The House met at 1330.
Mr Farnan: The hospital services of Kitchener-Waterloo are being realigned. There are 110 nurses in the specialities of paediatrics and obstetrics being displaced at St Mary’s General Hospital. They are unable to follow these services to the Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital and continue in their chosen careers because the Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital is unable to accept their seniority.
The realignment of services is taking place at the instigation of and with the approval of the Ministry of Health. However, because of the inability of the Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital to honour the status of the nurses, the community is losing a great number of highly qualified paediatric and obstetrical nurses. It will take many years for this base of excellence in nursing to be restructured.
Is this government prepared to take steps to ensure that this does not happen, to give assistance to these nurses and to assure the community of Kitchener-Waterloo that the expert care it has enjoyed will be available when it is in need?
The nursing situation in this province is at a crisis and the crisis is being compounded by a government that refuses to treat its nurses properly, to recognize their seniority and to allow them to transfer to another hospital with their seniority intact when this move is initiated by the government.
Mr McLean: My statement is directed to the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr O’Neil). It appears that recent events at Ontario Place, when it was under the chairmanship of Patricia Starr, are a clear indication that the minister does not take his job seriously.
In the first case, Mrs Starr decided to give the spouse of the Minister of Housing (Ms Hošek) a consulting contract plus expenses in the fall of 1987 without calling for tenders.
In the second case, Mrs Starr decided to privatize the fast-food concessions at Ontario Place, and that was in June 1987. Again, tenders were not called for the 10 fast-food concessions and the souvenir concession. As well, new management was brought in to operate the sit-down restaurants. Once again, Mrs Starr failed to call for tenders.
In the third case, we have heard that Ontario Place staff who had quit sent representatives to the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Recreation and to the minister’s staff, to report that Mrs Starr was flagrantly violating procedures set down in the government’s policies manual.
I am certain that we will hear more about political patronage and policy violations in the coming days and weeks. Having said this, I think the people of Ontario are getting the clear message that certain people will be looked after if they are friends of the Premier (Mr Peterson), members of his cabinet or of the Ontario Liberal Party.
Another message is also being sent out, and that is that rules, policies and procedures are in place only to be broken.
METRO EAST MULTICULTURALFESTIVAL
Mr Faubert: I rise today to advise the members of this Legislature of an exciting event which took place at the Alex Manoogian Cultural Centre in my riding of Scarborough-Ellesmere last Saturday 17 June 1989.
This event was the Metro East Multicultural Festival, sponsored by the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority race relations policies and programs branch, with the support of the Minister of Housing (Ms Hošek) and the Minister of Citizenship (Mr Phillips) responsible for multiculturalism and race relations.
The theme of the festival was, “Pride of place and pride in people.” Judging by the enthusiasm exhibited by the volunteers and performers, it was obvious that these residents take great pride in their performing abilities, their cultures and their communities.
The central message that gatherings such as these convey is that all cultures have something to contribute to our society and that differences in cultures should be looked upon with interest rather than suspicion. As well, they encourage understanding, foster tolerance and create harmony.
I commend the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority for this community-based approach and I commend the Minister of Citizenship for the support his ministry gave to this project. As well, I congratulate the festival planning committee members for their efforts to make this festival an exciting reality.
Most important. I would like to commend and congratulate the volunteers and performers who, as MTHA residents, put on an entertaining and enjoyable showcase of talent which demonstrated so well the pride in their cultures and their communities that was a theme of this festival. I encourage all involved to make this an annual event.
PROPOSED FERTILIZER PLANT
Miss Martel: Since April 1988, my colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr Laughren) and I have raised with this government the matter of establishing a fertilizer plant in Sudbury. Although not a new idea, our interest in the project was renewed when the government released copies of the northern Ontario phosphate study completed for the Ministry of Northern Development.
The study found that northern phosphates and SO2 smelter emissions could be used to produce fertilizer for Canadian markets and that a plant was feasible in northern Ontario. A further study was recommended.
After many months of repeated requests for action, the Ministry of Northern Development finally assumed a leadership role. In November 1988, Inco, Noranda, Falconbridge, C-I-L and Sheritt Gordon confirmed that they would participate with the ministry in the second study. To date, there has been no further news regarding how that study is proceeding or when it will be complete.
In the meantime, Cargill Ltd of Winnipeg has announced that it will build a fertilizer plant at Belle Plaine, Saskatchewan, to be operational by the spring of 1992. Fifty per cent of the plant will be owned by the Saskatchewan government, which will then try to sell its share to private concerns. The targeted market includes Ontario and Quebec.
This is the type of action we would have expected from the Ontario government if the second study had proved positive as well. Our concern is that the Liberals will have done too little too late on this matter. When will this government move to develop a fertilizer plant in Sudbury which can attract business from eastern provinces and from our American neighbours?
TAX FREEDOM DAY
Mr Harris: While it is a bit early to break out the Kool-Aid, the government has done its best to put beer, let alone champagne, out of the reach of most of us. I am sure the people of this province will he relieved to know it is only 15 days to tax freedom day here in David Peterson’s Ontario.
On 7 July, the people of Ontario can finally stop working for governments and start working for themselves. It is disgraceful that the people of this province spend 188 days of the year in indentured servitude to this clumsy and scandal-ridden government.
In 1984, before the Premier (Mr Peterson) and his pack of profligates got their hands on the public purse, tax freedom day in Ontario fell on 18 June. Now, after a five-year Liberal spending spree and three massive Liberal tax grabs, Ontario has to spend an additional three working weeks to help this government live beyond its means.
Blame the federal government, some say. Au contraire. The Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) confirmed that the federal government transferred a seven per cent increase this year to this government. Inflation at 5.2 per cent was confirmed by the Treasurer yesterday.
The situation has improved elsewhere in Canada. In Quebec, for instance, where our Premier likes to go to visit his good friend Mr Bourassa and to escape the more hostile environment of this House, tax freedom day will be earlier this year than it was in 1984. I am sure most people in this province believe this money could be better spent or better left in their own hands.
Mr Tatham: Where is “away” and “throw it away”? In our backyards? If I could show members a way to convert 30 per cent of residential waste to carbon dioxide, water and compost, would they be interested? I bet they would. Any organic kitchen waste, including meats, fish and poultry, is 90 to 95 per cent water. Food waste occurs in consistent daily quantities and is easy to separate from other wastes, so food waste can be eliminated at the source through a program of backyard composting.
Here is a scaled-down model of a composter, one-third size. For this type of composter members should choose a good location in their yards, close to the kitchen, in a sheltered sunny spot and dig a hole for the basket section. The soil acts as a wick to absorb the moisture during the digestion program. According to the manufacturer, a family of five could use this composter for three years before emptying the compost.
Backyard composting should be like the blue box. Let us starve our landfills and try backyard composting. We will be glad we did.
TAXES ON REAL ESTATE
Mr Jackson: It is my pleasure to bring to the House’s attention the presence in the gallery today of the chief executive officers of most of Ontario’s 52 real estate boards. They represent the leadership of this professional group of service providers in our province.
It is unfortunate that they have to bear witness in this House on a day when the government is bringing forward Bill 20, An Act to provide for the Payment of Development Charges, lot levy increases for an educational tax, and they will bear witness to the second reading of Bill 23, An Act to amend the Land Transfer Tax Act, which now makes Ontario one of the highest-taxed provinces in Canada for the conveyance of real property.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
FIRE AT INDIAN SETTLEMENT
Hon Mr Kerrio: I would like to bring members up to date on a fire situation which resulted in the successful evacuation of the Webequie Indian settlement by early this morning.
The community of Webequie is located on the north end of Eastwood Island in Winisk Park, approximately 350 kilometres north of Geraldton. A fire in a local garbage dump last Tuesday afternoon spread to the settlement’s sawmill, which was destroyed, as were several adjacent buildings.
The Ministry of Natural Resources is responsible for fire suppression and we decided for safety reasons to evacuate the site. Four hundred and three people were moved to the Geraldton Community Emergency Response Group. The Department of National Defence used four Hercules aircraft to move people quickly and efficiently to their emergency shelter.
The evacuation was completed by six o’clock this morning. The Defence department and the Geraldton community emergency response group worked as a team to ensure the safety of the people of Webequie. Especially when we consider the distances and logistics involved in these emergency procedures, this team effort was remarkably speedy.
My ministry is co-ordinating all firefighting efforts. Despite the distances involved and the difficulty of obtaining accurate information, we have responded to this emergency and are working closely with local people to put out the fire. We brought in two CL-215 waterbomber aircraft yesterday afternoon soon after the fire was reported.
We have also sent in two trained fire bosses to co-ordinate the firefighting effort, which is already entirely a local effort.
About 100 residents of Webequie have remained at the site. Of those, 40 have been previously trained by my ministry for just this type of situation. These reserve firefighters are the main force involved in containing the fire.
Today my ministry is moving in equipment and service personnel to support these efforts. Currently, only about five hectares of land have been affected by the fire and we are optimistic the fire may be completely contained.
I would like to commend the Department of National Defence in the town of Geraldton for a job well done in responding to this emergency. They were prepared and ready to answer the call, and thanks to their efforts, the evacuation of Webequie was a complete success.
I would also like to update the members on the fire situation throughout the rest of the province.
Yesterday, 76 new fires started up in various areas of the province, mainly because of lightning combined with a cold front near the Ontario-Manitoba border. A total of 87 fires are burning now in the province, affecting more than 3,000 hectares of land.
So far this year, we have had 562 fires which have involved some 8,800 hectares of land.
FIRE AT INDIAN SETTLEMENT
Mr Pouliot: We too on this side of the House share the real concern of the people of Webequie, which is located, as the minister has mentioned, some 350 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. A few weeks back, it was the community of Mobert, due to flooding, that had to be evacuated. A few days before, on the shores of James Bay, a community of first Canadians, Fort Albany, had to be evacuated.
In this case, in what has become almost annual, the community of Webequie, which has 400 people, will be welcome in the township of Geraldton. It is not the first time that township has had an opportunity to display its hospitality. The people of Geraldton are not only well meaning; they are fairly well equipped and collectively, to a citizen, will put their best foot forward.
It is not a time to mention to the Minister of Natural Resources that we told him so; that people, in terms of fighting forest fires, an annual occurrence, should be given the tools to defend themselves and to cope with this kind of endeavour. We too realize that he has a limited budget. However, there is a human dimension for the likelihood of this kind of incident, which could perhaps one day unfortunately turn into a calamity.
If the minister is to focus the resources of his ministry, the money that he is able to secure for natural resources, he would be well advised, with respect, to have a timetable, so that equipment and better training can be forwarded to this community. Then it would not have to really rely on the goodwill of people and, in the event of a catastrophe, it could look forward to a collective effort from National Defence, so an entire community could be moved hundreds of kilometres away.
It is a very difficult situation. Nevertheless, the minister is to be commended for being spontaneous. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the members of the minister’s staff, who have been most diligent and expedient in informing me and other members of the House of the problems. Indeed, our good wishes and our sympathy are with the people of Webequie at this time.
Mr B. Rae: I want to take the minister’s statement as an opportunity to perhaps make an even broader point than the one made by my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr Pouliot). I am glad the Premier (Mr Peterson) is here to listen to this.
I think the question is raised very clearly, for this government and for this Legislature, as to the responsibility of Ontario for the overall quality of life and living conditions on our northern reserves. Having visited this community and a number of others in my service as leader of this party in the opposition, the basic political question for this House and for this government is to what extent we are prepared to take seriously the incredible gap between the living conditions that are accepted and regarded as okay on northern reserves and living conditions elsewhere in the province.
We really have two provinces. Anybody who has been north of the communities along Highway 17 and Highway 11 knows what I am talking about. There really is an incredible gap between the living conditions and the quality of life available to our native citizens, living in their original and ancestral homes, and the rest of the province.
The fact that the province has taken the leadership role in dealing with this crisis, as it has with other crises -- most notably the flooding in Fort Albany, which the minister also reported to this House not too long ago -- to my mind simply points very clearly to the obligations of this House; to the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley), when it comes to the question of running water and when it comes to the question of sewage treatment, there are whole communities of thousands of people with no sewage treatment; to the Minister of Housing (Ms Hošek), where conditions are accepted in northern reserves that would not be accepted anywhere else in Ontario in terms of the quality of housing; and to the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan), where I say to the minister that if she wants to deal very seriously with the questions of the quality of life and with life expectancy and with the fact that there is a population explosion that is now under way on these reserves, she has to accept some responsibility.
I know the constitutional response we will get from this government is that it is essentially the job of the federal government, but I am not prepared to leave to the bureaucrats in the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in Ottawa the future and quality of the lives of our citizens in this province who deserve to have some priority here from their government at Queen’s Park.
Mr Harris: On behalf of our party, I too want to extend our best wishes, I suppose, and our concern to the people of Webequie as they deal with this crisis in their community. I want also to congratulate the Department of National Defence, the Geraldton community emergency response group, and indeed the firefighting team from the Ministry of Natural Resources for the way they have worked together in a co-operative way, and the ministry staff for co-ordinating that effort in dealing with a very difficult situation.
I would perhaps mention one other thing that I pointed out to the minister a year ago. He mentioned that two CL-215 waterbomber aircraft were brought in, and the minister is always very proud of mentioning these aircraft. When I point it out, he never credits Premier Davis for insisting that, instead of executive jets, we have waterbomber aircraft in this province. Indeed they are excellent aircraft and they have done an excellent job in this community.
Mr B. Rae: I welcome the Premier back to the realities of provincial politics. Perhaps he has now had an opportunity, in his being away from the province, to reflect for a while on the conduct of some of his colleagues.
He will know that literally countless members of his caucus have received cheques from the capital account in the name of Mrs Starr, but he will also know that three members of his caucus, the member for St Andrew-St Patrick (Mr Kanter), the member for York Mills (Mr J. B. Nixon) and the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms Oddie Munro), are in a different position from any of his other colleagues in that they either solicited or condoned payments to their relatives, their campaign manager or their constituency association, payments which I would argue with the Premier are clearly improper.
Would the Premier not make the distinction between the behaviour of some and the behaviour of others and clearly tell us what are his standards and why are these three individuals still parliamentary assistants and a member of his cabinet when they should clearly be removed by this time?
Hon Mr Peterson: My honourable friend will be aware that there are rules that govern election expenses. They are all being reviewed by an independent officer of this House, Donald MacDonald, a former leader of the member’s party. We have faith in his impartiality in reviewing all the matters; they are all there for him to look at. I am not prepared to prejudge the facts, as my honourable friend is. He has made a number of allegations, as others have. They are all going to be tracked down and we will make judgements on the basis of all the facts when they are all in.
Mr B. Rae: Let me focus then very clearly on the behaviour, since the Premier is, after this period of being away, still not prepared to tell us what his standards are.
I would like to ask him point-blank whether he approves of the conduct of the Minister of Culture and Communications (Ms Oddie Munro), who gave her mother’s name to Mrs Starr and whose mother received a $5,000 cheque six weeks after the last provincial election. I would like to ask the Premier whether he approves of that conduct by his Minister of Culture and Communications.
Hon Mr Peterson: I understand my honourable friend has asked that same question for the last several days. He asked me for several days before I left, and I say to my honourable friend, the answer is the very same. He can stand up; he is entitled to his own judgement. He thinks he is unbiased; other people would not think that. I have put this in the hands of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and I look forward to the advice of that independent officer of this House on the matter.
Mr B. Rae: Let me just say to the Premier, it is not a question of my judgement or anyone else’s; it is a question of what is the Premier’s standard of conduct that is acceptable.
Is the Premier standing in his place today and saying that unless there has been a breach of the law he is not prepared to take action as the first minister in this government? Is he saying that the standard of conduct acceptable to the Premier is that you either be a convicted felon or some other kind of crook before you will be ineligible for office in the Liberal Party of Ontario?
Hon Mr Peterson: I did not say that by any stretch of the imagination. I think my honourable friend probably knows that, but I think he has a desire to try to stretch interpretations according to his way of thinking on these matters, which he has every right to do. He would stand up in this House and pretend he is unbiased on these matters, but what we all did together was create an unbiased officer of this House, the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, to give us advice on these matters. I understand the member’s standing and presenting the advice that he does to me and I would give him advice on any matter should he solicit my opinion as well. What we have done is set a new standard in this House and we will attend the advice of the commissioner.
Mr B. Rae: We are just beginning to understand what the Premier’s standards are, and that is the problem we have.
The Speaker: New question.
Mr B. Rae: The Premier will know that since 1985 the Liberal Party of Ontario has received literally an avalanche of money from various businesses of one kind or another. In 1985, they raised $2.7 million centrally; in 1987, they raised nearly $8 million, and at the end of that year, they had just over $1 million left in the bank, and that is not counting riding associations.
Can the Premier tell us whether it is the policy of his government to grant any special access or favours to people who have contributed as part of this incredible avalanche of funds falling to the Liberal Party?
Hon Mr Peterson: The answer to my honourable friend’s question is a clear and unequivocal no. We do not give anybody special access.
Mr B. Rae: If that is the case -- I am interested to hear the Premier’s answer -- I wonder if he can explain certain contracts that have been awarded to two companies: Pave-Al Ltd and the Orlando Corp. In 1984, 1985 and 1986, these two companies, which are major contractors, as I am sure the Premier will know, gave no money to the central Liberal Party. We also know that in those years they received very small contracts: in 1986-87, no contracts from the Ministry of Transportation; in 1985-86, $261,000; in 1984-85, $214,000.
According to the Commission on Election Finances, these two companies in 1987 and 1988 donated $20,800 to the Ontario Liberal Party and another $12,200 to nine Liberal candidates and/or their riding associations. In 1987-88, contracts awarded to these companies multiplied in value 20-fold. They received a contract in 1987-88 of close to $5 million, making them one of the largest contractors to receive money from the Ministry of Transportation.
The Speaker: The question.
Mr B. Rae: Can the Premier explain why, when companies do not give a nickel to the Liberal Party they get contracts that are worth only $200,000, but when they give $33,000 and $34,000 they get contracts worth $5 million?
The Speaker: I am sure there is a question there somewhere.
Hon Mr Peterson: I understand the point my honourable friend is trying to make. I do not know either of those companies. I do not know what contracts they got or what they gave to the party. It is all there and if he wants to find out, he can go to the election expenses of any member of this House, including his own, and he can find out what donations were made. That is the way this system was meant to be. To the best of my knowledge all contracts that are allotted by the ministry are tendered and go to the lowest bidder. The member is trying to engage in smear and innuendo. He thinks he is on to something and he is losing his own dignity and his own credibility in the process.
Mr B. Rae: The dignity of the government is perhaps less important than its integrity, and that is what is at stake here. We have a pattern here of an avalanche of funds that has gone to the Liberal Party from several industries which are the direct beneficiaries of contracts awarded by the Liberal government of Ontario.
I am asking the Premier if he can explain the discrepancy between contracts awarded in a year in which no money is given to the Liberal Party of Ontario and contracts awarded in a year in which several thousands of dollars -- indeed tens of thousands of dollars -- go to the Liberal Party. That is not a matter simply of dignity; that is a matter of the integrity of the political process. If the Premier would take it seriously he would start dealing with these issues instead of pretending they do not even exist.
Hon Mr Peterson: I say to my honourable friend, he got these figures presumably through the public filings of us and any other member. Presumably, if he has some evidence that some contract was improperly tendered or illegally given, he will stand up in this House and present it. He can stand up and accuse us of anything he wants, just as I can stand up and accuse him, because he gets such a high percentage of his contributions from the labour movement, that the advice he brings to this House has been purchased by it. I say to my friend that he has descended to new lows as leader of his party.
Mr Brandt: I am almost reluctant to ask a question. I do, however, have a question for the Premier. In view of the fact that there have been a number of allegations, many of which have now been proven correct with respect to Ms Starr and her very active itinerary over the past number of months and perhaps years, I wonder if the Premier could indicate to this House who recommended Ms Starr as chairman of Ontario Place, whose name is on the order in council and who made the ultimate recommendation to the Premier in connection with that particular appointment? Could he answer those questions?
Hon Mr Peterson: I cannot tell the member who gave the first recommendation. As he knows, on file with my office are literally thousands of names that come forward for government appointments. They go through a vetting process. Obviously, some are better than others, I need not tell my honourable friend. They come from a wide variety of sources including, I should say, from my friends opposite. As a matter of fact, I will tell members that I appreciate the advice that we get all of the time from members opposite with respect to these questions. They are vetted and appointed by the executive council and that is what makes the decisions in this government.
Mr Brandt: I want to help the Premier because I know how interested the Premier is in getting all of the facts on the table as they relate to this item. I know how anxious he was to return from his trip east to be here with us to discuss some of these questions. I know that the Premier would want me to bring to his attention, because of his ongoing interest in this subject, the fact that he signed the order in council on 27 May 1987. He was the one who signed the order in council for the infamous Ms Starr.
The order in council not only clearly states that he was the signatory of that particular document, but I would like to say that one of the pieces of information that is missing is who made the recommendation to the Premier, relative to Ms Starr’s appointment. We now know he was the one who gave the final okay. I have the document here if he wants me to share it with him, but I know he will take my word for this. All I want to know is who gave him the direction to, in fact, give the approval he gave on the order in council.
Hon Mr Peterson: As a former minister of the crown, the member would know, having attended cabinet meetings, that a number of appointments are made at every occasion. Some are signed by the chairman of cabinet. Others --
Mr Brandt: I was there every day.
Hon Mr Peterson: He was there at every cabinet meeting, and I am told he did an exemplary job at making sure his interests were represented at the corporate table.
I sign a number of order-in-council appointments, no question about it. The decision is made after discussion with the executive council. Very clearly, I sign a large number of them. I am sure that if my honourable friend’s research team is up to its usual speed, he will find many more that I have signed, as well.
Mr Brandt: He did sign this one and we found others that he did not sign. It is interesting, when one looks at the --
Hon Mr Scott: Why don’t you give Jane Pepino a call about Patricia Starr?
Mr Brandt: If we could pay the Attorney General in this House by the words he speaks when he is sitting in his place, he would be a rich man. Does he mind terribly if I ask my question to the Premier?
Allegations have been made with respect to the fact that Gordon Ashworth made the recommendation to the Premier. Previous statements have been made to the effect that it was either Jim Peterson or Heather Peterson who made the recommendations. A July article in Toronto Life says that it was Hershell Ezrin who called offering her a job. The only question I want to have answered is, since the public’s interest is focused on how this individual received that very important, responsible position, who made the recommendation to the Premier that she be given that job?
Hon Mr Peterson: I read the various articles. There are various theories developed every day about who did what as part of the allegations and innuendoes going on in this whole discussion. That is all right. My honourable friend will be the first to admit that many of the allegations he has made have been proven false after the fact.
Mr Brandt: Which ones?
Hon Mr Peterson: His great pronouncement about shredders and all that kind of thing. If he has allegations, stand up in this House and tell us.
Mr Brandt: Has it been proven false?
Hon Mr Peterson: On investigation, I say to my friend, I am assured that that is not, in fact, the case. My honourable friend, being the gentleman he is, would want to stand up and either retract or prove his point in this particular matter. I understand, shall we say, the supercharged atmosphere. I understand that there is a lot of licence that goes on and people want to stand up and say irresponsible things in the middle of this whole debate. It is important, in my view, that we establish the facts and deal with those appropriately. That is what this government is determined to do.
I say to him, because my friend knows it, when an appointment is made by order in council in this government, all cabinet ministers approve of it. Obviously it is an approval of this government. I was part of that government and I accept the responsibility.
Mr Brandt: Let’s deal with a fact that the Premier is aware of. Money that was supposed to be going to Wheel-Trans and that particular service ended up being diverted for political purposes by Ms Starr. Fact. He knows that. When he was confronted with that particular allegation, he indicated that if that is the case then it is theft. That is what he said.
Since here is an individual for whom he signed the order in council, a recommendation made by his cabinet, an individual about whom allegations are flying all over the place about something of the order of some $85,000 in improper campaign donations along with other side ventures that this lady appeared to be involved in, I ask him who made the recommendation. From where did it come that this individual was recommended to him for that important position?
Hon Mr Peterson: The member is asking me the same question he has asked me. I cannot tell him specifically who put that name in front of me or the committee that vets these kinds of matters. There are thousands of names there that we canvass for appropriate positions at various times, just as when Mickey Hennessy receives an appointment from this government, or some of the member’s colleagues. Whether it is the member or one of his colleagues who suggests that, we try to do that on a fair basis across the province and include everybody in that. So I cannot tell him specifically from whence cometh that name, but I say to my friend that I am prepared to take the responsibility.
Mr Brandt: Out of 9.5 million people in this province, the Premier finally gets a note from an assistant that says, “Don’t forget to bring up poor Mickey Hennessy.” Mickey Hennessy served this House well for a number of years and he is about the only Tory I know whom the Premier has appointed.
The Speaker: Order. Supplementary, the member for Sarnia.
Mr Brandt: On 18 May 1988, Ms Starr held a party, one of several held at Ontario Place. This one ostensibly was to celebrate the opening of the new season. The guest list included all three of the Peterson brothers and their wives. Also included from the Premier’s office were Gordon Ashworth and his spouse, Hershell Ezrin and his spouse and Bob Carman and his spouse. In other words, at this opening celebration held upon the appointment of Ms Starr at Ontario Place, virtually every senior member of the Premier’s staff was in attendance.
Again, I would like to ask, who made the recommendation in connection with Ms Starr’s appointment to Ontario Place, the very lady who extended this invitation list to all of these individuals? Who in fact gave the word to the Premier in connection with her appointment to that responsible position? It had to come from somewhere.
Hon Mr Peterson: My understanding of that party is that all members of Parliament were invited. Certainly I saw, as I recall -- I am not sure which party the member is referring to because there is one --
Mr Brandt: I wasn’t invited.
Hon Mr Peterson: Well, maybe not the member, because he is not that much fun at parties, but the people who are were invited. The critics were there and a number of others. That is the way Ontario Place should be, as my honourable friend knows.
My honourable friend, I think, is labouring under the impression that there is something strange or unfair about this. He said that Mickey Hennessy was the only Tory to ever be appointed by this government. I just want to refresh his memory. Frank Miller is the chairman of Ontario International Corp. Does the member remember Frank Miller? He is doing a very good job. Frank Drea, a former colleague of the member, is chairman of the Ontario Racing Commission, doing a very good job. Both Bill Davises -- one to the SkyDome and one is vice-chairman --
Hon Mr Bradley: You forgot about Bette.
Hon Mr Peterson: Bette Stephenson, to the Ontario Police Commission; Bob Elgie; Anne Jones. The list goes on and on. I think my honourable friend is completely uninformed about the reality.
Mr Brandt: You are about at the bottom of the barrel now.
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Peterson: I do not consider these people to be the bottom of the barrel. I think they are fine, upstanding citizens of this province who continue to make a fine contribution and I am proud they are serving the people of this province.
Mr Brandt: And I am proud to say that none of my colleagues is being investigated. There is a real distinction in terms of integrity.
I think it is rather important to determine why the celebration of the opening of Ontario Place was rather special in 1987. In 1987, there was a rather large and extended guest list of individuals who attended, obviously at the invitation of Ms Starr, on that particular evening.
The question very simply is this: Once again, I ask the Premier to indicate to this House who recommended Ms Starr for the appointments she received from his government. She received two appointments. She was held in very high esteem by his administration. They all seemed to be associated with her, directly or indirectly --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Mr Brandt: -- socially, informally and formally in terms of their working activities.
The Speaker: Thank you. I think the question has been asked.
Mr Brandt: The question is, who made the recommendation?
Hon Mr Peterson: As I said to my honourable friend, I cannot tell him specifically who made the recommendation. It was agreed upon by all. As I told my honourable friend, I have to take the responsibility. There are varying qualities of appointments. Some work out better than others, obviously.
But my honourable friend is uninformed again. He said that none of his colleagues is being investigated. His former colleague Dennis Timbrell is being investigated right now, like some of my colleagues. So is Susan Fish, like some of my colleagues. I think my honourable friend should exercise more judgement and more evenness of temperament before he draws quick conclusions in this matter.
I think thoughtful people have to get the facts and deal with them accordingly. My honourable friend, I think, had he been on this side, would agree with me on that matter.
Miss Martel: My question is to the Minister of Labour. Last evening the minister participated in a public forum regarding Bill 162. In speaking to the crowd and in speaking to the media afterwards, he said, “Bill 162, for the first time, puts in the law of the province of Ontario the obligation of the Workers’ Compensation Board to provide vocational rehabilitation.”
In fact, Bill 162 says, “The board shall provide a worker ... with vocational rehabilitation services if the board considers it appropriate to do so.” I would like to ask the minister why he told the good people at that meeting one thing last night when in fact the legislation is completely different.
Hon Mr Sorbara: I am terribly sorry the member for Sudbury East was not at the meeting, because had she been there she would have been able to have an opportunity to hear a very vibrant discussion on Bill 162, where the discussion on vocational rehabilitation went on, if I recall, some half-hour and more. During that time --
Mr B. Rae: Yes, and you provided them with complete misinformation.
Hon Mr Sorbara: The Leader of the Opposition shouts out “complete misinformation.” I point out to him that he was not there either. What I said at that time was that the new sections on vocational rehabilitation provide a statutory obligation on the board to provide a vocational rehabilitation assessment, and then for the board, under the amendments, to make a determination quickly as to whether that assessment is a valid one. Under the circumstances my expectation would be that if an assessment indicated clearly a need for vocational rehabilitation, then the board, under this statute, would be providing it.
Miss Martel: Nowhere in the bill does it say that if the result of a vocational assessment shows the worker needs service, the board will provide that service in fact. I would like to ask the minister again why he told that group last night that the board was obliged under this bill to provide vocational rehabilitation, when in fact nowhere in this bill does it say it. Why was it good enough to say it last night, when in fact the legislation does not commit to that at all?
Hon Mr Sorbara: Once again, my friend the member for Sudbury East simply -- it is so clear that she was not at the meeting --
Miss Martel: Read the legislation, my friend.
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Sorbara: If she wants to hear the answer to the question, I suggest that she stop screaming for just a couple of seconds.
Miss Martel: Well, why don’t you tell the truth for a change? It would be a good idea.
The Speaker: Order. I think it is time for members to pause and reflect.
Mr Pouliot: And tell the truth.
The Speaker: Order. And possibly read standing order 19(d), subsections 8 to 11.
Hon Mr Sorbara: Last night, at the meeting held by the South Riverdale Community Association, we had a very lengthy discussion about vocational rehabilitation, as we did about other sections of the bill. I regret the fact that my friend was not there. Had she been there, she would have heard --
Mr Breaugh: You weren’t at the meeting I was at last night either. Shame on you.
Hon Mr Sorbara: Now it is the member for Oshawa who wants to shout out.
Had she been there, she would have heard me say that what section 54a of the amended act will do will be to provide a statutory framework for vocational rehabilitation in the province and that under those sections, my expectation will be that the board will become a much more effective instrument for vocational rehabilitation in Ontario. I am terribly proud of those sections. I think they will do a marvelous job of moving us in a direction we have long needed in this province.
The Speaker: Order. All right. Order. New question.
Mr Brandt: The question is to the Premier. The Premier is quoted in yesterday’s papers as saying, “Nothing surprises me any more in this whole matter and we have to get absolutely to the bottom of it,” meaning the Patricia Starr affair. Certainly, we on this side of the House agree that we have to get to the bottom of all the allegations that are floating around relative to Ms Starr.
It was for that reason that yesterday I asked the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr O’Neil), who is directly responsible for Ontario Place, to provide this House with the exchange of documents and information that took place between the minister, the deputy minister and Ms Starr during her two-year tenure as chairman of Ontario Place. The minister refused, indicating that I could receive that information through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. I have already written, requesting the receipt of that information through freedom of information.
The Premier well knows it is going to take many months before that information will be made available to me. Will the Premier, in his interest in getting this matter out and in the open and getting all the facts on the table, make that documentation available to us through his Minister of Tourism and Recreation?
Hon Mr Peterson: I think the minister answered the member quite appropriately yesterday. I gather the Provincial Auditor is in there, looking at everything to see if anything improper is there. There are lots of charges and allegations made. The member has made some that to the best of my knowledge are absolutely incorrect, but he is entitled to do it. Believe me, from our point of view, there is nothing to hide.
I think the auditor should look at all that material. Then obviously it will go to the standing committee on public accounts and it can analyse the whole thing from every point of view. If there are many mistakes, obviously they will be scrutinized and dealt with.
Mr Brandt: Perhaps the Premier can get away with that for a period of time. This nothing-to-hide defence he constantly puts up belies the fact that the information we have requested directly, which he is in a position to bring forward, namely the correspondence that took place between his minister, the deputy minister and Ms Starr, is information that ultimately will come to light. That information will be made available to us.
Why is he so afraid to bring it forward now? Is he so afraid of the truth he cannot take that one simple step to indicate that the integrity of his government is strong enough that he is prepared to make the information available to us?
The Speaker: Thank you.
Mr Brandt: The fact of the matter is that he is hiding behind freedom of information. That is what he is doing.
Hon Mr Peterson: My honourable friend stands in this House very dramatically as if we are afraid of something, and I can say my honourable friend is wrong again. We said in response to his very thoughtful and fair-minded colleague, the member for Leeds-Grenville (Mr Runciman), a couple of weeks ago -- he asked the same question -- ”Absolutely. You can have a complete look at the situation. The public accounts committee should look into it. The auditor is there. We have no problem with that and there is nothing to hide.”
Somebody just sent me a note and this may assist my honourable friend in his fair-minded view of the situation. From a note I just got, I am told that Patti Starr received the gold medal from the then Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, awarded by the then minister, Susan Fish.
Obviously, Ms Fish had a very high view of Patti Starr. I am told she also received a $1,500 donation from the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada in the 1987 campaign. My honourable friend would want to look at this in perspective and know that there are some colleagues who are very close to him who had a very high view of Ms Starr.
The Speaker: Order.
Ms Collins: My question is to the Minister of Transportation. In the city of Stoney Creek in my riding, there are residential areas on the north side of the Queen Elizabeth Way between the highway and Lake Ontario. As this area develops, more and more of my constituents are affected by noise from the heavy traffic on the Queen Elizabeth Way. Could the minister inform the House as to his ministry’s policy on noise barriers where residential areas abut major highways?
Hon Mr Fulton: Mr Speaker, I think perhaps first I should suggest that you and I negotiate the use of sound barriers.
Mr D. S. Cooke: Forget the humour.
Hon Mr Fulton: It is going to take a minute.
My colleague the member for Wentworth East has raised a subject that has certainly been very important to her on previous occasions. She will recall that I answered a similar question to my friend the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr Faubert) with respect to our policy of new installations and the criteria for retrofitting, which we are working on, certainly, as the member would be aware, in major developed areas such as she has.
It is certainly in our interest. As soon and as quickly as we possibly can, the ministry is managing this with new installations and retrofitting, based on a standard and criteria the member is quite familiar with: noise levels, the number of homes, volumes of traffic and so on. We are working very quickly with respect to that program.
Ms Collins: In the budget, there was a line for expansion of the Queen Elizabeth Way. Could the minister inform the House whether this will include noise barriers and whether these barriers will be built alongside the Queen Elizabeth Way in Stoney Creek?
Hon Mr Fulton: There is a reference to the Queen Elizabeth Way with respect to the recent budget announcements on 17 May. While we have yet to make a formal announcement with respect to the details of that project, I am happy to tell the member that at the time of the construction and rehabilitation of that project there will indeed be sound barriers in the area of Stoney Creek.
Mr B. Rae: I have a question to the Premier concerning the question I raised with him earlier on, to which he took some objection. I want to ask the Premier again some very specific questions about the three individuals who continue to play an executive role in his government, two parliamentary assistants and a cabinet minister. I want to ask the Premier, how long will it take him to ascertain the facts and reach a judgement on whether he believes these individuals have behaved properly or improperly with respect to their involvement with Mrs Starr?
Hon Mr Peterson: My honourable friend is aware there are some independent bodies, including the Commission on Election Finances, the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and others, the special prosecutor and the police commission as well, looking at these matters. I will look at their determination of the facts and make judgements thereupon.
Mr B. Rae: This is extraordinary. The Premier could simply go over to the member for St Andrew-St Patrick (Mr Kanter) and ask him:
“What happened? What did you know? Did you condone? Were you aware? Did you realize a transaction was being made with respect to the rental of a basement of your committee room?” Everybody here knows what the basements of committee rooms are worth; we are all politicians; we know the value of those basements. “Did you condone the rental of a basement that transferred thousands of dollars to your account? Were you aware of that transaction?”
What is the difficulty? What problem does the Premier have in walking over to the member and simply asking that question and then reaching a judgement as to whether he continues to have confidence in people who are drawing an additional salary as parliamentary assistants or an additional salary as a minister? What is his problem?
Hon Mr Peterson: Obviously, a number of facts have been determined, and the judgement of the people concerned, but frankly, the member does not believe it. He comes up and continues to put his own interpretation on it. He believes his version of the truth and other people believe another version of the facts, because he always stands up and puts an interpretation on it that someone is misleading him. Perhaps that is his job as Leader of the Opposition. Perhaps he is a professional cynic. Who knows?
But what I am telling him is, is it not fair, because we have created independent bodies to determine these facts and make sure they are clear, to attend their judgements? Frankly, his interpretation of the facts is not always accurate in these matters. He has heard these members respond in the circumstances and, I think, obviously he is not prepared to take it at face value.
Mr Harris: I also have a question for the Premier, who has taken great pains to point out the investigations that are taking place on Ms Starr. I do not think there is any doubt that something went wrong from that point of view. I suggest, though, that the bigger question that has to be of interest and of great concern to the Premier is why she did what she did. Where did the money come from? Why did the money go where it went? Who was to benefit and how did all this happen?
I think the Premier would want to know those things and would want to be concerned about those things because so many of these issues deal with members of his cabinet and with members of his party and, in effect, deal with the very standards that the Premier would want to set and would want to have for anybody in elected office and surely, as leader of his party, for those members of his party.
The Speaker: Question?
Mr Harris: In an article by Derek Ferguson, the member for York Mills (Mr J. B. Nixon) indicated in an interview that it was he who talked Starr -- it does not matter whether it was Starr or anybody -- into hiring Crossman, his campaign manager, after the election as a reward for the campaign work. Is it acceptable to the Premier that any Liberal candidate ought to be promising rewards through a contract from whatever vehicle?
The Speaker: Thank you. The question has been well put.
Hon Mr Peterson: My honourable friend is prejudging this situation. I said that we are looking at all of the matters involved here, what was implied and what was not. I do not think that he can jump to those easy conclusions right now. I do not think there is any misuse of government funds in this regard. Presumably, he had a high regard for whoever the person was, but I am not prepared to prejudge it.
Mr Harris: Aside from wherever this money came from -- I am not asking the Premier the question about whether it came from private sources, from government sources or from wherever -- I am really getting down to what his standards are. What standards is he going to set?
This article has been out now for a week. It is not speculation. I am quoting from the article as to what the member for York Mills said. He said that in the wake of controversy he regrets it, but he does not seem to indicate that he thinks there is anything wrong with having a campaign manager promised some payola at some point in time; the campaign manager saying, “Because someone would construe this as a political contribution, I cannot accept it during the campaign.” So five days after the campaign, along comes the money.
The Speaker: The question?
Mr Harris: Nobody is denying any of this. The member for York Mills has not denied it. They are all confirming it. Is that acceptable to the Premier? Is that the standard the Premier wants to set for the members of his party, because I will tell him it is not the standard we expect --
The Speaker: Order. The member is making a speech.
Hon Mr Peterson: My honourable friend is going to have to be most careful about catching morality late in life. I am very much interested in his judgements now from on high. I say that it is interesting how much they change, and I appreciate it.
However, let me say to my honourable friend, from what I am told there is no suggestion of the construction that my honourable friend would like to put on it. He stands in this House and uses value-laden words like “payola,” and he wants to put his own interpretation on this. But I say to my friend that I am not sure other fairminded people would interpret it that way.
Hon Mr Conway: Remember Morley Rosenberg?
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Matrundola: My question is to the Minister without Portfolio responsible for senior citizens’ affairs. At about 9 pm on Sunday 4 June, 81-year-old John Palmer, a constituent of mine, fell in his apartment. The building is owned and operated by the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Co. Mr Palmer broke his hip and could not reach the telephone.
Despite calling for help and turning up the volume on his television, Mr Palmer was not found until Tuesday afternoon, some 40 hours later, by which time he was also suffering from dehydration. I am very glad to hear that Mr Palmer is now recovering, but stories like this are not unique and often very much more tragic.
Mr Palmer’s family has suggested that a buddy system could be established in seniors’ buildings, where four or five residents would be responsible for checking on each other daily. Another possible system might have each resident check in with the superintendent every day.
The Speaker: Have you a question?
Mr Matrundola: Yes. If they were not heard from, a designated individual could visit the apartment to make sure they were in good health.
I would like to ask the minister if she thinks that a system of this nature is feasible and if she would look into its possible implementation --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Some hon members: Order, order.
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mrs Wilson: I want to thank the member for Willowdale for his question and also to acknowledge his very deep concern for his constituent.
Our government supports persons living independently in the community through a variety of home support services. These include telephone security checks and personal security checks. These are typical programs which are offered to ensure the security of persons who are living in the community. They are part of our home support services network, which is funded through the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
This year, some $50 million will be spent on home support services, which is a tripling of the funds that were spent on these services just three years ago.
We fund a variety of agencies all across the province to provide these services. In Willowdale, they include those offered by the North York Seniors Centre, Senior Care and Friends of the Family. Also, the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority has community relations officers who, as part of their responsibilities, encourage senior tenants to put into effect a buddy system whereby the tenants become responsible for checking on the security of each other.
Our government is committed, through working with volunteer and community groups and agencies in partnership, to fostering a sense of security and wellbeing for people who live in our communities.
SECURITY GUARD LICENCE
Mr Kormos: I have a question of the acting Solicitor General. Yesterday he heard the Minister of Labour (Mr Sorbara) express his concern about the fact that Paul Downing had received a private investigator’s licence and, indeed, his new company, Canada Security Corp.
This is the same Paul Downing who so thoroughly violated labour law here in this province earlier in the 1980s that it resulted in a compensatory award in excess of $500,000, most of that money to be paid to workers who were victims of Downing and his security company and the agents provocateurs who were infiltrated into the workers’ ranks. Not a penny of that judgement has been paid, least of all to any of those workers who were impacted seriously by it. Indeed, Downing is a bankrupt. The press indicates that he has defaulted on almost $250,000 of personal income tax.
The Speaker: Question?
Mr Kormos: How is it that a person as reprehensible and slimy as Downing can be relicensed, when he has broken all the rules and when he --
Hon Mrs Caplan: What is your opinion of this person? How do you really feel?
Hon Mr Wrye: Try not to be judgemental.
Hon Mr Bradley: Where’s Mel Swart?
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Scott: Whoever this Downing is, he certainly will not be able to sue the honourable member for saying that in the House because of his immunity. I guess that is one of the advantages of being elected.
I will be glad to look into the matter for the honourable member.
Mr Kormos: Perhaps I can be of a little bit of help to the acting Solicitor General, because back in 1983 the Ontario Provincial Police were initiating the process of revoking Downing’s own licence of the time. So how come back in 1983 the OPP were of the opinion that this man should not hold a licence, yet all of a sudden now in 1989 he is given a licence and permitted to get back into the very same sort of business that resulted in significant losses to workers and resulted in a really reprehensible sort of act of getting into a business that he has no business being in?
The Speaker: Order. The question has been asked.
Hon Mr Scott: I have undertaken to my friend that I will get back to him about the matter as quickly as I can, and I will.
The Speaker: New question. The member for Mississauga South.
Mrs Marland: My question is for the Minister of the Environment. I know that the minister is aware that --
Mr Laughren: I’m surprised you didn’t know about this.
Hon Mr Scott: I didn’t say I knew everything. That’s reserved for you guys. You’re the ones who know everything.
Mr D. S. Cooke: No.
Hon Mr Scott: If you don’t know it, you guys make it up. I’m learning, though. I will catch up with you quickly enough.
The Speaker: Order. The member for Mississauga South has a question, and I did not hear to which minister.
Mrs Marland: To the Minister of the Environment. It is really too bad that the Attorney General (Mr Scott) does not get a chance to speak in his own right.
Mrs Marland: I know that the Minister of the Environment is aware that there have been dozens of used syringes and other urban debris washed up on Sunnyside beach in the city of Toronto. Officials suspect that this debris came from storm sewers which empty directly into Lake Ontario without treatment.
The minister announced three years ago that he would bring forward an urban drainage management program to regulate the treatment of storm water. Would he tell the House today when we will see these regulations?
Hon Mr Bradley: First of all, I can say that the conclusions some people have reached are not confirmed. There has been some speculation as to the fact that drug users may have in fact been responsible. Whether the syringes have been disposed of through the sanitary system or the storm sewer system or whether they were simply thrown into the lake, which some people suspect, has not been determined to this point in time, so I think it is difficult to make that attribution.
As the member will know, we have examined a number of ways of dealing with the problems of beaches as they relate to bacteria, and I recognize that is not precisely what the member is talking about, but one of the things that has been implemented in some of the areas in the province -- Hamilton is one, because I recall in 1987 being involved in the opening of one -- is retention tanks, which have the purpose of not allowing everything to flow into the system at the same time and permit material to be discharged at a more appropriate flow.
I think people would be hopeful that this is one of the answers, but if the member is suggesting that all storm water in the province be flowed through sewage treatment plants, we would have sewage treatments that are a tremendous size in the province and --
The Speaker: Thank you. There is probably enough information there that the member may have a supplementary.
Mrs Marland: I guess, with the interjections of his colleague the Attorney General, the minister could not hear my question, because he was certainly was not able to answer it.
I was talking about the urban drainage management program, which is a program he said he would announce, and we still have not seen the regulations. I will let him read Hansard and maybe I will get that answer later. I will go to my supplementary.
The minister is obviously very much aware that the storm water treatment strategy is essential to keeping our beaches clean. It is my understanding that this urban drainage strategy has been before the minister on several occasions, but it is not yet approved.
Obviously the minister is once again dragging his feet on a very important program that should have been initiated years ago. I am wondering if the minister would tell us how often we can expect to see the beaches in the Toronto area closed this summer as a result of his inaction on that particular program.
Hon Mr Bradley: I know the member will be familiar with the millions upon millions of dollars which have been allocated to municipalities. The Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) indicated, for instance, some $196 million in capital improvements alone this year. In addition to that, I have a program in conjunction with the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr Riddell) which assists farmers in avoiding some of the problems which contributed to lake contamination in the past as well as in urban areas and right across the province of Ontario.
Municipalities working hand in hand in partnership with the government of Ontario are improving and expanding sewage treatment plants. They are continuing to work together with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. The member will recall that our ministry doubled the amount of money that was available in large urban municipalities for the purposes of dealing with the pollution problems.
They used to give 15 per cent when they were in power. We now give up to 33 per cent for those environmental components to deal with this problem. All of that is having a positive effect. I go from municipality to municipality and they sing --
Mr Pouliot: Don’t go to Marathon.
Hon Mr Bradley: -- they almost sing -- well, in Marathon, of course, we are talking about something entirely different.
The Speaker: Perhaps we could continue this debate at a later date.
Mr Tatham: My question is to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. Two thirds of the 100 Japanese companies in Britain have arrived there in the past five years. Toyota and Fujitsu announced large ventures in April, bringing total Japanese investments in Britain to over $17 billion. This is part of Japan’s strategy for Europe 1992, to think British. What should we be doing?
Hon Mr Kwinter: I am sure members will know that Europe 1992 is going to be one of the final stages in the consolidation of the European market and in fact is going to create a market of 320 million people. That is going to present both an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity, of course, is that Canadian manufacturers can access the European market through any of the member countries and that is going to provide them with a very easy way to access this huge market.
The challenge is that it is going to also provide a consolidation a rationalization, of the European companies which will be able to compete even more favourably with the Canadian companies. We are making Canadian companies, and Ontario companies in particular, aware of Europe 1992 to make sure that they are positioning themselves so that they can capitalize on all the opportunities that will present themselves and also to position themselves to withstand any of the competition that may adversely affect them.
Mr Tatham: A Rand Corp study suggests that the world power centre is shifting towards the Pacific Rim. Japan has a gross national product about the same as that of the Soviet Union. With continuing strong economic growth and a relatively low birth rate, Japan will surpass the United States in one key indicator of economic strength, per capita gross national product, by 2010, according to Rand predictions. What action are we taking to capitalize on this trend?
Hon Mr Kwinter: We as a government are very active in the Pacific Rim. I am sure members will know or will want to know that we have offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, New Delhi, China and Japan, and we are apprising all our manufacturers that we have identified as having goods that could be traded in the Pacific Rim to take advantage of those opportunities. We are holding meetings and seminars and we are making them aware of the trading opportunities that are there.
There is no question that with the advent of the so-called Four Tigers in the southeast Pacific and with the advent of Japan as probably the leading economy in the world in year 2000, this is an area that we as Canadians and as Ontarians have really got to concentrate on so that we can make sure we can avail ourselves of all the opportunities that are there.
USE OF PESTICIDES
Mr B. Rae: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. I am sure the minister will have seen the study which was released in the paper this morning and discussed on the news last night, which follows several studies in the United States as well as national studies, showing that there is a very substantial, clearly established link between the use of herbicides, 2,4-D and the occurrence of lymphoma and non-Hodgkins lymphoma in the farming population and concerns about the spread of lymphoma in the wider population. I would like to ask the minister if he can tell us what advice he has for Ontario farmers as a result of this very disturbing study?
Hon Mr Riddell: We have in place a program called Food Systems 2002 whereby we train farmers in the proper use of pesticides. I will advise the honourable member that to date 11,000 farmers have taken the pesticides training course that both the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food sponsor. The Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) has indicated that he will be making that training program mandatory. This means that all farmers handling pesticides of any kind will be required to take a mandatory training course so that they will know how to properly apply, handle and store the pesticide.
Mr B. Rae: The studies from the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation show some very alarming statistics about the increase and the incidence of lymphoma.
I would like to ask the minister if he would consider the following facts: The incidence of all lymphomas as a percentage of cancer has increased from 6.3 per cent in 1975 to 7.8 per cent in 1986. The incidence of lymphomas in the “other” category has increased from 0.5 per cent to nearly two per cent. Most dramatic is the percentage increase in the incidence of the particular subgroups of lymphomas from 75 per cent to 86 per cent. The “other” category’s incidence increased by 513 per cent from 1975 to 1986.
The Ministry of the Environment’s pesticides advisory committee okayed the use of 2,4-D. I want to say to the minister that we do not think the use of 2,4-D is okay. We think the link with cancer is being clearly established across the country and around the world. We think it is time the minister reacted with respect to the use of 2,4-D on our farms and on our farm products.
Hon Mr Riddell: I believe that the ministries have reacted. I have already talked about the Food Systems 2002 program where we will endeavour to reduce the amount of chemical that is used on the farms by 50 per cent over the next 15 years, and in a shorter period of time if it can be done. But we are striving to come up with other ways of controlling pests such as biological ways, through research and breeding cultivars that have a natural resistance to these pests.
We are taking a very proactive stance and I am hoping that we can cut down the amount of chemicals used by 50 per cent over what we consider to be a fairly short period of time.
The Speaker: Does the member for London North have a brief question?
Mrs Cunningham: No, I do not have a brief question, but I do have a question.
My question is to the Minister of Skills Development. I would like to quote from the standing committee on finance and economic affairs Pre-Budget Consultation, 1989. “The increasing liberalization of trade, as well as the globalization of manufacturing with its development of new patterns of specialization, are having profound implications for Ontario’s industries.”
One of the great concerns was that we examine apprenticeship ratios. Some say they are too restrictive and we should be relaxing these ratios for regions and trades exhibiting high growth. What is the plan of the minister, what committee is looking at this and when will we hear some results telling us that there will be changes in ratios of journeymen to apprenticeships in this province?
Hon Mr Curling: I am just so sorry that the member will not have enough time to ask a supplementary because it is a very good question. It is a concern not only of this government, but of industry and unions, the concern of the apprentices-to-journeymen ratio.
As the honourable member knows, some apprenticeship ratios are regulated and can only be changed by a change in the regulation. Other apprenticeship programs can also be changed through the director of apprenticeships. Of course, the changes of these ratios are normally presented to the provincial advisory committee and when recommendations are made, we consider those to make those kinds of changes.
In a statement recently, the member mentioned that the apprenticeship program is dead. I should remind her that in December of last year in the estimates she, for one, talked about how important apprenticeship is.
The Speaker: Thank you.
Mr Miclash: I have two petitions, one of which reads:
“I, a citizen of the trimunicipal area, having been made aware of the final design of the entrances and exits and impacts of the rerouting of Highway 17, am signing this petition in opposition to this proposed design.” I want to see Highway 17 remain as is and the bypass be just that, a bypass, not the rerouting of Highway 17.
This has been signed by 5,646 people. I have attached my name as well.
My second petition reads:
“The following businesses in the Kenora, Keewatin, Jaffray Melick and surrounding areas support a redesigning of the east and west entrances and exits to the bypass.”
This has been signed by 322 employers, and I have attached my name as well.
The Speaker: It seems to be the usual procedure for the Speaker to remind all members that some members wish to present petitions to this House, if we could have your attention.
Mr Villeneuve: “To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“Whereas the government of Ontario in its discussions with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation on amendments to the Teachers’ Superannuation Act has refused to allow an equal partnership between teachers and government in management of the pension fund, establishment of an acceptable contribution increase, benefit adjustments, equitable treatment of future surpluses and a satisfactory dispute resolution process,
“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly to insist that the Treasurer of Ontario negotiate with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation towards an equitable settlement.”
This petition has 21 names on it and I have affixed my name to it as well.
Mr Kormos: I have a petition addressed, “To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.” It reads:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario:
“Whereas Bill 162 (a) does nothing to improve lifetime pensions (especially for disease and soft-tissue injuries); (b) denies injured workers the right to rehabilitation; (c) offers re-employment rights that are less than afforded by the human rights act; (d) gives too much discretionary power to the WCB to deny injured workers’ benefits; (e) restricts injured workers the right to appeal;
“We request this assembly to advise the Labour minister, the Honourable Gregory Sorbara, to withdraw said Bill 162, An Act to amend the Workers’ Compensation Act.”
It is signed by Kim Lisicky of Port Colborne along with nine others, and of course I have attached my signature as well.
Mr Reycraft: I have four petitions. The first is addressed to the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It calls on the Legislature to “guarantee naturopaths the right to practise their art and science to the fullest without prejudice or harassment.”
It is signed by 61 people from the riding of Fort York, and I have affixed my signature as required by the rules.
Mr Reycraft: The other three petitions are similar. They all call on the Legislative Assembly to insist that the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) negotiate with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation towards an equitable settlement. One of them is signed by 13 people from the riding of Brant-Haldimand, the second by 37 people from the riding of Renfrew North, and the other by 256 people from the riding of Niagara Falls and other parts of Ontario.
Mrs Cunningham: I have a petition signed by 290 citizens of the city of London and the petition reads:
“To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
“Whereas it is my constitutional right to have available and to choose the health care system of my preference;
“And whereas naturopathy has had self-governing status in Ontario for more than 42 years;
“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government to introduce legislation that would guarantee naturopaths the right to practise their art and science to the fullest without prejudice or harassment.”
I have signed the petition.
Miss Martel: I have a petition addressed to the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which reads as follows:
“We urge the Liberal government to scrap Bill 162, An Act to amend the Workers’ Compensation Act,
“Because Bill 162 contains the most significant changes to the Ontario system of workers’ compensation for many years, and yet, as was confirmed through the public hearings, was developed without an adequate process of public consultation; and
“Because Bill 162 represents an attack on injured workers and their families and all those people who have fought over the years to achieve fairness and justice for injured workers and their families; and
“Because Bill 162 will eliminate the current lifetime pension for lifetime disability and replace it with a dual award system with a lump sum and wage-loss awards that have been rejected by injured workers, their advocacy groups, legal workers and lawyers and by the trade union movement since it was first proposed for implementation in Ontario by the 1980 Weiler report and the Conservative government’s 1981 white paper; and
“Because Bill 162 virtually ignores the devastating critique and recommendations of the Majesky-Minna task force that was submitted to the Minister of Labour and suppressed by the Liberal government until April 1988; and
“Because Bill 162 gives legislative form to the unacceptable and reactionary policy of restricting access to supplement awards announced by the Workers’ Compensation Board in 1987; and
“Because throughout Bill 162, injured workers are made subject to increased discretionary power at the hands of the Workers’ Compensation Board and made subject to ever more intrusive and demeaning assaults on their dignity, their privacy and their right to fair and just treatment.”
This is signed by workers at Neighbourhood Legal Services in London and Middlesex. I have put my name to it and I agree with them entirely.
The Speaker: The member for Algoma-Manitoulin. Oh, sorry; the member for Oakville South.
Mr Carrothers: You gave me a shock for a moment, Mr Speaker.
Mr Carrothers: I have a petition signed by some 100 people calling on the government to introduce legislation that would guarantee naturopaths the right to practise their art and science and I have signed that petition.
Mr Epp: I have a petition signed by 187 people. It is addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
“Whereas it is my constitutional right to have available and to choose the health care system of my preference;
“And whereas naturopathy has had self-governing status in Ontario for more than 42 years;
“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government to introduce legislation that would guarantee naturopaths the right to practise their art and science to the fullest without prejudice or harassment.”
Mr Laughren: I have a petition from the Affordable Housing Action Group from Toronto with literally thousands and thousands of people’s signatures on it -- too many to count, actually -- and it reads as follows:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
“Given that property speculation in Ontario has contributed to driving up the cost of home ownership, to increasing the cost of building non-profit housing, and to rent increases for tenants because speculators are rewarded under the provincial government’s rent review law, we demand that the government of Ontario impose a tax on the capital gain on nonprincipal residences and land, so that:
“100 per cent of the profit is taxed away on resales within one year;
“75 per cent of the profit is taxed away on resales within two years;
“50 per cent of the profit is taxed away on resales within three years;
“25 per cent of the profit is taxed away on resales within four years.”
I am pleased to present this presentation and I urge the clerks at the table to keep it.
Mr Runciman: I have three separate petitions. The first is from the parish of Augusta in Maitland, Ontario, and it is dealing with recommendations respecting religious education in elementary and secondary schools of Ontario.
Mr Runciman: The second petition is from a number of members of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation in my riding, expressing concerns with respect to ongoing negotiations dealing with the Teachers’ Superannuation Act, pension reform and pension contributions.
Mr Runciman: Finally, I have a petition with 1,293 signatures, essentially asking the government to hold the line on tobacco taxes in Ontario.
Mr Farnan: I have two petitions. The first is from the Kitchener-Waterloo Injured Workers’ Group.
“To the Honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario:
“We, the injured workers of Ontario, demand that a royal commission be set up immediately to deal with the worst piece of legislation ever to be enacted by a government this century.
“Bill 162 is a bill which will kill lifetime pensions, discriminate against age, deny loss of wages and rehabilitation and leave survivors out in the cold.
“The bill does not guarantee reinstatement nor help those already injured, and does not protect workers unfortunate enough to get injured on the job in the future.
“This bill is in violation of our human rights as injured workers. The bill itself is being implemented at this very moment, even though it has not been passed by the Ontario government.
“We, the undersigned, demand that Bill 162 be scrapped.”
It is signed by three injured workers from the Kitchener-Waterloo Injured Workers’ Group. I have affixed my name to the petition and I agree with its sentiments.
Mr Farnan: The second petition is from the correctional officers of Ontario. It is signed by 250 officers.
“To the honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
“Whereas the Liberal government of Ontario has refused to make pensions for the Ontario public service negotiable; and
“Whereas this same government has not demonstrated a willingness to bring about pension reform for bargaining unit employees in the corrections wage category; and
“Whereas the Liberal government of Ontario continues to condone overcrowded correctional facilities and continues to understaff these same facilities; and
“Whereas the overcrowding and understaffing place further undue stress on correctional workers; and
“Whereas the stress caused by an intolerable work environment leads to the vast majority of corrections workers not living full lives and not enjoying a long, meaningful retirement; and
“Whereas during the various levels of ongoing negotiations between the correctional workers’ bargaining agent, OPSEU, and the government and its agencies, no meaningful progress has been made to date; and
“Whereas during the current round of wage negotiations, the government, through its agency, the human resources secretariat, has refused to recognize the value of correctional officers and their contribution to Ontario society;
“Therefore, we urge the Liberal government of Ontario and its various agencies to address our concerns by eliminating overcrowding of correctional facilities, staffing all correctional facilities at levels that would greatly reduce the incidence of inmate assaults on correctional workers, making OPS pensions negotiable, introducing pension reform that would allow for early retirement and returning to the wage negotiation table with a view to reaching a settlement that would recognize the work of correctional officers.
I have attached my name to this petition and I agree wholeheartedly and entirely with the petition.
The Speaker: Are there any other lengthy petitions?
Mr Morin-Strom: I do not have a lengthy one. I have rather a short one.
The Speaker: Very good.
Mr Morin-Strom: However, in fact, it is a stack, I believe, of 110 petitions signed by residents of Sault Ste Marie.
“To the honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, petition the government of Ontario to reform the workers’ compensation system in Ontario so that people injured at work can get decent pensions, rehabilitation and jobs when they are able.” I have affixed my signature to this stack of petitions and would hope the government would take them into serious consideration.
Mr Kanter: I have a petition signed by approximately 100 citizens, many of them residents of my riding, as follows:
“To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
“Whereas it is my constitutional right to have available and to choose the health care system of our preference;
“And whereas naturopathy has had self-governing status in Ontario for more than 42 years;
“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government to introduce legislation that would guarantee naturopaths the right to practise their art and science to the fullest without prejudice or harassment.”
I have signed my name to the last page of the petition.
REPORTS BY COMMITTEE
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Mr Callahan from the standing committee on administration of justice presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:
Bill 10, An Act to control Automobile Insurance Rates.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for third reading.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Mrs O’Neill from the standing committee on social development presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:
Bill 5, An Act to amend the Education Act.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for third reading.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON REGULATIONS AND PRIVATE BILLS
Mr Furlong from the standing committee on regulations and private bills presented the committee’s first report, 1989, and moved its adoption.
Mr Furlong: The committee presents this report on regulations filed in 1987 in accordance with its permanent reference, that being section 12 of the Regulations Act, RSO 1980, chapter 446, which provides that the committee shall consider the scope of and the authority for all regulations but not the underlying policies or legislative objectives.
The committee reviewed 725 regulations made under the authority of 145 acts under the administration of 23 ministries, the Office of the Assembly, the Office of the Premier and the Management Board of Cabinet.
The terms of reference of the committee are contained in standing order 90(j) of the Legislative Assembly.
On motion by Mr Furlong, the debate was adjourned.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
ASSESSMENT AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Hon Mr Grandmaître moved first reading of Bill 37, An Act to amend the Assessment Act.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
ONTARIO MUNICIPAL BOARD AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Mr Offer, on behalf of Hon Mr Scott, moved second reading of Bill 1, An Act to amend the Ontario Municipal Board Act.
Mr Offer: Very briefly, the purpose of this bill is to convert the position of secretary of the Ontario Municipal Board into a public service position. At present, the secretary is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and serves at pleasure.
The duties of the secretary, as prescribed under the act, generally include the administrative responsibilities related to the operation of the board. For example, the secretary must keep a record of all applications to and proceedings before the board or any member, maintain all records and documents relating to board business and prepare orders pursuant to the directions of the board and according to statute. In addition, this officer is responsible for granting, for instance, notice abridgements, assigning hearing dates, otherwise organizing the board’s calendar and deciding in certain cases whether adjournments should be granted.
I trust we will have the unanimous consent of the House in the passage of this legislation.
Mr Hampton: I want to say only that this bill is obviously of monumental importance. Coming as it does at a time when the government is involved in great controversy, it is clear that the government should probably convert a lot of order-in-council positions to permanent positions. Maybe they could avoid a lot of controversy. That way it would not get into so much trouble with its order-in-council appointments.
So we support this legislation. In fact, I would recommend to the government House leader now that he consider more appointments of this type, bringing them within the public service. As I say, he might avoid a lot of controversy by doing so and might avoid making some bad order-in-council appointments in doing so.
Mr Sterling: We too will be supporting this bill. I believe Bill 1 normally is introduced by the government to show the independence of the government from the crown, represented by the Lieutenant Governor, and usually is inconsequential.
Hon Mr Conway: Lieutenant.
Mr Sterling: It depends on where you are from.
The Speaker: The member for Carleton has the floor.
Mr Sterling: I was going to be very brief until I was interrupted by the government House leader as to how I pronounced Lieutenant Governor. He finds that a significant issue and I am afraid I do not.
We are going to support this bill in the good spirit of trying to move legislation forward as quickly as possible. Our caucus will be supporting this without objection.
Mr Offer: I would like to thank my colleagues on the other side for their support of this very important piece of legislation. This bill is part of a general initiative of the Ministry of the Attorney General to improve the system of government appointments and eliminate unnecessary order-in-council appointments. While in some cases order-in-council appointments are useful in ensuring independence from ministerial control, there are certain drawbacks associated with such a method of appointment. On that basis, I end the debate.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for third reading.
FUNERAL DIRECTORS AND ESTABLISHMENTS ACT, 1989
Hon Mr Wrye moved second reading of Bill 30, An Act respecting Funeral Directors and Establishments.
Hon Mr Wrye: I want to review for a few minutes some of the features of this legislation, which is quite extensive in nature. The bill of course focuses on enhanced consumer protection and contains provisions that will ensure a more equitable marketplace for consumers, business and non-profit participants through improved access to information and services.
The legislation will replace and enhance a number of pieces of legislation or proposed legislation, my ministry’s present Prearranged Funeral Services Act and the Funeral Services Act, which now resides with the Ministry of Health. As well, many of the provisions that were contained in the previous Bill 27, the Prepaid Funeral Services Act that died in Orders and Notices in the last session have been incorporated into this new legislation.
Today’s consumers are faced with more commercial aspects of the bereavement sector, such as costs and pre-need purchasing. First of all, the bill will transfer responsibility for funeral services legislation, the entire responsibility, to my ministry. The Board of Funeral Services, which has responsibility for licensing funeral directors, establishments and transfer services for inspections and other administrative duties will come over to the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations with that transfer.
The legislation, as the House knows, was released in draft form in early April. Since that time, we have had an opportunity to meet with many interest groups to discuss the bill and to discuss the companion piece which will also be before the House this afternoon. As a result of that consultation and indeed the extensive study that has taken place over the last few years, we have made certain additional changes. I think this legislation is among the strongest and most progressive in this field anywhere in North America.
As honourable members will know, the purchase of death care services is really a uniquely sensitive transaction. During the consultation process, indeed during this whole process, considerable attention focused on the issue of door-to-door and telephone solicitation. We decided, as the House knows, that this type of marketing presents the unavoidable risk that the ill or recently bereaved may be contacted; thus, in its original form, the act contained a prohibition of all door-to-door and telephone solicitation.
But again, and it was very useful during the consultation that followed the release of the unnumbered bills, several groups, particularly the Consumers’ Association of Canada, raised the point and the issue that solicitation could then be conducted through workplaces. As a result, the bill that I am proposing goes farther than the original draft in that it proposes to eliminate this possibility.
There are also a number of disclosure provisions that I think are important to this new legislation. Let me just quickly run over them. First, a fully itemized price list will be made available to the public for supplies and services, and reasonable information must be given over the telephone upon request. Second, all funeral establishments will be required to provide non-traditional funerals and basic low-cost funerals on request. Third, licensed transfer services will be permitted to offer basic disposition services, such as the removal and transportation of remains, and the filing of documents.
In response to the changing multicultural nature of Ontario society, funeral directors are going to be established and licensed in two categories, those who perform embalming and those who choose not to.
The bill also expressly prohibits unethical business practices, such as excessive pricing, misleading or deceptive advertising and high pressure sales tactics. Consumers will be protected from those high pressure sales tactics with the provision of a 30-day cooling-off period when they purchase pre-need funeral services. In fact, all prepaid contracts can be cancelled at any time prior to the services being delivered, and if the service is cancelled in that 30-day-period, then no administration fee is charged. Indeed, there is no charge at all. After that, an administration fee will be taken out.
The bill also contains measures to ensure that the current trust funding arrangements are made more adequate. To ensure the consumer’s money is protected, the bill requires 100 percent trusting of all moneys paid in advance of need, and the procedures involved in withdrawing the trust funds have been strengthened, requiring specific documentation before the money is released. In addition, all money received for a prepaid funeral will be held together with income accrued in trust for the beneficiary until it is dispersed in accordance with the act.
To further protect consumers, because in spite of all our efforts there can be failures within this industry as there are in others, we have as the House will know, established a compensation fund in this field for the first time. It will be similar to compensation funds in other fields, such as the travel industry. We on this side believe the compensation funds in those other fields have proven to be a great success in protecting the consumers in those industries. This is quite a mature industry and one where we kind of wrap our arms around a compensation fund, and so we have moved in that direction.
The bill also continues and indeed clarifies the current prohibition against operational connection between funeral homes and cemeteries.
Let me just stop here and indicate that the issue of one-stop shopping versus complete separation was really a key area of concern. I suppose the government, in announcing its policy decisions, has chosen a middle ground. The idea of moving to one-stop shopping is certainly in some ways attractive and has been used in other jurisdictions. We felt that in the longer term it would lead to a lessening of competition as larger operators bought out smaller ones, and that with that more oligopolistic circumstance beginning to take hold, we would see over the longer term increased prices and with those increased prices, obviously, decreased choices as well.
On the other hand, we felt that to demand complete separation and to prohibit passive financial linkages would really place an unnecessarily intrusive limitation on investment and would be injurious to existing investors. As all members know, there are some passive linkages that exist even today.
Prohibited operational connections will be clearly defined in the regulations that we will pass in accordance with this bill. By way of example, they will include joint marketing referral, selling and common directorships. Regulations will also prohibit funeral establishments and cemeteries from being located on one site. I can assure the House and my colleagues that these prohibitions will be strictly enforced by the ministry.
Consumers in this province expect a choice of services and an equitable marketplace in which to do business. This is particularly true at a time, and this is certainly one of those times, when they would be at their most vulnerable. I believe the new legislation responds to those needs and those challenges and I hope members of all parties will endorse the legislation.
Mr Farnan: First of all, at this time I would like to pay special notice to the origin of this legislation, which we believe is basically good legislation. I think all fair-minded members of this House will recognize that the concerns and problems that existed in this industry were recognized by my predecessor, the Consumer and Commercial Affairs critic for the New Democratic Party, Mel Swart, the former member for Welland-Thorold.
The advocacy and the work of Mel Swart really mobilized this issue, and I would hope the minister will find the time in his remarks today to recognize the work of Dr Swart. Dr Swart’s work has been recognized throughout Ontario. Indeed, he was given an honorary doctorate of law by Brock University, not based simply on this contribution, but certainly it is one of the contributions he has made.
Knowing the minister and knowing his ability and willingness to show and demonstrate a generosity of spirit, I know he will not let this occasion pass, I sincerely hope, without recognizing the contribution and work of the former New Democratic member for Welland-Thorold, who has been the champion and the primary advocate of consumer protection within this whole area. We in the New Democratic Party are very pleased when those just causes that are championed by our party eventually are picked up by the government and translated into good legislation.
Having said that, I do not think New Democrats can take all the glory for this particular piece of legislation. I think we have to recognize that the primacy of advocacy for this legislation does belong to my predecessor, Mel Swart, but let me say this to the minister: Both in the process and the substance of this legislation, there is much to be commended. I think that a Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations can look at the manner in which the legislation was brought forward and realize there was a considerable degree of consultation, so we commend the government for the process.
I think we can also say we commend the government for the substance. I am not going to reiterate all the positive things in the bill; I think the minister has done that very ably and I concur. I believe that as New Democrats we concur with the overall positive effect this legislation will have in terms of consumer protection and information to consumers in the whole area of solicitation and prepaid funerals.
However, the minister made one statement in his presentation of the bill, and I want to draw particular attention to this particular wording. The minister said the government chose the middle ground between one-stop shopping and separation. We are talking about the separation of the cemetery and funeral services and, in the overall picture, the separation of the funeral services, the cemeteries and the monument builders, which will be coming up in the next section. But in this particular bill the minister said he had a choice between one-stop shopping on the one side and separation on the other and the government chose the middle ground.
As the critic for the New Democratic Party, I think this is a timely moment to suggest to the minister -- it is a warning -- that perhaps his decision is going to result in a step in the wrong direction, that it is in fact a movement towards one-stop shopping.
I know there are advocates for one-stop shopping out there and I know the arguments have been presented on both sides and I am not going to use today’s debate to get into that whole situation, but I want to go very clearly on the record that the New Democratic Party stands very clearly and definitely committed to the separation of the three sectors within the whole bereavement industry. We believe that the cemetery, the funeral and the monument builders should be very clearly divided, and either the government does not know where it stands on the issue or it is moving consciously in a gradual way towards one-stop shopping.
My other concern is that the minister talks about regulation, that regulation will solve the problem. Unfortunately, I would much prefer, and New Democrats can go on record today as saying we certainly would prefer that the minister take a little more time and the government take a little more time, and instead of leaving up in the air those ends that have not been tied together and saying, “Well, we’ll sort that out by regulation if problems arise,” that the government could take just that little more time and listen to the concerns of the partners who make up the bereavement industry, go that little bit further and draft the legislation that will address those additional concerns.
We are conscious of the fact that decisions made by regulation will not have to be subjected to the scrutiny of accountability by committee or the scrutiny of accountability to the House. In other words, decisions affecting this particular industry will be made to some extent arbitrarily. That is too bad. While I have commended the minister and the government on the process that has taken place in the development of this particular legislation, it is just too bad that it could not be continued through to the end. Because what we have had is a reaching out, talking to the various key players, listening to their concerns, solving most of the problems -- and congratulations for that -- but there are a couple of tough decisions left to be made and the government says, “From now on it will be by regulation,” while, really, it is those sensitive areas, those areas where adjustments have to be made, that need to be discussed and finalized in an open forum, whether that forum be in the committee or the House.
At this particular moment in time I am going to ask once again that the minister show the magnanimity of spirit, the generosity of character to stand up in this House and say, “Yes, the inspiration for this legislation and indeed a great deal of the substance of this legislation comes from the work done by Dr Swart, the former member for Welland-Thorold.” I think that is the kind of collegiality that will make this House work with a great deal smoother process, where the government actually recognizes the positive contributions made by members of the opposition and where the opposition can recognize the good work that has been done by the government.
That is why I have no hesitation today in saying to the government that on this piece of legislation it has done a very good job. They could have done better but they have done a very good job, and if they listen to the advice I am giving them now, they will be able to round it off and we will be able to say, “Yes, we’ve got it and we’ve got it right.”
What I will suggest is that this bill be sent to committee for short hearings, because I think the apprehensions I have expressed today will be reflected by the various groups that will be affected by this bill. They are not all going to be whistling the same tune, but I do believe it is much better that we have short hearings in which these players can express their views. Hopefully, the minister will then have the flexibility to be able to say: “Okay, we’ve got it 90 percent right at this stage. Let’s take the extra step.” That would be a splendid way of proceeding.
Again, congratulations to the minister. The areas of concern of the New Democratic Party are on record. We look forward to this bill going to hearings, and we hope suitable adjustments can be made so that the sensitive decisions that have yet to be decided will be decided in legislation and not by regulation. Regulation is not the solution to this problem.
I would also add that trying to choose a middle ground between one-stop shopping and separation is really a movement away from separation and is really a step towards one-stop shopping, which is going to have very severe repercussions on the whole industry. How sad, with so much right, if the minister and the government let this legislation slip away towards one-stop shopping in the bereavement sector by failing to address this final area.
There are other sections we could talk about. I did begin by saying I would remain very brief today on the issue, but I hope we can send this bill to committee.
Mr Runciman: My comments will be brief, as there is an understanding among all three parties that the legislation will be going to a committee of the House. That will provide an opportunity much needed by a number of groups who still have some concerns with respect to the final version of this legislation.
Essentially, as an opposition party that at every turn attempts to be constructive, we are always looking forward to opportunities in which we can indeed support government legislation. Regrettably, those opportunities are few and far between with this government. This is certainly a piece of legislation we can indicate some degree of comfort with. I extend our compliments to the minister and his staff with respect to the consultative process that was undertaken in coming up with two bills, actually, on the bereavement sector. I know it was not an easy task getting the various groups together. It has been talked about for a number of years.
By and large, certainly from the feedback my office has been receiving, there is a large measure of support for the legislation, although with some rather modest concerns in some areas, especially, I think it is fair to say, with the monument builders. There are perhaps even more serious concerns from their perspective with respect to tied selling and the separation of the three elements in the bereavement sector.
I do not necessarily share the concerns of the member representing the official opposition who spoke prior to me and expressed his concerns about one-stop shopping. This is a personal view, not necessarily a party view. Looking at the best interests of the consumers -- the minister and ourselves as critics for that particular ministry -- I am not certain that prohibition of one-stop shopping for ever and a day is necessarily in the best interests of consumers of this province.
This minister perhaps is limited in what he can do to ensure that there is a level playing field out there. If we look at elements like the tax-free status of cemeteries, for example -- through his colleague the Minister of Revenue (Mr Grandmaître); I am not sure that would fall within his jurisdiction but I suspect it would -- those are areas that can be looked at in terms of achieving a level playing field so that perhaps in certain areas of this province, the more heavily populated areas, one-stop shopping facilities may be appropriate and may be in the best interests of the consumers.
I certainly do not want to write it off as a possible long-term alternative for the consumers of this province. I certainly would not wish to see the government rule it out for future consideration. Indeed, action could be taken in the very near future to make it feasible to consider that as an option.
Currently, I have to share the monument builders’ concerns with respect to the current state of affairs whereby tax-free cemeteries are not being prohibited from getting into the monument business. Again, there are perhaps regional reasons, if you will, for cemeteries being in those kinds of businesses, simply because, if it is a small northern community, for example, it is not going to have the range of services available and it may be necessary. Anything the government may wish to consider in this area could recognize those regional needs and interests.
But I think the basic problem confronting the monument builders in this province in the more populated regions of Ontario should be addressed by this government on a short-term basis until, as I suggested, the government can take action to ensure that all elements of the bereavement sector are competing on a level playing field.
I do not think there is a great deal more I can offer at this stage. We are looking forward to the opportunity to discuss this in committee and provide those concerned groups with an opportunity to make a final pitch, if you will, to the members of the Legislature and the government with respect to some perhaps relatively modest amendments for the most part, but regarding the monument builders some rather significant amendments that would solve their particular problems and concerns; I think they merit the very serious attention of the government.
Mr J. M. Johnson: Just briefly, I have a few comments. First, I would like to correct the member for Cambridge (Mr Farnan). While he did pay tribute to the former member for Welland-Thorold, and I certainly support the proposition that he did a lot to bring about changes in this legislation, I would also submit that my colleague the member for Leeds-Grenville (Mr Runciman) also participated to a great extent in any changes that were brought about.
I have some concerns that have been expressed to me by many senior citizens’ groups, clergymen, funeral directors and, as my friend the member for Leeds-Grenville mentioned, the Ontario Monument Builders Association. I understand Bill 30 and Bill 31 are going to committee and these concerns can be expressed at that time. I congratulate the minister for taking this position and hope that with input from interested people we will come up with some legislation that will be well accepted by the people in this province.
The Acting Speaker: Are there any further comments? Are there any further participants? Does the minister care to wrap up the debate with his reply?
Hon Mr Wrye: Yes, thank you. First, I am very pleased to have the support of my friends opposite for this legislation and look forward to our discussions in committee on this legislation and Bill 31, towards which we will be moving our discussions immediately following the completion of second reading of this legislation.
I am always pleased to acknowledge the contribution of my friend the former member for Welland-Thorold, Mr Swart, on this and so many other matters. He cared passionately about issues of consumer protection. I did not always agree with his solutions, but he always brought great passion and a certain pizzazz to his discussions.
I say to my friend the member for Cambridge, and I want him to pass this on to my friend Mr Swart, that I miss him greatly. He used to send my predecessors cartons of milk and loaves of bread and quite frankly, having to stock my apartment by myself is from time to time very difficult. I know in days gone by Dr Elgie in particular always enjoyed receiving those foodstuffs from Mr Swart, where he wished to point out some pricing differences.
I say to my friend the member for Cambridge that I am very pleased to have -- my friend is an educator -- a kind of B-plus so far and I really hope we can move it an A in committee. I will work very hard towards that.
I do acknowledge that in committee we are going to have a great deal of our discussion on the issue of separation of the sectors. I will leave some of the discussion on the monument dealers that both my friend the member for Wellington (Mr J. M. Johnson) and the critic for the Progressive Conservatives, the member for Leeds-Grenville, have raised quite properly as being issues that were among the most troubling of the variety of issues that we looked at.
If I may. I will leave some of the discussion on cemeteries to my opening statement, which I think will indicate some of the answers on that. But I would say this, and my friend the member for Leeds-Grenville touched upon it: Particularly in smaller communities, not just in the north but in his end of the province as well and indeed in parts of southwestern Ontario, there is some concern that a complete separation of the industries -- and here we are talking not only about the separation of funeral homes and cemeteries but also adding to that and including monument dealers -- might prove to be not in the best interests of consumers at all in those areas where the populations really in some ways demand some kind of combining of processes. There are parts of the province where those who are cemeterians are the only people who are involved in the sale of monuments and markers. There are other parts of the province where those who are the local, town and township funeral home operators are those who also provide the monuments and markers.
I have given a commitment in terms of the strengthening particularly of the funeral home and cemetery connection. Members will all know that monument dealers are involved in much more than doing monuments and markers simply in the bereavement sector; they prepare monuments and markers in a number of other areas which also affect their business. I would hope that the members would understand that some of the initiatives we will be taking in terms of the combinations of funeral homes and cemeteries, to clarify but also to strengthen our prohibition on direct, active combinations, will be sufficient in the circumstances.
I say to my friend the member for Cambridge, who raised this as an issue first of all, that I share his concerns over the longer term in the area of one-stop shopping. I think that it is a trend which we would, in terms of the protection of the consumers, regret over a period of time. I do not believe that the measures the government has chosen will lead us in that direction.
Finally, in terms of the concerns that the member for Cambridge raised on regulations, I can advise him that we are setting up an advisory committee of industry and consumer representatives, which will continue to work with us in terms of the implementation of the act and in terms of the wording and the implementation of the regulations.
I too share a concern, which I think we all have in the House, that regulations should not be used to replace statutes and legislation which come to this place for discussion and decision, where that is inappropriate. At the same time, regulations are often used to not bind the hands of the government where there is an appropriate measure of general legislative support given. I think the regulations which now exist in subsection 13(1) of the Cemeteries Act are appropriate to be found in regulations, but I look forward, as we go to committee, to alternative views which my friend may express.
I appreciate the passing grade in the first go-around and I hope that in the final examinations we will have in committee in the days to come, perhaps my grade might be improved ever so slightly.
Mr D. S. Cooke: What did he give you?
Hon Mr Wrye: He gave me a “Very good,” which I consider a B-plus, I say to my friend the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr D. S. Cooke), and I suggested that I hope we can move that to an A, but the member for Cambridge will make the decision.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for standing committee on social development.
CEMETERIES ACT, 1989
Hon Mr Wrye moved second reading of Bill 31, An Act to revise the Cemeteries Act.
Hon Mr Wrye: I am very pleased to bring before the House for second reading this companion piece of legislation, which is very extensive. It is really not amendments to the Cemeteries Act, a piece of legislation which was badly outdated and in need of revision; it is a whole new Cemeteries Act. We attempted not to amend it but really brought forward a whole new piece of legislation.
Again, the changes, as in the previous legislation, are the result of extensive consultation between government and industry, consumer and seniors’ groups which went on for some three years. We have seen over the longer term, since the original act was drafted, a significant growth in pre-need purchasing and a trend towards commercial involvement, particularly the latter, with corporations replacing many of the traditional voluntary and community-operated cemeteries. None of us in this House needs look any further than our own community to see the truth of that statement.
The new Cemeteries Act addresses these modern realities through enhanced consumer protection and through strengthened regulatory control. Consumer protection will be improved with the appointment of a registrar and the introduction of a licensing system for cemetery owners, commercial sales people and individuals employed primarily as sales people. These measures will ensure that an effective monitoring and enforcement structure is in place, as is the case with the funeral services sector.
Among the many consumer protection provisions contained in this proposed legislation -- and many of them are similar to the previous funeral establishments legislation -- are a ban on telephone and door-to-door solicitation of all cemetery lots, services and supplies, prohibitions on the operational connection between funeral establishments and cemeteries and protection for pre-need trust funds.
This bill also requires reasonable information, including price lists, to be provided over the phone upon request in order that consumers can compare prices and services. Cemeteries will be required to provide itemized contracts which clearly set out the supplies and services purchased and the purchaser’s cancellation rights under the act.
Again, pre-need contract cancellation provisions are similar to those that I described in the previous bill, 30 days for a cooling-off period but cancellation at any time with the loss of only the administrative fee.
Cemeteries will be required to repurchase the rights to lots at any time prior to need at the consumer’s request because the lot is actually turned over to the consumer immediately on purchase. It is provided in a pre-need situation but the purchase is completed immediately.
In the past -- and my friends, particularly the members of the third party, in their comments previously on the Funeral Directors and Establishments Act, spoke to this issue -- a number of monument dealers have complained that some cemeteries do not compete fairly in selling monuments. I think that is a matter that concerns, and ought to concern, all of us. To ensure a fair and competitive marketplace -- and this is written into the legislation -- cemetery bylaws will not be allowed to discourage consumers from purchasing a monument from a source other than the cemetery.
There has been some talk about property taxes. That is really an issue for the Minister of Revenue (Mr Grandmaître). Also in the longer term, in our judgement, as we reviewed the concerns of the monument dealers, it is less major than the issue of literally placing barriers in the way of monument dealers who may wish to sell to consumers and then have the consumers have the full right to come on to the cemetery site.
This proposed legislation significantly strengthens the existing trusting provisions on cemetery contracts. In the past, only 65 per cent of the pre-need money was required to be held in trust. Under the bill, 100 per cent of the funds paid under a pre-need contract must be held in trust and there will be more stringent financial reporting requirements to ensure the protection of the consumer’s money.
The long-term financial self-sufficiency of cemeteries will be assured by increasing the amounts deposited into the care and maintenance fund. As well, cemetery owners will be required to maintain inoperative sites if they own other sites which are generating revenue. Similarly, when a monument is installed, a deposit will be made into the care and maintenance fund to ensure the monument remains in a safe condition.
Development across the province continues to lead to the discovery of previously unknown burial sites. As the members will know, the current act makes no provision for the treatment of these sites. The process for dealing with such sites is now clearly defined in this new legislation, along with provisions for a resolution procedure for disputes. Further, all discoveries must be reported to the registrar, who in turn will have the authority to order an investigation to determine the origin of the site.
Also with respect to burial sites, this bill prohibits the disturbance of a site or artefacts associated with human remains, except on the instruction of the coroner or pursuant to a site disposition agreement.
Specific rights are also identified for agencies responsible for veterans’ affairs, including the right to be notified and consulted on matters of veterans’ graves.
This legislation significantly strengthens and improves the marketplace for consumers who are purchasing cemetery supplies and services. It is an act which responds to our modern Ontario and to the changes that have occurred in this segment of the sector in the last few years, and I urge all members to give it their support in second reading.
Mr Farnan: Again, the New Democratic Party will be supporting the legislation and encouraging it to committee, as per our agreement. I do want to make a couple of comments on what the minister has said.
I did not wish to be casting a judgemental role on the minister, but he has taken my remarks that way and come to the conclusion that I have given him a very high grade on this. I do not want to undermine those positive comments, but to help the minister understand, I am going to give him a little analogy.
It might compare to a teacher with a very good student who has a very good mind, is enthusiastic about his work and works hard. Indeed, given an assignment, he goes through all the logical processes of completing the assignment. The teacher, on reflecting upon that assignment, might want to put his hand on the student’s back and say, “Well done.” The problem is that the student has made one mistake; and the teacher realizes that the mistake that the student has made is a very fundamental mistake. It is a mistake in a basic principle so fundamental that it puts in jeopardy a lot of the other things that have been concluded as a logical process.
The teacher is kind of divided in what he has to say to the student. He wants to say. “Well done,” because he has worked hard, he has done all the right things, but indeed -- Mr Speaker, if you will bear with me, I will come to the topic --
The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): Are there any other comments or questions arising out of the introductory speech by the minister? No? Other participants.
Mr Farnan: I think I have made it very clear. The principle that I think the minister missed, and the principle that I think is absolutely fundamental, is this: Three-way separation means that cemeteries only be allowed to sell cemetery lots, that funeral directors only be allowed to sell funeral services and that monument builders only be allowed to sell monuments.
In his comments, the minister raised the issue that there are going to be parts of the province where this would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. I would remind the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations that when it comes to the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario, his ministry has developed flexibility, in which there are different kinds of licences depending on what part of the province you are in; this is based basically on the population and the distances between services. They are very reasonable criteria.
I suggest to the minister that it is still possible to sit down with the parties. I know we do not want the Toronto solution for eastern Ontario or for northern Ontario. It would be absolutely crazy. But I put it to the minister that certainly in communities over a specific size which can sustain the three sectors of the particular industry it is possible to have criteria in the legislation which will clearly say that cemeteries, funeral services and monument builders will be provided separately. That is possible in areas of the province, given a specific population and specific distances. I think that is an eminently reasonable and eminently sound approach. A good student would grasp the soundness of that particular concept.
I do hope the minister is still open at this stage to looking at his package again. Good student that he is, once he has grasped the principle that separation is what is required and legislates some reasonable approach towards urban and rural areas that can provide separation in those areas which can sustain it by virtue of population, then I think he will be speaking a language that will address all the sectors.
I have a statement, which I am not going to read into the record in its entirety. It comes from the Ontario Monument Builders Association. I suspect that the minister may have received a similar document from that association. What I will contract to do is to send the minister a copy of this letter which outlines very clearly the concerns of the monument builders.
I suggest that at this particular stage the funeral directors should also be concerned about what is happening in terms of separation, because the way this legislation is set up, where there was a very broadly based alliance looking for some changes to take place within this bereavement industry, some sectors of that alliance have received within this legislation some legislation that will go a long way to meet their needs; although the seniors’ and consumers’ groups remain concerned about the integration process.
Again, I want to go back and commend my predecessor in this particular critic’s area. The member for Mississauga South (Mrs Marland) will well remember Mel Swart playing a particularly important role in this area. Mr Swart should be recognized by the minister in a manner that is perhaps more open and clear. We all know of the extraordinarily colourful character in which Mr Swart carried out his role as critic.
I do not think that simply reference to that idea of bringing in bread or milk cartons or this, that or the other as a kind of a humorous reflection on the days of Mel Swart in this House is good enough in terms of this legislation. I think the minister could be a little bit more specific. All he has to say is what everybody knows: that Mel Swart championed much of this legislation and that the government recognizes that fact and has incorporated what Mr Swart worked for many years.
Is it too much to ask this government to make that simple statement without trying to colour it with: “Well, yes, he was a funny guy. Yes, he brought in milk cartons and he did this or the other”? He may have been a colourful character, but let’s be very clear about one thing: Mr Swart was the greatest champion that consumers have ever had in this province. Indeed, it behooves this government and minister to make that statement without trying to take away from the statement in its purity. Mel Swart deserves credit. I hope the minister in his statement will make that very clear.
Mr Runciman: I am not going to comment further in respect to this legislation. Essentially, we did cover our concerns dealing with Bill 30 and overlapping into this area as well. We are going to be supporting this legislation in second reading and look forward to the committee hearings.
Hon Mr Wrye: I will be very brief as well. I thank my critics for their comments and look forward to the discussions in committee.
I do want to deal with a couple of things my friend the member for Cambridge said. First, in terms of our good friend and former member Mel Swart, I did not mean to in any way diminish his contribution here. I always feel, though, that he certainly made a good contribution to consumers, but ultimately the government takes the decisions on legislation. Let me tell members that some of us over here believe that we on the government side are pretty good champions of the consumers and the people of Ontario as well. We are pleased to share that with Mel Swart, but “share” is the word we would want.
Finally, in terms of the separation, I am certainly prepared to go to committee and be persuaded otherwise. But it will not come as a great shock to my friend the member for Cambridge that in determining the government’s actions in this matter, to clarify and strengthen the current prohibitions and again to remain silent on monument dealers, a great deal of thought went into this matter. We took the views of a number of groups into consideration.
We look forward to hearing those views in committee, but I hope there will be some new reasons because very clearly, and I should put it on the record, in the earlier discussions, over a great period of time, starting well before my friend was a member of the Legislature and I was minister in this ministry, the government has heard the views of a number of parties, and ultimately, with the full knowledge of the consultative process that was undertaken, the government took the decisions it did.
But we will be quite prepared in committee to hear the views and to do some fine-tuning where that may be necessary, and certainly if one convinces us that a very fundamental change -- what my friend points out to be one of the central principles of the legislation -- is one which is called for, to make that change. I just would encourage people to come to the committee with some new views and I hope that they will.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for standing committee on social development.
MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Hon Mr Eakins moved second reading of Bill 201, An Act to amend the Municipal Act.
Hon Mr Eakins: This legislation permits counties to take on responsibility for solid waste management. Under this legislation, a county with a two-thirds vote of county council representing a majority of the member municipalities may assume all or any of the responsibility for solid waste management in the county.
At present, municipal solid waste management is the sole responsibility of lower-tier municipalities in the county system. Many local municipalities are finding modern waste management beyond their technical and financial means. This legislation resolves the problem by allowing local municipalities to combine their resources at the county level and deal with their waste management problems collectively.
The legislation is consistent with the recommendations of two recent committees which looked into county government, the Advisory Committee on County Government in Ontario and the consultation committee. I should point out that most of the counties that made representations on waste management have supported a county role. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario is also in favour of county waste management authority.
Other highlights of the legislation are that counties may exempt municipalities from the county solid waste management system, subject to a two-thirds vote of county council representing a majority of the local municipalities. Counties may enter into agreements on solid waste management.
I want to emphasize that this is a permissive legislation. It does not require counties to undertake solid waste management but allows those counties which have local support and are interested to get involved in providing solid waste management services.
My ministry has circulated the first reading of Bill 201 to all municipalities in Ontario. The purpose of this consultation was to ensure that the bill was as responsive to the needs of the municipalities as possible. Based on this consultation, I am proposing two amendments to the bill, to subsections 209a(10) and (25).
Mrs Marland: In rising on behalf of the Progressive Conservative caucus to speak on Bill 201, I think it is fitting to recognize that there has been quite a large amount of consultation with the area county councils and municipalities on the larger subject encompassing the management of waste in this province, and I think it is important to recognize that currently counties do not have statutory authority to engage in waste management activities. The Municipal Act only provides that this authority is given to local municipalities.
With the recent crisis in waste management. municipalities and counties have found it more economical to undertake waste management activities on a regional basis. Several counties are now in the midst of participating in waste management master plan preparations. To some, the whole waste management master plan process seems pointless if county governments do not have the authority to implement the final plan.
Bill 201 was intended to give counties this authority. However, it is a poor attempt on the part of the Liberal government to do this. The bill itself is flawed and confusing at times, but in this case some consider that a flawed bill would be better than nothing.
The reason for giving counties waste management authority is that they usually cover an appropriately large geographical area and most have sufficient populations for effective waste management. Some local authorities, some local municipalities find it beyond their means to establish a waste management system which meets present-day environmental requirements.
That does not mean they do not wish to meet those requirements; it is just a cost ratio of a small county versus the strength of a broadened funding base by bringing several counties together, the same reason we initiated regional government 15 years ago. Hopefully, when you do something regionally, there are cost savings to the taxpayers. Obviously a larger-scale system involving several local municipalities or the entire county would be more cost-efficient.
Both the Advisory Committee on County Government in Ontario and its Liberal sidekick, the Consultation Committee on County Government, recommended that counties be given responsibility for waste management services. In the first report of its municipal waste management series, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario also recognized the need to give counties waste management authority.
AMO suggests that the need for an amendment to county authority is urgent, since it is not clear that counties can even submit a waste management master plan for environmental assessment approval without authority for waste management. AMO further explains that while it is not necessary to obtain Environmental Assessment Act approval for recycling programs, counties have no authority to enter into agreements for capital spending to implement such programs.
AMO supports Bill 201 in principle, but the association feels there is still a need for more authority for counties to engage in the activities associated with the four-R program, namely, reuse, reduction, recovery and recycling. Obviously the four-R program is something that I, as the Environment critic for our Progressive Conservative caucus, am personally very committed to on behalf of our caucus.
Although the county authority is needed, AMO thinks Bill 201 is only a first step and there is still a need for a substantial overhaul of municipal legislation to deal with waste management.
The bill was also intended to give counties exclusive jurisdiction over the activities of the private sector in the area of waste management, but AMO does not feel this intention was made clear in the bill. The government has given notice that it will be introducing an amendment to the bill to clarify this point. The amendment proposed by the government rewords the relevant section of the bill to grant counties assuming a waste management function authority over the operation of all waste management services, whether run by private operators or by municipalities.
It appears the government also recognized that it has failed to include authority to engage in the four R activities in Bill 201 and this is its way of slipping it into the bill unnoticed. It would be preferable to have this authority made more explicit, especially in light of the fact that local municipalities do not even have this authority now.
I think the fact that it is new has to be emphasized. I will be moving an amendment to address this area when we move into committee of the whole. I understand the government has a second amendment which is just housekeeping; it is more housekeeping than substantive
In general, there is a consensus among municipalities and counties for a need to give counties waste management authority. However, there is concern for the smaller municipalities that may not wish to participate in a county-level waste management service. The bill does not provide an opting-out clause, only an exemption clause. Thus, if a municipality requests an exemption, it could be voted down by the rest of the county council.
Some counties have also expressed concern about the transfer of liability included in Bill 201. The bill transfers all rights and obligations and all assets and liabilities of a participating local municipality to the county taking over the waste management authority. Depending on the interpretation, this could mean that all counties will have to assume liability for any environmental problems of old and existing landfills.
The county of Lanark recently requested and was given permissive legislation to assume waste management activities from the local municipality. I refer to An Act respecting the County of Lanark, Bill Pr78. Bill Pr78 was passed on 2 March 1989 and gave Lanark county wide-ranging authority over the collection, disposal and removal of solid waste and the authority to establish four-R programs. If this government had paid more attention to Bill Pr78 and used this example to draft Bill 201, municipalities would be more comfortable with the legislation contained in Bill 201.
I think it goes without saying that if there is going to be any management of waste in this province, it must include the program known as four R. We cannot begin to get a handle on managing our tremendous problem and challenge of waste in this province until we get into a psyche for all of us and action by all of us to reduce our volumes of garbage, to recover what we can, to recycle what is possible and, obviously, to reuse as much as we can. Therefore, four R in waste management has to be a tight, integral part of any waste management of any community, county, municipality or regional government in Ontario today.
I will look forward to moving my amendments to include the four-R program in Bill 201. Since this Liberal government has already demonstrated its support for the Progressive Conservative government’s initiatives in recycling by its ongoing support of blue box recycling programs around this province, I am completely confident that the government will support my amendments when we move into committee of the whole.
Mr Breaugh: We will support the bill, but I do think it is important that we get on the record this afternoon that there are some things, I am sure the government knows, which are not brought forward in a very proactive way in this bill.
One of the problems that many of us who have spent a little time in municipal politics are aware of is that it sometimes is difficult to get a common set of standards or a common approach among municipalities. That, of course, has good and bad to it: the good being that there is an opportunity to do things in different ways, to experiment, to try to see if you can figure out a slightly better way of doing things than your adjacent municipalities.
It poses a bit of a problem, though, in the sense that you do not always have things done to the same standard. One of the concerns I have about this bill and this particular approach to it is that it takes the old-fashioned idea that by legislating, as is proposed in this bill, the responsibility to one level of government, the problem is then resolved. I do not really believe that is true, and I want to make that argument in some detail.
We should look at what would be Toronto’s greatest single problem. At this point there are a lot of them out there, but one of the most urgent ones is garbage. When one seeks a solution to that problem, one looks to what is now becoming part of Ontario’s political process. It has never been done in law and it has no status in law, but there is now a thing developing called the greater Toronto area. Much like what is proposed in this bill, the same theory is at work, that on a county basis, because they will now be responsible for waste management, they will be able to resolve the problems.
I think that is a start, but I want to encourage the government to recognize as much as it can the scope of the problem, because there is the old notion that you can simply put garbage in trucks and take it out somewhere and dump it, and most of us who follow that particular problem will now say that creates more problems than it resolves.
One of the things that bothers me a bit is that in the area of waste management there seems to be some uncertainty about who should do this. The critical issue is simply this: There are some who advocate, and I would be one of them, that 20 years from now what is now a big problem, the management of waste in all forms, will be seen to be a big profit. The private sector is beginning now to line up in a tentative way with its proposals on how it can make money. In a classic sense it is the old Canadian political argument: If there is money to be made, governments should get out of it and let the private sector take over, and if it is going to run at a loss then government should do it.
I do not subscribe to that theory, quite frankly. I believe the problem is substantial. I think it is all over Ontario. I do not think this bill does very much towards resolving that problem. For example, in the areas of Ontario not covered by any form of municipal government, and there are a lot of them, this bill does not address that at all.
I think the bill makes it possible for different counties to enter into agreements on how to share their responsibility and share their resources to handle the waste problem. But I would point out, for example, that my region of Durham has entered into agreements with adjacent regions to handle it, and one of the end results of that was notices going out to home owners in the south end of Oshawa which said that if there was a strike among the people who collect garbage in Toronto, “We ain’t going to collect your garbage in Oshawa either, simply because we’ve got no place to put it.” The dump site that would be used as the repository at least on a temporary basis for the garbage from the city of Oshawa is operated by municipal employees in another municipality altogether.
One can see the weird phenomenon I do on most mornings now. I suppose the prevailing theme would be that if you live in Toronto you are shipping your garbage out to Durham, but ride Highway 401 and you see the garbage trucks from Oshawa bringing that stuff in the general direction of Toronto. This is what is happening each morning. The garbage trucks are on the road to prove it.
I would put the simple argument that this is a massive problem and, to be honest about it, it is one which governments at all levels are now fighting back with themes, symbols and jingles, which is great, bless their souls. Everybody knows the four Rs: reduction, reuse, recycling and recovery. Everybody knows the wonderfulness of the blue boxes.
What people have not established for my peace of mind here is: What do we do when we get the stuff out of the blue boxes? I have one in my driveway today and it is full of tin and glass and paper. I think that is a magnificent first step in terms of establishing a need to recycle all of these and we have made people very aware of the need to do that, all of which is great; but I also know we are having difficulty with the recycling process in our community. We are having a little difficulty in terms of organizing how that is done, but we have a bigger problem at the other end of it, too.
It is fine to argue that we should recycle, and we certainly should; that we should all have little blue boxes in our driveways, and we certainly should; but there is another question that has to be answered. What do we do with it? Where does it go? Who buys it? Is there a market for it? Those questions do have to be answered.
I wish I could say with some certainty that we have folks thinking about that. I think we do, but I do not know for sure. I wish I could say with some certainty that this government or any other government was working diligently to coordinate all of this collection of waste and managing it as a resource, but that would be foolhardy. That is not happening.
In other parts of the world, it is happening. In other part Fs of the world, one can point to garbage at the curb and the end result is a product somewhere else that is useful to that society, but it is not happening very much here. In Ontario and in Canada and I think in the United States as well we have the awareness level up, which has to be done, but we should not think that having found a new slogan is a solution to this problem, because it is not.
I am happy that in the area where I live, for example, all of our municipalities are now into the blue box recycling program. I am ecstatic over the notion that people in my community who do not want to think about recycling, who do not have time in their lives to think about waste management at all, are at least thinking about it to that extent. That is great.
The next logical step, I suppose, could be this bill, that is, to extrapolate that responsibility to counties around Ontario, but it is not going to do much good unless those counties have some support systems, some ways of trading information, some ways of gathering up new technology and making it work.
I hope that, as the minister proposes in this bill, the ministry itself will begin now to address those greater problems. Is it opening the door for the private sector to go in and take over waste management? If it is, it had better do so with great caution, because I am not convinced that the people who brought about many of our really substantive problems in handling waste are about to go in there and do a much better job in terms of waste management. I understand the argument that if they can make a buck, that is okay, but there is a greater problem here that has to be dealt with, and it is not happening.
As some friends I talked to at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario said, the bill is a first step, but it is no more than that and it may create some difficulties. If there is an information flow going along with the development of this legislative change, then that is part of it; if there is an exchange of technology, that is another part of it; but if it is solely restricted to the provision of jingles for people to sing or slogans for people to remember, it really has not done very much.
There are some larger problems that I think do have to be addressed. On first reading of the bill, it looks like the bill at least knows they are there, and that is a good sign. But there are certain types of waste that nobody knows how to manage yet, and that is a severe problem for each of the counties that will now be responsible for this.
They should also know that for certain types of waste, Ontario has no repository that is safe by anybody’s standards. We are thinking about constructing an industrial waste management facility of our own, but we have been thinking about it for more than a decade and it will probably be another decade before it is built. Then we have to figure out how we get all of that particular kind of waste from whatever county you are into the site where that plant is built, and that is a major problem.
The other thing we have to think about is: What do we do with that kind of waste for the next 20 years?
In my community there was another polychlorinated biphenyl scare recently. People have kind of learned the three letters PCB and know it is bad; they are not quite sure why, but they understand that. They would be even more frightened, I am sure, if they understood that getting a licence from the Ministry of the Environment to store PCBs does not mean a whole lot. What it means is that you have to put some cement underneath it and supposedly put it in a safe container; but if you do that, you will probably get a licence.
I was amazed to find out that one of the things that happens pretty regularly is that if there is a PCB spill, if the stuff falls off a truck on to the roadside -- one of the things that happens pretty regularly -- nobody does anything about it, except that you go to the Ministry of the Environment and get a temporary licence to store it, and where it fell on the ground becomes a licensed temporary storage site. That is not much of a solution.
It is difficult. I know my community is no different than others. PCBs are all over the place: They are in the city hall, they are down at the public utilities commission, they are up on telephone poles and telegraph poles all throughout my community. We have old plants where there is stuff stored and nobody in this world knows what is stored in them, let alone what is in the soil around them.
We are looking at the tip of an iceberg here. There is a very huge problem that has to be dealt with. It is going to take us a long while to do it, and designating a particular county to be responsible for that really is not much in the way of a solution. In a sense, it is an extension of the awareness program that local government will now clearly be seen to have a responsible role to play in the development of a waste management system in its own community. That is good, because they should get used to the idea that you cannot ship this somewhere else.
Similarly, I would say that the southern part of this province is unreal if it thinks it can somehow solve its garbage problem by shipping the stuff to northern Ontario, eastern Ontario, southwestern Ontario or anywhere else, because in my view that is simply an extension of the old-fashioned idea that you put garbage on a truck and dump it somewhere, get rid of it, and that is what we cannot do.
What some would consider to be one of our greatest resources -- that lake that is just to the south of this building -- is also one of our greatest problems, because of what is in it. If the members look to the communities in and around Metropolitan Toronto, where the traditional dump sites have been developed, they ought to talk to some of the people in Whitevale, Stouffville and places like that, where garbage dumps are being proposed now. They will get a lesson in linguistics they have not had in a while. They do not want them, and they have a long list of very valid and dramatic reasons why Metro should not dump its garbage anywhere near them.
If you drive along Highway 401 between Oshawa and Bowmanville, you will see something amazing. I do not know who did this, but somebody has put up a series of billboards which read something like this: It’s big, it’s new, it stinks, it’s Metro garbage. Don’t dump it here.”
So there is an awareness of what a dump site is that perhaps was not there a little while ago. There is an awareness that that technology, if you want to use that phrase to describe this, is not appropriate any more, if it ever was; that a dump site creates more problems than it resolves; that in the long run, all of us have to start to think about things like packaging. Do we need to have something we buy wrapped six times? Would it not be just as good if we bought it and it was only wrapped once? Do we need to dispose of so many things all over the place? Do we even know what we are disposing of?
Here is a thing it would be interesting to try on a county council that is just getting the responsibility for this now. What are they going to say to the people who live in that county who want to dump paint thinner? Where are they going to dump it? Because in my community of Oshawa, which I like to think of as a sophisticated place, when I ask the question, ‘Where do we dump this stuff?” the answer is: “Nowhere. Not in your backyard; that’s wrong. Don’t put it in your garbage; that’s wrong. Don’t take it to the garbage dump site; that’s wrong.”
In the last couple of years we have advanced substantively, because you can now take it to certain designated sites and they will do something with it once in a while. To say to residents in any community, “Save up a certain type of waste; know what it is, save it and once or twice a year take it to a designated site and someone will dispose of it there,” I am not sure is a very practical way to do things.
The bill itself certainly does not do any harm to anybody. All it does is identify a level of government that is now going to be responsible for waste management. That should have been done eons ago; no one denies that. But we should not pretend either that it is much in the way of a solution, because for about half of the geographic part of Ontario there is no form of organized municipal government at all. This bill simply will not apply there.
In terms of actually addressing the problem, the bill does not do that either. In terms of providing a support system of information, technology and the development of new ideas, the bill does not do that either. I am concerned a little that the bill simply says that somebody is responsible for it now. That should be done and it needs to be done, but there is also a great deal more that ought to be done along with it. I do not see that happening.
There are a number of people who work at AMO who are vitally aware of how controversial and how difficult this subject really is. They really would probably rather not have to deal with it, but I think they recognize as well as anyone can that local government, county government, has a responsibility to do that.
I would like to see this bill go forward. I am happy to support the two amendments that were brought forward by the minister. I think it was the day before yesterday at 11 o’clock in the morning when we got them. It would be really nifty if ministers could tell us what they want to do with these bills a little sooner than that, but that is another matter altogether.
I would be very happy if this bill were in tandem with a new program by the Ministry of the Environment to develop all of this. I would be happy if we could say to the people who will now be legally responsible for waste management in any of our municipalities that within this decade we will know how to handle waste, because we do not now, and that within this decade we will reduce the amount of waste that is generated by people in our community. I do not think we can do that with any sincerity at all.
The other thing that really has to be said, although the public probably does not want to hear this either, is that the waste generated in any community does not come from some invisible source. It comes from people in their homes and where they work and in their community in general. So we do have to do all the awareness stuff that is so popular these days. That is important, but it should not be seen as a solution, because it is not. It is pan of an ongoing educational process. It is important to develop an awareness among people in general that waste management is a problem that all of us have to address.
All of our governments at all levels have to see their responsibility clearly and develop the technology to deal with it, because we are really talking about changing the way a society functions. That is going to be difficult for us in North America. It is going to be difficult to try to adjust to the notion that there is not just endless space where this stuff can be dumped and that there is a need to be a little more sophisticated about that.
It is interesting to note that among the countries in the world which have been successful in waste management programs -- probably it simply proves the old adage that if you have to solve a problem, you can and you will -- in those countries where they simply do not have the space we have in North America, they have been pushed into solving waste management problems earlier than we have, for survival.
It is interesting to note, too, that in many of the communities in Europe, for example, waste management systems have been put together on how to handle different kinds of waste. Most of our people would say the same thing: They do not want that stuff in their backyard, either. That is certainly an understandable notion in their minds. But when it is established and when it is part of an ongoing process in a society, people accept that. Perhaps they do not understand all the technology involved, but they understand the basics of it, that this must be done.
I encourage the government to take this tiny step it is proposing in this bill today. I think it needs to be done, but there is a world of work that must proceed and it must proceed starting now. I urge the government to take not only this step, but all of those other ones that are going to be difficult, expensive and not popular. If it is not done, then the world as we know it is going to encounter some very severe problems.
No matter how sophisticated people think they are in a modern society such as here in Toronto, there is nothing that will test their sophistication more than the fact that they do not collect the garbage once a week and it piles up in a park in the middle of the neighbourhood on a hot summer day. When that stench starts to settle into the neighbourhood, they will have some realization of what kind of problem they have to deal with.
I would hope that all members and all people in Ontario who have some awareness of the ecology around them and of the world in which they live would start to think about the need to do things and would concern themselves with waste management in their lives. Then maybe governments can kind of get in tune with them for a change and take some of their responsibilities a little more seriously.
The bill and the amendments that have been proposed are useful and are things that should have been done probably 40 years ago, to tell the truth. But for someone who is only 40 years behind the times and in government these days, he or she probably is not in bad shape.
Mr J. M. Johnson: I might just start by suggesting to the member for Oshawa that while Bill 201 seems to be a small step, for me it is a very important step, because I have a real problem with it. I represent the county of Wellington which is, by riding, 21 municipalities. They now have a waste management study committee under way that has selected two sites. The two sites are in two of the smaller townships. Nineteen municipalities will have the right to vote. The two municipalities will be the recipients of that selection process. Now maybe that is being a little hard and fast with the legislation, but it is reality.
It is my understanding that under the present legislation, a county council by unanimous consent can take over control of waste management. Under Bill 201, the government has changed that to read that a two-thirds vote of county council will do the same thing. This legislation will come into effect on the day it receives royal assent. What then happens to the county of Wellington? Do those two municipalities still have any options or are they caught with the new legislation?
I pose those questions so the minister can possibly answer some of them in a little while. The concern is that I have to represent 21 municipalities. I cannot represent one, two or nineteen, and I have a great deal of difficulty with that decision.
I sent out a copy of Bill 201 to all my municipal councils and advised them that it would have tremendous impact on the way they have managed waste in the past. I am not sure if the minister is aware of it, but there seems to be some confusion in his ministry. A memo went out from the Ministry of Housing from the deputy minister. It is addressed to “All Municipal Clerks,” dated 17 March and reads in part, “As you are probably aware, Bill 201, An Act to amend the Municipal Act, which received first reading on January 12, 1989 died on the order paper when the House rose on March 2, 1989.”
It goes on to say: “This ministry is planning to introduce another bill on county-waste management in the Legislature as soon as possible. My minister, the Honourable John Eakins, had asked me to send a copy of first reading of Bill 201 for your Council’s review.” It is signed by the deputy minister, but I am not sure which deputy minister. It is on the stationery of the office of the deputy minister, Ministry of Housing. It refers to “my minister, the Honourable John Eakins.” Surely the minister has enough stationery that he does not have to borrow from the Ministry of Housing.
The concern I have is that we were notified by one of our municipal councils that the legislation I had sent out, Bill 201, was indeed dead and that it was not that interested in it now. But we suggested that it was not dead and that it would be brought back in, which it has been.
We phoned ministry staff and asked them if they did not feel it was in the best interests to correct this memo that was incorrect. They said it was not really of much interest, that the clerks should know, that they would have no problem because they all read Hansard, something of that nature. If it is worth sending it out in the first instance, it is certainly worth sending out a correction notice.
I find it is most discouraging that ministry staff would take this -- I was going to say initiative, but it is the opposite, not take any initiative in this instance. I raise it as a complaint and I wish the minister would investigate. Many of the municipalities will be quite surprised to know that this debate is taking place today. After second reading and third reading -- it will pass -- they will be notified that there is no input needed, because the bill was not dead.
There are a couple of questions I would like to ask the minister concerning the bill. On the day the bill receives royal assent, the county council assumes control of waste management. If that occurs, then what -- in Wellington county there are four municipalities in the northern section that have a joint waste disposal site. There are another four in the west section. Do those sites come under the control of the county or is there any permissive legislation that will allow those municipalities to continue to operate their sites? That is one question.
The liability of the existing sites: When the county takes over the operation of the sites, does it then also take over all the liability related to the existing sites and the sites that supposedly have been closed? Do they expend the money that is necessary to close the sites or are those municipal councils responsible for those sites?
I think those are some of the key points my county council would be concerned about. I really am not sure whether the county council will support it, but it is my understanding that it is permissive legislation, so it will have to make that determination itself. But I did feel I had an obligation to speak on behalf of some of the small municipalities, some of the townships that will end up being the recipients of some of these waste disposal facilities.
Hon Mr Eakins: I want to thank the honourable members for the comments they have made. I want to say that when the bill was put together we circulated it to all the municipalities across the province for comment. I might say that many, many of our counties have supported Bill 201. They have written in to say they are fully supportive and would like to see it passed and under way just as quickly as possible.
Some comments were made here by the member for Wellington (Mr J. M. Johnson) about the fact that it was assumed Bill 201 had died, which is natural when the House rises. However, there was an all-party agreement that this bill would be carried over. It was a decision by all parties and therefore we were able to keep the bill in its present form. I think that relates to the comments he has made. The other comments he made, in regard to the ministry, I will certainly take back and refer to the ministry.
I want to say that it is important the county be given this responsibility because the concern today with waste management is very great indeed. I think the member for Oshawa (Mr Breaugh) has spoken very well from his municipal experience and also from where he lives within the province.
He knows the pressures are not only in the greater Metropolitan Toronto area, and they are very great. But also, the influence of the greater Metro area is influencing the work of many of our counties for quite some distance. Therefore, it is time the counties were given the option of this responsibility, and that is what we are doing here today.
I appreciate the comments that have been made and I am sure that when the bill is passed, many of the counties that are now waiting will be able to take up that option and proceed with it.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for committee of the whole House.
House in committee of the whole.
MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Consideration of Bill 201, An Act to amend the Municipal Act.
The Deputy Chairman: First, could members indicate which sections of the bill they wish to bring forward amendments to or make any comments or ask any questions about?
Mr Breaugh: Just to help out, the minister should be reminded that he has two amendments to section 1, which he would probably want to place.
Hon Mr Eakins: The sections of the bill are subsection 209a(10) and subsection 209a(25).
The Deputy Chairman: Could you repeat that, please?
Mr Breaugh: I think what he means is that he has two amendments to section 1 of the bill.
Hon Mr Eakins: I have two amendments to section 1 of the bill.
Mr Breaugh: The member for Mississauga South (Mrs Marland) has two possible amendments, one which is labelled “complex” and one which I take it should be labelled “stupid” or “simple.”
Mrs Marland: With such wonderful assistance from my colleague to my right --
Mr Breaugh: To your left, and don’t you forget it. There is nobody in here to your right, Margaret, come on.
Mrs Marland: It is certainly true that I do have one set of amendments labelled “complex.” I certainly do not have the simpler one labelled anything but “simpler.” I think the clerk has copies of my amendments. The numbering may not be completely in the order the clerk wishes to have them, so I take guidance from the chair as to the actual numbering of those two amendments.
The Deputy Chairman: Thank you. If there are no other members, we will go first to the first amendment from the member for Mississauga South.
The Deputy Chairman: Mrs Marland moves that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“209a(2a) The council of a county may establish and operate programs for the reduction, recovery, recycling, reuse and composting of waste and resource recovery and may enter into agreements with one or more subscribing municipalities to provide for the joint management and operation of the programs upon such terms, including the payment of compensation, as may be agreed upon.”
Mrs Marland: I think it is very clear that under the existing wording of the Municipal Act, as it pertains to the authority municipalities have under the Municipal Act, they do have the authority to pass bylaws to deal with any area within their jurisdiction. The bill we are dealing with this afternoon is passing that same authority on to county councils. In fact, where the Municipal Act deals with the subject of garbage -- waste management is the posh word -- I will read from the existing Municipal Act.
It says under paragraph 210(83) that the municipality may pass bylaws, “For establishing and maintaining a system for the collection, removal and disposal of garbage or of garbage or other refuse or of ashes, garbage and other refuse, and for contracting with any person for the collection, removal and disposal by him of ashes, garbage and other refuse upon such terms and conditions ... ” I will not read the rest of the paragraph.
The point of the matter is that in this existing statute there is no authority for the kinds of programs that are needed to manage waste in the province today. The fact is that there is no authority to directly deal with establishing programs that cover the four Rs, of which I have already spoken earlier this afternoon: reduction, recovery, recycling and reuse. It seems this is an obvious amendment that I am quite sure the minister, under good advice, would want to support because his Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) has already committed and spent thousands of dollars in the province supporting, for example, recycling programs, which is one part of my amendment.
I think it would be completely regressive for the minister not to use the opportunity that is before him today, in transferring the authority for waste management from municipalities to county councils, to cover the opportunity those four kinds of programs would give those county councils.
I take note that we do have an amendment coming from the government that talks about -- its amendment is to subsection 209a(10), and it is rather interesting that in its wording, where it is talking about the transfer of jurisdiction, it has slid in the words “reduction, reuse, recovery or recycling of waste.” However, unless it is specifically addressed as a policy and as granting authority to that county council, the authority does not just pass from the municipalities to the county councils.
Therefore, I think, recognizing the tremendous need for that kind of program and recognizing -- I know the entire Municipal Act is not before us this afternoon. I recognize that the section of the Municipal Act before us in Bill 201 is simply the transferring of authority to county councils. That is very clear.
But why would we not use the opportunity to include in the transfer of that authority the opportunity for those county councils that will now be planning for their own waste management to plan in the whole sphere and the whole scope of incorporating the four Rs? Why wait? It is such a basic commonsense approach that I have no understanding of why the Liberal government would not just pick up this ball and run with it.
Mr Breaugh: We think this is just a nifty amendment and we will support it.
Hon Mr Eakins: While I cannot accept the amendment of the honourable member, I want to say I certainly do respect the ideas she has advanced here. But these go beyond the terms of the bill, which is intended simply to transfer the powers of local municipalities to the counties.
The four-R powers should be addressed in amendments to the existing sections of the Municipal Act, so that the local municipalities as well as the counties get these powers. The ministry is presently reviewing the waste management powers in the Municipal Act, including the four-R powers my friend has suggested, so I think this is being taken care of.
Mrs Marland: I must respond. For the minister to say he cannot accept it because it goes beyond the scope of what is before us in this bill is a very illogical statement. What is before us in this bill is transferring the authority for waste management to the county councils from the municipalities. If we are suggesting that the four Rs are not part of waste management, then we are in deep trouble, really deep trouble.
I do not think that is what the minister is saying. I think the minister is saying that he agrees with the four Rs. He is saying, however, that they will come at another time because at another time we will have a review of that section of the Municipal Act.
I am simply saying that in the light of day we never know with the Liberal government when the other time is coming and if it is 12 months from now. In the meantime, we have allowed these county councils to go off down this road doing their planning for waste management without any authority for reuse, recovery, recycle and reduction. The truth of the matter is --
Mr Faubert: Oh yes, they have it. They don’t need authority.
Mrs Marland: It is unfortunate that the member who is now interjecting, who is not even in his seat, obviously is not familiar enough with the Municipal Act himself or else he would not be sitting there saying they currently have the authority, that authority which they do not have. That is the reason this amendment is necessary.
I think the member for St Catharines, the Minister of the Environment, will be gravely concerned to know that some other section of his illustrious cabinet is not supporting an initiative that is simply common sense in terms of waste management today.
That authority should be given to those county councils instead of putting them out literally to pasture for whatever amount of time it is going to take before the actual review of that section of the Municipal Act comes back: “Okay. Whoopee. We’ve opened it up now. We’re into the cookie jar. Let’s look at the four Rs today. It’s a year later.”
In the meantime, they are trying to plan how to deal with their garbage. They are trying to integrate waste management plans on a regional county basis and they do not have the authority. If the minister is saying they have the authority now, I would like him to show me where in the Municipal Act, of which I have a copy in front of me, they have that authority today. I simply need that answer. If he can show it to me in the Municipal Act today, fine, I will accept it. I will even withdraw my amendment.
The Deputy Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the committee that the motion carry?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
The Deputy Chairman: Mrs Marland moves that subsection 209a(2) of the act, as set out in section 1 of the bill, be amended by inserting after “purposes” in the fourth and fifth lines “and may establish and operate programs for the reduction, recovery, recycling, reuse and composting of waste and resource recovery.”
Mrs Marland: Perhaps with the simpler wording it will be easier for the Liberal government to understand.
Mr Breaugh: There are no pictures.
Mrs Marland: I obviously live as an eternal optimist. I am sorry that I do not have pictures to illustrate what it is and why it is important.
Hon Mr Wrye: If this is the same motion, it’s out of order.
Mrs Marland: In Bill 201, for the benefit of the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr Wrye), who is so interested in this bill -- I think it is wonderful that he is here and taking part, even in a seated position. I think it is important for him to know what Bill 201 is actually saying and why it is important to have this amendment, because I am quite sure that the residents of Windsor-Sandwich are interested in the four Rs, as are the surrounding county councils, no doubt.
It actually says in this subsection: “(2) The council of a county may pass a bylaw to empower it to adopt a waste management plan or to assume any or all of the waste management powers, or both, for all the local municipalities forming part of the county for municipal purposes.’
I think in this section are the words I would like the minister to think about. I would like him to read them and hear them. The fact is that this bill of his today, Bill 201, is passing to the county councils the power to adopt a waste management plan, and in 1989 there simply is not a waste management plan that is in the 20th century that would not include the four Rs.
What I am telling him is that if he thinks it is okay to pass Bill 201 today and give councils the power to plan to manage their waste and yet not include “reuse, recycle, reduction and recovery,” then that is like giving them the carriage without the horses. How can he think he is doing something that is in the interests of future waste management in this province and not include giving them the power for the four Rs?
It simply is not good enough that the minister is saying that section of the Municipal Act is under review. That section of the Municipal Act will come back goodness knows when, and if it comes back more than a year from now, these county councils that are going to be covered by Bill 201 today will already be making their waste management plans.
So, with respect, I would beg the government to support this amendment in the initiative of its own Minister of the Environment, who happens to have demonstrated quite well that he supports recycling. We do not yet have any programs for reuse, recovery or reduction of waste in this province. We can hope for that kind of leadership to come eventually from the Liberal Minister of the Environment, but at this point in time we do not have programs in that area.
We certainly need them and this is the opportunity to give that kind of direction, leadership, and most important of all, authority to these county councils in order that they can do it. They simply do not have the authority today. No matter what the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr Eakins) is being advised by his staff, the fact of the matter is that the councils do not have the authority. Perhaps if he is still advised that they do under the existing Municipal Act, I would very much appreciate in his response to me if he would show me which section of the Municipal Act gives them that authority today without my amendment.
Mr Breaugh: This is basically the member’s first motion sideways. It has been reduced, recovered, recycled, reused and composted. We are in favour of all those things, so we support this amendment too.
Hon Mr Eakins: Paragraph 83 of the Municipal Act states: “For establishing and maintaining a system for the collection, removal and disposal of garbage or of garbage and other refuse or of ashes,” etc. I believe that that is covered very well in paragraph 83. The honourable member has simply presented a similar amendment to the previous one and, therefore, on the same basis I could not support it.
Mrs Marland: It is impossible to believe that the minister can stand up and re-read the exact same section of the Municipal Act that I read as an argument in favour of my amendment. The very paragraph that he has just read, paragraph 83, if the members read it and understand it, is the very reason that there is a necessity for my amendment.
aragraph 83 deals with handling garbage. It deals with collection, removal and disposal of garbage and other refuse, ashes, etc. I am not going to read it a third time. But it does not talk about reduction, recycling, recovery or reuse --
Mr Carrothers: That is part of collection.
Mrs Marland: No, it is not, and if the member thinks it is, then -- I guess I had better not say what I am thinking. But the point of the matter is that in this statute there is no authority for either municipalities or county councils to take part in and plan for a four-R waste management program in this province.
If the minister wants to lead his Liberal government down that path of waste management without providing for plans for the four Rs, then so be it. It will be on his shoulders; it certainly will not be on the shoulders of the Progressive Conservative Party, because we have said here today, loudly and clearly, why this amendment is necessary.
What a waste of time to say, “We can’t do it because we have to wait for the other review.” This is an opportunity today, and it is really disgusting that the opportunity is not being used. Is the game the fact that the minister did not think of it? Is the problem that it is not his amendment? Is that what we are dealing with here? Because if that is what we are dealing with, I would ask the minister to please take my amendment and place it in his words or have it as his own.
My issue here is to deal with the future of managing waste in this province. Quite frankly, what we have is a complete void. We are missing an opportunity. It really is irresponsible that the government is not taking this opportunity. All they are doing is saying, “Okay, county councils out there, you now have the same authority to plan for waste management for your community on behalf of your residents, whoever they are, as the municipalities.” Well, whoopee, that authority does not include the four Rs.
The government is saying to them: “Go ahead. Off you go. See what you can do with it. But we’re not going to give you the authority you need. Maybe in 12 months’ time or two years time, whenever we finish our review, we’ll reopen the Municipal Act at that time and say to you, ‘Okay, when you do your master plans for waste management, now you can plan with the four Rs.’”
The truth of the matter is that when you are looking at waste management master plans, you are not just talking any more about planning for where a landfill site will go; you are looking at where perhaps incinerators will have to go when they become safe as far as the emissions standards are concerned. But more than that, you are looking at trying to break down the cost of garbage for the taxpayers in this province. The way you reduce the cost of waste management in this province is to reduce the amount of waste.
It is not a very difficult formula; it is a very simple formula. If you reduce the amount of waste through recovery, reuse and recycling, then you also reduce the cost not only to the local taxpayers but to the province as a whole, if possible, and more important, to the environment. because the more we can reduce and recover, reuse and recycle, the less intrusion we have into the environment by the garbage and waste that we as people generate.
It is a sad day in this Legislature if the minister is going to miss that opportunity on behalf of the people of Ontario to say to them, “Here’s the flag, this is the parade and this is where we want you to be.” That is the minister’s opportunity today under Bill 201, to say to those county councils:
“We believe in the four Rs and we’re using this opportunity today because that section of the Municipal Act is open today. So we’re going to use this opportunity to say to you. ‘We’ll give you this authority because this is how we want you to plan for waste management on whatever regional basis best suits your local municipality and you.’”
It is a great opportunity and I hope the minister will reconsider and support the amendment.
Mr Harris: I apologize. I have not been here for the whole debate, but I was watching in my office as I was having other meetings. I was really struck at that particular time by why it is such a soft amendment, such a permissive amendment that deals with the four-R program, which our party developed but which I thought the Minister of the Environment had embraced. It is news to me what I hear today, that this government, through the Minister of Municipal Affairs, wants to turn its back on the four Rs.
This is an amendment that does the same for this piece of general legislation as was done for the county of Lanark in Bill Pr78, which was unanimously passed on 2 March by this Legislature. It gave Lanark county wide-ranging authority over the collection, disposal and removal of solid waste and the authority to establish the four-R program.
The amendment the member for Mississauga South is proposing today is permissive, and for the life of me I cannot understand why this minister, on behalf of this government, wants to go on record today as saying: “No, we don’t want to allow. We don’t want to give the authority to the counties, in a permissive way, to ‘establish and operate programs for the reduction, recovery, recycling, reuse and composting of waste and resource recovery.’”
I really was astounded as I watched in the office, which is what has brought me here to lend support to the amendment being proposed by the member for Mississauga South and to suggest to the minister that he may want to step back, and instead of just getting the notes coming from people in his own ministry he may want to talk to the Ministry of the Environment people or to the Minister of the Environment himself, who, it was my understanding, had embraced the program our government developed out of that blueprint and the four Rs for waste management in this province.
The Deputy Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the committee that the motion carry?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
The Deputy Chairman: Hon Mr Eakins moves that subsection 209a(10) of the act, as set out in section 1 of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“(10) If a county has assumed the power for providing services or facilities for the collection, removal, disposal, treatment, storage, processing, transfer, reduction, reuse, recovery or recycling of waste, no municipality under a similar or equivalent power, and no person, shall provide such services or facilities within the participating local municipalities without the consent of the council of the county, which consent may be given upon such terms and conditions, including the payment of compensation, as may be agreed upon.”
Hon Mr Eakins: This amendment clarifies that counties which have assumed a waste management power can control the operation of related private waste management facilities located in participating local municipalities. In other words, in a county which has assumed solid waste disposal power, a private solid waste disposal operator has to get the consent of the county to operate.
This was always the intention of the bill. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario, however, pointed out that the wording of the section in the bill at first reading should be clarified.
I am introducing this amendment to ensure that there is no doubt about a county’s authority to control private waste management firms that wish to operate facilities or services in a participating local municipality. This amendment does not affect the right of a private waste management operator to appeal a council decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.
Mr Breaugh: One little question before we proceed: In the printed copy of the government motion I have, the margin note “County has exclusive jurisdiction” was included. I did not hear the minister read that when he read his amendment formally. I take it the government wants that in, as that is the point of the amendment?
Hon Mr Eakins: Yes.
Mr Breaugh: If, with the consent of the House, that could be considered to be part of the motion as read, I think that is the point of the amendment and those words should be included.
I am almost tempted to say that the minister has convinced me that his own amendment is not necessary after his sterling admonition to the member for Mississauga South that her amendments were not necessary. It seems rather strange to have him stand in his place and then proceed to read almost the identical words. I suppose he would conclude that this is absolutely vital now, but he has never been right before and I doubt he is now, so I will take the amendment in its original form.
I simply want to put on the record that this is one of the areas of concern I have. It basically centres on the last few words that are in this proposal, “including the payment of compensation.” I want to put on the record that I do not have a problem with a municipality that does not have its own resources in place to do waste management in a proper way bringing in someone from the outside, from the private sector, to do that. But do have a problem with a municipality, a county government that rejects its own responsibilities that are clearly set out now, under this bill, and decides to contract that out. I do have a problem with a municipality that decides that because it pays its employees at a certain rate and it can contract that out to somebody else in the private sector at a cheaper rate, that is what they will do. I do have a problem with a municipality that decides it can kind of sweeten up the local coffers by farming out juicy contracts to the private sector for waste management.
I would make this prediction: I think this is going to cause the government some headaches later on. I know it is not the government’s intention to do that. I believe the government’s intention today is to, as clearly as it can, provide the jurisdiction to settle that argument and to see that county councils have, without question, the legal responsibility and the control over waste management. But I think that over the next few years, some of the hottest arguments we are going to have in this chamber and in council chambers around Ontario will be over this very provision of the bill. I am not saying it is unusual, I am just trying to earmark that I sense there is going to be a difficulty here.
It is almost an irresistible argument, to oversimplify a great deal. People from around Ontario gather at various conventions of municipal organizations and pitches are made to them by companies in the private sector that the private sector can handle their problems: “If you just let us into your municipality, if you just give us the legal right to handle your waste management problem, we’ll be there. No problems.” They really do not mention very much that they will make a potful of money out of that.
I would sense that as we go through the actual implementation of waste management systems around Ontario, one of the most controversial parts of that will be the role of the private sector and what kind of job it does. I understand why the amendment is being put forward and I have no real difficulty with it, but I do want to earmark that I think that particular section of the amendment, as proposed, is going to cause problems and the problems are going to be immense.
I would remind the government as gently as I can that we have already seen in the greater Toronto area, supposedly our most sophisticated form of municipal government, that the mechanics of getting the private sector into waste management has already raised a goodly number of questions, like: Who made the proposal? Why are they making that proposal? What kind of money are they going to make? What will they do with that money? What kind of control does the municipality have over a private sector company that enters into some kind of contractual agreement to do this work in a municipality?
I think those arguments are going to get hot and heavy and they are going to be incredibly nasty arguments. I hope they do not dominate the municipal agenda in very many places around Ontario but I have some concerns that they will, because I do know there are a number of municipalities that understand their responsibilities to take on this task but are not taking it on very comfortably, to be blunt about it.
If a county council or a municipality at any level wants to put up an arena, that is a good thing. People like arenas, they like ballparks, they like jogging trails and they like a whole lot of things. It is kind of hard to become popular by putting up a waste management system in your municipality, so the temptation is there, if this is a new responsibility put on your level of government, to reach out for somebody else to do this work. In many of our municipalities there are kinds of arrangements worked out that are a little strange around the edges, but they rely on the private sector a good deal to do this. I think there are going to be some problems in that regard and I think this government is aware that they have already begun and are not going to go away.
The Deputy Chairman: Before going to the next speaker, I would like to clarify one matter. The member for Oshawa has indicated that the words “county has exclusive jurisdiction” should be read or should have been read by the minister as part of the amendment. I did not intervene at that time, because that is not the intention of the amendment. The amendment is not to be read with the marginal note. “County has exclusive jurisdiction” is a marginal note; it is not part of a bill or statute and is therefore not part of an amendment. The problem comes with the way legislative counsel format the amendments. They make it appear that the marginal note is part of the amendment. Therefore, the minister was correct in reading it without that.
Mrs Marland: This amendment is very interesting at best. I think what this amendment is saying is that it is okay to designate the power, which does not exist in the Municipal Act as it pertains to the four Rs, as long as it is a private operation. If that is not so, I would like the minister to clarify that. Perhaps he could answer that question for me.
The Deputy Chairman: Thank you. Other discussion?
Mrs Marland: Excuse me, Mr Chairman. I thought in committee of the whole it was quite in order to ask a question of the minister. Perhaps he did not hear the question. I am happy to repeat it.
The way the amendment is worded, it could be interpreted that the minister has slid in the four words he voted against in my amendment, namely, “reduction, reuse, recovery or recycling” of waste, which he said were inappropriate in my amendment. I do not understand how using those four words in my amendment was inappropriate, because the minister said we were not into that section of the act. Now he seems to think it is okay to slide those words in.
That is one issue. The other issue is that it also reads that it is okay to slide those four Rs in and transfer the power to county councils as long as it is a private sector operation.
What is the minister intending by this amendment? Is he intending that we will have four-R programs and we will give them the power, the very thing he just voted against in my amendment, or is he intending that those four-R programs only pertain to county councils that have a private sector operation for waste management, not a government or public sector operation?
Hon Mr Eakins: The amendment simply reads that if a county has assumed the power for providing services or facilities for those certain areas. That is the reading of the bill: if they have assumed those responsibilities.
Mr Breaugh: Excuse me for saying so, but that is incoherent. Would the minister have somebody write him a note that says what it is he is doing here? The minister’s response to the member for Mississauga South simply did not make sense.
Hon Mr Eakins: The four words are already included in the definition of the section of Bill 201. The power is already under the Municipal Act.
Mrs Marland: It is unfortunate to have to be repetitious, but the minister must have a different Municipal Act than I do --
Mr Fleet: Well, we’ll get you the right act then.
Mrs Marland: -- because those four words, for the benefit of another member who is not sitting in his seat -- I think if the member for High Park-Swansea wants to take part in this discussion, he is perfectly welcome to, if he would take his own seat, but I guess his ability is limited to talking from elsewhere in the House. I will not use the words that he used yesterday which he was subsequently asked to withdraw in this House.
In the Municipal Act today, in the section that pertains to waste management, namely, garbage disposal -- and I will say this very slowly, because then there may be some comprehension -- there is nowhere in that Municipal Act today in that section that it refers to the four Rs, and there is probably a good reason for it.
My copy is now on the desk in front of me and I cannot reach it.
Mr Breaugh: That’s why I’m here.
Mrs Marland: Thank you very much.
The Municipal Act was originally passed in 1980. There obviously have been revisions and amendments since then, but let’s face it: I do not think anybody in this Legislature today would argue against the fact that it is only perhaps in the last five years that we have really come into the 20th century in terms of education and appreciation for what impact the four Rs can have in waste management.
If you are looking at reducing the amount of waste and if you are looking at reusing it and recycling and recovering, you obviously are looking, as I say again, at saving money. Maybe the Liberal government is not interested in saving money, but I want to tell the members that the Progressive Conservatives are.
The fact is that in the existing statute, under section 83, which the minister has already referred to and which is the section of the Municipal Act dealing with garbage, it does not refer to the four Rs. The minister spoke against and voted, with all his brilliant Liberal colleagues, against my motion asking him to include the four Rs in this bill that is before us today. The minister said we cannot include the four Rs today because that is not the section of the Municipal Act that is addressed under Bill 201, the bill we are dealing with today.
There may be some people who would have to accept that. Obviously, the people who voted with him accepted it, but he cannot have a double standard and come right in after he has defeated my amendment with his own amendment that includes the four Rs.
I want to know what rules we are playing by here. It is not good enough that the minister defeats my amendment addressing the four Rs and then places an amendment that gives the power to county councils that includes the four Rs. Which side of the chessboard is he on and what colour is he playing with?
I think it is grossly unjust, and worse than that, it does not even have any coherent sense. I would like the minister to tell me how he can include the four Rs in his amendment and defeat the four Rs in mine. If it is blatantly that he wants to have the ball in his court, he can take it, but the fact of the matter is that the minister cannot stand in this House and say that Bill 201 does not give him the power to address the subject of four Rs and waste management for the county councils of this province because the Municipal Act is under review and he plans to do that some time in the future and then place this amendment now, which is probably even worse. As I read this amendment, he is saying it is okay for county councils to enter into the four Rs in the management of waste as long as it is a private sector operation. I want to know if the minister is only in favour of the four Rs for county councils as long as it is private sector.
Hon Mr Eakins: We are sort of getting caught up in terminology or interpretation. “‘Waste management power’ means any power conferred by any general or special act on local municipalities or local boards thereof related to the collection, removal, disposal, treatment, storage, processing, transfer, reduction, reuse, recover or recycling of waste.”
Mrs Marland: Then why would the minister speak and vote against my amendment?
Hon Mr Wrye: Because he did.
Mrs Marland: I think the record should show that obviously I am going to respect my colleagues in the House and the fact that we are grinding down in time here at the end of the afternoon. But I think the record should show that in answer to my questions about why there is suddenly a double standard and the rules of the game change, and why the minister voted against my amendment, the answer that came from the other side of the House, albeit not from the minister himself but from the member for Windsor-Sandwich, obviously, was, “Because he did.”
I want to say that those kinds of answers are not good enough for the people in this province today who believe in trying to save money and who want their county councils to have the economies of operation that Bill 201 gives them. Bill 201 happens to be a bill that the county councils have asked for and one my colleague the member for Wellington has spoken in support of on behalf of his county council.
It is simply not good enough that when you ask a question back of the minister, the answer is, “Because he did.” That is simply not good enough. The people of this province expect a responsible government. When it gives them the authority this bill will give them, they particularly expect a responsible government to allow their county councils to give them the authority to plan for true waste management.
When they do their long-term waste management plans, either on a county or regional basis, they want to be able to include, with authority, the four Rs and that is simply all the Progressive Conservatives have tried to achieve here this afternoon. But obviously the minister and his colleagues have had some other advice and ultimately some other agenda, and suddenly they decide they will vote some other way. It is not a good enough answer, but it is obvious we are at the limit of extracting a better answer from this minister.
Motion agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Eakins moves that subsection 209a(25) of the act, as set out in section 1 of the bill, be amended by inserting after subsection (15) in the third line, “or the transfer of agreements under subsection (18).”
Hon Mr Eakins: The purpose of this amendment is to make disputes relating to the transfer of agreements subject to an Ontario Municipal Board hearing and to the dispute settlement mechanism provided in the bill.
The first reading bill provides that disagreements regarding the transfer of assets and liabilities related to waste management are subject to an Ontario Municipal Board hearing and a disputes settlement mechanism. In an article that appeared in Municipal World, it was pointed out that there may be disputes regarding agreements assumed by a county. To deal with such a possibility, this amendment provides that the dispute settlement mechanism and the OMB also have jurisdiction over disputes over the assumption of agreements by the county.
Mr Breaugh: We think it is quite a reasonable thing. I would hesitate to ask the minister to explain it, so I will just do as any good staffer and say that we support the concept behind it.
Mrs Marland: I think, based on my foregoing experience about getting something clarified or any clear information, I too really do not have any further comments.
Motion agreed to.
Section 1, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 2, 3 and 4, inclusive, agreed to.
Bill ordered to be reported.
On motion by Hon Mr Wrye, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with certain amendments.
Hon Mr Conway: Mr Speaker, it being three minutes and 30 seconds short of our normal adjournment time --
Mr Breaugh: You’ve run out of things to do.
Hon Mr Conway: No, I have not. Actually, there area number of other matters. I am inclined not to send the Minister of Revenue (Mr Grandmaître) to his feet at this time to begin the next order, which would be the Fuel Tax Amendment Act. I think we should probably adjourn now.
The House adjourned at 1758.