in St. Catharines, who was allegedly roughed up by the police on Christmas Eve 1981. Does it not bother the minister and seem a negation of justice that she was never interviewed by any investigator from the police force prior to the chief's report exonerating his officer?

Does it not bother the minister that the police commission has refused to hear her complaint unless "she determines to take neither civil nor criminal action against our police officers." Should this incident not in itself convince him that a wide-ranging inquiry is needed? Would he not broaden the investigation to hear all those who have complaints against the police force, its chief and the commission?

Hon. G. W. Taylor: I know the member would like a very wide and full fishing expedition on all of these matters, but the police force in Niagara, like all police forces, has a procedure whereby one can make one's complaints. Complaints are followed up and heard by the local commission. If a person is not satisfied, he can go to the Ontario Police Commission.

There is a formalized method for people to use to put their complaints. It is not unusual that there are many newspapers that carry reports of this nature, some accurate, some not always as accurate, some not as well-founded as others but one can say when these are all completed, each and every one is investigated.

Each citizen in Niagara region has the opportunity to put them before the forum that will hear them at that particular time. I am sure the police chief and the police commission in Niagara would hear these matters in the normal course of events.


Mr. Gillies: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry and Trade, whom I welcome back to this time zone, and it arises out of the good news we learned over the weekend, which is that apparently Borg-Warner's rescue mission on White Farm Equipment Canada Ltd. will be successful.

Will the minister and his officials in the Ontario Development Corp. continue to work with the receiver and creditors and White Farm, so the bid does not fail in the final stages and 500 people in Brant county can be put back to work?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I certainly will. I am delighted to be asked the question.

I understand the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) asked a number of questions while I was away. I also understood he attended a meeting this morning, taking the credit for all of these things, but I understood that while I was away he was blaming me for the lack of progress. So I guess it is a very convenient world we all live in.

The fact is, some of the major objectives in that area have been achieved. A company with enough financial backing has made an offer to take over the assets of the company at what seems to be a fair price. Also, the company will stay both in Ontario and Brantford, where we always felt it should be.

Mr. Nixon: I never heard the minister say anything about that.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I was never here as Minister of Industry and Trade.

Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections please.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I can assure the member, having lived in that fine city at one time in my life, I have always appreciated that it is one of the nicest places in Canada to live.

3 p.m.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, if the former Treasurer had been there this morning, he would have been very proud of his colleague the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) indicating that the Premier (Mr. Davis) had declared unequivocally on Friday it was not the policy of the government to allow the company to move out west. Naturally, the decision that it not move out west had been made before that. It was almost as artful as the federal New Democratic Party member saying that he was against it moving out west when his comments a week ago had been somewhat different.

Even though the minister and his colleagues have been standing on the sidelines on this matter all along, leaving the federal government to take the responsibility in this regard, can he tell us who or what the management team will be that will take over the administration of the company, which will be kept going solely with the federal and provincial guarantees from before but with the new infusion of American capital?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the answer is, no, I do not know. I may know later on. The member mentioned that I would have been proud of my colleague the member for Brantford. I am always proud of my colleague from Brantford; he is one of our brighter members in this House, and I predict a great future for him. When you start at his age, you can probably get 50 years seniority in here.

I would take some exception to sitting quietly on the sidelines when there is as important a rescue mission to achieve as the maintenance of jobs at that company. I think the member would agree it is not an issue of which to make a political football. We have talked a number of times, between Ontario and Canada, in the course of trying to find a solution. I am delighted to say it has always been with very good help from both sides and with no attempt to start throwing any kind of blame in either direction. The member may not have quite seen it that way, but that was always the way it seemed to be in dealing with Mr. Lumley and others. I appreciated that because the member knows how easy it is to do those other things.


Mr. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations concerning the opening of the duty-free shops in Ontario.

The minister will recall my question to him in June 1982 on this very same subject. At that time he announced his preparation to discuss the matter with the Minister of National Revenue. He repeated that willingness to my colleague the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) during his ministry estimates five months later. That is some 16 months ago. We have no agreement and no duty-free shops as yet. Has the minister met with the federal minister, as he led us to believe he would? If so, will he advise the House of the substance of his conversation with his federal counterpart?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for this inquiry. It is true, he has raised this matter on several occasions and with some justification, as have members on my side of the House, the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt) and other members, who have interests because of the close association of their ridings with the border of Ontario and the neighbouring states.

Last time I told the member that from our point of view there had been an agreement reached in about 1975, but subsequently it seemed not to be one that was acceptable to our federal counterparts and so negotiations had been, to put it mildly, stalled for some time. I did meet with the Honourable Pierre Bussières in June or July. We had lengthy discussions about it. I have had discussions with my cabinet colleagues about it and I think we are on the path to a resolution of the issue. Representatives of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario have been having further follow-up meetings with Mr. Bussières' staff, and I hope we will be able to make some sort of announcement within the next few months.

In saying that, let me also say to the member, let us not forget that the existing duty-free shops are pilot projects. It is my understanding that the pilot project phase is through. This province would not be looking at pilot projects but at a final determination of the issue made between the federal government and ourselves, and that is the kind of negotiation we are involved in at the present time.

Mr. Newman: The minister realizes that Windsor is probably the busiest border area in Canada. Fort Erie, Niagara Falls and Sarnia also would substantially benefit by duty-free shops. I made mention a year or so ago of other provinces that have already agreed to compromise on their position with respect to duty-free shops. Why has the minister not used his good offices to convince our federal colleagues that it would be in the best interests of a series of border communities if duty-free shops were established?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I do not think the member and I are at odds about this issue at all. It really has been a matter of methodology. As I said to him earlier today and on previous occasions, the LCBO and the government thought there was an understanding.

Indeed, I have read detailed summaries of discussions which the government and I thought had resolved it, but subsequently a determination was made by the federal government -- I believe it was within the past two years or so -- that the agreement would not apply to this province; rather, the type of agreement proposed by the federal government would be the one we had to accept. There are now two types of agreements with different provinces in this country, one type with Quebec and another type with two or three other provinces.

I am no less determined than the member that this matter will be resolved. I will continue to pursue that, and I think we will be able to reach an accommodation.


Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Inasmuch as one of the company officials at Allen Industries, Mr. Ryan, indicated in the paper on Saturday that the Ontario government had been notified of this latest closure, can the minister tell us what he intends to do about the 232 additional workers at Allen Industries who are being dumped on the industrial scrapheap and are joining their 200 brothers and sisters of last May?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I will be having meetings as soon as possible with the parties involved. I just do not have any easy solution to the problem that I can share with the member today.

Mr. Mackenzie: The minister recognizes that there are many long-seniority people and female workers in that plant. That now finishes this plant entirely.

The minister will recall that he asked us to make some positive suggestions. I am wondering if he will not take a look at the justification procedure, which he has up till now refused to do. I point out that when they closed the fibre plant and discharged the 200 workers last May, the indications were that business had picked up at that trim plant. At least we should have some justification procedure.

Will the minister also now take a look and tell us what he is going to do to step up the whole content legislation approach, which was recommended by the automotive task force as one move that could have some effect on the kind of industrial automotive jobs that are kept in Ontario rather than having them all leave, as we now see in this case again?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: When we meet with the company officials on plant closures, we do try to ascertain the business and rationalization, all the various reasons for closure, cutbacks, whatever the case may be. I want to emphasize this because it is very important. We do not just call these people in and have them tell us that things are not so good, so they are going to lay off so many people. We do go a lot further than that. I do not know how much further legislation would go than we are able to do at present. That is the reason for the lack of enthusiasm on my part for bringing forth legislation to justify these closures.

As to the second part of the question on the content in the automotive industry, I would like to suggest that be passed along to my colleague the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. F. S. Miller).

Mr. Speaker: Was that a redirection?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Yes.

Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Industry and Trade. Obviously he is not ready. The member for Hamilton Centre.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, while the minister is meeting or planning to meet with officials regarding the situation in Allen Industries, I wonder if he might also investigate complaints I have received from pensioners who are widows of former employees. They have been advised that, as a result of the company's shutdown, they will be losing all the pension plans they have had and continue to have to date with the company. As the company goes to the United States, so does the pension plan. I wonder if the minister might get some more information on that.

3:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I am pleased the honourable member has brought that to my attention. That is a very serious matter, and I will certainly be happy to look into it.


Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy. Being a farmer, the minister can realize and respect the problem I want to bring to his attention, that is, the rental of farm land where Ontario Hydro has purchased a right of way. Some of these are very narrow areas with many posts to work around and so forth. In the last three years in some areas I am aware of, they were charging $9 an acre rent for this land. For 1984 and three years thereafter, they are raising that to $18.

Is the minister aware of this? Does he not think that is a pretty large jump for the type of conditions one has to work around? This land is situated through the centre of farms. They have their own land on each side and it is an awful lot of bother. It seems to me that is quite an increase.

Hon. Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that when Hydro purchases rights of way through farm land, the owner from whom it makes the original purchase has the option of leasing this land back on a longstanding lease at a very reasonable cost. If it is more than $1, then it is still a bargain. However, as the property changes hands, Hydro's policy has been, as far as I am concerned, to make the property available to the new land owner at considerably less than market value.

If the honourable member has figures that would indicate these prices are in excess of market value or in excess of the policy guidelines as put down by Ontario Hydro, I would like to discuss that with him.


Mr. Speaker: I would ask all honourable members to join with me in welcoming a guest in the Speaker's gallery in the person of Mr. Justice Philp of Manitoba, who is accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Philp.



Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I have for tabling in this House a petition signed by 87 teachers from Champlain High School in Pembroke and MacKenzie High School in Deep River, requesting the restoration forthwith of their free collecting bargaining rights under Bill 100.

Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, I also have a petition which reads:

"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining rights; and

"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act."

This petition bears 50 teachers' signatures and represents Ops Elementary, Mariposa Elementary, Coboconk Elementary and Bobcaygeon Elementary, all schools in the great county of Victoria.

Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, in light of the decision of the Supreme Court of Ontario this morning, I take particular pleasure in presenting to the Legislature and to you, sir, this petition signed by literally hundreds of teachers in the borough of York, with respect to the legislation which was opposed alone by the New Democratic party of Ontario and supported by members of the Liberal Party and the Conservative government. It reads as follows:

"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining rights; and

"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act."

Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition which reads:

"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

'We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining rights; and

"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act."

It is signed by 102 teachers -- 18 from Dresden Area Central School, 25 from Tilbury Public School, 12 from Ridgetown Public School, 12 from Orford Township Public School situated at Highgate, 10 at Howard-Harwich-Moravian Public School at Ridgetown, 17 from Merlin Area Public School, two from Zone Central Public School at Bothwell and six from W. J. Baird Public School at Blenheim.

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition which reads:

"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining rights"; -- which seems to have been confirmed by the court today -- "and

"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms"; -- again confirmed by the court --

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore

our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act."

This petition is signed by 69 teachers from the Central Algoma Board of Education as follows: Thessalon Township School, St. Joseph Island Central School, Johnson-Tarbutt Central School, Echo Bay Central School, Bruce Mines Central School, Laird Central School and Thessalon Primary and Senior School.

It is signed by those teachers who are particularly concerned about the effects of restraints on pensions for retiring teachers.

I also have a similar petition signed by 91 teachers from the North Shore Board of Education from Roman Avenue Public School, Central Avenue Public School, Dieppe Public School and Westhill School in Elliot Lake.

Mr. Hennessy: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition which reads as follows:

"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining rights; and

"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act."

This petition is signed by 78 teachers.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I too have a petition in the form that has been brought in this afternoon with respect to the Inflation Restraint Act. It is signed by 18 teachers of Meadowlane Public School in Kitchener.

Mr. Allen: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to the same effect, a further petition from Hamilton teachers from the Westdale Secondary School, 37 of whom petition the Ontario Legislature to restore their free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act.

3:20 p.m.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition which reads:

"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining rights: and

"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act."

These petitions are from a number of schools, including George Vanier elementary school, Algonquin Road elementary school. Lindsley elementary school, Levack elementary school and Alexander elementary school in the riding of Nickel Belt.

I would think these petitions would have particular import in view of the court judgement this morning.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition with wording similar to what we have heard so many times today, signed by 135 teachers from Applewood Heights Secondary School and Glenforest Secondary School in my riding.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for interim supply for the period November 1, 1983, to December 31, 1983.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, when the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) introduced this motion into the House, I was surprised that he merely introduced it and sat down, without giving us a sort of "state of the economy" or "state of the budget" speech.

It was interesting that when the House resumed in October, he indicated that he had accepted the idea of my leader and myself that there should be an update on the budget and that he would give a state of the economy address, I presume, on November 1 or thereabouts when he discusses the continuance of the government's restraint program.

Strange, in a sense, because the new Treasurer does not miss too many opportunities to --

Mr. Martel: Talk.

Mr. T. P. Reid: -- say something about something; or to talk, as my friend says, perhaps without saying very much about anything.

Before we vote on interim supply, we on this side would be very interested to know what the new Treasurer's views are in terms of unemployment in the province, in terms of the budget and in terms of whether the revenues of the province are coming in at the suggested 7.9 per cent above last year's revenues as the former Treasurer, now the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. F. S. Miller), indicated in his budget of last May. We would also be interested to know whether the Treasurer or his predecessor has been successful in cutting some $300 million out of the budget plan, which would mean that the expenditures for this fiscal year would be some $24.71 billion.

I find it strange that, given this opportunity, the Treasurer would not have commented on some of these issues.

This afternoon, I wish to restrict my remarks to two or three matters. These are matters that have had some debate in this chamber and in the standing committee on public accounts; and were part of a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. newscast not too long ago, with the CBC's Mr. Dale Goldhawk, in which the Treasurer and myself were asked to appear live -- if either one of us can do that -- on the program to comment on government expenditures, in particular as they relate to advertising, publicity and now, I might add, to contracted-out speechwriting.

This is a matter I have raised over some years; that is, just what amount of taxpayers' money has been spent on these particular matters. It has not been easy to find. A year ago the public accounts committee asked the Provincial Auditor to do some work on this. The auditor gave us his report, which was disputed by some of the government people, and in fact it is obvious that no one knows exactly how many taxpayers' dollars are spent on public relations for this government.

I would like to draw attention to the fact that we on this side have indicated for years that we are convinced that government advertising increases exponentially as an election grows closer. In 1978-79 -- and I am using the government codes through Management Board -- under codes 411 and 412 the combined total of advertising was roughly $17.9 million. In 1979-80 those two combined codes came to $23.9 million. In 1980-81, which was the election year, those combined totals came to $40.4 million, almost a 50 per cent increase. Of course, those were the days of the commercials of "Preserve it, conserve it" and all that sort of thing.

It has been absolutely impossible for anyone looking at these matters to find out just how much is involved in this government enterprise. It has been estimated, for instance, that the total advertising budget of this government amounts to something like $100 million, when adding in all the advertising that goes on: the staff, the contracted-out work, the public opinion polls and the contracting to, to use the minister's words, "stage manage" various affairs.

It is interesting that a supposed expert in this area, one J. Patrick Boyer, whose father was a member of this august assembly when I first entered it and who was an executive assistant to one of the ministers, has written a book and a series of articles on government advertising. One particular article is entitled "Government Advertising: Some Wheat, Some Chaff." In it he states:

"Our manipulative governments of today with their consorts, the politically sensitized ad agencies, have become worthy successors to that tradition of simple-minded solutions." Farther down, "In like vein, the Progressive Conservative Party in Ontario spent more than $8 million in advertising in a five-month period in 1980, double the amount for the same period in 1979. A campaign costing $3 million told Ontarians they had a good life and a pretty province. 'Life is good Ontario,' said the jingle, 'Preserve it, conserve it, Ontario.' Opponents saw a subliminal phrase on behalf of the Progressive Conservatives of Ontario in the words 'Preserve it, conserve it.'"

The article goes on to talk about many things, one of which was the brainwashing aspect of government advertising. There was also the kind of advocacy advertising or self-congratulatory advertising that this government does. One of the aspects that Boyer and others who have spent some time thinking about these matters talk about is the fact that this government approach, particularly the kind of advocacy advertising that the government does, means that only the rich are able to advertise and have their point of view put forward.

One of the references in the material I have here is that some of the many public opinion polls the Ontario government takes with taxpayers' money and will not let see the light of day -- incidentally, I do not have the 1982-83 public opinion polls I asked for yet -- indicated that people were concerned about the environment and the fact that the government was not doing enough for the environment. As the article states, it is easier to advertise and say they are doing something about the environment than it is to do something about it.

3:3O p.m.

In other words, the perception is all; and if the perception through advertising can convince people that the Ontario government is doing something about pollution and the environment, that is better than actually dealing with acid raid, waste in the Niagara Peninsula and all the rest of it.

Boyer concludes this article with a phrase that I hope will stick in the minds of some of the people on the other side. The man said, "Good government needs no advertising; it speaks for itself." The Conservative government of Ontario obviously does not feel that way. All of this ties in with the supposed restraint package of the Ontario government.

In a May 22, 1982, article, Eric Dowd, one of our more perceptive thinkers in the press gallery, wrote a column about this very matter. He pointed out:

"Despite repeated requests over the years, the province has still not found it possible to put a figure on the cost of work it now contracts out, which includes everything from speechwriting to landscaping. He, 'Miller,' has done nothing to reduce the suspicion that the province is now able to manage with fewer of its own employees partly because it is paying someone else's employees to do much of the work. After all, Ontario's spending has doubled while its employees have been going down.

"The government's communication staff have grown, despite the so-called economy wave. The province lists 324 of its employees as communicators, not including clerical and support staff, compared to the 200 Management Board Chairman George McCague admitted to two years ago, and three times as many as when Premier William Davis took office in 1971."

I have asked questions in successive years, starting in 1975, in 1977 and up to 1982, about the number of people who are in public relations or information officers in this regard. I do not want to go over all of them again, but it is interesting, for instance, that in 1975, when I first asked this question, the Ministry of Energy had not really been formulated; when it got going, it went from three members to at least seven in that area.

The interesting thing is that we had the Ministry of Energy people before the public accounts committee about a year or a year and a half ago, because the auditor had indicated to us that those people had spent about $40,000 of taxpayers' money printing a pamphlet on saving energy which duplicated, almost word for word, the same pamphlet that had been made available through the federal Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. It was hardly changed. All they did was put on the Ontario logo, stamp on the minister's name, whoever it was, and that of the Premier (Mr. Davis).

Hon. Mr. Elgie: It looked a lot better, though.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I do not think it did look better, but just the printing of the brochures cost $40,000. Mr. Speaker, I am sure in your elevated position even you will be upset that the salaries ranges up to something like $53,000 for the directors of these things. If you want, I could read into the record the further comments of Mr. Dowd about trying to catch or find any of these people in their ministries who can answer any questions.

Mr. Dowd goes on to say that the people in the press gallery seldom, if ever, ask the information officers or the public relations people any questions because (a) they never know, (b) they cannot be bothered to find out or (c) they do not know what the information is and it is faster to get it from another source.

If one looks at the information provided to me in response to my question of June 24, 1982, one will see that the salary ranges are $36,550 to $48,325, and they range up to $53,300 depending on where one is. This is a horrendous expense to the people of Ontario, especially when, as I have indicated before, most of this is not describing or announcing programs, or changes in programs or in legislation, but simply self-congratulatory pap aimed at the re-election of the provincial Tories, or to put out and put abroad the perception that the government is dealing with problems when it is not.

This leads me to recent events. In the background of restraint, how we justify these matters or how the Premier can justify them boggles the mind. We had the sorry spectacle just last week of the contracts to two friends of the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker) to the tune of something like $400,000, neither of which was tendered.

We also had the sorry case of the Deputy Minister of Government Services putting out contracts at $900-a-day, even, apparently, over the objections of his minister, who got dumped as a result of having the mistaken notion, one can only presume, of believing his Premier's words that the Premier really was all for restraint.

The then Minister of Government Services, the member for Lanark (Mr. Wiseman), who is a nice gentleman but obviously naive, believed the Premier for once meant what he said and, by God, they were going to have restraint in the Ministry of Government Services. Mr. Gordon, who had been around a lot longer, and obviously is going to be around a lot longer than the then Minister of Government Services, knew that one never believes anything the Premier says and that if he said black was black, one knew he meant that black was really white and vice versa.

It is amazing to me that a paper like the Sun, not noted especially for its Liberal or socialist leanings -- and somebody at the Sun must have some sense of humour -- had on Friday, October 21, page 3, the headline, "Contracts to Friends OK: Tory." That, of course, referred to the Provincial Secretary for Justice. I do not know how many strikes he has, but if he is a cat, I think he has used up at least nine lives already.

In conjunction with that, there was $400,000 of taxpayers' money awarded to friends of the Provincial Secretary for Justice and the government, without tender, in opposition to the Manual of Administration, and of which the deputy minister of that ministry at the time said, "Yes, they should have been tendered." The Provincial Secretary for Justice says: "It is fine. We look after our friends."

The Premier, in response to questions, put on probably the most abominable performance I have ever seen him give in the House, and I have seen some abominable performances. He could not do much else, of course, because he was trying to justify the unjustifiable. In terms of restraint, how can the government possibly justify $400,000 being let without contract to friends of the government? How can the taxpayers be assured they are being well served when the Premier himself condones this kind of approach?

An hon. member: Larceny.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Larceny, my friend says.

The Premier skated all around the issue, as he always does, and said we got value for money. I do not know how many members read the speeches that we get daily from cabinet ministers. The only thing worse than the way most of those speeches read, is having to listen to the cabinet ministers delivering them. If we are paying $1,500 to $3,000 for that kind of stuff, we should all be ashamed.

3:40 p.m.

The point remains that in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, at the time that the new Provincial Secretary for Justice was there and was contracting this work out without tender, there was a total of 473 people employed by that ministry and in the information officers, classified and unclassified, there were 13 people on staff, whom I assume were there to do this kind of thing, at a total cost to the taxpayers of $901,000. What are these people doing when they cannot call upon the staff that is already there to do this kind of thing for them?

The Ontario government employs more than 81,000 people, not counting the people on contract, of whom we on this side have never been able to find out exactly how many there are. Surely to God, some of the 350 people in these ministries are capable of writing a speech in syllables of one and two words that this particular minister can deliver. It is unbelievable.

Mr. Speaker, I was drawing your attention to the Sun and I got diverted there. On October 21, the Sun said on page 3, "Contracts to Friends OK: Tory." It is a review of the minister and his $400,000 contracts.

At the bottom of the page, the next article in black and white conjunction is, "Gov't Funding in '84." The headline is, "Don't Expect Much: Davis." These were extracts from a speech he did not give in Brampton, saying to all municipalities, school boards, all the public services, all those receiving transfer funds. "Don't expect the inflation rate; you may be lucky if you get just a little less than the inflation rate."

Three paragraphs up, Mr. Walker is telling us he is looking after his Tory friends and that very same Friday the Premier indicates that if you are a Tory and a friend of the government you do not come under the restraint program, you get $400,000 without tender.

The Deputy Speaker: The member is referring to the Provincial Secretary for Justice, I believe.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I am sorry. I apologize, Mr. Speaker, but I doubt whether he is going to be in the cabinet much longer in any case, so I thought I would refer to him by his plain name.

As I said at the outset, we do not hear anything about the restraint program by the minister who inherited from the now Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. F. S. Miller). The new Treasurer (Mr. Grossman), in his first bleatings -- one can only refer to them as that -- when asked what he was going to do, was going to retain the restraint program and we were going to still have restraint in Ontario.

This was the same gentleman who presided over the Ontario Conservative government's giving doctors a 13.4 per cent increase last year, while telling the people at the bottom end of the financial and economic and income scale, "You are going to get only six per cent."

As far as I am concerned, this Treasurer has no credibility to start with, not with me or with most people over here. The Treasurer has overall economic direction for the province and says to each minister, "These are the funds you are going to have this year." That is where the initial fight takes place. We have not heard him say anything about speechwriters on contract. We have not heard anything about the taking of public opinion polls with taxpayers' money and then keeping them secret. Why have we not? It is because that gentleman is one of the ace practitioners of this whole matter.

His predecessor, as I recall, went to New York to learn how to give a speech, to the tune of $3,000 which the taxpayers wound up paying for. That minister stood in his place and said, "I think it was money well spent." Better he had spent his own money on getting somebody to dress him in rather more subdued shades of plaid than those he usually sports.

It speaks to a hypocritical attitude, a cynicism, an arrogance of a government that has been in power so long that ministers feel they do not have to justify these expenditures, that it is part of the perks that go with power, that it is part of their right as provincial Tories in a 40-year-old government to do this while restraining the rest of the poor peons of the province.

Mr. Nixon: Poor peons of the province of Ontario

Mr. T. P. Reid: Thank you. That is called alliteration.

Mr. Nixon: The former Treasurer should have hired you for speechwriting.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I would do it a lot cheaper than they have done it.

The fact of the matter is, where does one find this information? Where in the public accounts can one find that the Minister of Industry and Trade paid X number of dollars for speeches over the years, or that he contracted this or that out? One cannot find it. As I said earlier, when the public accounts committee tried to get a handle on government advertising we were all over the map.

We have the auditor's report. We had some material from the Chairman of Management Board (Mr. McCague). In response to one of my letters, he says, "I had AIF's department 17, 18, 19 and 20 pay level. In some of these, we have only had them broken down by 16-17, 17-18 ..." Nobody knows; nobody can tell us. We cannot phone anybody, of all those 81,000 civil servants, who can tell us the government expenditure on speechwriting, advertising, contracted-out employees. Of course, the less we know or find out the more secure the government feels.

Mr. Nixon: We are just like mushrooms.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Some more than others.

It is interesting that even the Toronto Sun, which I have already alluded to -- not particularly a fan of this side of the House -- in an editorial on September 12, 1983, was talking about the Wiseman-Gordon problem. It says at the end: "While these examples of loose spending are horrible enough, how much more of the same is there hidden in that enormously costly monolith at Queen's Park? We suspect the worst, but can we ever really know? Not likely. Not as long as those who seek to see what pops out on government waste are banished to the back benches or to political purgatory."

That is an interesting comment. On public accounts over the years I have seen that anyone on the government side who asks questions too often and too close to the bone seems all of a sudden to disappear, to be replaced with, shall we say, more congenial friends of the government. Those people were banished to whatever limbo exists for Tory back-benchers and others arrived.

For instance, not to be personal -- I always take the Premier's dictums about being personal very personally -- but I remember -- no, I thought they may have even taken him off the seating list -- the member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. J. A. Taylor) displayed a very becoming independence in public accounts in asking questions and saying, "I can understand that and I think that should be looked into."

3:50 p.m.

That member, to use his phrase, had already "been mugged in the corridors of power" by the Ministry of Energy and Ontario Hydro. He had nothing to lose and he could be of independent mind. He was not one of those whose reach was exceeding his grasp through that great trough of public perks that getting in the cabinet provides to all and sundry who finally make that quantum leap into the front benches and the second row here.

There was a member exhibiting a great independence and asking questions about government advertising and saying, "Yes, there are matters here that should be looked into." Not only that, his knowledge and experience as a cabinet minister was very helpful to the committee, but, as all on that side do, he paid the penalty -- if I can put it that way -- for his independence and he was removed from the committee. There are others, but it would take too long to go into it.

The revelations that have come out in terms of the matters relating to the Ministry of Government Services; the $900-a-day consultant without tender; the hiring of somebody to do a computer study of the legislation in Ontario and then leasing that information back from him; the former Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) who, over a two-year period, paid something like $400,000 out to his admitted political friends without tender, and the Premier's abysmal accountability in the House on Friday in trying to defend and justify that action, have made a complete and utter mockery, first, of the myth that exists that this government is a good manager and, second, of the pious platitudes espoused by the Premier and his designated hitter, the new Treasurer.

I would remind members again that he gave out to the doctors the biggest increase we saw in the province last year while espousing restraint for everyone else. He exposed that whole restraint program for the hypocrisy it is. Unless the government members start to take a bigger interest in what is going on, they are going to have a lot of questions to answer to their constituents.

How does one justify the 400,000-plus people who are out of work; the hospital workers whose increases were restricted to five and six per cent; those people who are living on the margin of or below the poverty level; and those senior citizens, that this government is serious about restraint and that we all have to suffer equally, when at the same time admitted friends of the government receive $900-a-day contracts without tender, when two firms can receive $400,000 in two years without tender at the same time as we have 81,000-plus civil servants in the government?

I would expect most of the taxpayers would have thought and believed they were actually carrying out these kinds of functions; and in this particular milieu of public relations they are pretty well paid for what they do.

I said earlier and I will say it again: I am disappointed the new Treasurer did not take this opportunity to tell us what his ideas are on these matters. He did not say: "Yes, indeed, we are going to ensure this mismanagement, this malpractice does not continue any more. In fact, we are doing more than sticking it to those with little political clout and those who are not popular in the public opinion polls in terms of restraint."

He might have said something about unemployment in this province. He might have said something about our economic prospects. He might said what, if anything, he was going to do to reduce the $300 million of programs that presumably ministers and the cabinet thought were worth while, but which his predecessor said he was going to cut by $300 million. Maybe this gravy train, this pork barrel to friends of the government, is what is going to come to an end in terms of $300 million.

Does this mean the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Leluk) is not going to contract out to his friends all those great speeches he makes at the opening of the new jails? When was the last new jail -- 1946 or something -- built in this province? The minister is not, as far as we know, one of the greater offenders in this matter. The fact is we do not know, but we hope to find out.

I am hopeful that before this debate ends the new Treasurer will give us and the taxpayers who are paying his salary, and the taxpayers who are paying his speechwriters, some idea of just where he thinks this province is heading economically and what the unemployed can expect by way of assistance from this government.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this debate on interim supply and make a few comments. I find myself in a bit of a funny position. I would like to lash out at this government and at the interim supply and say, "Your record is so lousy we just will not vote for it."

We know that the minute we did the next phoney argument that would come from the government would be: "Would you not love to be in a position where you are opposing the passage of interim supply? That simply means we will not pay the workers and the civil servants in Ontario."

That kind of reaction is almost the mentality of this government. I think there is some serious problems and I think this government is not doing a proper job in terms of managing the affairs of the province and looking after the people of the province. By that I do not mean paying all their bills, but certainly arranging it so there are decent amenities such as jobs, adequate health care, housing and incomes that at least allow them to meet minimum requirements. We increasingly do not have that in Ontario, and it relates to a lot of things.

I think we could probably start with the situation we are in now in terms of income levels and welfare funding. I do not know a municipality, certainly not an industrial municipality, in Ontario today that is not feeling the pinch when it comes to its welfare budget.

We have some serious problems. Probably one of the most serious is that almost across the board we find an increasing number of recipients of welfare in Ontario are employable. It certainly indicates we are starting to run out of the safety net that was unemployment insurance. People who have never been out of work for any lengthy period before are now facing unemployment in Ontario. They have used up the unemployment insurance benefits and have been forced on to the welfare rolls.

We get case after case. I had a chap walk into my office last Wednesday whom I had never met before in my life. He simply said to me, "I do not expect there is much you can do, but I have been out of work for 20 months and eight days." He had it down to the hour.

4 p.m.

He said: "I am now drawing $313 a month, which is the maximum on welfare. I do not have enough to pay for my room and to eat adequately. I walk downtown to check at Manpower almost every day. From my apartment in the east end of Hamilton, it is an hour and 20 minute walk. I do not have the price of the bus fare. I know they put me off at Manpower. They figure I am a hopeless case. I am 61."

The man is an educated man. I did not try to go into his history or his background, but he told me that his last eight years of employment had been at National Steel Car. That is a rough, dirty place to work. It is one of the plants that is almost shut down in the city of Hamilton today.

Obviously, somewhere in his lifetime, he had run into some problems because he said, "Maybe I should try to see if there is not some way I could use once again some of the education I did have and have not used for a good many years." I asked, "What is it?" He said: "I don't really think there is a heck of a lot of market for it, but I have my master's and I have two BAs. They are in languages. I am fluent in Finnish and I am fluent in Russian. I cannot only read and write it, but I can analyse books, tracts or documents. At one time I had a certificate to teach Russian."

I do not know whether I am going to be successful, but I put a few feelers out based on his rather unusual background. His last eight years of work had been in a not too pleasant industrial setting. When he came to me, he said: "I want to give you everything. I am looking for anybody who can help me. But it has to be full-time because I cannot live on the $313 for part-time work. I will do anything. I will go anywhere. I have been separated for a good many years. I am only living in an apartment. I have nothing to hold me here. I will dig graves. I will do anything you have as a job. But I resent, and I am glad I do resent, the fact that I know" -- which indicates there is still a little fight there -- "they figure I am a hopeless case and they just ignore me when I continually ask for help at the various employment offices and at Manpower in the city."

I have had a lot of people in to see me, younger and older, about employment, and we have not got a heck of a lot to offer them. While we have had a fairly substantial profit recovery, we have not had a real employment recovery. The seriousness of the problem is the one I mentioned, that increasingly the number of people who are on general welfare assistance in Ontario are employable. It is something that we should, as members of this House, be really concerned about.

In my town, if you talk to the people down at the Wesley Centre, they will tell you that two years ago, at a very busy time in the late fall or winter when they had the heaviest case load of people coming in, they served a bowl of soup or sandwiches. They try to take care of those who are hungry and in real need, and they will occasionally put out a basket of groceries or a couple of bags of groceries. They will tell you that a big, serious, troublesome day then was 80 or 90 people coming to them. That was the top of the list.

That is not even the norm today. Last week they told me that they are now getting 130 to 160 and they are looking forward to an increase in the next few weeks. They are concerned. They do not know what they are going to do. There are more and more. It is not just groceries or dishing out soup or sandwiches. Some stories have appeared in the Hamilton papers saying that even youngsters are coming in. The checking we have done so far indicates that they are not just there for a lark. In some cases they are coming in, as a number of the members have said, because they are hungry.

The same figures apply at St. Matthew's House. We are now talking in the city of Hamilton about food banks. Matt Carson recently said the money was not there. He said, "We are in serious trouble in terms of our budget." Indeed, there was a magnanimous offer from the Hamilton Harbour Commission for the use of one of their buildings. They would not be charged if they wanted to set it up. They are talking about soup kitchens over and above what there is in the traditional agencies in the city of Hamilton.

My God, what has happened in the last year or two in this province of ours and in this country that one of the serious debates in an industrial metropolis like Hamilton now is over where we can find the money to set up food banks and soup kitchens for the citizens.

I guess what bothers me most of all is I have not seen -- and I do not say this to be nasty to my colleagues across the House -- anyone over there who really takes it as more than carping by the opposition here or seems to think it is a serious matter. I say this seriously. It has not come through to me. I heard one of the ministers in this House whom I respect make a little comment as he was going out of here a few hours ago that our questions were -- I forget what the actual expression was -- good theatre or something. I am not talking theatre when I raise these issues. I am raising something that worries the hell out of me and I think should be worrying the hell out of this government.

These people will write to one, will talk to one and will call one with their problems. They will ask why Hydro is going up eight-plus per cent when they have met with no increase in their welfare allotment or the various social assistance allotments.

Why are the rents going up in two big buildings? I really do not believe there is a justification. I am aware we can go back at it. I did not get in at the hearings on these, but there was a 17 per cent increase and the landlord had asked for 20. They were turned down flat a year ago. I have taken a look at what they have done in terms of repairs to those buildings and it is damned little.

The average in the increases is probably about 14 per cent. This bears no resemblance to the five per cent control we have where one has the ability, as a public servant, to get a wage increase. I submit that the increases in housing for people across this province and in apartments are in almost every case well above the restraint level we put on what we will pay workers.

We do not know what is going to happen yet in terms of the minimum wage. However, I was disturbed at how fast the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) in this province seemed to back off the story in the Toronto Sun the other day which said they had found out that the minimum wage was going to go in two stages from $3.50 to $4.10 an hour. By God, it did not take the Minister of Labour long to say, 'We are going to bring in some legislation, but that is not necessarily the figure." One sure got the impression he wanted to squelch the $4.10 in a hurry.

I hope it is impossible to squelch the $4.10. We were behind some 16 or 17 per cent after the last two increases, if one goes back about five years in the cost-of-living increase. Just to make up the cost-of-living increase since the last increase, which is over two years ago or about two years ago, would take an increase to $4.04. Maybe we have to settle for that. I hope not. However, if we do anything for them, we do not even match where we left them back in 1981 unless that figure reaches $4.10.

I suppose one cannot tip one's hand, but I would have hoped the Minister of Labour, rather than being quick to say that was not necessarily the figure, would at least have said nothing more than "We will bring in the legislation. You will see then." It almost shows the set-piece mentality that we sure do not give any more or are not going to give any more or do not want to be put in a position of having to give any more than the bare minimum. We are talking here about people who are beginning to have serious problems in this province of ours.

I have difficulty accepting and understanding the rationale of the government. I started out with this and I want to stay with it for a minute or two longer. I will use the release of my colleague the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) on the welfare system, on the funding and the allowances we are giving to the poorest people in our society, a society that found $50 million last year in rate increases for 95,000 welfare recipients, 83,000 dependants and 126,000 family benefits allowance and guaranteed annual income system recipients in the province. I do not know what the total works out to. Some 250,000 or 300,000 of the poorest of our people ended up getting $50 million last year.

That $50 million came out of the taxpayers' pocket, and that is yours and mine and all of our friends and neighbours. But what did we do for 14,000 doctors in Ontario? For 14,000 doctors we found $250 million, and that also came out the taxpayers' pocket in the same year.

4:10 p.m.

It is not that I am so angry at the fact that 14,000 privileged people -- very necessary, very well trained and very essential to us -- got $250 million. It is the fact that those who cannot help themselves, the poorest of the poor in our society, picked up a grand total of $50 million. We are arguing, fighting and raising whatever Cain we can almost every day of the week to try to see some additional assistance that brings them up to a level that has some small relationship to what their costs are and what is happening to people out in society.

I do not know what to do about people who write in with their frustrations in area after area and from angle after angle. I received a letter only this morning. It is not the first one I have received in terms of assistance for students. I will read just part of it.

Dear Mr. Mackenzie:

''A few weeks ago my niece" -- I will leave her name out of it -- contacted you regarding OSAP's refusal of a grant for 1983-84.

"Shawn's father has been unemployed for more than a year and a half due to illness. Her mother has been supporting the family on unemployment insurance benefits, which total $98 per week, and by the salary she receives when she is seasonally employed. It probably would be easier and more beneficial for Shawn's mother to terminate her job and apply for welfare, but she finds the thought abhorrent. Shawn managed to obtain some part-time employment this past summer and has been trying to assist her mother and father as much as possible from her small earnings.

"It seems to me that something is extremely wrong with our system when some students are given grants. Even after their tuition fees have been paid and books have been purchased, these grants have been used to pay for vacations or to buy other luxuries, such as stereos, television sets or cassettes. Some students seem to have no difficulty in being awarded both a loan and a grant. This happens even though both parents might be working in careers or occupations and the students themselves may have part-time jobs. It is almost as if, when assistance is desperately needed, it is not available.

"This certainly only tends to discourage students from needy families from trying to achieve levels of education and higher standards of living. It may be that the authorities in charge of OSAP feel they have been fair in supplying Shawn with a loan rather than a loan land grant. However, knowing the family circumstances as I do and knowing that all the relevant information was on her application, it proves to me the incompetence that is so prevalent in so many levels of our government and civil service.

"How are such decisions made? Are the applications thrown into a hat? Are the first 10 chosen the lucky winners even if they are not as qualified or needy? If your name happens to be the last in the so-called hat, are you then simply out of luck and money?"

I will not go on with her appeal to me, and we will do whatever we can with the case, but it is far from the first one I have had. I am not wanting to highlight her frustration at those who may have been lucky enough to get a loan or a grant. What I am pointing out is that there is a family there, because I have already done the checking and we are already making calls on it, that is in serious need.

The system has failed them and this government has failed them. The only good thing about it, and it is sad to have to say it in this House, is they are beginning to spot the culprit in what is happening. I think there is going to be some answering to be done in the next few months or year or two for the people in charge of education and the minister responsible in this province, before we are finished.

I have real difficulty in dealing with the inaction on the other problems, one of which we raised again today, the latest in a never-ending weekly saga of plant shutdowns and closures. We heard on Saturday in Hamilton about 232 more workers being laid off, some of them with pretty fair seniority. I know many of them personally. I know the young president of the local, Cristopherson, and you would not get a better worker or a more committed chap, a family man, than he is. They are out as of next April. They were supposedly doing much better when the company was trying to con us with the move of 200 workers in the fibre division just last May.

We appealed to this government and we had meetings. The federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development said their action was abominable. That was his actual expression in the paper, but we did not see a damned thing done to stop it. The operation of the fibre division of that particular plant was moved to Richmond, Virginia.

I do not know what they are doing; I have not checked it that far. I was in Toronto here for part of the weekend and I have only started checking with my sources, but we do have 232 people out, the other shoe dropping, as the local union president said in that particular operation, the one that was supposed to have some security.

It follows one of the most abominable displays and comments I have ever heard. I am talking now about the exchange that has gone on for a number of weeks and months in this House among myself, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) and others over at Consolidated-Bathurst, where even that paragon of socialism, the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker), said in this House that they were not the best corporate citizens after the meeting we had with them.

I want once again to put on record some of the things we were told at that meeting. I am doing it because we had the leader of the Liberal Party get up in the House just last week to say that in London they were closing another plant. There has been a merger in the packaging division between Consolidated-Bathurst and MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. It is the same general entity but perhaps not exactly the same people, and the second plant was being closed down in London. We heard nothing about that, incidentally, and we knew the merger was already there between Consolidated-Bathurst and MacMillan Bloedel when we had the meeting in the Minister of Labour's office here in Toronto.

The workers there had signed a new contract only two months before they were notified that they were all gone. The lowest seniority in that plant was 21 years' service and they went up into the 40s. We were holding meetings, protesting and trying to find some avenue to help the workers. They did a lot themselves. They contacted the company in Peterborough and a couple of entrepreneurs in Montreal. They had actually started to put a financial package together to give them a chance to buy that plant and they had gone to some of the customers in the Hamilton area to see if it was possible to hold the orders if the workers did try to take over the plant. We did not get the chance to get very far with that operation.

The company did not say anything about it during the negotiations. If they had, as we said at those meetings, you can bet your bottom dollar that the contract negotiated would have been a lot different than the one that was negotiated. It would have dealt at least with severance pay and with the earlier pension arrangements. There are chaps in that operation who are losing out on pensions by a matter of months. They would have dealt with some of the things that could have done something about making it a little bit easier for the employees in that operation. But no, the company did not tell them.

So we had this meeting. Who was at the meeting? The Minister of Labour; the Minister of Industry and Tourism at the time, or whatever the portfolio is; the mayor of Hamilton, Mr. Morrow; the regional chairman, Mrs. Jones; the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) of the Liberal Party; the member for Hamilton West (Mr. Allen) and myself, of our party; a lady -- I do not know who she was -- representing Gordon Dean; and two or three ministry people. We had a bit of a go.

I did not hear very many tough questions asked by the government members who were there. I got into the biggest wrangle with them. But we went after them. We asked, "Why will you not consider selling the operation to the employees?" What did we get? From Mr. Stangeland, president of the packaging division of Consolidated-Bathurst, we got the comment that Imperial Oil would not sell a good choice corner location to Texaco; so they were not going to sell to their opposition.

It is funny. Where we got into a bit of a hassle was over that comment, inappropriately enough perhaps in that meeting, but I thought that was what private enterprise was all about, concerning competition. Let us not kid ourselves. No way were those employees going to have the opportunity.

Probably even more telling was when I, and the member for Hamilton Centre of the Liberal Party, asked them a question, as I believe did the regional chairman of Hamilton-Wentworth. They sprung another surprise on us that they had not told anybody there. They were selling the plant -- the deal was not quite finalized; the lawyers had not signed all the papers yet -- to Reid Dominion next door, where maybe some of the 200 workers would get jobs.

4:20 p.m.

We immediately said, "Will you then, as a condition of finalizing that sale, put in a word for, or speak up on behalf of, these long-service Consolidated-Bathurst workers?" The corporate answer to that was: "We would not appreciate being told who we should hire. We do not intend to tell anybody else who they should hire. They will have to go to the marketplace, just as we do, for their labour."

I ask all the members in this House, including the most conservative Tory member sitting over there, whether that was not saying that all those workers were a marketplace commodity, and that was the only obligation that company had to them. Maybe that is why even the member for London South (Mr. Walker) was jolted into saying at that meeting that they were not the best corporate citizens.

I want to know how long this government is going to say: "We cannot interfere in the marketplace. We are only interested in keeping it healthy so the workers are healthy." Damn it all, when are the workers going to get some of that help? When are we going to decide that one of the costs of this nonstop corporate rationalization that is going on is that the government has to accept some responsibility for the workers who are involved as well?

I have a lot of pretty strong political views, but I do not think I have ever been totally dogmatic, although I know there are people across the road who would not agree with that. I will look at almost any combination of methods, pressures, taxation agreements, compliance or content legislation, pleading or whatever, but in the final analysis I want to have some clout that says: "One of the things that is going to count is what happens to the workers. They have to have jobs in this society of ours." That is what has been missing with this government; they can say all they want about how they try to meet with these companies.

Words cannot describe how I felt when I listened to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) today saying that they did try to get these people to take some of these things into consideration and that he would be meeting further with Allen Industries. I hope I am proved to be totally wrong in the case of Allen Industries, but I expect nothing to happen and that behind this government's back they are laughing at it -- and they are its friends.

We certainly did not get anywhere with Consolidated-Bathurst, and we were not too far wrong in the case of Consolidated-Bathurst. Some members, if they follow affairs in our community, may realize that the union did take the company before the Ontario Labour Relations Board for bargaining in had faith. I hope some of the government members have read the decision, because the board found that the company had bargained in bad faith.

The board was not prepared to set a figure on it. What it said was that they should go after the company. They should go after it, all right. The minimum the workers in that plant should get is their full pay from the time the plant was closed until they find another job. They will not get that, but in my book that is the minimum that should happen in that operation. That company, just as we said, clearly was not levelling with the workers, just as it was not levelling with this government. And this is one of the entities about which we have to say, "Hey, we cannot interfere in the marketplace."

I really do not want that much interference in the marketplace where I see commitment and goodwill and good corporate citizenship. We get it in some cases, but there are too damned many cases arising on a weekly basis in this House where we do not get it. I am simply asking when this government is going to take off the gloves and say, 'We do have a responsibility, not just to the corporate good, but to the public and private good of the people of Ontario."

When I hear the Minister of Labour talk about not being willing to go the public justification route, I have never been able to come to grips with that and with what we were told in the committee on plant shutdowns, by the officials of SKF, when they were in the final year of shutting down the operation in Scarborough.

Incidentally, when we talk about the effect on people, my colleague the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) once again has raised the studies which show that since that place was closed down a couple of years ago, an awful lot of those men have never found jobs and their circumstances are not good.

One of the things that came out at those hearings -- and there was a majority of Tory members on that doggone committee -- was the fact that the workers in West Germany and France, which was where the corporate head offices of that big conglomerate were, had been told that they were closing down the Canadian operation in Ontario several months -- I believe three was the actual figure -- before either the workers or even management knew at the plant in Ontario. Once again, where is the corporate citizenship?

Maybe there is a justification for the rationale. As members know, most of the jobs in that plant went to France, Philadelphia and Brazil, as far as we can figure.

What bothered me was the way they conned the union, the workers and this government. Deliberately, over a five-year period -- and while they will not admit to the word "con," it is obvious that happened -- they took the long, profitable, small ball-bearing assembly runs and shipped them out of the plant and they shipped in the large ball-bearing assembly runs, which were much shorter runs. Shorter runs usually are not as profitable.

The company was never nonprofitable, but the profit picture dropped and then they started shipping out to some of the other company operations, the large ball-bearing runs, and shipped in just the repair runs. They did it over a five-year period; it was a five-year plan to close down that plant and we did not know a darned thing about it until the last minute. A heck of a lot of workers suffered as a result of that and the workers are suffering today as a result of that.

Whether or not members of the government party agree with me, or with us, or whether or not there is a basic philosophical difference in our positions on the responsibility of industry and the corporate world to workers in this province, surely it is at least time they were willing to do as we have suggested, which is to set up some kind of a committee, if not to reactivate the committee on plant shutdowns, that would take a look at what is the minimum responsibility of a corporation to its workers.

I am asking members of this House, is there or is there not a responsibility? If a corporate rationalization -- such as we saw again today in the closure of Allen Industries, and as we have seen at Consolidated-Bathurst, at Bendix and at plant after plant -- is going to mean a more efficient or, to use the new Tory expression, a leaner and meaner operation for that company, does the meanness and the leanness have to be contributed entirely by the workers?

Should not one of the assessments of what that corporate rationalization is going to mean, be what it is going to do to those workers, the community and the province and what they are going to lose? And should not some of the additional benefits that are going to accrue, in terms of that company being a leaner and meaner operation, take care of the problems they are leaving behind?

Very rarely is the corporate world taking up those problems, as I have heard so many times at these meetings, over and above the minimum requirements that are in the contract or the minimum requirements under employment standards. If they are not going to do so, who is?

Are the Tory members of this House telling me that it is absolutely not a responsibility of the government to take some responsibility if the corporate world, the free enterprise world, does not? If that is the case, I would like them to be honest enough to say it openly. Maybe that is part of a political dialogue we must have with the people in Ontario.

They must say: "We believe in this. We think this is a responsibility. We think you have some entitlement to some of the benefits as a result of some of these particular moves." We are now dealing in a corporate world where many of the corporations are bigger than governments.

If the governments position is, "No, under no condition are we going to accept the responsibility for the results of it, nor are we going to interfere in the marketplace," then we had better have a discussion as to what really counts.

4:30 p.m.

I say that also because I have seen very little done by the government in terms of an issue about which most of us really do not know what is going to happen or do not understand yet. I am talking about the microtechnology explosion we are seeing and some of the automation and robotization that is going on, as well as some of the things my colleagues in the steel mills tell me about the production they could get if it were all switched to Nanticoke from the mill in Hamilton.

What is going to happen if as a result of the new technology we do not see some specially trained high-wage people? One of the things happening, I submit, with half the world running like mad to try to get a share of this new high technology we hear about, is that we are not in the bidding with some of the Third World countries for much of the technology. We are likely to see a reduction in wages rather than some very profitable high-wage areas, other than for a few specialists.

If we are going to lose some of the traditional smokestack industries and not get a compensating share of the new high-tech industries in this country although the benefits of the technology are going to be there in terms of production, whether it is in our manufacturing, food or service industries, and we know the office sector is one of the areas that will see some of the most rapid changes -- who is going to get the benefits of the ability to produce more, more efficiently, cheaper and something I believe in -- getting rid of a hell of a lot of the drudgery and back-breaking work that goes on in some of our operations in the country today?

If this is what we are facing in Ontario, how do we then come to grips with the question of distribution? If we are going to continue to have fewer jobs -- I suspect that maybe the route we are taking -- or the jobs are going to be lower-paid and more and more in service fields, what are we going to do in terms of the benefits? There have to be some benefits or we would not be going into this new technology, I am pretty sure.

What are we going to do in terms of the distribution of the benefits? Who is big enough other than government to deal with some of the giants in the manufacturing, industrial, and now even in the health and service fields that are developing? Who is big enough to insist that there has to be some redress in what people get?

The people have to have the money to buy the basic necessities if we are going to deal with the problems I pointed out earlier, that people are suffering as a result of the lack of an adequate income or any increases. I am talking now about the poorest segment; never mind those who are working. How are they going to be able to get some share of the benefits and the money to buy a new fridge, stove or a car some day down the road; or to afford the apartment or house they may want, if we do not tackle the issue of distribution, the distribution of income, resource and wealth?

I would like to hear some real dialogue on it in this House. Maybe I am nuts and members can shoot my concerns full of holes. I would be happy if they could effectively do it, but I suspect they cannot. I also suspect that what we are not willing to tackle is, who has the clout, the guts or the understanding and commitment to the benefit of the people in our country to say, "We have to work out a better system than we have going for us now"? I hear or see little in this House that means anything in this House in terms of that kind of reaction or response.

I am the Labour critic for our party, and the progress we are making in reform or changes in the way we look at labour problems or workers' rights bothers the heck out of me. We had a couple of examples this last weekend that should disturb all of us. We have the court decision this morning that says a good chunk of the legislation this government passed, over the bitter opposition of this party, is illegal or violates the Constitution.

This government had not even bothered to get a legal opinion on that, and we are now told that where one extends a contract, it just is not proper. It also infringes on the worker's right to organize, change a union or do anything else in that period. And the right to organize is a guaranteed right.

It is going to be very interesting to see how fast the skating goes on by members of this government to try to find some way to patch up the leaky act they rammed through this House with closure, to get around it altogether or to say: "It really does not count, because there are only 22 members over there. We will ram through whatever we want to do anyhow." It is going to be interesting to see what they do.

It will also be interesting to see how they respond to some of the things that are coming out at a hearing that is going on over the Westinghouse lead emissions and other safety standards, where Stan Gray has been conducting almost a one-man crusade over safety conditions in that plant. Unless I have read Mr. Deverell's story that appeared in the paper over the weekend wrong, some of the things that my colleague the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) was forced to apologize for in this House in terms of charges he made against senior officials of the ministry have been proved to be exactly right on and he never should have had to apologize.

When we find out that reports are changed or written by senior people, or at least the testimony before the hearings is saying so, that raises serious questions about the kinds of answers we have had from this government.

The fight we have never ends. My own town raised the issue of the coke oven workers. We finally got standards. We are now having trouble with the way the standards have been set, the averaging over 40 hours, and we still have had to fight. We may have finally worked it out with the death of another coke oven worker crushed at Dofasco; maybe we will get an inquest now in all of these deaths. We should have had inquests from day one. We have not yet cleaned up the serious safety and health matters that abound around the province. Why do we have to fight over a case like this every single time?

Some time in the next day or two, we understand we are going to debate a bill outlawing the use of lie detectors. Big deal. Do not get me wrong; I welcome it. They should not have been used or able to be used to investigate employees to begin with. As far as I am concerned, it is a very basic violation of rights, especially when the ministry's own background papers, given to us by the Minister of Labour, indicate that the accuracy is very much in doubt. Even with the best technology going, one is going to have five, 10 and 15 per cent inaccuracy rates in terms of the testing, which means a hell of a lot of people could be out of jobs or not getting the jobs in the first place because they have gone through the lie detector operation.

We have raised some of the abominable questions that are asked on personnel applications. We have also raised the matter of the cameras, including those scrutinizing workers even going to the washroom, in plant after plant. We have raised any number of issues. But the one and only measure we see coming down the pike at this time in terms of labour legislation is that finally they are going to move to outlaw the use of the polygraph or lie detector.

We have asked for that for a long time, but we are not even going to take any particular credit. We are not going to give the government one hell of a lot of credit either; it is something they should have done a hell of a long time ago. Forgive me for the cynicism that is growing day by day in this particular individual in this House, but I suspect we are getting that legislation only so the government can counter some of the serious arguments we make by saying: "It is not true we do not do anything. We have done something for workers." The government has sure picked out the smallest, tiniest and probably least important item to raise. And I will not even believe that it is true until I see it actually passed in this House and given royal assent. I have seen too many slips on other things we have gone after.

We had a debate in here the other day on equal pay for work of equal value. I am sorry my colleague the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) did it the way she did. That is not to say I criticize what she was doing in terms of the resolution she moved in this House. I did the same thing with one concerning pensions, and I have regretted it ever since, because that one met general approval in this House as well; it proposed earlier vesting and some very minor basic improvements in private pensions -- not the kind of changes I think are needed in the public plans, but in private pensions. That was two or three years ago, and many of the members of this House on all sides can say, "Sure, we supported that resolution in principle." But it has not meant a damned thing, once again, because we have not seen any of those improvements in pension plans in Ontario.

4:40 p.m.

Surely, given the older population we have in the province, the kind of layoffs we are having, the older people who are affected in the plants, the insecurity that is now there in employment when at one time people just expected they were going to have jobs for the rest of their lives, one of the things we have to look at is how adequately we are taking care of our older people and workers, how adequate the pensions are that we have got and what kind of changes will allow for portability.

On the portability issue alone -- I think it is after one year of service -- if there were a central funding mechanism, as we recommended in that debate, it would mean workers could get the benefit of several jobs, because most workers are going through five or six jobs now. They may be only four or five years at a job and they do not qualify for the age and years of service needed to give them the proper pension when they finally have to retire.

As near as I can tell and from the questions I have asked in financial terms, certainly not in ideological terms, that is not a major change. It is even being recommended now by some of the pension plans and business groups that in the past have bitterly opposed such changes, though I think in many cases that is out of self-interest, to try to do something to deflect some of the criticism over the lack of change in so many years in the pension field.

Even the changes that would do something for the people involved in some of the plant closures and shutdowns I am talking about have not been acted on. We have heard nothing more from this government. That goes back, including our pension report, a number of years now. What in blazes do we have to do to get them to look at some of the serious problems that would mean something for ordinary people in Ontario?

The other day when we moved in this House a resolution supporting the principle of changes to the employment standards to allow for equal pay for work of equal value, we allowed the government to get off the hook once again, just as we did on my pension resolution. Every member, including all the Tories who supported that, can proudly stand up in the next election, in half a year, a year, a year and a half or whenever it is, and say: "They cannot blame us on that. We supported the principle of equal pay for work of equal value."

They will not have done anything about it, but because they all voted for the private member's resolution just a week or two ago, they will be able to say: "We do not oppose that. What are you giving us heck about that for?" Yet it is one of the fundamentals we have not changed that we have been after in this House for a long time; that is, for the pay to go for the job and not because of the sex of the person who is involved.

Surely even Tory members in this House must have some little bit of a qualm in the pits of their bellies when they think of the position they have taken over the years against equal pay for work of equal value. Because of the resolution we had before us -- and, as I say, I have made the same mistake -- I think we have let them off the hook.

I hope we get on the floor of this House again an actual resolution. Then I want to see the members of this House stand up and support that resolution or, if they absolutely cannot, as I know most of the Tories will not, I want to see them bring in a bill that will make some meaningful changes. I want them on the spot, not able to cop out, as they will totally with the vote we had on that resolution on equal pay for work of equal value.

It seems to me there are a couple of other areas in which our people are getting hurt. I can recall going to the previous Minister of Labour, the member for York East (Mr. Elgie), and raising questions in this House not just once but time and again -- and others have done it as well -- about bankruptcies and receivership situations where the workers ended up getting nothing.

I have another one in my riding right now. We were promised that some 17 workers would be paid on October 21. I told them, being very blunt with them, that maybe they were a little bit dumb. They worked August, September and until October 7, and their cheques bounced. They have not been paid for one of those months. They were told new financing was coming and so on and so forth. Unless it does come in this particular operation, they are out that money and the creditors will get whatever resources there are. We do not have any legislation in Ontario to protect wages or benefits that are there. They are the last to receive them in this province.

Even my colleagues across the House do not disagree. I can recall the previous Minister of Labour more than once saying: "I do not disagree with you. I sympathize with the position you are taking and the argument you are making." But then he passed the buck. He said: "We have been trying to get the feds to change the bankruptcy legislation. Bankruptcy is a federal responsibility in Ontario."

I can recall writing to the previous Minister of Labour and asking him: "Send me a copy of the letter so I can see what you actually said to the feds. Pardon the cynicism, but I really would like to know that you are trying to get them to change the legislation."

We have also gone to the government and said: "If you cannot get the feds on side, then surely Ontario is big enough to bring in some legislation that sees to it that the basic wages and some of the benefits of workers in a bankruptcy or receivership situation are paid." We did hear rumblings at the end of the last session that if it could not get the feds to move a little faster -- I think we were told it had been after the feds for three or four years now -- that maybe this government would take a look at it.

I have only been in the House for eight or nine years, but that is one of the issues I have been raising since the day I first came in. I do not see what this government has done on it, period. I do not see any move on it at all.

While there may be some discomfort in some sectors of the economy, I doubt that it involves any radical political ideas, the idea of some protection -- creditors get it first now, I suppose, the banks, or you name it -- to the people who make the business go. I have asked for some consideration for workers who have given their lives to a company that shuts down and they have 30 or 40 years' seniority and find themselves out the door. I do not think that is asking too much. But maybe there is a bigger gap than I think between the things I feel strongly about and those things important to the members on the other side of this House.

All I know is that I have seen nothing, absolutely nothing, in the way of any moves to redress what is obviously an iniquitous situation.

Another thing that bothers me is that once again we are told that we cannot interfere with the private sector; people have got to be able to have a meaner, leaner operation.

One of the little phenomena in the labour field that is hitting me as Labour critic is that every single week there is the contracting out business. I have had situations where a number of workers have been let go because operations were contracted out. I do not know exactly what the private firms are getting, but I have been told it is $6.50 and $7 an hour in some cases.

I know of one woman who applied and was offered her exact old job back at $4.50 an hour. She was getting $10.06 when she was let go and the work was contracted out. That says to me that particular operation is off the hook for the difference between $6.50 or $7, whatever they are paying for that contracting out job, and the $10.06 they were paying. So they have a nice, fancy saving. A charlatan middleman, as far as I am concerned, is in and is going to make $2 or $2.50 off the back of that worker, and the worker who was trying to meet her bills and keep up her obligations is going to go from $10.06 to $4.50 an hour.

We have the case of the cleaners at the Eaton Centre. We have had a number of nursing homes. We have had delegations of them in the gallery here who have gone through the contracting out business. We are seeing it in some of our major hospitals. We are seeing it in operation after operation. If the workers do not have a union or their union has not had the foresight -- and, unfortunately, most contracts do not deal specifically with the contracting out, or not enough of them do -- then there is nothing in legislation in this province that protects the workers involved.

So there are more private entrepreneurs that can do a little shilling and make a few bucks off providing services that we can set up. I suppose that is one of the growth industries in Ontario. It may be a joke to some people, but one would have to meet these workers.

I recall when we met with the 45 cleaners of the Eaton Centre. The meeting amazed even me, because they had their parish priest, their husbands or their friends with them. There were almost 120 of them in the church basement. I said: "There are only 45 workers. Who are all of these people?" But they were friends, neighbours and some other concerned people. I believe, and I hope I do not get them in trouble, we even had two or three of the cleaners from this building there. They wanted to know how, after getting a new contract -- and the contract was not paying very much; it was considerably less than $8 an hour -- the work could be contracted out and not one of them would be considered for the job. The new firm coming in will bring in its people.

4:50 p.m.

This is happening in case after case. It is increasing. As I said, I suppose it is one of the growth industries in Ontario. I ask the House, do we not have some responsibility to set some guidelines that say there is at least some protection for the workers who held those jobs? Does the free marketplace give us the right to do anything we want with anybody in terms of the workers who are going to be affected by it? Do we not have some responsibility to set some conditions and guidelines that bring a little measure of fairness or justice into this operation?

I think the questions I am asking in all of these areas are legitimate ones. I know people are being hurt. I do not know whether I can find it quick enough to raise it here but, in a recent riding report, I was amazed at the number of people who, in answering the questionnaire, indicated to me that they were paying about 35 per cent of their income for housing and, in some cases, about 50 per cent. People are not always anxious to talk, but I sent them back a letter.

Just so the members will not think I was loading the response, I will read the letter I sent: "You may remember that when I sent out my Hamilton East riding report early in the spring, one of the questions I asked was: 'Budget experts suggest that you spend 25 per cent of your income on rent and other housing costs. How much of your income do you spend on housing?' I was quite surprised and somewhat dismayed to find out that 228 of the people responding were spending 35 to 50 per cent of their income on housing, and a further 58 were spending more than 50 per cent." We had a return, if I recall correctly, of about 1,018 on this questionnaire.

"I hope the large number in these two categories is a result of confusion about whether it is 35 per cent of gross or net income. I should have made it more clear that I meant the gross household income, before paying income taxes.

"For stats purposes, I would very much appreciate your assistance in filling out the questionnaire on the reverse side of this letter and returning it to me. You do not need to give me your name or address, if you so desire, but even if you do, I assure you that such information will remain completely confidential. Your situation may have changed, of course, since you filled out the original riding report questionnaire earlier this spring. If this is the case, maybe you could just say that the questionnaire no longer applies in your case. I thank you very much for your co-operation with this information."

The House would be more than a little shocked at some of the comments and responses I got from a fairly large number of people who responded to that, some with their names and some without. It indicated we have some really serious problems.

Think of the senior citizen who made the comment, "I am a senior citizen and the six per cent raise in the old age pension seems a little short to cover inflation at this time, as everything costs more and therefore you do more and more with a little less." In this case, he was making $650 and his rent was $250. He says, "I am not as bad off as many." His shelter cost is only guaranteed for one year.

One of the questions I asked was: "Does your high shelter cost affect other budgeting? For example, do you have to cut back on your food budget or our clothes budget? Have you had to cut out any expenditures you used to make regularly, i.e., entertainment, etc.?" It was back on the food budget and back on the clothes budget. In this case, he goes to a couple of the charity organizations in town. On entertainment, "I have stopped."

It was surprising, but I got some at higher income levels as well. I was looking at one comment that touched me, but I do not find it here at the moment; I may before I have finished. Another person is making $1,120 a month and is spending $455 on the mortgage payment plus $60 a month on heating costs. They also were cutting back, more on the clothes budget than on the food budget. They said: "We have eliminated entertainment, and I am despairing at the price of food, gasoline, car repairs, and kids' clothing, and car insurance. We will probably have to give up our car."

Two or three of them are really telling. I will not try to read a lot more into the record, but they are further evidence of what is starting to happen to our people across this province. I would feel much more comfortable, even if it were an argument -- even if it were "No, go to blazes," or "We will tell why we do not think your arguments are any good" -- if this government were at least addressing the kind of problems I have been raising here today. But I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, it is not.

I had no intention originally of speaking during this debate on interim supply, but I decided to do so because I am really getting fed up and angry and disturbed that we cannot seem to get that kind of dialogue going -- even if it is to really challenge us, other than the silly little things that go on in this House -- about the serious problems we are facing, the lack of any increases in the assistance to the poorest people.

I do not put it at the top of the list but, apart from the doctors versus welfare money that we allowed last year, the $250 million against the $50 million -- $250 million for 14,000 people. $50 million for more than 250,000 in terms of our lowest-paid welfare and family benefits recipients and people on allowances -- I could also have written into that equation the latest nonsense in this House, where we have one of the ministers paying better than $1000 a speech, as I work it out -- $120,000 a year for speechwriting, which is about $1,000 a page, I think.

I will not go into this, because my colleague the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) did, but we see that kind of expenditure by one single cabinet minister, without even tendering. I was feeling a little bit guilty, and yet I thought it was just and I was ready to stick by it; it is a fight our party has put up for a long time, for additional research facilities for the members in this House.

Just for the record, maybe my speeches are lousy, and I will accept that, but I write all of them. I do a lot of speaking around this province and I do most of my own research, although I draw on our research staff where I can. I do not have anybody writing a speech for me as we have cabinet ministers galore having speeches written for them in this province.

When we put up a fight for an extra $250,000 for assistance for the opposition members to do their job in terms of additional research and research for members in this House, we were put down and told: "We cannot afford it. No way. We give too much already." Then we read in the paper that the member for London South (Mr. Walker) can increase $20,000 in one year and $30,000 the next, $200,000 for two different people, and $100,000 for a speechwriter, and $80,000-odd to set up the rah-rah for a couple of new projects he is opening up. That is over and above the kind of staff that cabinet minister has to begin with.

I no longer feel the least bit hesitant about saying that we have been shortchanged on this side of the House. As a matter of fact, it might be a good thing if every Tory member and every cabinet minister had to prepare his or her own speeches just for a one-month period. I wonder what we would save. It would probably be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It is these kinds of things that disturb me: the inequities in the payments, the lack of any increases, the reactions we get to things like minimum wage, the lack of action in terms of what happens to workers in plant closures, the lack of action in terms of the people who suffer most in many cases and I am not denying that those who have invested money suffer as well, but the people who suffer most are the workers -- in receiverships and bankruptcy cases and the lack of action in hard, mandatory, affirmative action programs, or contract compliance, to recognize and deal with the problem of women.

As a matter of fact, let me add one little piece that I forgot to mention about that particular area. One of the biggest single arguments we have ever had from Tory members against equal pay for work of equal value -- equality in terms of paying for the job, not on the basis of the sex of a worker -- is that it could not be afforded because we had wrecked the economy.

I did not bring it with me, but I hope all members read a fairly major story in the business pages of our press the other day, which reported that to get out of a long lawsuit, General Motors in the United States has agreed to set fairly hefty quotas on the number of women who would be hired for various jobs, and all at an equal rate in terms of wages. In one case, it was 28 per cent.

One of the biggest corporations in the world that has itself used the same arguments and fought the issue right down the pike, as this government has, has now said, "We are prepared to move in a substantial way in terms of meeting the inequity." In other words, even General Motors has finally seen that its time has come. When is this government going to decide that the time has come for some adjustments for some of the ordinary people in Ontario?

5 p.m.

It is difficult to get up, it is probably not the time to do it, and oppose something like interim supply. I would not want to be accused, any more than anyone else in this House -- even though I think it would be a phoney argument -- of being responsible for the workers not getting their paycheques because somebody held up the interim supply. But it is pretty difficult to vote for the next three-month allotment of money for this government when one takes a look at its lack of action in terms of the problems we face in this area.

I hope some of the members will start to think about it a little bit. I do not care if they want to try to kick the bejesus out of us, they should at least start to respond on those issues and not ignore them; they should start doing something in terms of what the people in Ontario need.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I want to enter the debate on the motion for interim supply for the period of November 1 to December 31, 1983. Perhaps I should follow some of the comments of the previous speakers, but looking at the present minister responsible for Treasury and Economics in Ontario, I want to talk on a few topics that are of particular interest to me, and some of the government policies related to taxation in Ontario.

In the last budget presented in the Legislature, there were a number of areas where I thought there was inequity in the taxation policy of this government. These were the areas of the provincial income tax where we have had increases for the last couple of years, the Ontario health insurance plan premiums -- well above the restraint guidelines -- and tobacco and liquor taxes. Everybody says this is a sin tax and people can afford it, but at some place along the line there must be some equity in our taxation programs here in Ontario.

In particular, when I look at the sin taxes, I can go right from Fort Erie, the place where I live, across the border to where one can buy alcoholic beverages, cases of beer, for half the price one can purchase them here in Ontario. It is the same with cigarettes. In fact, there has been a charge laid here. A person brought in liquor supplies on a small vessel from the American side and sold them here on the Canadian side. Apparently there is going to be quite a market in this particular area. There will perhaps be more people going to the United States to spend their money instead of spending it here in Ontario.

The other thing I was not too happy about, as critic of the Ministry of Revenue, was the ad valorem tax. It really bothers me to hear of the Premier (Mr. Davis) going out and giving the message to the municipalities that the restraint program is going to be with us for another year. I will tell the House now, it is going to be about 3.5 or four per cent; that is all the local municipalities are going to get from the government in transfer payments.

It is going to be difficult for them to maintain a level of acceptable taxation for the property owners within the municipality. All of these different taxes that have been increased over the last year or two add to the cost of inflation. Yet on the deficit side we see the government is still running rather high: a deficit of about $3 billion or $3.5 billion is estimated this year. Who knows what the total debt will be? That is what I am concerned about.

I was interested when I had some matters raised to me by concerned people working in the Fort Erie area. One was from a construction company in Fort Erie, and another from an employee of a trucking firm in Fort Erie. As much as we are hoping the employment is going to turn around, he said Red Star Express Lines, a trucking firm located in Fort Erie, will be transferring some employees, not too many, to Toronto, the rest will be going to the United States and there will be a number of employees who will be laid off who have about 25 to 30 years' employment in the area.

I am concerned about this government and its policy on deregulation. I gather from what I am told in a letter from Mr. Charles L. Cormack of Fort Erie, who is an employee of Red Star, that he is concerned about his employment in the area, as well as that of others. At one time Fort Erie was perhaps one of the largest railroad towns in Canada. It was a large port of entry at the International Bridge. It was considered to be a railroad town, and the biggest number of employees, which would be in the thousands, was employed in the railroad section of the town.

Fort Erie had been noted for its trucking industry too. It had a number of marshalling yards there. Red Star, Active Transport and Maislin were located there. There have been others I just cannot recall at the present time but they employed a number of mechanics, skilled tradesmen, shippers and drivers in the area. They have gradually moved out of Fort Erie, as some of the marshalling yards have perhaps gone to Toronto. It will only be used as a base station to handle the telephone to carry out shipping orders from points of entry from the American side. I am concerned about that regulation.

There is an article in the Globe and Mail, for example, of July 25, 1983:

"As many as 5,000 jobs, $1 billion in annual purchases and $350 million in annual government revenues could be at stake if Ontario adopts an open border policy with regard to US truckers, a consultant's report says.

"In its submission, the OTA" -- that is the Ontario Trucking Association -- "said US truckers already enjoy an advantage over Ontario carriers and opening the borders would aggravate the situation

"Following the deregulation of US trucking in 1980, truckers in the United States argued that Canadian procedures were anti-competitive." I do not think that is quite true.

"The OTA, which represents for-hire truckers, presented 40 members before the OHTB," which is the Ontario Highway Transport Board. "All argued against open borders and said they would be put out of business or forced to relocate in the United States if they had to compete on the same footing as US carriers."

The OTA was quoted as saying: "Based upon the evidence ... a major shift in the balance of trade in trucking services will occur if Ontario discards economic regulation of trans-border trucking between Ontario and the United States. This shift will fundamentally reshape the trucking industry not only in Ontario but throughout Canada, to the detriment of the economic health and political interest of Ontario and Canada ..."

The Globe and Mail article continued: "This is supported by the consultant's report prepared by Bernard Jones, a former assistant deputy minister in the Ontario Ministry of Treasury and Economics. 'The international trucking market is important to Canada, but even more important to Ontario's economy, since Ontario-based international carriers generate a disproportionately large share (almost 50 per cent) of the total international revenues,' he said.

"In terms of a balance of trade in trucking, the report says it appears that US carriers already have an advantage. US shipments earn more revenue and represent a bigger share of the Canadian market than Canadian shipments do in the United States.

"It also says international protectionist trends are on the rise. If the OHTB supports an open border policy, a transition period of adjustment or phasing-in may be required. The truckers said that with open borders, it would be better for them to relocate in the United States."

5:10 p.m.

I might say that a number of Canadian trucking firms, particularly from Ontario, have already established a base on the American side, moving their facilities from the Canadian side to the American side, with a loss in tax revenue to local municipalities and a loss in jobs, to try to be competitive with the American side. For example, Red Star Express Lines of Auburn inc., that is Auburn, New York, is to follow suit and reduce rates by 30 per cent in hopes of capturing the domestic traffic. So we can see there is going to be a price war through deregulation.

The same thing is happening with commercial airlines in the United States. Here in Canada we are going to run into some difficulties as they start a price war to try to capture the market. I am glad the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) is present. He may well get the message I am trying to convey to the government.

Dr. Haritos, who is an expert on studies on the trucking industry across Canada, suggested that "at the provincial level there is a need for a co-ordinated approach to roadway pricing and investment policy rather than the current approach in Ontario whereby the MTC handles roadway construction and maintenance and Treasury and Economics establishes motorist-related revenue policies."

The member from Hamilton mentioned the research facilities here for the members. I do appreciate the research services that are provided to members who make use of the services at our library here in the Legislative Building. They provide a good service. They provide members who request it with excellent background material for speechmaking, and I do not think it is at a cost of $20,000 a speech. It may be $20,000 for the salary of the person working in the legislative research facilities. I hope these services will continue to be available for a number of years, because they provide the members with exceptionally good background papers to debate an issue such as this before the Ontario Legislature.

I raise the matter of the cost ratio as it relates to the ministry of highways, the cost of construction in Ontario and the maintenance. I find from the information I have before me that at present the province generates about 70 per cent of the costs of road-building and maintenance from revenue generated by the petrol fuel tax, vehicle licences, public commercial vehicle licences and so forth.

The remaining 30 per cent comes out of general --

Hon. Mr. Snow: The member had better get a new researcher.

Mr. Haggerty: I will get into the nuts and bolts and right down to the detail.

Mr. McClellan: Does the member want more researchers?

Mr. Haggerty: I need some more; that is right. But I suggest to the minister that I will get down to the nuts and bolts and perhaps put it to him that some of these comments have come from his ministry. I am just taking a general look.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I just said the information the member is giving is not factually correct.

Mr. Haggerty: I suppose I could look at the same thing from his side. It is debatable; That is why we have a Legislature here.

The point I am trying to get through to the minister is that a large proportion of the cost of operating the road network in Ontario, that is, the construction and maintenance, comes from the consolidated revenue. In fact, one might say it all does. But a portion of it that may run about 69, 70 or 72 per cent is raised through a tax levy on the user fee in Ontario.

The minister is shaking his head. We will get into it and we will see. Perhaps I can get him to come forward with some suggestions.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I am just giving the member the facts, that is all.

Mr. Haggerty: The facts are under the heading here of "Estimated Motorist-Related Revenues and Costs for Ontario":

"The Ontario committee on taxation (1967) (Smith commission) as part of its mandate to inquire into the Ontario taxation and revenue system, conducted an analysis of motor vehicle revenues in relation to road costs. With the technical assistance of the Ontario Department of Transport (now MTC) the Smith commission estimated total annual road costs for 1967 at $550 million.

"With regard to financing road costs and the establishment of a user and nonuser share, this commission recognized the principle that 'road users [including truckers] should be required to pay only for that portion of the road system that is not designed to provide access to property.'

"Based upon supporting revenue computations, the commission concluded that current motor vehicle revenues in Ontario should range somewhere between 65 and 75 per cent of average annual road expenditures.' I suppose it would be somewhere around that now.

"Motor vehicle revenues based upon computations from the 1966-67 budget figures were estimated at $375 million or 68 per cent of the estimated road expenditures. The commission noted that this 'value falls at the lower end of our acceptable range' and that 'some increase in user charges could properly be countenanced.'

"With the assistance of the Department of Transport, roadway costs were then distributed among various classes or types of vehicles ranging from passenger cars to the largest trucks. These computations involved the use of data on the number of vehicles in each vehicle class, estimates of the annual road mileage by vehicle class, the pavement and bridge design costs of accommodating heavy trucks and the distribution of costs according to the axle weight or gross weight of each class.

"The key conclusion of this complex cost allocation process, whereby user costs and revenues were compared by vehicle class, was that the 'present revenue structure in Ontario tends to charge passenger vehicle [i.e., a car] and light truck owners less than the road costs they occasion, while the owners of heavy trucks and buses are more than meeting their cost responsibility.' As a consequence of this finding, the commission did not recommend that truck user charges be increased. Nor did the report recommend that motor vehicle revenues attempt to meet all roadway costs.

"Over the years, the Smith commission's motorist-related percentage roadway cost recommendation has been used to compare computed motorist-related revenue cost figures for Ontario. The findings of the Smith report have been cited by the Ontario Motor League (OML) to claim that for 1976-79 motorists were paying more than their 65 to 75 per cent share. In association with this OML brief, the Ministry of Treasury and Economics made computations of 1977-78 and 1978-79 motorist-related expenditures and revenues. For 1977-78 it was estimated that road users met 63 per cent of these expenditures and 63.9 per cent of these expenditures for 1978-79. There is no specific indication, however, that these computations have been influenced motorist-related taxation policy.

"The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), in an April 1982 brief, cited the Smith Commission (1967) as recommending the abolition of the PCV (public commercial vehicle) fee.

"Canadian Transport Commission/Haritos Study (1973) of Canadian Road Pricing Policies: This landmark analysis conducted by Dr. Zeis Haritos, a transportation economist with training in economics and engineering, was the first comprehensive attempt in Canada to measure roadway expenditures to relocate costs to users. Ontario roadway expenditure/cost data for 1968 were a major component of this analysis. This report was based upon the premise that the 'objective of efficient allocation of resources will be satisfied if all road costs are recovered from the road users' and that 'road financing out of general taxation is inefficient.'

"Using the author's preferred assumptions of a nine per cent rate of return, 20-year road life and straight-line depreciation method, road costs for Canada in 1968 were estimated at $2,160 million and road revenues were $1,347 million. The comparable costs for Ontario were $731.8 million with revenues of $520.1 million. For Canada, roadway revenues amounted to 62 per cent of costs and for Ontario the comparable figure was 71 per cent of costs. Haritos saw 'the large gap between road costs and revenues ... [as] an indication of the degree of inefficiency [from an economic pricing perspective] in the road system in Canada.'

"Based upon a comparative analysis for Ontario in 1968 of efficient road user charges compared with actual road user charges by vehicle class or type, the study reached the following overall conclusion: 'Passenger vehicles [cars] as a group, paid less than their efficient share of the road costs, buses paid a little more than their efficient share of road costs and trucks less than their efficient share of road costs."

5:20 p.m.

We have seen over the years that the minister has increased the costs of motor vehicle licences to cars of certain size, horsepower or size of engine: four-, six- and eight-cylinder. At one time one paid a pretty hefty price for operating an eight-cylinder vehicle, but today the minister has dropped all the different variations in costing the vehicle licence to an even amount and everybody pays the same, whether it is a small or large car.

I can see the wisdom of the minister moving in that direction because there are more small cars coming on to the road. More people are buying small cars so that it is a good way to equalize the costs in the long run. It is going to be more advantageous to the coffers of the ministry.

To continue to quote from the study: "Therefore, for efficiency, the 1968 level of total annual (vehicle road) charges (in Ontario) to passenger cars should be raised similarly, the present level of charges to trucks should be raised, whereas the level of charges to buses should decrease.

"These recommendations were based upon a road pricing scheme which would lead to full cost recovery from road users.

"Subsequent transportation cost revenue work by Haritos and Transport Canada has demonstrated that the percentage of roadway costs recovered from revenues has declined. However, it is interesting to note that the road-user cost recovery is substantially higher than for the air or marine modes. Rail passenger services in Canada are also heavily subsidized from general revenue."

It goes on to give the percentage of costs recovered in a section headed, "Transport Infrastructure Costs and Revenues in Canada for Selected Years by Mode," in millions of 1975 constant dollars. In 1968, with respect to the road annual costs and annual revenues, the percentage of the costs recovered was 72 per cent in 1968, 63 per cent in 1973 and 59 per cent in 1975. One can see that the user fee has declined considerably. If one takes it province by province, it had to go to the consolidated revenue to pick up that extra cost.

When one looks at the consolidated revenue to carry some of the costs of that road construction and maintenance in Ontario, there are a number of taxpayers who have never owned an automobile who are carrying a load through taxation to maintain a highway system.

Of course, the arguments are that you are going to get your goods delivered to your door. Well, you could get it done before by railway.

The study continues: "For 1979, in additional transportation revenue expenditure computations, Transport Canada computed that the net road revenues for Canada [i.e., excluding revenues generated by the federal excise tax on gasoline] amounted to 47 per cent of the annual expenditure. For Ontario, the province with the most concentrated vehicle population and roadway network in southern Ontario, net road revenues for 1979 amounted to 64 per cent of the annual total expenditures. Provincial net road revenues were estimated at $1,152 million with expenditures of $1,803 million. The Ontario revenue cost ratio was the highest of any province, with Nova Scotia having the next highest ratio of 52 per cent.

"With regard to the current policy directions, Dr. Haritos, during a March 17, 1983, telephone interview, suggested that at the provincial level there is a need for a co-ordinated approach to roadway pricing and investment policy rather than the current approach in Ontario whereby MTC handles roadway construction and maintenance and Treasury and Economics establishes motor-related revenue policies. Dr. Haritos cited the example of Transport Canada, which co-ordinates federal transportation planning and also has direct input into federal transportation user-charge policy formulation.

"If such an approach was used in Ontario, a related policy issue would be to establish a fair-share target which various roadway users should pay. Dr. Haritos also emphasized that since his base analysis, using 1968 data, roadway users' percentage contribution towards total roadway costs has declined. With regard to fair share pricing and trucking it would have to be decided whether truckers should pay more or less. Such pricing policies would also have to take into consideration the current economic health of the trucking industry."

I turn now to the Highway Revenue Cost Allocation Study by the Canadian Institute of Guided Ground Transport. 1983.

"'This most recent analysis of highway costs and revenues attributable to trucks particularly in Ontario, was conducted by Mark Bunting, a research associate with CIGGT at Queen's University in Kingston. Through the adaptation of highway cost allocation methodology developed in the United States to highway cost and revenue data compiled for Ontario, this CIGGT study'... suggests that intercity trucking in Ontario receives a subsidy of $235 million per year. [For 1979, revenues attributable to truck operations in Ontario were estimated at $91 million and attributable costs were estimated at $326 million].

"'Further examination of available information on road deterioration and road capacity use in the context of Ontario's Highway 401 (between Toronto and the Quebec border) indicates that the estimates of the truck share of costs should be increased, reflecting higher-than-average truck volumes and the significant impact of trucks on available road capacity. [For this segment of the 401, revenues attributable to intercity trucking for 1980-81 were estimated $18 million, compared to attributable cost estimates ranging from $29 million to $58 million.'"

It is noted that in Quebec the Canadian Pacific Railway, in the trucking part of its transportation mode, is using the train type of transport now where there are three trailers of a certain length -- I think it is 38 feet -- triple trailers. CP Express has been given permission by the Quebec Ministry of Transport to haul three 28-foot pup trailers in tandem between the company's terminals at Lachine, Quebec, and Quebec City. Quebec is the third province to allow the use of triple-trailer trains. They are already in use in Alberta and Manitoba.

That brings up another concern, because in the United States there was a study done on the results of the Test Spur Debate. This is from the Brookhaven News of April 24, 1982, on truck damage to highways. It says the study was done by United States engineers.

"The most controversial conclusion was that a single fully loaded, 80,000-pound truck -- the heaviest allowed on US highways -- causes the equivalent in pavement wear of 9,600 automobiles.

"Illinois officials have since concluded as a result of tests that on average, a tractor-trailer on the state's highways, taking into account that some are empty and some have partial loads, is equal to 3,400 automobiles in causing wear.

"'We learned from the tests that if you increase axle weight, you wear out the roads quicker,' said Larry Shoudel, permit engineer for the state division of highways.

"The American Association of State Highways Officials conducted a $27-million Ottawa tests in co-operation with the federal government." That is, in the state of Illinois. "The tests showed that a truck with an 18,000-pound axle load -- the maximum allowable in Illinois -- equals 6,000 cars in wear but a truck with a 20,000-pound axle load -- the maximum in 47 other states -- equals 9,600 cars in road wear. That is an 11 per cent increase in weight, but a 60 per cent increase in highway wear.

"A truck with a 24,000-pound axle load represents a 33 per cent increase in weight and a 345 per cent increase in highway damage, the tests showed.

"An official of the American Trucking Association, a trade group representing the industry, said: 'They ran axle weights of 30,000 pounds and more over sections of pavement that were not designed to take them. The sections designed to modern standards were not damaged.'"

There are pros and cons in that particular area. If a road is designed to carry a certain weight, projecting the weights of these new trucks and trains that are coming on to the roads, it will cost the taxpayers more because no doubt we would have to put a heavier base in the roads to carry that weight and additional asphalt on top.

5:30 p.m.

"The CIGGT study also raises the concern that an increasing volume of heavy trucks would accelerate pavement deterioration. This report will also likely prompt debate among transportation engineers and economists over the methodology and assumptions used to reach the above cost/revenue findings. Indeed, the study admits to some data availability and compilation difficulties. Future studies may be undertaken to refine the data and cost allocation methodology used in this work.

"Based upon the trucking industry perception that the 'CIGGT is a research front for the railways,' The Ontario Trucking Association has taken issue with this study's findings which imply that the trucking industry is not paying its fair share. The OTA has advocated an independent revenue/cost analysis be undertaken by the Ontario Economic Council." That study was done but I do not think it was too fruitful for either side. "Indeed, this CIGGT study was financed by the Canadian National Railways. Bunting, however, emphasizes that the views expressed are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of the sponsor or other agencies."

I might add, too, that when we are talking about the railroads, today they are abandoning many railroad facilities and trackage in different communities. In fact, I have a letter from the Canadian Transport Commission where Canadian National Railways, relating to file No. 3930260 to the Canadian Transport Commission, has made application to abandon the Dunnville subdivision between Fort Erie, Port Colborne and Caledonia, a total mileage of I think 58 miles.

One looks at what has taken place. As I travel the Queen Elizabeth Way, I see more and more trucks on the road than ever before. I know the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is constructing additional lanes at the Burlington Skyway. I suppose the reason for that is to handle the number of heavy vehicles, the trucks that are making use of that roadway between the United States and Toronto.

At the border crossings in the peninsula at Fort Erie, Niagara Falls and Lewiston, there are more American trucks coming in all the time. In fact, railroads are abandoning many of their lines now. I cited one for an example. They are putting more on transport trucks, heavy tractor trailers in which the railroads are now involved.

CN and the CP have a network all across Canada. In other words, they are not maintaining the present roadbeds. They are abandoning them and making use of provincial highways across Canada. I question whether they are paying their fair share in the cost of maintaining, reconstructing and building these roads to keep them up to certain standards. When they pull up the lines in these communities that means the local municipalities have to spend more money on their road networks to handle the different changes in transportation mode as a result of coming in by transport. This is going to cost the municipalities.

As I said in my opening comments, the first minister of the province says the transfer payments to municipalities will be less than four per cent. It is going to be less than what it was last year. If we change our transportation mode to these heavy trucks it will mean more costs to the municipalities in repairing roads because these trucks are going to be intercity, in some cases, or from one community to another. They are going to be using the superhighways such as the Queen Elizabeth Way, Highway 401 and Highway 400.

That is one of the points I wanted to drive home to the minister. At some place along the line he is going to have to legislate. He is going to have to take a serious look at the cost allocation, the damage to our roadways and who will pay for it. Should it come out of the consolidated revenue fund or from user fees, perhaps a higher charge?

"The debate over these pavement damage/cost allocation methods entered into the American congressional committee deliberations leading up to the 1982 revision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. A key element of this debate was the potential long-term impact of heavier trucks upon interstate highway pavements.

"The American Railroad lobby emphasized that increased truck weights will 'cause disproportionate strain on the highway system' and would have a 'devastating impact' on railway revenues. Railroad interests cited AASHO tests to emphasize the increased stress that greater truck weights would impose on the highway system. The American Automobile Association also emphasized the adverse impact that increased truck weights would have upon the highway pavements and safety. The AAA recommended a reduction in the heavy truck axle-loadings and the maximum gross weights.

"The American Trucking Association, however, has strongly criticized the strong reliance on the AASHO test data to determine truck cost allocations. The basic position of the American Trucking Association appears to be that the recently introduced level of tax increases is excessive in view of what it sees as the actual impact of heavier gross vehicle weights that the structure would be required to support. When special permits are issued for the operation of overweight vehicles on Ontario highways MTC engineers would ensure that these vehicles have an adequate number of axles to distribute their loads and are routed over bridges that can handle their weight. On some occasions shippers may compensate MTC for the required upgrading of bridges to accommodate overweight loads for which no alternative route is possible.

"The Ontario Motor League, in its submissions to the Uffen commission, based upon American experience, emphasized the pavement damage factor in the operation of larger trucks. The OML also highlighted the problem of roadway rutting which it implied is related to truck traffic and examples of rutting were cited along Highway 401 between Cobourg and Belleville, Highway 7 between Kaladar and Perth, and between Carleton Place and Highway 417. The MTC would probably regard this alleged 'rutting' as a normal highway pavement maintenance concern.

"In its Statement of Policy (1983) the Canadian Automobile Association recommended: Provincial governments are urged to conduct highway cost allocation studies to: determine the relative share of highway costs, both construction and maintenance, that should be borne by each user class; determine if each user class is currently paying its fair share of highway costs; if necessary, to recommend methods of adjusting provincial fees and taxes for each user class to ensure that each class is paying its fair share of highway costs."

I bring these to the attention of the Legislative Assembly. I am concerned about these regulations in the trucking industry here in Canada and the United States. I feel that we, in Ontario, may be shortchanged; that we may lose a number of jobs through the deregulation of the trucking industry.

I would recommend that this government have an immediate study done in this area to find out what impact it would have on the economy in Ontario, as related to the possible lost revenue, if the American trucking industry is permitted to come into Ontario and run its fleets of trucks all the way across the United States and Canada.

I was delighted to see one of the reports from the Ontario Highway Transport Board which stated they did not permit one of the American trucking firms to take over a trucking industry in -- I guess it would be the Brampton area. I do not have it before me right now. The application was turned down and it was one of the largest trucking companies in the United States. Once they get a foothold in Ontario, we might say goodbye to the domestic trucking industry in Ontario.

I suggest the government should be looking at doing a study in this area of future lost employment if, through deregulation, it means that more and more American trucks will come into Ontario. If I were a Canadian or an Ontarian truck driver and had to drive to different states, I would have to pay a user fee on the superhighways. For example, driving a vehicle in New York state, I would have to pay a user fee on the New York State Thruway. One pays for the use of that superhighway. If I travelled into Pennsylvania and used the turnpike, I would pay a toll there too. Also, I would have to pay a certain amount in gasoline tax, or petrol tax. One has to pay so much every time one enters a different state.

Here, I do not know. I question whether they are even paying any fuel tax in Ontario. They will fuel up on the American side because it is cheaper to buy diesel fuel and even gasoline on the American side, then ride over here and piggyback on to the cost of the ad valorem tax that we as the ordinary people of Ontario have to pay. I suggest that is an area that should be looked at.

5:40 p.m.

I think we should also take a good, close look to see if we should not be imposing a higher user fee for the use of those roads. As I indicated before, a number of citizens in Ontario are paying through the consolidated revenue by different forms of taxes. Provincial income tax, which goes into consolidated revenue, goes to the cost of maintaining and building our provincial highways. Yet we have different modes of transportation.

It could be a possibility that studies have been done here about permitting truck trains to travel on our highways, which increased the payload. Perhaps they are not carrying their fair share of the cost of operating a road network in Ontario. I think it is time this government took a good close look at that area.

I do not think we can continue to go to the consolidated revenue to carry a good portion of the road maintenance costs in Ontario. I just feel that even if it was reduced by 15 per cent, the revenue there could be applied to OHIP premiums, which would give a certain relief to lower-income people who would be able to obtain a good medical program or plan.

I have raised some important matters here. I am concerned about jobs. I would suggest, regarding jobs that may be lost and are being lost, that an immediate study be done by the ministry to take a good look at it now before all of these major changes that will be coming forth, as suggested by the Ontario trucking industry. It is a concern of those people involved in it that we could lose 5,000 jobs. I suggest that in Ontario we cannot even think about losing 5,000 jobs because there are not that many jobs, and what there are, this government has a responsibility to protect.

With those comments, Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the time provided for me. I thought I would bring this point forward. I think it is time we took a whole new look at our transportation policy in Ontario and perhaps have a further debate on it in the Legislature. There are problem areas that need immediate attention before we are short-changed through deregulation.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, we are today debating a request for interim supply for the period from November 1 to December 31. As I am sure all members are aware, the request for supply is a very ancient part of our democratic process whereby the governing party has to come to the Legislature for supply at periodic intervals. It does give us an opportunity to discuss the question of the direction of government spending to date in the fiscal year and what direction it will take in the next two months.

I must say I am not too happy with the direction it has been taking up to date in this fiscal year. We seem to be continuing the government's rich expenditures on advertising, foreign travel and expensive entertaining while, at the same time, we are seeing government cutbacks or restrictions in the increase in services to people. We are seeing agencies serving people and not being able to keep up with the rate of inflation in the grants that have been allocated to them.

For example, in the field of funding of interval houses for battered women, there has been no movement by the government to improve their situation, despite the strong recommendations from the standing committee on social development which discussed this very important question last year, in 1982, and which brought in a very strong report in December 1982 urging that funding for interval houses should be raised and broadened so they could cover not only room and board but counselling services, rehabilitation and resettlement services for women who had to leave their homes permanently.

All we have had in that area is a program from the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) for 12 interval houses in northern communities, but it appears these will be very underfunded as far as operating costs go. I understand the minister is proposing an administrator at $15,000 a year and three or four minimum-wage workers to staff these houses. Also, he is not funding houses that already exist in these areas, such as in Kapuskasing where there is a house that can accommodate 17 people. That will not be funded and instead the new eight-bed home that is being offered throughout the north will be offered to them in exchange.

Surely this is not progress, this is a step backward when the Kapuskasing community has been funding, through its own efforts and through some per diem grants, a home that would provide beds for 17 people, and it will get instead a home that will provide beds for about 10 or 12.

As far as looking ahead is concerned to the kind of expenditures we would like to see in the next two months, the balance of the fiscal year, we hope there will be a change in the government's expenditures for job creation. We are facing a winter of serious unemployment in this province. Layoffs are increasing; they are being announced every day. The construction industry is coming into the lean part of the year. What we need is a series of public works that can be accelerated, some of which can be started in the winter with the balance ready to start in the spring.

The New Democratic Party caucus at city hall in Toronto has produced a very imaginative program of employment projects that could be undertaken right away. Even the mayor of the city of Toronto has produced his own somewhat lesser program of projects that could be undertaken. But so far, we have not had any indication from the government that it is prepared to assist with the funding of these emergency and accelerated public works programs that could put people to work this winter. We know that co-op housing bodies and nonprofit housing agencies in the municipal field have housing plans ready to go but they cannot get the money from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. at present.

In view of the serious unemployment situation, the province should move in to fill the gap and provide us with work and with more affordable housing because these are two of the most serious problems in this province at present. There is simply not enough affordable housing, particularly in some of the larger centres such as Toronto. As a result, the pressure on rents is becoming very strong and the pressure on developers to build luxury housing outside the rent-control system is also becoming very strong because they know people have to live somewhere and if they cannot find affordable housing under rent control, they will be forced to buy housing which will cost as much as 35 per cent or 40 per cent of their income. That is an unacceptable level for most people if they wish to maintain their standard of living in other areas.

5:50 p.m.

Another area where the province appears to be cutting back, which I think it should reconsider, is the area of termite control. A new program being discussed will essentially put more of the burden on the municipalities and less on the province. This is a backward step with regard to the treatment of a serious problem that can affect a great deal of housing in this province, particularly in the city of Toronto. It is a problem in my own area, it is a problem in most wards of the city of Toronto. If we do not encourage people to make their homes termite-proof, the problem will continue to grow. I think this is the wrong time to change the funding so that there is less incentive for people and for municipalities to produce termite control programs.

Last Thursday, this House endorsed the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, and not a single member present in the House voted against it. The Ontario government could lead the way in the Ontario public service and the crown agencies to show how this principle can be implemented. If it did so, this kind of program would have a big stimulative effect on the economy, which is what we need right now. It would put a lot of additional purchasing power into the hands of women who have been underpaid over the years with regard to the value of their work when it is compared to the value of other jobs. If we put the extra money that these women are in fairness entitled to into their hands, they will spend it immediately, because a great many of them are at a very low standard of living, and that will be a real shot in the arm to the economy. If the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) is looking for stimulative programs, I commend that one to him.

I would also suggest that if the Treasurer wanted to get a double whammy from this kind of stimulus, he could bring in equal pay for work of equal value legislation and get the private sector roped into the act as well. If the private sector were bringing in equal value settlements in its employment sector, there would be a double whammy on the shot in the arm for the economy. This is an area that I think the Treasurer should be thinking of for the next two months. It would also indicate to the House whether the government members really meant it when they endorsed the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. We have a chance to find out by December 31 whether they really do endorse that principle.

Another area where we think government spending must be directed immediately is the problem of meeting the microtechnology revolution. Microtechnology enhances computer technology and, as a result, we have what is called a revolution in our offices, in our service industries, in our factories and in the general information and communications field. The question is, what effect is that going to have on the people in the province? I do not think the government can back away from looking at those effects.

This revolution is coming in during a period of severe cyclical depression, and since it comes in during this period there is all the more reason why the government must act to meet that revolution and to deal with the adjustments that will be necessary. Most of the studies indicate that women will be the most affected by the microtechnology revolution. Thousands of women will be displaced from office and clerical jobs, telecommunications companies, banks, supermarkets, postal services and similar service industries. Men will be also displaced in those industries and in factories -- both men and women.

I think we have to look at how those people are going to be affected. Are they just going to be put on the unemployment roles to end up on unemployment insurance and welfare, or are we going to help them adjust? Are we going to train them for the new jobs that will develop with the use of microtechnology in these fields?

It is a question of either letting the revolution happen and letting people fall by the wayside or meeting it head on. That will require government intervention in fields such as training and retraining for the workers affected, it will also require a strong commitment to technological development and the promotion of it in Canada.

Canada has been lagging in technological development and currently relies heavily on foreign sources such as the United States and Japan for microelectronic machinery. Without a strong commitment to the development of new technology, Canada's economy could suffer badly. Foreign dominance and foreign control of the economy could increase with the result that crucial decisions about Canada's economic future could be taken out of the hands of Canadians. Balance of payments problems would grow and, very likely, the number of jobs available to all Canadians would decline.

When we face this kind of prognosis from the microtechnological revolution, we require action by the government to meet it head on. This is the kind of spending they should be looking at in the next few months.

Whether women have access to the new jobs that are to be created will depend on whether they have access to education and training opportunities. This is where the ministries of Education and Colleges and Universities must get involved to a much greater extent than they are at present.

The Ministry of Education must set up special training programs for guidance counsellors in schools. These counsellors must be oriented to encourage girls and young women to take science and mathematical courses, and to learn about computers. They must also develop apprenticeship training programs and skills training programs in the community colleges and in the universities, and encourage women to enter those programs.

One thing we have to remember is that in the past when we have had changes in jobs there has been a tendency to fall back on the service sector and say that new jobs can be created in the service sector, and the women who are dealt out of the banks and the telecommunications companies will find jobs in the service sector. I think we have to recognize the service sector is also greatly affected by the microtechnological revolution. The jobs will disappear there or they will be broken down into smaller jobs or decentralized jobs.

We have to look also at the quality of work which may stem from the change in the nature of jobs. We do not want to go back to piecework in the home, but that may happen if jobs are deskilled and broken down, and terminals can be put in every home.

Mr. Speaker: I ask the honourable member to look at the clock, please.

On motion by Ms. Bryden, the debate was adjourned.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment of the House, I might indicate that since this debate does not appear to be concluded yet, it was agreed we would continue it Thursday evening in place of the debate on the committee report on pensions. This debate will continue at eight o'clock on Thursday evening.

The House adjourned at 6 p.m.