The House met at 1000.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ PUBLIC BUSINESS
EAST METRO TRANSPORTATION
Mr Cousens moved resolution 12;
That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing the negative environmental impact that the proposed east Metro transportation corridor may have on the Rouge River Valley system, the government of Ontario and, in particular, the Ministry of Transportation should conduct a detailed study in conjunction with Metro Toronto, the city of Scarborough, the town of Markham and the region of York, to determine an appropriate east Metro transportation strategy whereby transportation needs for the greater Toronto area and environmental concerns are not mutually exclusive.
The Deputy Speaker: Mr Cousens has moved a resolution standing in his name. The member has up to 20 minutes to makes his presentation and may reserve any portion of that for the windup.
Mr Cousens: I am pleased to have this opportunity to have debated in this Legislature a matter that is increasingly important, and that is the environmental concerns of people around the Rouge River Valley system as well as the needs of those who are commuters or will be commuters coming in and out of the greater Toronto area.
I see in this resolution a need to re-evaluate the possible transportation corridors that link up the north and south with Metro Toronto. I believe that there is a need to appreciate a balance where those of us who live in these areas can act locally and yet think globally, having the long-term interests of our community and society at heart.
I believe as well that we all must be environmentally conscious. It is a time in which people today have put a stake in the ground and more and more people are showing a genuine, sincere interest in the environmental concerns of our society. I guess one of the reasons for that is this book, Our Common Future, by the Brundtland commission. I have read it and I hope more and more people will read it. We are not concerned just with what is happening in Brazil and other parts of the world. We have a chance to do something within our own community and so that must be.
There is a problem right now. Several years ago several alignments were set aside and identified as north-south transportation corridors. Only one of those alignments has been protected and that is the present one that is on the map just to the west of the Rouge Valley system. It would be wrong for us to say that there is going to be an environmental assessment on this one route.
If you have just one option on which you are going to have an assessment, that is just an impact study as to what is going to happen if and when a transportation corridor is constructed there. If we act quickly and intelligently, I think we are faced today with an opportunity to come up with a long-term solution to the needs for our society and for people and also for the environment.
If we are left with only the one option, where there is one road that has been set aside by the Ministry of Transportation -- and that is going to be the north-south corridor between York region and Durham into Metro Toronto -- I believe that this is a mistake. Such an impact analysis does not begin to live up to the potential possibilities that would come out of an environmental assessment whereby we would look at a number of different options. There is more than a subtle difference between environmental assessment and impact analysis.
In order to address and resolve the concerns behind this great subject, I believe that time is our number one enemy. There are many pressures that are being brought to bear on the east part of the greater Toronto area. There is no doubt that tremendous new plans are taking place, not only in Scarborough but also north and east of Scarborough in the Seaton community.
The growth that is going to take place in the east end of Markham is just going to add to the already serious problems of getting people in and out of the greater Toronto area. We are faced with the possibility that the Ministry of Housing could well be coming forward with proposals for a housing development on the Rouge Valley system. We are faced with garbage dumps and landfill sites that are coming into the Rouge system as well.
We have an opportunity to go with the federal government and have a heritage park designation in the Rouge River Valley system, yet I fear what is going to happen is that the provincial government of David Peterson will postpone making any decision about a heritage park until there is an election. That is going to be one of the first plums he throws out to the people of the greater Toronto area.
Mr Faubert: What a great announcement.
Mr Couseus: Yes, but make it now and start planning around it, rather than just using politics for the sake of getting votes. I think it is time for this government to give leadership and not just be in a mode that says, “We are going to try to buy you.”
I also believe there are problems and pressures at this point that have to do with the planning that is going on in the Markham area and York region as to what is going on in Scarborough. The alignment of the roads that are being built and planned in one community should somehow link up with the other.
If we do not do something that is wise and good now, we are going to be faced with Fulton’s Freeway coming right up through the centre of the Rouge Valley system. It is going to be the option where he says, “Hey, I was left with no other choice.” I am saying now that we have options open to us if we consider seriously some of the benefits of having the study that I am proposing.
Good planning processes would mean that we are looking at the long term. So often, we are in a reaction mode. Planning departments and communities sometimes get the title that they are just reaction departments. Instead of being development-led, I want to have it led by the people and by people in politics who are really concerned, not only with 10, 20 and 30 years down the road, but with 100, 200 and 300 years down the road, where we are able to learn from our past mistakes and not just allow to happen in the Rouge Valley system what has already happened in the Don and the Humber.
Let’s take ownership of our future by becoming involved now in a very sincere and honest way, where we can put environmental concerns in balance and harmony with the needs of people. I think a good planning process begins, first of all, with a commitment to the future and the long term. That would be one of the first criteria I would like to see addressed.
I would also like to see us have a basic understanding of environmental land use, where we can take into consideration the needs of society, where we are understanding of the opportunities that exist within the eastern part of the Metro Toronto area, but also of the constraints. Some areas are more fragile than others. Let’s not just work in isolation. There are many things that have to be considered, not only the movement of people but also the preservation of a very beautiful natural park.
A good planning process should also assess and analyse all the options and alternatives that are open to us: what is going to have the least impact; what is going to do the greatest amount of good.
I think we have to recognize that there is no perfect route to link up Metro and the eastern and southern parts of York region. There will be tradeoffs. There are going to be extreme points of view. Some people will say: “Hey, we do not need the car. Let’s just get other ways of transportation.” Maybe we can have better commuter transit and better services, but the fact is that, through the study process that I am proposing, we would begin to screen out what is the best alternative.
What is needed right now more than anything, I believe, is a clean process that incorporates all that is good in an open, honest review of the options; where we have a proactive approach; where we incorporate all the benefits of what is now available through the Planning Act and the Environmental Assessment Act.
We can take and do both of the public review matters that come out of good planning and environmental assessment and begin that through this study. This study would begin to truly react to what we have called for in environmental planning and good planning. What we would then be in a position to do is understand the environmental impact and the land use impacts that are being affected.
Many questions will be answered. It would begin to allow the people who are running this province and running those communities to work together and come up with some long-term plans and strategies.
I know my own communities, the town of Markham and York region, are looking for a Markham bypass. I ask the question, where is that going to hook up? I do not think that has been resolved. Such a study as I have proposed would allow us to look at how we can best link up the Markham bypass with areas that are south of Steeles Avenue.
What are the projected load figures for the traffic that is going to take place in the north-south corridors in east Metro Toronto and the greater Toronto area? I know that with the development of this plan in Seaton, Markham and parts of Scarborough, we are going to see increasing traffic. Rather than react after the traffic has arrived, let’s do it ahead of time.
Let’s have some proactive planning that allows us to say: “Here is where the roads are going to go. This is how we are going to get the people in and out of the greater Toronto area.” Then we have done something for the long term while at the same time protecting that which is valuable.
I would like to ask that we would begin to understand through such a study what are the alternatives to going through and around the Rouge. Are there some other routes that should be looked at that are farther east, and what can we do to begin now to plan those routes?
I am concerned as well with the Morningside connection. How is this going to be hooked up to the Markham bypass? I have mentioned that earlier, but I would like to know where the east Metro transportation corridor will go after all this is done. Where is it going to link up to?
I would like to know through such a study what the government’s plans are for alternative transportation services. Will there be an expansion to GO Transit? Will there be expansion to public transit? How can we begin to make sure that we are moving people better than we are today?
It is just dreadful what people have to suffer through to get to their work in downtown Toronto or to go to a game or anything else. If we were in a position to be planning the future, as we have the option now, using time wisely we will be in a position to know that the future in Ontario is preserved by the kind of study and analysis we have begun.
I do not know, and maybe this study would begin to find out, how we would handle the traffic of people in and out of Seaton. I would like to know in such a study how the office of the greater Toronto authority will fit into this. Is the government going to impose a solution or is it going to allow the different communities and the people who are involved in those communities to help this government come up with a solution?
I do not know where this government stands. I do not think they know where they stand right now. But such a study as I am proposing would help all of us to work together in the best interests of all the community, to develop a solution that does harmonize with the needs of the environment, with the needs of people and the needs of our whole community.
It would allow us to bring together the city of Scarborough, the town of Markham, Metro Toronto and the region of York, and under the auspices of the province we would begin to be able to have a much better idea of what all the options are that pertain to the movement and transportation of people on the east part of Metro Toronto.
If we just allow it to lapse and just allow it to happen, there is one line up through the map, just on the west side of the Rouge. It has been the only one that has been preserved after the study that was done a number of years ago. I would like to see us look at all of the options and do it in an honest and clear way. Let’s allow it to happen now before it is too late. If we do not begin to react in an intelligent way, we are going to be forced to react to what development and everyone else has done around us.
We have a chance. We have a chance to be leaders; we have a chance to lead into the future in a wise way. I just hope that as we look at what is available there in the Rouge Valley system, we will consider that it is not just a small area that has no value. I have to say there is just tremendous value to be attained by retaining the beauty of the Rouge Valley system.
The water quality and the fish habitat are there. We also know that if the highways are allowed to drain into that river system, there will just be increased erosion and sedimentation. The water temperature changes. We know that the whole Rouge system is very susceptible to erosion problems. We also know that the east Metro transportation corridor across and adjacent to the lower Rouge River could jeopardize the plans of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Scarborough to enhance the Rouge’s existing trout, bass and other game fish populations.
We also know that in the Rouge Valley system the proposed highway would have irreversible impact on the lower Morningside forest, the Finch meander forest, Milne’s forest, Sewell’s forest west and Sewell’s forest east. Construction activity, with the salt spray, exhaust fumes, light and noise, would disturb the deer and the bird breeding areas, the wildlife habitat of these areas. We also know that it would disrupt the wildlife movement and we know that car exhaust emissions would degrade a beautiful stand of white pine that is there.
We are faced with noise pollution and light pollution. We are talking about the desecration of native Indian archaeological sites. I believe that the destruction of the Rouge would be compounded as one of the negative impacts of having a highway that can go right up through that area.
All I am asking for is that we take into account in a balanced way an understanding of the needs of environmental concerns which are very, very real; that instead of threatening those concerns and allowing them to be destroyed, we instead develop a strategy that has the long-term interests of that heritage park and also the needs of the community in harmony and balance,
We can do it, but let’s not just do it by having some person who sits in an office and has never walked through the Rouge, has never come along and understood just how beautiful it is, come along and say: “Hey, that’s where the road’s going to go.” It will not be an environmental assessment on what is happening. It will be an environmental impact on what is happening. It will not be something that really has the balance to what we want in our society.
We have a chance to do it right now. Let’s hope that through good planning and a real sense of dedication to environmental concerns and the concerns of our community and our people, we will come up with a resolution that allows us all to be proud of what goes on in the east Metropolitan Toronto area.
Mr Speaker, I will reserve a few moments for a final comment.
Mr McGuigan: I want to begin by commending the member for bringing forth this resolution. In this day of recognition of environmental impacts and recognition that in the past we have not done the forward planning that perhaps we should have done, I think his resolution is certainly in order and is one that should be carefully considered.
I guess I have to say at the outset that personally I am not going to support the resolution, not because I disagree at all with the content of it, but because the question in my mind is whether we lay down an extra level of bureaucracy and lay an extra layer of study. I have to point out at this time that one of the things the government is continually criticized about is the allegation that we study and study and do not do anything. I have some reservations in my mind whether bringing together a large group of people and conducting endless studies will resolve the problem.
I must confess that I have not had the experience the member has had in the area of’ transportation but one similar thing that comes to mind, and I have had considerable political experience in it, is a matter of trying to find systems of waste management and sites for waste management. In spite of all the studies and all the goodwill that we start out with, eventually we come to a position where a decision has to be made that is going to impact adversely, or at least is seen to impact adversely upon someone and that whole system breaks down.
But certainly from our government members’ standpoint, I want to indicate that as far as the government is concerned, as always in private members’ hour, they are quite free to vote as they wish.
I want to indicate that because of the discussions that have been taking place, the ministry, the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) and the whole government are very much aware of the environmental concerns the member has brought out to try to save the natural features of the Rouge Valley. It is certainly something we ascribe to, but we believe the processes that are in place will do their job.
The minister has met and he will continue to meet continually with Scarborough and Metro officials. We also have people from the various ministries, such as the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of the Environment, meeting with each other. These are ongoing discussions.
The Save the Rouge Valley System and others have raised this issue to such a level that everyone, including the government, is very aware of the political issues. Believe me, we are prepared to keep a close eye on all aspects of any road work, and even more so perhaps in sensitive areas like the Rouge.
If we stop and think of the development of any city, they naturally pick out the more suitable sites to build the cities -- the houses and the stores and the factories and so on -- and they stay away from the river valleys. As the city spreads out and develops, it just becomes a natural corridor that has been left and suddenly the roadbuilders come along and decide: “Well, that’s a beautiful corridor and an easy place. We don’t have to buy buildings and move such things as churches, cemeteries and so on.” So they naturally pick upon that area.
What I am saying is that the government is very well aware that roadbuilders choose the easy route and we are as much concerned about it as the member is.
A great deal has already been done through the .Environmental Protection Act and the Environmental Assessment Act process. A thorough study is important. I question whether another bureaucratic group is needed or whether this would add an extra cog, extra time, to what is already a very heavy process.
I have to note in passing that the member has boasted, and I think quite justifiably, about how long and hard he fought for Highway 407. I am sure all of us would recall some of the criticisms we received from him about the delays. We are a bit concerned that the suggestions he is making today, while made for very good reasons, might also perhaps result in delays to that process.
It is unfortunate that through this whole process it is natural that the rhetoric has been raised to quite a high pitch of fever, and some of it is not altogether accurate. Some groups are saying this is a proposal for an eight-lane highway. I suppose members could project things into the future and say it could be a 20-lane highway. But surely by the time we reach those heights, we will have figured out other ways to move and transport people. Certainly, for the present time, all that is being considered is four lanes.
It has been alleged that the highway would go right through the valley. In fact, it is a bridge going over a very narrow section of the valley and it is in the west end, away from the most sensitive areas.
On the use of salt, of course, we all recognize the damaging effect the use of salt has upon vegetation. There have been court cases among some friends of mine in the fruit-growing industry where they have won cases against the use of salt because of the damage to their orchards. The minister has always said the most environmentally safe method at the time will be used to clear the roads in environmentally sensitive areas. One can perhaps think of a greater patrolling with trucks that physically remove the snow and the ice. Also, there are chemicals today that while quite expensive, could be used in small areas that are environmentally sensitive. So I think the argument about salt is probably not a very strong one.
Already, there are 29 incursions into the valley, including the busiest routes of Canadian National Railway and CP Rail. Three environmental effects and impacts have to be recognized and considered. Some may have been mistakes. I suppose this government is not immune from making mistakes, but certainly from what we have learned in the past and with the processes we have in place, we are trying as best we can, as best as any humans can, to look into the future to try to avoid mistakes, by continuous consultation, study, concern and awareness of the environmental issues, and by the sensitivity that is displayed daily by the Premier (Mr Peterson), the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Transportation (Mr Fulton) and the entire policy direction.
In the few moments I have for closing, I would just like to wrap up by saying we do not feel the member is suggesting a policy we oppose with all our political force and all our political might. But we certainly do want to lay upon the table the question of whether the process he is suggesting is really in the best interests of trying to solve what is a very sensitive and very important issue.
Ms Bryden: I am going to support the motion in Orders and Notices of the member for Markham (Mr Cousens). I think it is high time we had a re-evaluation of what is known as the east Metro transportation corridor. Actually, it dates back a number of years and was first proposed for original reasons that are no longer relevant. This is the first reason it must be re-evaluated.
It is argued that it would relieve traffic congestion between Highway 407 and Highway 401, but it would actually create traffic; it would attract traffic into the area. The proposal is another example of the Minister of Transportation pushing forward outdated projects where circumstances have radically changed. It is another example of transportation and traffic taking precedence over the environment. It is another example of the refusal to listen to people who say we must preserve a unique wilderness area.
The Save the Rouge Valley System group has been telling us for 10 years how unique this area is. I recognize that the east Metro transportation corridor only touches a small part of the Rouge Valley, but it goes through the whole Rouge River system to the east and to the west, and that must also be preserved if you are going to preserve the valley itself.
The Save the Rouge Valley System group has pointed out that this area contains the last of the Carolinian forest stands, which were the original trees that were growing in this country when the white man moved in. I think the native people were here when they were growing. The Save the Rouge Valley System group has also pointed out that there are unique flora, fauna and wildlife habitats in this area. There is a last opportunity for people in the greater Metro area to enjoy a wilderness experience in an area where sports fishing is still possible. The river is clean enough for that. It is an area where they can get away from the congestion, fumes and pollution in the Metro area.
It is another example of the fact that we do not have a proper environmental rights act in this province. I myself have introduced one and the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Mrs Grier) has also introduced one. but both times the governments in power have turned them down. If we had such a law, as they do in the United States, the residents or the persons who feel they are losing their environmental rights could take the minister to court and he would have to prove he has not violated their rights.
We actually had one minister of highways in the previous Conservative government who ignored the requirement for an environmental assessment on a highway and had to pay a fine. Now we do have fairly close conforming to environmental assessment needs, but I think a full environmental assessment of this project, and I mean a full one where alternatives would be considered, would show that this is not a proper use of the area for the kind of transportation that is envisaged.
The possibilities that have been proposed, I think, are very worth while considering and that is another reason why we must have a study. It could be either a provincial or a federal park. Most of the land is provincially owned or owned by provincial agencies such as Ontario Hydro and the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. It could be a Canadian heritage park, which is a federal park classification. This kind of park was recommended for the area by the federal Department of the Environment’s Task Force on Park Establishment. It could be a joint federal-provincial park. All of those alternatives must be considered before we allow this kind of intrusion into a very sensitive area.
I think we also must remember that this kind of area is not suitable for the development of estate mansions, huge houses of $1 million and more. It seems to me that with this shortage of affordable housing, we must see that all our housing resources go to developing affordable housing in areas where there are no flood plain hazards, of course, and no other hazards, but also preserve a unique and very much needed protected area for the residents of the surrounding area.
I hope that is not what the minister has in mind when he proposes to build this kind of transportation corridor. It is true he may be talking about only a four-lane highway at the moment, but I should point out to him that the Scarborough city council just this last year voted to take the east Metro transportation corridor out of the official plan. Its planner, Ed Watkins, stated that the upgrading of existing arterial roads such as Neilson Road, Markham Road and Morningside Avenue would suffice for any traffic demands in this area. The traffic volume did not justify the highway.
The Minister of Transportation voted against the original plan when he was on Scarborough council, before he came into the Legislature. I would like to ask him to tell us why he has changed his mind and is thinking of an eight-lane highway through the tablelands surrounding the Rouge Valley.
It is possible to make the connection between Highway 401 and Highway 407, which is to be built where Highway 7 now is, farther east. It is true it may require a few more kilometres of travel, but it would save a very important area and would direct traffic away from this very sensitive area. That is another important aspect that must be studied: the possibility of rerouting the traffic.
I really think the Minister of Transportation should be on the hook to justify to us the reason he is pushing forward an outdated idea and an idea that will do great damage to our environment and our unique area in this community. I think future generations will hold him up to contempt if he goes ahead with this plan.
There are important archaeological locations in the whole Rouge River Valley, not just in the valley itself but in some of the other areas to the north and the south. Some of them are Indian villages, unique records from our past, and those must be preserved. This highway will not make it easy for people either to take part in the digs that will be necessary or to go and visit the results when they find this unique part of our heritage. For all those reasons, the Minister of Transportation must justify why he wants to do what is really a gross intrusion into our environment.
Mrs Marland: It is with pleasure that I rise this morning to support the resolution of my colleague and friend the member for Markham, recognizing that he obviously has, unfortunately, more foresight than the current Liberal government, because if that were not the case, this resolution, which basically is a common sense resolution, would not even be necessary.
He is simply asking that alternatives be looked at to handle the future traffic needs of this large Metropolitan Toronto area, obviously, where he is stating in his resolution:
“That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing the negative environmental impact that the proposed east Metro transportation corridor may have on the Rouge River Valley system, the government of Ontario and in particular, the Ministry of Transportation, should conduct a detailed study, in conjunction with Metro Toronto, the city of Scarborough, the town of Markham and the region of York, to determine an appropriate east Metro transportation strategy whereby transportation needs for the greater Toronto area and environmental concerns are not mutually exclusive.”
The most important aspect of this resolution is that this government has really demonstrated in its four years its lack of ability to make a decision. The fact is that the direction of growth and development around the greater Toronto area has changed quite radically since this original transportation corridor was considered, and I must say there are a number of areas in the last four years that the people of Ontario recognize the current Liberal government is unable to make decisions on.
How ironic that here is a decision that has already been made for them. The fact is that the people of Ontario own almost 90 per cent of the lands that are under discussion. The Rouge River Valley is in public ownership, to the greatest percentage.
Mr Faubert: The top of the table!ands isn’t.
Mrs Marland: Excuse me. Mr Faubert, you will have your chance to speak and I object to your interrupting me.
Mr Faubert: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: According to the standing orders, you address by riding, not --
Mrs Marland: No, you are not going to interrupt me on a point of order, because you are down to speak and I think it is --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. There will be no interjections. Only one member at a time will have the floor and the only member who has the floor right now is the member for Mississauga South, who may proceed in peace and quiet from the other members.
Mr Faubert: She’s statistically inaccurate; grossly inaccurate.
Mrs Marland: I say to the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere that I really think that is small-minded of you, because you are down to speak this morning. You are going to have your opportunity, but you cannot tolerate hearing the truth. You obviously cannot even tolerate hearing your own name in the record.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mrs Marland: Obviously I am touching some sore points, so you cannot wait to get up to speak.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mrs Marland: But in any case, I guess I will have my opportunity to interrupt that member when he is speaking --
The Deputy Speaker: And you will address your remarks through the Speaker, of course.
Mrs Marland: -- except I probably have more class than he does. This member was a member of Scarborough council, the same council which has voted very strongly in the affirmative -- in fact, a vote of 16 to 1 -- to preserve the Rouge Valley as a recreational area.
It is really interesting when we have the current Liberal government ministers stand in this House and answer questions. I may say that a number of those questions have been mine, to the Minister of Government Services (Mr Patten), the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Transportation. Indeed, I have asked the Premier the same question: Will this Liberal government agree to preserve the Rouge River Valley and the tablelands?
Mr Furlong: What were the answers?
Mrs Marland: Always, the answers have been, “We have no intention of destroying the Rouge River Valley.”
Where the tablelands extend to is always part of the debate. In fact, I have had a minister in this House answer questions on the Rouge Valley and he has not even been there. He has not even visited it. How anyone can discuss the necessity of preserving the Rouge Valley without having been there is amazing to me. Anyone who would ever consider destroying this natural preserve without having been there, in my opinion is totally irresponsible.
Bearing in mind that the Premier himself has assured me that the Rouge River Valley and the surrounding tablelands will be preserved, having been told that in this House, it is probably amazing that we even have to stand here this morning and discuss this resolution.
I think what is happening is that we again have this Liberal government on the ropes of indecision. They say what they want to say when they are campaigning. When they are making promises, it is one picture. When it comes to making a very real decision, then they get to the point where they simply back off and will not give a definitive answer.
If I may quote for a moment from a Toronto Star editorial of 22 April 1989, it says, “Premier David Peterson should pay careful attention to today’s ‘preservation’ rally in Scarborough’s Rouge Valley, especially since his government alone holds the key to the area’s future.” I would hope that his government, and particularly the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere, will represent the wishes of his people and stand in this House this morning and speak on behalf of his people to preserve this area.
This area will not be preserved if we have a major transportation corridor permitted through it. As my colleague the member for Markham so rightly says, we cannot allow one proposal to go to the Environmental Assessment Board without other alternatives being presented.
It is very funny how the games and the rules change. I will tell the member for Markham that the region of Peel established a location for its landfill site, and because it had only one location it was not allowed to go forward to the Environmental Assessment Board; it had to have other alternatives. How interesting that in this game now, where we are dealing with this subject, the fact of the matter is that it may go forward without the other alternatives for which the member’s resolution is asking.
I think it is terribly important to recognize that the federal government has made its commitment to save the Rouge River Valley by an allocation of $10 million. That promise was made before the election last November, and it has been reconfirmed since the election of last November that they will commit $10 million to preserving the Rouge.
The other fact is that this land, because it has already been decided that it should be preserved, should not even really be up for discussion.
In closing, I want to quote what the Save the Rouge Valley System publication says. It says, “In October 1988, Ed Fulton, the minister responsible for the proposed east Metro highway, said, ‘The province is not looking to run bulldozers in and destroy the place.’”
Having heard the member for Essex-Kent (Mr McGuigan) this morning say that this is indeed a very sensitive and important issue, I hope the Liberal government for once will be very sensitive to this important issue, vote in support of the resolution of my colleague the member for Markham and for once make a decision.
Mr Faubert: I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on the resolution of the member for Markham regarding transportation in the Rouge Valley, but I am sorry that the member for Mississauga South is so partisan that she actually is losing this resolution for the member. I think he probably will see the results of that when the vote comes.
Let me first state that the preservation of the Rouge Valley is of personal interest and importance to me, not only as a member of this Legislature but as a long-time resident of Scarborough. Frankly, there are many residents in my riding who are concerned about the preservation of the Rouge, but quite honestly I think the members have received very few direct requests, letters or inquiries related to this matter, because I think many people realize that this is not just a matter for Scarborough. It is a matter for all Ontario.
My affection for the area comes from personal experiences as well as sitting on Scarborough council and dealing with this over the years, because I have very fond memories of hot summer days -- and I will not say how many years ago that was -- spent with my grandfather, fishing the Rouge and hiking in the Rouge Valley.
If one knows where this is located in relation to Toronto, Scarborough and Metro Toronto, one knows that the Rouge Valley has been a much valued source of recreation for many residents of Metro Toronto. Indeed, that was the experience of my own family as it was growing up.
I can assure the member for Markham and all members of the Legislature that I would be opposed to any proposal, be it a dump, housing or a freeway, if it was shown that it violated directly this government’s direction committed to preserving the Rouge Valley.
However, I am pleased to advise members of the House that this government has reiterated that it remains committed to preserving the Rouge Valley. Our Premier, in response to my question in this House on 26 January, stated that I could reassure my constituents of the government’s “strong determination to preserve the Rouge.”
Mrs Marland: The river, the valley, the tablelands, or just the Rouge?
Mr Fauhert: Someone who is talking about lack of class should read the standing orders.
Over the months this determination for it has been backed by action. In fact, the provincial government has offered significant financial support for the preservation of the lands. I would suggest that the members listen very closely to this.
The Ontario government’s province-wide commitment to preserving the Carolinian forests in Ontario resulted in $2 million to fund studies, which included the Rouge lands, where exists an excellent example of a Carolinian stand.
The Ministry of Government Services has provided funds in the amount of $120,000 for a planning study of the area. The Ontario government transferred 276 acres of Rouge lands worth over $828,000 to the conservation authorities. The Minister of Culture and Communications (Ms Oddie Munro), and I am happy to see the minister here today to hear this debate, recently funded a $114,000 study of the archaeological resources of this area of northeast Scarborough. This particular study resulted in the discovery of 40 new archaeological sites, bringing the number of such known sites in the Rouge now to 63. These are 63 Indian villages and campsites which were discovered, and some are so old they date back to 1000 BC. A Seneca Indian village also discovered in this study, which was earlier dated about 1650, is stated to be of international significance.
Not only is the Rouge Valley an area rich in archaeological and historical significance, but it is also an oasis in the urbanized community of Metropolitan Toronto, where families can go for relief from the fast pace of big-city life. A walk through this area at any time of year can be an escape from the stress of urban living.
Indeed, if there are any members of this Legislature who have yet to visit this or who are unfamiliar with the Rouge Valley -- and I would suggest, after hearing some remarks today, that some members are actually unfamiliar with the valley and where it is even located -- I would advise them to go out for themselves. I would even include the Premier in that invitation. They will be pleasantly surprised. I think they will find this is truly a miracle that this haven of natural beauty of environmental, historical and archaeological significance has survived the pressures of urban growth.
It is incumbent on all members of this Legislature to ensure that the Rouge Valley is fully protected and preserved in its natural state for future generations to experience and enjoy, and any alternative that would endanger the preservation of the Rouge would be clearly unacceptable.
However, as I mentioned previously, this is not the indication that has come from this government. Indeed, the opposite is true. The government is committed to saving the Rouge. It is committed to preserving it for future generations to enjoy. One way to accomplish this would be to designate it as a park, as suggested by many, including the member for Markham. But this is not something that can be done overnight and the issue is far more complex than many members appear to realize.
First, there are a number of ministers who are involved in this. There are the ministries of Housing, Environment, Natural Resources, Transportation, Government Services and Treasury. The member for Markham is quite correct when he recognizes in his resolution that there is a necessity to consult the surrounding municipalities and regions. However, the one reality of consultation is the danger of becoming impatient with the process and acting unilaterally and that, interestingly enough, is what some members of this House appear to be calling for.
The region of Metro Toronto has yet to deal with this. It is very interesting; it has yet to deal with the resolution that was passed over two years ago by the city of Scarborough.
By the way, another determination in establishing a park in this area is the precise boundaries of the park proposals, which seem to be ignored by many. This park is not just in Scarborough; it encompasses three regions. It encompasses Metropolitan Toronto; it encompasses York; it goes all the way up beyond Bruce’s Mill. It also affects the region of Durham, which unfortunately the member left out of his resolution.
He calls for a detailed study to determine the appropriate east Metro transportation strategy. However, I would suggest this is already taking place. The Ministry of Transportation is updating its information. It is updating amendments to official plans that lead to changes to project residential, commercial and industrial growth, which of course affects traffic volumes in all the affected regions. Interestingly enough, the city of Scarborough, which deleted the east Metro transportation corridor from its official plan in July 1988, should also bear some responsibility, because it has yet to suggest viable and effective alternatives.
Indeed, the government’s consultative process extends beyond the resolution. It is not only consulting the regions of Metropolitan Toronto and York, the city of Scarborough and the town of Markham, but it is consulting the town of Pickering in the region of Durham East, which for some reason, as I mentioned, is an essential region to this resolution yet is left out of it.
I just would say that I am supporting the resolution. I believe it is important that all alternatives to the east Metro transportation corridor be fully considered, and it is also important to ensure that any alternatives chosen be environmentally sensitive so as not to jeopardize the preservation of the Rouge Valley. In spite of the comments from the member for Mississauga South, I would urge all members present to adopt and support this resolution.
Mr Cousens: I would like to just thank other members in the House for participating in this debate. I am particularly grateful for the support of the member for Mississauga South who, at a meeting the other night, Hazel McCallion said is a true environmentalist
One of the points the member for Mississauga South made is the problem that Mississauga got into with landfill sites, because it only proposed one site and not having alternative sites, there was not any success in its environmental assessment that allowed it to proceed with that site. I am seeing the same kind of problem here with the east Metro transportation corridor. There are no other options at present in the government’s mind, and if we would begin to look at what those options could be we could begin to come up with a long-term strategy for transportation.
I would also like to thank the honourable member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms Bryden). I think the member made a number of excellent points in support of the full environmental assessment. I see this as something that could come through the study. There has to be that openness so that everybody who has any kind of concerns would be able to participate in it. Behind her suggestion is included the thinking that people from Durham and Pickering, and everyone else who has any kind of concern about this, would be part of it. So I thank her for that suggestion.
I also think the member for Beaches-Woodbine brings to the table a sense of the future when she says future generations will hold this present Minister of Transportation in contempt unless he comes along with some kind of alternate strategy, although he is a nice man. I believe he has a chance for leadership. The Fulton expressway will be coming ahead unless there is something to look at what options are available for our society.
I thank the member for Essex-Kent for his comments. He is always a gentleman, and although we differ on the end result of this one, I do know the concept behind my motion of having a study would allow the full Planning Act and Environmental Assessment Act processes to go to work, so that we would begin to see what the future holds for transportation in east Metro.
In answer to many of the questions I tried to raise earlier in my presentation, I do see it as a major challenge for us to plan into the far distant future, not just two, three or five years into it. This kind of study is the kind of thing that could come out with some options that would be available for the future.
I notice, on the one hand, my good friend the member for Essex-Kent is not in support of studies, and yet the member for Scarborough Ellesmere is so proud of the fact that the Minister of Culture and Communications has just invested in other studies for archaeological sites.
I think studying, if it is done properly and correctly, can lead to a better future for all of us. It is not a matter of -- and I do not think the member was doing this -- just saying, “Don’t have studies.” This is an example where, if all the processes go to work and we get Durham, York and Metro in, everyone who is going to be partners to this, then along comes a long-term solution to it.
That is a study which can in fact lead to an implementation of a plan that gives the best solution to all. I know there is not a perfect solution. I wish there were. There is not right now, and so there are going to be tradeoffs. When we work this through we will begin to at least satisfy the needs of the greatest number and yet keep in balance the needs of the environment as well as the needs of society.
I thank the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere for his comments and for his support of this important plan. I know that he, like many others, has wandered through the Rouge Valley system and knows how important it is, and yet he also understands how complex this whole matter is. I am not satisfied that when the Premier said he was going to protect certain areas of the Rouge, he really had a full intent of doing that, because the Minister of Housing (Ms Havoc) continues to bear in mind that she might have a housing project and there is continued interest in having landfill sites.
Until we begin to make this a heritage park, we are not going to be able to really do what we want to do. The question is, where does the government stand and where do the people stand? Through this study, we will begin to know what is best for all.
Mrs Sullivan moved resolution 14:
That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing that the government of Canada has initiated a royal commission on reproductive technologies, and that people in Ontario should be represented in the discussion of current and potential developments in the medical and scientific issues related to human fertilization and embryology, the government of Ontario should co-operate to the fullest extent, and should encourage participation with the royal commission by Ontario institutions which are engaged in the delivery of any aspect of reproductive technology in considering the social, ethical and legal implications of medical and scientific developments in this field, and to recommend policies and safeguards to address the issues raised by these developments.
The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): The member is reminded she has up to 20 minutes for her presentation and may reserve any portion thereof for a windup.
Mrs Sullivan: For many people across Canada, the federal government’s April throne speech carried welcome news. That was the announcement that a royal commission would be struck to examine reproductive technologies and the issues surrounding the high-technology reproduction of human life.
The calls for a royal commission came from a deep sense of unease that there is a serious lag between our social policy and our technology and that the gap is widening every moment. The fast pace of medical, scientific and technological developments in the new reproductive technologies has outstripped public debate and scrutiny on the issues. The complexity of the legal, moral and ethical questions increase with each scientific advance.
I believe Ontario has much to offer in assisting in the development and definition of a national consensus. We have highly skilled medical and scientific workers who are engaged daily in the practice and research associated with the new reproductive technologies. We have people, some parents and some not, who have participated in assisted parenthood programs. The sharing of their experiences would be of great value in the national dialogue.
We have ethicists who have examined the thrust of many of the moral choices surrounding the artificial creation of new life or the monitoring of new life. We have hospital committees which have developed standards of practice at our own institutions and which monitor new developments in the field. We have legal professionals who have examined the legal implications and interpretations from our own and other jurisdictions. We have articulate representation from organizations of women who have carefully delineated our reproductive consciousness. We have a government which has already set an interministerial committee to work on the difficult public and social policy questions which surround the area.
In coming to terms with the very complicated issues before us, it is clear that there is no one single source on whom we can rely for answers. Alvin Toffler has summed up the need for a concerted public approach to the social construction of change in the biological and medical sciences. I would just like to quote from him:
“The issues are far too important to be left to the decisions of judges, who may base them on obsolete precedent ...biotechnology businessmen whose commercial instincts may override humane concern...specialists who may be too confident of the technologies over which they preside...or regulatory bureaucrats. Each may have a role to play, but no one group is wise enough, or selfless enough, to make decisions of this order.”
A national dialogue is necessary and a national consensus is necessary. That is why I put forward this motion.
The new reproductive technologies may involve the creation of new life or they may be used to monitor new life. Many of them, such as artificial insemination, have been known for generations and are technically simple procedures. Others are new and require enormous skill and involve complicated procedures. Still others are techniques which have evolved from combinations of existing technologies.
Those which monitor new life may be most familiar to those of us who have borne children. Ultrasound, amniocentesis, foetal monitoring, chronic villus biopsy, foetoscopy and in utero medical intervention are all medical devices that are not considered unusual today. Many of them carry risks for the pregnant woman and for the foetus. All of them are intrusive and cause discomfort for the pregnant woman. They can contribute to assuring that a healthy child is born or that appropriate medical actions are taken after birth so that the child can live.
Most pregnant women know these medical aids as tests. Few potential mothers refuse the tests, but fewer yet know the kinds of questions to ask about the necessity, risks, repercussions and choices that might lie ahead. Most women who are taking the tests are in high-risk pregnancies and hope becomes a great motivator. As well, medical practitioners, whether the family physician or the obstetrician, have an enormous personal stake -- psychological, emotional and professional in the delivery of a healthy child. They want to be able to use any medical and technological advantage available to them and to have a broad scope for making medical decisions from information that the technological advances provide.
The tests place a heavy level of accountability on both the physician and the pregnant woman. They may lead to a requirement for decision-making that might not have been anticipated from lifestyle constraints to medical action. But many physicians, religious leaders, women and politicians are asking needed questions about the ramifications of diagnostic tests.
What do we know, by example, about the physical and mental development effects of foetal monitoring on the child? What do we know about the psychological effects of diagnostic testing on the mother? What support systems are or should be in place when parents must face the results of a so-called negative test?
Dr Bernard Dickens wrote in the December 1985 Canadian Forum an article that raised very serious questions, and I thought it was a thoughtful piece. The questions relate to the question of choice versus compulsion. I would like to put some of his observations before the House. He asks:
“Can we insist by law that women use available means of prenatal diagnosis for the sake of protecting their foetuses? One diagnostic method that has received a lot of attention since it was first introduced over a decade ago is amniocentesis. Amniocentesis is a medical technique for monitoring foetal development. The procedure, which involves inserting a tube into the abdomen of the pregnant woman, is known to be associated with a fairly low risk of injury to the woman and of spontaneous abortion. In safe hands, the risk is about one half a per cent; in less experienced hands perhaps one per cent, Nevertheless, there is still a risk.
“The question arises whether the woman has to be forced to endure that risk for the sake of a foetus that can be assisted following prenatal diagnosis. It could be this is something we would find offensive.
“Chronic villas biopsy, a relatively new technique in which extra-embryonic material is tested, has a range of ethical and social considerations that differ somewhat from those associated with amniocentesis. Though it is invasive and uncomfortable, to date it appears relatively safe (we don’t yet know the figures). It seems to be associated with a three to five per cent rate of spontaneous abortion but we are not yet certain of cause and effect relationships; the women on whom it’s done have a relatively high rate of spontaneous abortion anyway, and it’s not clear whether the increased rate is triggered by the process.
“The risks of ultrasound imaging are as yet unknown. It seems not to be uncomfortable, but it may be too early to judge its safety.
“Foetoscopy is not too different from amniocentesis and is often used in conjunction with ultrasound, which aids precision of intrusion into the abdomen in both amniocentesis and foetoscopy.
“All of the above technologies, which may assist a foetus, carry with them certain discomforts and risks for the pregnant woman. By comparison, blood sampling seems innocuous, almost a paradigm minimal-risk medical procedure. If it’s not invasive, if it’s not uncomfortable and if it’s not life-threatening, why not compel it to be done?
“The problem is that by making certain tests compulsory, society would be limiting women’s autonomy, their choice not to have such a procedure done. On the other hand, since maternal serum screening is not unduly burdening to a woman, and could benefit the foetus she bears, to ask her to give a blood sample could well be part of a fairly routine, conscientious prenatal diagnosis. We have a number of tests that can detect prenatal genetic conditions in the developmental stages of the child growing in utero. They raise the question of what we may then do for the foetus, once having gained this knowledge.
“One option may be to do nothing, to let the child be born and then deal with the conditions the child has, knowing beforehand what to be ready for. There may be, for example, bowel obstructions that are not menacing to the child in utero, but ought to be dealt with quickly once the child is born. With the use of prenatal tests, one would be prepared for the condition.
“In some cases, the longer the pregnancy endures past viability, the worse it is for the child after birth. It may then be that inducing labour, inducing pre-term delivery, is appropriate for the foetus. But what about the woman? Must she endure induced labour or can she refuse it? Can she say, ‘No, let nature take its course’? The mother may decide to give birth naturally, to place herself at the disposal of medicine, not to have things done to her that are unnatural, that wouldn’t occur in the ordinary course of events.
“What about compelling a woman to have a caesarean delivery? This could be indicated in some cases. If a woman is affected by venereal disease, it could well be that to let the child be born through the birth canal in the ordinary way would have a damaging effect on the child, perhaps injuring sight and other senses. What about the conviction that the mother cannot give natural birth, or should not give natural birth, if the child might suffer stillbirth or injury?
“We now have the prospect of foetal surgery in which the abdomen of the woman is opened, the child made accessible and either treated in the uterus or, even, physically removed for treatment -- for instance, reorganization of the limbs, insertion of shunts to drain accumulated fluid on the brain or perhaps to empty the bladder. Must a woman undergo foetal surgery? What of a woman who refuses? Can she be forced to accept it?”
Those are questions which cannot be left solely to the technologists and the medical practitioners. We must be asking them of ourselves.
For many people, creating and carrying a child to birth is difficult or impossible. Infertility caused by low sperm content, blocked fallopian tubes or whatever other reason occurs at an estimated rate of one in 10 people of childbearing age. We value parenting. We may overvalue, however, the reproductive capacity itself and the need for being a natural mother or father,
None the less, the new reproductive technologies have changed despair to hope for many people. What we do not know enough about is what happens to those people for whom the technology has not provided a solution when the very hope offered by technology is dashed.
The world’s first test-tube baby is now 11 years old. The joy, the shock and the dismay which accompanied the birth of Louise Brown in England in 1978 has since been repeated about 3,000 times in many countries. What was then seen either as a miracle or as an aberration today does not even rate a headline.
In vitro fertilization may well be seen as glamorous or modern, but it is certainly not seen as new. It is but one of the technologies concerned with artificial reproduction, donor insemination, cryobanking of eggs and sperm, embryo freezing, storage and transfer, surrogate motherhood, in vitro and in vivo fertilization, cloning and parthenogenesis. These are some of the medical techniques of procreation into which the practice and research exists in Canada and is expanding.
The speed of technological advances and the refinements of existing technology which lead to such techniques as sex selection or selective reduction adds to the depth of issues and choices for which society must come to terms.
For many years, sperm collected from donor males has been frozen for later use in the process of artificial insemination. In February of this year, Chedoke McMaster Hospitals in Hamilton announced that they will operate Ontario’s first anonymous egg donor program for infertile couples who want to become parents. It is the first female equivalent of the sperm bank, and while we have been accustomed to the anonymity of the biological father, this is the first time in Canada that the anonymity of the biological mother has been added to the legal and ethical question.
To questions which have been put about sperm donor programs, we now add those same questions about egg donor programs. What rights do children have to know about their genetic parent, their medical records, their physical and mental attributes? Should there be a register of donors accessible to the children? What right does the donor parent have to maintain anonymity? What is the legal status of the child of a gamete donation? What is the legal or ethical obligation of the donor biological parent to that child? What time limits ought we to place on the utilization of frozen eggs or sperm? Who owns the eggs or sperm? Who has the right to destroy them?
We have all seen the stories of happy couples, some of them Canadian, who are celebrating the birth of babies produced through in vitro fertilization. What we hear less of is how surprisingly unsuccessful the process is in producing live births. We hear far more about pregnancy rates from conception in vitro than birth rates.
In IVF the male sperm and a female egg are combined in a Petri dish and the fertilized egg implanted into the woman’s womb, sometimes not the same woman who produced the eggs. To have greater assurance of a successful pregnancy, doctors fertilize as many eggs as possible from a woman who has been treated with hormones to superovulate.
The strategy is a practical one, but it presents many ethical dilemmas. When the embryos are not implanted, the storage of surplus embryos, the extent to which research can or should be conducted on them and indeed the question of ownership of the embryos can become problematic.
When a number of embryos are implanted, however, multiple pregnancies can result. The technological catch-up, selective reduction, is sometimes used to prevent the loss of all foetuses in a multiple pregnancy, but because it is a medically and technically proven technique, it can be used to reduce the multiple pregnancy from twins to a single child as readily as from sextuplets to triplets.
The long-term effects of the fertility drugs themselves on mother and child are unknown. We do not know how many women are physiologically and psychologically damaged in the process of in vitro fertilization. We need parameters for the storage and destruction of embryos. We need to resolve questions relating to the status of children following embryo donation. We need to discuss time limits on the use of embryos in vitro for research and the bounds of that research. Is cloning acceptable to us? Is research directed towards overcoming physical or mental disabilities appropriate?
We should also be looking at the costs of these procedures. Should they be state-subsidized as they are in Ontario? If so, should they be universally available as a matter of right to women regardless of family or marital status? If not universally available, who should make the decision as to whether the procedure should be made available to a specific woman: a physician, a committee, a bureaucrat?
Further, at a time of pressure and change in our health care system, how much money and how many resources should be diverted to IVF technologies, which are accepted but are still, to the layman, experimental? How will we account for the volume of IVF activity, for its success and failure and for the researching process associated with the technology?
At a more basic level, we should be weighing the justification for exposing women and their possible future children to the risks of in vitro fertilization, particularly when the success rates, judged by live births, are variously reckoned at 10 per cent to 13 per cent. How will we make judgements about when to say yes and when to say no?
There are many more questions in the field of reproductive technologies. In the time available, I will not be able to pose questions about the debate over contractual versus natural rights in surrogate motherhood, of the development of reproductive services generally, including counselling, or of issues relating to sex selection. Those are the issues that I hope the royal commission will have to tackle. It is difficult to frame legislation against fast-moving medical and scientific development. It is even more difficult when there is an evolving ethical perspective.
I believe Ontario has a singular role to play in considering the ethical, legal and social implications of the new reproductive technologies. We have much to offer in the discussion of the public policies and the safeguards which must be part of our national conscience. The mandate and the terms of reference of the royal commission have not yet been placed before the public. When they are, I believe that Ontario should play a full part in the deliberations.
Mr Reville: The member for Halton Centre (Mrs Sullivan) raises a large number of very important issues, reproductive issues, and of course I will be happy to support her resolution. It would be difficult not to support a resolution that suggests that we should co-operate with the royal commission on reproductive technology.
Our constituents are passionately interested in these kinds of issues, which are social, ethical, legal, medical and political. They are passionate issues, too, and it was with a bit of surprise that I listened to the member for Halton Centre’s remarks, because they were delivered with about the same kind of passion that health classes used to be conducted by the football coach. I have memories of meaningless diagrams and a monotonous delivery out of which we got somewhat less than we might have.
There is no question that we must not leave these questions to the technologists, because they are questions that, in the end, are political questions.
The technology quite often develops in the absence of a comforting amount of scrutiny by ethicists, moralists and the public. Indeed, it is technically possible to clone various kinds of tissues. I, for one, would be very concerned if it were possible to clone Liberals. I would fear for our future if that ever were allowed to occur.
There are so many reproductive issues that it is not surprising that the member for Halton Centre had to talk about them so quickly to get them all into her 20 minutes. For instance, in the city of Sudbury, if you are interested in having vaginal delivery and you have already had a caesarean section, you have to leave Sudbury. This is a shocking situation.
The obstetricians in Sudbury do not believe in the V-back and will not perform it. There is a group of women who have all had C-sections, some of whom thought they should not have had the initial C-section but that was convenient because of somebody’s golf game, and then for ever afterwards they were going to have to have C-sections because they could not find an obstetrician who would do a V-back.
I think that is shocking and it indicates the kind of vise-like grip certain medical practices are allowed to have on the lives of people. I think that is wrong.
There are devastatingly difficult ethical questions about rent-a-womb and what we should do, as a society, about that and whether or not that creates an incentive to oppress vulnerable women. There are women who are economically disadvantaged, and one of the ways that they can get some money is to rent out their reproductive system to a couple with money who, regrettably, cannot have a child safely themselves.
I think those issues trouble us a great deal. It is right that we should be troubled about them because they are difficult but important questions.
A week or so ago, I was getting some heckles from over on the other side when I was talking about the length of the chancellor’s foot. Nobody seemed to understand what I was talking about, which is not unusual.
Mr McGuigan: Sorry, I didn’t. I wish you would explain it.
Mr Reville: Thank you very much. I knew you would understand.
I suggested that people should read a book. That was a bit cross of me. Picking up on the read-a-book theme, I suggest that if one book is all members can manage, they read this book. This is called Second Opinion: What’s Wrong with Canada’s Health-Care System and How to Fix It, by my friends Mike Rachlis and Carol Kushner, both of whom lived in Riverdale, of course, and both of whom are members of the New Democratic Party.
They have some interesting things to say about in vitro fertilization on page 74 under the title “Missing the Boat.” What they have to say is, as the member for Halton Centre indicated, that in vitro fertilization is a very flashy, high-technology procedure which is not really successful. It works about 10 per cent of the time: one in 10.
Quoting Michele Landsberg, the authors point out the perspective of a patient who had gone through an IVF procedure as “A painful, protracted emotional rollercoaster, traumatic and chancy.” One IVF candidate who, like the vast majority, failed to conceive, said, “The process gets us addicted to hope.”
Wanting to have a baby is so natural and human that obviously a society should move heaven and earth to see if the conditions could be created where people could have a baby; no question about that. But I think it is wrong to respond to despair with false hopes. It is not just a question of consumer protection. It is much more elemental than that.
If we buy a toaster and it does not pop up, we can go and buy another one and we have not lost very much. But if we are told that this technology will result in a live birth and in fact we know that it does not do that very often, then I think we have a different kind of problem and a problem that needs to be addressed.
One of the things that Kushner and Rachlis say in their book is that one of the most common causes of infertility is sexually transmitted disease. They point out the irony that it took the AIDS epidemic to get doctors to actually begin to recommend the use of condoms to people.
They also point out that pelvic inflammatory disease, which may result in blocked fallopian tubes, is very easy to detect and very easy to treat in its early stages, yet we do not have those preventive techniques in place. While we are busy talking about the wonders of technology, we are ignoring a much lower-tech process involving a swab. If we could get our practitioners and our public interested in preventive medicine, we could have these simple tests, we could treat pelvic inflammatory disease and similar diseases in their infancy and we would have much less infertility to deal with than we do currently.
I was astounded to know that 15 per cent of all women under the age of 30 will develop pelvic inflammatory disease, which is absolutely preventable. It is preventable using a diaphragm with spermicidal jelly. It is preventable using a condom. In fact, should those preventions not be used, it is detectable and treatable early and it can be cured early.
I think it is just another piece of evidence indicating that we have to focus much more strongly and energetically on prevention and that we all should understand our reproductive systems and those things that will attack them. We should be learning about that in a reasonable way when we are about the ages of those pages and before.
I suspect that a lot of the kind of education we are still getting in school is not particularly relevant. If you stay up late and watch Talking Sex with Sue, you will learn a heck of a lot more than you learn in most schools, and I would recommend that to people who do not already watch that program.
I see that the time has elapsed. I will support the resolution. There are important questions to be dealt with, and I look forward to seeing the report of the royal commission when it is ready.
Mr Beer: I rise in support of my colleague’s motion which is before us. I think in terms of many of the issues which she and our colleague the member for Riverdale (Mr Reville) raised, one recognizes that there are a great many issues raised by this whole question and how important it is that we in Ontario co-operate and have the opportunity of co-operating with the federal commission once it has been established.
It seems to me that we have here an issue that brings together some of the most difficult kinds of choices which we as a community have to make. On the one side, we have the rapid technological advances which have been made in the medical area, which open up all kinds of new vistas in terms of reproduction.
But each one of those raises so many fundamental, ethical, moral and religious problems and dilemmas that we risk having technological change move so quickly that we will lose control over how we bring to bear those kinds of values that we think are important to us as a society in terms of this whole issue and how we want to see relationships between men and women and among families set out in not only a legal context but I think with a very clear sense of where we wish to head ethically and morally.
The only way that we are going to be able to bring together a consensus among Canadians is to ensure, as my colleague the member for Halton Centre said, that this discussion is not left just to those who have some specialty, be it medical or legal. We really need to involve all elements of our community, not just the medical profession, the legal profession, the bureaucrats or the politicians.
It may be of interest to some to note that four years ago, the Ontario Law Reform Commission came out with a two-volume report on human artificial reproduction and related matters. It is interesting to have a look at some of their recommendations in the context of this issue and where we should be going. Many of the issues which they raised and which have been raised in the House this morning need to be looked at in a much more public way.
Professor Jacques Testard, who was the head of the team responsible in France for their first test-tube baby, as we refer to it, left his work and called for a moratorium on in vitro research to get his message across. He said: “Let’s stop pretending that all research is neutral, that only its applications can be called good or bad. Ethical choices must be made before and not after discoveries.” In effect, he put his job on the line and lost it, but he wanted to try to underline how important it is that we, as people, in our various countries and communities deal very specifically with this issue.
When we start to identify what the issues are, the other thing that emerges is the difficulty we have in even beginning to determine what kinds of questions we need to ask. We know that at the present time, as the federal government wrestles with the mandate of the commission, one element of that has to be: “What are the kinds of questions that can be put to this commission? What are the kinds of questions that we have?” In part through this debate and others, perhaps we can begin to identify what some of those questions are in some of the areas we are going to want to explore and try to come to some consensus and conclusion about.
I would like to mention and deal with three areas in the time that is available to me this morning: in vitro fertilization, surrogate contracts and artificial insemination.
First of all, with respect to in vitro fertilization or what we more commonly refer to as the test-tube process, now, as has been mentioned, that is a fairly accepted practice. Every time the procedure is done, we know that many more eggs and embryos are taken than are needed. The extras are frozen to be thawed and implanted in the mother if the first implantation does not work.
This procedure raises a number of questions. What should be done with extra embryos? Should they be destroyed? Should they be given up to other couples? Should they be used for experimentation or transplantation of embryo tissue which, incidentally, already happens? Who is to decide these issues: the couple, the doctor, the hospital? How do we track embryos to ensure that mother and daughter are not actually siblings? There are many troubling questions around this issue.
One senior official with the World Health Organization raised another important question which in vitro fertilization raises. Does a couple have the right to have a child at any cost to society? At great cost, about eight per cent of couples in any country can be helped by in vitro fertilization, with considerable risk of not ending up with a healthy baby. But every child born, it is estimated, costs something in the order of $50,000. Where do we go in this respect? Does that become a right which every health program should support?
Second, the issue of surrogate mothering. Again, although surrogate mothering is a very old practice, the legal, ethical and social issues have only recently been faced and challenged. We are all familiar with the case of Baby M. The case and the ruling raise important questions. Is a surrogate contract really the same as any other contract? Consequently, is reproduction capability to become just a commodity? Do we not recognize the biological tie between a mother and a child?
Who should have access to this option of having children? At the moment, it tends to be wealthier couples commissioning poor women. There now exist private profit clinics. Should people be allowed to make a profit from reproduction? Should all clinics be nonprofit? How should this practice be regulated? Should biological mothers have some time to decide whether or not they want to keep the child, as is the case in adoption?
A recent article in the Atlantic suggested that surrogate motherhood might become an option for couples who did not want to interrupt their careers. How do we decide questions like these? Surrogate mothering also raises other unresolved questions relating to artificial reproductive technology. What happens if the commissioning parents decide they do not want a child who is born with some kind of disorder? What happens to the child if both parents die, as happened in Australia where the parents were killed in an automobile accident before the child was born?
There are also questions that arise after the child is born. Is a father who has donated sperm responsible for custody payments for the child? How much should children be able to find out about their biological parents or the mother who carried them?
It is these sorts of questions that make it so important for everyone to get involved, to talk about the issues and to follow the work of the royal commission on reproductive technology. It is also why I support this resolution. I believe it is tremendously important that the people of Ontario need to review these issues and discuss them openly. We need, as a community, to consider the social, ethical and legal implications of medical and scientific developments in this field so that we can recommend policies and safeguards to address the issues raised by these developments.
Dr Richard Neuhaus, who is the director of the Rockford Institute Centre on Religion in Society in New York City, put it this way: “What we mean by ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ ‘child’ and ‘family’ is a question so foundational to any society that it must engage the best thought of all who are entangled in an interconnectedness that aspires to being a political community.”
While we will not find all the answers through the commission, it will force us to look at what the questions are and what the facts are and to try to come to some kind of consensus as a community as to how we should proceed. Right now, without that, things are happening in an ad hoc way that we cannot be happy with.
Recommendations for laws and regulations that may come out of the commission may protect those who are least able to protect themselves or who are unaware of the implications of their actions. In the end, it is to be hoped this will help to protect society from its own folly.
These are fundamental issues that are raised in any discussion of this issue. I think the resolution will show very clearly the kind of support we want to give to that work, and that we want to be very much involved in it.
Ms Bryden: Certainly, a resolution of this nature is one that most of us would support. Who can oppose a royal commission on a subject of such importance? It is a subject that has social. ethical and legal implications and it is a subject that is of great concern to a very large proportion of the population. It relates to the desire, which is almost universal, of men and women to have a child. It is therefore a very sensitive subject and one that we cannot ignore.
I do have some concerns about the wording of the resolution. I think the first part, that the people of Ontario should participate in the royal commission, is really not needed, because they certainly have the right, as people residing in Canada, to participate in any royal commission. Therefore, we do not need to assert that right.
It should also be clearer on what is the role of the government of Ontario that the resolution is urging. It asks the government of Ontario to co-operate to the fullest extent in seeing that people are involved in this royal commission. There is absolutely nothing set forth on how this can be done. I do not think the mover of the resolution outlined that in any detail.
There is also an instruction that government of Ontario institutions should participate in the royal commission. It refers to Ontario institutions that are engaged in the delivery of reproductive technology. You could say that almost every institution in Ontario is engaged in that. Schools have sex education. Social work agencies deal with people who are having problems with reproductive rights and with children. The medical ministries and agencies, of course, are all concerned. The high-tech development agencies are concerned with whether resources should go to developing reproductive technologies. Almost every Ontario institution is involved in some way, so again, the resolution is very vague on what institutions the member is calling on to become involved.
The third thing is that these institutions are asked to consider the social, legal and ethical implications of medical and scientific developments in this field of reproductive technology. That is a very tall order for any Ontario institution to undertake. I am sure there will be much discussion of the social, legal and ethical implications of medical and scientific developments and technologies over the coming years, but I do not think Ontario institutions will be the sole participants or the sole leaders in this particular debate. It will be all of society that will be involved.
Again, I think the resolution gives rather woolly advice to the Ontario government as to what it can do. I hope we will have a statement, not just from the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan), but from all the ministries as to how they think they can participate in the work of the royal commission.
What we need is Ontario government action to ensure that all women throughout the province have equal rights to exercise freedom of choice in reproductive matters. This means full coverage by the Ontario health insurance plan of procedures connected with the exercise of these rights.
There should be no denial of services to poor women, women in rural areas, women on Indian reserves or any other women who find there are barriers to participating and exercising their full choice in reproductive matters.
We also need an ongoing review of all medical procedures provided under OHIP to see which ones should be added as technologies change. We also should be studying which ones should he revised to meet modern conditions, such as the rules that lead to the ordering of excess tests by many doctors. We should be looking at the cost of experimental work, not only in the reproductive field but in all medical fields, and working out methods of weighing how we can prioritize which sort of experimental work will be costed or will have allocations of funds.
Instead, also, I would like to suggest that more attention should be given to the opportunities for infertile parents to adopt children from the Third World and the developing nations. Those who have this very strong desire to have a child, and I can understand that desire, should have more opportunity to adopt a child who is already born and perhaps in that way do a great deal to improve conditions in the Third World and to make opportunities available for those children.
My colleague has also mentioned that we must do more preventive work, both in medical care and in developing healthy lifestyles, because if we had more preventive medicine there would be fewer people who may become infertile, and there would be fewer children who potentially would be damaged or have disabilities when they are born. This is something you have to consider when you are considering increasing fertility, whether you would want to use that power to prevent disabilities.
We still have a lot of work in other areas before we spend all our time just on the royal commission work. I think that it is not nearly broad enough in this field and that if we want to give every man and woman who wants a child the right to have one, we have to think of all sorts of ways of making it possible for them.
Mr Offer: I am pleased to rise and speak in support of the resolution put forward by the member for Halton Centre. I have read this resolution very carefully and thought over this resolution for a number of weeks. If I might, I would like to read part of the resolution which I think is of extreme importance, and that is encouraging “participation with the royal commission by Ontario institutions which are engaged in the delivery of any aspect of reproductive technology in considering the social, ethical and legal implications of medical and scientific developments in this field, and to recommend policies and safeguards to address the issues raised by these developments.”
What we are talking about in this particular field is an area that by any objective standard is, I would think, relatively new not only in terms of the legal, social and ethical implications, but also is one where the medical procedures themselves are relatively new. I have been involved in some way with this particular area in a personal capacity for about 15 years. As I think back over the last 15 years, I must say that about IS years ago I think there were but two what may be called fertilization clinics in the city of Toronto. One was located in Mount Sinai Hospital and the other in the Toronto General Hospital.
Since that point in time there has been a growth in fertilization clinics, for instance. These are clinics that are designed to come to the needs of numbers of individuals who are having difficulty in conception. Also, there has been increasing awareness by the general public as to, in many cases, the widespread difficulty in terms of fertilization. From that, we have had a technological advancement in terms of in vitro fertilization, surrogate parenting and foetal sex preselection. These are areas that 15 years ago were unheard of.
Because of this technological advancement in the field of medicine we, as a government and certainly as the general public, are left with vexing questions dealing with the social, moral and legal implications of this type of advancement. So the question becomes, “Do we allow technological advancement to outstrip our ability to come to grips with these questions?”
I think the resolution put forward by the member is one that is necessary on the one hand, and timely on the other, because we can no longer sit back. That type of medical advancement in terms of reproduction is one that is calling into question many issues.
I know that in the throne speech on 3 April, the federal government announced there will be a royal commission to examine all issues surrounding high-technology reproductive human life: artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer and surrogate parenting. And yes, as has been indicated most eloquently by the member for Halton Centre, although there have not yet been terms of reference for such a commission, it is an important first step that such a commission has been established.
Because of the establishment of that commission, one must ask, is there and should there be a role for, for instance, Ontario to play? I think this resolution comes to grips with that and says that there should be, that there is such a role to play, and we, by this resolution, are endorsing that role of the government of Ontario to play in such a royal commission, because it deals with areas, questions and issues that are going to be important, not only today but for many generations to come. It is important work and it is necessary work.
I know from my reading that it is barely 10 years ago that there was this in vitro fertilization, this test-tube baby, and that was heralded and remarked upon across the world. Yes, we realize there are great odds in the success of such a process, but we are also becoming more and more aware that that process, as well as others, is providing success. I think it behoves us as legislators to keep in mind the psychological concerns and impact on those persons who are having fertilization problems, the questions they have and the direction they need. We have to come to grips with the very human aspect of this issue.
We have an opportunity. The royal commission has provided an opportunity. This particular resolution has provided a further opportunity. Working with and hand in hand with such a commission, we can come to grips with some of those very important issues, some of those social, legal, ethical and moral questions we are going to have to grapple with. We are going to have to do so with a focus, keeping in mind the very real questions that men and women having difficulties in terms of fertilization go through.
The technology will continue to advance. The questions will continue to increase. We now have a forum in which we can address not only the questions and concerns we have heard today, but I dare say questions and concerns we have not yet thought about, have not yet discussed or analysed. Accordingly, I would like to support this resolution and commend the member for Halton Centre for a very important resolution on a very important issue, one that will have great impact on the future of this province and indeed of this country for many years to come.
The Speaker: I believe the member for Halton Centre reserved approximately two minutes.
Mrs Sullivan: In closing the debate, I would like to thank my colleagues the member for York North (Mr Beer) and the member for Mississauga North (Mr Offer), and my friends the member for Riverdale and the member for Beaches Woodbine (Ms Bryden) for indicating their support of the resolution.
The member for Riverdale spoke of the passion associated with reproduction. The technologies themselves that are being used in artificial reproduction have no passion attached to them. It is the people who are affected by the technologies who have the passion.
Reproduction is one area of our lives that has been bound with rules -- religious and secular -- with mystical approaches, with heavy emotional burdens, with a sense of success and failure from time immemorial. The introduction of the new reproductive technologies brings with it fundamental and vexing questions. I hope that members will support the resolution and that the royal commission will be able to benefit from the experience we have had in Ontario, the expertise we have and, indeed, our suffering and our hope.
The Speaker: That completes debate on ballot item 9 and ballot item 10.
EAST METRO TRANSPORTATION
The Speaker: Mr Cousens has moved resolution 12.
Motion agreed to.
The Speaker: Mrs Sullivan has moved resolution 14.
Motion agreed to.
The House recessed at 12:01 p.m.
The House resumed at 1330.
GIOVANNI CABOTO DAY
Mr Philip: Today members of the Legislature and community leaders are participating in ceremonies and receptions marking the 492nd anniversary of the discovery of Canada by Giovanni Caboto, or John Cabot as he is called in so many of our Canadian history texts. We join other provinces such as Newfoundland, which celebrates Newfoundland’s discovery day on 24 June, commemorating Giovanni Caboto’s arrival in the new world.
Today our lives are enriched by an estimated 700,000 citizens of Italian descent living in Canada. Giovanni Caboto was the first Italian in North America and displayed the same qualities of all immigrating peoples to follow: tenacity, perseverance, curiosity and courage.
Just as the space explorers of our time are challenging our view of the world and broadening our perspectives, so Caboto’s voyages totally changed the perception of Europe. Europeans soon came to realize that this was an immense continent with enormous potential, and we are the beneficiaries of this.
Last, may I congratulate the National Congress of Italian Canadians and other groups for their efforts in reminding us of this important event in history.
[Remarks in Italian]
The Speaker: Please look at standing order 19(a).
FARM TAX REBATE
Mr Villeneuve: Nothing typifies this government’s abandonment of Ontario farmers any more than last Friday’s late-afternoon release of details to slash the Ontario farm property tax rebate program by over $20 million. I can tell the minister that the timing of his announcement, which he no doubt hoped would go unnoticed, will not help him explain the Liberal Party’s betrayal of Ontario farmers.
I can also tell him that it does not help when his official press release, received by members of this House, failed to include the one page labelled “Guidelines and Changes” which was received elsewhere.
The real insult, however, has been to farmers and their farm organizations. Regardless of what the minister may have said in this House, no farm organizations were consulted about these changes. Many farmers expected their interim farm tax rebate cheques to arrive, and the cancellation of interim payments will not help farmers on tight budgets.
Surely the Liberal government knows that the farm economy is not in very good shape. If the government had wanted to exclude a few large corporations from receiving the rebate, surely some other method could have been found.
Of course, it is nice to talk about excluding weekend farmers, but when the government tries to define what a farmer is by basing those definitions on an income test, then we are surely in trouble. It is simply wrong for this government, in tough financial times for agriculture, to dictate to farmers how much they should be earning off their farms.
Ms Hart: I rise today to welcome to the member’s gallery Lisa Orchard, Leaside High School’s recipient of the 1989 Provincial Member’s Award.
Last year, the member’s award was established to recognize the accomplishments of young people who stand out in our community. The award is presented annually to a student from each high school in York East who has shown innovative leadership, having both initiated and implemented a project which has enriched the lives of others.
Although she is just 17 years old, Lisa already has a long history of helping those less fortunate than herself. Last summer, while working at Stop 103 food bank, Lisa decided to organize a food drive at her school. In October, the students at Leaside High School collected 600 cans of food which were then distributed to the needy and the hungry in the community.
I would like to commend Lisa for her fine work and heartfelt concern for others. It is indeed encouraging to know that there are young people like Lisa who are eager to tackle the problems and the social inequalities which exist in our society. Congratulations, Lisa. You are a credit to all of us.
BAIT FISH INDUSTRY
Mr Hampton: We all remember how this government said in 1987 that it was opposed to a trade deal with the United States that would give away our interests, such as our economy, our environment or our culture. Do members remember the words , “There can be no deal”?
Now the trade deal is impacting directly on some of our communities in rather unique ways. Under the federal Fisheries Act, provincial governments are delegated the authority to make regulations limiting the importation of live bait fish into the province. The reason such regulations exist is to guard against the unique parasites and diseases that travel with bait fish from other places, upsetting the ecosystem of our lakes and rivers and destroying our important sport and commercial fishing industries.
Earlier this year, Ontario’s regulations limiting the importation of live bait fish were struck down under the trade deal. It has been some time, and one would have thought that the Ministry of Natural Resources would have quickly gone to Ottawa and spoken with the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to get new regulations in place to limit the possible damage.
Alas, there has been a lot of dithering and this has not happened. As a result, foreign bait fish are now entering certain parts of the province and do threaten to contaminate our lakes and also threaten to drive the Ontario bait fish industry out of the market.
Mrs Marland: I would like to take this time to congratulate my colleague the member for Markham (Mr Cousens) for his resolution this morning on the environmental impacts of the east Metro transportation corridor on the Rouge Valley. I was pleased to speak in support of his resolution.
I was also pleased to see that members from all three parties supported the resolution, which called for a comprehensive and environmentally sound strategy to deal with the transportation needs of the greater Toronto area. This is an indication that we are moving in the right direction to preserve the Rouge Valley lands for future generations.
It is, however, unfortunate that this government is moving so slowly towards this goal. The Premier (Mr Peterson) is dragging his feet on making a decision. Do the people of north Scarborough have to wait until the next provincial election two years from now to see the Premier keep his word, perhaps with an election goodie, a promise?
The decision is easy. It was already made over 10 years ago by our Progressive Conservative government, that the Rouge Valley should always be preserved as park land. The Premier should not even be considering reversing that action and that decision.
I suggest that we get on with the job, that we let northeast Scarborough out of limbo. The province should give its go-ahead for a park in the Rouge Valley land immediately and save the continuing efforts by the group of volunteers who fight on a day-to-day basis for the preservation of what already has been preserved, but this Liberal government will not agree.
GIOVANNI CABOTO DAY
Mr Leone: I am happy to read the proclamation of Giovanni Caboto Day:
“Whereas Giovanni Caboto was a skilled navigator who was admired and revered as an expert mariner and ingenious craftsman of maps and globes; and
“Whereas this world-renowned Italian adventurer, with a crew of 18 men in the ship Matthew, landed on the eastern coast of Canada on the morning of 24 June 1497; and
“Whereas Caboto displayed great tenacity and perseverance; and
“Whereas the daring exploits and deeds of this famous explorer are of great historical significance not only to Canadians but to people throughout the world,
“Therefore, on behalf of the government of Ontario, we are pleased to recognize 24 June 1989 as Giovanni Caboto Day and commend the observance of this historically relevant occasion to the people of this province.”
At this time, I would like to acknowledge in the gallery the presence of the representatives of clubs and associations of the Italian community who have come here to celebrate this great event with this House.
ROTARY CHILDREN’S CENTRE
Mr Farnan: The Rotary Children’s Centre, which serves my riding of Cambridge as well as the Kitchener-Waterloo area, has a waiting list of almost 200 children, children who desperately require treatment but will wait for up to one year for care. Almost 200 little children whose lives are already complicated by their disabilities are being denied treatment which is fundamental to their development and wellbeing.
The Rotary Children’s Centre is hopeful and anticipates that the Ministry of Health will resolve this and that the waiting list will be reduced in the near future. I urge the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) to act quickly to rectify this intolerable situation. Every passing week is vital to these children. For them, time does not stand still. One year lost in the life of a child has an immeasurable impact on that child’s future.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
EMERGENCY HEALTH SERVICES
Hon Mrs Caplan: Emergency health services is one of several specialty care areas mentioned in the recent throne speech in which my ministry is concentrating its resources.
Earlier today I was pleased to announce an $18-million province-wide program to enhance the quality of emergency health services. The funding will be made available this fiscal year. This additional funding will improve the coordination of services from the time a patient is picked up by an ambulance, arrives at the hospital emergency department and, when necessary, is transferred to a critical care or trauma unit.
The initiatives from this additional funding include $9 million for additions to ambulance services in 26 communities in response to population increases. The remaining $9 million will be used to:
Implement guidelines to help hospitals improve the efficiency of their emergency wards;
Designate seven new regional trauma networks to co-ordinate regional hospital beds and services to ensure that severely injured patients will get prompt access to the types of specialized care they need;
Improve accessibility to services by establishing critical care hotlines for physicians in each region which will be interconnected throughout the province. The Metropolitan Toronto hotline will be in operation 1 July;
Expand standardized information collection on emergency patients province-wide, and
Establish a trauma patient registry to provide research data on injuries and treatment outcomes.
My ministry will soon send the emergency department guidelines to hospital boards of governors. Implementation of the guidelines will ensure that emergency care is available at all times and that emergency patients get priority over elective cases.
I would like to commend the Provincial Emergency Health Services Advisory Committee for its efforts in developing the guidelines.
I am also pleased that the guidelines have received positive reviews from many of our partners in health care such as the Ontario Hospital Association, the Ontario Medical Association and the Emergency Nurses Association of Ontario.
Hospitals that will be asked by my ministry to take a leading role in setting up new regional trauma networks are London’s Victoria Hospital, Windsor’s Hotel Dieu of St Joseph Hospital, Thunder Bay’s McKellar General Hospital, Hamilton General Hospital, Kingston General Hospital and Sudbury General Hospital. In Ottawa, the district health council will name a hospital this summer to take a leading trauma network role.
The development of regional trauma systems includes the identification of the levels of care at hospitals in a region and the roles that each of them will play in the treatment of seriously injured patients.
The new regional communications systems will eliminate the need for doctors to call several hospitals in search of more specialized care. Instead, a regional centre will have an inventory of services available. A doctor seeking a transfer for a critically ill patient will be connected with a doctor at a hospital where appropriate care is available.
Data from the emergency department information system and the trauma patient registry will be used by the ministry and hospitals to plan further improvements in emergency and trauma care.
I have no doubt these initiatives will play a significant role in enhancing the quality of care of severely ill or critically injured Ontario residents.
As members know, I previously announced as part of my ministry’s specialty care initiatives a province-wide breast-screening program for cancer and new funding for cardiovascular care, AIDS treatment and education, kidney dialysis treatment and care for mothers and the newborn.
Let me conclude by saying this reaffirms our government’s commitment to accessible, effective and universal health care.
FIRE AT INDIAN SETTLEMENT
Hon Mr Kerrio: I would like to bring to the attention of the House a fire emergency which has caused the evacuation of the settlement of Lansdowne House, located about 300 kilometres north of Geraldton.
A fire was reported south of the Lansdowne House settlement late yesterday afternoon. It appears to have been started by lightning. My ministry is certainly responsible for fire suppression, and for safety reasons we recommended evacuating the community.
At 7 pm the Department of National Defence began airlifting people out of the settlement and into Geraldton. The operation was completed by 10 pm. One hundred and fifty-nine people are now being housed in a church hall in Geraldton and are being looked after by the Geraldton Community Emergency Response Group.
The Ministry of Natural Resources has dispatched a CL-215 waterbomber, as well as two fire crews, to the scene and we are working in co-operation with the people of the settlement to bring this fire under control. Some of the residents of Lansdowne House are trained in firefighting techniques and they have remained in the settlement to fight the fire and protect the buildings.
At last report, the fire at Lansdowne House had affected about 150 hectares of land but no buildings have been lost.
Yesterday I told this House about the emergency evacuation of the settlement of Webequie due to the serious fire situation at the edge of that community, which is 350 kilometres north of Geraldton.
That evacuation was a complete success, thanks to the efforts of the Department of National Defence, the Geraldton Community Emergency Response Group and my ministry. More than 400 people were safely transported to the town of Geraldton and are being housed in the town’s community centre.
The fire at Webequie is currently under control and does not appear to be posing a threat to the community. However, community members who were evacuated will remain in Geraldton until it is safe to return home.
The ministry has implemented emergency-area orders centring on the two settlements. The enactment of an emergency-area order gives the ministry complete authority over the emergency areas and empowers MNR to take whatever action is necessary to protect human life and property and to suppress the fire.
Members will be interested to know that across the province 108 fires are burning, affecting 4,300 hectares. So far this year there has been a total of 604 fires, affecting some 10,000 hectares.
The weather is the most important factor in the provincial fire situation. We expect thunderstorm activity in the area that will help ease the situation in northwestern Ontario and in some of the north-central areas.
Because events happen so fast, just a brief comment: Alberta and Saskatchewan have sent in four CL-2 15 waterbombers to help us fight the fires in that area, and I want to give them a great vote of thanks.
FIRE AT INDIAN SETTLEMENT
Mr B. Rae: It really is rather extraordinary listening to the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr Kerrio). This is now the second evacuation of a whole community that has taken place in two days. I think it is probably difficult for many members who have never visited any of these communities, or for many Ontarians who have never been in the far north of our province, to understand the poor housing conditions, the enormous poverty which surrounds those communities and the complete isolation of these communities which requires the total evacuation as a result of the outbreak of a fire.
While commending the members of our national defence team and natural resources team, who obviously worked so quickly, as well as those members of the Lansdowne House band and community who stayed behind in order to fight the fire and because sometimes repetition is necessary to make a point, I simply want to say once again that we in this House are going to have to make a decision as to the overall conditions that exist in these communities. It simply is not enough to be there at a time of emergency evacuation.
We have to provide decent housing, a clean environment, sewage treatment, running water and opportunities for education. The provincial government cannot say simply that these are all the responsibilities of the federal government, because if we say they are, then we are saying in effect that nothing will be done.
Perhaps something good will come out of these tragedies, the tragedy at Fort Albany, at Webequie yesterday and at Lansdowne House today. Perhaps the very fact that the minister is making these announcements in this House will cause some members of the media and others to take some interest in events that are occurring in our far north because it is only when that focus and attention come from the citizens of the affluent south that we will begin to understand that in Ontario we are all one family, and that some members of our family are hurting very badly and desperately need the rights, support, brotherhood and sisterhood, and friendship of people all over this province in order to give them a rightful place at the very centre of Ontario’s work and life.
EMERGENCY HEALTH SERVICES
Mr Reville: I want to respond to what I hope is the last announcement from the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan). A lot of us have been wondering when the series of staged announcements from the ministry of information would come to an end, and I understand that this is the last one. This kind of incomprehensible gibberish I refer to as health-speak. It is sometimes called Barkin’s barkin’.
As we say in this place, I have in my mind 11 previous Ministry of Health releases which might well account for half of this money already, so we are getting half of it reannounced today. The minister is shaking her head, but she does not have the faintest clue about what is going on in her own ministry.
Will this approach mean that attending nurses no longer have to stuff blankets into cracks in the fuselages of aircraft so that their patients will not freeze in the air ambulances of this province? Will it mean that ministry directives that come out and shut down ambulances from service, called “down-staffing,” will end, so that they will not have to pay overtime? Will it mean that the sometimes nonexistent trauma management which is sometimes bizarre will end in the province, where a victim gets orthopaedic services in one, neurological services in another and internal medicine in yet another hospital so that the patient has to recover three times from three operations in three different places? It is hard to say.
We have seen the pattern where the minister makes announcements onsite, in the Toronto Star and then in the Legislature. Sure, emergency services and trauma management can put this money to good use, but I do not think the minister really is fooling very many people.
Mr Brandt: Mr Speaker, may I beg the indulgence of the House for a moment? Our party missed the rotation on the response to Giovanni Caboto Day.
Mr Reville: There was no rotation.
Mr Brandt: Was it not, in fact, done earlier?
Mr B. Rae: We did it under members’ statements. We did one and they did one.
Mr Brandt: What I would like is to ask for unanimous consent to use up part of our time to make that response now, if I could, on behalf of our party.
The Speaker: Is there agreement?
GIOVANNI CABOTO DAY
Mr Brandt: I would like to thank the members of the House because I do want to join with all the parties in the House in recognizing Giovanni Caboto Day which is being celebrated, as all members of the House know, to recognize the tremendous contribution that Italian immigrants have made both to Ontario and to Canada as well.
Over a long number of years I have appreciated a very close association that I have had with the Italian community. During a former calling, when I was in my own private life in private business, I had many associations in Italy. I grew to develop a very close association with many members of the Italian community, as well as many businesses in that part of the world.
There has been an absolutely outstanding contribution made by the Italian community to life in Ontario. The culture, the heritage and the richness that this community in particular, because of their very large numbers, has contributed to Ontario has made this province a much better and a much stronger place.
I want to join with all members of the House in recognizing what we are focusing on here, a celebration of success, a celebration of contribution and a celebration on the part of those Canadian people who have welcomed a very fine and law-abiding community that has done so much to make this province the very attractive place it is to live in.
EMERGENCY HEALTH SERVICES
Mr Eves: I would like to respond to the statement made today by the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan). Although I suppose it is difficult to take issue with some motherhood and apple-pie statements in the minister’s statement today, I would have thought that a lot of these things go without saying.
To make sure that emergency care is available at all times: I would have thought, I would have hoped that we would have had that system in Ontario for some 50 years. If we have not, and the minister is shaking her head, I would like to know what she has been doing in the last four years of her life.
Emergency patients get priority over elective cases: I certainly would have hoped that that would be the case, and that goes without saying. I do not think we have to spend $18 million to come to commonsense conclusions. Any doctor I have dealt with certainly knows what hospital to call and what other specialized physician to contact in terms of needing specialized care.
We get to talking about spending $9 million to improve emergency departments around the province. I can tell the minister that in my home community of Parry Sound, the Parry Sound District General Hospital has had a request in to her ministry for some period of time requesting over $1 million worth of improvements to its emergency department alone. There are 222 hospitals in Ontario. How far is $9 million going to go? The minister could spend it all on Parry Sound, one of those 222 if she cared to do her job appropriately.
With respect to improving ambulance services in Ontario, perhaps I have just missed these places on the list, but I know of places that have requested improved ambulance services that are not on the list -- North Bay and Parry Sound. For the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay (Mr Black), who seems very proud of this announcement, the municipalities of Bracebridge, Grayenhurst and Huntsville are mysteriously missing from the minister’s list of places she is going to help.
Mr Black: They’ve already got excellent ambulance service.
Mr Eves: Is the member happy with all his health care services?
Mr Black: What’s that got to do with ambulance services? Don’t you know the difference?
Mr Eves: That’s funny, the obstetrician requirement for the Bracebridge area and the Gravenhurst area has been there for some time. The Minister of Health has said that she cannot be all things to all people, that the people in that area do not deserve an obstetrician, but perhaps the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay should go on record as saying that he is not in favour of that, either. He cannot have it both ways. He is either in favour of it or he is not.
Mr B. Rae: I have questions for the Premier (Mr Peterson) today. I also have a backbench question for the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan). I do not know what my colleague has, but I will wait until the Premier comes.
The Speaker: The member is requesting to stand down his two questions?
Mr Brandt: I can go with one of my lead questions. My other question is to the Premier as well, so I will stand that down.
Mr Brandt: My question, if I might, is to the Minister of Tourism and Recreation and it is again with regard to Ontario Place.
The Premier has stated that he is most anxious to get all the facts on the table as they relate to Ontario Place and the investigation that is under way with regard to some of the activities that took place at Ontario Place. I wonder if that in fact is the wish of the government and of the Premier, who has now just arrived.
Would the minister indicate why the standing committee on public accounts tabled a request to have Patti Starr appear before that committee so that she could respond to the very legitimate questions that members of this House want to place to her?
Hon Mr O’NeiI: Although I am the Minister of Tourism and Recreation, I do not direct the business of the House.
Mr Brandt: I understand full well that the minister does not direct the business of the House. However, I am sure the minister would have some input and/or some knowledge as it relates to the activities of a committee that is interested in dealing with the Patti Starr issue.
My next question is that during the course of Ms Starr’s tenure as chairman of Ontario Place, there were a number of staff who Ms Starr indicated were “superfluous to the operations at Ontario Place.” In the public accounts, there is a notation of some $260,000 made up of some sales tax items as well as termination pay for staff who were let go. I wonder if the minister could indicate what percentage of that $260,000 was termination pay for employees who were released at Ontario Place.
Hon Mr O’Neil: As I have mentioned to the member in past cases, at the present time we have the Provincial Auditor in there doing a comprehensive audit.
I might also tell the member, since he raises the matter of the number of employees and what is going on at Ontario Place, that when I became the Minister of Tourism and Recreation in the fall of 1978, I had my staff go in. They went in, I believe, in the month of November to do an internal audit during the months of November and December and finished it in January. One of the things that was identified was that there was overstaffing at Ontario Place, and one of the things that could be done to reduce the deficit at Ontario Place was the reduction of staff.
I know that the other facts the member asked for will be identified by the Provincial Auditor.
Mr Brandt: I am sure the minister wants to correct the record. It was in 1988 that he became minister, not 1978.
An hon member: It was 1987.
Mr Brandt: In 1987. I would just like to say that it may seem like that long since he has been over there, but that is only a figment of his vivid imagination.
I would like to ask the minister, however, another question with regard to Ms Starr. He indicated that he was prepared to table in this House the amounts of money that were given to Ms Starr for payment for her services during her period as chairman of Ontario Place, as well as the expenses over approximately that two-year period. I wonder if the minister is still of a mind where he will share that with the House. I have not received that information yet. I think it is vital information that we require with regard to this particular case. Will the minister immediately provide that information to the House?
Hon Mr O’Neil: I have asked for that information, and I can tell the member that when I do receive that information, I will certainly make it available to him.
I might also mention that the member made certain accusations this week about shredding going on at Ontario Place. He talks about sharing information, yet he says he had a phone call about an hour and a half before question period and he did not call me, he did not call the acting Solicitor General (Mr Scott) and he did not call the Provincial Auditor. I can only say to him, he is making certain accusations and unless he is prepared to share this information -- and he is the only one who can in this case of shredding -- we have an old saying in Quinte that says, “Either put up or shut up.”
Mr Brandt: What has it to do with the question?
Hon Mr Scott: Why don’t you get Alan Pope to ask a question on shredding? Get him to ask me. He stripped the gears on the machine when he left the Attorney General’s office.
The Speaker: Order. I see the Premier (Mr Peterson) is here now. I recognize the Leader of the Opposition for the first question.
Mr B. Rae: Mr Speaker, I always wondered where that expression came from, and now I know.
I have a question for the Premier. He has said, on a number of occasions, to me -- among other things -- that he is waiting for more facts before he makes up his mind with respect to the conduct of the Minister of Culture and Communications (Ms Oddie Munro).
The Premier has had a chance to speak with the minister. He has had a chance to look at Hansard and the answers which the minister has given on the record in this House. He has had a chance to see the interviews which the minister has given to various media about the nature of the alleged contract provided by Mrs Starr to the minister’s mother, on the minister’s recommendation.
I wonder if the Premier can tell us just what additional facts he needs to make his mind up about the ethical standards of a member of his executive council.
Hon Mr Peterson: My honourable friend is usually quite succinct in putting his questions, but he has been putting the same question for the last few weeks.
I have given him the same answer. I said it was referred to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. My honourable friend has his own views on the matter which he would like to share in this House and he does so repetitively, but my answer is the same. It is referred to the conflict commissioner and it will come back with his advice.
Mr B. Rae: The conflict commissioner has said, on the record, that he will not commence his work until such time as the Ontario Provincial Police have completed their investigation.
Hon Mr Scott: And a very wise thing to do, too.
Mr B. Rae: I appreciate very much the advice of the Attorney General --
Hon Mr Scott: You get it free now. In the old days you had to pay. You get it free.
The Speaker: Order. This might be the appropriate time to remind all members that interjections are really out of order.
Mr B. Rae: The Attorney General’s advice is worth exactly what we are paying for it.
What I would like to say to the Premier is this. I would like to ask him this question. We know the conflict commissioner has said he is going to wait for the OPP investigation. We know that the OPP investigation can, in many instances, take not just a few days but indeed, if one looks at other OPP investigations, weeks and indeed months.
The question here is one of the ethical conduct of one of the Premier’s ministers. He has said he is waiting for all the facts to be in. I want to ask the Premier again this simple question. What additional factual information does he feel he needs in order to make up his mind about whether it was right for a member of his cabinet to refer her own mother to Mrs Starr for a $5,000 contract? What more information does he need to decide whether that is right or that is wrong?
Hon Mr Peterson: That is exactly the same question the member asked me before his first supplementary and it is exactly the same one he asked me yesterday and last week on several occasions. My answer is exactly the same. It should not surprise him.
Mr B. Rae: Can the Premier then answer this question? Can he tell us if what he effectively is saying is that he does not know whether it is right or wrong for a member of his cabinet to say to Mrs Starr: “Here’s my mother’s phone number. She’ll be glad to do the work”? Does the Premier not know if that is right or wrong? He cannot make up his mind whether he condones that conduct. Can the Premier tell us how many months it is going to take him to make up his mind as to the basic ethical standards of his own government?
Hon Mr Peterson: I am not saying that at all to my honourable friend, and I think he knows that, even though he would want to repeat his point of view ad nauseam on this matter. He can continue to do so, as he has every day, but I think I have laid out my view in the situation. I ultimately have to take the responsibility for the standards made, but on the basis of advice from the conflict commissioner and others, I will make the judgements.
Mr B. Rae: I would again ask the Premier this question: He will know, I am sure, because of the extraordinary web of money and special deals that surrounds this whole incident involving Mrs Starr and the various accounts for which she had control, that the key to the $251,000 capital account for which Mrs Starr had sole and complete control was two events. The first event was the decision by the federal Department of National Revenue to grant that particular account and that particular foundation’s charitable status. The second was the decision by this government, the Ministry of Revenue, to refund the $251,000 without any kind of control of those funds.
Can the Premier give us the categorical assurance that no member of his cabinet and no senior members of his party were involved in influencing the decision in any way to grant this particular site charitable status?
Hon Mr Peterson: I can tell my honourable friend that I am not aware of any at the present time, but I tell my honourable friend at the same time that this is the whole object of the investigations going on at the present time. It is essential that we come into full possession of the facts. He may know something. He may know of some influence exercised. If he does, I hope he will share that with me and/or the investigating bodies
I say to my friend we are determined to get to the bottom of this. My honourable friend alludes to a couple of things, the involvement of the federal government and the granting of the charitable licence as well as a rebate on provincial sales tax and other things. If he is right, I gather that she had sole and exclusive control over this particular fund. How she achieved that frankly is beyond me, but I think it is our responsibility to get to the bottom of all these things, and all the facts must come out for everybody to see.
Mr B. Rae: We certainly look forward to the emergence of all these facts. Indeed, we have been trying day after day, with respect to individual ministers and members of the government, to get them to give us the facts. It is not as if they have come forward and spilled all the beans without being asked questions.
What I would like to ask the Premier is this: in addition to the $251,000, the sales tax remission to the account that eventually came under the control of Mrs Starr -- which is provincial money, public money, Ontario taxpayers’ money -- Ontario taxpayers have also funded, through the Ministry of Community and Social Services as well as through the Ministry of Housing, this particular project very substantially. Is the Premier satisfied that all the appropriate financial controls have been exercised over each of those very substantial sums of money that went to the Prince Charles apartments?
Hon Mr Peterson: I am informed that the normal procedures were followed in this case. I cannot attest to that personally. I did not do it myself and so I have to take the advice of others, but I am told that what happened in this case is what happens in every other similar type of situation.
Mr B. Rae: There is a pattern here of special influence. There is a pattern here of hundreds of thousands of dollars, apparently going without any control or any adequate audit of funds, that were controlled by one person. We have large institutions like Tridel able to use those funds. We have the Liberal Party able to access those funds. We have money going from one account into another account and back into another account, and all the Premier can tell us is that as far as he knows, everything has been done totally normally.
I think the basic question for the people of this province is, what are the Premier’s standards and just what does it take for him to wake up? This is the largest financial scandal involving the electoral process in the recent history of this province and he had better wake up and start taking some stands --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Mr B. Rae: -- and some steps to send a message out that this is not acceptable to the people of Ontario.
The Speaker: Order. I think I missed the question. New question. The member for Sarnia.
Mr Brandt: My question is for the Premier as well. Some days ago, the Minister of Tourism and Recreation indicated he would provide this House with the details of the amounts of money paid to Ms Starr, as well as the expenses. In my last question to the minister just a few moments ago, he did not in fact indicate what those numbers were and when he would table that information with the House. I wonder if the Premier would be prepared to make that commitment on behalf of his government. I would just like to remind the Premier that in Sarnia we have an old saying; it is called, “Put up or shut up.”
Hon Mr Peterson: Perhaps I will refer that to the minister, who is more than capable of handling that question.
Hon Mr O’Neil: It is good that the member has the same types of sayings in his area too. As I mentioned to the member, I have asked my staff to prepare that information and I will try to have it for him as soon as we possibly can.
Mr Brandt: My question was for the Premier, Mr Speaker. Can I go back to the Premier now or am I forced to continue to get my nonresponses from the minister of tourism?
The Speaker: The member is not forced to do anything. However, the members here have decided in the past and by tradition that the question must flow from the response, so I would suggest to the minister --
Mr Brandt: I understand your direction then.
Mr Speaker, with some reluctance, I will go to the minister of tourism and ask him by way of question -- this is responding to his earlier comments in regard to the relationship between my office and the shredder question -- is the minister aware that my office called the Provincial Auditor within a half-hour of having received the information, in fact on two occasions within a half-hour after having received the information that there were allegations regarding shredders at work? Was the minister aware of that before he made his very uncalled-for accusations in this House?
Hon Mr O’Neil: I am not aware that was done, and if it was done, maybe the member should have let us know that in the House.
Mr Brandt: Well, I want the minister to know that we acted as quickly as possible. I would like to ask the minister in regard to the auditor, who is now undergoing certain work at Ontario Place, is the auditor there in response to the letter, which as of yesterday the auditor still had not received from the minister’s office, directing them to undergo an investigation at Ontario Place, or are they there as part of an annual audit they are doing at Ontario Place? Which is it, because yesterday, the auditor still had not received his letter that he had sent supposedly four or five days ago.
Hon Mr O’Neil: I have tried to clarify this, and I am sorry the member has not followed up on a lot of things that are happening there. But I will tell him that yes, the auditor has been in there for approximately two weeks. The first week they were in there was the usual audit they do; in other words, they audit it every year. For the special audit, the comprehensive audit we have asked to be done, they were in there last Monday.
I can also tell him that I guess there was a problem over that letter being received, but the letter was sent out, I understand, over a week ago. I understand it was the auditor who was talked to, asking him to do the audit and it would be followed up with a letter. That is what happened. There was a delay in the letter getting there, but the office was talked to over a week ago.
Mr B. Rae: I have a question for the Minister of Health. It concerns the crisis at the Princess Margaret Hospital. In using that word, I am using the word that has been used by Dr Duncan, who as I am sure the minister will know, is the head of oncology radiation at the hospital. Patients with cancer where radiation is the required treatment are now having to wait months and not just weeks because of a staff shortage at the hospital. A similar situation is beginning to develop at Sunnybrook Medical Centre.
The Princess Margaret Hospital is the centre of cancer treatment for patients across the province, and indeed for many patients outside Ontario and across North America. I would like to ask the minister, when she talks as she has on so many occasions about a well-planned and well-managed system, how is it possible there could be a staff shortage in such a basic service as radiation treatment for cancer patients?
Hon Mrs Caplan: Let me acknowledge, first, that I think everyone in the House is aware of the Leader of the Opposition’s personal interest in the delivery of cancer services, as are many members of this House and in this province who are touched by cancer as a disease.
I would say to him that I am very aware of this situation and that the province has in fact acknowledged that cancer care and cancer services are a priority and part of our action plan for specialty care.
It is true that the Princess Margaret Hospital is a centre of excellence and part of a cancer treatment network in this province. There are eight regional centres across the province. The Ontario Cancer Institute, the Princess Margaret Hospital and the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation are acting with us and with our new cancer co-ordinator to address many of these issues.
I would say to the member that as we develop a network across the system, we are able to specifically address issues and challenges as they arise. In very recent times, a number of technologists at the Princess Margaret Hospital have sought employment elsewhere. In fact, I can say to him that some 700 patients come from outside of Metropolitan Toronto from eastern Ontario into downtown Toronto for treatment. By working together, part of our plan is to develop a capacity and expansion in Kingston so that we can meet needs closer to home.
Mr B. Rae: The minister has to understand that while she works out these bureaucratic solutions -- she talks about things happening in Kingston, which is fine -- the reality is that the Princess Margaret Hospital is right now in a state of crisis. It has patients who are waiting for months for radiation treatment. The tumours have been diagnosed. The doctors have told them, “This is the treatment you will require,” and they are having to wait day by day, night by night, week by week, month by month for treatment.
Does the minister not understand that unless she is prepared to deal with the staff shortage immediately -- whether it is nursing, whether it is technicians -- patients are going to die and patients are going to suffer because her government has not dealt with the most basic fact of our health care system? If we do not care for the people who work in the system, the system will fall apart, and that is exactly what is happening today.
Hon Mrs Caplan: While I did not detect a question, I think it is important that we have the facts, and the facts are that there are many people coming into Metropolitan Toronto for treatment who can receive treatment closer to home in their home communities as part of a provincial network.
I can say to him that Princess Margaret Hospital has acknowledged the need for additional staff and has doubled the number in its training programs. There have been active recruitments for radiation technologists across the province, but there is the opportunity to expand additional capacity in the regional centres across the province. We are doing that. We are doing it so that people will have access to the care they need, when they need it, as close to home as possible.
Mr Eves: I have a question to the Minister of Health on exactly the same issue. Just over a week ago, last Wednesday to be exact, on 14 June, I asked her basically the same question in this Legislature. I read to her a memorandum of her co-ordinator, Dr Clarke, which she sent to all area directors for cancer centres across the province on the previous day, 13 June. The Leader of the Opposition is exactly correct.
What is the minister doing in the interim to solve this very immediate radio-therapy technologist shortage in the province? Princess Margaret says that it is at least 12 to 15 technologists short right now, that it has one technologist operating a machine instead of two, that it has reduced the number of machines operating from 10 to eight and that it has reduced the number of hours of shifts from 10 to eight as well because it has a shortage of technologists. What is the minister doing to meet this immediate concern?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I am pleased to tell the member that as well as the initiatives I mentioned, the expansion of capacity in Kingston will permit many of those patients who are presently coming to Toronto to be treated in Kingston. That will relieve the pressure in Toronto and allow patients to have the care that they need even closer to their homes.
Mr Eves: I know some efforts are being made to try to have Kingston and Ottawa accommodate some of the 700 patients. My information is that they cannot accommodate them all. There are also another 500 to 700 patients a year who come from northeastern Ontario, referred by Sudbury.
I understand that in time Sudbury will have its own cancer centre, but that is not going to be up and running until late 1990 or early 1991. When it does, we are going to need another 30 radio-therapy technologists in the Sudbury area. We are going to need another 20 to 30 at Mount Sinai Hospital for its increased capacity. We are looking at a year, a year and a half, perhaps two years down the road. The problem is immediate for the people in northeastern Ontario, as it is for the people in eastern Ontario itself. There are still some 700 to 1,000 patients that the Princess Margaret Hospital cannot handle now.
The Speaker: Do you have a question?
Mr Eves: What is her ministry doing to work in conjunction with Princess Margaret Hospital to take care of these patients now?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I am pleased to say to the member that Dr Aileen Clarke, the cancer program co-ordinator for the ministry, is working actively, not only with Princess Margaret Hospital but also with the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation and its eight regional clinics to make sure we have the plans in place to be as flexible as possible in meeting these challenges, not only as they arise but also so that we can plan better for the future.
Mrs LeBourdais: My question is to the Treasurer. My constituents in Etobicoke West are growing increasingly concerned about the total tax burden they are being asked to shoulder. I would like to ask the Treasurer what I can say to my constituents, many of whom are seniors, who worry that they will be left with an ever-decreasing percentage of personal, disposable income as governments at all levels engage in what the voters see as a series of prolonged, incremental tax increases to pay for the massive and ever-growing demand for services? Quite simply, they want to know when it is going to end.
Mrs Marland: Good question.
Hon R. F. Nixon: I thank the honourable member and I believe it is a good question. It reflects the views put to me by many people, although, oddly enough, not by critics from the opposition to any great extent over the last three weeks since the budget was brought down.
In answer to the question, I simply want to point out something of the more significant aspects in the honourable member’s question that had to do with the ever-increasing demand for services. These are not demands lightly arrived at. They are for quality in medical service. We were just talking about inadequacies that have been perceived in the provision of cancer service and the fact that we made a commitment of $200 million for the improvement of those services.
There are complaints to some extent about the inadequacies in our school system and the fact that there are too many children being educated in portables. We all agree this is not a proper way to educate our young people and that is why we have made huge additional commitments to capital to build new schools, growing from about $78 million in the year we took office to $300 million a year now, and still the need is unmet.
I know the Speaker would not like me to continue that into every area of endeavour, but the honourable member would know that it also goes very strongly for environmental services, job opportunity development and roadbuilding. In the government, we try to balance these demands for services with the ability to pay. While some taxpayers feel the taxes are too high, our judgement really is that we have struck a balance --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Mrs LeBourdais: A closely related matter of concern to my constituents in Etobieoke West is the question of why governments are increasingly engaging in a transference of tax burdens on to lower levels of government. In my riding, these activities are generating a substantial amount of concern in the local media as certain elements in the municipality react by blaming Queen’s Park for the necessity of increased local taxes. For the benefit of those voters who are concerned about this particular issue, can the Treasurer please explain why this is necessary and whether or not we can expect this trend to continue.
Hon R. F. Nixon: Once again, I thank the honourable member for the question since she represents part of Etobicoke. I have found it very difficult to bear the inclusion, in the tax bills in that municipality, of a reference to inadequate provincial support. I thought it was irresponsible of that administration to send that out to the taxpayers when they know as well as every other taxpayer in this province that the grants to the municipalities this year are going up by eight per cent. While they may feel those are inadequate, they should know that so far in this decade the increases have been an average of 7.2 per cent. As a matter of fact, the grants are larger than the average.
I believe local taxpayers are perhaps wiser than politicians at the federal, provincial or local level seem to perceive. They can make their own judgements.
As a matter of fact, I would like to draw the attention of the honourable member and the mayor of her city to page 99 in this year’s budget, and I will quote just one line, “The total amount of outstanding long-term municipal debt declined from $3.2 billion in 1982 to $3 billion in 1987,” while revenue increased from $7.8 billion to $11.6 billion. It says, and I simply quote further, “Indeed, municipalities could borrow up to $7.9 billion to finance the construction of capital projects without exceeding 0MB guidelines.”
I do not want them to borrow money, but they should not expect --
The Speaker: Thank you.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr D. S. Cooke: I have a question for the Minister of Financial Institutions. I am sure the minister is aware of the issue concerning the B. F. Goodrich pension plan and the fact that when the B. F. Goodrich plan was folded into the Uniroyal Goodrich plan the $3.5-million surplus was not transferred.
Is it the position of the minister, as it is ours, that the $3.5 million belongs to the workers; and if he believes that, what is he prepared to do to reinforce the Pension Commission of Ontario’s position, which is that the workers should be consulted and, I would assume, that the $3.5 million should be transferred to the new pension plan so the workers can access it to improve their benefits? What is the minister prepared to do to reinforce that position?
Hon Mr Elston: The issues surrounding what is done with particular pension plans, of course, must be dealt with under the auspices of contracts and obligations and agreements. The pension commission is there to go through those issues. I have recently seen some correspondence which has talked about the issue and I am examining it now with respect to what is available, the types of obligations that have been undertaken and committed to, but at this point I am unable to indicate any further action on my part.
Mr D. S. Cooke: It is exactly because of that wishy-washy position that the government has taken on surpluses that workers are losing out and not getting access to surpluses, and companies are taking contribution holidays.
I would like to ask the minister if he is aware of a comment by the president of Uniroyal Goodrich, Bill Davis, who said in an interview --
Mr D. S. Cooke: Yes, Bill Davis. There are more than two of them.
Uniroyal Goodrich president Bill Davis said in an interview in May that the company can’t afford to provide indexed pensions because it would be the first in the tire industry to do so.
Does the minister not realize that if this surplus was transferred to the new pension plan, they would be able to afford improvements in benefits? Does he not feel that if this money belongs to the workers -- it is through deferred wages -- that would be appropriate and he should reinforce that by legislation?
Hon Mr Elston: As in each case with respect to pension obligations, the first and most important piece of information is exactly what terms and conditions are set out in the contract that establishes the pension. The member knows and I know that when decisions are made with respect to surplus, they do turn on the wording.
The member has made certain assumptions, perhaps -- or maybe he has studied the document more than I have -- that in fact I have not been able to find. The issues have got to turn on the contract, and the issue of improvements with respect to any pension is going to be based on the way in which they are going to be funded.
One of the problems that I have with pensions is that the contract which is established between the people who bargain the terms of their compensation -- the member has indicated that in this case it was a bargain for deferred wages -- is established between two private and independent parties. I come into the agreement only after the fact in trying to deliver what the contract indicates should be delivered.
I am looking into the issue that the member said I have to look into. Of course, the role I have is also supplemented by the commission, whose obligation it is by legislation to do certain things, which that member knows about full well but perhaps is unwilling to admit fully. The pension commission has the ability to make certain rulings.
In any event, I am looking at what the contract says, I am looking at what the agreements were between workers and Goodrich and I am looking at what in fact are the circumstances. But I am not prepared to stand up and --
The Speaker: Thank you.
ELECTRICITY DEMAND AND SUPPLY
Mr Cureatz: On behalf of all my Conservative colleagues in the back bench who are fully supportive of me on this question, might I bring to the minister’s attention that on 7 June the member for Oxford (Mr Tatham), our poet laureate in the assembly, brought to the minister’s attention and asked of him the manner in which he hoped to save 45,000 megawatts by the year 2000.
In his response, the minister said, “a 2,000-megawatt target for incentive-driven conservation, 15,000 megawatts for information-driven conservation and 1,000 megawatts for load shifting.” Is this realistic? In light of certain public attitudes presently towards conservation, does he really think he is going to meet that kind of target by the year 2000?
Hon Mr Wong: Yes, I think that looking at the progress Canada and Ontario have made, even since the 1973 oil price shock until 1986, one would see that the energy intensity of Canadians improved by 17 per cent. In plain English, the amount of energy used per unit of economic output improved because Canadians and Ontarians believed enough in energy efficiency and energy conservation measures to accomplish these types of results.
On the figures that the honourable member has talked about, I think he meant hundreds. We were talking about a 4,500-megawatt target by the year 2000, and it was broken down into three specific categories. Because they have been broken down that way, they make it more comprehensible and credible to understand these conservation measures and how they are going to be achieved.
Mr Cureatz: The Minister of Energy has greater hope than I do in terms of ensuring that Ontario residents are going to have the needed electrical supply in the province. I have asked the minister in the past, and I am going to ask him again, in light of the fact that the demand for electricity is increasing and that I do not have faith in him looking in his crystal ball and predicting -- contrary to my colleague from the New Democratic Party -- the kinds of savings he is going to have in terms of conservation, will he share with this House again when he plans on making a decision on building another major electrical producing plant, what kind is it going to be and when is he going to start construction on it to ensure that we are going to have adequate electricity in the event that his crystal-ball-gazing is not adequate?
Hon Mr Wong: The decision will be made after two things have occurred. The government is waiting for the specific preferred plan from Ontario Hydro this September, which follows a two- or three-year process of reviews emanating from the demand/supply planning strategy.
In addition, this government has promised and indicated to the people that because of the profound influence that energy and electricity have on this province, the public and special interest groups will also have the opportunity to examine this preferred plan.
So the answer to the question as to how and when those decisions will be taken is after those two events have occurred.
DARLINGTON NUCLEAR GENERATING STATION
Mrs Grier: My question is also to the Minister of Energy. I have raised before in this House the need for a baseline health study of residents in the area around the Darlington nuclear generating station. Recently both Newcastle town council and Oshawa city council indicated by motion that they supported having such a study done. Also, we now know that Hydro has delayed for six months the opening of the Darlington nuclear generating station.
Will the minister agree to use this six-month opportunity to undertake a baseline health study of the people surrounding the Darlington nuclear generating station so that after the plant opens there is comprehensive and accurate data with which changes in public health can be compared?
Hon Mr Wong: My ministry is in constant consultation with my colleagues at the Ministry of Health and also at Ontario Hydro. If my memory is correct, after phase I of the recent study had been completed, I indicated that I completely agreed that the second phase of that study should also be continued and completed so that we all, as citizens of this province and those of us who live or work near these plants, would have the best possible research information on which to make some decisions.
Mrs Grier: I appreciate the minister’s commitment to having that data because, frankly, we lack it in many or all areas of this province. Can the minister give us some assurance that the second phase of the study he is contemplating will, in fact, provide the kind of data that are required? In other words, will it include clinical studies of the residents? Will it include detailed information on birth abnormalities? Will it include data on cancer incidence? Will it include information on where a mother lived during a pregnancy and on residents who --
The Speaker: Thank you. That is about five questions.
Mrs Grier: -- may have moved to that area from the vicinity of the Bruce nuclear plant?
Hon Mr Wong: I cannot give the honourable member that assurance because it is not my ministry which is doing the study or which is responsible for the study. However, I will undertake to inquire and make sure that the honourable member’s concerns and specific points are raised to the people who are doing the study.
SALE OF BEER IN STADIUMS
Mr Brandt: My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I would like to ask the minister about the decision he has made with respect to allowing alcoholic beverages, mainly beer, to be sold through some stadiums in Ontario but not others. I cite as a specific example the fact that he has disallowed any sale of beer at Labatt Park in London, where they have a professional baseball team at the double-A level of play. It is one of the few, if not the only, double-A baseball team in all of North America where their ballpark is prohibited from allowing the sale of beer. Could he give the House some indication why he made that decision?
Hon Mr Wrye: The honourable member will remember, as a member of the previous government and because I think he was a backbench member in this House when it was first announced, that we would have the sale of beer in four stadiums in Ontario: Exhibition Park, Varsity Stadium, Ivor Wynn Stadium in Hamilton and Lansdowne Park in Ottawa and that it would be done as a pilot project. That pilot project has proceeded for a number of years, four or five in total, and it has not been without some problems, as the honourable member would know.
In making the decisions, we have shifted the licence without changing the true definition of what at the time was meant by professional soccer, professional football and professional baseball. We have moved that licence to the SkyDome. At the same time, we have brought in a number of enhancements, including designated nondrinking areas and greater security in terms of abuse of alcohol, not only by those who are selling and serving it but by those who are providing security. We hope to be able to have a good look over the next period of time at how those enhancements are working.
At that time we did not feel it was appropriate to extend it to London or indeed to the --
The Speaker: Perhaps the debate could continue with a supplementary.
Mr Brandt: The decision regarding the stadiums that were originally given the right to sell alcoholic refreshments was made long before a double-A professional baseball team was franchised to the city of London. I would say to the minister that there appears to be very little, if any, distinction in terms of the definition of the word “professional.” These are paid professionals. I might add that the minister is well aware that there are many amateur tournaments in which the distribution of beer is, in fact, licensed on a daily basis or for the duration of a particular event.
Mr Brandt: It happens, I say to the minister; there are all kinds of them.
I would ask the minister if he would not take into consideration at the moment the change in the status of Labatt Park, the fact that they do have a professional baseball team, and make the decision that I believe the people of that area want to see made; namely, that they be given the right to be treated exactly like the SkyDome and other areas where beer is distributed in Ontario.
Hon Mr Wrye: I have had an opportunity to have a conversation on this issue with the mayor of London, Tom Gosnell, and I know Mr Gosnell’s views.
I should just share with my friend the fact that there is certainly no magic in terms of double-A baseball or in the fact that they are professional baseball teams. I am sure the member will be well aware that there are three single-A baseball teams in Ontario and that there are a number of other professional-type sports events.
The cabinet looked at this very carefully. It was not an easy issue for us, but at the time of decision it was felt that the project which had proceeded until now should continue, that there had been a number of problems and that it was appropriate to attempt to address the problems within approximately the same parameters that we had had. That was professional baseball at the American League level, Canadian Football League football and some professional soccer and it was decided to leave it at that.
ELGIN-WINTER GARDEN THEATRE
Mr Owen: I have a question for the Minister of Culture and Communications (Ms Oddie Munro). We are all aware that the Elgin-Winter Garden Theatre is being restored. We are all aware that every person involved in heritage in the city of Toronto and in this province has recognized the importance of this particular structure.
In the restoration of heritage projects, invariably we meet with various difficulties and unforeseen expenses. I wonder if the minister could advise us as to where we stand with regard to the restoration, what problems have been met and overcome and when we can look to the opening of these two theatres.
Hon Ms Oddle Munro: As the member will recall, the federal and provincial governments have contributed $11 million -- $5 million from the federal government and $6 million from this province -- towards the reconstruction and restoration of the Elgin-Winter Garden Theatre.
The Ontario Heritage Foundation has embarked on a fund-raising exercise, hoping to raise $7 million; I understand it has raised $2 million. The restoration is continuing with an army of volunteers and tradespeople doing the work. I understand that the restoration will be completed in the fall and that the co-producers expect to have an audience for the first production in December. I understand the production is The Wizard of Oz.
Mr Owen: I commend the ministry and all the people involved, particularly the volunteers, for what I understand is a very credible job. The difficulty we find with this type of restoration is that when it is completed and has to venture into the field of having to generate its own income, can it be done? My next question, which is possibly more difficult, is how viable will the operation and function of these two theatres be when they are all completed, when they have to be bringing in the crowds and paying for their operation?
Hon Ms Oddle Munro: The Ontario Heritage Foundation entered into an agreement with the WGC Facility Management Corp to operate the theatres. That particular corporation was selected on the basis that it would be able to operate. I have every confidence that this in fact will happen.
Just as an added comment, I would encourage members of the viewing audience to ask themselves whether they would support the theatre by attending opening night. Also, I would say that the fund-raising committee will accept small donations from the public if it sees fit; I think it is a great way for ordinary theatre-goers to give $5, $10 or whatever amount to be able to see the restoration of this truly marvellous theatre.
CORRECTIONAL WORKERS’ LABOUR DISPUTE
Mr Farnan: I have a question of the Minister of Correctional Services. The minister must be concerned when the Ontario Public Service Employees Union spokesperson Paul Bilodeau says;
“Relations between guards and the province is the worst they have been since we had the illegal strike in 1979, and we seem to be heading down the same road.” The minister must bear some responsibility for the fact that correctional officers have been without a contract since December 31, and that talks between the ministry and the union have been nonexistent since April. Does the minister not recognize that for these employees, who are in a highly stressful work situation where understaffing and overcrowding are commonplace, the government’s refusal to budge from its wage increase offer of 49 cents, or three per cent, amounts to deliberate provocation?
Hon Mr Ramsay: I thank the member for this question. As he knows, there is a collective bargaining process in place. That process is being used by both sides of the dispute. The union has applied for arbitration, and a hearing will be heard on 3 October of this year.
Mr Farnan: It is clear that it has broken down because the ministry will not come back to the bargaining table.
Given that the less-than-average life expectancy of correctional officers is due in part to the stress of their work situation and that a lower-than-average number of officers live to enjoy retirement, will the minister recognize that an early retirement plan after 25 years of service is a legitimate request on the part of correctional officers and will he instruct his bargaining team to give serious consideration to this justifiable demand on the part of correctional officers?
Hon Mr Ramsay: With respect, the member is addressing his question to the wrong minister. As I am sure he is aware, labour negotiations between the government’s employees and the government itself are handled by the Management Board of Cabinet through its Human Resources Secretariat. These are the people carrying on the negotiations, and as I said earlier, they are being carried on in a responsible way.
Mrs Marland: My question is for the Minister of the Environment. The minister is well aware that last month, Durham region agreed to participate in the greater Toronto area long-term waste management strategy. He also knows that this plan requires member regions to nominate a contingency landfill site for use by all five regions until the long-term plan is up and running.
On 17 May, Durham region agreed to nominate a controversial site in North Pickering as its contingency site. My question is simply this:
Will the Minister of the Environment guarantee that this site and any other contingency site put forward by a GTA region will undergo a full environmental assessment under the terms of the Environmental Assessment Act, not just the Environmental Protection Act?
Hon Mr Bradley: The leader of the Conservative Party applauds as I get up to answer this question. I have listened from time to time with a good deal of interest to the leader of the third party and some of his colleagues, who have consistently tried to portray the facts that there are very few landfills being approved in Ontario and that the process is so slow and have asked, “When is the government going to do something to address the problem?’
The various regions came together in discussion through the auspices of the regional chairmen to attempt to address that particular problem. They did get together and indicate that they would, first of all, look for a long-term solution, which would require a good deal of time, effort and energy to come forward with the answers to all the environmental questions. In the interim, they might need another site for the purpose, and each one of them would agree to nominate a site for the purpose of an interim use, in case it was required.
I have indicated very clearly that when we look at the long-term efforts of all these municipalities, that will require a waste management master plan. It will require all the provisions of the Environmental Assessment Act, including a hearing and so on. The interim sites, of course, will be very carefully scrutinized. All of the environmental impacts will be looked at.
Mr Cureatz: The minister is going to need some water by the time we are finished. We have not quite understood his response yet.
Is the minister going to subject the interim site, which has now been located in the riding of Durham West, to a full hearing? He is almost on the verge of telling us that. I know the Speaker would be very reticent to stop him in full flight when he answers my question.
When we finally get that answer, will the minister then also tell us what the step-by-step procedure is going to be from his ministry to find the long-term, permanent site for Metropolitan Toronto and the region of Durham?
Hon Mr Bradley: By the way, the member for Durham East has indicated an ongoing interest in this subject, I should say for his constituents who have watched question period this afternoon. He has followed with a good deal of interest many of the candidate sites that have been proposed, both informally on an interim basis and informally on a long-term basis. I appreciate his interest. I recall he brought some paraphernalia to the Legislature before to graphically demonstrate that.
I do want to say that, knowing the desire of the leader of the third party, for instance, to ensure that we do not face any particular crisis, there would have to be interim sites at least potentially available for use until such time as the long-term sites were there.
Of course, there will be full environmental scrutiny of that. There will be an Environmental Assessment Board hearing. All of the site-specific attributes or nonattributes of any particular potential site will be looked at with a good deal of interest in this regard.
In terms of the long-term efforts that the member mentions, there will be adequate opportunity for input from the member, from people in his constituency and from virtually anybody in the province.
The Speaker: Order. Please allow other members to ask questions.
Mr McGuigan: The township of Romney in the county of Kent has a sweet headache. It is now becoming the new Turner Valley in oil rigs and oil traffic. The roads there which were built for local use by farmers and local people are rapidly breaking down. I would like to ask the minister if he can find any way for the township to assess money to take care of the very heavy expenses of maintaining these roads.
Hon Mr Kerrio: I assume the member is thinking in terms of a recent bill that we just passed, the Aggregates Act, carried through committee by my friend the member for Durham York (Mr Ballinger) and supported, I think, by all parties, which would address the question of road breakup in and around aggregate extraction.
I am very pleased that we were able to do that, but the fact of the matter is that there was a great deal of discussion by the municipalities, the aggregate producers and all of the interested parties before we were able to take into account the kind of road breakup that was caused by these heavy vehicles. Of course, another dimension was the rehabilitation, but the member is not asking that question about rehabilitation.
I think this act was passed with a great deal of discussion by all the parties who were interested. I would suggest to the member that I am very much prepared to examine, in keeping with his request, how it might tie in with the initiative that was taken by this government to help municipalities and all of the people affected by aggregate extraction. Yes, I am willing to examine that and see what we can do.
Mr McGuigan: The last two years in Romney have been very dry, which has contributed to the longevity of the roads. This year has been the wettest year, so they are suffering very badly. I just want to point out to the minister that we should move as quickly as we possibly can.
Hon Mr Kerrio: Yes, of course. The other problem that exists has to do with the design of some of the roads in and around specific areas, because where we have them designed to carry these excessive loads, there is absolutely no problem.
In this instance, where the roads were not built up to those standards, it would be worth examining how we might react to the member’s question. We certainly will get back to him to see if we can satisfy his concerns.
Mr Epp: I have a petition which I would like to present on behalf of the member for Kitchener Wilmot (Mr Sweeney). There are 300 names and they are all patients of Dr Bender in the city of Waterloo.
“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 Reville: I have a petition in precisely the same vein, as it were.
“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.”
This is signed by 109 residents primarily of Toronto. I have affixed my name thereto and I agree.
Mr Hampton: I too have two petitions on this same subject. They are identical and they read as follows:
“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.”
Those petitions are signed by about 150 individuals residing in Etobicoke-Humber and the surrounding area, and they are also signed by me.
SECURITY IN PREMISES USED BY PUBLIC
Mr Sterling: I have a petition signed by 177 people from various parts of Ontario, including Sault Ste Marie, Pickering, Beamsville and a number of other areas.
“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:
“We request that the Ministry of the Attorney General withdraw Bill 149, An Act to amend the Trespass to Property Act, which we believe is unnecessary and without mandate.
“While we respect the rights of minorities and youth, whom Bill 149 alleges to protect, we oppose the way in which the proposed legislation will erode the ability of owners and occupiers to provide a safe and hospitable environment for their patrons or customers. We are further concerned about the legislation’s potential for increasing confrontation in the already difficult process of removing individuals who create disturbances on publicly used premises.”
I have signed that petition.
Mr Kormos: I have a petition.
“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 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 reemployment 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 Todd Bidgood of Cross Street in Port Colborne and by nine others and, of course, by myself.
Mr Haggerty: I have a petition.
“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.”
These are two petitions with a total of 19 petitioners and I have attached my name to them.
Mr Ruprecht: I have a petition signed by 108 residents of the Parkdale riding.
“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 our 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.”
Mr D, W, Smith: I have three petitions here that are identical.
“To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
It is signed by 30 individuals who come from the greater Toronto area and Collingwood and Hamilton.
Mr Farnan: I have a petition. It 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 our 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;
This petition is signed by 222 citizens of the Cambridge-Kitchener-Waterloo area. I have attached my name and I support this petition in its entirety.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
LANDLORD AND TENANT AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Mr Philip moved first reading of Bill 38, An Act to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Philip: I am sure that the Attorney General (Mr Scott) in particular will be interested in this bill since he has expressed a variety of different conflicting opinions on it, but the purpose of the bill is to make void any provision in a tenancy agreement inhibiting a tenant from keeping a pet in rented residential premises. An exception is provided in the case of a rental condominium unit if the declaration of that condominium prohibits owners from keeping pets.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
DEVELOPMENT CHARGES ACT, 1989 (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 20, An Act to provide for the Payment of Development Charges.
Mr Breaugh: I take it we have begun the process on Bill 20, even though I do not see any minister present?
Hon Mr Conway: The parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the member for Yorkview (Mr Polsinelli), began, so he will continue.
Mr Breaugh: Oh, it is no wonder I missed it. The parliamentary assistant tried to start a bill.
We are going to oppose this bill. I want to make a couple of comments about it because I think it deserves a little explanation. Many of us who spent a little time on municipal councils a decade or so ago were probably sitting around a meeting one afternoon when our treasurer came in and said, “There’s so much growth going on in our municipality that the normal process we use to finance the front-end cost for services is really beginning to show a strain.”
A decade or so ago in most of our municipalities the common practice was that one would set aside moneys in general revenues or try to allocate specific amounts of money for the particular purposes of building new roads or sewers, providing park land space, building libraries or whatever it was that the municipality was expected to do, so that you had some kind of secure financial picture of where your municipality would be five years from now and 10 years from now.
At that time Ontario was adamant that municipalities should be particularly cautious about their financing. A municipality should not get itself in a position where it would run a deficit and it should be careful about the long-term financial commitments it was making to development in its community. In areas like mine, where the city of Oshawa had kind of doubled its population in the last 50 years and was now looking at doubling it again in probably the next 10 years, the growth was coming very quickly.
Most of these areas are in and around Metropolitan Toronto, and those of us who live in those areas know -- anybody who drives the roads is aware -- that the growth is coming in huge amounts, on a scale that municipalities are having some difficulty dealing with and are certainly having a great deal of difficulty financing. So one of the proposals that was put to many councils was simply this:
“The choice is going to be stark and it’s going to be made right now. Either you put a stop to all of this development, because this municipality cannot afford it, or you provide some kind of funding mechanism that allows the development to be kind of self-sustaining.”
That is the basis of the lot levy argument. It began in and around Metropolitan Toronto where the growth was the heaviest. I have never had a problem with lot levies, because it seems to me that you do not like them but you either put in place some kind of a lot levy system whereby you try to recover the front-end cost of new housing for the most part and finance the services that it requires right up front from the development industry -- and there should be no hiding the fact that it eventually works itself into the price of a unit -- or you do not allow the development.
The battle has raged for a long time now about whether these are good or bad. Some of the things that people were accused of, I think, are quite wrong. I do not think lot levies have very much to do with the actual price of housing. In my community, the first few years after we instituted lot levies the price of housing actually dropped. I think the price of housing has a whole lot more to do with whatever the market is in a given area than any kind of imposed charges put on by the municipal government. It certainly seems to have nothing at all to do with the cost of building materials. It does not seem to have very much to do with the cost of labour that is involved.
It does seem to have a lot to do with two things: who ultimately bought the land for the last time before it went into actual development and what is the going rate for real estate in that area. Once you are outside of those two major standards, I do not think very much else has a great effect, though I would admit that it has some.
In this year’s budget -- and this bill is a centrepiece for the legislation that flows from that budget -- it seems to me the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon), although I did not hear him say it, really carved out a watershed for financing municipal government in Ontario. In a number of ways he did some things which should be quite alarming.
First of all, although there is no such entity, he identified, in practice if not in law, something called the “greater Toronto area.” That is essentially what we are talking about in this bill. I am having an increasing amount of difficulty recognizing not that there is a greater Toronto area -- anybody who drives around Metropolitan Toronto knows that -- but that there is a whole framework now and appears to a whole ministry evolving around something called a “greater Toronto area” that has no status in law.
Whether we are talking about Bill 20 and the ability of a municipality to collect lot levies or, for the first time, a school board instituting a system of lot levies, or whether we are talking about garbage collection, highways, a different rate of taxation or taxation for different purposes, this greater Toronto area thing seems to be firmly set in the mind of this government, despite the fact that it has never taken the time or bothered to establish a legislative framework for that. That is the first caution I would like to put on the record this afternoon.
If this government chooses to build a framework called a greater Toronto area -- and it seems to me it is doing it with great regularity -- it had better get to work now and define that in legislative terms, and it had better have a ministry that is related to that which has some basis in law.
I have no objection to the Premier (Mr Peterson) calling all of the people who chair the various regions down to the office for a little bull session. That is fine. But at this point in history there is much more than that coming out of it. This is not a discussion group any more. Now, out of this greater Toronto area scheme, there are development proposals and proposals of a substantive nature to deal with things like garbage and transportation. The ideas are going back to the local councils almost as a fait accompli; not that there is a real choice, not that the local council has much input, but “Here is what the greater Toronto area is going to do, and this is what your region will do to kind of fit into that pattern.” That is a dangerous precedent.
So, the first thing I would like the government to do this afternoon is give some thought to what it is doing here. It cannot have a senior civil servant like Gardner Church, bright person that he is, ambitious and aggressive civil servant that he is, function as a ministry unto himself with no framework in law. It really cannot do that. That is a really dangerous business.
It cannot have a major proposal being thought out, developed and handed to council as a fait accompli, with no record of where the proposal came from; again, another dangerous precedent.
That is the first caution that I want to put to the government today. This concept of a greater Toronto area, however the government might be using it, needs something in law to anchor it. It needs to have an official recognition and it needs to begin dealing with its matters in a public way. It is the public’s business, and it is simply not appropriate to have all of that deal struck in private, with no records, no minutes, no one really knowing how people got to be part of this decision-making body and no real accountability.
The second thing that is part of what the Treasurer was trying to do here was to change the factors that a municipality has in order to raise revenue. In this bill, he certainly has done a great deal of that.
I do not object in a strenuous way to the idea of lot levies by municipalities. I view them as a necessary evil. I would really rather not have them, but I understand that when the treasurer of a municipality walks into a council meeting and says, “There is no more money in the till,” he has to get the money somewhere.
I have listened to the development industry argue against lot levies for a long time. I have watched them challenge it in court. I have watched the Association of Municipalities of Ontario try to deal with this. It seems to me they are now a part of Ontario’s life, and whether we like them or not, they are here.
What is new and a part of this bill is to say that now school boards will do the same thing. It is interesting, as I get correspondence from various school boards around Ontario, to see the reaction of the boards. Some boards welcome this proposal with open arms, and I admit that. They desperately need funding and they need funding now. They have entire schools that are housed in portables. They have huge populations that they have to deal with this September, and they have no really firm idea of what that will be or where these people will live. Their attempts to try to plan the growth and the structure of their own school board is hampered immensely by something that is totally out of their control. As a matter of fact, it is totally out of the hands of everybody.
The theory is that under the Planning Act, a local municipality has some measure of control on the development industry, and it does; but the one thing that has always puzzled me is why there is one key element missing; that is, there is no real control on when a development is actually put on the market.
All the fences are controlled, the landscaping is controlled, the size of the sewer pipe is controlled, how many lamp stands will go in is controlled, how many fire hydrants is controlled, but when the development is actually built is not controlled.
I note with interest that the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, in its latest response to statements by two ministers now on a housing policy, has made that part of its package. They want the government of Ontario to provide them with a mechanism which says, “We will grant you approval to build, but you’ve got to use it within a set period of time or you lose it.”
I am an advocate of that. I think it is a reasonable thing to say to a developer who is coming into a municipality and by his actions in the private sector causing literally millions of dollars of public funds to be spent: “That’s fine. This is how you will build it, this is what it will look like and this is when it will happen.”
In my area and in all of the growth areas around Toronto, that is the major problem. The lands which are now being developed for housing and commercial and industrial development were all lands which were approved a decade ago and all of those municipalities have been sitting around for 10 years or more waiting for somebody to decide to develop them; and that is the problem.
A school board which thinks it knows there will be 2,000 new homes built in this school area this year does not really know that. It has no control over it, nor does the municipality. The developer does. The developer builds the houses and the people move in as he sells the units, but as soon as the people move in, then the demands for schools, the demands for fire protection, the demands for all kinds of recreational facilities, the demands for policing start immediately.
One of the things that is a vexing problem -- and I do not see a solution here, to tell the truth -- is that people are now moving into little areas like Newcastle, for example, the municipality next to mine, which up until now has consisted of basically one town, Bowmanville, and several smaller villages around it, but has essentially been a rural area. It now has 1,000-acre tracts at a time in housing development built, sold and occupied.
Most of the people who bought there came from Metropolitan Toronto. Their concept of a school system is a lot different from the concept of a school system that existed in the town of Newcastle last year. They have a totally different expectation of what kinds of recreation facilities should be made available to them. They have a different concept of what kind of policing should be available. They have a different concept of what kind of hospital care should be made available to them. In everything that people expect from municipal government, their expectations are much, much higher than the people who lived in Newcastle even three or four years ago.
I understand, in a sense, what the government is doing, but what I think is wrong about it is simply this. In this budget, without really saying so, the Treasurer of Ontario substantially alters the financing process for a municipal government, both municipalities and school boards, and that is a watershed in the history of Ontario.
If you advocate, as I do, that education, for example, is essentially a provincial responsibility, it is no more. Under this bill and under several other statements that were made during the course of the budget, the Treasurer of Ontario said, ‘You’re on your own,” and for the first time, the Treasurer of Ontario said: “I’m not running a deficit for this kind of stuff any more. You run it.”
In his statement, in this bill and several other bills that will be processed shortly, the Treasurer of Ontario made some real demarcation points obvious to the people who are active in municipal politics.
He said basically this: “Lot levies are coming under our control as a provincial government by means of this act.” He said to school boards. “If you need money to build schools, you institute lot levies.” He said to school boards and municipalities: “Run deficits. Don’t come to us and look for money; you take the debt.”
That is a major shift in policy on the part of the Treasurer of Ontario that I have not seen before.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: That’s not it, Mike.
Mr Breaugh: The member can waggle his finger all he likes, that is the way it is and that is the bill that we have in front of us.
Some of the school boards, like mine, like this idea, to tell the truth. The Durham Board of Education likes the idea that it will be able to raise additional amounts of money locally. I think it fair to say that they do not like the lot levy notion, but they are desperate for funds, absolutely desperate. They have tried as best they can to struggle along for several years now under a growth and development scheme that has nothing to do with the school board. They had no say in the planning, they had no --
Hon Mr Conway: By Erinsville standards, they’re pretty flush. You know it.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. No interjections, please.
Mr Breaugh: The government House leader wants to make the rest of Ontario as buoyant as Erinsville. Hopkins’ General Store is the sole commercial venture in Erinsville. The government may be on the way to making Hopkins’ General Store the sole commercial venture for all of Durham, but I hope not.
Hon Mr Conway: The Lakeview public house.
Mr Breaugh: The Lakeview Hotel -- the member’s geography is faulty too -- is not located in Erinsville. I admit it is in the greater Erinsville area, but it is not in downtown Erinsville, and it is nowhere near the mass transit line, which is a Chevy pickup truck going down Highway 41.
I think the school boards that have written to me on this matter share this concern. Something has to be done now. What they were anticipating, quite frankly, was not this. They were anticipating that the government, as previous governments have, would listen to their well-constructed arguments about financial need and respond in the traditional way of finding, under the normal grant system, a way to fund their obvious need for schools.
There may be somebody in here who truly understands how schools get built these days, but I am not one of them. I have tried to decipher the process whereby schools get permission to build, but it is indecipherable. I have tried to figure out the rationale behind the approval process for the building of schools, but it seems to me there is not any. It seems that the government is interested in making statements from time to time which say, “We would like you to build more schools,” and the only thing missing is the cheque to build them. School boards are building schools with local funds and getting reimbursed a couple years later by the province.
School boards are being asked to do a great many things these days. Members ought to listen to some teachers I know talk about the pupil-teacher ratio stuff in the primary grades and how that is being implemented. There is nobody I know of who argues with that concept, that you ought to have a lower pupil-teacher ratio in the primary grades. That is a good concept. The problem is, if you screw up everybody else in the school you have not done much of a service. That is what the government is doing. That is the implementation problem. You cannot implement a good idea without looking at all aspects of it, and that is what is wrong with this bill in a nutshell. It does not give the proper amount of consideration to the financial needs of municipalities or school boards.
I have some other reservations about the bill, and I want to get them on the record here this afternoon too. Whether you like or do not like lot levies, the process whereby a municipality arrived at a lot levy was at least an open one. People who were going to be affected by the lot levies had, first, the chance to appear before the council. Second, they had a chance to observe the council as it went through the information it gathered and made its allocation under its imposed fund. They had a chance to observe very carefully how the municipality came at a lot levy of, say, $4,000. It knew how the money would be distributed afterwards. It had a chance to appear before that council and argue there, and several parts of the development industry have taken the opportunity to go and argue before courts on that matter. This sets the amounts by means of a regulation.
Mr Polsinelli: It does not.
Mr Breaugh: The parliamentary assistant says, “It does not.” Can he tell me how much the lot levy will be for education in this bill? Can he tell me, in this bill, where it sets the level? I do not think it does. The other basic problem I have with the bill --
Mr Polsinelli: It calls for the council to have a public hearing, it mandates the council to have a public hearing.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr J. B. Nixon: Generalities.
Mr Breaugh: Here is a generality or a specific thing the member can have. I think that if the Treasurer of Ontario were an honest person he would have stood up and said in his budget, “We are changing the rules for financing municipal government in Ontario.” That is a pretty specific thing, and he chose not to do it. He chose to introduce this and several other bills that I think people are going to challenge in the courts as being illegal because they are unfair.
I do not know how one can justify establishing something called a greater Toronto area when they have never even bothered to establish in law what that is, and to proceed from that point on to set out a whole new series of taxation measures based on where people -- tell me how fair and how honest it is to charge people who live in the village of Newcastle more money for their driver’s licences than people who live in the city of Peterborough. Tell me how fair and honest that is. Tell me how specific that is.
Mr Polsinelli: This is not a budget debate.
Mr Breaugh: Oh, it is not a budget debate. Then what is this? It looks very much to me like a budget bill, the laws that come out of a budget that implement what you want to do. Is that specific enough for you?
Mr Mackenzie: He doesn’t understand.
Mrs Marland: The parliamentary assistant does not understand.
Mr Breaugh: I think he should. So I think the problems I have, aside from the interjections --
Hon Mr Conway: They want to spend, but they do not want to take the responsibility for raising the money.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. No interjections, please.
Hon Mr Conway: I am talking to the Tories now, not the New Democrats, because they have affinity with big banks.
Mr Breaugh: Please do not intervene. I have not been lectured by a Jesuit in some time.
Hon Mr Conway: Me a Jesuit?
The Deputy Speaker: I seem to have to remind members again of the standing orders on interjections. The member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (Mr Villeneuve) and the government House leader, of course, I would remind you of that. Also, will the member who has the floor address his remarks solely through the Speaker and not the Jesuit. You may proceed.
Mr Breaugh: They are all over the place. It is a papal plot. Here I am out without my rosary once again. I stand no chance.
Hon Mr Conway: Do you remember what H. G. Wells said about the Jesuits?
Mr Breaugh: Mr Speaker, I have been lectured enough. I am almost ready to yield, but I want to put on the record one or two other concerns that I think need to be said.
I do not think the development charges in themselves are a big deal, but cumulatively, I think we have to begin to recognize that governments are a substantial component now of the price of a house. I do not accept the arguments some put forward that it is the government of Ontario or municipal government that is driving people away from being able to afford their own home. But I have to recognize that when you total it all up, governments at different levels now are putting into the price of an average home somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000. That is a pretty significant component part of the cost of a home. More and more, I think we are expecting people to be able to pay these charges in a substantive way up front before they buy their home.
I understand the financial problems municipalities have. I certainly understand the problems the school boards have had. I regret this is the solution that has been chosen by this government. It seems to me -- maybe it is an old-fashioned notion -- that the traditional way of funding education is the correct way. This is not the correct way.
I am reminded that now school boards, local municipalities, regional municipalities, public utility commissions and probably a host more people will establish a lot levy system. I understand the temptation there. I understand the financial reality they have to deal with, and I sympathize with that, but I would have preferred, to be honest about it, that the government continue with the traditional method of funding municipal and local government.
I understand that in political terms, there is not much juice in handing money over to municipal governments. Once a year, the Treasurer gets to make a couple of statements about it. Letters go out to the local municipality announcing this, that and the other thing -- a grant to build a road or a recreation facility or something like that -- but in the main, you do not get much credit for providing millions of dollars to local government to provide schools, roads and all of that. I understand that.
I regret, though, that this has now become a major part of how we finance municipal government in Ontario. I do not know that there will be dire side-effects from it. I do know it is one more thing to add to a growing list of things that have caused the price of a house to rise in general in an area.
I would still argue it is not the key player in all that. I would still argue that in most of the areas we are talking about here, the biggest single factor in the price of a home is the going rate in that area. It does not matter to me, as I look at it, whether it is a big house or a small house or a good one or a bad one. Whatever the market value in an area is for a home is what is going to be charged, roughly, for that house. But I cannot get around the fact that through different levies, we are adding upwards of $25,000 to $30,000 to the price of a home in and around Toronto. That is something I think we will regret.
I will conclude on this note. I wonder how many of our municipalities and school boards, which up until this point have said to themselves:
“We don’t need levies of this kind. We choose not to do that. We will try to stay within the traditional financial arrangements for our municipality or local school board,” will now say:
“Why wouldn’t we implement levies of this sort even though we don’t need to do it? There is now provincial legislation that provides the rules under which it will be done province-wide. Why wouldn’t we opt into that?”
I do not think they will squander or misuse the money, but I do think they will be taxing where they really do not need to tax. They will have to do it simply because the rules of financing local education are changed by this bill. That is my argument against it. I think it would have been more straightforward if the Treasurer had stood in his place and said in his budget: “We’re changing the way we are going to finance local government and here are the changes. This is one of them, this bill.”
But I did not hear him say that. I regret that. Members who know me well will know that I respect him a great deal and have been here in this chamber with him for some time. I respect immensely his skill as a politician and his integrity as the Treasurer of Ontario. But I regret he did not do that, because I think he made several substantive changes in the way we have financed local government, both at the municipal level and at the school board level, and he did not even acknowledge that.
I hope it will not take long before people recognize what has happened. This bill is a substantive change in the way Ontario finances local government. I believe it will have an impact. I think it may do something towards solving the problems of overcrowding in our schools and lack of facilities in our growth areas. But I do not imagine for a moment it is a solution. I believe that to tout it as a solution would be really quite wrong.
What the government is doing is changing the tools whereby a local board of education could finance the building of schools, but it is one tool of many. I am rather leery of the notion. It is not that I think municipalities or school boards are irresponsible people; they are not. But traditionally they have shied away from deficits and this kind of stuff, because they have always tried to keep that on a better keel.
I guess the final concern I have is simply this:
At the two senior levels of government in Canada now, whether or not members agree with them or like them, there has been a great deal of deficit financing going on. What this bill does, and what other related bills in the Treasurer’s budget do, is to say that really, for the first time in the history of Ontario, a third level of government will get into deficit financing, and that will be local government.
It may be necessary. There may be an argument that says there is no alternative, but I regret it. I regret that we will have developed a new form of taxation here called the lot levy. I do not know whether it is being encouraged province-wide, but it is certainly being facilitated on a province-wide basis. I think that is quite wrong.
I understand all the pressures the Treasurer, local school boards and local municipalities were under, all those things that caused lot levies to come into existence in this province initially. I regret that. I saw it at the time and still see it as being a necessity. Of the two options, stopping development altogether, which would be very difficult to do even if one wanted to and I do not think it is desirable, and going to a lot levy system, this was the better of two evils.
What I regret is that it is now being extended to another level of local government, namely, the school boards. I regret that now it probably will be extended province-wide. That may take a period of time but the bill certainly provides for that. I regret that the invitation is there now for every other agency to do the same thing at a local level or to seek permission of the government to do the same thing.
I look on it as being an unfortunate situation. Frankly, I wish it had been packaged in a different way. I think it could have been brought forward -- I do not want to say in a more honest manner -- in a more straightforward way. It seems to me that the tragedy today is not just this bill; it is more than that, a change in the way we finance and build local facilities for school boards and municipalities in Ontario.
I regret that change. It seems to me it flies in the face of several things the Treasurer himself has said for some time about how municipalities ought to be financed and about the relationship between the province and local government. I hope this does not mean Ontario is retracting its obligations, but it seems to me it has surely laid the groundwork to do just that, and I regret that.
The Deputy Speaker: Questions and comments on the member’s statement?
Mr Polsinelli: The member for Oshawa would have us believe that municipal lot levies are an innovative scheme designed by the Treasurer to remedy the growth-related problems surrounding the greater Toronto area. The reality is that since the early 1950s and 1960s, many, many municipalities have been collecting lot levies under dubious legislative authority. I would point out to him that many municipalities collect lot levies today. He may be interested in knowing that North Bay, for example, collects lot levies. So do Sudbury, Cobourg, Clearwater, Scugog. Oshawa and Newcastle, and the list goes on and on.
This bill does not radically alter the municipal financing scheme. As a matter of fact, municipal lot levies do nothing but bring a certain rationality to the municipal lot levy scheme. The member indicated that in his opinion the bill sets the lot levies throughout the province. I refer him to section 3 of the bill which says, “The council of a municipality may pass bylaws” establishing lot levies.
It indicates certain things the council has to take into consideration, such as the growth the new subdivision is going to bring to the town. Section 4 of the bill indicates the town must hold one public meeting, a requirement it did not have before, and that anybody who objects at that public meeting can object to and argue his case before the Ontario Municipal Board.
The reality is that what this bill does is that it represents essentially a consensus between the development industry, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in terms of municipal lot levies. It is bringing rationality into the system.
Mr Beer: I would like to raise a couple of questions with the honourable member with respect to the educational aspect of the bill. I think it is important to underline, in the dilemmas facing the whole educational area, particularly with respect to capital, that what the government is viewing in terms of now permitting school boards to establish lot levies, is to really look at that as another tool boards may have.
Clearly, from the amount of capital we have put into the system over the last number of years and what will in effect be a four-year commitment of $300 million each year, the province continues, in the normal fashion, in the way we have been involved with capital, to be involved and will continue to be involved at a rate and at an amount far in excess of what we have known over the past decade.
In terms of the specific element of the local lot levy, that has come in large part from the fast-growth boards as another means by which they can try to deal specifically with the new pupil places. Indeed, the way in which the lot levy is put forward is that those funds would be earmarked for the new construction and so would be most attractive to those boards that are growing.
I think in that context, in terms of the concerns expressed by our colleague, there is a protection, if you will, there and the province will continue on the capital side to be not only concerned about the need for more spaces, but to be involved in a very large way in the funding. I mention that for the honourable member.
Mr Villeneuve: I want to support my friend and colleague the member for Oshawa in his objections to the implications of Bill 20. I want to set the record straight, as I understand it, for the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the member for Yorkview, who I believe mentioned that AMO was in support of Bill 20. Well. AMO welcomed the release of the green paper on financing growth-related capital needs and AMO supported many of the recommendations in that green paper.
However, for the record, AMO recommended the following: that lot levies for school purposes not be introduced, that the capital grant program to school boards not be reduced, and that growth-related capital costs be defined to include fixtures and equipment. Bill 20 has retained all of these aspects of the green paper. However, it has not listened to AMO’s recommendation. I want to make sure that goes on the record because there seems to be a difference of opinion here.
The Deputy Speaker: Other questions or comments? Would the member wish to respond?
Mr Breaugh: I just want to say thanks to the member for York North (Mr Beer) who at least has some listening skills. I disagree with his position but at least he took the time and courtesy to demonstrate some listening skills which the parliamentary assistant, sadly, does not have.
I think it is unfortunate that sometimes, when we get into the course of these debates, we do misunderstand one another from time to time, but I think it is pretty difficult to misunderstand the Association of Municipalities of Ontario when it says it does not support Bill 20. It seems to me that is pretty straightforward. There is not a whole lot of nuance there. To have the parliamentary assistant stand in his place this afternoon and purport that it does -- I cannot say what he did, but I think it is reasonably obvious what he did.
Mr Polslnelli: That is not what was said.
Mr Breaugh: He is now murmuring across the chamber that that is not what he said, but I think we will all read Hansard and decide that.
In conclusion, I do not think anything evil is under way here, but I think the potential for wrong financing of local government is established by means of this bill. I think it will expand a practice that has been regrettable, but necessary in certain areas of Ontario, to make it province-wide. I am more concerned about the long-term effects of it than I am about the short-term effects. I am not concerned that there will be financial disaster or that local school boards or governments in and around Metropolitan Toronto will run great deficits. I do not believe they will do that, but I think the government has changed the nature of financing and the relationship between the province of Ontario and its municipalities and its school boards, and I regret that.
Mrs Marland: In rising to speak on behalf of the Progressive Conservative caucus on Bill 20 this afternoon, I want to read into the record the explanatory notes to the bill. I think it is obvious from some of the previous comments by the parliamentary assistant to the minister that perhaps he does not fully understand the contents of the bill and how those contents of this bill are different from what is currently going on in the province in terms of development lot levies.
“The Planning Act, 1983 currently permits municipalities to impose lot levies on plans of subdivision, and on consents to sever land, to cover some of the costs to municipalities of servicing the resultant growth. The purpose of the bill” -- that being Bill 20, which is before us this afternoon -- “is to permit both municipalities and school boards to impose development charges on all types of development that will increase the need for municipal services or school facilities.
“The bill also provides authority for agreements between owners and municipalities to allow owners under certain conditions to develop their land earlier than the servicing plans of the municipalities would otherwise permit. Municipalities would then reimburse those owners for their additional costs from development charges subsequently received from other owners of land benefiting from those services.”
The parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the member for Yorkview, said a few moments ago that lot levies and the imposition of lot levies have been a subject for many years in many municipalities around this province and there really is no difference in what has been going on “illegally,” to use his word, and what this bill proposes.
Mr Polsinelli: I was talking about the municipal aspect of the lot levies.
Mrs Marland: The truth of the matter is that, having served seven years on a municipal and a regional council -- I speak of the city council of Mississauga and the regional council of Peel -- I am well aware of how the lot levy system has been working in the ninth largest city in Canada, namely, Mississauga, and in the largest regional municipality by population. that being the region of Peel.
Quite frankly, lot levies, in the format that they have been in, are actually a very good system. The reason that they have worked is because they have dealt with those areas of responsibility that have been a municipal financial responsibility and there lies the difference between Bill 20 and what has been going on in terms of municipal lot levies around this province.
Municipalities, including my own of Mississauga in the region of Peel, have been charging lot levies for the provision of those services which are municipal. I give as examples roads, libraries, waterlines, sewage treatment, community centres and firehalls.
Mr Haggerty: What about the new city hall in Mississauga?
Mrs Marland: For the benefit of the education of the member for Niagara South (Mr Haggerty), who just interjected that in Mississauga we also included the cost of the new city hall, I would like to place on the record for his benefit, because obviously he does not understand what happened in Mississauga, that the new city hall in Mississauga was not funded whatsoever from lot levies. Whether or not we like the design of the new city hall, and I am certainly on record as one of two councillors in a vote of eight to two who voted against the design of the new city hall, that aside, that building was not paid for out of lot levies.
That new city hall, by the way, is totally paid for. It was totally paid for at the time it was built, which is quite an achievement in itself and certainly one which stands as an example to any municipality in this province, and one which Hazel McCallion and those of us who were members of city council at the time were very proud of: the fact that that new city hall was not being placed on to the property taxes as an expense.
The fact is that with Bill 20, we now have a bill which introduces a whole new era in terms of who is paying for what. As far as the province is concerned, the provincial government is responsible for the provision of education in Ontario. Although I know that the Education Act does not clearly define what the provision of education involves in terms of physical plant, I think it is common sense that if a level of government is responsible for the education of the students of this province, it does not mean just throwing out programs and guidelines without any physical accommodation.
If the government is responsible for providing for education for students, it obviously is responsible for providing both the environment and the tools. If the environment is the physical plant, namely, the schools, and the programs and the guidelines are also part of that total educational package, then there is no question that the provincial government is responsible for funding education.
It is very interesting that while we have existing today in Ontario tremendous problems with the provision of education because of the shortage of space, at the same time we have a Minister of Education (Mr Ward) who continues to announce more programs without, however, announcing the same percentage of new classroom space in which those programs may be housed.
As the member for Oshawa (Mr Breaugh) said, it is fine to announce ideal situations, like lowering the pupil-teacher ratio, and I might add to his comment also including new programs such as younger entry into junior kindergarten and mandating all-day-long kindergarten programs, all of which add to the burden of the provision of space. All of that is fine in a perfect world, but the fact of the matter is that in Ontario today, with a Liberal government, we do not have a perfect world, we have an ongoing shortage of school accommodation.
I would suggest to this government that if it cannot fund the existing problems of accommodation in schools, do not then add more programs that increase the requirement for more school space; and that is exactly what has happened.
What is even worse is that with Bill 20 we are now saying it is fine for the cost of that needed new space to be borne by the local municipalities through a system of lot levies, and ultimately the cost of that lot levy goes on to the new home owner. While we are struggling with the shortage of affordable housing in Ontario today, obviously the Liberal government thinks it is okay to add to and increase the cost of that new housing.
The other thing that I think is lost here in this whole debate is the fact that lot levies are on new homes to be built in the future. Lot levies are on lots that are being registered and building permits that are being applied for in the future. It is not instant money to solve the problem today.
Therefore, once this Bill 20 is proclaimed, new lots that are created in the province may have a lot levy to fund educational needs -- may have. As the parliamentary assistant has said, it is up to the municipality to pass the bylaw.
If it is up to the municipality to pass the bylaw to impose this lot levy -- and I may tell the members that in Mississauga the lot levies are paid prior to the registration of the plans, not prior to the issuance of the building permit -- in some municipalities where the lot levies are paid just prior to the issuance of the building permit, then the income from those levies is even further down the road.
What this Liberal government seems to have lost in this whole debate is that the money is needed today for funding school space, school accommodation in the province. It is needed today. It is not needed to come off the new homes that are going to be built down the road in the future. It may well be that with the decline in birthrate, the need for new and expanded school accommodation may in fact decline three or four or five years down the road, but it is today that there is a crisis in school accommodation. It is today that in the Dufferin-Peel Roman Catholic Separate School Board and the Peel Board of Education we have over 40,000 students in portables. It is today that those boards are saying to the Liberal government of Ontario, “We need more funding to build schools for our children who are here today, not the children who are going to be here tomorrow in houses that are yet unbuilt.’
But this Liberal government’s solution is to say to the people of Ontario: “Oh, we have a solution. We’ll just put another form of tax on and eventually the money will come out and eventually those schools will be built.” I for one think that is very misleading. The reason it is misleading is because the public out there thinks:
“Oh yes, I guess that’s quite a good idea. We can add another level of cost to the new homes and make the new home owners pay for that new school construction.”
But it is not quite as simple as that, because if there is major growth in terms of residential development, there is a requirement for schools to be built. It is very interesting to notice that this bill says the education development charge may apply to residential and nonresidential development. What does that say? It says to a municipality, “If you’re short of money, you can even add an educational development levy to nonresidential development.” Is that not counterproductive to those municipalities that really want to encourage commercial and industrial growth?
It is no wonder that our Progressive Conservative caucus is opposed to this bill. Obviously we feel that if education is a provincial responsibility, then that is where the funding for education lies, not on the backs of new home owners who are about to try to purchase their new house in a market where any new house is expensive, to say the least.
I think any legislation at the provincial level that would encourage municipalities and school boards to run deficits in terms of funding their programs and facilities is irresponsible. It seems that we have no credit or recognition given to municipalities, like the city of Mississauga and the region the Peel, which have operated without deficits. We have even funded new hospitals through property taxes in Mississauga and the region of Peel, although under the Progressive Conservative government the funding of hospitals was a provincial responsibility.
Unfortunately, now under the Liberal government, because there is such a shortage of commitment to funding new hospitals, the new hospitals have to be built and the only way they are built is with a very high percentage of funding through the property taxes at the local municipal level.
The one part of this bill that I know is really going to excite one mayor is the part that says before passing a development charge bylaw a municipality must hold at least one public meeting where sufficient information is made available to enable the public to understand the proposal. I do not know how one meeting can give sufficient information to enable the public to understand this proposal as in Bill 20.
I want to tell the members that Mayor Hazel McCallion is going to be thrilled to hold public meetings dealing with provincial jurisdiction, because if there is one thing that Mayor Hazel McCallion has been saying loud and clear -- and I agree with her totally -- it is that she feels every time there is a decision made in this Legislature under provincial jurisdiction, the local area MPPs should hold public meetings within their local ridings to explain what exactly it is the provincial Liberal government is trying to do.
The mayor of Mississauga will not be pleased to be told that if she is going to be collecting money on behalf of school boards as the area municipality, she now has to hold a public meeting in order that the public understand that proposal. It is a provincial decision; therefore the province should hold the public meetings. It will be a municipal decision if it is on behalf of the school boards; therefore the school boards should hold the public meeting. There is also no question that the Association of Municipalities of Ontario is totally opposed to this legislation, even though the parliamentary assistant seems to think it is in favour.
I think it is very important, because of the lack of preconsultation with this bill -- which obviously is typical of the Liberal government -- it is terribly important that this bill be referred to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs, which is an all-party committee of the Legislature. It needs public scrutiny. It needs public input, although I doubt very much whether the government will listen realistically to that public input if it goes according to all the preceding bills that have had public input. There is never any response from this government to the public cries.
To sum up Bill 20 is simply to say that it is a copout on education funding by this provincial Liberal government. The impact on the cost of housing is very obvious. If this Liberal government does not think this bill will impact the cost of housing, it must be living in an Alice-in-Wonderland world. The fact of the matter is that any additional lot levies will add to the cost of homes at a time when the cost of homes is already prohibitive for a very high percentage of the people in Ontario who are trying to buy their first home.
More important, if this government is not going to fulfil its responsibility in the area of education and education funding, then why does it not come out quite honestly and say: “Look, folks, it’s too much money for us. We’re out of the education business.” As a balance to that, they could reduce the personal income tax of the people in this province who truthfully pay their personal income tax expecting that those areas that are of provincial jurisdiction will be funded accordingly.
What we have happening is more and more transfer of provincial responsibility in terms of funding down to the next level of government; namely, regional and municipal government. When it gets to regional and municipal government, it is then on the backs of the property taxpayers and we all know how today the property taxes for so many people are driving them out of their homes because they can no longer afford them.
Affordability is the point on which Bill 20 is grossly unfair, because it is not affordable for the new home owner to pay a lot levy for education when education is a provincial responsibility. I say to the Liberal government that it should either get out of the education business and collect fairly a lower percentage of personal income tax and let people pay for education totally at the local level, or do what is honourable; that is. continue to pay for the needs of education today in this province without adding lot levies to new homes and new lots.
Mr Polsinelli: Perhaps I should explain that what the Development Charges Act does is two things. One is that it rationalizes the method of levying and collecting lot levies for municipal purposes by the municipal council. That is an option the council has, in terms of whether or not it is going to pass a development charges bylaw and collect the lot levies. When I was referring to the consensus, to the agreement between the development industry, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs, I was dealing with that aspect of it.
The other thing this bill does is that it extends that same right to school boards, to essentially pass a bylaw to collect lot levies to finance the capital construction of new schools. With respect to that, there is not a consensus, and I think the member for Mississauga South (Mrs Marland) knows that.
But the member for Mississauga South should also know -- and I am sure she does -- that there are many school boards that support that legislation and the extension of that authority. In particular, the member for Mississauga South should be reminded that her school board, the Dufferin Peel Roman Catholic Separate School Board, is one of a coalition of school boards strongly asking the government to support this legislation.
I would also remind the member for Mississauga South that the existing system of collecting lot levies is not rational. Municipalities can collect lot levies for just about any reason they want. As a matter of fact, I point to her municipality, Mississauga, which presently is the third highest in the province in terms of collecting lot levies. Between the upper- and lower-tier level, it collects $10,300 per home.
What this legislation does is say, “You can only collect lot levies for growth-related net capital needs, what the growth is going to require the municipality to build, and then you have to spend it on that.” The present legislation allows a municipality to spend money on anything it wants with the levies it collects.
Mr Beer: I think it is awfully important, in looking at the section of the bill that relates to the educational lot levies, to again underline that in the budget this year, and over the course of the last several years, this government has made significant funding commitments on both capital and general grants to school boards.
What we are trying to do through this part of the bill, as a component of all those initiatives, is respond to requests that school boards have brought to us, particularly from the fast-growth areas, to provide them with another tool to help in meeting those new pupil places, the needs of new schools and people moving in.
When you put that together with the other changes that have been announced this year, when you look, as I said before, at the amount of provincial funding going into capital, I think what we see is that clearly this is an area that is shared between both the province and the local school boards. Indeed, historically, with but one other major exception I am aware of in our history, it has been the local board which has really had the responsibility for capital needs.
We have said that we recognize there is a problem and have moved in with significant funds. Again, the lot levy is important, but it is one of a number of initiatives we are taking, in terms of the financing of the educational system, to provide the kind of assistance required. We recognize that there are tremendous needs out there, but this is going to be a tremendously useful tool for school boards, particularly in the fast-growth areas.
Mr Villeneuve: I, too, want to congratulate my colleague the member for Mississauga South, who comes from one of the most rapidly growing areas. Certainly we share and agree that Bill 20, under debate right now, is not the answer to solving the educational problems.
I just heard the comments being made of the great increases that were supposedly made to the funding of education. I come from a very rural riding. The largest municipality has 3,300 people, hardly a rapid-growth area. Municipalities, realtors, everyone is totally against the imposition of the allowing of lot levies. If indeed such great strides were made towards the funding of education, I can tell you that in the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarty public school system, we have a 17.2 per cent increase in taxation in the upcoming year. We have a cutback or an elimination of half-day kindergarten and of early French immersion.
The members should consider that: a 17.3 per cent increase in taxes and those cutbacks in an area that is designated bilingual. I just wonder -- and I see the minister responsible for francophone affairs (Mr Grandmaître) here in the Legislature this afternoon -- if that is the kind of funding we can expect from this government. I think what it is doing is providing a great deal of lipservice and not the real thing. That kind of misinformation, I think, bears being brought forth to the public.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: I think my honourable friend the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry is misinterpreting the law. This is permissive legislation. If his municipality is not willing to pass such a bylaw, it does not have to. I think it should be understood by every municipality in this province. If he does not think developers in his area can afford to pass the bylaw, they simply do not have to pass such a bylaw. I think what this government is trying to do is to accommodate the growth in 10 or 15 per cent of our municipalities. This is what we are trying to do and it is not the only tool this government will provide to school boards to build a fund for a rainy day or whenever a new school is needed. This is only part of a funding program for our school boards. I think it is very important and it should be understood that it is permissive legislation.
The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): Does the member for Mississauga South care to respond?
Mrs Marland: Yes, I do want to respond to the last speaker. I want to tell him what this government is trying to do. This government is trying to cop out of its responsibilities in this province. This is just one example. If the government thinks the reduction from 75 per cent to 60 per cent in capital funding is not a copout, and this bill, which transfers the cost of schools on to the backs of property owners, the new home buyers in this province, is not a copout, I would like to know what is.
When the parliamentary assistant says this rationalizes the method of lot levies and that before this the municipalities could spend money on anything they wanted --
Mr Polslnelli: That’s true.
Mrs Marland: Actually, that is true. The fact is, I would like any one of the members in this Legislature to show me where any municipality has misappropriated money it has spent.
Mr Polsinelli: Who said misappropriate?
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Mrs Marland: The truth of the matter is that the municipalities that have had lot levies have had lot levies because they need the money to provide the programs which are a municipal responsibility. The city of Mississauga has not gone into debt, because it has had lot levies. This Liberal government would have municipalities finance things through deficit financing and not through lot levies. Mississauga does not have its property taxes bearing the cost of interests on loans, because it does upfront financing for those things which are municipal responsibilities. They do not, however, want the property taxes to fund those things which are provincial responsibilities and that is what this bill is about.
Mr Sterling: You guys can’t take it. When we bring the truth forward, you guys can’t take it.
The Acting Speaker: Order, please. It would be helpful if members would address their remarks through the chair and not in a confrontational way between each other.
We have, first, the Minister of Revenue on a point of order.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: I am going to defer to my honourable friend.
Mr Polsinelli: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I would point out to the member for Mississauga South that she is misinterpreting and misrepresenting my statements to this House. I never said that the municipalities --
The Acting Speaker: Order, please. That is not a point of order and we will now --
The Acting Speaker: Order, please. You know, this is a public proceeding. Could we have the next speaker, please?
Mr Beer: I would like to make some comments, in particular with respect to the bill and the question of educational lot levies. In beginning, I want to indicate that since the present Minister of Education took over his position, if there is one question which has occupied a tremendous amount of his time, it has been trying to wrestle and grapple with the whole question of the funding of education and to try to provide to school boards, particularly in the capital area, the wherewithal to meet the needs they have had to face.
I think if we look at the package of changes which he and the Treasurer have announced over the last while, we can see the results of that work. We must look at this particular bill and the section that deals with development charges in relation to education as being a part of that; an important part, but a part of it. It is not intended, of itself, to settle all the various problems.
The introduction by the government of the Development Charges Act has been, and this has been noted, the result of a long process of review conducted by both the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Education. Initially, the ministries were working independently to devise alternative funding arrangements for use by municipalities and school boards in financing large capital expenditures related to growth. Their efforts were eventually combined in the green paper which the Treasurer released last December 12 entitled Financing Growth-Related Capital Needs.
Members will know that since taking office, and I have mentioned this in my comments this afternoon, this government has mounted a vigorous and consistent attack on the backlog of school accommodation needs. This is the result of many years of fiat-line funding by the previous government. We have steadily increased the annual allocations for school capital which now stand at a level that is four times greater than the province’s commitment in 1984-85. I would again remind us that that commitment is $300 million for the next four years, so some $1.2 billion has been committed to capital.
Over the four years of our current capital plan, school boards will undertake capital projects valued at nearly $1.6 billion. So what we are witnessing in this province is the largest school building boom in Canadian history. Even with this unprecedented capital program, the demand for new school space is still immense, particularly in our growth areas. By that, we are speaking not only of areas immediately adjacent to Metropolitan Toronto, but also the same pressures in areas such as Carleton and in areas around Kitchener-Waterloo and London. These are pressures brought on by growth.
Over the past few years, many boards have expressed interest in developing additional funding arrangements. The green paper adopted the concept of education development charges as a means of financing growth-related school construction, on the premise that new development should help finance the cost of the new infrastructure it requires. Development charges were already being applied by many municipalities. It was argued that the charge could be justified on the basis that schools are of at least equal social importance to libraries, recreation centres and other so-called soft services for which municipalities have often imposed charges.
The government invited comments on the proposal outlined in the green paper and solicited the suggestion of alternative funding arrangements. The responses received were reviewed by an interministerial committee and the provisions of this bill reflect the recommendations of the green paper. They have been revised in response to the submissions received from interested parties.
Part III of the Development Charges Act relates to the imposition of the education development charges upon residential, or residential and commercial, assessment, The charge may be imposed by a school board within its area of jurisdiction, to finance up to 100 per cent of its local share of the approved costs of growth-related school construction. This new source of local revenue should assist school boards greatly in providing new schools and in some cases may even have the effect of lowering local mill rates.
Therefore, the purpose of this section of the bill is: first, to establish the authority by which a school board may impose an education development charge upon residential or residential and commercial assessment, in all or parts of its area of jurisdiction, through the passing of an education development charge bylaw; second, to establish the terms and conditions under which the school boards may impose the education development charge; third, to provide for the giving of public notice by a school board which intends to pass an education development charges bylaw; fourth, to provide interested parties with the right to appeal an education development charge to the Ontario Municipal Board and establish the powers of the board to amend, repeal or uphold the bylaw; fifth, to establish the procedures for the collection of the charge by the municipality where it is to be imposed; sixth, to establish regulatory powers through which the Minister of Education may oversee the imposition of the education development charge and the use of the revenues raised; and seventh, to permit boards to negotiate payments in kind and other innovative financial arrangements with developers.
When we look at what is set out in the act and put that together with other initiatives in the whole area of educational financing, it seems to me that we have introduced something that is positive and solid in the overall funding of that system because, remember -- and the comment was made earlier by the Minister of Revenue -- this is permissive legislation. School boards most particularly are going to want to have this kind of lot levy where there is a demand for new construction of new pupil places.
I repeat, and we must underline, that the increase through provincial capital grants has been tremendous. We have said that where it affects new pupil places, the grants that come from the province, together with that portion that comes from the local board and with the funds that will come directly from those new homes where people are moving into areas and requiring services, will be the funds that then will allow the local board to have more money on hand to build the schools it is going to need.
In terms of renovation of schools, we have said that the province will continue to fund that at the rate it always has of 75 per cent. This year, with the budgetary initiatives we took, we were able to kick-start, together with boards, more construction over the next three years than we have witnessed probably ever in this province; certainly for a very long period of time.
What this bill now does, what boards such as my own in the area of York region have said, is that once this is passed they will be able to move to set out the bylaw and begin to apply it, and that this is going to give them tremendous assistance to get the kids into schools, to get them into the classrooms and to take off their backs more of the pressure they are currently under.
No one has argued that this is a panacea which will resolve all of the problems. We all recognize that the fast-growth areas are facing tremendous problems in a number of areas of government, whether we are talking about transportation or about health care, you name it, those are all problems in fast-growth areas.
But I think if members look at the various briefs that were brought to the attention of the interministerial committee from the various boards, whether it is Peel, Durham, York or many others, what they all underlined was that this would be of real positive benefit to them in meeting one of the major needs they have.
I think that, looking at it in that context and recognizing again that what this bill is setting out is the provision to the local board, which is obviously a key player in the provision of education at the local level, this gives it another important tool with which it is going to be able to meet in a more effective way the needs its residents have.
So I think that when we look at those needs, when we look at the options that have been set out -- and I think the member for Oshawa set out very clearly some of the dilemmas here and some of the choices, not all of which were between something that was perfect and something that was not -- after looking at all of that, this is a positive response which will be of assistance to school boards and of assistance to the creation of more new schools over the next decade when these pressures for the most part are going to continue, as I say, especially in the fast-growth areas.
I would commend this to all members and I think it is going to be of real and direct help.
Mr Villeneuve: The comments of my friend the member for York North are very interesting. The emphasis here is on permissive legislation. I find it somehow strange when I go back to the riding I very proudly represent to speak about permissive legislation. I am not sure what it will permit them to do. Remember, there are 23 very rural municipalities with not very many newly created lots being sold and there is a 17.3 per cent increase in the operational budget of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry County Board of Education.
Funding from the provincial level comes down from 48 to 42 per cent and there is a cutback in services after all of these increases in taxes. We have the pooling problem. The government of Ontario tells us that it will replace any funds lost to the public board of education from the pooling process. They have told us things before that did not quite happen.
There are a number of these situations and there is permissive legislation in Bill 20. What will I tell these people in rural eastern Ontario? They will have to look at capital funding, down from 75 to 60 per cent. It is permissive legislation. All it will do is put the taxes up very considerably in areas such as the one I represent. That is the kind of permissive legislation Bill 20 is bringing forward.
Mr Polsinelli: It seems to me that the opposition mentality in dealing with this legislation is, “Let’s confuse them with allegations, bullshit,” -- excuse me, I should not use that word in the House; it is probably unparliamentary -- and not confuse them with the facts.” I would like to compliment my colleague the member for York North for bringing some light to this whole debate.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Withdraw.
Mr Faubert: Withdraw. Use BS.
Mr Reycraft: You have to withdraw “BS.”
Mr Villeneuve: I will make sure your comments get to my board of education.
The Acting Speaker: Did I hear him say he withdrew that comment?
Mr Polsinelli: Yes, I did. I would never use an unparliamentary term.
The Acting Speaker: As I indicated, this is a public proceeding.
Mr Breaugh: I regret that he chose some language that was unparliamentary, but I regret even more the allegation that people on the opposition side are confusing things. We are attempting, as best we can, to determine precisely what it is the government is trying to do here.
I have expressed a point of view that there is a major shift in the way that Ontario will finance local costs for education and for municipal government. I do not think that is confusing anybody; I hope it is not. It is meant to put forward my point of view, and that is why I am here.
The government members may not want to hear this and they may not like to hear this, but it is one of those unfortunate things in a democracy:
Not everyone belongs to their caucus. Not everyone has to think their way; there are different points of view in here, and while the government does not have to like it, it does have to listen to them.
Mr Beer: I want to talk about two things. First, just to remind members, the 75 per cent to 60 per cent relates to new pupil places, new school construction. With respect to the renovations of schools, the old rates still apply at 75 per cent. We may have an opportunity in committee to go into this in somewhat more detail.
I would want to say to my friend the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry that with regard to the commitment to the broad financial picture on education, I think we can demonstrate that we are providing the kind of support that we ought to be, not only in terms of capital but in the other areas, and that we are providing more funding. But that may be perhaps a better item to go over in detail in committee, where we will have more time to look at specific cases.
Finally, I would like to make just one point which I did not make in my remarks, which is to underline that the government will be moving a few amendments to part III of the bill, including amendments which will clarify the definitions of commercial and residential development and further clarify the methods by which levies will be determined for commercial development. Those will, of course, be circulated prior to the committee sessions.
Mr Mackenzie: My comments will be brief. I must say, however, that I enjoyed the comments of the member for Mississauga South. It was rather like putting the fox in the hen house, when she had them going on the other side of the House.
Mr Sterling: She knows what she’s talking about.
Mr Mackenzie: She knew what she was talking about, too; dead on.
I want to quote a letter that I received today, which will be about half of my remarks, then I will make a few comments of my own. The letter is one that was sent by K. A. Rielly, director of education and secretary of the Board of Education for the City of Hamilton, and it reads as follows:
“At the June meeting of the Board of Education for the City of Hamilton, the following resolution was adopted:
“‘That the Board of Education for the City of Hamilton oppose part III of Bill 20, the Development Charges Act, and that the board inform the Ministry of Education of its opposition to this legislation and urge them to reconsider the method of raising funds for school capital construction, and that this board seek the support of the local members of the provincial parliament.
“Although the board of trustees recognized the need for lot levies for purposes of community services, such as repairs to city sewers, parks, etc. it is strongly opposed to imposing lot levies on private residences as a means to offset the cost of school capital construction.
“The Hamilton Board of Education is urging the Ministry of Education to do everything in its power to seriously consider alternatives to this section of Bill 20, and we are urging the local members of Parliament to support us in this resolution.
“Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact my office.”
It is a position that I found coincided with the position we had taken in our caucus, as outlined by the member for Oshawa, that we will not be opposing this bill. I think it is fairly straightforward. I do not think that when we talk about rights we already have in terms of lot levies, the voters distinguish between the education taxes and the municipal taxes; it is one package.
I know when I take a look at my taxes on my property yearly, it is one package. Education, as far as we are concerned, is a provincial responsibility and the costs should not be transferred to the municipalities. It is an area that should be covered out of general revenue. Implied in this particular bill is a further transfer of costs to individuals and their municipalities.
I think it is going to further skew tax fairness in the province of Ontario. I want to say, agreeing with my colleague the member for Oshawa, that I have no fundamental opposition to lot levies as such, but not when it comes to the education field. It is a move by the Treasurer which is a fundamental change in very basic tax policies and taxing for the costs of education. I think it is a further indication of a lack of any real direction or fairness in the tax policies we have in Ontario.
Where I agree with my colleague the member for Mississauga South is that I think it is a copout by this Liberal government, both on housing and even more so on educational funding in Ontario. I think that is why this bill should not be supported and why the government will find that there may be some high-growth areas that will take a look at it, but it is not the answer. It helps to get this government off the hook in terms of educational funding, something it has been falling behind on in any event. They quote the big numbers, but the percentages show clearly that we are paying less and less of it from the province and more and more of it out of our property taxes. I do not want to see that further transfer of costs through lot levies that now help to fund the education system in the province.
I hope the bill is not approved in this House.
Mr Villeneuve: I rise to defend the cause of some of the municipalities that I represent. The introduction of the Development Charges Act, or Bill 20, as we commonly refer to it this afternoon, is yet another example of the Liberal government’s failure to listen. The government appears to be consulting with various interest groups for a specified period of time. It pays lipservice and, if no consensus on the issue is reached, it simply does what it wants. I think we could cite a whole number of recent examples of exactly that: lengthy committee hearings and then proceeding with little or no abidance by what indeed was presented to them.
We have a piece of legislation that has some noteworthy aspects, but these will be lost because the inclusion of lot levies for school purposes -- and I emphasize “for school purposes-” -- is unacceptable to almost all the interested parties, except perhaps to this government and some of its backbenchers.
Since 1972, AMO and many of its member municipalities have endeavoured to obtain a clear, firm legislative basis for the collection of lot levies. More recently, AMO worked together with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, the Urban Development Institute and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association to resolve the issue of growth-related development charges.
AMO welcomed the release of the green paper on financing growth-related capital needs and it supported many of the recommendations in that green paper, but it had strong objections to certain aspects and recommended the following -- and I emphasized them a while ago following the parliamentary assistant’s short presentation:
AMO opposed lot levies for school purposes and it recommended they not be introduced; the capital grant program to school boards should not be reduced from 75 per cent to 60 per cent; and growth-related capital costs should be defined to include fixtures and equipment when speaking of school premises.
It seems the government did not even consider AMO’s position. Bill 20 has retained all these aspects of the green paper which AMO recommended against.
In reviewing the bill itself, we have several concerns such as the time limits of appeals, the powers given to the Ontario Municipal Board and the definition of certain services and costs. The bill gives the 0MB the power to dismiss an appeal without holding a full hearing, order a municipality or school board to repeal a development charge bylaw in whole or in part, and order a municipality or a school board to amend a bylaw to reduce the lot levy. These powers are extensive and should have the full scrutiny of a standing committee of the Legislature.
It is ironic: Presently there is a select committee studying the financing of education, a committee that will begin its hearings immediately after this particular session recesses, yet this government did not see fit to wait for the recommendations of this select committee on education. They saw fit to force through their own ideas.
Home builders also oppose the use of lot levies to fund school construction. Those members who tell us that they will not be passed on to the home owner are dreaming in Technicolor. Builders and municipalities have been urging the government to introduce a legislative basis to fund the construction of hard services such as water, sewer lines, etc.
There continues to be a debate among municipalities and builders regarding the use of lot levies for the construction of soft services such as community recreation facilities, libraries, etc. Despite this difference of opinion, these two groups were willing to negotiate an equitable solution to the use of lot levies, but the government would not listen, as usual.
A coalition of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, the Urban Development Institute and the Fair Rental Policy Organization of Ontario has been formed to oppose this bill. The Alliance for Housing coalition, in its response to the green paper, stated, “The proposal represents a fundamental shift and restructuring of provincial responsibilities. It transfers it over to the municipalities, the school boards and the new home owner. It raises major issues of greater importance as to the future role of the province of Ontario in providing recognized universal services such as the basic requirement of education. They oppose, with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the transfer of provincial responsibilities to municipalities and school boards via the new home owner and the development and building industries.
The building industry and our Housing critic, the member for Nipissing (Mr Harris), have repeatedly pointed out to the Treasurer that regardless of market forces, a $5,000 lot levy will add $5,000 to the price of a home. I do not care whether he uses metric, conventional, bilingual or otherwise; $5,000 gets transferred to the person who will be building and living in that home.
Both new and resale homes will be touched, and it will add to the housing affordability problem, not only here in Toronto but all across the province. Education is the responsibility of everyone and should be financed as such. That is exactly why there is a select committee studying the financing of education. The parliamentary assistant to the minister would be well aware of that.
Individuals in existing subdivisions will get the benefit of their new schools, but only the new home builder will pay for them. What happens to equity, fairness in our tax system? The Liberals have undermined the principle of universality, a principle which makes this province and this country the best in the world.
Because of this inequity, the Ontario Home Builders’ Association has threatened to launch a Supreme Court challenge against the first municipality that charges the new education lot levy, based on the fact that the legislation denies the right of new home buyers to equity under the law, since new home buyers will be required to bear an unequal portion of the share of the cost of education, particularly the capital cost of new schools.
Let’s face it: Education lot levies are another tax grab by this government. In the midst of a housing crisis, it makes no sense to impose another tax on the construction of new homes. The Toronto Home Builders’ Association estimates that the current fees, taxes and levies imposed by various governments make up more than $26,000, or approximately 11 per cent, of the cost of a home at present, and that is before the new education levy has been taken into account. Quite obviously, they do not agree with those people who tell us lot levies will not be transferred on to the eventual home owner.
The Ontario Public School Trustees’ Board Association supports the provision of Bill 20, and is one of the few organizations that do. I must tell members that the school boards in my area do not agree with their representative group. However, in democracy that is the way it goes. They support it because they have noticed that the commitment to education by this government has been reducing at a very rapid rate in the last five years.
A number of individual school boards in nongrowth areas -- and those are areas I represent, as do quite a number of the Liberal members and probably some of the New Democratic members in this Legislature -- do not approve. They include the Metro separate and public boards and the London board. They do not support the bill, as they will reap no benefits.
Provincial school capital funding support dropped from 75 per cent to 60 per cent, as has been stated on a number of occasions in this debate this afternoon. This will mean local boards, regardless of whether they are in a growth area or not, will have to bear an increased portion of new school construction and costs. It is simple. It goes down from 75 per cent to 60 per cent. The local option: You pay more at home.
Although the bill says school boards have the option to impose an education lot levy, in reality this increased financial burden will simply force school boards to establish these levies. It is a simple matter. You get less money from Queen’s Park. You need new schools. You will have to find the money elsewhere from where it has been traditionally coming, right here.
School boards and teacher associations are also upset about the lack of control they would have over the use of the education lot levies. “If two or more school boards, which share an area of jurisdiction, pass a bylaw to impose” an education lot levy on the same area, “the money collected is to be placed in a joint account.” I see nothing but problems coming from that one.
The money can only be used by the boards as directed by the Minister of Education in spite of the fact that the minister had nothing to do with collecting the money.
Withdrawals from the education lot levy account “can only be made for school construction projects which have the approval of the Minister of Education and have been recognized for capital grant purposes.” Any expenditure above the approved cost for a new school will be funded from the local tax base, rather than from the education lot levy account. So the municipalities and school boards have the administrative burden of this initiative, but have no control on how the money is spent.
In summation, we have a select committee on the financing of education. I wonder why we have it when we are doing this in the Legislature this afternoon and pre-empting any eventual recommendation by that committee. Of course, this is not new. It has been happening at Queen’s Park all the time since 10 September 1987.
The bottom line is that Bill 20 does two things:
It shows that the Liberals cannot listen and that they continue to pass on their responsibilities to the local taxpayer, the local municipality and the local school boards.
We will not be supporting this bill. We cannot support a bill that uses lot levies to finance school construction.
The Acting Speaker: Comments or questions?
Mr Beer: Just a couple of points: First of all, with respect to the select committee on education, the honourable member may wish to speak with those members of his party who are on that committee. It was agreed that as the select committee went forward with its schedule, it was free to examine those issues it wanted to examine. The ministry obviously could not wait on a number of critical issues and would have to proceed to meet the needs as we saw them.
The select committee will be carrying out a most important and meaningful review of educational financing, and I hope perhaps we will hear from the third party in terms of how it thinks we ought to be meeting some of these difficulties and what kinds of plans it has. We will be participating fully in those hearings, along with our colleagues from the two opposition parties.
There is another point I would like to make. I am quoting from an article by one of the trustees of the York Region Board of Education, who notes: “A federal/provincial task force report, produced in the mid-1970s following a phase of skyrocketing land and house prices, found little relationship between municipal lot levies and escalating land/housing prices ... the main determinant of new house prices are supply and demand in the marketplace, including conditions in the much broader resale house market.” I think that was a point the member for Oshawa made rather effectively.
If we want to talk about equity, one only has to look at the budget this year to see that this government has moved to establish a greater degree of financial equity in the whole system. No government before it has tried to take on that significant issue. We are going to be making clear progress over the next five or six years in bringing about that equity.
With respect to the point on the trust funds, it is going to be shared. Boards have already discussed, where they are in a coterminous situation, with the other board about how they see themselves being able to work with that trust fund. It follows procedures that have been followed in the past and are well set out. These remain positive initiatives that we have brought forward.
Je conseille vivement à mon ami, le député de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry (M. Villeneuve), de nous appuyer et d’appuyer cette motion et ce projet de loi qui est maintenant devant l’Assemblée.
The Acting Speaker: Are there other comments? Does the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry care to respond?
Mr Villeneuve: Yes, I would like to respond to my colleague the member for York North. I and the member for Burlington South (Mr Jackson) are members of the select committee on education. I am fully aware of what has been happening. The problem is that we have to go back home and tell our boards of education: “In spite of all the rhetoric and the lipservice you hear from this government, you’ve got to pay over 17 per cent more at the public level in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. You’ve had to cut back and tighten your belt, eliminate the early French immersion and the half-day kindergarten. It’s too expensive. It was decided by the board.”
Hon Mr Grandmaître: What is the operational increase?
Mr Villeneuve: Yes, of course, and the operational decrease from this government went from 48 per cent in 1985 to 42 per cent now. That is what has happened in real life. It is a situation where we just cannot support this type of legislation. Real estate people in droves have phoned me and said, “Are you going to allow lot levies?’
I do not know what we can allow, as members of the third party. We bring forth some very valid arguments in many, many instances on bills that are presented. However, the steamroller decides and the steamroller happens to be a very top-heavy government and it goes ahead and takes whatever decisions it sees fit for its own purposes. It is primarily towards copping out and reducing its responsibility, turning it on to the municipalities, the school boards and indeed copping out of what has traditionally been the responsibility of a responsible government here at Queen’s Park. That all changed in 1985.
The Acting Speaker: Are there other participants? Does the parliamentary assistant care to respond and conclude the debate?
Mr Polsinelli: I would particularly like to thank all the members who have participated in the debate. I am sure it gives us an indication of the good time we are going to have in committee, discussing the Development Charges Act.
I would like to thank in particular my colleague the member for York North, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Education, who has spoken so eloquently with respect to part III of the bill dealing with the school board development charges.
Both the municipal sector and the development industry have for some time requested that the province firm up the legislative framework dealing with this whole issue of lot levies. Municipalities have stressed the need for a clearer authority to impose lot levies on all forms of development. Developers, on the other hand, have pushed for clearer rules governing the determination of costs and the accounting for lot revenues.
In 1985, the then Minister of Municipal Affairs, the member for Ottawa East (Mr Grandmaitre) appointed or brought together provincial staff, the Association of the Municipalities of Ontario, the Urban Development Institute and the Ontario Home Builders Association. In the past three or four years, under the auspices of the Minister of Municipal Affairs, we came very close to developing what could be called a consensus in dealing with the municipal aspect of this whole Development Charges Act.
What this legislation, Bill 20, does is essentially extend to the school boards the same right that municipalities have exercised for many years. I think it is an added feature and that it is a permissive authority given to the locally elected officials. I think that is something we sometimes lose sight of while we are carrying on debates in this assembly.
The people who are elected at the local level, both the municipalities and the school boards, who are elected by the public, as we are elected by the public, in dealing with this particular legislation will have to make the decisions whether to pass the resolutions at the school boards to collect these lot levies, or pass the bylaws through municipal councils to collect lot levies for municipal councils.
What we are doing in Bill 20 is quite simply giving that added authority. We are giving them the right to make the decision. If they, in their wisdom, feel it is not appropriate for their municipality or their school board to exercise this right given to them by this legislation, then they can simply choose not to exercise it.
I say again that I look forward to dealing with this bill in committee and hearing again the debate and representations that will be made at that time.
The Acting Speaker: That concludes the debate, so I will put the question.
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the ayes have it.
Mr Eves: Mr Speaker, there has been agreement to stack the votes until Monday next.
The Acting Speaker: I have been advised by the whip for the government party that there has been an agreement to stack any votes on the six items on the order paper until after all items on the order paper have been debated, and that will therefore likely be a deferment until late Monday afternoon. Can the other two parties please confirm that?
Mr Eves: On behalf our party, I believe that is the understanding that was reached.
The Acting Speaker: Is it confirmed for the New Democratic Party as well?
Ms Bryden: I am afraid our House leader is not here and I am not aware of what the agreement is.
The Acting Speaker: Also, I have a procedural matter, the fact that we require five members standing in their seats to force a division, and I would like to know if all parties waive that requirement.
Mr Polsinelli: It is my understanding that an agreement has been reached by the House leaders to stack these votes. On behalf of our party, we are prepared to agree to stack them to the time that was agreed upon.
The Acting Speaker: And to waive the requirement in standing order 120(a) for a division? Agreed?
POWER CORPORATION AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Hon Mr Wong moved second reading of Bill 19, An Act to amend the Power Corporation Act.
Hon Mr Wong: Pursuant to the budget of 17 May, Bill 19, An Act to amend the Power Corporation Act, was introduced. Today I am pleased to introduce a motion for second reading of this amendment.
Under this legislation, Ontario Hydro will be required to pay annually to the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) fees for the provincial guarantee of Ontario Hydro’s debt and for sums borrowed by the province and advanced to Ontario Hydro. This legislation applies to existing and new guarantees and advances. The legislation enables the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations specifying how the fees are to he calculated and how and when the fees are to be paid.
In the budget, the Treasurer called for a debt guarantee fee of one half of one per cent, 50 basis points. The Treasurer also proposed that the fee for 1989 be prorated on the basis of the number of days in the year subsequent to midnight on budget day. On this basis, the fee for 1989 will be $80 million and the fee for 1990 is estimated to be $138 million.
If I may, I would like to remind members of the intent of this proposed legislation. By guaranteeing Hydro’s debt, the province reduces the costs of borrowing to Hydro. The government believes that Ontario Hydro should pay the province for the benefits Hydro receives from the provincial guarantee.
I would also remind members that in its reports on Ontario Hydro’s proposals on electricity rates for 1988 and 1989, the Ontario Energy Board recommended that Ontario Hydro pay such a fee.
It also recommended that the level of the fee be set at 50 basis points or one half of one per cent.
I look forward with interest to the comments of the members of the House on this bill.
Mr Charlton: I rise to speak to Bill 19 and to start out by saying that our caucus will not be supporting this bill. There are a number of basic principles this party looks to in the taxes imposed by this province that this bill fails to meet.
I should perhaps clarify that it is our view that these fees which will be charged to Ontario Hydro are in fact taxes being indirectly imposed upon the taxpayers of Ontario. The Minister of Energy will recall -- unfortunately the Treasurer is not here, but he would recall as well -- that we have a government that is the product of and responsible to the people of Ontario. This is a crown corporation that is owned by the people of Ontario, or to put things a little more specifically to the Minister of Energy, it is the people of Ontario who own the benefit to which the minister referred.
In this case, it is the benefit that flows from the province’s triple A credit rating, and therefore the ability of the province to guarantee Hydro’s debts at a particular interest rate, an interest rate that is somewhat lower than the market rate. It is the people of Ontario who own that benefit, not the Treasurer of Ontario, not the executive council of Ontario. They also own Ontario Hydro.
In effect, the first concern we have with this piece of legislation is that because the Treasurer has found himself in the situation of having to raise more funds than he was prepared to do from the normal taxes that treasurers of this province have gone to, albeit some of them more acceptable and some of them less acceptable to the public, because he has found himself in a situation of having to try and go to a source that is somewhat less publicly visible because of the tax increases he imposed last spring, the Treasurer is now imposing a charge against the people of Ontario for something which, in total, they own. They own both Ontario Hydro and the benefit that accrues to this government from its credit rating.
It is somewhat strange to me how quickly we tend to forget. I grant that many of the Liberal members of this government and many of the members of the cabinet and the executive council are new to this Legislature and are not familiar with many of the traditions around this House. but I well recall the former member for Grey-Bruce riding -- the old Grey-Bruce riding prior to the redistribution -- Eddie Sargent and his many private members’ bills in this House, private members’ bills that dealt with Ontario Hydro and specifically with the rate structure that Ontario Hydro uses to impose charges on the power consumers in Ontario.
That rate structure is an extremely regressive rate structure. I would like to put that into context for members. Members in this House will certainly be familiar with the debates we have had around the retail sales tax and its regressive nature and how the retail sales tax, especially when it relates to what have become necessities out there in society, forces the poor and low-income people in Ontario to pay precisely the same tax as the wealthy.
The rate structure of Ontario Hydro makes the Retail Sales Tax Act look like a very progressive piece of legislation, in spite of the fact that all members of this House at one time or another have labelled the Retail Sales Tax Act as a regressive piece of legislation. The Ontario Hydro rate structure is not only a rate structure which imposes on the poor equally with the wealthy, it is a rate structure which imposes on the poor and the less fortunate to a greater extent than it imposes on the wealthy and the more fortunate in our society.
The rate structure of Ontario Hydro is one which we refer to as a declining rate structure, where those who use the smallest increment of electrical power pay the highest rate in the system. and those who use the most power, the largest increment of power, pay the lowest rate in the system. That imposes on two categories of people that I do not think we want to penalize in Ontario’s society.
The first category is the poor: those who use the least amount of power because that is all they can afford to use; those who are often forced to shut off their heaters when they would like it to be a little warmer than it is; those who cannot afford to run the appliances that they have for periods that they might like to run them for, because they cannot afford to pay the cost of that extra time of consumption. Those are the people whom we force to pay the highest rate, whom we force to shut off their heaters, their stove or their television sooner than they would like to because they are being charged the highest rate.
The second category of people out there that we penalize by the declining rate structure that Ontario Hydro uses is those who have in fact spent money to achieve a higher level of energy efficiency; those who perhaps last year or the year before were in the second-highest rate category because they used more power but who spent over the course of the last year or two years capital dollars to invest in efficient lightbulbs, a more efficient refrigerator or stove, insulation in their home to cut down their consumption for heating purposes or any number of other efficiency measures they may have taken, on the one hand, to make their own home more efficient but perhaps, on the other hand, as well, to assist this province to avoid the need for its next nuclear plant.
These people who tried to play their part in ensuring a sane energy future for Ontario have now moved out of the second-highest rate category, by reducing their energy consumption have bumped themselves up into the highest rate category. Those people, for their efficiency and for the capital expenditures they have made, are being penalized.
It was this Liberal Party which 10 years ago, eight years ago, seven years ago, had a member who stood in this House and introduced his private member’s bill to start dealing with the regressivity of Ontario Hydro rates. Every time that bill was voted on, members of the Liberal Party such as the Treasurer, the government House leader and member for Renfrew North (Mr Conway) and the Premier (Mr Peterson) stood along with the former member for Grey-Bruce, Mr Sargent, and voted in support of that piece of legislation. Because the member for Grey-Bruce was right: the Hydro rate structure is regressive almost beyond belief.
We have before us here today Bill 19, a bill to impose a service charge, a fee, on Ontario Hydro for the guarantee which is provided by the Ontario government to a corporation which it owns, a corporation whose debt is all preapproved by this government, step by step. Every nickel they spend in capital expenditure is approved by the programs that are initiated by this government and the approval processes set out by this government.
We have a bill before us here today to impose a fee on that debt guarantee, but we have nothing to address the regressivity of the Hydro rate structure. What will happen to the fees this government charges to Ontario Hydro? Those fees, as the minister has said, will amount to about $80 million in the prorated year 1989. In a full year, they will amount to about $138 million.
Mr Cureatz: Is that the fee?
Mr Charlton: That is the fee which will be charged to Ontario Hydro. Those dollars will be dumped into the large pot that Ontario Hydro refers to as its operating expenses and will become part of the numbers which produce the rate increases, for which it has to make submissions to the Ontario Energy Board and for which it ultimately has to get approval from the government, in that regressive, unfair rate structure which this government appears to be prepared to do nothing about.
Because of the regressive nature of that rate structure, these fees that are being charged to Ontario Hydro will end up being apportioned in precisely the same regressive way as the general rate structure penalizes the poor and those who spend capital dollars on efficiency. Again, the poor will be penalized as compared to the rich in terms of the paying of these fees. The efficient will be penalized as compared to the inefficient in terms of the paying of these fees. Low- and middle-income families in this province will continue to subsidize the large corporate sector in the paying of these fees.
I grant members that the $80 million which will be collected in the prorated remaining portion of 1989 or the $138 million that would be charged to Hydro on a full-year basis is small peanuts in this first round, but that is not a good enough reason to just let Bill 19 slip by. Members know as well as I do that once the government gets a revenue source in place, it will continue to use that revenue source in future when it needs more money. In this case, there are two very good reasons it will use this source. I would like to take a few minutes to get into those two very good reasons that eventually this fee charge against Ontario Hydro for the debt guarantee will get abused by this government or the one that replaces it.
The first reason is that this is another hidden tax. As a tax, the public will not have any clear vision of its amount or increases that occur because it is a three-stage process for most of the energy consumers in this province. The provincial government will impose the fee on Ontario Hydro. If it gets doubled, tripled or quadrupled next year, that may get some coverage in the press for a very short period of time, but then those amounts just get dumped into the Hydro planning pot.
As I said, that is the pot that sets out Ontario Hydro’s operating costs, which generate for Ontario Hydro its needed rate increase which it then submits to the Ontario Energy Board in April every year and we go through a month or a six-week hearing on the rate increase question. Then the Ontario Energy Board makes a recommendation to the government about the rate increases which Hydro should impose. Then there will be some further discussions between Hydro and the government.
At some point Hydro will announce the actual rate increase it is going to impose the following January, but by the time January rolls around, who remembers who did what to whom in that four-stage process? Do they remember how much the fee increase was that the government announced way back at the beginning of the year or do they remember Ontario Hydro finally announcing what its rate increase on 1 January would be? Who takes the heat? Who takes the blame?
That is one of the reasons this revenue source, once it is put in place, will get abused somewhere down the road by somebody -- this Treasurer, his replacement, this government or its replacement. Somewhere down the road somebody is going to abuse this because it is an easy way to get around having to face what governments hate facing, which is directly raising taxes that are imposed directly on the taxpaying public where the public gets angry, as they did back in 1982 around some specific actions that were taken in this Legislature in the budget by the then Treasurer, Mr Miller, in the Conservative government of this province.
Second, there is another basic principle which this bill violates and it is a principle which the Treasurer of this province espoused for many, many years in this House; first of all in opposition and second as the Treasurer in the first couple of years of his tenure. That is the principle that revenues to the government should be regularly debated in this Legislature and approved by this Legislature.
I recall when the Treasurer, even in his current role as Treasurer, got up and announced that he was going to remove the ad valorem tax on gasoline and replace it once again with a fixed tax per litre. Part of his rationale for that action, both in opposition and as Treasurer, was that the government should be accountable in this chamber and ultimately to the public for taxes imposed by the government and that changes in those taxes, therefore, should be debated here and approved here.
What do we have in Bill 19? We have a bill that says the government is going to impose a fee charge on Ontario Hydro for the debt guarantee. It announces what the fee charge will be up front, first round, but then it tells us that future changes in the fee will be done by regulation. Members know what regulation means: order in council, cabinet order, no proposal in this Legislature, no debate in this Legislature, no vote in this Legislature, no accountability discussion in terms of future increases.
Although they have told us that the fee structure will be, for the first round, one half of one per cent, the Treasurer could go to cabinet, theoretically, once a month with orders in council to change that fee upward, without any accountability that is directly seen by the public, and certainly no accountability in this House.
That is a principle which this Treasurer has espoused as one he believes very strongly in, yet he, through the Minister of Energy (Mr Wang) and through his budget, has brought in a piece of legislation which not only offends but destroys that very principle, intentionally.
I probably would have opposed this fee even if this item in the bill was not as it is, even if this bill had said that the fee would be X and that this section of the bill would have to be amended in the future in this House to increase the fee. I still likely would have opposed this imposition as an indirect, hidden tax and an unfair tax on those who can least afford to pay it, but the Treasurer had that option. He had the option of making Bill 19 include the fee structure so that this Legislature would have been responsible for any future increases in that fee.
He chose not to go that route. For those reasons. I have to say that it was the intentional wish of the Treasurer for the government to hold that right exclusively to itself and the executive council so that there was no accountability to this House for a revenue source which could become a major one somewhere down the road.
There are a couple of other things which make Bill 19 offensive to me, as the Energy critic for our party. One of those is that we have heard repeatedly in the energy debate, and specifically the Hydro debate, the electricity debate in Ontario over the course of the last 15 or perhaps even 20 years, but certainly concentrated in the last seven or eight years, the debate around energy growth in demand, around building new generation facilities versus conservation, co-generation, private parallel generation out there in the real world by small entrepreneurs.
We have seen this minister stand repeatedly in this House and say that demand management and energy conservation are now the number one priority on the Ontario Hydro list and on this government’s list for the future, but we have seen an almost total failure to move significantly in that direction.
In the press just two weeks ago, this minister was saying that this government remains committed to its nuclear power generation program. Mr Speaker, I would first like to remind you that “its” nuclear power generation program is not “its” at all; it is something the government inherited. It happens to be a program which was a very intentional economic device used by the former Conservative governments of Bill Davis and even John Robarts. That is how far back the nuclear program goes.
Obviously, this Minister of Energy was making those statements as part of the process of preparing the public for what he and this government see as the inevitable. I want to talk about that inevitability, which the minister is implying in his comment, “We remain committed to our nuclear power generation program,” as he softens up the public for the eventual announcement of Darlington 2, and what that really means.
Mr Cureatz: I haven’t heard it from him yet.
Mr Charlton: You will, Sam, you will.
We have a number of options that are available to us as Ontarians for our electrical energy future. Some of them require small amounts of capital and larger amounts of operational skill; others require much larger amounts of capital and result in fairly low operational costs.
I want you to think about this, Madam Speaker. Conservation is an option that will require very little borrowing on Hydro’s part, very little capital investment. As well, under Bill 19, it will require very little in the way of additional fees charged in the future against our crown corporation. That is the one extreme. Conservation is the smallest capital investment the public sector, the crown corporation, has to make. The bulk of capital investment in conservation is done by the individual home owner, the individual businessman or the individual company that is putting in the efficient technology to cause the conservation to occur.
Nuclear power is the opposite extreme. There are all kinds of steps in between, through hydrolulic generation, coal-fired generation and so on and so forth, but nuclear power generation is the other extreme.
Those are the two extremes: conservation, which is the smallest capital investment on the part of Ontario Hydro, and nuclear power, which is the largest capital investment on the part of Ontario Hydro.
Ontario Hydro maintains that nuclear power is the most cost-effective over its lifetime, because its operating costs are so much lower than coal.
That is probably true, but the capital investment, the money which Ontario Hydro will have to borrow to put the plant in place, is out here at the high extreme. Our nuclear power generation program, which the minister was referring to two or three weeks ago in the media, is the very place where Ontario Hydro’s borrowing will be the absolute maximum.
Whether I agree or disagree that the nuclear power generation program is really the government’s program or not, the minister is standing up publicly and saying it is the government’s program; not Hydro’s, but the government’s. “We’re going to continue to support our nuclear power generation program,” is what the minister is saying. At the same time, he says, “But we are going to charge Ontario Hydro every time it borrows to continue it.”
Is that an appropriate way for government to proceed, for government to stand up and make statements publicly that encourage Ontario Hydro to continue to move in the nuclear power direction, a direction which will maximize its capital borrowing, and then to stand up and say, “But we’re going to charge a fee for every additional dollar you borrow, because we provide you with a debt guarantee, even though we encouraged you to do it as part of our energy policy in Ontario”?
Let’s face it. The Ministry of Energy and the government are responsible for the development of energy policy in this province, not Hydro. The government of Ontario has to approve that Hydro borrowing. So Hydro will have to come with plans this government will accept. What is happening is that the government has latched on to a new way of extracting money from the pockets of Ontario residents, virtually all of whom are energy consumers and virtually all of whom are Hydro consumers. The government had not had to say to them, “Here’s your tax bill,” because it has hidden that cost, that extra revenue, in the hydro bill, and that is three or four stages removed from government. They are separated by Ontario Hydro and then by the local utilities.
We have a government that, in terms of energy policy, because it has found itself so empty and directionless in its ability to establish a new energy direction for Ontario, is going to end up promoting the very thing that will cost the consumers more; that is, both in terms of capital investment and in terms of fees Hydro will then have to pay to this government to enrich its coffers and to further cover up the mismanagement of the public purse which has been going on in this province.
There are a couple of other reasons, strictly in terms of energy policy questions, why this bill is offensive. This bill completely ignores what the Progressive Conservative government before this government told us for many years, and what this government has continued to tell us since its election in 1985; that the low electrical energy rates in Ontario are required on the one hand as a competitive advantage for our industry and, on the other hand, to help offset some of the competitive advantages our competitors in the United States and elsewhere around the world have that we do not have.
Ontario Hydro has been a public facility in this province and is now a crown corporation. Previously it was a commission more directly under the government, and this is the first time in the entire history of Ontario Hydro that the government of Ontario has imposed a direct charge on that facility.
I would imagine that, as we have gone though things like the Great Depression and the Second World War and any number of other crises that have been faced by Ontario society along with the remainder of society in Canada, there have been temptations for governments to find any number of other revenue sources to help pay for pulling themselves out of a depression or fighting a war effort, both very costly processes. On every single occasion, those governments, both Conservative and Liberal, have resisted the temptation to be so blatant as to charge the public a service fee for its own utility, a service fee that relates to nothing other than a debt guarantee which the people of Ontario own.
Should Hydro ever go under, it is the people of Ontario who will pay the debt -- not the Minister of Energy, not the Treasurer of Ontario, but the people of this province.
It is those people of this province who provide that debt guarantee and it is the people of this province, therefore, who will have to pay the shot in a failure. But at no other time in this province’s history, on no other occasion has a government succumbed to the temptation to tax the people of this province through their own crown corporation with a hidden tax. That is what we have this government here today doing.
There is one other very basic reason I find this action on the part of the government offensive, and that is that we should be looking, as the minister was a year and a half ago, at how we can be substantially reducing Hydro’s debt in the future. Unfortunately, that seems to be an objective which the minister has forgotten and set aside.
We have a crown corporation with a debt which must be, in 1989, in the range of $30 billion; a debt which the minister at one time said was a debt that concerned him very greatly when he said publicly to the media in this province that he was so concerned about that debt that he was actually considering taking over the financial structure of Hydro in order to ensure that that debt was properly dealt with.
Now we have a government that has completely forgotten about that debt which Ontario Hydro has to pay off; completely forgotten about the time, the 40, 50. or 60 years, it is going to take Hydro to pay off that debt. It is imposing a service charge on Hydro which is going to limit the corporation’s ability to do precisely that.
I am sure the minister will get up when he winds up the debate on this bill and say that the service charge will not in any way impede Ontario Hydro’s ability to pay off its debts, because the fee will be in addition to whatever rates Hydro needs to pay its debts. But Ontario Hydro, as a public utility, and this government are both institutions which are subject to public pressure and public outcry, and probably the government more so than the crown corporation.
We have had Hydro rate increases over the past several years that have precisely matched inflation. It may have been one or two points above the inflation rate or one or two points below the inflation rate, but if you took the average of Hydro rate increases over the last decade, they would match almost to the penny the increase in the inflation rate.
Think about what would happen the second year or the third year in a row that Hydro had to impose a rate increase that was one per cent or 1.5 per cent above the inflation rate. They could get away with it for one year. They would not get away with it for two in a row and they certainly would not get away with it for three in a row. The public outcry would start to build. This government would feel the pressure. But if the government has already counted on and budgeted for the fee revenue, then it is going to be Hydro’s debt repayment structure that suffers as a result of whatever adjustments have to be made over there as a result of public pressure.
We have always taken great pride in this province -- even those of us who have criticized specific programs that Ontario Hydro has embarked upon, even those of us who have criticized specific decisions that Ontario Hydro has made -- in the fact that Ontario Hydro has operated largely independently and has done an excellent job both of supplying this province with electrical energy and keeping our rate structure lower than any other jurisdiction in North America, with the exceptions of Quebec and Manitoba. We have always been proud of that, but this government is breaking that tradition here today for the first time in Ontario Hydro’s history, in an arbitrary and unnecessary way by intervening in the financial operations of Ontario Hydro by sticking their hand in the till and taking moneys out.
I repeat what I said earlier: that the amounts of money they are stealing in this first round are small and insignificant in terms of the overall fiscal situation of the Treasurer. It is the beginning of something that will look awfully good the next time they need to find themselves some new revenue and the public mood indicates that the public is not going to accept an income tax increase or a retail sales tax increase or a gas tax increase.
The government, as members are well aware, does polling on a regular basis to determine the public’s mood. There will be a temptation to substantially increase this fee once the bill is passed and the mechanism is in place. This government does not even have to come to the Legislature to get approval for the increase because they can do it by order in council, through a regulation. The temptation will be horrendous for this government or, as I said, perhaps not even this government but its successor, that government which replaces it, to seek that additional income from this fee structure, because it is far too easy; it is hidden from public view and it does not have to come to the Legislature.
For all of those reasons, we cannot support Bill 19. Although the Minister of Energy obviously is not the perpetrator of this measure, he is the man who has had to come into this Legislature and introduce the bill and debate it. This was a decision that was made in the Ministry of Treasury and Economics by the Treasurer, ultimately, an action which was imposed on the Minister of Energy in the same way that his other tax increases get imposed on his colleague the Minister of Revenue (Mr Grandmaître).
I implore the Minister of Energy to take the time, and it would not take him very long at all, to look at the Hansard indexes from the last decade in relation to his colleague the Treasurer and to see the number of times the member for Brant-Haldimand (Mr R. F. Nixon), formerly Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, got up in this Legislature and spoke at length against the very kind of measure we are seeing imposed here today, and once he has done that, then to implore the Treasurer to rethink what he is doing here before we make a mistake we may regret for many, many years to come.
Mr Cureatz: I can tell all the people at home that it is not very exciting on a Thursday afternoon at 10 to 6 to get exceedingly cranked up with great anticipation to talk about Bill 19. But for the benefit of those Liberal backbenchers who will only be one-termers anyway -- I know they are particularly anxious to hear my words of wisdom and especially --
The Deputy Speaker: Order. It may be Thursday afternoon, but it is not yet six. May I remind the members of the standing orders: one person at a time, please, and only the member for Durham East. You may proceed.
Mr Cureatz: I appreciate that very much because I know all those learned backbenchers who are here and will not be here after the next election are going to be going to bed at night cuddled up with their sweethearts and reading the debate that is taking place here today on 22 June, and more particularly, some thoughts and concerns I have about Bill 19, An Act to amend the Power Corporation Act.
I say to the moms and dads at home, if I can put this in plain language, people like William Rion Cureatz or Collin Lawrence Cureatz, who are just of very tender years, would appreciate intuitively that quite frankly the bill is nonsense -- as much as I have the highest regard for the Minister of Energy, albeit he is a first-termer too, and who knows, he might not be back either. He will not even serve his five years to get his pension.
Mr Cureatz: Well, we have not quite decided yet.
An hon member: We are working at it.
Mr Cureatz: We are working at it. As much as I have the highest respect for my colleague and Energy critic, the member for --
Mr Charlton: Hamilton Mountain. Mr Cureatz: No, where did they call the member from before, not Hamilton Mountain. It was a better name for a riding anyway.
Mr Charlton: Stoney Mountain.
Mr Cureatz: He made, I thought, some very reasonable points.
The explanatory note tells it all. I have just been sitting here waiting my time. The member for Hamilton Mountain, I think, is a little angry at me. Normally, he would allow a little bit more time. Do members know what this means? Probably I will have to adjourn the debate and come back for a further discussion Monday afternoon.
I know all the Liberal backbenchers will spread the word Monday morning and the phone lines between their offices will be abuzz saying, “Sam is going to be back up this afternoon. Let’s hurry back and listen to what he has to say about Bill 19,” because do members know what? None of the Liberal backbenchers know what Bill 19 really says, and if they ever took a moment to read the explanatory note, they would be saying, “Why in the world is he even bothering with the legislation?”
The bill imposes the debt guarantee fee announced in the Treasurer’s budget to require Ontario Hydro to pay fees to the province in respect of guarantees given or advances made by the province.
Mr Cureatz: I say to the former swimmer, you are swimming in pretty heavy water these days, and you had just better tread nicely and hope that when the election is called you are not going to need the lifesaving round thing to survive. Just quietly sit patiently there and listen to my thoughts and concerns about Bill 19.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The member will address his remarks through the chair, of course.
Mr Cureatz: Do members know all the bill does? All the bill basically does is tell Ontario Hydro. “You’re going to have to put up your rates, so the people of Ontario are going to have to pay more for electricity.” That is in plain language.
For the fellows up on the third floor who are focusing in again, I am going to explain this again nice and slowly for all the people at home. What Bill 19 really does is increase their hydroelectric rates. As soon as the bill passes. they can blame this wonderful Liberal Party of Ontario for, among other things -- notwithstanding lack of preparation for major roadways across the province, we also have another concern: our Hydro rates are going up.
Did I hear someone at home ask why? There is a lull in the kitchen. Here is why: The bill says that Ontario Hydro is going to have to pay back to the Ontario government a percentage of money that the Ontario government has guaranteed in terms of loans or moneys advanced. It is as simple as that.
I cannot believe how this financier from Bay Street, the Minister of Energy, can get away with justifying this and look himself in the mirror in the morning when he is shaving. I would like a response to this next time around when he speaks.
Is he not just putting up the Hydro rates? Is that not what he is doing? He is just taking it, as our newly elected member for Welland-Thorold (Mr Kormos) says -- The members know how he speaks. He has one hand here and one hand here, and government members yell at him, “Take your hands out of your pockets.”
What they are doing is taking money from here, and putting it in this hand and putting it in this pocket. They are just changing bank accounts. It is the strangest thing to me, and I am going to be greatly interested in the explanation.
Mr Philip: Probably taking lessons from Patti Starr.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr Cureatz: I do not want to get into Patti Starr problems. My learned front bench seems to handle that adequately enough.
This is the interesting aspect. Great, I have four minutes left. I happened across The Bob Wang Report, Minister of Energy. “China Trip a Success.” Wow, that was timely, was it not? “Wang Brings Home Business Opportunities.” Then, inside here, “Keeping in Touch.” Six points.
“1. Do you think the public transit adequately serves your needs?” I know the Speaker is going to be concerned about how we are working in the bill. Abide by me for a moment. We will read 3.
“How concerned are you about the abuse of drugs such as alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal street drugs in the community?” Now, I think that is very worth while.
But the funny thing is that 6 says: “Any further comments.” Well, I held back on this. I am going to send this over, and I am going to ask, “Why are you passing Bill 19? For that matter, why didn’t you put on your little mailbag, ‘Are you in favour of Bill 19?”’
I think if he did that, he would get a surprising amount of response. asking either, “What is Bill 19?” or, if he went ahead and gave a full explanation of what Bill 19 is, namely, that your hydro rates are going to be increased because the Ontario government guarantees money to Ontario Hydro and therefore -- for competition in the marketplace, so Ontario Hydro cannot go running off merrily down to Bay Street, which the minister is so familiar with -- it would not be able to do that because it is going to have to pay an extra fee; if the minister put that little explanation in there, do members know what the result would be of his little questionnaire? “Why are you bothering with Bill 19?” -- the same kind of question I am putting to him.
I could spend a bit more time on why he was not exemplifying various concerns about Bill 19, but the thing I do have some interesting concerns about is that although he labels himself the Minister of Energy, I actually do not see too many aspects of energy-related situations, except for the China aspect, in his newsletter.
No, there is one energy position. There is a nice picture of the minister and Mr T. I suppose if that has anything to do with energy, the minister is exemplifying Mr T’s example in terms of his position as Minister of Energy. But there is nothing on Bill 19.
Now, I do not want to be particularly cruel to the minister, because he was very sympathetic on our previous legislation to allow it to go to the select committee on energy, of which I happened to be a member. We are looking with great anticipation to the summer sittings, if we ever get out of here and if this nasty, Liberal, tyrannical government does not force those new rules down our throats. Because, of course, if they do, that means we are probably going to be sitting here until the next election.
With only a minute left --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr Cureatz: -- I do want to bring to the minister’s attention some timely aspects in terms of the legislation; for instance, the expenditures Hydro is making. We know it is a lot of money but, timely enough, in the Canadian Statesman, Wednesday 21 June, the front page read: “Hydro Stokes Up Reactor.” We have the first reactor under way with the first stage of licensing at Darlington, which of course is in my riding.
Similar to that, on page 4: “Hydro and Ministry Asked to Fund Study.” My colleague the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Mrs Grier), from the official opposition, asked a question of the minister in terms of funding a study of the possibility of radiation effects from the Darlington generating station and the tritium plant.
Mr Cureatz: I am going to be continuing next Monday afternoon, with the enthusiasm of the rump -- and as I indicated during a particular question period, all we hear from them is wind anyway -- about the concerns I have about the expenditures on safety for nuclear and tritium plants. Would this mean that Hydro would be a little reticent in terms of further expenditures --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. On motion by Mr Cureatz, the debate was adjourned.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon Mr Fulton: Pursuant to standing order 13, I would like to indicate the business of the House for the coming week.
On Monday, we will continue with second reading of Bills 19, 21, 22, 23 and 24, followed by any resulting votes. Upon completion of the votes, we will consider those bills requiring committee of the whole House.
On Tuesday, we will continue with remaining bills in committee of the whole House.
On Wednesday and Thursday, we will consider Bill 93 in committee of the whole House, followed by second reading of Bills 209, 37, 33 and 35. The order of bills will be announced following discussion among the House leaders.
On Thursday, in the morning, we will consider private members’ public business standing in the names of the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Mrs Grier) and the member for Wellington (Mr J. M. Johnson).
The House adjourned at 1801.