The House met at 1330.
The Speaker: I would ask all members of the Legislative Assembly to recognize in the Speaker’s gallery the United States representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. His Excellency Armando Valladares.
Please join me in welcoming our guest.
TAXATION OF MINING COMPANIES
Miss Martel: On Monday I had the opportunity to meet with two busloads of senior citizens from Sudbury and area who were demonstrating outside this Legislature. They were here calling on the government to amend the Assessment Act to ensure mining companies pay their fair share of municipal taxes. Further, they were seeking a commitment to review the regional government structure in light of duplication of services.
The concerns of these seniors are legitimate and the frustration associated with the Assessment Act in particular is shared by taxpayers in mining communities across this province. First, the Assessment Act does not allow for taxation of underground mining operations. Those companies moving more and more of their equipment underground are benefiting from a reduction in this level of assessment to the detriment of local individual taxpayers.
Second, the act does not recognize the need to tax mining company operations located outside municipal boundaries. The town of lgnace, for example. cannot assess the operations of Mattabi Mines, in spite of the fact that the employer enjoys the services provided in that community. The resource equalization grants provided by the provincial government to compensate for this loss in no way reflect the revenues Ignace would obtain if proper assessment were implemented.
The demonstration here on Monday by the Sudbury seniors is evidence that people on fixed incomes cannot accept their increasing tax burden in the face of decreasing mining company assessment. Surely it is time the government responded with changes to the Assessment Act.
PETERBOROUGH RAPE CRISIS CENTRE
Mr Jackson: I wish to advise all members of this House that two days ago the Peterborough Rape Crisis Centre notified this government that, because of the serious financial situation it finds itself in, if relief is not obtained from the provincial government it will be forced to close its doors. In fact, the board of directors will be meeting tomorrow night and the purpose of that meeting is to plan the office closure and the staff severances.
It strikes me that at a time when this government has stated that it has a commitment to fighting violence against women, that it has a stated policy objective in that area, it must produce the necessary dollars to ensure that these centres remain open. In fact, when the government says that it increased this centre’s budget by 14 per cent last year, it failed to recognize that the increase in victim-client counselling increased fourfold. Statistics like that are burdening rape crisis centres all across Ontario.
Quite frankly, we have not heard yet from the acting Solicitor General (Mr Scott) whether he will be able to assist the Peterborough Rape Crisis Centre, but it strikes me that, given the legitimate pleas of the centre, this government must act sensitively and swiftly to ensure that the Peterborough Rape Crisis Centre is not forced to close this weekend.
Mr Daigeler: As a trained theologian, permit me to reflect in a spiritual light on recent events surrounding this House. Such a perspective may be unusual, but could we not all benefit on occasion from a more in-depth analysis of our day-to-day experiences?
Public opinion today seems to require that politicians leave behind, at the time of their election, all human frailty and weakness. This reminds me of a time when priests were idolized as holy men simply because of their ordination. Unfortunately, human error, weakness, temptation, do not cease after we enter this chamber, nor do they stop at a sacristy’s doorstep.
Remembering our ordinary human condition is no excuse for downplaying, or even less, for tolerating error and moral failure, prices must be paid for mistakes made. However, a price we should not pay is our continued faith in our collective ability to redress problems, to learn from past bad experiences and to maintain a critical but confident pride in our political traditions and leaders.
Mr Hampton: Conservation officers do important work in protecting and conserving our natural resources. Unfortunately, the important work that our conservation officers do does not seem to be accepted or at least is not appreciated by the Ministry of Natural Resources, which employs them.
The kind of work a conservation officer does often involves very dangerous activities. If you can imagine a lone conservation officer, 20 or 30 miles away from the nearest town, walking into a group of hunters, all of whom have weapons, and telling them that they are hunting illegally, that they are doing something illegally or that he wants to check their equipment, that in itself can he a very threatening situation. It is the kind of work which should be recognized both in terms of the classification system within the civil service of Ontario and in terms of pay. Sadly, under this government that kind of work is not recognized and conservation officers are quite frustrated by it.
Second, if the government really believes in what it says about resource conservation, we could use more conservation officers. We simply do not have enough of them in our communities across northern Ontario, and those who are there are overworked, undersupported and underpaid.
Mr McLean: My statement concerns this government’s second $1.3-billion tax grab in as many years, that forces the people of Ontario to pay more to do just about everything in this province. This dipping into the pocketbooks of just about every man, woman and child in Ontario comes at a time when we are hearing some pretty shocking revelations about favours accorded to friends of this government.
When we stop to think about the $1.3-billion tax grab, which saw higher personal income taxes, higher gasoline and fuel taxes, a new payroll tax, a new tire tax, the option to use lot levies to fund local development costs and increased land transfer taxes, one simply cannot blame the public for growing cynical and for bringing into question the ethics and judgment of elected officials and political appointees in the province of Ontario. The application of the $1.3-billion tax grab, coupled with the allegations of blatant political payments from a charitable foundation, leaves the public with the distinct impression that this government is robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Only by withdrawing the tax increases and new taxes contained in the budget and by introducing strict standards of conduct for government ministers and backbenchers can the Premier (Mr Peterson) restore public confidence and ensure that the critical issues facing Ontario will receive undivided attention.
MUSKOKA-GEORGIAN BAY TOURIST AREA
Mr Black: Sometimes media reports do tend to mislead the public and I would like to set the record straight in regard to my riding of Muskoka-Georgian Bay. Recent reports suggest there might be problems with natural pests and with transportation routes leading to Ontario’s vacation lands. I want to tell all members of this Legislature as well as the people of Ontario that those reports have been vastly exaggerated. In fact, through the efforts of the Minister of Transportation (Mr Fulton) and the very excellent staff who work for him, roads to Muskoka and Georgian Bay are open and traffic is moving well.
Through the efforts of the excellent staff of the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr Kerrio), members will be pleased to know that the epidemic of the tent caterpillar which was predicted for Muskoka-Georgian Bay has not materialized. Due to the very warm weather we have enjoyed in the past few days, the blackflies are just about at an end. So I say to all members of this Legislature and the people of Ontario that now is the time to return to Ontario’s premier vacation land. Now is the time to join the people of Midland as they celebrate the 350th anniversary of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and enjoy the crystal-clear waters of Georgian Bay and the lakes of Muskoka. Come to us and enjoy a beautiful summer in Ontario.
Mr Cousens: Having listened to the honourable member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay, I happen to feel he must be taking a route north other than Highway 400, because when they have it coming down to two lanes there is a backup for miles. Probably the honourable member is taking back roads and he does not realize just how bad the main roads are. The one thing he is right about is that it is a beautiful area to be in, but the province is making it more and more difficult for people to get up there.
The other day when I asked the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation to give us some tourism data, it did not seem to have any. Why do we not begin to start really promoting the province and building it, so that people can get around and enjoy it instead of blocking their way up north? Right now there are serious problems on Highway 400. I am convinced the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay is not using that highway, because otherwise he would not have made such a statement.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
DEVELOPMENT OF GOVERNMENT LAND
Hon Mr Patten: It gives me particular pleasure to rise today to inform the honourable members of the House about an initiative using provincial lands on the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital grounds in Etobicoke to address two key public concerns -- housing and the enhancement of public park land.
This proposal includes the development of more than 2,000 homes on a 60-acre parcel of land owned by my ministry and by the adjacent land owner, Humber College.
About half of these units would be aimed at low- and moderate-income earners. The mix of housing styles would include nonprofit and moderately priced rental housing, as well as moderately priced homes for people to buy. There will also be a market price component to ensure a broad range of housing opportunities.
This proposal will also create an additional 10 acres of park land within the development to complete and complement the adjacent 32 acres of park land this government transferred two years ago to the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. The total park land in the area will now be 42 acres.
To encourage balanced community development, the proposal incorporates the preservation of historic buildings, the extension of Kipling Avenue south of Lakeshore Boulevard, the development of an office building and an expanded local office and retail space, and a new building to house community outreach programs of the ministries of Health and Community and Social Services, which currently occupy some of the historic structures on the hospital grounds.
The public has been consulted throughout the development of this proposal. My two colleagues the ministers of Housing (Ms Hošek) and Colleges and Universities (Mrs McLeod) met with the community on the former hospital grounds to unveil the plans for this balanced neighbourhood community at noontime today.
This proposal fulfils a commitment made by this government under the Housing First policy, which was to review surplus lands for their housing potential.
We will now be able to seek municipal approval to use these lands to provide a range of needed housing in Metropolitan Toronto while at the same preserving the architectural and natural heritage of the hospital site as a unique setting for Humber College’s new campus.
With this proposal, we will create a new, balanced neighbourhood that is linked to the unique environmental and historic elements of its surroundings.
DEVELOPMENT OF GOVERNMENT LAND
Mr Breaugh: I want to respond briefly to the statement made by the Minister of Government Services (Mr Patten). I understand the Minister of Housing (Ms Hošek) was present at the site for part of the festivities. The member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Mrs Grier), unfortunately, has neither limousine nor driver to get her back here as quickly as they do, but I know she would want us to join in the --
Mr Reycraft: The subway goes faster than I do.
Mr Breaugh: I am very pleased that on the government side they want us to take the subway. We would, if we could, but there is no subway from Etobicoke-Lakeshore to here. They might look into that.
We do, however, think there is something of great significance that really should be marked. This is one of the first major pieces of government-owned property that is being proposed now with a fairly substantial housing component to it. All of us understand that this is sometimes a difficult process to try to negotiate with community groups, and often with competing interests, to try to put together a plan.
The government should be congratulated for at least doing that, for going through the motions in the proper way, in my view, of consulting with the local community; of trying to put together several elements, often a very difficult thing; of trying to work in a component of something that is very important to us today, that is, affordable housing; of utilizing an existing site without destroying the park land and historic buildings that are there, and of trying to respond to the needs of a local community.
If we have any hesitation it is probably about, I guess the polite way to say it is, the unknown role of the private sector. What will they do as this development proposal proceeds? We will monitor that with some care.
We understand that a project of this scope has not been undertaken in quite this way before. We think that the government has adopted a stance that is supportive of consulting, of trying to meet and deal honestly and openly with the arguments that are there about competing interests for a very valuable asset, land of this nature.
I am sure the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore and all members would welcome the addition of affordable housing on this scale in this community, where it is a serious problem. I think we are sensitive to the needs of the local community. We are trying to balance off park land, historic buildings, local needs and general needs in a community. That is not an easy task. We think the government has started off on the right foot. We will watch with great interest and great care to see if the delivery is anywhere near the promise.
Mr J. M. Johnson: I too would like to congratulate the minister on this initiative. It just shows that once in a while, when the government does something right, we are very pleased to give it credit.
I am very pleased that the minister has had public consultation with Humber College and with the municipal council. I encourage him to continue in this endeavour so that all interested parties have a say in the development of the proposal so there is satisfaction.
I also strongly urge him to give very serious consideration to having a full and open development process as well, so there will not be any problems relating to the awarding of contracts. As the member for Nepean (Mr Daigeler) mentioned earlier, at times we do have to consider the concerns of the citizens. If the process is open, if there is full input from all the parties involved, then the minister is to be congratulated.
I noticed in the minister’s statement that half the units would be aimed at low- and moderate-income earners. The mix will be nonprofit and moderately priced rental housing. I encourage the minister to consider more than half of these units. There is a need for more low- and moderate-priced housing rather than for expensive housing. He should try to work in that direction so the people who are in real financial need for homes do have the opportunity to be able to either rent or buy their homes.
My congratulations once more to the minister on behalf of my party on this initiative.
Mr B. Rae: I have a question for the Premier today. He will know, no doubt, from reading the paper today, of another allegation with respect to influence being exercised by Mrs Starr on the Ministry of Housing. It was partly during the previous administration, when his colleague the Minister of Skills Development (Mr Curling) was the Housing minister. I cannot ask him, so I will have to ask the Premier.
I wonder if the Premier can tell us how it could possibly have happened that a project which was announced, and appeared from all the signs to have preliminary approval, was in fact turned down at the very last minute, the last stage, by the ministry, and that another project which was being promoted by Mrs Starr went to the top of the list with respect to new development in Scarborough. Can he tell us how that happened?
Hon Mr Peterson: The Minister of Housing has all the details on that, l am told. I would refer it to her, if I may.
Hon Ms Hošek: I am advised by my staff that the previous Minister of Housing decided that an allocation at that time for this project, which is the Homeward Family Shelter, I understand, was premature because of the site, which had no shopping, no postal service and no transportation on it. I am also told by my staff that there is no connection between the decision to give the Jack Goodlad Senior Citizens Residence an allocation and the decision not to give one to the family shelter.
Mr B. Rae: The fact of the matter is that a Toronto Transit Commission line was in the works, a 50-store mall was being constructed across the road and the reasons which the ministry gave for the cancellation were entirely bogus. In fact, the site was not isolated, a mall was being proposed and a TTC line was equally going to be there.
I wonder if the minister can tell us why the former minister would have refused a project that was already announced by his ministry, allocated in a press release which went out on 22 January. Why would he turn around and say at the very last minute, “Sorry, no go”?
Hon Ms Hošek: The member opposite should know that there is a process of announcing nonprofit housing in which a preliminary allocation is given and then it has to go through a variety of other processes before that is made permanent. That is a norm, as he knows.
Mr B. Rae: And cleared by Patti Starr?
Hon Ms Hošek: I assume the member opposite would like the answer to his question, which I am trying to give him.
What my staff have said is that the previous minister decided, as it is his role to decide on final allocations, that, at that time, that allocation was premature because there was then no shopping, no postal service and no transportation on the site.
As the member opposite also knows, proposals of this sort are considered on their individual merits. What he should also know is that in this case, as in many others, when the decision was made not to go forward at that time, staff continued to work with the people who proposed this particular project to find a suitable site.
Mr B. Rae: Whenever I listen to the minister, particularly today, I am reminded that today is the last day of school. But the question that I have for the minister is this --
Hon Mr Elston: It’s time for you to find a new school.
Mr B. Rae: It takes a while.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr B. Rae: There is a very specific allegation contained today in the paper, which the minister will know, the allegation being: How was it that Patti Starr heard about the fact that this proposal had been turned down? Why was Mrs Starr phoning anybody on anybody else’s behalf with respect to this proposal? How could that have possibly happened? What was Mr Goetz-Gadon’s involvement in this whole sorry saga?
Those are the very particular problems that are at stake here. The integrity of the minister’s housing list and the views and feelings of literally hundreds of groups out there that are applying for housing are what are at stake. If they feel that whether they get to the top of the list depends on who they know, there is something --
The Speaker: Thank you. There were four questions actually asked.
Hon Ms Hošek: The member opposite has a number of times alluded to the fact that in one of the previous parts of my life I worked as a teacher. Let me say that I am proud of that work and the member opposite might want to wonder how his comments affect members of his own caucus who started out as teachers who may not appreciate that particular approach. But let me, on the last day of school, give the member opposite the answer to the question that he asked.
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Ms Hosek: The work that we do in the Ministry of Housing with literally hundreds of nonprofit groups all across the province is extremely important to me, as the member opposite knows. We work with them to help them develop their proposals. The ministry works with them to make sure that as much nonprofit housing as we can manage to build in this province gets built. We work very successfully with nonprofit groups across the community, and l am very proud of the work that we do.
In this case, the minister, as was his role and his right, made a decision about a particular project. Let me just make it clear. He decided this on the basis of his reading of what was going on at that site and he did what he thought was right at the time.
Mr B. Rae: I would like to ask a question now to the Premier. We have had some discussions in this House about what the terms of reference of the judicial inquiry or royal commission should be with respect to what is going on.
I wonder if the Premier could tell us whether he is prepared to have a royal commission which, instead of dealing simply with allegations involving Mr Ashworth and Mrs Starr and Tridel, would in fact be a royal commission that would look into the whole relationship between the development and construction industries and governments in Ontario, municipal and provincial as well as federal, so that we can have some senous recommendations on the electoral process, political contributions, land use planning, speculation and land ownership. and deal with the whole problem, not simply to solve the political problem which the Premier now has but to deal with the public problem which the whole province has.
Hon Mr Peterson: My honourable friend raises a number of policy questions, and I understand that. Let me say that the Attorney General (Mr Scott) is reflecting on those broad terms of interest. The member is aware of the suggestions made by certain people with respect to the nature of the inquiry, and I understand that.
But I think we could see an inquiry potentially going on for 10 or 20 years in that regard.
If we were to look into the development relationship of various people in Peterborough, London, Nepean or Fort William, I ask my friend how productive that is going to be in the long term. Perhaps we have to deal with the policy implications of that here in this House.
The judicial inquiry that we have called deals with a specific set of allegations and specific people. It is not my intention to limit that, because if there is any suggestion of wrongdoing anywhere, obviously the commissioner should have the power to follow that up. Allegations will be referred to him. But I think my friend would agree with me that it has to be in, shall we say, a manageable bite somehow or other. We do not want this thing to go on for the next five or 10 years. I am sure that is not my honourable friend’s suggestion.
Mr B. Rae: But we do want it to deal with issues. We want it to deal not simply with specific allegations of wrongdoing. Is the Premier saying he is not interested in finding out whether the concentration of land ownership and the accumulation of land in very few hands in areas of rapid growth is not a problem?
Is he saying that the influence that is exercised over municipal officials and elected municipal politicians is not a problem? Is he saying that the question of the relationship between this industry and governments, federal, provincial and municipal, is not a problem? I can tell the Premier that we disagree profoundly with a judicial inquiry that is framed to solve the Premier’s political problems instead of solving and dealing with the public problems of the province of Ontario.
Hon Mr Peterson: The inquiry is designed to deal with all of the facts surrounding a number of allegations. They will all be there for the member to see.
Now my honourable friend wants to make that wider and deal with a number of policymaking aspects, whether it is land speculation tax -- he is suggesting there are some improper relationships between the municipal politicians and/or developers, in what communities I do not know, and perhaps members of this House. He is making that suggestion.
Hon Mr Peterson: He is. Then there is the question of zoning and agricultural preservation and all the questions involved in providing housing for the people of this province.
I say to my honourable friend that there may be more creative ways we can use the mechanisms of this House to develop policy, and maybe we need committees to do that kind of thing. We have no objection to looking at our policies and trying to improve them, but I think, at the same time, what we have to do is get at the root of a number of specific allegations that have been made, and that is what we are trying to do. We are not trying to avoid anything. We are trying to solve some specific problems, not just some amorphous or imagined problems that do not have any specific application.
Mr B. Rae: If the Premier is saying that the concentration of ownership of land, speculation in land, is an amorphous problem that exists in my head and my head alone, then he is living in a different universe from everybody else in Ontario. That is a sad fact. These are all sad facts. He can either wake up to these facts and the political influence that this power is buying or he can close his eyes to that and pretend it is not happening.
The Speaker: Question?
Mr B. Rae: When it comes in his back door, he can say, “Oh, my goodness, what a surprise,” or he can do something about it with a proper royal commission. Will he appoint a royal commission that has real powers and is going to deal effectively with a broad public problem, or is he simply going to try to solve his own problems? That is the question.
Hon Mr Peterson: This royal commissioner will have real powers, but we are discussing, as my honourable friend said, the concentration of power, the concentration of land ownership, which he feels is a legitimate question for him to raise.
There are some who raise the question of the concentration of unions and their power. Others raise the question of the concentration of oil companies and their powers. Others would raise the question of the powers of certain other groups in our society. Those are all legitimate public policy questions that we should all debate and have ideas on at various given points in time.
If my honourable friend is saying we should have a royal commission on land ownership across the province -- who should own it, who should not -- that is a fair question and a fair public policy question to debate. But perhaps we should be solving that in terms of this House and not placing our policy development exclusively in the hands of some outsider who may not have any special knowledge.
I think if my friend has some specific ideas on corporate concentration of land ownership or oil companies, insurance companies or anything else, he should bring them forward and develop policies to change that.
Mr Brandt: My question is to the Premier. Yesterday, in response to a question I raised about the direction the Premier took with respect to DelZotto family members and asking them to resign from various government-appointed positions, he responded by indicating that this action was taken because the sense was to save embarrassment.
I wonder if the Premier could explain how the resignation of Marlene DelZotto and Angelo DelZotto, neither of whom has been mentioned in this assembly in connection with any allegations I am aware of -- except by the government, I might add -- could somehow save the Premier and his government embarrassment. I wonder if he could elaborate on his statement of yesterday.
Hon Mr Peterson: The allegation was that Tridel was involved in activity that is being investigated at the present time. It is a family company and those people are attached to the family company. That is the only reason. There are no specific allegations against any specific people, but Tridel and some of its agents presumably will be part of the investigation. It was not born out of any prejudgement of the situation, but rather a desire to be prudent.
Mr Brandt: I can understand the apprehensions about the connections between Tridel and Patti Starr but I would like to advise the Premier that my office did in fact check the major companies owned by the DelZotto family. Marlene DelZotto is not listed on any one of them as an officer or a director of any of those companies. Will the Premier confirm that Marlene DelZotto’s only crime was being the spouse of Elvio DelZotto and that that is why he asked her to resign from TVOntario?
Hon Mr Peterson: I would not suggest for a moment that she has committed any crime and would not use that word in that context.
Mr Brandt: If she has not committed a crime, has admitted to no impropriety whatever and if she was serving as a result of the Premier’s appointment to the board of TVOntario, I find it absolutely astonishing that this lady would be asked to resign prior to having any opportunity whatever to save her good name in this particular instance.
If at some future point some allegations come forward of which I am not aware, that is a different situation. But here we have the Premier taking action before the fact with a member of the family, simply because the name is DelZotto. Does the Premier think that is fair and appropriate under the circumstances?
Hon Mr Peterson: I have to say that my honourable friend, dripping with sanctimony as he stands in this House, is a little bit outrageous to look at. I say that in all seriousness when he and his colleagues stand in this House daily and throw charges in a most, in my opinion, irresponsible way regularly. Now to change his views on these matters is to me quite incredible.
I have told the member my view of the situation. It was viewed to be prudent, and we are not prejudging anyone’s guilt. We do not use the word “criminal,” as the member does in this House. He is the one who has made a number of allegations, he and the members opposite. We are going to track them all down. The answer is that the member has prejudged almost everything here.
Mr Brandt: To the Premier, for my second question: Yesterday, in response to a question regarding hospitals giving money to political parties or being involved in fund-raisers, the Premier said, “My own opinion is that transfer agencies should not be involved in political donations.”
Talking about changing one’s position or changing one’s response with respect to a particular issue. I wonder if the Premier can tell me when his conversion took place on the road to Damascus.
Hon Mr Peterson: Interestingly enough, I had heard about this, I guess, in connection with the Ottawa school board. The Minister of Health will help me out and tell me when she sent a directive out to the hospitals.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I spoke about this at the end of the year.
Hon Mr Peterson: The minister spoke about this at the end of the year when she found out about this happening, and she sent out a directive that hospitals should not be contributing. That was some time ago. Even though it is permissible under the law as my honourable friend knows -- I assume my honourable friend has those things in his own party or his own riding, and if he does not, he could check them, or if he does not want to do it himself, we could have someone else check it for him. I say to my honourable friend that it is permissible as far as I know, under the law, but the Minister of Health had already issued a directive in that regard some time ago.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I spoke to them.
Hon Mr Peterson: Sorry; she spoke to the hospital association about this matter.
Mr Brandt: Let me help the Premier who has a selective memory when it comes to some of these things. On 15 June 1987, the Premier not only endorsed a fund-raising dinner for the then Minister of Health, but this particular fund-raiser was directed at the same transfer agencies that he now indicates should not be contributing to political parties, and the Premier in fact attended that fund-raiser on 15 June 1987. What has happened since 15 June 1987?
The Premier should check out the date to make sure these allegations are in fact correct, because I know they are. I want to know why it was so appropriate back on 15 June 1987 to attend that fund-raiser sponsored by the former Minister of Health, and now the Premier says it is inappropriate for this kind of activity to be carried out. I want the Premier to tell me what the difference is.
Hon Mr Peterson: I think my honourable friend is getting carried away with his own rhetoric in this situation. He asked about the law. The law is quite clear. The minister sent out a directive in that regard. I do not recall specifically requesting money from institutions and we all collectively have to look at the law with respect to the future. I do not see any particular conflict. Sure, I have attended fund-raisers, as has the member. We raised money and it is all public and there for everybody to see. All of the donations are listed and there are no secrets about the situation. Now, if we want to change the law, let’s do it together.
Mr Brandt: Talking about taking a sanctimonious tone in this House, let me remind the Premier, and he can check Hansard with respect to these facts, that in 1985 we raised with him our concerns about the method of fund-raising his party was engaged in. We repeated those calls in 1986, 1987 and 1988.
In fact, in January of this year, his Minister of Energy (Mr Wong) was involved in a fund-raising activity with one of the major corporate players in that particular field who ultimately had to step down as chairman of the dinner because of at least a perceived conflict. I want to ask the Premier, what made it so right from 1985 through to 1989 that he is now taking the stance that this type of fund-raising activity is no longer appropriate? What has changed his mind?
Hon Mr Peterson: We have a law in this province that the member presumably has agreed to. He has raised money under it and he has been very comfortable about it. It is all there for everybody to see. It is all public. Presumably he raises money under that law as do we. If we do things that are wrong, obviously it has to be brought to our attention, just as when they do things wrong, I am sure he will check into it.
But there is nothing illegal, I can assure my honourable friend. It is all there in the open for everybody to see, for them and for us. Now, if the member has ideas on how to change the law, he should stand up and share them. Does he agree that, for example, we should change the law and not allow transfer agencies to contribute out of their budgets? That is an interesting question we should decide on together, but I do not remember him ever raising that question prior to a little while ago.
The Speaker: Order. New question, the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr B. Rae: I want to go back to the Premier. He announced this inquiry on Friday amid a great fanfare, trying to be seen to be dealing specifically with a political crisis that is the most serious he has faced since becoming the Premier. He announced the judicial inquiry. He did not announce the terms of reference for that inquiry. He did not announce who would be chairing that inquiry. He did not tell us exactly what it was going to be about.
I am putting forward a proposal for the Premier that he deal with a royal commission whose terms of reference would be specific, yet sufficiently broad to deal with the policy issues that are before the people of the province.
I want to ask the Premier if he can tell us why it is that in announcing the inquiry on Friday, he did not tell us what the terms of reference were going to be, and he has yet to name a judge who in fact will chair the inquiry.
Hon Mr Peterson: I am just going by memory here, but it seems to me that last week the member was on television screaming for a judicial inquiry, saying some very uncomplimentary things about the government and how we had to get to the bottom of this. Now he wants to turn over certain policy issues, as opposed to the allegations that he and others have made about the government.
What I want to do is get to the bottom of this. The member is right; the specific terms of reference, at this point, have not been drawn up. I said what they were in general. Obviously, they have to be cleared with the person who will be conducting the judicial inquiry to give him or her a full range of options and a comfort level. The Attorney General (Mr Scott) is now discussing those matters and will report back to the House -- he has to talk to the Chief Justice and others -- with the specific terms of reference.
I have told the member -- I said then and I have said in this House -- the reference will be, in general terms, to explore those relationships that are under some allegations at the present time and to turn up all the facts pertaining to those.
Mr B. Rae: The Premier has made allegations with respect to things I said last week that are totally incorrect. I have consistently said that what the Premier should do is take steps to clean his own house. He may object to my saying that. That has been the thrust of what I have said, and that he should not be using a judicial inquiry to ignore his responsibilities as the first minister of this province. That is what I have been saying consistently since this mess first started.
I would like to ask the Premier, can he explain the incredible delay? He announced an inquiry on Friday that has no terms of reference and he has not been able to find a judge who will take this on. Can he tell us why it has taken him this long to establish the terms of reference of an inquiry, when he himself knows that all that is involved here was an attempt on his part to solve a political problem on Friday instead of dealing with it himself. That is what is involved here.
Hon Mr Peterson: He cannot both want the inquiry and not want it. I just say to my honourable friend that there is no incredible delay, to the best of my knowledge. The leader of Her Majesty’s third party had some views with respect to the terms of reference. To the best of my knowledge, the Attorney General is meeting with him tomorrow to discuss those terms of reference, out of respect for him.
If the member has any views on the terms of reference, the Attorney General would be very happy to meet with him as well. It is out of courtesy for the leader of the third party that the Attorney General has held off the final determination. You do not get credit for politeness any more in this world.
Mr Pope: My question is for the Premier. For the last several weeks now, there have been allegations -- I call them allegations -- with respect to various ministries, Patti Starr. Tridel. The DelZotto family, questionable if not illegal political donations, political donations involving members of the government and transfer agents.
Not only are ministers of his government and other members of his Premier’s party and this Legislature involved, but also we now see that it is reaching to his closest political confidants, one of whom resigned last week. I think we are entitled to know, and I think the people of Ontario are entitled to know, at all relevant times, what was the Premier’s involvement and how much did he know about what was going on in his office?
Hon Mr Peterson: The honourable member has been away, I guess, for the last couple of weeks and has perhaps been reading the newspaper. It was a very acute summary of the situation and I want to congratulate him for that.
Obviously, a number of allegations have been made. We want to have a full judicial inquiry into all these allegations and it will all be there for him to see and to attend upon, if he so desires. If he has anything to contribute, obviously his testimony would be welcome, if he or any of his colleagues have any views on this matter or any special knowledge, just as we will all be prepared to contribute any knowledge we have.
We are prepared to put all these matters in the hands of an independent judge, because we think that is the appropriate way to go in the circumstances and I think my honourable friend should support that kind of view, being a notable member of the bar, as he is.
Mr Pope: The Premier has not answered the question, and deliberately so. We are entitled and the people of this province are entitled to know what he knew and what his involvement was in all these matters that were emanating from his office, from his confidence and involving his ministers.
How much did he know? Either he knew and he is hiding behind this inquiry and is not going to tell this Legislature or the people of Ontario, or he did not know and he cannot manage his government. Which is it?
Hon Mr Peterson: If my honourable friend, who has an aptitude for generalities in this matter, has any specific questions on any subject, I would be delighted to answer them. I am here in this House. If he has any suggestions or questions on things I knew or did not know or any of the ministers did -- let me tell him something I know now because I just got a note. It says: “The PC Ontario fund regularly mailed to the CAOs and heads of council of all municipalities soliciting funds. I have seen and received letters personally at the town hall during my municipal days.”
That comes from one of our cabinet ministers who is familiar with being on the receiving end of his letters. I just say to my honourable friend that as this knowledge unfolds, we are happy to share it with him, that or anything else.
POLICIES ON ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
Mr Dietsch: My question is for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. In the modern age of plastic purchasing, could the minister please explain to me why a customer may not purchase wine from a cottage winery store, but can go down the street to a hotel or restaurant and make a major purchase with a credit card in one of these establishments?
Hon Mr Wrye: This issue has been visited by the government on a number of occasions. I suspect my predecessors looked at it before me, perhaps as far back as when the third party was in government.
I think it has generally been the policy of government over a period of time that the purchase of alcoholic beverages ought to be paid for in cash rather than with credit cards where the purchase is forborne consumption. That is a view we think is consistent with the message of social responsibility this government has been putting out for a period of time. It is an issue we looked at again in the recent changes to liquor policy that I announced within the last two or three weeks and we reconfirmed that policy.
Mr Dietsch: With the additional pressures of world markets and free trade and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade decisions on wineries and the need to be innovative in the Ontario marketplace, will the minister please consider modifications to this policy?
Hon Mr Wrye: I know that the issue is one the wineries have raised with the honourable member and with me and that they feel strongly about it. I can say to the honourable member that we have looked very carefully at the issue, as recently as during our consideration of reform to beverage alcohol policy.
It remains the view of the government that the tying of credit cards to the sale of alcoholic beverages for home consumption is not appropriate to the other theme of social responsibility, so I cannot give the honourable member, and through him the wineries in his riding, a commitment that we are going to he revisiting that in the next short while. We want to get on with having beverage alcohol sales in a modern society as well, but there are some other competing issues that we are addressing and this is one of them.
OTTAWA CENTRE NURSING HOME
Mr Reville: I have a question for the Minister of Health. She will know, and I am sure she shares the concern, about the fire that occurred at the Ottawa Centre Nursing Home on 18 June. Regrettably, there were three injuries and one fatality, that of an aged person who was both blind and mute.
It seems to me this was an accident waiting to happen. I checked into the inspection reports of this particular nursing home since 1983 and was able to count no less than 111 violations, many of them having to do with fire safety. I want to ask the minister how that could possibly happen.
Hon Mrs Caplan: As the member knows, whenever there is a fire, the fire marshal’s office investigates. The nursing homes branch regularly inspects facilities. As I understand, in this case careless smoking is suspected as the cause of the accident.
Mr Reville: The minister may or may not know that on 10 November a public institutions inspection panel went in there. Those are not her troops. They found the conditions, including fire safety, in this nursing home to be deplorable. They went back on 15 May to follow up to see what had happened in the intervening six months and they were refused admission. Five weeks later, we have a fatality. What is the minister going to do about that?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I think it is very important for the member to have his facts straight and to know that whenever a complaint is launched, the ministry inspections branch does go in. However, even without complaint, the ministry regularly reviews nursing homes.
I can tell him that this particular home was, to the best of my knowledge, last inspected last March. There was only one minor recommendation. I know this regrettable fire has been under investigation, and in fact it is my understanding careless smoking is the suspected cause.
Mr Harris: I have a question for the Premier concerning the article in the Globe and Mail today involving his Minister of Skills Development, then Minister of Housing, the member for Scarborough North (Mr Curling). We heard from the current Minister of Housing (Ms Hošek) who says she has looked into it and is satisfied the minister did nothing untoward and acted in the best interests.
I am interested in the Premier’s judgement and his standards, which I believe are the issue, since this minister is appointed by and works for him.
Given the allegations and the revelations in the Globe’s story today, I would ask him if he is satisfied that everything that was done in this project was appropriate and if he can possibly explain or think of any logical reason Patti Starr was involved at all in this whole affair.
Hon Mr Peterson: I do not know the answer to that last question, but I rely on the advice from the ministry. We have scoured the files to see if there has been anything strange done, anything that was not routine or anything that was not under the regulations, and we are not aware of that.
I cannot stand in this House and absolutely assert that every single transaction of the government was absolutely perfect, according to the blue book or management rules. We try to have it that way. We try to run a government without fear or favour for anyone so that all are treated in a routine way, yet with dispatch. The minister has explained the details and I am satisfied to the best of my knowledge that there is nothing particularly out of order.
Mr Harris: I know the Premier would be aware of the sensitivity and the concerns that are out there about integrity in government and how we operate.
With the revelations today, given the fact of Patti Starr’s fund-raising efforts on behalf of the minister and given the fact that Gerald Starr, husband of Patti Starr, is a partner in at least one company with Harry Solomon, New-Port Sportswear Ltd., does it not concern the Premier at all that she was involved in apparently nothing that she had anything to do with, on behalf of the minister, and given the fact that as a result of that involvement the minister had changed the priority, the recommendations of the ministry and approved a project that a partner of Patti Starr’s husband was involved in and other companies that we know of, for a fact...
Hon Mr Peterson: I appreciate my honourable friend’s interpretation of the facts. That is not the interpretation of others, but let me just say that to me that is what the judicial inquiry is all about. He has a particular allegation in this regard. I think that an independent judge would look at that and make a judgement with respect to this transaction, and others, where the member thinks there is a problem or special influence exercised.
I think that my honourable friend would agree with me that is a fair and open and forthright way to handle the situation; exactly the way we are doing it.
ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS
Mr Tatham: I have a question to the Minister of Agriculture and Food. I have had several letters and phone calls from Oxford county farmers regarding drought assistance. The minister is quite aware of the promise of $850 million in drought assistance to Canadian farmers from the federal government. In view of recent press reports that the federal government is still seeking cost-sharing with the provinces, can the minister indicate whether there has been any recent discussion with the federal government on this issue and whether there will be any delays in payments to farmers?
Hon Mr Riddell: The honourable member is quite correct. The federal drought assistance program was a federal election promise to garner the farm vote. There was absolutely no consultation on this program or its costs with the provinces. I have stated, and I will continue to state, that we will not in any way cost-share this program. That is the message that I gave Mr Mayer, Minister of State (Grains and Oilseeds), when I met with him on 6 June. When he came to see me we discussed two matters, the crop insurance program and the federal drought assistance program.
He offered several options for cost-sharing both programs and I indicated to him at that time that I was not interested in cost-sharing the federal drought assistance program in any way, shape or form. The funds have now been made available by the federal government. There were no conditions attached when they made the promise in 1988 and therefore, I would hope that they will get on with the job and get those cheques out to the farmers without further delay.
Mr Tatham: Can the minister explain how these proposals from the federal government will affect our crop insurance program, particularly when both levels of government have reinforced their commitment to it and in light of the recent federal discussion paper on crop insurance?
Hon Mr Riddell: As I indicated, in his discussion, Mr Mayer would like the provinces to cost-share the national crop insurance program. At the present time the federal government pays 50 per cent of the premiums, the farmer pays 50 per cent and the provinces pay the administration cost.
What the federal government would like to do is to reduce its cost by 25 per cent, have the provinces pick up that cost with absolutely no benefits to the farmers whatsoever. I totally rejected that idea and said that I was not prepared to do anything with the crop insurance program by way of cost sharing premiums, unless I could see that there were benefits to the farmers by so doing.
Mr B. Rae: I am going to try again on the question of Ronto. I wonder if I could ask the Premier if he can tell us whether he has discussed personally with the Minister of Skills Development (Mr Curling) the reasons why the minister personally turned the project down in 1987.
Hon Mr Peterson: No.
Mr B. Rae: I think that we are entitled to know why he would not. Is he using this inquiry to avoid his responsibilities in terms of his responsibility for the ministry? There is another question I could ask the Premier. Has he discussed with the Minister of Skills Development how it is that Mrs Starr would have phoned the group that was trying to build these 250 units for battered women and for people in need, as if she was representing the Minister of Housing.
Can the Premier tell us, has he discussed with the former Minister of Housing how it would be that Mrs Starr would be putting herself forward as somebody who had some news to bear with respect to this project?
Hon Mr Peterson: Frankly, I say to my friend, there is a lot of behaviour that Mrs Starr has engaged in that I cannot explain, but if the member has any ideas on what should be investigated in that regard, the commissioner will look at them and will come up with an objective view on that whole matter. That is the object of the royal commission.
Mr Runciman: My question is for the Premier as well, with respect to his dealings with Marco Muzzo. Will the Premier tell us how many times he has met with Mr Muzzo since he became Premier? Can he tell us what was discussed at those meetings?
Hon Mr Peterson: I have seen him on two, three or four occasions in my life, probably. On two occasions, he came with respect to environmental ideas, as members know, we have looked at at those meetings. I do not recall ever having a, shall we say, private conversation in that regard. There was discussion about the garbage situation, as I discussed it with other groups. There may have been other social occasions when this happened, but I cannot tell my friend specifically.
Mr Runciman: Will the Premier tell us whether he has ever asked anyone in the Ontario government to do anything on behalf of Mr Muzzo or one of his companies? If so, what was it that he asked them to do?
Hon Mr Peterson: My honourable friend is on a big fishing expedition here. To the best of my knowledge, no. If the member ever asked me if I have done a special favour for him, the answer is no, nor for anybody else that I am aware of. I say to my honourable friend that, obviously, there are requests on government all of the time. There are requests on people like the member to do things and intervene for people and situations, but I can tell the member that I am not aware of my requesting anything personally for any company that Mr Muzzo is involved in. Number two, I am not aware of anything special that was given in that case that would not be treated in the normal course of events.
Mr Miller: I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources. The Grand River Conservation Authority, with about $2 million in financial assistance from the Province of Ontario, is embarking on a project to build a lift lock on the Grand River at the town of Dunnville and to restore the Dunnville dam. These projects are very, very welcome ones to recreational boaters. I would ask the minister to bring the House up to date on the status of these projects and of the planned fishway.
Hon Mr Kerrio: I am very pleased to share with the member for Norfolk the initiative at Dunnville. It is one that is very exciting for many people in that area and in a very broad sense across the province. We are working with the conservation authority there to put some $2 million into the rebuilding of the dam and into putting a lock into the dam, so that we can bring boats up from the Lake Erie level to be able to traverse much more of the Grand River. We have the Grand River authority doing work to clean up the stream and do rehabilitation.
It is a very, very good project that we are undertaking. We are going to build a fish ladder in the complex to be able to move the fish up the Grand River. It is an area that needs this kind of rebuilding. I am very pleased that we, as a government, are taking this initiative and it is going to augur well for the people of the area and for many people across Ontario.
Mr Miller: As the minister probably realizes, once that dam is in place, it will give access to Cayuga. There is still the remainder from Cayuga to Caledonia, so that it would be accessible to Brantford. How would the minister view other requests to increase accessibility on the Grand River for boating?
Hon Mr Kerrio: We are not only taking this initiative to be able to increase the ability to go up as far as Cayuga, but as the minister I am looking at areas for fish rehabilitation, in that lower river and up above the dam, after the fish ladder is put in. It was always a very major spawning ground for the eastern end of Lake Erie.
I think that when we take this initiative, we are going to see people putting more pressure on us to go up farther and we will work our way right up the Grand River. I think it is an initiative we can all be proud of and I am very pleased to be a part of it. I am sure I am going to get pressure from the member for Norfolk and those people in that area to continue on and I should then take the message to the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon), and I hope we get his approval so that we go forward in the future. But our work is going to start in the spring of 1990 and I am very enthusiastic about it as is the member for Norfolk, my very good friend.
NORTHERN HEALTH SERVICES
Mr Hampton: My question is for the Minister of Health. In Sudbury, on 18 November 1988, the Minister of Health announced that the ministry would establish a northern health manpower committee to help the ministry attract and retain health professionals in the north. I can quote the minister. She said: “I feel this new approach will provide faster results to provide top quality health care to every geographical area in northern Ontario and to all the people who live there.” That announcement created quite a lot of hope in northern Ontario. I want to ask the minister: Has the committee met yet? Has it even been constituted yet?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I want to thank the member for the question because in fact our commitment to northern Ontario is clear. The establishment of the northern health manpower committee is a significant one. We made the commitment to consult widely from numerous northern organizations and communities. We have received those and I can say to him that I was delighted with the response and recommendations of individuals who have agreed to serve. In fact I have just very recently signed the letters and I am hoping to have the committee up and functioning now that we have received these recommendations and approved the formation of the committee.
Mr Hampton: Just to help the Minister of Health, I did not hear her say that it is constituted. When we called over to her office earlier this week we were told it is not constituted. The latest report from the underserviced area program is out. There are now 34 communities across northern Ontario that either do not have doctors or have too few. In Thunder Bay we have got one child psychiatrist for a population of 250,000 people. We have shortages of nurses, speech therapists and occupational therapists. She announced this committee eight months ago. It is not constituted yet and it has not met yet. How does the minister justify that?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I believe that in order for a committee to function well and in fact to be truly representative of the north, there should be wide consultation from the communities of the north to make recommendations. We have asked the district health councils, we have asked the associations to make representations, we have asked members in this House. I am hoping, when I am up north in a couple of weeks, to be able to announce the names of the members of the committee. We have been communicating with them to see if they will agree to serve. I am delighted with the response and I can assure the member that this will be a significant initiative as we plan for health manpower needs of northern Ontario.
Mr Harris: I see the Premier (Mr Peterson) has left. I will ask a question of the Minister of Housing, who for some reason or other has been called upon to do the Premier’s investigation into this matter of the former Minister of Housing, the member for Scarborough North (Mr Curling). I wonder if the minister could tell us if she has had discussions with the former Housing minister to ascertain why Ms Starr was involved at all on behalf of the ministry in this project, or on behalf of the ministry with the project that was turned down?
Hon Ms Hošek: I have asked my staff to give me the information that we have and I have given it to this House. I assume that the member is asking a question about the Homeward Family Shelter project.
Mr Harris: l am asking you if you have talked to Mr Curling.
Hon Ms Hošek: I have discussed various things with the previous Minister of Housing. It is my responsibility as Minister of Housing to answer any questions the member may have about decisions that were made at the Ministry of Housing, and I am doing that to the best of my ability. I cannot vouch for what Ms Starr did or did not do. I can tell him what my ministry tells me was done in the time that we are talking about and I have answered the question to the best of my ability.
Mr Harris: The Premier has indicated today that he has no intention of investigating. I find that absolutely astounding. He also indicated that he did not talk to the former minister, nor does he plan to talk to the former Minister of Housing, which I find astounding as well. Perhaps it explains why the terms of reference are not done. We are going to have to wait, day after day, to see just how large this is going to be and if we are going to have a judge do the Premier’s job to investigate his own people.
The Premier did say he asked the minister to look into it. He did say he asked her to ascertain, I assume, whether there was anything wrong. I would ask her again, in determining that, did she talk to the former Minister of Housing about this project specifically and Mrs Starr’s involvement, and why, from his knowledge, was Mrs Starr involved at all?
Hon Ms Hošek: I will, of course, make any inquiries the member wishes that are raised in his question, but my role as Minister of Housing is to investigate what was done at the Ministry of Housing. I have done that. I have asked members of my staff to tell me what they know. This is what I am told, and I am reporting it to the House. It seems to me that is my responsibility, and I am trying to fulfil it to the best of my ability.
Mr Campbell: My question is for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. It concerns an industry that is a very important one in this province, and that is the whole horse racing fraternity, all the people who are involved in this industry. The minister is aware of the need expressed by this industry for amendments to regulations governing the operation of racetracks in this province. Can the minister inform the House when these changes might be made?
Hon Mr Wrye: I am going from memory, but Bill C-7. which is the federal enabling legislation, has passed the House of Commons, which has now risen. I will have to check, but at last report, the Senate was still considering the details of Bill C-7. I believe second reading had passed and the matter was in the Senate in committee; it may well have passed before the Commons adjourned for the summer.
The regulations are still in draft form, and only after we have these matters finalized am I going to formulate recommendations at my level to take to my cabinet colleagues as to whether Ontario ought to opt into the teletheatre proposal. As the honourable member knows, it is a federal enabling piece of legislation which individual provinces can opt into as they desire. We are going to want to take a look at the final proposal before we decide whether it is appropriate to opt in.
Mr Campbell: I appreciate the answer, because the only racetrack in northern Ontario is in my community. I am very much concerned that the viability of this operation be maintained as much as possible, of course, because it is a very important recreation and job creator in our community. I am wondering if the minister could let this House know how these regulations could allow the activity at Sudbury Downs to be a viable operation.
Hon Mr Wrye: The proposal from the federal government, the Department of Agriculture, has been such that only racetracks would be able to get involved in teletheatre betting. Certainly the owners of Sudbury Downs Raceway, the MacIsaac family, have had a fairly difficult time of it over the years. To be fair to them, they have not turned a profit in any year since the track opened in, I believe, 1974.
In the discussions which they have had with my ministry and with me, they view teletheatre betting as being an opportunity for them, providing that they are able to obtain the licensing for the north, to supplement the returns they are able to get at the track with some additional returns within these so-called teletheatre centres or entertainment centres, as I would call them.
The government and the Ontario Racing Commission are very sensitive to the concerns of Sudbury Downs. That is one of the reasons I will be taking recommendations to cabinet as soon as the matters are finalized federally.
Mr Wildman: I have a question to the Minister of Health regarding a meeting that is taking place this afternoon between representatives of the board of directors of St Joseph’s General Hospital in Blind River and members of her staff.
In view of the fact that the Minister of Northern Development and Mines (Mr Fontaine) in 1985, and subsequently the previous Minister of Health, made a commitment to the people of Blind River that there would be funding for a new hospital and an extended care facility, and that matter was reconfirmed during the 1987 election campaign, the community has now raised a substantial amount of money and the board of directors has reached the point where it has finalized the drawings and is ready to go to tender, can the minister resolve the confusion over what is happening with this hospital and indicate when final approval will be forthcoming for tenders to be called?
Hon Mrs Caplan: The member raises a question which we discussed in this House regarding a number of projects which are in various stages of planning right across this province.
I will say to him today, as I have said previously to members from other parts of the province, that when we are satisfied that in fact the planning which has taken place will result in meeting the needs of the people of the community, of the region and of the province, we will then announce our intention to move forward. My commitment to good planning and my commitment to meeting the real and changing needs of our communities is clear and I think he knows that from my previous visits to other parts of his riding.
Mr Wildman: I am aware of the minister’s commitment to planning. Could she tell the House and make clear at what stage in the planning this project is and what stages it has to go through before final approval will be made? If she is going to visit our area in July, hopefully she will be able to make the announcement then.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I would say to the member, and in fact to all members of this House, that we have one opportunity -- only one opportunity -- to make sure before we build that we are meeting the needs of our communities, not only for today but into the future, and that opportunity is before we put the shovel in the ground. I see him nodding and I know that he agrees.
We are planning and building not only for today, we are planning for the next 10, 20, 25 years ahead, so we must have not only a vision but a good plan. We are focusing on services that will meet the needs. We know that many things have changed in technology and we want to be as flexible as we can be to make sure that we meet the real and changing needs of our communities.
I would say to the member that I have attended meetings with him in communities where we have talked about innovation and different approaches and that we have to take that opportunity, before we put the shovel in the ground, to talk to communities about alternatives to how we can meet those needs.
I know of his interest in this matter and I look forward to visiting parts of his riding this summer.
The Speaker: That completes the allotted time for oral questions and responses. Just before there is too much commotion, I would like to inform the members that we have a visitor in the lower west gallery, a former member, Phil Gillies.
Mr Keyes: I have a petition signed by 139 citizens of Kingston and The Islands, addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly, and it reads, in part:
“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.”
For the purpose of presentation, I have affixed my signature to the petition.
SERVICES EN FRANÇAIS
M. Campbell: Je désire présenter à la Chambre une pétition concernant la Loi 8, qui m’a été remise par quelques citoyens. Je n’accepte pas la position extrême de cette pétition mais, tel que le demande le Règlement de la Chambre, j’y appose ma signature. Merci.
Mr Beer: I have a petition signed by 110 citizens, which reads 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.”
Miss Roberts: I have a petition and it is 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.”
It is signed by 64 teachers in my riding and I have affixed my name thereto, as set out by the rules.
Mrs Stoner: I have two petitions signed by a total of 63 residents of the Ajax-Pickering area. I would like to read them both.
“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 Premier David Peterson and Minister of the Environment Jim Bradley guarantee that any proposal for a solid waste landfill in the region of Durham be subject to a full environmental assessment under the provisions of the Environmental Assessment Act; and further
“That the Minister of the Environment not utilize the less restrictive provisions of the Environmental Protection Act to convene a hearing before the Environmental Assessment Board with regard to said proposal and thereby bypass the provisions of the Environmental Assessment Act and a full environmental assessment.”
The other petition reads:
“To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
“To request that the Premier and government of Ontario withdraw immediately the P1 site located on provincially owned land in the town of Pickering as a proposed new mega dump site for Metropolitan Toronto; and
“To urge that Metro Toronto never again be permitted to locate garbage dumps anywhere in Durham region; and further
“To urge that whenever a site or sites are chosen either as contingency or long-term dump sites anywhere in the region of Durham or in the province of Ontario, the people always be granted their full and complete environmental rights and safeguards according to the Environmental Assessment Act processes.”
Mr Fleet: I have a petition addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It is identical to the petition that was read by the member for Elgin regarding the interests of teachers and members of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation. It is signed by 13 individuals, all of whom I believe are teachers resident in Ontario and who are involved at a school in North York. I have signed it in accordance with the provisions of the standing orders.
ONTARIO COLLEGE OF PHARMACISTS
Mrs LeBourdais: I have a petition to the Honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario with regard to the establishment of a commission to look into the operation of the Ontario College of Pharmacists. I have affixed my signature thereto.
Miss Martel: I have a petition addressed to the Honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads as follows:
“We, the undersigned, petition the government of Ontario to reform the workers’ compensation system in Ontario so that people injured at work get decent pensions, rehabilitation and jobs when they are able.”
I have a total of 1,671 signatures on this petition. I agree with these people entirely, and this adds to the 1,400 names that I submitted early in March.
REPORTS BY COMMITTEES
STANDING COMMITTEE ON REGULATIONS AND PRIVATE BILLS
Mr Sola from the standing committee on regulations and private bills presented the committee’s report and moved its adoption.
Your committee begs to report the following bills without amendment:
Bill Pr3, An Act respecting Sarnia General Hospital;
Bill Pr7, An Act respecting the Royal Botanical Gardens;
Bill Pr18, An Act respecting Fort Erie Community Young Men’s Christian Association;
Bill Pr23, An Act to revive Bruce Office Supply Limited;
Bill Pr24, An Act respecting the City of Kingston and the townships of Kingston, Pittsburgh and Ernestown;
Bill Pr25, An Act respecting the Association of Municipal Tax Collectors of Ontario;
Bill Pr26, An Act to revive Angelato Service Centre Ltd;
Bill Pr27, An Act to revive Innomed Inc.
Your committee further recommends that the fees and the actual cost of printing at all stages and in the annual statutes be remitted on Bill Pr18, An Act respecting Fort Erie Community Young Men’s Christian Association.
Motion agreed to.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr Neumann from the standing committee on social development presented the following report and moved its adoption.
Your committee begs to report the following bill as amended:
Bill 211, An Act to revise the Rental Housing Protection Act, 1986.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for third reading.
WITHDRAWAL OF BILL 13
Hon Mr Conway moved, on behalf of Mrs Grier, that the order of the House referring Bill 13, An Act respecting Environmental Rights in Ontario, to the standing committee on resources development be discharged and the bill withdrawn.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon Mr Conway: I am calling that order standing in the name of the leader of the third party wanting confidence in the government.
In calling the order, I might say, I do not want to take too much time, but I should just indicate that there is agreement among the House leaders and whips that there is a time-sharing agreement that will see the windups begin at around 4:50 this afternoon, with roughly 20 minutes allowed for each of the windup speakers and that the remaining time between now, three o’clock, and 4:50 be shared equally among the parties.
Mr Harris: In the absence of Mr Brandt, I would ask for consent to move the motion under standing order 70(a).
The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
STANDARDS OF CONDUCT / LIGNES DE CONDUITE
Mr Harris moved, on behalf of Mr Brandt, motion 1 under standing order 70(a):
That the government lacks the confidence of the House because of the failure of the Premier to establish and enforce ethical standards of conduct for members of his government, including ministers of the crown and senior appointed officials, because of the questionable relationship among members of the government, the Liberal Party of Ontario, political appointees and financial supporters, because of the allegations of favouritism in the awarding of contracts to friends of government, and because of the Premier’s failure to assume full responsibility for the actions of those whom he has appointed.
The Speaker: I would remind all members that according to the standing order, a vote will be taken at ten minutes to six, with a five-minute bell.
Mr Harris: I will not speak very long on this particular motion, since there are a number of people who, in the limited time available to us, want to speak in favour of the motion.
I rise, as well, not out of a sense of being pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the motion. I am not pleased to be speaking to this motion. I am not pleased that my party and my leader felt it necessary to move a motion of nonconfidence on such a serious matter as this. Having said that, I certainly understand and support the motion, and I support the necessity for us to move such a motion at this particular time.
Today, we were dealing with a matter that was raised in the Globe and Mail; a matter involving a former minister, Patti Starr, a housing project, funds that were raised, a project that was awarded to a business partner in another venture of Mrs Starr’s husband. When we asked the Premier (Mr Peterson) if he had even talked to the minister who was involved in this, he indicated, no, he had not.
I think we have reached a very sad stage of perhaps sensitization to scandal after scandal, impropriety after impropriety, day after day coming forward so that it is now accepted almost as routine. We say, “Well, it’s another one, yes.
I think that is sad. I think that is sad for all politicians. I think that is sad for those who are involved, who work on behalf of various individuals, regardless of party. I think it is very unfortunate for those who support political parties and very unfortunate, indeed, for civil servants who have been drawn into a number of these allegations.
I believe it is the Premier himself who must accept the responsibility. Those members who have read Mr Valpy’s article today in the Globe and Mail will know it refers to these issues of fund-raising and courting favour. While at times I suppose some would argue it is a fine line whether businesses that have dealings with the government ought to be contributing funds to various parties or various ministers, indeed, funds are raised and businesses and individuals do contribute a substantial amount of money to the process to make the process work.
Since 1985, we have raised concerns where we felt the line had been stepped over. We raised issues like Ministers of Health specifically sending fund-raising requests to those involved in the Health ministry, to those involved either in working for or having contracts with specifically the Health ministry. The implication there is just too strong.
When the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr O’Neil) mails fund-raising letters to tourism operators who have dealings with the ministry, apparently from lists that would be had by only the ministry office, we feel that goes too far. We have raised this time and time again, year after year, and it has not been a matter that this Premier has treated seriously.
We have seen examples more recently of what we feel are flagrant improprieties, technically perhaps not illegal, not issues that involve conflict of interest directly per se or that are covered by any legislation or any act, just common sense wrong. That is where the Premier has a responsibility to set those standards, to enforce those standards, to make sure that indeed those are the standards of conduct for those he has control over: ministers of the crown, parliamentary assistants, the political appointments that he makes and the political appointments from within the party.
We have raised this on a number of occasions over a period of years and the Premier has shirked that responsibility. He has refused to investigate, or if he has investigated, he has condoned activities that we think have gone too far.
I believe the Premier has made Ontario a laughingstock throughout Canada and I do not think there is anything to laugh about. I believe these are black days for parliamentary democracy. I believe this scandal gives a whole new meaning to Ontario’s tourism slogan. “Ontario -- Incredible!” This is not something that any of us ought to feel very good about, regardless of party and regardless of where we come from in this political process.
I want to indicate to the House that I do not feel very good about it. What can be done about it? The Premier must accept the responsibility, and not through legislation. One cannot legislate common sense, morality and decency. Those are qualities that the Premier must set for himself right from the beginning and that the Premier must set for those he has control over in his party and his cabinet and with whom he is involved.
I can understand ministers, parliamentary assistants, the Minister of Culture and Communications (Ms Oddie Munro) and even Mrs Starr and their not knowing where the line ought to be drawn, because there was no line drawn for them. The examples they had to follow were condoned or overlooked by the Premier himself, and that comes to the heart of this particular issue.
I suggest that my party, after the period of years that this has evolved and been allowed to go on, does not have confidence in this Premier or in this government to solve this problem. Given the track record, we do not have the confidence that this Premier even today, with all of the events around us, understands or appreciates the seriousness and knows that it is his responsibility as the head of this party, of this government and as Premier of the province. It is not to be sloughed off to a judge, to the Commission on Election Finances or to the Ontario Provincial Police.
It appears that probably criminal charges will be laid as a result of the investigations, that there have been violations of the Election Finances Act and that should be looked into. What we are concerned about in this chamber, though, are those matters for which the Premier himself is responsible.
Just today there was the revelation of facts brought forward in the Globe and Mail on the Minister of Skills Development (Mr Curling), formerly the Minister of Housing, and the Premier said, “No, I haven’t asked him.” I just find it astounding that with all of these events, today he is still acting no differently from the way he did four, three or two years ago or two months ago, one month ago or even last week.
I support the motion. I suggest to all those members who will be asked to vote on this motion that I do not believe I have seen anything by way of example that ought to give any member of this Legislature, regardless of party affiliation, any confidence that this Premier understands that it is he who is responsible and that it is he who must take responsibility for what has happened over this past period of time.
Hon Mr Sweeney: I am pleased to participate in this discussion, pleased in a different way than my honourable colleague who just spoke. My colleague will certainly not be surprised if I say that I do not concur with his conclusions and that I certainly do not support this motion.
I have not made it a practice of participating in many debates of this kind in the past four years but I particularly wanted to participate in this one because I believe that it speaks to the rationale of why many of us on all sides of this House and in all parties are here in this Legislature.
I think it speaks to the fact that we see each other as honourable members. Quite frankly. I do not think any of us would stay here for the number of years that many of us have -- for me, it has been 14 years; 14 good years, I want to say -- and I do not think I would have stayed for 14 years if it had been my perception that I was surrounded by dishonourable colleagues. But that has not been my perception; it has not been my experience.
I can say, with all openness and with the deepest belief, that I have never in those 14 years been associated with any single member in this House from any political party who personally benefited from his position here. I have never had that experience.
As a matter of fact, my experience has been just the opposite. Far and away the majority of men and women in this House have been those who have made personal and financial sacrifices to be here. That has been my consistent experience: of men and women who have left other occupations or other positions where they have earned more money; where in many cases they had more status and more prestige; where they had more opportunities for career growth.
God knows, I sat on the other side of this House for 10 years and I know what that means.
Mr Hampton: You will again.
Hon Mr Sweeney: That is possible.
Therefore, it has not been my experience that the tone and the tenor of this motion has been what has taken place in this House.
I just indicated a couple of minutes ago that I spent 10 years in opposition. I understand and support and respect the role of opposition members. I would like to think -- only others may judge this -- that I played an active role in that position for 10 years, and I never believed for a minute that it was a lesser role.
It was different from government members, but it was not a lesser role. It was part of the democratic process, and I truly believe that process is as strong as it is in this jurisdiction and in other jurisdictions in this country because of active, forceful and aggressive opposition members. I have no problem with that. I understand it and I support it. It was my own type of behaviour for 10 years.
But I want to tell the members that I am troubled by this particular motion. I am troubled by the four main points of this motion. First of all, I am troubled because it speaks, for the first time in my experience with respect to a confidence motion, about the personalities of this House; not by policy, not by program.
It is usually the practice here, and it is an understandable practice and a supportable practice, that opposition members can disagree and disagree honestly with the government with respect to policy or with respect to program. Having a want of a confidence motion on those kinds of bases is quite legitimate.
This one is different, however, because it speaks to the personalities in this House, and I want to suggest that in all of our experiences, when we start dealing with personalities, the atmosphere and the environment of this House takes on a different tone and a different tenor altogether. We tend to begin to reduce our respect for one another. We tend to reduce the efficiency and the effectiveness of this House, because I have discovered over 14 years that the one essential element that must exist if we are to serve the people of this province is that there is a level of respect for one another.
Disagreement, yes. Active and aggressive disagreement, yes. Because we represent 130 different ridings across this province, from north to south to east to west, from urban ridings to rural ridings to isolated northern ridings, with different kinds of aspirations from the people who live there. We represent many income groups; we represent many ethnic groups; we represent political groups; we represent religious groups, and they all have their points of view.
The purpose of this Legislature, the purpose of this House, is to give all those people, through us, their representatives, a voice: a voice to agree with policy and program or a voice to disagree with it and to suggest alternatives. That is what this place is for, and when we are dealing with policies and programs, we can do that. When we are dealing with personalities, that gets lost.
This motion speaks about the failure of the Premier to establish and enforce ethical standards. I totally disagree with that. I have worked with this Premier as leader of our party since 1982 and as Premier since 1985. That has not been my experience. I can say to the members as I say to my colleagues here that this is not the kind of leader this Premier is.
I have been in his presence with my cabinet colleagues and my caucus colleagues innumerable times when this Premier has drawn to our attention the absolutely essential basis for our conduct and our standards. He has shared that message and that point of view and that philosophy and that value of his own with us time after time after time.
There is no doubt in the minds of any of my cabinet colleagues or any of my caucus colleagues what are the ethical standards this Premier has for himself and the ethical standards that he expects of his caucus colleagues and his cabinet colleagues. That is clear, and that is not just by word, it is also by action.
This Premier brought in conflict-of-interest legislation that clearly spelled out what was expected of us. We all know from the many years that many of us have been present here that when you draft legislation you cannot cross every t and dot every i. That is not possible. There is always an element of judgement. We knew when we brought in that legislation, as in any other kind of legislation, you do the best you can under the circumstances that are available to you. You cover as many eventualities as you possibly can.
That is the kind of legislation we have got. I believe it is good legislation; and to follow that up, this Premier, with the consensus of all members of this House, appointed a respected jurist, the Honourable Gregory Evans, to head up that commission and to give advice to all of us if we had difficulties or if we had uncertainties.
This government, this Premier in particular, has opened up this government of Ontario in ways that it has never been open before. Yes, that is risky. Yes, you take a chance when you open things up. It is much easier to protect and to enclose and to restrict, where you keep a nice, tight, neat little package.
That is not what this Premier has done or what this government has done. We have opened up the process. We have the most open and honest tendering process for government supplies, for government construction and for government advertising that this government of Ontario has ever known.
As a matter of fact, I have had numerous people come to me and say: “John, at least now we have a chance to bid. We weren’t given a chance before. We know we’ll get a fair hearing. We know we won’t always win the bid, but we know we’ll get a fair hearing, whether it is in advertising, government supplies or construction. At least, we know that it is open and that we have a chance.”
With respect to appointments by this government, I really do believe that people recognize how much more open that has become. How many times members from all political parties -- or let me put it this way -- with different political affiliations have been considered and have been appointed. That is not a factor any longer in this government.
People from various ethnic organizations, religious backgrounds and different parts of this province, north, south, east or west, have been appointed to positions in this government. I know the number of times that we have had to look at those kinds of appointments around the cabinet table. I know the care that goes into considering the background of these people and their qualifications for doing jobs.
I am not suggesting that everyone is going to agree with it, but I am telling members that great care and great consideration is taken. I categorically do not support, and I would go so far as to say that I categorically deny, that first point, that this Premier has failed to establish and enforce ethical standards. That is not the case; that is not my experience. As a matter of fact, just the opposite is my experience.
We then go on in this motion to talk about questionable relationships. I would ask my colleagues to consider those words, “questionable relationships.” How open-ended and ill defined can you be when you make a statement like that? What does it mean? My God, I have relationships with 1,800 different agencies across this province. I have relationships with several hundreds of municipalities across this province. I have relationships with I do not know how many umbrella advocacy groups and lobby groups.
I am sure that many people in this House could question the kind of relationship I have with them. Is it a relationship I should have at all? Do I do it in the proper way? Are they satisfied with the kinds of answers they get from me? Are they satisfied with the kinds of judgements that I make, the kinds of decisions that I make? The answer is probably no. Does that make them wrong? I hope not.
I hope that we would not start basing our relationships on these kinds of questions. I hope that we would understand that we have to make choices. We have to make decisions. We have to make judgement calls. That is the nature of our business. There is no bible that tells us in every single case what to do or what not to do. We are not computers. We are not automatons. We are human beings trying to do the best job we possibly can.
I go on, and in this motion we talk about allegations of favouritism. If there is one thing that this whole process has been about, it has been about allegations, over and over again. I would ask my colleagues on all sides of the House to carefully consider the implication of allegations, to carefully consider the fact that we are all totally exposed if we buy this concept, this philosophy, this ideology that anyone, at any time, for any reason can simply throw out an allegation.
My honourable colleague from the third party who preceded me in the speaking list referred to an article in the Globe and Mail today. He referred to a letter that was written to a columnist, which he quoted. I do not know whether members noticed or not, but there was no name in that letter. None of us knows whom it comes from. None of us knows what prompted that person. There was an allegation of where it came from and why it was written, but I ask members, my God, to put themselves in our positions, and I mean all 130 of us. Are we going to accept and open ourselves to that kind of activity, that anyone, any time, for any reason, can simply just make an allegation? How do we operate around here? How do members defend themselves from that position? What kind of respect do we have for each other? What kind of co-ordination and co-operation is possible if that is the rule of the law around here?
Surely to God we still demand proof. Surely we do not accept such irresponsible statements when they are not backed up by reasonable proof. I am not saying absolute proof. I would say to members that this motion does not speak to that. It speaks to allegations; it does not speak to reasonable proof. I would suggest to members that this is not the way this House and this Legislature should operate.
The final point in this motion refers to the Premier’s failure to assume full responsibility for the actions of those he has appointed. Again, I categorically deny that. This Premier has continued to accept responsibility for this whole government. He has continued to accept responsibility for the actions of his ministers, but he has clearly indicated that he cannot stand in their shoes, that he cannot crawl inside their heads and their minds and act on their behalf.
I would ask my honourable colleagues to look at the kind of responsibility this Premier has assumed, to look at the kind of encouragement he has given to his ministers, to look at what we have done for the people of Ontario. I say to my colleagues that in the past four years, the people of the province have benefited significantly because of the activities of this government, of these ministers and of this Premier.
In my own ministry, when I first became minister, it was brought to my attention, and of course it was something I knew before, that thousands upon thousands of people in this province who were adopted, who were now adult and wanted to know something about their backgrounds were denied that opportunity. They were specifically and categorically denied that opportunity by the previous government. That was their philosophical position, their ideological position. I respected it; I totally disagreed with it. That is no longer the case in Ontario today.
We are constantly receiving grateful letters from people saying, “Thank you for giving me that opportunity to discover my brothers and my sisters whom I did not know, my mother or my father whom I did not know, a chance to know what my roots were, a chance to understand myself better.” That opportunity has been given by this government. It would not be available if this government were not in place.
We know the number of elderly and disabled people who want to stay in their own homes and their own communities. The previous government of this province had before it an opportunity to introduce, for four or five years, an integrated homemakers program. They refused to do so. This government did it. There are countless thousands of elderly and disabled people in this province who have the advantage of that opportunity who did not have it before.
For numbers of years. the native people in this province wanted to run their own children’s aid societies, to look after the needs of their own children. They were denied that opportunity. This government has introduced that opportunity. In Tikinagan, Payukotayno and Weechi-it-tewin, in northeastern and northwestern Ontario, native bands, almost 60 of them, now have the opportunity to run their own children’s aid societies, to be responsible for the welfare of their own children, to see to it that their families and their children receive the kind of support and help they believe they should have.
That is the kind of thing this government has done. That is the kind of thing this Premier has initiated in this government. That is the kind of thing I am proud of, to be a minister and a member of this government. That is why I categorically deny this motion and will not support this motion.
Mr Hampton: I am quite pleased to be able to take part in this debate, because I think this is a very important debate, given the context of politics in Ontario today and the context of government in Ontario today.
I want to start just by commenting a bit on the speech by the previous speaker. No one denies that this government has accomplished some good things. Let’s face facts. Today, Ontario is at the richest stage ever in its history. When this government assumed office, the Premier said he was fortunate enough to become Premier of the province when there was a lot of money around, when the economy was buoyant, when there was a lot of industrial activity, when there was a lot of employment activity. If you cannot do something right, if you cannot do something good under those kinds of economic, political and social conditions, then you should resign and not be the government.
So let’s get things straight. We are not talking about whether the government can accomplish something or has accomplished something or has not. I think generally this government is given credit for doing some things right, for doing a lot of things wrong, yes, but for doing some things right. We must also be mindful that it has been fortunate enough to come to power at a time when economic, social and political conditions allowed that to happen.
That is not what this debate is about. That is not what this nonconfidence motion is about. Let me delineate very specifically what it is about.
We have had more than just allegations. When something goes on for six weeks repeatedly in the newspapers and the media of the province and no one makes a satisfactory reply, it becomes more than just a simple allegation. Something cannot go on that long. We have heard the Attorney General (Mr Scott) say he wants to revamp the libel and slander laws of the province, because that would allow newspapers to make more fair comment; it would allow us to exercise our freedom of speech. These cannot be mere allegations for six weeks. Newspapers, the media, are not that stupid. They understand libel and slander.
What we have had is pretty clear. I will quote from the Liberal newspaper, the Toronto Star, which habitually and traditionally endorses the Liberal Party. Last weekend’s edition says that nine cabinet ministers have received funds from a charitable institution. That charities are not supposed to contribute funds to political parties, political candidates, in any way. Six MPPs or their riding associations have received funds, and six organizers, fund-raisers, campaign managers, have also received funds.
It is bad enough that these funds come from a charitable institution, but some were over the limits. You are allowed $750 in an ordinary year and $1,500 in an election year. Somebody who has a simple calculator can figure that out. Some of the money, besides coming from a charity, was over the limits, yet it was accepted or there was an attempt to somehow not acknowledge that it had been received.
In other cases, we have money conveniently showing up four or five days after the election campaign for consulting contracts that the so-called consultant knew nothing about and admits he did not do any consulting work on. Or we have the mother of a cabinet minister being referred directly by the cabinet minister to do a housing study for $5,000. The organization that supposedly commissioned the housing study does not know about it, cannot find it, cannot find the results of it and does not know how it ever came into being.
That was the start. Also on the weekend, we had printed in the Globe and Mail a letter from the person who has so far been at the centre of this in terms of the fund-raising part of it, a letter from Patricia Starr to the then principal secretary of the Premier, commenting upon some of the fund-raising projects she was going to undertake for the party. What astounded me was that you would think the person, first of all, would have the decency to keep her role as the administrator of the charitable fund separate from her role as political fund-raiser, that when she write letters to government officials, to the Premier’s officials, “This is how we are going to do the fund-raising,” she would at least have the decency to do it on some letterhead other than that of a charitable institution.
If it were the case that the person in question did not have any sense of that, then at least you would have thought that the government would have stepped in right there, that somebody in the Premier’s office would have stepped in and said:
“Look, please keep your charitable work separate from your political fund-raising work. Don’t let the two become intertwined.” Obviously, that was not done.
Let’s go on a little further, to Ontario Place. Under the jurisdiction and direction of Patti Starr, we then had money going to the spouse of another cabinet minister. Allegedly, one of the ministers stepped in to reduce the amount of the contract. But let us not forget that it is not only our duty as politicians and the government’s duty as government to see that things happen as they should; it is also the government’s job to see that things appear to everyone to happen as they should.
Let us, all members, face it, that is part of the problem, that so much of what has gone on looks really bad to any objective member of the public, looks improper, looks to be not the way we would want government and political affairs to be handled. It looks unsavoury.
We go on. Food contracts and other contracts at Ontario Place were not tendered, and further, there are fund-raising letters from the Liberal Party to hospital boards at a time when hospital boards across the province are saying to the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan): “We’re short of money. We’re running deficits. We need more equipment. We need your assistance.” What is the response, not of the government, but of the Liberal Party? “You, as the hospital board, buy a ticket to our fund-raiser.” These things just do not present a very good picture to the public.
What about hospital and school boards? Taxpayers’ money goes to hospital boards to operate the health system and to school boards to operate the school system. Yet this taxpayers’ money, through Liberal fund-raising projects, winds up in the coffers of the Liberal Party. Somebody, whoever is in charge over there, a long time ago should have stepped in and said: “Look, this is not a very clean ship. This should not go on.”
But instead of that, what have we seen? We have seen attempt after attempt to justify some of this behaviour, to say it is really not that serious or that the conduct is okay and acceptable by the standards of the Premier.
So far we have not seen or heard any voice or note whatsoever of condemnation of what has happened in the case of the Minister of Culture and Communications or any note of condemnation saying that some of the affairs of the Minister of Housing (Ms Hošek) are improper or that the nontendering of contracts at Ontario Place was improper; none of those things.
I wish to say that contrary to what the previous speaker has said, it is not what the government has failed to do or has done in a given policy area that we are speaking about here today. It is purely and simply this government’s failure to adopt standards the public would find acceptable and believable and then act according to those standards. That is the issue. For that reason I am supporting this nonconfidence motion, and I suspect there are even people on the government side who feel very badly about this and do not like the unsavoury smell that is coming from this place as a result of this.
Mr Cousens: I do not think anyone enjoys having to come into the House at a time when there is so much to be done and have to stop for a nonconfidence vote that is not going to pass unless there is a change of heart from a large number of the Liberal backbenchers who are following along. None the less, there is an important procedure that has to be done here and that is to ensure that the public trust be maintained and fulfilled. Those of us who are invited to have that opportunity to serve the public have to make sure that our actions are above and beyond what we are in a position to review today.
I think that Sam Slick in Thomas Haliburton’s writing said, “Innocence is not suspicious, but guilt is always ready to turn informer.” What we are seeing here in the revelation of the events of the last four years that are now coming forward into the press and the media and this House is that the guilt is turning informer. We are becoming very much aware of what has been going on behind the scenes with this government.
Sam Slick also said, “I believe that in politics, as in other matters, honesty is the best policy.” When I was sitting and trying to see whether this issue was going to expand to become the affair it has become, I really did not believe that it would become such a quagmire of problems nor that it would become something so pervasive, touching upon so many people
It was probably crystalized best of all when a refrigerator and a paint job were involved. That, more than anything, got the Premier up and reacting and made him realize that something serious had happened around him. Until then, I have to say, he stonewalled and his government reacted in such a negative, unlistening way that it would have appeared the opposition and our party were really not saying anything of importance at all. It was not until it was in the Premier’s own office, and a refrigerator and a paint job were brought to his attention, that this became an issue.
The previous speaker was talking about allegations and innuendo. If he wants to call a refrigerator an allegation and a paint job an innuendo, maybe he has new definitions for those. It is a serious matter. It is a matter that touches upon the integrity of government and the integrity of democracy. It touches upon every one of us in this House.
It is a serious matter when a cabinet minister, the Minister of Culture and Communications and member for Hamilton Centre, has certain involvements here. It is a serious matter when the member for St Andrew-St Patrick (Mr Kanter), as well, has been implicated.
It is a serious matter that the former Solicitor General has resigned. It was stonewalled up until a certain point, but it was as if nothing was going wrong or nothing –
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The afternoon started well without any interjections. If we may proceed without interjections, I would appreciate that.
Mr Cousens: There is no doubt that the former Solicitor General has resigned. It is not going to go to a public commission for further review, but there is little doubt that there has been a problem. We brought forward --
Mr Miller: Because she did a good deed.
The Deputy Speaker: Order please, the member for Norfolk.
Mr Cousens: We brought before this House an opportunity for the Premier to set in motion a set of standards of conduct for cabinet ministers, and the government ruled it out. We have a situation where the chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission has shown a real failure in how to handle that office.
We presently have five investigations under way. We have the public trustee looking at the whole matter of a charity. We have the Provincial Auditor, who is required under the public accounts to do so, looking at it as well. We have the Commission on Election Finances looking at this. We have the police making an investigation and we have a judicial inquiry under way.
I have to say that I was listening to the Minister of Community and Social Services and member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr Sweeney), who is one very honourable member. He sanctimoniously and in such a kind, generous way believes in everything that is going on. He cannot just stand there and say that everything is crystal clean and white and pure when there are five investigations under way.
I have to say that there is something the matter and that is why we are having this motion of nonconfidence. It is a serious matter. It touches upon the integrity of this government and on the integrity of all of us who serve in this House. It is not just a matter that there are one or two or three incidents; it is what else is involved. I know people are looking at the papers every day now and saying, “What else am I going to find written there about a new revelation, a new development or a new situation that has come forward just in the four years since the David Peterson government took over?” One wonders.
Tomorrow in the committee on public accounts I will be bringing forward a motion which will again try to touch upon one of those areas which we believe is a problem to this government and a problem to government as a whole. When you start having this question of honesty and integrity you start to ask questions. Do not place too much trust in a person who boasts he is honest as the day is long, as you just might bump into him in the night. That is when you start to see what the person is really like. What has happened is that we have now seen this Liberal government in the full brightness of sunlight and realize that there are problems.
It has touched upon what we see as Toronto the Good and what we are seeing --
Mr Black: That’s a ridiculous statement.
Mr Cousens: I really take offence. I did not say a word when the member for Kitchener-Wilmot was speaking, and the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay keeps interrupting. If the other members of this House are going to continue to have their interruptions, let them have a chance to speak. But we are just talking about respect for other members in the House. We sat quietly while the member for Kitchener-Wilmot spoke and what I am getting around me are constant interruptions and interjections by Liberal backbenchers. Let them stand and make their statements. I am saying that Toronto the Good has a different image now. We are picking up a different appearance. When people think of this city, who knows whether they will think of it as another city that does not have the reputation that we have been so proud of for so long a time? I do not want to mention those cities, but there is not one of us who does not know of cities that are held in low esteem because of the kinds of things that have gone on there -- the kind of corruption and the kind of erosion of values and principles that is common in other areas. That, in fact, has now been manifested in this city and in this province. I am saying we want and we would believe in the kinds of things that the member for Kitchener-Wilmot was talking about, if we could believe that that were all true. We believe in good government and we believe in doing things that are right. People are drawing comparisons between the present Premier and the past Premier, the present government and the past government.
There is an overwhelming nature to the problem that we are dealing with. What it has to do with is the undermining of confidence, not only of the members of this House, but also of the people of Ontario. I suppose the popularity polls will be the next things we will start to see. The Premier and his government have been extremely high on those polls of popularity, but now when the facts unfold, people will begin to understand that it has been a false trust.
What we are seeing now is a government that is in a state of paralysis, with an inability to control the revelations that are coming out and that will continue to come out. The Premier said it could be 20 years if we had a public inquiry that went on and we would be happy. No, I would like to get it over with and get on with what is really good and right.
What we have to do is clean out what is wrong and get rid of what is not correct. We in this House have a responsibility to make sure that what is right is what is done. It is leaving an image of this House and of parliamentarians and politicians that is pervading the public that all politicians are corrupt. We have all had that conversation lately with people from our own constituencies who are concerned about what has gone wrong in this House. I have to say in that respect that it is a blemish upon all of us and upon everyone who is involved in something such as this.
What does this say about our parliamentary system? Unfortunately, question period ends up being a very unsuccessful way for us to try to get to the facts and the truth. In our House many questions are asked every day of the week when this House is sitting and on a very regular basis. There is no way in which either the Premier or other cabinet ministers who are asked questions are required to answer those questions. Therefore, what we get are flippant answers that do not touch upon the core of the questions that are asked. Question period has become a farce in this House by virtue of the answers that are received.
I have to say that the questions that have been asked by the opposition party and our party have made a significant and sincere effort to try to get to the bottom of these situations, without too much success. It has come outside the House where we start to find out what is going on. It happens on a Thursday night that we learn about Mr Ashworth having to resign.
What happens is that when this House has to respond to the -- I think it is foolish when you have to resort to the bells. It was unfortunate that the bells had to be used in order to make a point that we had to make when we were dealing with the situation regarding the former Solicitor General, the member for London South (Mrs E. J. Smith).
Now the government has come in with its majority and said, “We’re going to change the rules.” I will tell the members this much: We would not be having these kinds of problems in this House if it were a minority government. Had this government a minority, I can assure you, Mr Speaker, this confidence motion that is being brought before this House today would carry and it would be out of office.
Hon Mr Conway: The threat of an election would send you to Markham so fast you will never be heard of again.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr Cousens: I would be quite prepared to run an election right now, based on this issue and on any other issue that is going along in this province.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr Cousens: It has to do with the integrity and failure of your government, and you, and other members of this House, who have lost the trust of other members. It has been a total breakdown, Sean, and you have to be sure of it. You are partly responsible for it, as are others.
Hon Mr Conway: I am just saying that minority government means you have to be partly responsible. In a minority government, you would be so responsible as to be --
Mr B. Rae: I was.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Conway: The thought of Ed Philip and Tom Long at the altar is truly inspiring.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please, the government House leader.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The members are wasting the House’s time. Could I also remind the members again about the interjections and remind the member for Markham to address his remarks solely through the Speaker?
Mr Cousens: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
It is an abuse of power, and that is part of what we are trying to bring forward here. I think we are talking about a precedent that has been set over the past four years. It is a series of precedents, and it is important for all of us to see that power is used wisely. It is not just the perception now, it is the acknowledgement that there are significant and serious problems with the way this government has been dealing with power in this province.
It bodes badly for what democracy is about. It is a disappointing and discouraging thing to those who seek to serve the public good. It is something that I am sure puts our young people at a different kind of view when they see this going on in the Legislature.
I see an important need for this government to come along and acknowledge the need for guidelines for conduct of cabinet ministers, conduct of themselves; a code of ethics which they are going to be able to follow and which we are going to believe is supervised.
I have to say at this point the nonconfidence motion that has been placed before this House today touches upon so much of what politics is all about. When that trust is broken, when we cease to believe in the integrity of the people who are really doing things, when you are being stonewalled on a daily basis, when you are being told everything is just fine and yet there are examples of a breakdown in the system, a refrigerator and a paint job, right within the Premier’s office, when we have situations within his cabinet right now that need to be fully exposed -- instead, it is just coming like an unravelled piece of string, inch by inch by inch.
I say now is the time to deal with it and deal with it intelligently, and that is, let’s get rid of the Liberals in Ontario. Let’s just --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr Cousens: Come on, if they had to go to the people right now, they know full well many of them would not be back here.
I would say the public of Ontario deserves more than they are getting. What they are getting instead is poor government by people who have lost sight of the challenge to maintain their trust with the public at large.
Mr Beer: I rise to join in this debate and I think, as has been expressed. that this is not a debate we like to undertake in this House but because the motion has to be put, we on the government side want to state most categorically, most clearly, that we reject all that is in this motion and we will be voting and opposing it.
When we go back to our ridings, our constituencies, as we have over the last few weeks, many of us have the opportunity of speaking with our constituents and talking about this particular issue that has come forward and how it is being dealt with by the Premier and the government. There is no question that everyone in this House recognizes that critical to the success of any democratic system is a sense of trust and confidence that the people have in it.
Surely the events in the month of June and in late May, as we watched a number of things occurring in China, the Soviet Union and Poland, demonstrated clearly how fortunate we are in this country to have a democratic system of government and how tremendously important it is for us to ensure that system continues. We do not always recognize how slender is that thread that links electors and those elected and how it Important it is, therefore, that we do our utmost to ensure respect for our political process and political institutions. I think that what we believe is happening and what I believe the people in the province understand is that this Premier and this government are trying to get at the root of the problem that has emerged in the last couple of weeks and that the actions we have taken, the actions the Premier has taken, are the correct ones and that the facts will out, as they should.
Over the last decade or so, members of all parties have tried to develop a more democratic and more open political electoral system. We have tried to ensure that any citizen in this province can look forward one day to running as a candidate in a riding. We have tried to change the way in which contributions can be made to political parties. We have brought forward what I think we would all agree is a much more democratic process. With that, we have found there have also been some problems.
As my colleague the member for Kitchener-Wilmot pointed out, no law, no regulation and no guideline can cover every single element of human conduct; we have to also look at the standards which we set for ourselves as individual members and as legislators. In doing that and in seeing the actions this government has taken in recent days to try to get to the bottom of the problem that has emerged, my colleague the member for Kitchener-Wilmot noted again that in this motion there is an implication and intent to somehow personalize all of this. I think we have to respond to that.
I have known the Premier for a good number of years, long before both of us became members of this House. At university I often met him in various platforms debating issues, policies and whatever was happening at that time in the 1960s in Canada and in this province. Later I worked with him while I was on the staff of the then Leader of the Opposition, Stuart Smith. and finally, since 1987, I have had the pleasure and privilege of serving with him in this House. I think over that period of time, you begin to get the measure of the man. You begin to have a strong sense of what drives that individual and that does not mean that any one of us is perfect, and the Premier would be the first to admit that, but certainly I have a strong sense of what his standards are; what it is that he expects of me as a member of this House in terms of my conduct and I think all of us have that sense and that knowledge.
It was particularly because of his intent on becoming leader in the election of 1985 to open up the political process so that everyone in Ontario would feel that he or she could participate, and that everyone was able to see a government which would work in a far more open and direct way with the people of this province. That message got through and those expectations that were out there that were developed have then come forward and they are the ones that we deal with today. So I would suspect that the standard of conduct that is expected of us today by the public at large is in fact a tougher standard than perhaps that which existed a number of years ago.
At the root then of the discussion and of this motion is the question of confidence. The issue here is not whether there may have been some things that happened that were wrong. That is precisely why the Premier has established the judicial investigation. That is why at different times we have asked that the Commission on Election Finances and the public trustee look at various areas where actions have taken place and where there is perhaps need for a change to laws and regulations. We are going to have to act when those reports come in.
But we have always said there must be due process. Simply to make an allegation does not mean that someone is thereby guilty. Surely, we have a responsibility in getting to the root of this problem and of ensuring that in addition to getting those who have committed illegal acts, or making known those who have committed unethical acts, that we do not slander people who are innocent. That is where a judicial investigation -- it strikes me -- becomes the appropriate place to look at all of the issues that have been raised by the various members this afternoon in speaking to this motion.
J’aimerais également signaler à nos compatriotes de langue française que l’on peut facilement comprendre pourquoi, un peu partout dans la province, les gens s’inquiètent de cette question. Ils tiennent à ce que le gouvernement prenne les mesures nécessaires pour résoudre le problème et qu’il explique, par l’intermédiaire d’une enquête judiciaire, ce qui est arrivé et pourquoi cela s’est produit. Ils veulent également que ceux qui ont commis des actes illégaux reçoivent ce qu’ils méritent, parce que la confiance que nous devons avoir en notre système politique est beaucoup plus importante que n’importe quel individu, gouvernement ou parti.
Je pense que tous les députés de cette Assemblée sont du même avis: nous devons démontrer à la population dans son ensemble que nous voulons travailler pour le bien commun. C’est notre raison d’être; c’est notre devoir. Chaque député est là pour faire le bien; il n’est pas là pour aller à l’encontre du bien public.
Dans cette perspective, je pense que le Premier ministre (M. Peterson) a pris des decisions importantes, qui sont nécessaires pour que nous sachions toute la vérité sur cette affaire.
If we look at the series of allegations that has been made in this House and elsewhere, it seems to me that the point arises where the government has to say, “What is the best way to ensure that we can find out all the facts?” So we have had in recent days demands for investigations and then criticisms that they have been set up.
The judicial inquiry is a route which has been taken in matters of this kind in this Legislature and in others, because it provides to everyone the fairest and most effective way of determining exactly what happened, who did what to whom, for whom and why. For us to try to sit here in judgement on all of those facts or what we think may be facts, surely is not the appropriate way to proceed.
The Premier has said, here and outside, that he wants to ensure that all those facts come out. I do not think there is a member here who does not want to see that and does not support that. I think that when we see that investigation get under way, those facts will come forward and we will have the truth and we will know what has happened.
When I go back and talk to people in my riding and get a certain perspective or distance from this place, I think sometimes those questions become clearer, the questions that people want answers to, and I believe they have a faith and confidence in the Premier to ensure that that happens.
I think it is terribly important that as we go forward to resolve this issue, we do not, through innuendo and allegation, tear down aspects of this institution and this process in a way that I do not think any one of us wants to do but that can happen, in part because we get so caught up in the goldfish bowl that we are in at times here in terms of the kinds of attacks that go back and forth.
Clearly, we all recognize that we must have an electoral process, an electoral system, and that we must have a way of funding that system that is aboveboard and that everybody can see. That is why we have a system in which every donation that is made for $100 or above is marked down and the name is there and that is public and open to everybody. The donations of anyone who contributes to my campaign in that way, or to any other member’s, are known; and we want them known, because we want people to see how we are funded and who is participating.
So we have made our system, we have made our Election Finances Act and we have made our Members’ Conflict of Interest Act, all of those among the strongest, among the toughest that exist in any of the democracies, and I think we need to recognize that they are there.
What we have discovered, as we have heard these various allegations and charges, is that that may still may not be where we want to be, that there are still some things we want to do to make that system tighter, to ensure that nothing in fact can happen that is illegal or unethical. I would say that all 130 of us share that desire to make our political process in this province the very best so that these issues do not come up again and so that we are not debating them constantly.
But the question the motion speaks to is: Do we have confidence in the Premier, in this government, to deal with the issues that have been raised? I say for my part and for the government members that we most certainly do and that we believe fervently and strongly that the actions that have been taken are going to give the answers that are needed and necessary.
As the member for Kitchener-Wilmot said, by doing that and ensuring that happens, we then get on with the agenda that is before us, the agenda that has emerged from the throne speech and from the budget, that speaks to a variety of initiatives, whether we are talking about social assistance, education, the environment, the post-secondary area or many other areas which are of direct and immediate concern to the people of this province and where they expect the government to lead and to act.
That is precisely what this government, under the leadership of the Premier, is trying to do. We are determined that in dealing with that agenda, we must get beyond this issue and we must demonstrate clearly to the people of the province that all the facts will come out and that those who have acted improperly will have to receive the consequences of those acts. The Premier has stated that clearly again and again.
In my view, if we want to proceed and deal with the issues that have come up around this matter over the past several weeks, those decisions have been taken. The proper way to deal with the various questions that to a certain extent are now being repeated in this House is to put them before that inquiry, and there they can properly be looked at. When that is done and when that report is made, we will then be able to see what has happened, and the various actions that have to be taken will be taken.
Let us be very clear that this government has a plan of action, that the Premier is in control of that plan, of where we are going, and is directing it, and is working with the members of his cabinet and his caucus. In that sense, we are united in ensuring that we go forward with that program and try to improve the lives of all the residents of this province.
This motion will not receive the support of our party because it does not speak to the truth.
Mr Philip: I rise in support of this motion.
The Minister of Community and Social Services, for whom I have the highest respect, argued passionately that a nonconfidence motion should be devoted to dealing with the disagreements the opposition may have with policy instead of dealing with what this particular motion deals with.
The essence of this motion is “the failure of the Premier to establish and enforce ethical standards of conduct for members of his government.” To the Minister of Community and Social Services, this is not a matter on which nonconfidence motions should be based. I just remind the minister and members of the Liberal government of a quote from Rousseau, who in 1762 said, “Those people who treat politics and morality separately will never understand either of them.”
I raised the issue of the ethical standards of this government when in June 1987 I received a call from members of the board and the administration of the Etobicoke General Hospital. There was a fund-raising dinner for the then Minister of Health scheduled for 15 June of that year. They felt compromised; they felt irritated. They felt that this dinner, which had a target of some $200,000. simply meant that the Minister of Health was using them to raise and to bag money for the Liberal Party.
They had every reason to raise this issue. They felt, as people who had to go before the Minister of Health to ask for funds for their hospital at that time, that they were in a quandary. Did they deal with their own ethical problems of giving what they considered to be a bribe and therefore assist their cause – namely, more beds that were needed at the Etobicoke General Hospital -- or did they say no? In their case, they said no.
The defence of the minister when I raised the issue was astounding. He basically argued that his staff, who had sent out letters to hospital boards across the province, in fact had used their own time. But that was not the principal issue. The issue was not that civil servants were being used for partisan political purposes. The issue was that a minister of the crown was using his position of power on people who were vulnerable to raise money for partisan political purposes.
This came on the heels of a series of events. First, there had been the Liberal economic advisory forum, which sold access to the Premier for $1,000. Then there had been the acting chairman of Management Board (Mr Elston) selling access for $250 a person at a breakfast. There had been the Attorney General who had invited lawyers, obviously dealing with the profession in which he was making decisions as the minister, to attend his fund-raising event at $200.
The Minister of Community and Social Services makes the argument that everything is okay if it is legal. But everything that is legal is not moral, and that is the issue I think members of this party are trying to make in this House. It is immoral to use money that is targeted by the taxpayer for the sick. It is immoral to use that money targeted for the sick for partisan political purposes. It is immoral to use funds that are designated for education for partisan political purposes.
The Premier now admits that maybe it is wrong, maybe there should be a change to make it illegal for hospital boards and school boards to contribute to partisan political purposes. But one has to ask: Where was he in 1987 when these issues were raised? Why has he not acted since then? Why have we not had a statement in this House that now, recognizing it is wrong, he will ask the Liberal Party to return each and every dollar that was contributed by these boards of education and by these hospital boards?
We had the atrocious example of the former Solicitor General, who should have known that cabinet ministers have no business approaching police on any matter in which they have an interest and that as the province’s chief police officer her behaviour was simply inexcusable. Yet it took weeks and weeks and weeks of revelations before the minister finally tendered her resignation.
There was a time when this Liberal Party at least gave lipservice to having a sense of ethics and a sense of justice. There was a different Smith, a former leader of the Liberal Party, Stuart Smith, who said, in dealing with a similar issue involving the then Solicitor General, in this case Mr Kerr: “The question in my mind is why, a couple of days ago, the government tried to brazen this out. There remains the question of how the administration of justice may have been interfered with.”
Dr Smith said he wanted to know the extent to which there was an effort by the government to hide the full truth. He was referring to the disclosure of a report to the Attorney General that Mr Kerr told assistant crown attorney David Price that a jail term would serve no purpose when he telephoned him about a pending court case involving a constituent.
So when it happened that the Progressive Conservative cabinet ministers were doing the same thing that the former Solicitor General was involved in, it was wrong and the Liberals were very self-righteous about it and demanded resignations and condemned the government. The government at that time acted an awful lot more quickly than this government has.
What we see is a series of events showing a very suspicious passage of patronage to those who are the mouthpieces of the lobbyists who have been collecting money for the Liberal Party. We have seen the passage, from 1985 through 1987, of these moneys. I am not going to list them. All I can say is that it became such a maze of patronage and donations that the Toronto Star had to set out a whole chart so that the average person could follow who was getting what from whom and what they got in return.
This goes beyond the issue of the individual cabinet ministers, the individual donations to the Liberal Party and the individual case of Patti Starr. What it goes to is a system in which we have a patronage system where those with very large, powerful interests are able to influence government in a way that others without power cannot.
In 1976, when the Corporations Information Act was before the standing committee on administration of justice of which I was the chairman, Mr Angus made some very powerful arguments, as did Mr Renwick, for proper disclosure. Mr Cunningham, a Liberal member at that time, said, “I think it would be in the best interests of the people of Ontario to know just who the companies are and whether in fact the directors were Canadian and who and where they operated from.” He then went on to rationalize that, for some reason of privacy, the Liberals could not support that kind of disclosure.
We saw after that then the whole scandal of the Cadillac Fairview flips and a whole series of other things, and it is coming back to roost right now. It is not something which started a few months ago or started in 1985. In fact, it can be traced back to the failure of the Liberals and the Conservatives in this House to deal with the whole matter of exactly who the powerful are and how they are operating. Unless we deal with that problem, we can pass any law we want. We can pass any restrictions on members of the Legislature and we are still going to have a basic power problem that we have to deal with.
The Premier has failed to do what any responsible leader of government would do in a situation like this, to say to the Minister of Culture and Communications: “You should have behaved in a way which not only was moral but also looked moral. There is an investigation on now and, in the interim at least, you should resign.” Instead, the Premier has decided to try to tough it out, and this has not worked very well for him. So we have one series of investigations after another.
Franklin Roosevelt said: “It is better the occasional faults of government that lives in the spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” This government has lost confidence not because it has made mistakes, not because it has faults, but because the Premier has shown an indifference to those faults and to those mistakes. For that reason, I, as the representative of the people of Etobicoke-Rexdale, have no confidence in this government.
Mr McLean: Mr Speaker, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to say a few words on this motion of nonconfidence brought before this Legislature by the leader of my party, the member for Sarnia (Mr Brandt). It disturbs me that we have reached the point where we have to even consider a motion of nonconfidence, but circumstances warrant such action and the people of Ontario are demanding answers.
They are answers to questions that the government refuses to respond to in an honest and a forthright manner. This government has been mired in a seemingly endless series of crises which have disrupted the business of the Legislature and brought into question the ethics and judgement of elected officials and political appointees.
We are all no doubt aware that resignations were submitted by the Solicitor General, the chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Raj Anand, and Ontario Place Corp Chairman Patricia Starr. The resignation of the latter came at a time when there were several allegations into her alleged misuse of funds from a charitable foundation to support the election campaign of mainly Liberal politicians.
We all know that the Premier was backed into a corner and forced to call a judicial inquiry into this matter. These investigations will concern themselves solely with determining whether any laws have been broken. Legal improprieties must be identified and the appropriate action taken, but who will render judgement on those who have broken the trust of the people of this province?
I believe the Premier should establish a strict code of conduct and ethics for his ministers and his backbenchers to guard against future abuse of power. This is a power entrusted to the government by the people of Ontario and they deserve nothing less. The establishment and enforcement of such a code is only the first step if the Premier is to restore public confidence in the political process in this province. The Premier must also provide assurances that elected officials will work for the betterment of the people of Ontario and never for the advantage of political friends.
Just how has the government handled pressure from the opposition parties over the seemingly endless list of scandals, revelations and allegations? The House leader threw a temper tantrum and he brought in a proposal that would see a unilateral move to change the rules that govern how business is done in the Legislature. More importantly, the government House leader said he is determined to put an end to bell-ringing, which recently paralysed the Legislature for more than a week.
I believe the government House leader’s proposal to change the rules of this Legislature is really an indication of an arrogant and angry government punishing the opposition parties for forcing the former Solicitor General into doing the right thing, resigning her portfolio because she made an inappropriate night visit to an Ontario Provincial Police station following the arrest of a family friend. As well, this government wants to punish the two opposition parties for focusing attention on Pattigate, in which the former chairman of Ontario Place was forced to resign after allegedly making blatant political payments from a charitable foundation to numerous provincial government ministers and also some backbenchers.
I want to make it clear that I do not favour bell-ringing, either, and I do not agree with delay tactics. However, it was the only tool available to the opposition parties to ensure that matters in the House would be dealt with appropriately and to make the concerns of our constituents known to a majority government.
Rather than throwing a temper tantrum and moving unilaterally to change the rules of the House undemocratically, I would suggest the government clean up its own act and adopt less draconian rules and changes that were recommended by all three parties.
By questioning the government over its more than questionable actions and by focusing public attention on the scandals, revelations and allegations, the two opposition parties are only doing their job. We are not trying to make this government look bad. We do not have to. because actions speak louder than words. By forcing the government to face up to its unacceptable practices, the opposition parties have only been doing their job. It is a job the people of Ontario expect us to do to the best of our abilities. They deserve no less. Doing our job should not result in a government temper tantrum, but in a government that should be owning up to its responsibilities.
I was intrigued by the remarks of the member for Kitchener-Wilmot, who stood up and indicated the leadership that has been provided since the Premier has taken power. I have to say to him that it is important that he does not forget the fact that a Premier not only has to show leadership, but has to be seen to be showing leadership. To allow the things to happen that have gone on and not to have been up front and forthright and ask for resignations when they immediately came to his attention, I believe indicates that the Premier did not show good judgement and good leadership. It is his responsibility to do that. People expect him to do that.
I find it hard to believe the many members who have had fund-raisers, who have received thousands and thousands of dollars from a charitable organization and who have seen fit to accept money from hospital boards and different agencies. People have been involved in fund-raising with regard to their political friends and the backbench members of the government have accepted funds.
It is all right for some people to say, “I was not aware of it; I did not know it happened,” but ultimately that person is responsible. To do the honourable thing, they should resign until those misconceptions have been dealt with and cleared up.
That is really what it is all about, the ability of the Premier to make those judgement calls when they are necessary. Giving $5,000 to your mother to do a job would be like anybody’s wanting to give his son $5,000. We know that is not proper and not right and the Premier immediately should have asked for that resignation until it was cleared up. I do not know of any survey; there never has been any proof that a survey has been done. There has been nothing to show what that $5,000 was made available for.
It is interesting to know how some of the rules have changed with regard to the showing of the SkyDome party, $5,000; dinner for the member for York Mills (Mr J. B. Nixon), $2,000 and an additional $1,500 for a fund-raiser; two heritage dinners -- they go on and on and they have been listed in the paper many times. I believe what we are talking about here is the leadership and the judgement of the Premier, which we question. That is why my leader the member for Sarnia has put forward this motion of nonconfidence in the government.
Mr Morin-Strom: I think it is unfortunate that we have to spend this session dealing with the matters that are contained in today’s nonconfidence motion. It would be much better if we were able to deal with the substance or lack of substance of specific government initiatives when it comes to dealing with the matters at hand in Ontario.
However, the events of the last few weeks really have shaken the faith of the people of this province, not only in this government but in terms of their representatives generally. That certainly is a most unfortunate event.
I would like to read the motion so that we know clearly what we are discussing today. The motion from the leader of the third party reads: “That the government lacks the confidence of the House because of the failure of the Premier to establish and enforce ethical standards of conduct for members of his government, including ministers of the crown and senior appointed officials, because of the questionable relationship among members of the government, the Liberal Party of Ontario, political appointees and financial supporters, because of the allegations of favouritism in the awarding of contracts to friends of government, and because of the Premier’s failure to assume full responsibility for the actions of those whom he has appointed.”
We all know today that the Liberal members of this government, who number some 94 of the 130, will not support this motion of nonconfidence. They will stand and show that a majority of this House in fact has the confidence of the House because the government party did receive a majority of the seats in the last election.
However, I would venture to say that if one looked across this province today, this motion would not pass a majority vote of the people of this province and that this government in fact does not have the confidence of the people of this province, even though the governing party does have some 94 seats.
The people of this province seriously question the ethics and standards by which this government has been operating. The revelations in recent weeks have gone well beyond anything I have seen in my political life, which, admittedly, is not as long as that of many others here. But as I understand it, we have not seen in Ontario in many decades a scandal or situation in which the numbers of elected officials have been implicated in a case such as this one. It certainly is a questionable situation when we have not only allegations but the clear, documented proof that illegal payments were made from a charity to some 25 candidates for elected office in the last several years and nine of those candidates who received donations, either themselves or their riding offices, are now sitting in the cabinet of Ontario. We have nine cabinet ministers who did receive donations from a charitable organization, donations that are illegal under the laws of our country.
One has to question not only the activities of Patricia Starr, Tridel Corp and the DelZotto family, which, as has been indicated, are going to be the major subject of the judicial review that the Premier has called on, but one has to go much deeper and look into the political -- particularly the fund-raising -- organizations that receive the funds from these organizations, almost totally, in the case of Ontario, within the Liberal Party of Ontario, and the relationship that developed as a result with the development industry in particular. One has to question what kind of influence is being purchased with this government through the fund-raising activities of people such as Patricia Starr and others who are involved in major fund-raising activities for the Liberal Party of Ontario.
We have had several examples illustrated today, but I would like to illustrate another example that has not been mentioned that is certainly one which brings concern with respect to representation in the cabinet of Ontario of business interests that are major financial backers of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Last October, as an illustration of the type of fund-raising activity that occurs, there was a major fund-raising event for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr Kwinter) and his provincial Wilson Heights Liberal Association. That fund-raising event brought in for the Liberal Party, and in particular this riding association alone, some $60,000 in donations from one event.
Because the financial returns of constituency associations are public knowledge, we have the list of donators to that event and to this riding association, and it includes over 280 donations for tickets for that event, almost solely from corporate sponsors, including support from Patricia Starr herself, who is listed as having donated $750.
As a result of this kind of activity, the minister, who is responsible for industry, trade and technology and is responsible the activities of many of these corporations which were donating to him directly, has one of the wealthiest riding associations in the province. At year end, this riding association had cash of $49,006 and it had an investment certificate of $50,000, total assets, including accounts receivable and inventory, of over $100,000 and no liabilities --
Mr McLean: Is that the member for Renfrew North (Mr Conway)?
Mr Morin-Strom: That is the provincial Wilson Heights Liberal Association.
At the same time, during the last year this riding association donated some $30,000 back into the Liberal Party of Ontario, so in effect it was able to build up a surplus of over $100,000 while still donating back into the parent organization some $30,000. Considering that in the province the election spending limits for an election campaign are only on the order of $50,000 per campaign, this riding association already has enough funds to pay cash for the next two election campaigns.
Meanwhile, what kind of work do we have from the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology on behalf of these industries that have built up this kitty for his riding association? I have an issue of Update, the regular newsletter of the Ontario Trucking Association. In that newsletter, it expresses thanks to the Minister of Industry. Trade and Technology for the hard work he and his ministry have done on behalf of the industry association and other industry associations in fighting progressive labour legislation that the Minister of Labour (Mr Sorbara) has sponsored for Ontario. I read from this newsletter of 9 June 1989:
“Employers’ Concerns Continue Over Bill 208.
“Prior to the introduction on 24 January of Bill 208, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act, eight industry associations including the OTA began working to convince the provincial government that this law must be amended before it proceeds to second reading. The ‘Bill 208 Business Coalition,’ as it has become known, has worked with officials at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology to express mutual concern and to propose alternatives to key aspects of this legislation.
“Early in April the coalition met separately with the Labour minister and Monte Kwinter, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, to present a joint position paper. It seems these efforts have effectively convinced the government that Bill 208 needs revision. After allowing the government the opportunity to review the proposals, the coalition requested further meetings.” Earlier this month, “on June 8. OTA and other industry association representatives met with Peter Barnes, Deputy Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, and later with Treasurer Robert Nixon.
“It appears evident the government is reassessing the situation and is contemplating changes to Bill 208 before it is introduced for second reading.”
Here we have a minister, whose campaign organization has become one of the wealthiest in the province funded by industry, advocating within the cabinet for changes that would hurt the working people of this province. We do not have a minister in that cabinet advocating on behalf of the working people of this province for more progressive legislation to improve worker health and safety.
We also have in the same newsletter references to another major initiative of this government, Bill 162 on the Workers’ Compensation Board.
“Fulton Supports the OTA Owner-Operators on Workers’ Compensation Issue:
“Transport Minister Ed Fulton agrees that deeming owner-operators to be employees for the purpose of workers’ compensation would jeopardize an important intent of regulatory reform.”
The article goes on to say, “The minister’s support for the OTA on this issue is extremely beneficial. Fulton joins Industry minister Monte Kwinter in expressing concerns over the board’s proposed policy which would effectively deem owner-operators to be workers for purpose of workers’ compensation.”
Here we have two ministers of the crown working hand in hand with industry to take away the rights of workers in the province to be able to collect on workers’ compensation. They want to deem these workers to be not workers but owners, because of the contractual relationship they have been forced into by the trucking industry, and would deny them the rights to workers’ compensation.
Again, we have a minister of the crown, who has taken in $60,000 in one major fund-raising event alone, advocating on behalf of industry concerns and opposed to the interests of working people of Ontario.
The problems facing this government in terms of the conflicts that have been reported in the last couple of weeks go on and on and in fact go right to the Office of the Premier as well. One has to be seriously concerned when one sees the amount of factual information that has been reported on a day-to-day basis with respect to the scandal currently facing the government of Ontario.
The relationship between this government and major developers in the province, whether it is Tridel and the DelZotto family or whether it is the Premier’s family business and the involvement of another major developer, Marco Muzzo, in the purchase of that facility from the Premier -- the whole development industry has to be addressed.
We have testimony on the DelZottos from a formal Royal Commission on Certain Sectors of the Building Industry. Judge Waisberg questioned the credibility of the testimony of the DelZottos in that commission. Elvio DelZotto is now the president of the Ontario wing of the Liberal Party of Canada.
At the same time, Marco Muzzo, in his testimony before that commission, when he was asked, “So you are not opposed to the general practice of bribery, you are only concerned about whether it worked or not?” said, “That’s right.”
These are the types of individuals who are dealing on a day-to-day basis with this Liberal government, right to the level of the Premier. They are the ones who have the influence. They are the ones who are crying to buy a billion-dollar contract for the disposal of waste in Ontario and control the development in the whole Metro Toronto area. We need to have a complete royal commission to address all the aspects of this situation, and I hope to God that happens in Ontario.
The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): We will now proceed to the wrapup speeches by each of the parties, each speech limited to 20 minutes in duration, commencing with the government House leader.
Hon Mr Conway: I am pleased to join in this important debate. I might say at the outset that unlike the sponsor of this resolution, I have been in this House virtually all afternoon listening to the very interesting contributions of members from all sides. I want to return shortly to some of the observations made by the honourable doctor of laws, the member for Sault Ste Marie --
Mr Morin-Strom: Not doctor of laws.
Hon Mr Conway: -- the honourable doctor of philosophy, the member for Sault Ste Marie, who has made some observations that I think ought to be taken up.
I want to say, as the member for Sarnia joins us at this point, now some two hours into this debate, that I view this as an important matter and I think it is being treated by all members as such. It is a debate about politics and about how this honourable profession is carried on in this province.
I was thinking as I listened to some of the speakers earlier this afternoon of how these walls have resonated over the decades with this debate and how all those parties who have had the responsibility of office in this great province have had, each in its own time and each in its own way, a certain difficulty with this particular question.
I will not bore my friends with chapter and verse on that, except to say that it is important that we look at the resolution standing in the name of my friend the member for Sarnia and treat it in its component parts. In treating it in its component parts, I want to join my good friend and long-time colleague the member for Kitchener-Wilmot in rejecting the motion, not just in its totality but in its specific parts.
The member starts by saying that the government lacks the confidence of the House because this Premier has failed to establish and to enforce ethical standards for members of this House and for the public service.
I just want to say to my friend from Sarnia, who, I repeat, I am glad to have join us for the last hour of this debate, that that is simply not so.
It was under the leadership of this Premier, under the aegis of this government, that important conflict-of-interest legislation was brought forward and enacted. The member for Sarnia and the people who would be listening to and watching this debate through the televised services of our Hansard office would want me to repeat that. It was under the able and capable leadership of the Premier that conflict-of-interest legislation was brought forward and enacted in this province; done under a Liberal administration, not by any of the Tory predecessors who had some 42 uninterrupted years before our opportunity for office came some four years ago this week.
I think it is important for me to make that case to my friend opposite. I think the honourable doctor of philosophy who would want to rejoin this debate would want me to repeat that we are now all subject to that legislation. We have, of course, a conflict commissioner, a retired justice of the Ontario High Court who is an arbiter and enforcer in that connection.
I want to say to my friend the honourable doctor of philosophy, the member for Sault Ste Marie, that of course there is the matter of individual judgement. There is no possibility for a codification of judgement. Perhaps a socialist would imagine that to be possible; I do not.
I simply want to say to my friend opposite that this government, under the leadership of this Premier, has moved expeditiously and moved in areas where none of our predecessors chose to move, to codify standards for members of this Legislature, including members of the executive council, and they are now the law of the land. I think that is a very important aspect of this particular debate, which I know, Mr Speaker, you would want me to highlight.
Unlike the suggestion of the motion by the leader of the third party, the reality, the record, of the Liberal government headed by my colleague and seatmate the member for London Centre (Mr Peterson) speaks to action and leadership in this particular connection, and I think that is very important to reinforce here this afternoon.
Then the motion goes on to talk about questionable relationships. That is something I want to talk a bit about, because my friend and colleague, the honourable doctor of philosophy, the member for Sault Ste Marie, had some very interesting things to say in the latter part of his remarks. I find those remarks, particularly from someone so intellectually acute, so evidently well educated, really difficult to accept. There was in the honourable member’s speech a suggestion of, a vague and sometimes not so vague reference to, questionable relationships.
I want to say to my friend the member for Sault Ste Marie and to anyone else over there that if they have accusations to make, let them be honourable men and women and stand in their places and make their point directly. The honourable doctor of philosophy, the member for Sault Ste Marie, was carrying on in a way that seems to ignore the fact that we have in this province and we have had for some 14 years legislation that governs the raising of funds and the spending of funds for electoral purposes. If the honourable member for Sault Ste Marie thinks that legislation is somehow inadequate, if he thinks it ought to be reformed in some connection, if he thinks corporate contributions ought not to be made, let him stand in his place and specifically indicate that those are reforms he wants to enact.
He sits in the special visitors’ gallery now with a very good friend of mine, one of the most illustrious members I have known to have served in this chamber, for some 12 years, the honourable and former member for Bellwoods, who now serves in his very important capacity as legislative adviser to the Ontario Federation of Labour. He does, I know from personal experience, very good work in that important connection.
I want to say, in the presence of my good friend, the former member for Bellwoods, that I find that relationship a perfectly honourable and healthy one that I encourage in our politics and in our democracy in Ontario today. But in saying that, I say to my friend and colleague the honourable member for Sault Ste Marie that I expect he will behave with similar honour and with similar understanding for other relationships we know about and that are approved of by both practice and, more important, by law in this province.
If the law is to be changed, I say to my friends, let them stand in their places and advocate specific change. My friend the Leader of the Opposition (Mr B. Rae), who is going to join in this debate, is undoubtedly going to proffer advice on change in terms of public policy.
We had an interesting discussion in here this afternoon about the kinds of relationships that ought or ought not to be encouraged with respect to land development and government. It is quite understandable that the leader of the New Democratic Party in Ontario would imply as he did today -- and as I think he will be saying later today -- that he is not happy with the relationships that exist today between the private development community and governments at all levels, particularly, if I understand him, at the municipal and provincial level.
That is a perfectly good argument for the honourable member to advance, and he will do so, I am sure, repeatedly. I would simply say to him what was suggested earlier today; that is, of course, that he will have an opportunity. He will continue to have opportunities to suggest how our public policy might be altered in that connection.
I would, in that debate, want to remind him that the Blakeney government in Saskatchewan, a socialist government, was thrown out of office in 1982 because people in that province were so sick and tired of the land development and crown corporation policy that was thought by the bulk of those people, in that wonderful land of Tommy Douglas, to be too intrusive, too interventionist and too oppressive. That was the record in another province with a very different kind of government: led, I want to tell the members, by the New Democratic Party.
I think there is a lot to debate in that connection, but I want an honest debate. I want a debate up front about facts and about positions. I want it out from behind the curtains. I want my friends out from the shadows and out where I can see them and where I can have their case put squarely. I find very difficult some of what has been suggested, particularly some of what was being suggested or implied by my friend from Sault Ste Marie. If he wants to change the election expenses legislation, let him say so in very specific terms and let us debate that issue in very specific terms.
I want to go on to other aspects of this particular debate. I have to say that the honourable member for Sarnia has a motion that suggests we --
The Acting Speaker: Order, please.
Mr Morin-Strom: On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: I believe the member has impugned my motives in terms of not being open and forthright with the government. I thought I laid out quite clearly what my position was and the facts of the case.
Hon Mr Conway: Let me say that if the honourable member feels I have impugned his motives, I certainly withdraw anything that leaves him with that impression. I hope I have made my concern about some of his observations as clear as I possibly can.
But I want to return to the sponsor of this motion, who worries about allegations. I want to say to my friend from Sarnia, who served at both municipal and provincial levels, that he knows perfectly well that we must concern ourselves not with allegations but with evidence, with facts. That is why I am very proud that last Friday, within hours of the admission by the gentleman in question --
Mr Brandt: Here is one of the facts. Here comes one now.
Hon Mr Conway: I want to say to my friend opposite that the Premier stood in his place last week and said he was very concerned about an admission from a staff person in his office and that he wanted to get to the bottom of this. Let me quote what the Premier said last Friday in this connection. I quote my colleague, the leader of the government:
“The recent allegations are deeply disturbing and profoundly worrisome. I am very troubled by this situation and I think that it is essential that there be an immediate and independent public inquiry to get to the bottom of it.
“I am determined that in the carrying out of this inquiry, that no stone be left unturned, that every lead be followed up on, that every allegation be thoroughly and exhaustively investigated until all of the facts have been laid bare before us.”
I conclude this part of my remarks by quoting the last part of the Premier’s statement on Friday:
“I give you my personal assurance that those whose performance has been found wanting will be discovered, those who have erred will be punished, and those who have broken the law will be prosecuted.”
I want to say that I am very proud of my colleague the leader of the government for that commitment and for that speedy and very appropriate action, because I think that is the right and proper course of action to follow: a thorough public inquiry headed by a judge so that we can get to the bottom of this in a fair and complete and impartial way. Surely that is what the people of Sarnia and elsewhere in Ontario expect will be done.
This Premier is a man of his word, and I have every confidence that that which he has committed to will be done, and it will be done in a very appropriate and thoroughly impartial fashion. There are those who would surely argue that it is much more likely that the facts are going to be found and judgements appropriately made in a judicial inquiry much more quickly and much more likely than they will ever be made in this cockpit of party politics, a cockpit I enjoy as much as anyone else.
I understand what my friends opposite have to do in their important and very critical role as Her Majesty’s loyal opposition. I must say I find it sometimes hard to be lectured, particularly by the third party, on matters of electoral financing. I will not engage in some of the recent history, because I do not think that would be helpful at this particular time, but I want to tell my friend from Sarnia that the temptation to recite a little bit of history which is on record at the Commission on Election Finances about contributions made to the Conservative Party in the 1985 campaign is almost irresistible.
But I shall resist. I will tell you why I will resist, Mr Speaker, because I know I have a bit of a reputation for some of these kinds of debates. I do not want to diminish my liking for some aspects of it, but I want to return to the main point.
I view this as very, very important. I got into politics to do important things for the people of Renfrew county and hopefully for the people of Ontario. I have, like the member for Kitchener-Wilmot, been here for 14 years and I can say without fear of contradiction that the overwhelming majority of people I have worked with here are diligent, dedicated, honourable people. I have every confidence that this has been the context and that has been the environment for all of the years prior to my arrival here in the mid-1970s. But there are very serious issues at stake that must be dealt with, I think very appropriately, by the mechanism the Premier has triggered by virtue of calling the independent judicial inquiry.
Let me say without any fear of contradiction that for me public office is a matter of public trust, and if that public trust has been betrayed, then those who have betrayed it must pay the price and I will, like the Premier, see to it that no stone is left unturned to ensure that happens.
But I start from the premise that you are innocent until you are proven guilty, and that if there are to be courts of adjudication, they are going to be fair and impartial courts. That is why I very much favour what the Premier has done in this connection.
I just want to say that I am very proud, like my colleagues the member for York North (Mr Beer) and the member for Kitchener-Wilmot who spoke earlier, of the accomplishments of this government, because I believe that in the best traditions of Wilfrid Laurier, we are Liberals who have gone forward dedicated to reform very important aspects of the public agenda in this province.
I am always reminded of that great clarion call Laurier offered over a century ago, that he was one of those who believed that everywhere and always there were abuses to be routed out, new forces to be developed and new horizons to be explored. That is what I got into politics to do. Yes, I have been disappointed that over the last number of days and weeks, so few people over there have wanted to talk about the very creative and courageous things that the member for Kitchener-Wilmot has done in so far as the Social Assistance Review Committee proposals are concerned. I have been absolutely breathless that so few people in the opposition have bothered to quiz the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) on, I think, one of the most creative budgets I have seen in 14 years.
I say to my friends opposite that I am in politics to do important things, to help the people of my county and my province, to work with honourable members of integrity on all sides. To the extent there is evidence that honour has not been the hallmark of certain activities, we will, as we have done in this connection, set in train a process that will get to the facts, and we will then on the basis of those facts and the impartiality of a process, make the necessary judgements. That is why I reject without any difficulty the motion standing in the name of my friend the member for Sarnia.
Mr B. Rae: I am of course surprised to hear that the government House leader will be voting against this motion. I, until the very last moment, held out hope that he would be voting in favour of it.
I want to respond not to his speech simply, but to the motion that is before us and to make some points. I hope the government House leader will regard them as sufficiently factual for his increasingly factual taste. I want, first of all, to start by saying that I was intrigued by his initial defence of his own government and his colleague, the Premier, for as he put it having brought in the standards legislation that he said was so stringent and so clear in terms of its standard of conduct.
I want to say for the record and I want to remind the government House leader, because I think four years of power have obviously blurred and clouded his mind and his memory as -- I am told, never having participated in the government -- frequently happens, that the very first act of the member for London Centre four years ago, upon assuming government, was to weaken and to water down the guidelines that had been established by William 0. Davis when he was the Tory Premier of Ontario.
The member is shaking his head, but I can tell him that I will take him chapter and verse one day in the time allotted to me. I do not have the time to do it. But l would simply say to him that when he examines the question of the rights of members of the executive council to belong in the executive council and to retain controlling interest in businesses that do business with the government of Ontario, there is a profound difference between the philosophical and practical approach taken by the Liberal government established in 1985, and previous governments because of the scandals that took place in the 1970s, I might point out. So I would say to the government House leader that the first argument he made is built purely and simply on sand.
The second point he made, in responding to other speeches that have been made, was to say that no complete codification is possible and that no set of laws will guarantee the purity of conduct, either of members of this place or of people who are doing business with the government. Let me say to everyone here that I agree entirely with that approach.
Of course, no codification of law is possible that will guarantee a purity of conduct on anybody’s part. We all understand that. We all understand the very basic premise that is being put. But that is precisely why we believe so profoundly that it is the Premier who has to exercise judgement, that it is the Premier who has to tell us clearly and categorically what his standards are, that it is the Premier who has to say, “Well, it is not exactly contained in this codification and these laws that are here, but my gut reaction is that there is something wrong with that.”
All of us have to make those judgements. We all have to make those judgements, but it is the Premier of the province who has to make the judgement with regard to the people who are members of the executive council. We all have to make --
Mr Miller: Everybody is elected. Everybody is elected on his own merits. You were elected. I was elected. Elected on principle. I am my own boss.
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr B. Rae: The member for Norfolk is quite right when he says that each member has to look into his own heart in terms of his own conduct. I am sure, in our moments, we all look into our own hearts, and from to time we find our own standards wanting.
But I say to the member I can understand his frustration not being a member of the executive council. I can understand the frustration of the member, having been in the House so long in opposition, watching his own government behaving in the way it has been behaving. I can understand the frustration with which he has been seized.
Mr Miller: I am proud of my government. I am proud of them.
Mr B. Rae: The member says he is proud. If he is proud of this, then he has rocks in head, that is all I can say.
Let us look at the other fine point that has been made.
The Acting Speaker: The member for Norfolk, please. We are on a limited time speech. The House had the courtesy to listen to the government House leader. It is now the Leader of the Opposition who is given the floor.
Mr B. Rae: I am more than happy to participate in the by-play of debate. It is something that I enjoy and do not mind at all. I would say --
Mr Ballinger: Tell Andy that.
Mr B. Rae: The member has just come back from stocking another lake. I appreciate his comments. In my latest copy of Bass magazine, I saw a picture of the member stocking a lake and I wish he would just go off and do it more often, that is all, and not spend so much time here.
The other piety, and there are many pieties around here, that the government House leader delivered himself of in his speech today was that everyone was innocent until proven guilty. That is true. That is absolutely true.
Mr Mahoney: Oh, good.
Mr B. Rae: I hear the member for Mississauga West with some relief saying that he is glad that is true. That applies to everybody; I want to make that very clear. But surely that applies to the DelZottos as well. Surely it applies to Gordon Ashworth. Surely, if you are going to have a standard, it has to apply to everybody.
But what has the response been by this government to this crisis? If you are a member of the executive council, the response of the government has been, “You’re okay.” Why is that? I do not know the answer to that. The government House leader is looking at me quizzically. I can only assume that is the position of the Premier, because if you consider the conduct of the Minister of Culture and Communications, which we have considered here in this House for some several weeks, the consistent response from this government has been: “We’re not making up our minds on that issue. There does not appear to be any problem.”
The facts have been admitted, that the Minister of Culture and Communications had a conversation with Mrs Starr. Mrs Starr said she had some work she wanted to have done and did the minister know anybody who could do it. She says, “I know lots of people who can do it, including my mom,” and she gave her mother’s phone number to Mrs Starr.
We also know, because the facts have been made public thanks to the work of the law firm of Goodman and Goodman who have done the initial audit of the particular account in question, that a cheque went payable to the minister’s mother in October 1987. Those are facts. Those are undenied.
We also have an allegation that there was a survey. All I can say is, if there was a survey, where is it? If there was a survey, why has it not been found? If
there was a survey, why is it not available? For two years now, there has allegedly been a survey that was done, a paper that was
allegedly there. Where is the copy of the survey?
Why was the minister not coming into this House the day after the allegation was made with respect to the survey, waving it in her hand and saying:
“Here is the survey. Here is an accounting of the work that was done. Here is the reason why the charge made against me is unfounded”?
Each and every member should think in his own heart about the nature of that allegation and of what he would be doing when he got back to his office. If there really were such a survey, this alleged survey, do members not think it would have been produced by now? Does anybody in this House not believe that survey would have been produced by the minister the day after, saying: “Here it is. Let’s stop all this nonsense about something being done or being floated up or being more than it was supposed to be - here is the work. It was done. This is precisely how it happened.”
I said in this House, when the minister spoke to me, that what she said stretched credibility, and I say it again because to me it has to be said. What is this nonsense going on here? Why is it so difficult for the Premier to say to his minister: “Look, if you say there was a survey, I want to see that survey tomorrow morning. If there is not a survey, I want to know what that cheque was for. If you don’t know what that cheque was for, you had better find out what that cheque was for. I want an explanation for me and for my colleagues as to what that cheque was for.” That is not difficult. That is not hard for a Premier to do.
All it requires is for a Premier to say: “I am sorry. I have some standards around here. I am not going to have $5,000 cheques floating around to members of a minister’s family when I don’t know for sure exactly what that was for and I don’t have the proof in my hand as to what that was for.”
This nonsense about this thing has gone on for three and a half weeks and the very best the Premier can do is to say, “Well, it’s off to Judge Evans.” All I can say is, good luck to Judge Evans. He has to wait for the Ontario Provincial Police inquiry. He has a short, two paragraph letter from the minister that says absolutely nothing about the contents of what actually took place. It gives him no further information and she says, “I am happy to co-operate in terms of what goes on.” This is arrant nonsense on the part of this government and this government knows it. Its members must know it. I say with the greatest of respect to members that this whole business could have been much more effectively and fairly handled if those standards had been enforced far earlier.
The government House leader had some very unkind things to say about a speech that was given by a colleague of mine. He says we should either put up or shut up. I will put up, and I will tell him precisely what I think is wrong. Many of the contributions that have come forward are not illegal. I do not believe that half the Liberal cabinet is made up of people who are dishonest or people who have committed criminal acts. I do not go around with that feeling in my heart about any of my colleagues.
What I do think, however, is simply this:
When this party took office, there was an avalanche of money and an avalanche of people who had previously had a special relationship with the Conservative Party, which had been in power for 42 years, and who en masse said, “Who are these people and how can we get to know them?”
The only way in which the wheels of politics could be greased or seen to be greased legally -- let me make it perfectly clear, perfectly legally -- was for every one of those ministers over there to ask himself the question: “How do we raise money? Is it all right if the Minister of Health raises money from the nursing home industry? Is it okay if the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations raises a ton of money from the insurance industry?” The answer from this government was. “Yes, it is okay, provided it is done in a legal fashion.”
Mrs E. J. Smith: Is it okay to accept money from the unions?
Mr B. Rae: The former Solicitor General asks if it is okay to accept money from the trade unions. Let me say to the member that if she has a proposal to make with respect to the future of election financing in this province, I would be happy to discuss it. If her government was seriously interested in discussing election reform or if we had ever had an approach from the Premier of this province in that regard, then we would be happy to discuss it.
But what I am saying is that it is the Liberal Party itself that has the twin faces of Liberalism. I was not able to be in the House. I had an appointment in my office, but I did listen to much of the comments of the Minister of Community and Social Services. He spoke about the progressive agenda. He was obviously disturbed, as any intelligent person would be, at how badly any agenda, progressive, reactionary or whatever the hell agenda it is, has just been blown out of the water by this whole nonsense.
I say to the minister to look to his own ranks, to what has happened, to the twin faces of Liberalism; to the one face that said, “Yes, we want to get on with the process of reform,” and to the other face that said, “We are going to dole out patronage, carry on in terms of our relationship with the business community, turn a blind eye when certain things are done and then say, ‘How could this have happened?’”
I will tell members how it happened. It was all very predictable. We know now, as we had heard on the street then, that a fund-raiser for the Minister of Housing took place in the offices of Tridel, when Mario Giampreti, who is the vice-president of Tridel, said publicly that he did not know the Minister of Housing, “But in a year’s time, let me tell you, Alvin Curling will be my best friend.”
They should wake up over there. That is what happened. The government either was not awake or it knew what was happening. Either way, they should look around and ask themselves the question. They are the authors of their own misfortune, and no one is more the author of his own misfortune than the Premier of this province.
I say this on this fourth anniversary of the formation of this government as someone who, perhaps one would be permitted to say, had more than a little to do with the transformation of politics that took place in 1985. If anybody ever betrayed the promise that was contained in that accord in 1985 and the spirit of reform that formed that government in 1985, it is the Premier of Ontario, the member for London Centre. That is exactly what we have seen.
I want to say this: We have now not just one inquiry; we have five. We have the work of the public trustee, the work of Judge Evans, the Commission on Elections Finances, the police, and finally the work of a judge yet to be named for an inquiry whose terms of reference have yet to be determined.
Mr Pouliot: And the Provincial Auditor.
Mr B. Rae: I had forgotten the Provincial Auditor: that is quite right. There are six: half a dozen.
The Premier was asked today by a reporter about patronage in his government and whether the appointments that were made were made on merit. He said, I am told by the reporter who told me she had this on tape, “Patti Starr was a merit appointment.” Give me break. Give everybody a break. If the government cannot recognize the origins of its problems and how those problems occurred, then it is a sad day.
What I want to say about these inquiries is this:
Nous avons maintenant six enquêtes qui ont été mises sur pied par le gouvernement, mais il reste toujours la question, et c’est une question fondamentale, de la motion de censure à l’égard du gouvernement.
Nous ignorons encore jusqu’ici quelles sont les directives que le Premier ministre (M. Peterson) a lui-même imposées aux membres du Conseil des ministres.
Le problème auquel fait face le gouvernement, ce n’est pas Mlle Starr; ce n’est pas M. DelZotto; ce n’est pas un entrepreneur de construction ou un scandale quelconque.
Le problème auquel fait face le gouvernement, c’est un manque de direction morale claire et precise, un manque de responsabilité politique de la part du Premier ministre lui-même. C’est ça, le problême du gouvernement.
Ce n’est pas l’affaire Patti Starr: c’est l’affaire Peterson.
This is not the Patti Starr affair. This is not the DelZotto affair. This is the Peterson affair. This is an affair that the Premier himself has to take responsibility for. This is an affair in which the Premier himself has to take command of himself. He cannot hide his standards behind those of Judge Evans. He cannot hide behind any criminal investigation. He must take responsibility himself for the conduct of his government and of his ministers.
I want to close by responding to one point which was made, and it is made by many people. There are those who say, “Haven’t you got anything better to do than to deal every day with this question of scandal?” I think all of us recognize that it is a good question. There are many of us in this party -- and I do not say this out of any mock sincerity, I hope members understand that -- who on many other days have, with a little less media success, I might point out, raised a number of questions on a number of policy issues.
But what I want to say is this: The question of the integrity of the democratic process and the integrity of the electoral process is the first question in politics; it is the first question in government; it is at the foundation of everything else a government does. If a government cannot pass that test, it cannot pass any other test. If a government cannot meet that standard, it cannot meet any other standard. If the government cannot get past that roadblock, it cannot go any farther down any other road.
The responsibility for what has happened lies clearly and categorically with the standards that were not set by the Premier, lies clearly and categorically in the actions not taken by the Premier. It lies clearly and categorically in the conflicts which have not yet been cleared up by the Premier. They have to be cleared up by the first minister. He is the only one who can do it, and he is the one who is responsible for the future of this government and indeed for the future of politics in this province over the next few months.
Mr Speaker, I say to you and I say to the House, I have no apologies at all to make to anyone for any question I have raised or for things I have said in this House. I have said them with sincerity and I have said them as far as possible on the basis of fact. If I have erred in fact, I have attempted to clear up the record as soon as that was possible.
This is not a tea party. The issues that are involved here are high; the stakes that are involved here are high. The reputations of all of us are at stake. That is why we are entitled to expect the highest possible standard from the first minister of this government and why we on this side of the House have found that standard wanting. We will be voting nonconfidence in the Liberal government of Ontario.
The Acting Speaker: The final speech to conclude this debate by the member in whose name the motion stands, the leader of the third party and member for Sarnia.
Mr Brandt: I rise to make my comments with respect to the tabling of the nonconfidence motion which I have placed before this Legislature. I do so with some degree of regret that this was necessary, but I feel that these issues do have to be fully debated and, hopefully, in some way at least better understood by all of us who are in our places in this particular assembly.
I listened with some interest to the comments of the government spokesmen, more particularly the member for Renfrew North, when he made comment at the outset of his remarks in connection with the absence of myself and the fact that, having placed the motion of nonconfidence, I was not in attendance.
I would like to assure the member for Renfrew North that I was following this debate with interest in my office while I had other responsibilities. I want to say that I have been here for approximately the last hour and I want to say that that is completely unlike his leader, who has not been here at all at any time during the course of this debate and is still absent from this House. I want him to know that there is in fact a difference and I am in attendance.
With respect, I say to the members of the assembly that I think this is a motion that should be of some concern to the Premier of this province and a motion that should be of some concern to all of the members of this House.
Since I am limited in the amount of time I can share my views with the assembly this afternoon, I am not going to spend a great deal of time rehashing the entire tortured path of intrigue and deceit that has been unfolding in this Legislature through the past month, not because it is not noteworthy in its own right or because the activities of Mrs Starr and her close relationship to this government do not have to be fully explored and detailed and corrective action taken where warranted, but because of the time limitations we are faced with this afternoon.
I will not try to pull together all the tentacles of the Patti Starr affair for one very simple reason, and that is because Patti Starr is not the only problem but is a symptom of the problem we are facing and are trying to deal with in the context of this motion. She is not the cancer that is afflicting this government; she is merely the visible sign of decay.
As much as we may all think that the focus on leaders of any political party began with the advent of television, that simply is not the case. A leader of a political party, especially one that is in power, sets the tone of the government by his or her presence, by the ethical and moral standards a leader brings to that office. One can judge the standards, the beliefs, the ethics and the moral tone that party adheres to as it exercises its responsibilities and duties.
To use an example, John Robarts, the former Premier of this province, who hailed from the same home town as the current Premier, simply by being in his seat and staring at a member on any side of the House, of this assembly, who was acting in a manner inconsistent with the traditions of this Legislature, could make that individual recall the tone and the decorum that was expected of that member on these premises.
Hon R. F. Nixon: I guess you weren’t there at the time. He could stare at two of them at the same time.
Mr Brandt: We have a different type of Premier in Ontario now. We have a Premier who came into power promising a government with no walls, no barriers. We have a Premier who came in promising everything to everyone, and I might add to the Treasurer, who has now involved himself in this debate with his asides, a Premier who promised that all these things would happen at very nominal cost.
We have a Premier who came in promising to change the way that government was run in Ontario. Unfortunately for all Ontarians, the only promise the Premier kept was the latter. He did in fact change the way government is run in our province. It is now run on the basis of who you know and how much you have contributed.
Mr Brandt: Applaud if you will. It is run on the basis that everything goes until you are caught.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Brandt: From 1985, this Premier set a new tone for the government. Whereas before, strict rules were in place to prevent conflicts of interest from occurring, this Premier changed those rules to allow conflicts to exist, not by way of strengthening the rules as they relate to conflict of interest, I might add, but by making it possible for certain relationships, for certain ownerships, to continue and to occur without being a conflict as long as it was identified in your conflict-of-interest report.
That in itself is not adequate, in my view, for the member for Renfrew North to be able to stand in his place and to speak with such righteous indignation about what the opposition are saying and to indicate to this House that his government has in fact strengthened the conflict rules. The conflict rules have never been weaker in this province than they are now, and that is the reality.
Since 1985, as questions in this House have revealed today, the government has actively, persistently, in the face of opposition questioning, solicited funds from the very sectors of society that they were elected to serve. Listen carefully. If you were a lawyer, you got your solicitation to meet with the Attorney General. If you were a businessman, then you received your letter from the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. If you were a tourist operator, it was the Minister of Tourism and Recreation. If you were a health care professional -- a hospital administrator, for example, as we heard from today -- then your solicitation came from the Minister of Health.
Mr Fleet: What you call the facts are only allegations.
Mr Brandt: You want facts? A refrigerator, a painting of a house, illegal campaign contributions made by a charitable fund. How about those?
Mr Furlong: How about the shredder? You made the allegation.
Mr Brandt: Can you prove the shredding never took place? How about the phone calls --
The Speaker: Order. Would the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr Fleet) desist -- thank you. Would the member continue and address his remarks through the chair, please?
Mr Brandt: By allowing these kinds of activities to continue to take place on the part of Ms Starr and to have those activities go unchallenged is to bring our entire profession, our entire commitment to the public good, into disrepute.
What the Premier has done by allowing cabinet ministers and parliamentary assistants who have admitted openly to accepting benefits for themselves or for friends or relatives, arranged for by Ms Starr, to remain in office is to besmirch the reputation of each and every member of this chamber. It is a syndrome that concerns me because it results in a conclusion, if you will, on the part of the public that they are all the same, that those politicians are no different, of whatever political party.
Well, they are not all the same, and what the Premier has allowed is to clearly state by example that there are two standards of conduct in this province and under this government, and two standards of conduct that he in fact condones. One is for those in government and one is for those unfortunate enough to be seen to be somehow an embarrassment to the government.
That would be the case of the DelZotto family, where if you are outside of government and you become an embarrassment, you are asked to step aside; an ally one day and you are asked to step aside and resign the next.
If you are a cabinet minister and you recommend your mother for a contract, that is deemed to be okay. If you promote a paid position on behalf of your campaign manager, that is okay: and if you have the rent on your campaign headquarters paid for by a charity and do not report it, that is okay.
It was once said that if public life is the noblest of callings. It is also the vilest of all trades. I never shared that view. I fought it from the very first day that I was elected to office some 18 years ago, yet I know so many of the people we represent hold precisely that opinion of our work and of us. They hold that opinion precisely because of those types of politics and it concerns me.
There are harsh words that are spoken in this assembly during the course of the difficult give and take of question period and during the course of a difficult period as we are going through with the question of this particular debate and the nonconfidence motion. But I say to my colleagues in this House, again from all parties, that it is so vitally important that we take a look at the system and make sure that it is delivering in a cleansed fashion the kind of results that they and I, as elected representatives, can live with and can look in the mirror and not feel ashamed about. That is vitally important.
I am not so concerned about an honest mistake. I am not so concerned about a matter of a minor indiscretion, if you will, in terms of financial dealings between contributors and recipients. Those things can happen.
But what we are looking at here, in my view, is too much of a concentrated, organized effort that causes me some real concern. If it does not cause the members of the government any concern, then I say to them that they will have to answer to the people of Ontario for that, but I say to them that the kinds of activities that are going to be explored, hopefully in detail under the inquiry that the Premier on Friday agreed to establish, should hopefully also result in a system that will be strengthened. It will focus on those who have committed some improprieties or have in fact turned their back on the rules and the ethics and the morals that we believe to be of value to us in this House, but it should explore very carefully and perhaps make recommendations with respect to how we might better the system.
There are some problems with the current system. There are some problems with respect to what went on in connection with Ms Starr. I fully understand and can appreciate -- and I look directly at some of my colleagues who I know got caught in this trap, who through a numbered company or through some other unknown identity were provided with funds through Ms Starr’s efforts and are now embarrassed by that. Many of them have returned those funds and I congratulate them for doing that.
I have not raised one time in this House the name of a member who was caught in that particular kind of what I consider a trap that was not of their making, because those things can happen, but what I am talking about is a concentrated effort on the part of an individual, who apparently was never questioned about her activities, which is calling now into question the very method, the very means by which campaigns are financed and which will undoubtedly result in some changes in the future that will hopefully stop this kind of mess from happening again.
I say very sincerely that I hope the public inquiry will be broad and sufficiently general enough to take a look at all aspects of the concerns that we have raised in this House. I would hope that the Attorney General, when I have an opportunity to speak with him tomorrow on this particular matter, will be co-operative in terms of trying to establish some kind of a compromise in a spirit of co-operation with members of the opposition to arrive at a method by which the structure of the inquiry can be established in order to best serve the purposes that I believe in the heart of hearts of all members they really want to see happen. We have to restore confidence in the system, we have to cleanse the system if there are blemishes in it, if there are problems with it.
Let me be perfectly frank in connection with the Patricia Starr affair. I say, with some degree of sadness, all of the story is not out yet. There is more to come. There are more problems that this government is going to have to respond to in connection with the Starr affair that is going to carry on presumably for some time, simply as a result of the very active career that this individual, in concert with others, apparently has had over the past while.
It is not an easy period for the government. I have to say, although many of the members respond by way of chuckles and laughter when we say this, it is not a particularly easy period for those of us in opposition, either. You may think that this kind of daily attack is something that we look forward to with great glee; it is not the truth. The fact of the matter is that I would be much happier, I would be much more pleased if we could deal with the substantive issues of the day. I would like to talk about the Treasurer’s budget. I would like to talk about substantive education issues and matters of importance in that regard. I would like to talk about the environment and health matters that deal with those issues.
But we have to dispose of this inquiry, the Ontario Provincial Police investigation, conflicts of interest and other matters that have come before this House that are not of the making of the members of the opposition. We did not precipitate these particular problems. They were started by others. We will, however, attempt in whatever way possible to deal with these matters in a responsible way, so that we can get on with the business of the House and at the same time establish hopefully a system of contributions through the decisions that will be made in the days ahead, that will be more acceptable to all members and all parties of this House.
The Speaker: Under standing order 70, that completes the allotted time for the debate on Mr Brandt’s motion of nonconfidence.
The House divided on Mr Brandt’s motion, which was negatived on the following vote:
Brandt, Breaugh, Charlton, Cooke, D. S., Cousens, Cunningham, Cureatz, Hampton, Harris, Jackson, Johnson, J. M., Johnston, R.F., Marland, Martel, McLean, Morin-Strom, Philip, E., Pope, Rae, B., Reville, Runciman, Villeneuve, Wildman, Wiseman.
Adams, Ballinger, Beer, Black, Bossy, Bradley, Brown, Callahan, Campbell, Caplan, Carrothers, Chiarelli, Cleary, Collins, Conway, Cordiano, Curling, Daigeler, Dietsch, Eakins, Elliot, Elston, Epp, Faubert, Fawcett, Ferraro, Fleet, Fontaine, Fulton, Furlong, Grandmaître, Haggerty, Hart, Henderson, Hošek, Kanter, Kerrio, Keyes, Kwinter, LeBourdais, Lipsett, Lupusella; MacDonald, Mahoney, Mancini, Matrundola, McClelland, McGuigan, McGuinty, Miclash, Miller, Morin, Neumann, Nicholas, Nixon, J.B., Nixon, R. F., Oddie Munro, Offer, O’Neil, H., O’Neill, Y., Owen, Patten, Pelissero, Peterson, Phillips, G., Polsinelli, Poole, Rainsay, Ray. M. C., Reyeraft, Riddell, Roberts, Smith, D. W., Smith, E. J., Sola, Sorbara, South, Stoner, Sullivan, Sweeney, Tatham. Velshi, Ward, Wilson, Wong, Wrye.
Ayes 24; nays 86.
The House adjourned at 1803.