The House met at 1000.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ PUBLIC BUSINESS
Mr McCague moved resolution 25:
That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing that the Municipal Elections Statute Law Amendment Act, 1988, setting out new rules for municipal elections was introduced and passed hastily by the Liberal government less than a year before the 1988 municipal elections, and given that there have been numerous problems arising from the 1988 municipal elections; the government of Ontario should immediately initiate a review of the act, of the problems of administration of same, and should consider establishing some mechanism, such as a municipal election finance commission, which would ensure uniform application of the act.
The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 94(c)(i), the honourable member has 10 minutes to make his presentation.
Mr McCague: It is my pleasure to bring this matter to the attention of the House and, in particular, to the attention of the government. I understand that the member for Durham-York (Mr Ballinger) has a little problem with this resolution because the word “Liberal” is mentioned in it. However, I did point out to the then minister that these acts were being passed rather hastily, given that there was some four to five months’ space between the passage of the act and the 1988 municipal elections.
The minister, for some reason, seemed to want to rush it through. If the government has any notion that this was not passed hastily, there were some 840 municipalities across this province that told it. All the municipalities told it that it was being passed hastily and the opposition parties warned it that it was being passed hastily, and therefore there were some problems. I can understand the government being a little upset about the fact that it is cited in the motion, but by the same token, the citation it got is true.
I do not know how to handle that particularly. It must mean that as long as you do not admit you are wrong, you are right. That must be what the government is doing because, as I say, it was pointed out to it by 840 municipalities and has been reiterated. I canvassed the municipalities in the province of Ontario to get not their comments about the Liberal government, but their comments about weaknesses in the acts as they presently exist. I got 55 replies which were very thoughtful and have some suggestions for the government. I will be passing those on to the member for Durham-York a little later, hopefully for action in the ways suggested.
Because the acts were passed quickly, the 1988 municipal elections were fraught with some confusion, error and frustration, mainly on the side of those who were responsible for conducting those elections as the government told them they should conduct them. I have been told that there is an internal review of the municipal election process being conducted by the ministry, but I do not believe that is enough.
As I said, I contacted every municipality in Ontario about today’s resolution. Most who responded were not aware of the ministry review. All but one municipality agreed that there is a need for a second look at the changes introduced through Bill 106. If there is an internal review, why do these municipalities not know about it? How can the minister consider their concerns if they have not been contacted? So far the ministry has only meet with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario on an informal basis to discuss possible amendments to the Municipal Elections Act. Neither of these groups has been asked to formally participate in a two-way discussion of what actually happened during the 1988 election and how to avert the problems in the next round in 1991.
Let’s just take a look at what did happen. One municipal clerk referred to the 1988 municipal election as “the most difficult, frustrating and time-consuming election I have personally experienced at any time during my 24 years.” He said that many of his deputy returning officers were so frustrated with the complexity of the process and the new enumeration methods that they will never again work in a municipal election. Many of the small rural municipalities felt that the changes that were brought about by the act centred around correcting problems in the larger urban municipalities in general and in Metro Toronto in particular, a point that was brought to the attention of the minister during the passage of this act some two years ago.
The legislation did not recognize the diversity of Ontario’s 839 municipalities and it gave no consideration to the fact that election problems experienced in large, medium and small municipalities are vastly different. For example, in many of the small rural municipalities candidates raise no money through contributions and spend very little, if anything, on their campaigns, yet Bill 106 requires them to fill out contribution and expense forms. This, according to one municipality, creates unnecessary work for the clerk at an already busy time.
Another concern expressed by a number of small municipalities was the requirement for two advance polls. This, they say, puts undue stress on the community’s resources and is often unnecessary. They have no argument about one mandatory advance poll, but suggest that the second be optional.
Likewise, the requirement for handicapped access at all polling stations for the 1991 elections: Many small municipalities have indicated that this requirement will be difficult to meet, even though I agree with the ministry that it is necessary. The 1987 report of the Advisory Committee on Municipal Elections did recognize the differences among different-sized municipalities and recommended that any new legislation should provide for flexibility, where possible, in some of the administration aspects.
Several municipalities said that changes introduced in Bill 106 resulted in abuse of the proxy system. Concerns were also voiced about the fact that the provisions of the bill allow a candidate to keep for his or her own purposes any contributions collected in excess of spending limits. This was considered to be a major flaw in Bill 106.
The administrative and contributions-and-expenses problems of the 1988 election were compounded by the new enumeration process which, as I indicated earlier, the government had passed shortly before the 1988 election. This resulted in confusion for municipal clerks, district returning officers and candidates alike. In one case, the number of changes to the preliminary list of electors increased by 3600 per cent compared to changes from the previous election.
Criticisms of the new legislation also focused on the role of the clerk. The clerk is almost always the enforcer of the legislation. Many municipalities considered the new rules gave too much responsibility for interpretation to the clerk. This resulted in the act being interpreted in many different ways across the province.
The establishment of a municipal election finance commission, as I have suggested in the resolution, would ensure more uniform application of the act throughout the province. In fact, the 1987 report of the Advisory Committee on Municipal Elections also recommended that a provincial body oversee municipal elections. They just called it by another name, the Ontario local government elections commission.
Whatever the commission is called, I think it is incumbent upon this government to at least consider establishing a separate commission for local government elections or directing Ontario’s Commission on Election Finances to oversee municipal elections in Ontario.
Almost all of the responses I received expressed a strong view that the confusion among candidates, the electorate and election staff was in most part due to the timing of the substantial amendments the Liberals enacted in 1988. According to the association of municipal clerks and treasurers, the provincial government contributed to the breakdown of the election process by adding to its complexity.
We will hear from the parliamentary assistant to the minister shortly and maybe he could answer these questions for me: What progress has his ministry made in the internal review, will he open up this review to individual municipalities and the public, will we see amendments to the Municipal Elections Act before 1991 and will these amendments include a commission such as the one recommended by the advisory committee or the election finances commission to oversee municipal elections in Ontario?
Mr Ballinger: I am very pleased to participate on behalf of the government this morning in debating resolution 25. Quite frankly, I am on pretty thin ice when I want to disagree with the member for Simcoe West (Mr McCague). In fact, the member for Simcoe West was the first member in the opposition when I was moved over on the rump side to take me under his wing and tell me to be quiet over there because the older members were having difficulty hearing the other speakers.
I would be very pleased to stand here in the Legislature this morning and support ballot item 27, but unfortunately I am afraid I cannot do that, I want to say to the member for Simcoe West. There are probably 101 reasons why I cannot do that.
Since I only have a few moments, because I am going to be splitting my time with the good member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr Faubert), I have to make the most of the time that I do have. I am surprised. If the member for Simcoe West wanted answers to those questions that he just asked in the House, I do not why he did not call me as the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. I would have been pleased to pass on any information that is readily available about the review.
To be quite honest, I find it passing strange, to coin a phrase that is used in this House quite regularly, that we on the government side would be accused of hastily passing legislation. With the greatest respect, the Progressive Conservatives had the opportunity for 42 years to provide the municipal councils of the province of Ontario with some direction. They failed to do that in all those four decades plus two years of representing the provincial government here as the government. They failed to give any direction to municipalities.
From 1973 until 1985, more specifically from 1980 to 1985, when I was mayor of my own community in Uxbridge, just out of curiosity we did some data here on what the Progressive Conservatives did about municipal legislation related to contributions during that five-year period that I was mayor. Let me tell members, in 1980 the then PC government had a wonderful amendment to Bill 71. What they did was the amendment qualified the electors. There was a revision process, a nomination process, vacancy and other housekeeping changes -- no accountability, no direction to the municipalities about municipal contributions.
In 1982, Bill 10, another amendment: The issue addressed was term of office. We went from a two-year term to a three-year term. I remember that so well: nothing to deal about accountability. In 1982, the Conservatives again the government of the day, Bill 119, another amendment: increased fines from $1,000 to $2,000, procedures regarding the opening of ballot boxes, granting municipalities authority to pass bylaws regulating limits on election contributions and disclosing. Interesting. Here is the difference from our legislation: Our legislation is mandatory. Bill 106 is mandatory; Bill 119, done by the PC government back in 1982, was optional.
Local option: I say to the member for Simcoe West, where have I heard that before, that term in this House? At no time when they were in government did they say to the municipalities, “You must do this.” They said: “You may do this or you may not do it. It’s your choice.” Consequently, that is why we have Bill 106, because our government said, with the greatest respect to the member over there, “You must do this; it’s mandatory legislation.”
I want to say to the member for Simcoe West that, as with any other piece of legislation, I think it is great for the member to stand in the House to say, “You guys were in such a hurry to get this legislation through that you botched it up,” but I was here in the fall of 1987, rolling into 1988, when that gang over there was using stalling tactics, all kinds of petitions, bell ringing. We were trying to get our agenda on the table, but we could not do that because of all the other shenanigans that took place in this House. But we did get the bill through and it is a good bill. In fact, this is the only province in all of Canada that has mandatory legislation. We are the only province with mandatory legislation, accountability for those over 800 municipal councils in Ontario.
I want to say to the member for Simcoe West, who said that he had polled across Ontario and had received 55 responses, there are almost 900 municipalities in Ontario. He received 55 responses and he is going to base his position on the response of 55 municipalities? I want to say with the greatest respect, I would hope that when this review comes out from our minister, the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr Sweeney) -- who as the member knows is a very consultative minister; there is going to be no review come out of his ministry that is not well thought out -- it will address those issues that most municipalities found were the problem after the last election. We have until 1991. That review is currently in progress. The minister said at the standing committee on estimates that the review was in progress and that he will look at all of those areas of concern.
Mr McCague: Check the date on this resolution.
Mr Ballinger: I say to the member for Simcoe West, he should check the Hansard from the estimates committee meeting, where the minister sat there -- and his own members from his caucus were there -- and where he publicly said he will review, and he will. By the time the election of 1991 rolls into place --
Mr McCague: That’s completely irrelevant.
Mr Ballinger: I do not think so. There you go, Mr Speaker. The member for Simcoe West says it is completely irrelevant. Let me say to the member for Simcoe West, you guys over there cannot have it both ways.
The Deputy Speaker: Would you address your remarks through the Speaker. please?
Mr Ballinger: Sorry, Mr Speaker, but I am being harassed by the member for Simcoe West.
I just want to say, in the short two years that I have been here, I would really have thought that had the member for Simcoe West really cared about any proposed or future amendments, he would have drafted a resolution that he knew we would have supported. But no, he did not want our support at all. That is why he drafted this in such a fashion that we on this side could not support the resolution, because he does not want us to support the resolution at all. He wants to take issue so that he can write, as the critic, to all the municipalities in Ontario and say: “Those big, bad Liberals, they don’t listen. They wouldn’t do the necessary amendments. They rushed through the legislation. It’s no good.”
Contrary to the belief of the member for Simcoe West, again, I want to reiterate, we are the only province in the Dominion of Canada that has enacted mandatory legislation. You guys did not do that. You gave optional legislation. I was there. You guys did nothing to make any accountability in the process. I think the member for Simcoe West has a lot of nerve to stand up here in the House, quite frankly, and say, “What the Liberals have done is insufficient.” If that is not the biggest joke I have heard in my 15 years in the political arena, I do not know what is.
I just want to say to the member for Simcoe West, so that I can leave some time for my good friend the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere, that the review is coming down the pike. We will address those issues, which the minister believes are a major concern to the people of Ontario, and we will make the necessary amendments.
The Deputy Speaker: May I take this opportunity to remind members that the standing orders state very clearly that no member may address another member directly, but through the Speaker, and using the third-person singular or plural.
Now, I am sure the member for Hamilton West will follow these standing orders very well, and the rest of you will also.
Mr Allen: Mr Speaker. I simply want to rise and report to you that the member for Oshawa (Mr Breaugh) intends to participate in this debate. He has been held up on the road. He sent an indication that he hopes to be able to take his turn in the rotation at a future time. He should not be very much longer.
The Deputy Speaker: Who else would like to participate in the debate in the meantime?
Mr Faubert: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Indeed. I will try to adhere to the standing orders and address my remarks through you.
I would like to report that while I support the spirit of the resolution of the member for Simcoe West, and despite the fact that I am in support of some of the suggestions he made, not only in the resolution but in his speech in support of it, I cannot in good conscience vote in favour because of so many inaccuracies which are contained within it.
Since this government took office, there has been more reform of our municipal system of government than at any time in recent history. Reforms were implemented which have been talked about for decades.
These include Bill 29, which was implementing direct election to Metropolitan Toronto, which reformed Metropolitan Toronto. It reduced the size of both Metro and area councils and made the position of chairman of the Metropolitan Toronto regional council directly accountable to the electorate.
A new voter enumeration system was introduced by Bill 77, with a mail-in enumeration system which achieved and improved an impressive 90 per cent response rate, at less cost and with more accuracy than previous systems.
With Bill 106, arising from the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Municipal Elections, by the way, which reported in February 1987 -- that was the consultation that went into this bill -- every municipal candidate could run for election under an equitable system of ceilings on campaign spending by the individual candidates, and ceilings on campaign contributions.
As my colleague the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the member for Durham York, has said, the changes to the municipal election system were brought about in 1988 and represent a vast improvement over what had existed previously.
The amendments to the Municipal Elections Act were designed to accomplish three basic goals: to improve accessibility for both electors and candidates, to provide for a more accountable local government and to create a more equitable, efficient and effective electoral system.
The new legislation was designed to create a more level playing field on which people committed to their communities could run for office without having to spend large amounts of money. It limited donations to a candidate from any one contributor to $750 and it limited the amount any candidate could spend, depending on the position the candidate was seeking and the number of electors in the jurisdiction. It has been admitted, reviewing what happened during the last election, that this is one area that needs reviewing and indeed is being reviewed, and the mandatory disclosure requirements allowed people to find out just who was paying the bills for municipal election campaigns.
The member for Simcoe West suggested in his resolution that these amendments were passed hastily. It is strange to see the opposition criticizing this government for lack of action -- not for its lack of action indeed, but for its pace of action. To claim that this legislation was passed hastily is doing a grave injustice to the impressive legislative record in this area which I previously outlined and indeed to the consultation process that went on before it.
As a 17-year member of both Scarborough and Metro council, I, along with most of my colleagues on those councils with whom I had served, recognized the need for reforms and promoted such reforms for many years. I suggest that had the government not acted promptly and decisively in these matters, the opposition would have been proposing resolutions criticizing this government for inaction.
We all know that no legislation is perfect, and as a reform-directed government, we are not afraid to review and reform our own legislation.
As recently as last September, I wrote to the Minister of Municipal Affairs regarding some concerns that I had with municipal campaign surpluses of some municipal candidates. Indeed, in Metro, in the greater Toronto area, some surpluses were reported to be between $3,000 and $21,000 in municipal election campaigns. This money was raised under the auspices of its being used to finance campaign expenditures. However, if the municipality had not opted for the tax credit system -- candidates now can spend their campaign surpluses as they wish. This is not new and it is not the result of this legislation. In fact. campaign surpluses have likely existed as long as municipal governments have. I do not recall having experienced this luxury during my own municipal campaign. but I know that if I had, in good conscience, those moneys could not have been spent for personal or noncampaign use.
This is the first time I recall this issue being out in the open. Indeed, it is out in the open because there is mandatory disclosure. Disclosure is the key and it brings accountability. When the facts are out in the open, as the legislation requires. people can hold their elected representatives accountable for their actions. In fact, I would argue the people have just such a responsibility to do that
I recall the member for Victoria-Haliburton (Mr Eakins). as former Minister of Municipal Affairs, said during estimates, quoting a well-known political commentator, “In a free society, the state does not administer the affairs of men. It administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs.”
I think that is the philosophy behind the reforms that were made to the Municipal Elections Act. The member for Simcoe West has said he wants a comprehensive review and I agree with him on that. Indeed, when I wrote to the minister, he wrote back to me and he said, and I quote from his letter of 12 October, “The Ministry of Municipal Affairs is presently undertaking a comprehensive review of all issues and concerns arising from the 1988 municipal elections.”
Indeed, he points out that the review also includes consultation with such groups as the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario.
Since the review that this legislation recommends, which I support, is already under way, I suggest that this resolution is redundant and I suggest that the members of the House give it the vote that it deserves.
The Deputy Speaker: The member for Simcoe West may use some of the 15 minutes.
Mr McCague: Mr Speaker, we have just a little problem here, I guess, in that one party missed its turn. The second person from our party is not here at this time, and I am sorry that the member for Oshawa is not here, because he would darned soon straighten this government out, if he were. No doubt he is reciting his speech from somewhere.
Mr D. W. Smith: You depend on the NDP, do you?
Mr Faubert: You’re really struggling, George.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr McCague: Mr Speaker, given the problem that we are in at the moment, could you assist us? Could I talk for a while longer and refute all that --
The Deputy Speaker: You may use all the 15 minutes your party has, plus your two-minute response, if you want.
Mr McCague: Okay. Well, my colleague the member for Markham (Mr Cousens) should be along at any time.
I can understand the member for Durham-York and the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere having to stand in their places this morning and take the party line and try and shoot down a perfectly legitimate and sensible resolution that I put in Orders and Notices back on 25 July. The member for Durham-York refers to the fact that his minister said in estimates a few weeks ago what was happening. I know that. I was chairman of the committee. I asked the question. That has nothing to do with it. He was just filling time; that is simply all he was doing.
Mr Ballinger: That is what you are doing.
Mr McCague: He has no defence. The resolution is entirely accurate and should be acted upon, but somebody in his government said, “No, we cannot do that because it says in there ‘The Liberals acted hastily.’” Well, how nuts.
I have had several from his party come over to me and say, “That is an excellent resolution you have, but the member for Durham-York will not let us support it because it says the Liberals acted hastily.” It is the only time in their lives they ever acted hastily, but it was the wrong time to act hastily.
There is not a doubt in the world that every municipality told the government it is acting hastily on this. The municipal elections process is a big process for most municipal clerks, and I think really the key to it all -- the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere is from a big Metropolitan Toronto-type council; the member for Durham-York is not. He is out there in the sticks like I am, and the councils are small and we do not need --
Mr Ballinger: You be careful. My mother is watching you.
Mr McCague: He talks about giving direction from Queen’s Park out to those smaller places. We do not need his advice out there, and he did not need it when he was there either. He did not need that advice. I do not know where he got that whole list of garbage that he brought up about what he wanted the government to do when he was there. He did not want them to do anything. He wanted them to leave him alone, and there are times when it is better to do nothing. But this government has stuck its foot in it, and that is what we are trying to point out to members in this resolution.
It is a friendly enough resolution. Everybody knows that it was done hastily, and everybody knows that we should make the best effort possible to make it better. That is what I am suggesting to the honourable member. He does not have to take my suggestions, but for heaven’s sake, why does he not ask the municipal clerks and treasurers out there, who really are the people who have to conduct those elections and have some problems with it?
Mr Faubert: We are.
Mr Ballinger: We are.
Mr McCague: Sure, he is now. He got the lead out of him after I put this resolution in Orders and Notices. That is very clear.
Mr Ballinger: Oh, get away. You better check the seat of your pants.
Mr Keyes: See where the lead really is.
Mr McCague: Mr Speaker, the members are very agitated this morning, and in particular the member for Durham-York.
The Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario, one group that knows what it is talking about, even if the minister or the member for Durham-York does not think so, points out that at least part of the concern with respect to the confusion surrounding the 1988 municipal election must rest with the timing of the substantial amendments that were enacted in 1988. That is what they say.
If the minister or the member does not agree with me that they are the people who should know, this is what they are saying, and this is what they said on 26 September of this year, after I put the resolution in Orders and Notices, after I wrote them a nice letter saying, “Could we have any comments on this particular resolution?” There was nobody who wrote back and said:
“You are wrong. The government didn’t act hastily at all.”
I had members over there come over and whisper to me quietly.
Mr Ballinger: Name names.
Mr McCague: I will, but outside with you afterwards. Even the honourable member for Durham-York feels bad that his government will not let him support such an abundantly sensible resolution. He feels real sorry about that and tries to cover it up by making a lot of noise. However, we cannot do anything about that.
But to go on to quote, and I am sure members want me to quote from this, the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario says, By continuing to add to the complexity of the process and by continuing to do so in a time frame that does not permit the adequate training of election officials or the education of candidates or the electorate, the provincial government is contributing to the breakdown of the electoral process.” I mentioned who said this.
Now, if the member for Durham York wants to get up and say these guys are full of prunes and that this is not so, I would be glad to hear from him. The member asked me why did I not ask him these questions that I put on the record a little bit earlier. If he would just sit in his seat for a moment and listen to them, I am sure that he could answer the quiz during the discussion of this bill.
Just for the member’s reaffirmation, the questions were: (1) What progress has his ministry made in the internal review? (2) Will he open up this review to individual municipalities and the public? (3) Will we see amendments to the Municipal Elections Act before 1991? (4) Will these amendments include a commission such as the one recommended by the advisory committee or the Commission on Election Finances to oversee municipal elections in Ontario?
The member will not have an opportunity to put these on the record today, but I am sure that he will check Hansard and write me a letter which will indicate the answer to all these problems.
The Acting Speaker (Mr Cureatz): We are continuing the debate of ballot item 27, private member’s notice of motion 25, Mr McCague’s resolution. Looking at the rotation, I understand there is a possibility of the member for Markham participating in this debate.
Mr Cousens: There is just a tremendous amount one has to say on this subject, and then there is the fact that I had a great deal to say in the standing committee on public accounts, from which I just came. It made it very difficult.
The first thing I want to say on this, if I may, is that I would like to congratulate the member for Simcoe West for bringing this to the House for our consideration. Something that happens in the Legislature is that we are very fortunate periodically to have gifted members from different tidings, and one of the most valuable, hard-working and experienced people in our caucus, and I can speak for our caucus, happens to be the member for Simcoe West.
I want to thank him for the leadership he gives not only in this resolution but also in what he has done for the people of Ontario, for his riding, and certainly for the people in the municipalities who are concerned with what is going on with municipal politics.
I have to say that when we had Bill 106 come before this House not all that long ago, it was one of those bills that came in very hastily. It seemed ill prepared. It surprised many of the clerks and the people at the municipal level as to just what it was going to do to them and how it was going to cause municipal elections to function. It raised serious questions about the enumeration process. It did cause a number of recounts across Metro.
Certainly it had an effect on clerks in the way in which they were conducting their business. It wreaked a certain amount of havoc and, I would have to suggest, for the sake of making the electoral system function as it should, so that everybody who is part of this province and every municipality is encouraged to run, encouraged to participate, encouraged to vote and is satisfied that all those processes are handled in a way that understands and appreciates the complexities of democracy.
Is it not funny? Here we are in Canada taking democracy so much for granted, and yet the people in eastern Europe are clamouring for it. They cannot wait to be able to use the ballot box. They cannot wait to be able to make their views known. To them, that is something they have been deprived of and now they have a chance of getting it, and look how excited they are. I know I am excited for the people in East Germany and I am excited for people in Czechoslovakia, Poland and all around the world -- Namibia, where they have just got the vote.
There is so much happening for democracy. Why can we not also have the same sense of urgency around the democratic tights that take place at the municipal level in our province of Ontario? To me that is something we can encourage and build upon by having a process that works and having a process that says to those people who will vote, or those who should vote or should run, that they are satisfied the system is working as it should.
I do not think there is any doubt that the survey that was done by the member for Simcoe West has determined that there is a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction across this province among municipalities and others with the failure of the province to do something right. The province comes along and seems to have the power of its large number of seats and, therefore, whatever it does seems to be right just by virtue of its size. It is not.
I happen to believe there is an awful lot that could be done to clean up this bill. It has to do with the potentiality for corruption and problems that go outside of the thing. Let’s not hide it. It is there. Yet how do we have a chance to get the public involved unless the government gives some leadership on this issue? The fact of the matter is that this bill we are looking at among the municipal election acts -- there are different ones -- seems to be an open-ended invitation to corruption.
What happens is that any municipal politician or person who runs for office raises the money for the electoral process. The question is raised as to what they do with the left-over money in the coffers. What happens if they do not spend all that money?
I have to ask you, Mr Speaker, what happened with the money raised by regional councillor Michael DiBiase in Vaughan, who raised over $100,000 and had a surplus of $8.608, after spending $26,000 on a victory party. What is going to happen with his left-over money? What is going to happen to Frank Cippolone, who raised $66,000 or more and had $27,000 left over, or Peter Meffe in Vaughan, who had another $11 ,000 left over?
How many politicians had money left over and how many of those dollars ended up in their own pockets? I do not know, but I would say there should not be a system allowed to exist that allows for money that is given for the political process to end up in their back pockets.
Mr Ballinger: You allowed it for 40 years.
Mr Cousens: If the member for Durham-York supports that, he is less a man than I thought he was. Maybe when he was mayor of Uxbridge they did that. I doubt it, because he happens to be a man of some integrity, but let’s put the integrity in the law so that everybody is going to be protected. All they are doing is giving an invitation for corruption by having a bill that is so open-ended; it is not really closing the doors to those opportunities for people. I withdraw any allegation about the member for Durham-York because I happen to know him to be an honourable man and I would not want to accuse him of something that is going on right now.
We are talking about a situation that does not need to exist. It could be modified in such a way that we would have a commission that looks after the elections of municipal politicians. We have one at the provincial level and one at the federal level. Why do we not have some kind of commission that can be used as a buffer to answer those questions and resolve those concerns’? If a municipal politician has a question about the electoral process, then he can go to that commission, receive assistance, guidance and supervision.
This is not something to be taken lightly; it is something that we as a Legislature should take very, very seriously. I think it is for us to do everything we can to make sure that the democratic process in this province at every level works correctly and well. It does not right now. There is no doubt that there are still -- I just wish the member for Simcoe East (Mr McLean) was here because he could tell us in detail what has happened in Tiny township. I understand there is still a situation there where a recount has not been completed yet. Why’? Why do the media not look into that one? There are enough other --
Mr Cousens: There are no media around here today and they are probably not even watching this thing. They could not care less it seems.
I happen to care a great deal about the resolution that has been put forward by the member for Simcoe West. We do not want to open the can of worms. We want to let everybody in Ontario think that things are just perfect in the grand province of Ontario. Until you start dealing with some of the issues and the problems that are being raised, it is not perfect, but we are in a position that we can make it better and we can make it better by making amendments and changes to the law. Open it up so that everybody can have a chance to just see what can be improved.
That is what the member for Simcoe West is asking for and that is what I am supporting. In fact, after it has gone through public dialogue and public discussions, the Liberal majority comes along and says, “Things are just perfect,” then I will have to sit down until we get another resolution like this. But eventually they are going to accept the fact that things need to be improved and that is what we are asking for in this bill.
Mr Ballinger: You missed the debate, Don. You should have come early.
The Acting Speaker: Continuing the debate, the member for Oshawa.
Mr Breaugh: To tell you the truth, Mr Speaker, I would like to give you about 15 minutes on the road system in and around Metropolitan Toronto. There were a couple of drivers on the Don Valley Parkway who deserved a few words this morning too. But I will not do that.
The resolution before us I think is a good one. As a matter of fact, there is only a little part of it that I would disagree with and I will come to that in a minute.
Last year, in the course of our deliberations here, we went through a rather large number of changes to the electoral process municipally. Most of those were things that many of us have argued for a number of years. The concerns that were expressed in the House were not about the principles of the things that the government was proposing. It was basically an argument about how practical it was to try to do all of those things in a very short period of time.
Now I guess, to be fair, one should give both sides of the argument. There was nothing that this government proposed just prior to the last municipal elections that was secret. There was nothing that had not been discussed a great deal over the last decade. It had been .the subject of commissions set out by the provincial government. It had been discussed by various committees in the municipal organizations. It had been discussed here.
There were a number of changes that were long overdue. The question was not whether they were good changes or bad changes. The question was whether they could be implemented effectively in time for that particular set of municipal elections. In my view, I did not think they could be. Hindsight, being one of the best ways to watch how the electoral process works, tell us that it did create some problems. I do not recall any set of municipal elections when there was quite so much confusion about what the rules of the game were. I do not recall a municipal election when the lawyers have been quite so busy. I do not recall one where there have been so many challenges to the validity of the electoral process.
We can withstand all of this. We did obviously. Society did not crumble. The municipal process grinds on, but there were things that happened that frankly should not have happened. It is confusing to watch election night results that are challenged that night, challenged the next day, challenged repeatedly thereafter and, in some instances, we are still not sure who actually won the election. Actually, in part, some of the stuff is not the government’s fault. This government did not make the decision to use a different voting process in certain of our jurisdictions. Like the city of Toronto, that caused immense problems. The end result of that, I am told, is that somebody used the wrong-sized paper and so the voting procedures could not work.
Those are things that you cannot foresee, but some of the things should have been thought about beforehand, and I know were. I am reasonably sure that the minister of the day did not act in a sense of rashness. I think he honestly believed that these things were possible to do in a very short period of time. My experience in municipal politics told me they were not. They might have been possible if you had, for example, a provincial election machinery at work where it was all done out of the jurisdiction of one person. Then from one centralized source you could make changes of that nature to the electoral process because one person was making the decision, one person would be laying out the instructions for the elections to be held all across Ontario.
It would have been possible on that basis, but that is not the way that municipal elections are conducted. They happen in a variety of ways in different municipalities, some of which are very sophisticated places one could argue, I think, in the city of Toronto, North York, Oshawa, Windsor, Thunder Bay. In any of our large urban centres there is an ability to compete with whatever changes this or any other government wanted to put forward, to adjust or to get ready in a fairly short period of time, because they have the machinery. They have the people to make those changes happen.
But in many of our smaller municipalities the entire clerk’s office consists of somebody who is there a half a day a week. That is hardly conducive to picking upon what the changes are, let alone implementing them. There was a good deal of confusion. In our idea of a democracy confusion does not help much. That, I think, is at the heart of what this resolution talks about.
It is probably true that this is not news. I recall after the municipal elections there was a spate of news stories about confusion on election day, confusion about what the rules were, confusion about whether people had to conform to a municipal election expenses law or not. I think there were two municipalities that actually opted into the system in total. Most of them have gone through the disclosure period now. Most of the people who ran for municipal office did conform to the disclosure provisions, but not everyone did. Now the clerks are sitting around wondering: “What do we do if they did not offer a financial statement? Do we assume they did not spend any money?”
For those of us who have been in municipal politics for a while, it is quite true. I know lots of people who get elected municipally and do not spend a dime. They barely buy a cup of coffee with a constituent. They do not put out any pamphlets. They do not advertise. They walk up and down the streets of their community and talk to people, which is probably politics in its purest form.
But some people did disclose and there was some kind of confusing results. I have been involved in a number of elections. I do not recall an election that I have ever been involved in where at the end of it all we had a surplus, a pile of money and we did not know what to do with it. There are municipal candidates who have declared a rather substantial surplus.
What happens to that money’? Do they go and buy a new Chevy? I hope they do. We are a little short of Chevy sales in Oshawa this week, so it would be nice if they did that. Does the money go to the clerk? Does it go back to the people who gave them the money?
There is an initial canvassing of who donates to municipal elections. This is one of the good things that I believe came about through the recent changes. There is now a record of sorts of who donates to municipal political campaigns. I find it a little disturbing, for example, that the development industry is quite so active in financing municipal political efforts.
This is pretty natural. When you stop to think about it, who is interested in municipal planning decisions? I know a lot of developers who are very interested in municipal planning decisions. They are among the few people who attend planning committee meetings, for example. They and their lawyers and their architects and anybody else they can drag up are always at the local hearings about planning matters. It should not be surprising then that, come election time, those folks have an interest.
Now here is the interesting part. We know that they are interested. We know that they donate heavily to municipal campaigns. Does that have an influence on local politicians? Everybody I know who is elected municipally would say, “Oh, gosh, no, we would never let them influence our decisions,” but they are there and they certainly listen to them. If they donate to their campaigns, perhaps they listen a little more attentively to the arguments from the development community than they do to those from the South Oshawa Ratepayers’ Association that forgot to donate to their campaign.
All of us go through the same process as well. All of us have people who contribute to our political campaigns and on a regular basis in here somebody pops up with the latest disclosure statement and says, “Somebody gave you $750 and so that has influenced your decision.” We do not really know, to be honest, whether it does or does not, but it is true and there is no question about it that a developer who donates handsomely to a local political campaign expects something in return and he gets something in return. What we do not know is precisely what he gets.
For example, I think it would be wrong to say that he just paid $2,000 into a local political campaign. For members who want to challenge that, “That’s not legal. They are not supposed to do that. There’s supposed to be a limit,” let’s not be too stupid. If there is a developer out there who cannot figure out how to get around the biggest loophole in the Election Finances Act, he is not going to be in business very long. If there is a developer in the world who cannot figure out that if there is a cap on the amount that you are allowed to donate and the cap is $500 or $750 or $1,000 and you want to give somebody $10,000, you can probably get out a calculator and figure out how many of your employees are going to donate to that campaign. These folks are not stupid. That is exactly what they do.
There is something that I think needs a little look at again: How appropriate is that? How would we control that? Are the disclosure statements accurate? Do we have any means of checking those statements? Do we have any means of dealing with the surpluses? Now, frankly, is the time when the government ought to be taking a look at all of this. All of the changes that happened before the last municipal election should be reviewed actively by the government. I am sure there are ministerial committees that are doing precisely this now. I think the resolution itself simply calls for the attention of members here to the same kind of process, so I do not think the member is asking for anything which is unusual or unwieldy.
I want to get to the one thing where I have a little disagreement with the resolution. The member is suggesting that this government did something hastily. If anything, this government cannot be accused of moving hastily on anything. I have never seen a government that came in here so regularly with a bill in this hand that it touted to be the bill of all time, and then the next day walked in with 52 amendments in his hand to amend the bill of all time. This government has made a practice of that.
I want to speak just for a moment or two about the legislative process and how it should work. As I understand it, it is a long, slow, painful thing. To get a piece of legislation out of ministry staff, to get it through whatever kind of consultation process we want, to get it through all the interministerial committees, all the committees of cabinet, through the cabinet, through the Legislature itself, through our legislative process, to get all the regulations written, to get all the sections proclaimed, to get it actually put into law and into practice takes a long time, and it ought to.
It should not be a quick process. There is a very good reason why this is along, painful piece of business. It is because, very simply, once we make a law, once we put it in practice, it is not simple to change it. So it should be along, slow, thoughtful process. It should also be an open process. It should be one where the contact points with the people who are going to be affected by this law are visible: we know where that consultation took place. That should not be done in secret, in my view.
It should also be a process whereby, when the government is ready to actually introduce a bill into this chamber, it should be reasonably confident that that bill is in its final form. I want to spend a little bit of time on this because I think this is important and it is a practice in this House which I see happening more and more and which I regret.
We sometimes chastise the previous government for really dragging its feet on introducing the legislation. But having seen kind of two modes at work, I think I would prefer that one as opposed to what I see happening now. I get nervous, frankly, when I see a minister of the crown stand up proposing legislation today and then going off to committee with a raft of amendments tomorrow. Where did these come from? If these are good ideas, if these are just drafting changes, why did someone not pick them up in the internal process before the bill was tabled?
I believe that is an indication that there is something wrong in the process that this government is using. It may well be that these are just drafting problems, but I cannot believe that. I see more and more amendments being proposed that I believe are substantive. If they are drafting problems, I would call to the government’s attention that that is an indication of some sloppiness somewhere. We know that the particular words that are chosen and the way they are placed in a clause in a bill are important. They are important.
Mr Haggerty: That is not common language.
Mr Breaugh: It is not common language, that is true. This is not writing a note to your mother about why you are going to be absent today. This is going to become a law. The exact word that we use has a legislative history attached to it. It has a framework. When it goes to court, we know that certain words will be dealt with in certain ways. I simply want to pick up on that point because I think the government is somewhat guilty of doing some things that are less than what the people of this province deserve. They deserve reasonable amounts of consideration.
If there is something in here that happened, it was not a matter of haste. It was a matter of timing. I believe that the government misjudged and I believe that many municipalities told it up front that it was making a mistake when it introduced those things at such a late date. I think the practical application of the changes to the Municipal Elections Act were such that municipalities deserved more notice than they got.
If the government had problems during the course of the last municipal election, they were problems it should have known about. They were certainly told about them here by members of the opposition. I know they were told about it them members of various municipal organizations, who tried to caution the government that it was suggesting things that they were not in disagreement with, but, and they told the government this loud and clear, it could not carry out those changes on that scale in such a short time frame and that they needed more notice. I believe the government committee told the government precisely that as well, that there would be a cutoff date after which the changes were not practical any more and it would have problems.
I think there were difficulties in the last municipal election. Those problems still exist today. Now should be the time for the government of Ontario, without the pressure of an election in the near future, to take a careful examination of what actually went wrong and what it might do to fix it. That is precisely what this resolution calls for and that is why I believe members on all sides ought to support the resolution that is before us this morning.
Mr McCague: I would like to thank the member for Oshawa for his insight in this matter and my colleague the member for Markham. I would like to thank several backbenchers from the governing party who came to me and said: “It is a great resolution you have. I would love to support it. I think you are right, but the government will not let us support it. So be it and we will talk to you another day.”
There is every indication that this was a hasty bill. That was mentioned over and over again prior to its passing in this House and there can be no argument about that.
The member for Oshawa referred to the difficulty with legislation that is being introduced by this government and the number of amendments that result between the date of its introduction and the date of its passage. Bill 77, one of the bills we were talking about, was introduced and when it went to committee stage the government itself brought in 30 amendments to that bill. There has to be something the matter. Maybe they did not listen to the municipalities prior to the introduction of the bill. Maybe the municipalities had input between the introduction and the passage. But to have 30 amendments to a small bill is something that I think is an indication of the way this government brings things into this House. Do they give any thought to it before that time?
It is an abundantly sensible motion that deserves the support of all members of this House. All municipalities support it.
PURCHASE OF WINE BY CREDIT CARDS
Mr Dietsch moved resolution 31:
That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing that credit card purchases are not permitted in winery stores; and that purchasing by credit card is a socially accepted method of payment; and that wine beverages can be purchased at hotels, restaurants and duty free stores using a credit card, the government of Ontario should make changes to the appropriate provincial government policies in order to allow for the purchase of wine by credit card in wineries and wine store outlets.
Mr Dietsch: Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me this chance to discuss my private member’s resolution. As you are aware, it has to do with a change in policy direction that would allow for the purchase of wine by credit card in wineries and wine store outlets.
Imagine that you are a tourist in Niagara-on-the-Lake and after you have had a very enjoyable lunch at one of the many fine restaurants, your next destination is a local winery. You are interested in Ontario wines and wish to sample different varieties. Luckily, you have managed to hit the winery just as a limited-edition wine has become available. You taste it. it is just what you have been looking for. You decide to buy three bottles.
As you prepare to pay, the salesperson remarks on how fortunate you are to have come at this time since this wine only comes out once a year. You respond that it is the perfect complement for a small 50th wedding anniversary dinner you have been planning for your parents. You hand her your credit card and she politely tells you she cannot accept it. You feel insulted. Embarrassed, she kindly explains that wine unfortunately cannot be purchased by credit card at a winery or wine store outlet in Ontario. In your wallet you find $10, nowhere near enough to purchase these bottles. Totally embarrassed, you leave, unable to purchase that wine.
As you walk to the tour bus, you cannot figure it out. Why? Just at lunch, you had a bottle of wine with friends and paid for it by credit card. What is the difference? Hotels and restaurants accept credit cards. Liquor Control Board of Ontario duty-free stores accept credit cards. Wineries do not. Is this 1989 in Ontario?
I believe that the extension of credit card facilities to Ontario winery retail stores probably represents the single largest increase in convenience that can be offered to consumers. Credit cards can now be used to buy prescription drugs. pay your dentist, buy groceries, pick up your dry cleaning -- an endless list of services. In fact, the Law Society of Upper Canada allows its lawyers to accept payment by Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
It is indeed ironic, not to mention discriminatory. that consumers may sit in a tavern all afternoon drinking and then pay for it with a credit card --
Mr Wildman: You advocate that?
Mr Dietsch: -- while the same convenience is denied to those who wish to purchase a bottle of Ontario wine for home consumption or for that special occasion.
Purchase of wine by credit cards is widely accepted in the United States. Our neighbour, New York state, has moved to permit purchases by credit cards, a very progressive step for its wine industry.
At this time, let me speak to a number of different but related points. Given the combination of market forces and current federal trade policies, the use of credit cards in wine stores could form an important adjunct to a broader government strategy focused at lessening the impact these forces are sure to have on the Ontario wine industry, particularly in the Niagara region.
Mr Wildman: When is that going to happen?
Mr Dietsch: As members of this House are no doubt aware, to comply with the provisions of GATT and the free trade agreement Ontario began in 1989 to phase out the markup differentials that are viewed to currently give Ontario a competitive advantage. Over the next nine years these differentials will be reduced. American competitors such as Gallo have been increasingly aggressive in their marketing strategies within our province.
Tourism itself, my friend opposite will like to know, plays an extremely important role. When people visit anywhere, they like to be able to bring something home with them to remind them of the places they have visited, or that special gift for family and friends.
Winery tours have developed into a major tourism attraction. They have also proven to be a very key component in marketing programs. Many consumers are interested these days in wines and the high calibre, I might add, of the wines being produced in Ontario wineries. Tours of wineries allow consumers the benefit of the information provided by qualified guides, and they sample wines to enhance their understanding as well. A natural conclusion to these tours is being able to purchase wines they have found suitable to their taste and their palate.
Permitting the use of credit cards in retail stores and wineries would involve some 20 retail operations throughout this province, and all are located within areas strongly identified internationally as tourist designations.
Furthermore, the sheer volume of tourists throughout the region’s wineries is staggering.
Some statistics: Hillebrand winery throughout 1989 has conducted 600 prebooked, private tours. There have been approximately 475 dropin bus tours bringing in roughly in the neighbourhood of perhaps 22,000 to 23,000 people. Finally, from December 1988 until the present 1,900 public tours have taken place. In September alone, over 3,000 people visited that single winery.
Between 70 and 75 per cent of these ask why they cannot use their credit cards to make purchases. It does not take a mathematician or my friends opposite to realize how much business has been lost there, not to mention the large number of American tourists who do not purchase because of this single inconvenience.
lnniskillin’s famous ice wine, for example, which is available only once a year and in very limited quantities, sells for $40 per half bottle. How many of the members of this House carry enough cash to purchase three or four of those bottles? In my riding, Konzelmann winery, Reif Winery and Château des Charmes wineries have similar inconveniences placed on them because of this policy.
The benefits of credit card use are simple and practical. We know credit cards will not solve the competitive problems entirely, but they may play an important role in attempting to halt the shrinkage of the wine and grape industry in the Niagara area. It would be a boost at a time when both trade policy and market forces are pressuring the industry. Perhaps allowing wineries to do business on Sundays would be another; of course, only those in tourist-designated areas.
Credit cards permit purchases that otherwise may not be made. Consumers generally do not carry large amounts of cash, particularly --
Mr Wildman: Particularly if they’re spending it all on booze.
Mr Dietsch: -- because of the convenience of using credit cards. If my friend opposite would like to listen, he might learn something.
Retail outlets on the premises of wineries are likely to make sales to tourists and other purchasers who have attended a winery tour and who may not have easy access to Ontario products otherwise. After all, the Niagara region is a designated tourist attraction worldwide.
Other small-purchase consumers might not otherwise make purchases if a credit card was not accepted. Past experience at two airport duty-free stores indicates that there were 150 to 200 customers per day being turned away because they could not make credit card purchases, estimated at approximately $2,000 per day in lost sales. That is just one segment of the business.
My belief is that interested tourists, consumers or wine connoisseurs would definitely enjoy this opportunity. At the same time, we would be assisting an industry that I know could use a significant boost at a time when market forces and trade policies are making it more difficult for them to compete, market forces, I might add, that are outside the wineries’ control.
I believe the use of credit cards in wineries and winery retail stores would be perceived as a very concrete action in this direction, and I whole-heartedly ask members in this House to give that resolution support.
Mr Wildman: I must admit that I am of two minds on this resolution. I enjoy Niagara wines.
My wife and I often purchase Niagara wines for dinner on Sunday, whether it be Inniskillin, Château des Charmes or others. It is very good quality and very competitive. The cottage wineries in Niagara have made a name for themselves and I am sure they will be able to compete in the more difficult competitive world today with Gallo, some of the European wines and wines from other parts of the world.
However, I do not think the resolution put forward by the member for St Catharines-Brock this morning in any way responds to the very difficult problems facing the wineries in Ontario or the grape growers who supply those wineries. In a way it is almost an insult to them to have this kind of resolution brought forward as some sort of solution to their market problems.
To suggest that allowing consumers to purchase wine by credit card is somehow going to resolve the difficulties these wineries are now facing as a result of the inability of the provincial government to respond to their needs in the face of the GATT resolutions and GAIT decisions and the negotiation of a so-called free trade agreement between the United States and Canada by the federal government, I think is really insulting.
When I first saw the resolution in Orders and Notices, I suspected that perhaps the reason it was there was because today is the day Beaujolais Nouveau comes on to the market. Maybe the member was hoping to take a few bottles home with him. If this resolution could pass and the regulations changed quickly enough, he could purchase more than he would be able to purchase because of his low cash reserves.
However, in listening to his speech I came to the conclusion that he really was serious in saying that it was not for those kinds of reasons, but rather was to deal with the problems facing the wine industry and the suppliers of that industry in Canada, specifically in Ontario and particularly in Niagara. He also went on to say that he thought it would help the tourist industry in Niagara.
Let’s look at these problems for a moment. The member indicated that this policy change could be an adjunct to a broader government strategy to deal with the market problems facing the wineries in Ontario today. I think those are the words he used. It would benefit us all, and certainly benefit the wine industry in Ontario a great deal, if instead of debating this kind of resolution we were in fact debating a broader government strategy for dealing with the problems facing the wine industry in Ontario.
It is unfortunate that the member for St Catharines-Brock had to bring this resolution before the House because his government -- the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations -- has failed to respond to the concerns and problems facing the wine industry in Ontario. Rather than an adjunct to a broader government policy, this is really an excuse for some kind of policy change when absolutely nothing is happening.
Mr Dietsch: How many grapes do they grow in Sault Ste Marie?
Mr Wildman: The member asks how many grapes they grow in Sault Ste Marie. Well, they do not grow very many grapes in Sault Ste Marie because of the climate, although certainly the ethnic community in the Sault is well known for purchasing concentrates and making its own wines, very good quality wines. Many of those concentrates used to come from Niagara. Unfortunately, now the vast majority of those concentrates come from the United States because of the free trade agreement.
It does not in any way assist Niagara grape producers to have this kind of resolution before the House. We all recognized that the grape growers, particularly those supplying the large Ontario wineries -- I use “large” in a relative sense because they certainly are not large in comparison to their American competitors -- were going to be in very serious difficulty when the federal Conservative government negotiated the free trade agreement; so a program was developed to assist grape growers to get out of the industry or to take their vineyards out and to try to change to some other kind of crop.
Interestingly enough, the Ontario growers got a lot less than their counterparts in British Columbia. I suspect that is simply because the provincial Liberal government here in Ontario, in this jurisdiction, was so less effective in negotiating with the federal Tories than the government in British Columbia, for which I would not give any praise, other than to say at least perhaps they stand up for their grape growers better than the Liberal government does in Ontario.
Mr D. R. Cooke: They wanted a government that was in favour of free trade. Isn’t that what you’re saying?
Mr Wildman: It is interesting. I have very little respect for Premier Vander Zalm, but I will say this for him: If he believes in free trade, he says so, unlike the Premier (Mr Peterson), who believes in free trade and pretends he does not.
I remember a famous speech not long before the election where the Premier set out six conditions which he said had to be met and if they were not met there would be no deal. I think the phrase he used was, “The bottom line is there will be no deal.” You and I know, Mr Speaker, and all the members of the House know, that not one of those six conditions was met, and yet we still have a deal.
Certainly the Premier was not the one negotiating the deal. The federal government and the Prime Minister were, and his colleague the Minister for International Trade at the federal level.
Mr Haggerty: Where was your party in Ottawa on it?
Mr Wildman: To be fair, the federal Liberal Party and the federal New Democratic Party fought against the free trade deal in an election campaign. But we had a Premier in Ontario who said at one point he had a veto. He said he could exercise that veto. Then he backed off. He said maybe he did not have a veto, and even if he did have the veto he was not going to exercise it because he said something to the effect that he did not want to balkanize the economy of the country. He did not want to disrupt the situation because, after all, the federal government had the main responsibility for international trade.
I never thought I would be brought by my opponents across the way in this House to the point of actually having to give some praise to Bill Vander Zalm. But this resolution is so insulting to the grape growers that it is not as good as Bill Vander Zalm’s program for the grape growers in his province.
At one point the member for St Catharines-Brock said it was unfair or silly to have a situation where a person could drink all afternoon in a tavern and then pay by a credit card. I hope the member was not advocating that, that people should drink all afternoon in taverns and then pay by credit card, because if that is what he is suggesting, he is going to bring all kinds of social problems into this jurisdiction.
To suggest that people should drink all afternoon in taverns and then be able to pay by credit card is to indicate his lack of understanding of the problems of family violence and so on that result from alcoholism and his inability to deal with the fact that people do indeed drink all afternoon, unfortunately. Is the suggestion that these kinds of people who do unfortunately spend all afternoon in taverns and who can have and do get credit cards from banks should therefore be able to buy booze on credit? Should we be expanding that kind of situation or should we be trying to curtail it? Do we really want more people to drink all afternoon in taverns and then to be able to pay by credit?
Mr Dietsch: You’re twisting the words, and you know it. That’s disgusting.
Mr Wildman: It is most disgusting. What is more disgusting than that is the fact that this member, on behalf of the grape growers and the wineries in his area, is not getting up in this House and criticizing this government for not providing adequate assistance to the grape growers to ensure that the grape growers who have to get out of the industry, unfortunately, are getting the assistance they need.
A large number of grape growers are not eligible even for the inadequate assistance being provided because they got into the industry at the wrong time. It is unfortunate, but there are a significant number of people who bought vine-yards not long before the negotiation of the free trade agreement and the GATT rulings who, because of when they purchased, are not eligible for the assistance program to help them get into other types of agriculture. Why is the member not getting up and defending those people instead of advocating credit cards for people who drink?
The member for Brant-Haldimand (Mr R. F. Nixon), the Treasurer of this province, is well known for advocating what he calls fiscal responsibility. He always shows fiscal responsibility. I think it is rather strange that the member for St Catharines-Brock, who is not criticizing this government for not providing adequate assistance to the wine industry and to grape growers in Niagara, at the same time is going against the concept of fiscal responsibility that is advocated by his government.
Surely one of the most important aspects of fiscal responsibility is to pay as you go, to ensure that you have the resources to pay for the services and the goods you are purchasing.
Mr Miller: Good principle.
Mr Wildman: The member for Norfolk (Mr Miller) says it is a good principle. Perhaps he could persuade his colleague the member for St Catharines-Brock that we should not be advocating the purchase of booze on credit but we should be paying as we go, that members of the public should be fiscally responsible.
Mr Miller: You’re wrong. A credit card is used as money.
Mr Wildman: A credit card is used as money? That is true in our society. Credit cards are used widely. The fact that we run our economy so much on credit, to me, does not persuade me that we should be expanding this situation, particularly a party that advocates fiscal responsibility.
Mr Haggerty: How many cards have you got?
Mr Wildman: How many do I have? I have three credit cards. I must admit that of those three, I use only one, the gasoline credit card, regularly. The others I do not.
Mr Haggerty: For emergencies?
Mr Wildman: Yes, I have them for emergencies. But I would not include among so-called emergencies the purchase of a bottle of wine. I really would not consider that an emergency. I do enjoy wine with dinner, often, but I always believe that it makes sense to purchase that with the folding money that I have in my wallet; if I do not have that folding money, then I do not purchase the bottle of wine.
I think we should be doing all we can to assist the wine industry in Ontario to deal with the free trade and GATT rulings. I think the government should be bringing forward a comprehensive policy of assistance to the wineries. I suppose this is sort of an ineffectual, not too harmful resolution, not one that people should get upset about; but it is certainly not one that people in the wine industry should jump for joy about because it is not going to deal with their problems.
Mr Pollock: I am pleased to be able to take part in this debate, and I can appreciate the member for St Catharines-Brock in bringing forth this resolution. I know it is a concern and it will be a promotion to an industry in his particular area.
I would not have any problems with this particular resolution if it had a top figure on it. What I mean by that is the fact that if you were in the tourist business and travelling in the Niagara area and you went into a winery to buy many cases of a particular kind of wine to take it back to your area, say it be the Muskokas, Peterborough, Haliburton or North Hastings, I would not have any problem with that.
Unfortunately, the resolution does not say that. It has not got a top figure. It just mentions the purchase of wine in a winery or a wine outlet. I would have some major concerns with that. I do not believe in some ways we should discriminate. A wine outlet. I believe, would be like a little store in the hamlet of Stirling where liquor. wine and beer are sold. Would it not seem rather funny if you could walk into that store and purchase wine with a credit card, but you could not purchase beer or liquor with that credit card? People would start to get very confused, and I think it would be very confusing. It would be kind of confusing to people coming in from the United States or some other country to run into this particular situation.
I am sure the member for St Catharines-Brock is concerned. He feels, and rightly so, that the wine industry is very important to the province; but so are other industries along that same line. For instance, I used to represent Thurlow township. Corbyville is in Thurlow township. It is a good corporate citizen -- leaving aside the effects that alcohol has on the general public -- it pays reasonably good wages, it does not pollute, and it also buys grain from local producers. As I say, it provides employment in that area, and I always felt that the people who worked at Corbyville appreciated having a job there and that particular industry contributed to the local economy.
If you are able to purchase wine by credit card, why could you not purchase distilled beverages such as alcohol too? I think we are getting into a field that maybe we should not be getting into as far as purchasing beer, wine or alcoholic beverages with credit cards is concerned. People tend to overspend especially when they use that plastic money, and that would be a concern of mine. I guess in that respect I would be voting against this resolution.
Mr Haggerty: I rise to speak in support of my colleague the member for St Catharines-Brock regarding his private member’s resolution, motion 31, to permit the use of credit cards by consumers for the purchase of bottled wines in winery retail stores and wineries in Ontario.
As members are aware, the international trade environment is becoming increasingly competitive. The United States and European Community have complained about the preferential marketing advantages provided to Ontario wines. The recent federal government trade agreement with the United States and GATT rulings have created adverse implications for the future of the Ontario grape and wine industry.
To comply with the provisions of GATT and the free trade agreement, Ontario began in 1989 to phase out the market differentials which currently give Ontario wines a competitive advantage. As well, a recent audit of LCBO cost of service for table wines indicated that LCBO markups on imported wines are not justified, resulting in lower markups, which make these imports more attractive to consumers.
I was fortunate enough to be on the standing committee on finance and economic affairs that went off to Europe a year ago, I believe last September, dealing with free trade and GAIT. At one of our dinner sessions we sat down with a group of people from the European Community and discussed some of the issues, particularly related to the wine problem in Ontario. One of the persons talked about a GATT decision at that time that brought about some of the difficulties we are facing now.
This person said, “We can travel from Brussels to the southern part of Italy, to Rome and that area, in eight hours.” I said: “That’s amazing, isn’t it? I cannot understand why GATT made the decision it did.” I said: “It’s just as well that you can have your wine exported to Canada, to Ontario and Toronto, by ship. If you want to have that market in the province of Ontario, you’re probably looking at about 1,500 miles by car, east to west and north to south. You could put I do not know how many Frances, Germanys and ltalys into Ontario. It would take you two days to travel across Ontario.” This puts a cost on to the marketing of foreign wines in Ontario.
The sale of Ontario wine products has been declining, and wine sales overall have declined by 11 per cent since last year, while shipments of US table wine to the LCBO have increased over 300 per cent in the first half of 1989 compared to 1988. A combination of increased import competition, higher grape prices and declining wine sales has put the wine industry in a difficult competitive position. My colleague the member for St Catharines-Brock stated that while credit cards will not solve the competitive problem entirely, they would provide a level playing field and remove unfair competitive advantages presently in the marketplace. I think the member for Algoma (Mr Wildman) missed that point.
Retail stores and wineries are likely to make large sales to tourists and other purchasers who have attended a winery tour or who may not have easy access to Ontario products. Otherwise, consumers do not carry large amounts of cash, particularly because they are used to the convenience and safety of using credit cards. The member for Algoma said he carries three; that indicates he does not carry too much cash with him. I can recall a few years ago a member of the Legislature was going to his room at the Royal York Hotel, and by the time he got up to his floor, he was stripped of his wallet.
Credit cards and Sunday openings at estate wineries could significantly boost the tourism potential of the industry. The resolution provides that retailers in the wine industry, and in particular in the cottage industry, the estate wineries, could move their products in fair competition, continuing the principle of responsible service and responsible use of beverage alcohol, allowing a choice and the convenience associated with the use of credit card purchases.
The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr Sorbara) supports the use of credit cards in winery stores as one component of a policy which would give the industry a significant boost at a time when market forces and trade policies are making it more difficult to compete effectively.
The member for Algoma is quite correct. The industry is facing severe difficulties, especially the grape growers in the Niagara region. I am sure that even by adding this, opening the door a little bit further, it may secure the preservation of the industry and the farm lands in the Niagara region.
This policy is consistent with the Ontario government policy on the grape and wine competitive strategy. The minister is currently pursuing many strategies designed to help the wine industry adjust to the negative impacts associated with a freer trade environment. The use of credit cards at the winery retail stores should be perceived as a concrete action in this direction. Moving in this direction maintains a healthier marketing program for the grape growers in the Niagara region.
I support the member for St Catharines-Brock for putting forward the resolution. I think it is a step in the right direction. Anything now, pertaining to the grape industry and the grape growers in the Niagara region, will be of some assistance to them until they get through this trying stage at the present time.
I regret that the member for Algoma has been negative as usual in his approach to resolving some of these problems and hopefully -- he is the agricultural critic and he should come down and go through and look at what the cottage wineries are doing, the estate wineries, because if any one of them -- these will be the grape growers in the industry that will survive the free trade agreement.
Mr J. B. Nixon: I am honoured to rise to speak on this resolution put forward by the member for St Catharines-Brock. I apologize, I thought we were on the old rotation system, so here I am, ready to go. I want to congratulate him for bringing this motion because in a sense it is a motion whose time has come. It deals with a subject matter that I know is important to his constituency and indeed to the constituency of the entire grape-growing region in southern Ontario and, broadly speaking, important to the entire province of Ontario.
It is a very specific motion, but I have often felt that in government that is where you get things done. You focus on specific problems that require specific actions, and he has produced a specific remedy which will go a long way to solving a problem which has existed for some time in the Niagara region.
The industry he is dealing with is, broadly speaking, grape growing and our local wineries. Specifically, it is the estate wineries that he has targeted, but I want to suggest that we have to look at the estate wineries as being not just an isolated industry. They are an important element of our agricultural industry. They are an important part of our tourism industry. They diversify our economy in the sense that they diversify the number of agricultural products we produce. It helps diversify our tourist industry by providing additional attractions to Ontario, and it diversifies our province in terms of its economic production by ensuring there is a regional industrial activity, a regional agricultural activity, a regional tourism activity, outside of the great metropolitan area of Toronto. I think it is important to remember that this province is much bigger than Metropolitan Toronto.
The problem that this industry has been facing, specifically the wineries and the estate wineries, is an assault over the last several years from the federal government in Ottawa. The free trade agreement directly attacked the ability of the estate wineries to continue functioning. The sales tax, this new GST, the gouge and screw tax, will attack directly the competitiveness of the estate wineries on a global scale. I suggest that this is an industry which has long been supported by the province of Ontario and I give my friends in the Progressive Conservative Party provincially some credit for that, but lately they have been abandoned by the Conservative Party in Ottawa, and it has not been good for them.
What have we got, though? We have an industry which is recognized not only provincially, not only nationally, but internationally as producing some of the finest wines in the world. People from Ontario, from Canada and indeed North America will and do travel to the Niagara region to sample the wines, to purchase the wines, to share in the various attractions of the Niagara region -- not just the estate wineries. They go to the Shaw Festival. They come to see the countryside. There area number of reasons to go to the Niagara region and people do that because they find it an attractive area to visit whether it is for a day trip, for a week trip or a weekend or whatever.
It must be very, very frustrating I know -- from personal experience, and I have heard from others who have travelled from New York, from Michigan, from Pennsylvania, from southern and northern Ontario, from Quebec, wherever -- to visit a native estate winery in Ontario, something which we are all proud of, and to be told after having sampled the wines, “I am sorry. purchases are on the basis of cash only.” People are sort of saying, “Geez. when I go to New York state wineries, I do not have to pay cash, or when I go to buy wine in a store in New York state I do not have to pay cash.” So they are refused the opportunity to purchase the amount of wine they would like to buy. It is as simple as that.
We are not saying to them, “You have to buy and drink it on the site.” No one is buying great volumes at the estate wineries in order to consume to excess. They are buying it because it is a good quality wine, because the wine is associated with the good experiences they have had visiting the Niagara tourist region, yet because we have sitting on the books an arcane regulation which says you cannot buy with credit cards, they are denied the opportunity not only to satisfy their own interest in our estate wineries, but they are denied the opportunity to contribute, in my view, to the Ontario economy, to the Niagara region. It just does not make sense.
I might also add that it has to be excessively frustrating to a visiting tourist or even someone from the Niagara region who wants to go to an estate winery and buy a couple of bottles of Château des Charmes or lnniskillin or any other of the great estate wineries on a Sunday and be told: “Sorry, you cannot buy a bottle of wine on Sunday and take it home and save it for the next Sunday dinner you might have with your family. You cannot do that.” On the other hand, you could go over to Fort Erie and buy all the wine you wanted and bring it back, or you can go to a restaurant and drink all the wine you want and pay for it with a credit card. Somehow there is a perverse logic that says buying a very fine home-grown product from an estate winery on a Sunday or on any other day of the week with a credit card is unacceptable.
I think the time is overdue to change the rules. We have heard other speakers refer to the Ontario liquor licence advisory task force, as it was called, better known as the Offer report, which made recommendations in this regard. It said credit card purchases have come, their day has come. Purchasing a bottle of wine on Sunday at an estate winery -- you do not sit down and drink it there, you take it home and you use it judiciously when you want to. There is nothing wrong with that.
Mr D. R. Cooke: Judiciously or religiously.
Mr J. B. Nixon: Or religiously.
The time has come to fulfil the recommendations made by the Offer report. The parliamentary assistant to the Solicitor General, the member for Scarborough Centre (Miss Nicholas) is sitting here. I hope she takes the message back. The time has come to allow credit card purchases. I urge this assembly to consider allowing credit card purchases on Sunday of a bottle of wine. No one in Ontario finds that objectionable but for a few, and I suggest to those few, they do not have to buy a bottle of wine on Sunday, they do not have to buy a bottle of wine on Saturday or any other day of the week, by cash or by credit.
It is time to make a contribution to an essential part of our tourist and agricultural economy, and I urge all members of this assembly to support the resolution brought forward by the member for St Catharines-Brock.
Mr Runciman: I have not had a great deal of time to prepare for this, but one of the realities of being in an opposition with limited numbers is that you are wearing several hats, covering committees etc. In any event, I am here, unlike the humongous numbers in the government, where they can afford to send 13 members of their party to Italy, unprecedented, unheard of, on a so-called trade mission. We look at the taxpayers’ money being used to send 13 Liberal members to Italy --
Mrs Sullivan: Your party was asked.
Mr Runciman: Right. Where are those 13 Liberal MPPs? They are over in Italy. I will wager you, Mr Speaker --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr D. R. Cooke: Put your hat on.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. There seems to have been a slight disturbance in the House away from the standing order that says one member at a time. The member for Leeds-Grenville, please.
Mr Runciman: It is regrettable. It is the same sort of situation as last night. When I just start to get warmed up with respect to an issue, the government interjections necessitate the Speaker intervening. It is regrettable, to say the least.
I wanted to make the point, before I was interrupted, with respect to the 13 Liberal members currently basking in the sun in Italy while the New Democrats and the Progressive Conservatives are working here in the Legislature of Ontario --
Ms Nicholas: Speak to the resolution.
Mr Runciman: I will wager you, Mr Speaker, that --
Mr Epp: What an attack on the Italian people of this province.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Ballinger: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I thought we were discussing ballot item 28. I do not think this is the opportunity to kick off a leadership campaign by the member for Leeds-Grenville.
The Speaker: I thank the member for his point of view. I also must remind the member for Leeds-Grenville that we are debating private member’s notice of motion 31.
Mr Runciman: Now, Mr Speaker, that was an appropriate comment and I was about to tie it in with the legislation before us.
Mr Faubert: What about Italian wine?
Mr Runciman: The member over there just made the point. I will wager that those 13 Liberals currently basking in the sun in Italy, while the NDP and Conservative members are struggling along on behalf of Ontario voters in this province, are not consuming Ontario wine. They are consuming Italian --
Mr Eakins: They tell me it is raining today.
The Speaker: Order. I do not think it is really proper parliamentary procedure for a member and the Speaker to wager on anything. So would you please continue with your remarks.
Mr Runciman: Thank you, Mr Speaker.
I wanted to talk about a couple of things. The member for York Mills (Mr J. B. Nixon) made a couple of comments during his contribution that I think should be responded to. He said, in his view, that Ontario is bigger than Toronto. Certainly we on this side of the House agree with that, but that is a unique view coming from a member of the Liberal Party. Traditionally the Liberal Party has viewed Ontario from the CN Tower. With respect to all they can see from the CN Tower. that is Ontario on the part of this Liberal government. We can look at the neglect in eastern Ontario. We can look at a whole range of areas with respect to the very limited view of this government with respect to what indeed encompasses Ontario.
He also made reference to taxes. He was criticizing the federal government about its treatment of the wine industry in this province. Then he talked about taxes. He talked about the goods and services tax. Any Liberal in this province being critical of the federal government -- I am not a supporter of the GST. I have made that clear in the past, but for the Liberals to have the unmitigated gall to talk about taxes and be critical of the federal government when they have, as a government, increased taxes in this province over the last four years by 105 per cent -- that is the reality; they have the nerve to stand up in this House and talk about federal taxes -- they should get their own house in order first.
I am rather ambivalent about this question of credit card use in wine stores, but I think if the member really wanted to do something meaningful with respect to assisting the wine industry in this province, and I have suggested this to him in the past, rather than deal with a resolution of this kind, which I do not think is really going to have that kind of a significant impact on the industry, I think he should have been looking at the question of private wine stores in this province. I have been a strong supporter of that for many years. Now what we have currently -- he may argue we have private wine stores, but in essence what we have is wine stores operated by the wineries, the wine companies themselves.
If the member for Algoma wanted to start a wine store in his particular community he would be forbidden from doing so. He would have to do it under licence through one of the wineries. It seems to me that is the sort of thing that would provide more retail opportunities right across this province for the Ontario wine industry, and certainly greater opportunities, greater selection and perhaps some pricing advantages as well, for the consumers of this province. That is the sort of bigger picture, in my view, that the member should be looking at. I respect his concerns for the area he represents, but I think that perhaps rather than dealing with an issue like credit card use that he should be perhaps looking at the bigger picture in more meaningful ways over the long haul to help the industry.
It is sort of ironic in respect to this credit card issue that he is talking about perhaps -- I gather earlier in his comments. I was not here – about why should someone be able to sit in a tavern all day and drink beer and then at the end of the day pay by credit card when they cannot go into a wine store and use a credit card. That is ironic to say the least when we have this government continually mouthing platitudes about having an impact on reducing drinking and driving in this province, and here we have the member standing up and saying, “Why can Joe go into a tavern and drink all day and pay with a credit card and I can’t do the same thing for a bottle of muscatel?” I want to question the thinking of that particular member in respect to that in trying to be consistent with what his government says is its policy in respect to drinking and driving and reducing consumption.
I also want to talk about another irony, another bit of hypocrisy in respect to this government and its so-called liberalization of liquor laws in this province. We will talk about their promise in 1985 Of beer and wine in grocery stores, another one of the Premier’s infamous ad hoc, ill-thought-out promises to the people of this province that he could not keep, perhaps did not want to keep. We have had the ruse passed here in 1986, I guess it was, where they put a bill before the House in a minority situation knowing full well that it would be defeated.
Since 1987 they have had a record majority in the Legislature of Ontario, 95 seats -- now 94. Have we seen the introduction of this beer and wine legislation since they have been elected in 1987? Do we hear any talk of reintroduction of this legislation? Not a murmur. In fact, when the former minister, who is now the Minister of Transportation (Mr Wrye), was asked specifically about that legislation, he said: “No, it is not on the agenda. We don’t have any intentions to reintroduce that kind of legislation.”
So when the member for York Mills and others talk about liberalization of the liquor laws of this province and how concerned they are about the tourism dollar and having an impact on small business etc. it is a sham. It is like so many other things that have occurred with this government over the past four or five years -- a lot of hot air and very little substance to most of the proposals that come before them.
I want to talk about liberalization. I was the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations for a brief period of time, but during that period of time we looked at a couple of issues where we were moving in that area, certainly a review of liquor regulations. We also brought in the legalization of brewpubs in this province, and were looking at the legalization of distribution for microbreweries as well. Of course, what happened after I made the announcement as minister in respect to brewpubs, five months later I think it was, or something like that, the minister of the day, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology stood up and announced that the Liberal government was legalizing brewpubs in this province. What a bunch of hot air. We saw that sort of thing occurring in every ministry across the government where the initiative had been undertaken by the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario followed by the attempt to retake the credit, if members will, by the incoming Liberal government.
So we can detail this on and on for hours in terms of hypocrisy in respect to a whole range of issues across government. Auto insurance is certainly the most prominent one facing us today, but the liberalization of liquor legislation, in contradiction of their so-called efforts to control drinking, really is difficult to swallow.
I have a great deal of respect for the member who has put this legislation forward today, but we are having a free vote in our caucus and I am not sure how the vote will go in respect to the members. Some of us have strong feelings; I do not. I think perhaps the member in future opportunities for private member’s legislation should be dealing with initiatives that are going to have a much more positive, significant impact on the wine industry in Ontario. All of us would support that.
Mr Dietsch: I want to say that I am absolutely appalled at the disgusting way that people who are supposed to be representing the agricultural industry are acting in this House. I very distinctly said that this was not the complete answer, that in fact it was a step in the right direction and to try to twist my words to say that I support people sitting in the pub all day, nothing could be further from the truth.
I am absolutely surprised from a person who wants to run for leadership, who wants to wager with you, Mr Speaker, then stands up and says that he will not support something that is the right step to go through in this procedure and that will be an initiative that will help. I think it is absolutely disgusting.
I feel that they will by the use of credit cards be able to play a very important innovative approach. There are tourists. There are business people who go to Niagara-on-the-Lake for seminars, training courses. If these are the people to whom the opposition members want to deny that privilege, that is what they have said to me.
I believe in promoting Ontario. I believe in promoting Ontario products, whether it is wine in Niagara, whether it is steel in Sault Ste Marie or whether it is whatever with my friend the member for Lanark-Renfrew (Mr Wiseman). I believe that we have got to promote Ontario better than we are doing. We cannot do it in the divisive way with which individuals want to further play to the audience.
I want to say that this government perhaps would be in favour of striking a task force to look --
The Speaker: Thank you. The member’s time has expired. That completes the allotted time for debate on the two designated items for this morning.
PURCHASE OF WINE BY CREDIT CARDS
The Speaker: Mr Dietsch has moved resolution 31.
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
The House divided on Mr McCague’s motion of resolution 25, which was negatived on the following vote:
Bryden, Cooke, D. S., Cousens, Eves, Grier, Harris, Laughren, Martel, McCague, McLean, Morin-Strom, Nixon, J. B., Philip, E., Pollock, Runciman, Smith, D. W., Sterling, Sullivan, Wildman.
Adams, Ballinger, Carrothers, Cleary, Collins, Cooke. D. R., Curling, Daigeler, Dietsch, Eakins, Elliot, Epp, Faubert, Furlong, Keyes, Kozyra, LeBourdais, Mahoney, McClelland, McGuigan, Miller, Nicholas, Oddie Munro, Patten, Poole. Ray, M. C., Reycraft, Riddell, Roberts, Sola, Tatham, Velshi.
Ayes 32; nays 19.
The House recessed at 1210.
The House resumed at 1330.
Miss Martel: The battle to win compensation benefits for gold miners with lung cancer was a long and tough one. For some 12 years, the United Steelworkers of America, the New Democratic Party and the widows themselves fought to have the Workers’ Compensation Board recognize the relationship between the cancer and gold mining. When the board finally agreed to compensation in 1987, the criteria to qualify for benefits was then made terribly restrictive. Factors such as age and the year when the gold miner began to work in the mines are used in a mean-spirited way to deny entitlement. More claimants have been denied benefits than have actually received compensation.
Then the WCB went one step further to make the process even more unfair. It first decided that if benefits were granted and the miner were dead, the widow would only receive benefits back to the date of the death of her husband. The board refused to pay back to the time when the miner developed cancer and was unable to return to any type of work. In some cases, years elapsed between the illness and the death, yet there is no compensation for this.
Second, the board decided the benefits would go only to a worker or his dependants alive at the time of the policy change in 1987. The definition of dependant is key.” If the worker and his wife died before the policy change, the children would not be considered dependants and would not receive any benefits at all, this in spite of the fact that their father died of an industrial disease.
It seems tome that the widows and the children have suffered long enough. This situation must be rectified by this government.
Mr Pollock: I read with interest on Tuesday an article in the Globe and Mail stating that Oshawa would be receiving a six-station kidney dialysis unit. Oshawa certainly will be a lot closer than downtown Toronto for people from my riding and the Peterborough area to go to receive this service.
However, I certainly believe that one of the hospitals in Peterborough would have been a more central part of eastern Ontario in which to place a dialysis unit. There will still be people who will have to travel 200 kilometres to get to Oshawa. I recall John Turner, the former member for Peterborough, presenting a resolution to this Legislature asking for a dialysis unit for Peterborough. I spoke in favour of this resolution.
The fact that people have to travel long distances and, in some cases, three times a week, is an inconvenience and a tremendous expense. I hope that some day soon there will be a dialysis unit in Peterborough.
MARY ANN BRETT
Mr J. B. Nixon: I rise today to pay tribute to Mary Ann Brett, who resides in the provincial riding of York Mills. Ms Brett is one of 12 Ontarians who will receive tomorrow a Community Action Award from the Minister without Portfolio responsible for disabled persons (Ms Collins).
Mary Ann Brett is the author of a weekly column in the Toronto Star under her byline. The column expands awareness and creates understanding of issues important to people with disabilities. A wheelchair user herself, Ms Brett has been an active citizen since her youth. She graduated from high school in Hamilton in the days before buildings were equipped or designed for wheelchair access. After her marriage, she adopted several children with disabilities and in recent years has been raising her children, now teenagers, on her own.
A brief review of some of her recent columns will, I am sure, illustrate why Ms Brett is receiving and is so deserving of this award. She deals with matters which are important not just to the disabled community but to all of our society, which needs to be educated, informed and, from time to time, gently chastised on the issues as they relate to the disabled community. All readers of the Toronto Star have learned much from Ms Brett’s column. Ms Brett has given much to the people of the province of Ontario, both as an individual and as a writer, and she is most deserving of the minister’s Community Action Award.
Mr R. F. Johnston: The Council of Ontario Universities has just released one of its fall briefing notes that it puts out each year on the financial Situation facing the universities in the province, which have already been reeling through underfunding and the real problems of maintaining the standards of quality of education that we expect here in Ontario.
This latest report is perhaps the most startling and most concerning to us. The bottom line is that they forecast the universities will require an increase of 9.7 per cent in income from the provincial government this year just in order to hold their own. It indicates, for instance, that this last year when they received a four per cent increase on their base funding, they had to do this in facing a 5.8 per cent increase in the cost of living, which basically gave them a shortfall of $28 million. This ate into the supposed extra money they were receiving by access by over 50 per cent.
They have gone through a list of various kinds of programs that are being foisted on them by this government and by the federal government in terms of the pay equity legislation, the health levy, unemployment insurance changes, etc. Adding those things up, just to hold their own, not to lose ground, they will need a 9.7 per cent increase.
I am afraid we are not going to see anything like that from the provincial government. Therefore, our universities again will fall further behind than they have in the past, and they are already near the bottom of the heap in terms of government funding across the nation.
Mr McLean: I would like to address the failure of the Liberal government following its grand presentation of the recommendations of the Black Task Force on Illegal Drug Use in Ontario.
Over a year ago, the follow-up on this was the introduction of a co-ordinator of drug strategy. In particular, the Ministry of the Solicitor General has failed to increase the size of the OPP drug squad. It still remains at the same level as a year ago, and yet the number of officers pursuing traffic violations has increased.
The contribution of the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) to fulfilling the requirements of the task force has been to write a letter to district health councils asking that they examine the situation. Yet to date, the ministry has not acted to help drug addicts in any tangible manner.
A month ago, the part-time minister responsible for the provincial anti-drug strategy (Mr Black) told this House that approximately half of the recommendations of his report are currently in the process of being implemented and alluded to a co-ordinating secretariat. I have not seen that secretariat and I do not think one has been founded.
It is my deep concern that this government has little real concern with the problem of drug abuse in this province. They have appointed a pan-time minister to deal with what is most certainly a full-time issue. They have had the recommendations of the minister’s task force for over a year now, yet have done little work of any consequence in meeting the important recommendations of the task force.
Next week is Drug Awareness Week, and I urge this minister to make an announcement today on a major drug strategy.
Mr Reycraft: This Saturday, the country’s two best university football teams will meet on the country’s best Astroturf. This weekend, the University of Western Ontario Mustangs and the Saskatchewan Huskies square off for the Vanier Cup here in Toronto at the SkyDome.
The Western Mustangs advanced to the championship after beating out the St Mary’s Huskies 38-3 3 in last Saturday’s Atlantic Bowl in Halifax. This was no small feat, as the Huskies were Canada’s number one ranked university football team. This match promises to be an exciting one between two deserving and well-matched teams.
This is the first trip for the Saskatchewan Huskies to the Canadian finals. They defeated Queen’s Golden Gaels 40-10 in the Churchill Bowl in Saskatoon last Saturday.
Our Mustangs are no strangers to the Vanier Cup. They won it four times in the 1970s and have made four other appearances since 1977.
Congratulations go out to Mustangs coach Larry Haylor, Saskatchewan coach Brian Towriss and, of course, to all the players for having advanced to the Canadian university football championships.
I know that all members of the House will want to join me in wishing the Mustangs good luck as they battle to bring the Vanier Cup back to Ontario.
NORTHERN HEALTH TRAVEL GRANTS
Mr Eves: I would like to address my comments today to the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) on the still pressing issue, unfortunately, of northern health travel grants for the residents of the district of Parry Sound and those in the district of Nipissing, which lies south of Algonquin Park and, in fact, in Algonquin Park.
It was 9 June 1988 when the Premier (Mr Peterson) rose in the House and said that effective 1 April 1989, the residents of Parry Sound riding, which includes the districts of Parry Sound and Nipissing district east of North Bay, would be included for all government programs by all ministries in northern Ontario.
We have written to the Minister of Health on numerous occasions requesting that she change the regulations which define what are and are not eligible under the northern health travel grant program. She has consistently told us that the program is under review. I fail to see how the program could still be under review when she was told by her Premier on 9 June 1988 that effective 1 April 1989 this was to happen.
As a matter of fact, officials at the OHIP office in Kingston, since 1 April of this year, have received literally hundreds of applications to process northern health travel grants for residents in my riding because they too assumed that this would happen. They are waiting for direction from the minister to do what the Premier told her to do over a year ago.
OXFORD ENERGY CO
Mr Tatham: Burning rubber gets the okay. Oxford Energy Co. New York City, has received final approval to build what will be the world’s largest tire-to-energy plant.
The Exeter energy project, a $100-million, 30-megawatt plant at Sterling, Connecticut, which is expected to take two years to build, will burn about 10 million tires a year. The plant will be connected to aboveground lines by the nation’s longest underground power transmission line, an eight-mile long, 115-kilovolt line. It took Oxford more than three years to win final permits for air quality, solid waste and water discharge for the plant.
Phil Rettger, Oxford vice-president, said the project addresses New England’s rapidly growing junk tire problem. The region generates 20 million junk tires each year. All the tires will come from within 250 miles of the site.
Oxford Tire Supply Co, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oxford Energy Co, will deliver tires to the site, and other waste tire collectors and haulers in the region will keep the plant in fuel. Between 20 and 30 tractor-trailer trucks, with a capacity of up to 1,400 tires apiece, will supply the Exeter plant daily.
The tires will move from fuel-feed hoppers spaced and in single file to conveyers. They will then be weighed and fed into the boiler, where they will burn completely at temperatures in excess of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rettger said one of the advantages of the Sterling plant is that the tires will not have to be shredded before being burned. Shredding can add $25 to $40 a ton to the cost of tire disposal.
Mr Villeneuve: Pretty hot stuff.
Mr McGuigan: A real blowout.
The Speaker: Order.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
RACE RELATIONS AND POLICING
Hon Mr Offer: I am today announcing the government’s response to the report of the Task Force on Race Relations and Policing.
I wish to thank Clare Lewis, chairman of the task force, and its members: Dr Ralph Agard, Kamala-Jean Gopie, Chief James Harding, T. SherSingh and Roy Williams, for their important work. Their commitment, dedication and effort to the task at hand is to be commended. I also wish to express my sincere thanks to all of those who contributed to the work of the task force through their thoughtful and compassionate presentations.
In addition, I want to commend the excellent initiatives undertaken in this regard by the member for London South (Mrs E. J. Smith), whose contributions have been instrumental in advancing positive police-community relations in this province.
The task force was asked to address “the very serious concerns of visible minorities respecting the interaction of the police community with their own.
Today, I am pleased to advise the House that this government accepts the fundamental principles underlying the recommendations of the task force report. In fact, we are acting upon the great majority of the recommendations, including the establishment of a special investigative unit, limits on the use of force by police and comprehensive measures in employment equity, police-community relations, training and recruitment.
As members will recall, the task force recommended the establishment of a special investigative unit to investigate police shootings. The task force recommended that the unit be composed of seconded police officers from a number of forces, together with a civilian component. The government not only accepts this recommendation, we wish to go beyond it. We will establish a permanent unit of trained investigators within the Ministry of the Solicitor General.
Members will also be aware that the task force a recommended that investigations by this unit be limited to police shootings. We will go beyond this by directing the unit to investigate incidents of any actions involving police which result in death or serious injury. In keeping with the principle of this recommendation, investigations by this unit will be overseen by a civilian well-versed in criminal law, who will have the stature and knowledge required to carry out this function.
This government accepts the thrust of the recommendation by the task force to limit discretion in the use of force and firearms by police. I am pleased to advise the House that the Attorney General (Mr Scott) will petition the government of Canada to undertake appropriate amendments to the Criminal Code. This government will also amend the police regulation as recommended by the task force.
This government recognizes that the elimination of systemic barriers to employment, improved training and community-based service are all essential requirements for the further advancement of effective and sensitive policing in the Ontario of the 1990s and beyond.
A central recommendation of the task force was to implement a legislated, mandatory employment equity program for police services. This government will bring forward a legislated mandatory employment equity program for all police services. In furtherance of the task force recommendation, initial measures will be taken for visible minority men and women. Police services will be required to prepare and submit employment equity plans as mandated by legislation. These plans will be made in accordance with established goals and timetables.
All such employment equity plans will receive careful monitoring and ongoing review. As well, every effort will be made to build upon the recruitment and minority employment measures which have already been undertaken by many police services across the province. I believe the monitoring function is critical to ensure the success of an employment equity plan. The government, through my ministry, will undertake this responsibility.
Existing police employment equity and community outreach initiatives will be intensified to increase recruitment from underrepresented groups. It is my intention that the ministry itself will play an active role in facilitating such recruitment in accordance with the task force report recommendations.
The task force recommended the establishment of a central recruiting unit. A central recruiting unit will be established within the policing services division of my ministry. The objective of this central recruiting unit will be to provide assistance to all police services in their recruitment efforts, with special emphasis on visible minority officers. This unit will also develop, in consultation with police management, bias-free recruitment, testing, selection instruments and processes. This initiative will assist all police services in their efforts to eliminate systemic barriers to employment.
As also recommended by the task force, I am pleased to announce a series of initiatives in police training which are intended to build upon the progress already made in this area in recent years.
First, my ministry will undertake an immediate review of all current police training programs in order to design and introduce significant program improvements.
Second, a mandatory four-week retraining program for police officers will be established and earned out through innovative and cost-efficient means. Some 2,000 OPP and municipal police officers will receive this training annually, which will include race relations, the law and contemporary policing skills. Additional training initiatives will involve a train-the-trainers program for police trainers; an intensified coach-officer course and a series of seminars for senior police personnel, civilian staff and members of police authorities.
In all our efforts, this government will continue to work with and seek the advice of all interested parties on these and other related issues of concern to both the police and the public. Our comprehensive strategy will strengthen the partnership between the police and the communities they serve. It will build on our solid and strong foundation for the advancement of policing and police-community relations in Ontario. It will support and carry forward the invaluable work being undertaken by the dedicated men and women who provide our citizens with such excellence in police service. It will reinforce and build bridges of co-operation and understanding and encourage the continued action necessary to maintain our safe and secure communities.
SERVICES EN FRANÇAIS / FRENCH-LANGUAGE SERVICES
L’hon. M. Beer : La Loi de 1986 sur les services en français, qui a été adoptée a l’unanimité par les trois partis représentés à l’Assemblée législative, entrera en vigueur le dimanche 19 novembre prochain.
Cet événement historique vient couronner trois années d’efforts investis dans la mise en place des services en français dans les bureaux centraux des ministères du gouvernement de l’Ontario et dans les bureaux situés dans les 22 régions désignées par la Loi.
Au cours des 20 dernières années, des gouvernements ontariens successifs ont augmenté le nombre de services disponibles en français dans les domaines de l’éducation et de la justice. Les services en français offerts par les ministères et agences gouvernementales se sont accrus eux aussi.
La Loi sur les services en français a donc pour effet d’affermir ces politiques passées dans un cadre législatif et de garantir, pour la première fois, le droit d’une personne à recevoir tous les services gouvernementaux en français dans les régions désignées. C’est une des réalisations les plus importantes du gouvernement : le fait de servir la communauté francophone de cette province.
Mais l’importance de cette législation s’étend au-delà de la simple prestation des services en français. Par l’entremise de cette Loi, l’Assemblée législative reconnaît le rôle historique et honorable joué par la langue française en Ontario, ainsi que l’apport du patrimoine culturel de la population francophone au développement de cette province. L’Assemblée législative exprime aussi le désir de sauvegarder ce patrimoine pour les générations à venir.
De plus, avec l’entrée en vigueur de la Loi sur les services en français, notre province assume pleinement son rôle de chef de file en matière de droits linguistiques au Canada. La coexistence de francophones et d’anglophones sur un même territoire est une des caractéristiques fondamentales de notre identité nationale. Cette Loi répond aux propres besoins de l’Ontario, tout en tenant compte du contexte national d’un pays bilingue et multiculturel.
Je désire profiter de cette occasion pour remercier toutes les personnes qui ont contribué a l’avènement de la Loi. Je commencerai par souligner le rôle de mon prédécesseur, le député d’Ottawa-Est (M. Grandmaître), qui a eu le privilège de présenter cette Loi pour adoption en 1986 et de veiller à sa mise en oeuvre lors des premières années.
I should also like to underline the presence with us today and to thank a number of members of the Ontario French Language Services Commission. The commission, as members know, was set up at the time of the adoption of the law and its mandate ends this Sunday.
I should like in particular to thank the chairman of the commission, M. Gérard Raymond. and the members, Mme Pat Webster, Marie Poulin, ainsi que MM. Marc-Yvain Giroux, Marcel-André Sauvé, feu Jean-Francois Aubé et le premier président de la commission, M. Gerard Bertrand pour leur dévouement à la commission. I would also like to thank Mme Rolande Soucie, the president of l’Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario, for the work of her association over the last several years and to show them all our thanks. They are in the gallery with us today.
Si nous avons atteint les objectifs que nous nous étions fixés en 1986, c’est grâce à l’excellent travail de la Commission des services en français de l’Ontario, de l’Office des affaires francophones ainsi que des ministères, des agences et de leurs coordonnateurs des services en français. Il faut aussi souligner le rôle des députés de cette Assemblée. Grâce à toutes ces personnes et à l’appui de la population, nous avons franchi une étape importante. Nous sommes maintenant en mesure, plus que jamais, de répondre aux besoins de nos concitoyens de langue française.
Nous croyons aussi que ce geste servira à créer des relations plus harmonieuses entre Canadiens anglais et Canadiens français en Ontario.
We are committed to the efficient, fair and reasonable implementation of the French Language Services Act. The Public Service Act and any existing collective agreements will be fully respected. Let me underline that the purpose of the act is to provide French-language services to the population of Ontario. It in no way limits or reduces the provision of English-language services or the rights of English-speaking Ontarians.
Our French Language Services Act is a “made in Ontario” policy set in a national context. It is guided by our vision of a Canada in which minority language rights must be respected and protected without compromising the rights of the English-language majority of Ontario.
Nous savons que cette Loi est reconnue par la majorité des Ontariens comme une politique juste, raisonnable et digne de leur appui. De plus, nous sommes certains que nous pouvons compter sur la tolérance et la patience des Ontariens dans la mise en oeuvre de cette Loi.
Nous sommes conscients des défis qui nous restent à relever et c’est pourquoi nous accorderons la priorité, dans les prochains jours et au cours des prochains mois, à la désignation des agences et institutions subventionnées par les fonds publics.
Je veux aussi informer l’Assemblée que nous établirons un Conseil des affaires francophones, composé de personnes provenant de la communauté, pour m’aviser, à titre de ministre déléguée aux Affaires francophones, sur la mise en oeuvre de la Loi et pour aider à l’élaboration d’une vision stratégique des priorités et des programmes du gouvernement dans le domaine des affaires francophones.
Le 19 novembre 1989 demeurera une date mémorable dans l’histoire de l’Ontario ; ce sera une journée dont tous les Ontariens et Ontariennes pourront se souvenir avec fierté.
In closing, I would like to reiterate that the French Language Services Act is a fair and reasonable measure to protect and preserve the language rights of this province’s French-speaking minority. It is consistent with our vision of a Canada where minority language rights are respected and protected.
COMMUNITY ACTION AWARDS
Hon Ms Collins: As Minister without Portfolio responsible for disabled persons, it will be my special honour tomorrow to present the 1989 Community Action Awards at a ceremony here in Toronto.
Each year, the Office for Disabled Persons recognizes the outstanding achievements of individuals who have made a particular contribution to the Ontario disabled community. We do this because we believe it is important to send the message that disability can mean achievement. accomplishment and excellence, and we want the people of Ontario to know that.
Since becoming minister, I have been impressed by the people I have met working on behalf of disabled persons in this province. Without any hesitation, I can say that their dedication and commitment is a constant reminder that it is individuals who give strength and energy to any movement.
This year, Community Action Awards will be presented to 12 distinguished Ontarians, 11 of whom are disabled. The recipients of the 1989 Community Action Awards are:
Mary Ann Brett, columnist with the Toronto Star; Connie Burns, president of the Belleville chapter of the Canadian Paraplegic Association; H. Clifford Chadderton, chief executive officer of the War Amputations of Canada; Donald James. a volunteer with three community organizations in Peel region; Ron Kennedy, research assistant at Queen’s University; Gary Malkowski, chairperson of the Ontario Association of the Deaf task force on deaf education; Brian Moretton, student council president at Geraldton Composite High School; Jack Muirhead, a founding member of the ALS Society of Canada and president of the ALS Society of Ontario;
Barbara Rush, an augmentative communications resource teacher with the Hamilton Board of Education; Hazel Self, artist and community volunteer, and now co-ordinator of community services at the Gage Transitional Living Centre in Toronto; John Southern, a founding member of PUSH, Persons United for Self-Help, and a member of BOOST, Blind Organization of Ontario with Self-Help Tactics, since 1977, and Roger St Louis, a founding member of the Canadian Hearing Society and the francophone representative on the executive of the Ontario Association of the Deaf.
These 12 individuals have been selected for Community Action Awards because of their special contributions to this province. Each one is making a special contribution to the quality of life that we enjoy in Ontario. Each one is helping to make our province a better place in which to live.
In announcing these awards, I also want to recognize the work of my fellow selection committee members: They are the member for Mississauga South (Mrs Marland); the member for Hamilton West (Mr Allen); Bob Loveless, chairperson of the Ontario Advisory Council for Disabled Persons, and Clem Sauvé, senior adviser for the Office for Disabled Persons.
FRENCH-LANGUAGE SERVICES / SERVICES EN FRANÇAIS
Mr B. Rae: I will be responding to two statements today on behalf of our party. First of all, with respect to the announcement or the statement or speech by the minister responsible for francophone affairs (Mr Beer), I simply want to say to him on behalf of the New Democratic Party that we supported Bill 8 when it was proposed. We took part in the debate. We supported it then and we support it now.
I also want to say that I know perfectly well that there are parts of this province, and indeed many parts of the province and among many people, where there are concerns about the implementation of Bill 8 and there are concerns about the requirements with respect to the use of the French language in some parts of the public service.
I think that members would be deluding themselves if they believed that this was no problem or that there were no issues to be discussed. All I can say to those members is, “Come in and read my mail some time,” and perhaps they will appreciate the true diversity of opinion within this province on this subject.
To those people, I simply say that one can have concerns about the implementation of the bill as it relates to particular people without in any way, it seems tome, challenging the substance of what we are trying to do. There will be grievances, and that is healthy and a necessary part of our working this thing through.
Mais j’aimerais dire aussi que nous sommes très fiers de ce moment dans l’histoire de notre province et le voyons, comme tous les députés le savent très bien, comme une étape, menant vers une sorte de reconnaissance et vers l’enchâssement dans notre constitution, des droits de la minorité francophone dans la province. C’est une étape importante et nous sommes tous obligés d’assurer son bon fonctionnement, pour garantir les droits linguistiques dans la fonction publique, et pour garantir aux gens qui préfèrent parler français l’occasion et le droit de le parler au moment où ils reçoivent des services du gouvernement provincial.
Donc, c’est un moment historique pour la province. Nous étions en faveur du projet de Loi 8, au moment de sa présentation et en discussion en Chambre, et nous restons du côté des gens qui pensent que c’est un aspect important et vital de notre vie publique en tant que province.
RACE RELATIONS AND POLICING
Mr B. Rae: Because of the shortage of time I will not have an opportunity to say all I want to say with respect to the announcements made by the Solicitor General (Mr Offer). I will, however, have some questions for him today as a result of his statement. Even though when I came into the chamber today I was not planning on it, I feel now an obligation to do that.
I simply want to comment, first of all, and say that an idea I had and expressed publicly at the time of the shooting of Lester Donaldson that there had to be greater independence in the investigation of incidents involving police officers was rejected out of hand as a case of social democratic lunacy by the Attorney General (Mr Scott) at that time.
Is the minister saying there was no precedents for it anywhere in the British Commonwealth, that anybody who has dreamed up such an idea could not possibly know what he was thinking of? I take the change of heart on the part of the government with respect to this implementation as a compliment to those of us who were perhaps a little ahead of our time in making that assessment.
Mr B. Rae: I knew that would get them going.
I also have some questions for the government with respect to what their plans are on the Police Act. I find it ironic, as my colleague the member for Scarborough West (Mr R. F. Johnston) very acutely pointed out as we were listening to the minister’s statement, that legislated, mandatory affirmative action programs are good enough for the police but not good enough for the government of Ontario.
I say with all seriousness to the minister, if he singles out the police force in this way, without setting a standard in his own ministry, without setting standards and requirements within the government of Ontario, he is creating divisions within the public service that are unnecessary, unhelpful and will not go far to contribute to positive race relations in the province.
The Speaker: The member’s time has expired.
Mr B. Rae: More on this later, Mr Speaker.
Mr Brandt: I want to respond on behalf of my party to the Solicitor General’s statement today on the task force report on race relations and policing.
Let me say at the outset that my party does in fact support many of the initiatives that the minister has announced within the context of his report, and we will be looking forward to some of the specifics with respect to the implementation of the various areas he has identified, such as the special investigative unit, which we feel will go a long way in perhaps cooling some of the very real concerns of some members of our community as to these in-house investigations that they have complained about so frequently. As long as that unit is put together in a sensitive and balanced way that meets the needs of the community at large, we can support the Solicitor General in that initiative.
As well, in the area of employment equity, I want to say that the Solicitor General will have the support of our party as long as ibis introduced in a sensitive way. I want the minister to understand, as I am sure he does, that conditions in Metropolitan Toronto are entirely different than they are in some of the other parts of this province. When we talk about the implementation of employment equity programs, we have to be sensitive to the fact that they are perhaps more required, more in demand, in areas with a large number of multicultural populations as opposed to those areas that do not have the kind of percentages of multicultural representation that we have here in Metro Toronto. So again, we are looking at that from a position of the sensitivity with which he brings in those particular changes.
Finally, let me say, because other members of my party want to speak on other ministerial announcements, that we want the minister to be very careful in implementing his proposed changes that he not limit police officers’ opportunity to carry out and responsibility to carry out their particular function and their job. That is vitally important. Every day in this community and in this province we hear about more violent crimes, more crimes generally, many of them related to the drug scene in particular. We have to have a police force that is able to respond to that kind of growing threat in our community. I recognize that this means a balance again, and I hope the minister can achieve that kind of balance to allow the police forces to carry out their necessary function as well.
SERVICES EN FRANÇAIS / FRENCH-LANGUAGE SERVICES
M. Villeneuve : J’aimerais aussi me joindre au ministre délégué aux Affaires francophones (M. Beer) et à mes collègues de l’Assemblée législative pour donner notre reconnaissance en ce troisième anniversaire de la Loi sur les services en français. Ce troisième anniversaire est tout particulièrement important, puisqu’il s’agit de l’entrée en vigueur du projet de loi 8.
Sans le moindre doute, la mise en oeuvre de la Loi sur les services en français représente un accomplissement majeur par les membres de la fonction publique et de la Commission des services en francais de l’Ontario, et qu’ils oeuvrent depuis trois ans en se préparant pour le 19 novembre prochain.
Il y a quelques jours, le gouvernement progressiste-conservateur a accompli la plus importante initiative dans les services en français à la population francophone ontarienne. Ces initiatives reconnaissent le droit de chaque enfant francophone à une éducation en langue française.
Cette année, on célèbre le 18e anniversaire de la reconnaissance des écoles secondaires de langue française et le 21e anniversaire de cette même reconnaissance des écoles primaires de langue française.
The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario has a long history of recognizing and supporting fairness in this province, and particularly working to ensure that none of the citizens of this province are biased against on the basis of their race, religion or language. I need not go back over the history of this party, which recognized the racial discrimination act, initiated fair employment practices, the employees’ fair remuneration act, etc.
In closing, il y a une certaine sensibilité grandissante dans cette province et, le premier ministre (M. Peterson) lui-même a avoué que la mise en oeuvre du projet de loi 8 pourrait être un peu préjudiciable. À ce moment-là, nous aimerions avoir un comité de l’Assemblée législative qui pourrait faire enquête sur chacune des questions qui proviennent, soit de nos Ontariens d’expression française, soit de nos Ontariens d’expression anglaise ; je demande encore la mise sur pied d’un comité de l’Assemblée législative
Pour terminer, j’aimerais réaffirmer à l’Assemblée législative la politique de ce parti, en ce qui concerne les droits de tous les Ontariens, de ne pas se soucier de la langue, tel que nous l’avons démontré depuis très longtemps.
Mrs Marland: Mr Speaker --
The Speaker: I think the member might have difficulty filling in those two seconds that were left.
Mrs Marland: I think so.
The Speaker: That completes ministerial statements and responses. Oral questions, the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr B. Rae: If the Conservatives would like more time to express their views on Bill 8, I am sure the House would be interested in hearing them. There may be more than one speaker. I do not know.
Hon Mr Scott: I will give them 20 minutes if they produce Bob.
Mr B. Rae: I am sure he would appreciate the chance to do that.
GOODS AND SERVICES TAX
Mr B. Rae: I have a question for the Treasurer. He accused me yesterday of tilting at a windmill in my questions.
Hon R. F. Nixon: You missed your chance.
Mr B. Rae: No, I say to the Treasurer that I have tilted at better windmills than him in my time; certainly prettier ones.
I want to start going into some questions now with respect to the goods and services tax and its relationship to the retail sales tax. The issue I put before the Treasurer yesterday was that Ontario’s discussions with the federal government, we understand, over the period of the last several years must have involved in some detail questions about how you would integrate these two systems.
Yesterday the Treasurer did not tell the House. but he said outside that he was planning that some amalgamation could be anticipated in the future. I want to ask the Treasurer exactly what position he is going to take at the negotiations taking place in December, the meeting in December, with respect to the relationship between the GST and the retail sales tax?
Hon R. F. Nixon: There are no negotiations planned that I am aware of. The Minister of Finance for Canada terminated any discussions between himself and the Treasurer of Ontario and the treasurers of the other provinces. He did it in a gentlemanly and friendly way by phoning me and the other treasurers and saying the government of Canada was going to proceed independently of the provinces. I personally think it would be very wise to resume some discussions, but he has made it clear they are going to proceed independently. I regret that, but that is federal policy.
Mr B. Rae: The Treasurer has again confirmed what he has been saying for several years. His leader has been saying how strongly he is opposed in principle to the GST. The Treasurer has been saying something quite different. He has been saying he would prefer to have a combined tax. The Treasurer cannot continue to say this and not be called on it.
I want to ask the Treasurer, can he tell us if he is in fact talking about a combined tax or if he thinks there should be a combined tax. If he is in favour of an amalgamated tax, which is what he told the Globe and Mail yesterday, can he confirm that this then means Ontario taxpayers will be asked to pay taxes on goods and services upon which they are now not paying any retail sales tax whatsoever?
The Speaker: Order. The questions have been asked.
Hon R. F. Nixon: Of course I cannot confirm that. There would be no reason for the honour-able member, with his suspicious frame of mind, to think the Treasurer of Ontario is contemplating an expansion of taxation to services. We have already indicated in the Grey Book the honourable member quoted from that there is ample room for the expansion of the tax to churches, fishermen, farmers and all sorts of things.
There are actually billions of dollars forgone in tax that maybe the honourable member, if God forbid he ever had an opportunity to levy a tax himself, might be interested in, but it is not our policy to tax those things.
Now, Mr Speaker, before you rise to your feet, I think there is a good deal to be said about this and I am looking forward to an opportunity for a full discussion in the House next Tuesday on this important matter. I hope the honourable member will be present so that a fuller discussion, rather than that which is truncated by the rules of this House at the present time, will be undertaken. I anxiously await the honourable member’s additional supplementary, if there could possibly be one.
Mr B. Rae: I will do my best. I just ask the Treasurer this question: He said yesterday that he was in favour of an amalgamated tax or that he could foresee the day when there would be an amalgamated tax. If that is true, how could there be an amalgamated tax that did not involve taxes in Ontario on goods and services that up to this time have not been taxed? How could it possibly be an amalgamated tax if he did not incorporate what the federal government is planning to tax?
Hon R. F. Nixon: Presumably on the basis of the policy of the government of Ontario, and we have been talking about that. I want to say further that the direction the honourable member is taking surely is not in the best interests of the taxpayers anywhere in Canada, let alone the taxpayers in Ontario.
The government of Canada has indicated it is going to go ahead with this federal tax. No one likes it. I do not know anybody who likes the tax, but the Prime Minister of Canada says he is going to go ahead with it. The Leader of the Opposition feels Ontario should continue to pay its provincial sales tax, which revenue pays many of the bills around here, close to $9 billion. We are not thinking of doing away with that. But of course he would damn for all time the taxpayers of Ontario to pay another tax that is an entirely different base, an entirely different structure, which is going to be an unfair imposition with all sorts of inflationary impacts.
Mr Wildman: You are negotiating right now. You are negotiating with the feds right now for a cut. What you are saying right now is negotiation.
The Speaker: Order.
Hon R. F. Nixon: I think he is taking a very incorrect and inappropriate stand, one that even his yappy member should reconsider.
Mr Breaugh: What is that big red ring around your neck anyway?
The Speaker: I am waiting for a new question.
Mr B. Rae: I just love ii when his neck gets red like that.
Mr R. F. Nixon: It reddens when I’m angry, but also when I’m amused.
Mr B. Rae: It is very hard to tell the difference sometimes.
Mr Wildman: Your nose doesn’t grow. Your neck does.
The Speaker: Order.
Hon R. F. Nixon: I want to say something more about the windmill too.
Mr B. Rae: We know what windmills are fuelled by. We are not quite sure about the statement of the Treasurer.
The Speaker: And the question is to which minister?
Mr B. Rae: I would like to ask the Solicitor General a question about his announcement today. I am sure he will appreciate that it is an announcement that just asks so many questions.
His statement is totally silent on the subject of a new Police Act. We have been told for months that a new Police Act is coming. There are many recommendations in the report that relate to a new Police Act with respect to the role of commissions and police complaints and so on. Why was there nothing in his statement at all about a new Police Act?
Hon Mr Offer: In response to the question of the Leader of the Opposition, I think it is important to realize that dealing with the very comprehensive response we have announced today, in dealing with the task force report recommendations there are a number of announcements that can be immediately implemented. Those we have certainly announced today. We have also made a commitment that there will be others found within a new Police Act.
I did not want to wait for the actual introduction of a Police Act when this comprehensive response was prepared. I want to tell the member that it is my intention that there will be a new Police Act introduced in this session, and it will be introduced before Christmas.
Mr B. Rae: My second question is this: The report of Mr Lewis says, “It is patently obvious that a publicly credible, accountable and independent civilian mechanism for public complaints is basic to responding to allegations of racial intolerance or other misconduct by all police.” The Solicitor General will know the degree of complaint that is out there with respect to Bill 14, the fact that it does not apply to the Ontario Provincial Police and the fact that there are other problems in that regard.
I would like to ask the Solicitor General, what is he going to do to ensure that citizens who have a complaint about the police are able to bring that complaint and deal with it effectively?
Hon Mr Offer: I too am quite aware of the statements made by the chairman, Clare Lewis, in his report. I think it is important to note, first, that the response and the announcements I have made today are in recognition of the recommendations of that task force report. That task force report also indicated that the question of a police complaints system was outside the terms of reference.
Having said that, there is no question that many people gave some very thoughtful, committed representations dealing with that issue notwithstanding the fact that it was not within the terms of reference of the task force. I would like to indicate to the honourable member today that it is my intent, and I am committed to the principle in a new Police Act, that there is to be a universal police complaints system across this province.
Mr B. Rae: The critical question is whether it is going to be a civilian complaints system or a police complaints system. That is the question. Who is going to control it?
The Speaker: Was that your question?
Mr B. Rae: My additional question for the Solicitor General is this: It looks as if the so-called special investigative unit the minister is establishing is going to be an in-house operation within the Ministry of the Solicitor General, I wonder if the Solicitor General can tell us what he is going to do to ensure that this task force is seen by the communities out there as being genuinely independent and able to carry out an independent investigation and not as being simply another aspect of the government’s bureaucracy.
Hon Mr Offer: I think the Leader of the Opposition raises an important issue. As the member and all members are aware, the task force recommendation called for the establishment of a special investigative unit to be comprised of seconded police officers with a civilian component designed and charged with the responsibility of investigating matters around police shootings.
I very much agree with the thrust of that recommendation, but felt that it was necessary to go further. As such, we are going to establish such a special investigative unit not just with seconded police officers but with permanent persons, having trained investigators with a civilian component. We believe this not only meets the recommendation of the task force report, but goes beyond it and in fact meets the very basic and fundamental concern of that recommendation of police investigating police.
RETAIL STORE HOURS
Mr Brandt: My question is for the Attorney General. I want to advise the Attorney General -- he is probably aware of it -- that there are 32 shopping days until Christmas, in case he wants to buy another bow tie or anything. There are 37 shopping days if in fact you want to include Sundays in shopping days that are available between now and Christmas. If you include Christmas Eve as part of that equation, there are 38 days.
Yesterday, outside this House, if members can believe this, while the Attorney General was responding to members of the media the Attorney General appeared to be mellowing. I know that is totally out of character for him, but he was mellowing in the sense that he almost gave the impression he was prepared to take the step we have been advising him to take in connection with bringing in a province-wide injunction to stop the violators of the present Sunday shopping laws.
Is the minister prepared now to stand up and indicate that he will assist the municipalities and take that step?
Hon Mr Scott: I want to reject as categorically as I can the suggestion that I am mellowing in any respect. lam doubly hurt by virtue of the fact the suggestion comes from the leader of the third party, which is almost more than I can bear. Now I forget what the question was.
We intend to await the results of the application that will be made tomorrow by one of the municipalities in the court.
Mr Brandt: It is interesting that we are walking down the same path we had to walk down about a year ago when we had a chaotic holiday period as it relates to Sunday shopping. Over a month ago the Attorney General received a letter from a lawyer who represented some members of the retail community who were attempting to stay within the letter of the law. In that letter I quote from the writer, “Unless proper enforcement of the act takes place immediately, retailers in this province will be compelled to once again assess whether the unfair advantage being given violators of the act has put law-abiding retailers in economic jeopardy.”
At that time we were not talking about grocery stores; we were talking about other forms of retail operations primarily in the electronics industry. Fully a month ago the Attorney General was warned. Why did he not take the opportunity to act at that time?
Hon Mr Scott: It is important to remind the honourable leader that the scheme of the act the Legislature largely supported and passed into law permits a retailer or any other person who wishes his premises to be open on Sunday to make an application to the municipal council which can pass a bylaw. Not everybody is happy with that regime, but it does contemplate a process whereby people who want an extended shopping right can make an application. It is a process at the municipal level, and those who want to be open when the law says they cannot be should apply to the municipal council.
If they remain open in breach of the law, as the honourable member will remember, the scheme of the act, like any other act of the Legislature, is to require municipal police to investigate, appear before a justice of the peace and lay charges. That is not only true of this act; that is true of every other enforce act the Legislature has passed. Our job in the Ministry of the Attorney General is to prosecute the charges that are laid.
Mr B. Rae: What about section 8?
Hon Mr Scott: As the Leader of the Opposition, who seems to want a third lead question, emphasizes, there is section 8 and that permits, among others, the municipality to apply for an injunction, which has happened and which I understand will be heard tomorrow.
Mr Brandt: I had some hope that the Attorney General was mellowing, but I can see now that he has simply dug himself in deeper and entrenched his position even further, as it relates to sending out a clear message to the municipalities that they are going to have to go it alone.
I want to say that section 8 allows him to take action. He does have the responsibility under that section, on a province-wide basis, to assist the municipalities in the enforcement of the laws that were drafted by his government. Why is he now standing back and idly washing his hands of this entire matter and not taking any action whatever? I think ibis absolutely unacceptable.
Hon Mr Scott: The possibility of mellowing in the light of that suggestion is beyond my imagination. The reality is we are not abandoning the municipalities or telling them to go it alone. What we are doing is undertaking to prosecute in the criminal court every charge their police officers lay. There were a hundred last weekend, and if there are more this weekend, we will prosecute those charges as vigorously as we can.
We are aware that one of the municipalities -- perhaps two -- has commenced an injunction application for tomorrow, and our options are to watch what happens tomorrow and keep the remaining options available. We are vigorously supporting municipalities that lay charges where breaches of this law occur.
Mr Brandt: My question is for the Minister of Transportation and it relates to the announcement by the Toronto Transit Commission that it is going to have to increase fares, beginning 1 January 1990, by some 10 cents. I would like to ask the minister if he has reviewed that request and if he is aware how much of the increase in percentage terms is directly attributable to tax increases brought in by the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) and by his government.
Hon Mr Wrye: From a quick calculation, the increase is going from $1.10 to $1.20, which is some eight or nine per cent. I think the member would have to ask the TTC for its views on that.
The TTC is supported by this government with 75 per cent of all its capital costs and 16 per cent of its operating deficit, and which is now looking at having its first subway work done in a decade, a $150-million first step on an expansion of the subway system. I can only say that the TTC, in terms of the millions of citizens in Ontario and in Toronto particularly who use it, remains perhaps the very best transportation system of its kind in any major city in North America. We are very proud of the role we played in making it that kind of system today.
Mr Brandt: I would like to bring to the attention of the minister the fact that his commercial concentration levy will impact on the TTC by some $3.5 million. Does it make sense to the minister when he knows full well that by pushing the price of transit costs higher he is putting more cars on the road, creating more pollution, more traffic hazards, more problems, more demand for highway construction and road construction which he cannot afford? Does he think that is the right way to go, and does he agree with the Treasurer that an additional $3.5 million is justified in terms of added cost to the TTC’s operations?
Hon Mr Wrye: I always agree with my good friend the Treasurer, who I think has shown really incredible leadership at a time when others are walking away from their transportation responsibilities. The Treasurer in the budget last May, I remind my friend, put forward a $2-billion transportation capital program over the next five years. A very substantive component of that very impressive program is for the expansion of public transportation systems. whether it is GO Transit, which is an Ontario system, or whether it is a municipal system such as that of the TIC.
Without the kind of commitment that the Treasurer made on behalf of this government, the TTC would not be able to continue to offer the very outstanding services it offers the people of Metropolitan Toronto and the people of Ontario.
Mr Brandt: Perhaps the Minister of Transportation would like to clarify where the commitment went for the $850 million in capital expenditures for hospitals. If his $2 billion follows the same path, we will never see either one of them.
I want to say to the minister that in addition to the commercial concentration levy, the new employer health tax that is going to be placed on this employer as well as all other employers across the province is going to add still another $2.5 million; so we have about $6 million in additional costs as a direct result of the actions of his government. If the minister calls that a commitment to transportation, if he calls that a Commitment to transit systems in this province. then he is sadly mistaken. What is he going to do to help keep rates down instead of pushing them up?
Hon Mr Wrye: Obviously no one likes to pay additional costs, but an increase of eight or nine per cent is one which the TIC has chosen to round off to a dime rather than leave it at a nickel which, I would remind my friend opposite, would have been an increase below five percent.
My friend talked about the kinds of commitments the government is making, and l just say to the leader of the third party that we in this government have made a commitment not just to the TIC but to GO Transit, a total of another $400 million in terms of capital commitment over the next five years. That is additional money, some of which is already being spent to purchase rolling stock at Can-Car in Thunder Bay and to purchase additional locomotives at GM Diesel in London. So this money is being spent right here in Ontario.
In addition to that, in terms of the roadways -- and I know my friend, like me, wants to see people riding on public transit -- we have committed to major improvements on Highways 401, 403, 69 --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Hon Mr Wrye: -- Highway 11, the Queen Elizabeth Way. All over Ontario, we are going to be doing what their government --
The Speaker: New question, the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr B. Rae: I have a question for the Attorney General. On Tuesday I asked the Attorney General a question about the contrast between the way in which he was treating the native people who are on the Red Squirrel Road and the various corporate interests around the province which are planning to open on Sunday in contravention of the laws of Ontario.
The Attorney General’s lawyer was in court on Tuesday, and the Attorney General for the province of Ontario was named as the plaintiff, and in the injunction which he was seeking on Tuesday, the Attorney General was asking for an injunction against “promoting, counselling, encouraging or participating in, directly or indirectly, by public or private communication or act, the organization and supply for a physical blockade of the construction of the road.”
I want to ask the Attorney General, does he not feel that there is some kind of double standard at work in the province today, when the people who own the stores, the corporate interests, Hudson’s Bay and all the other companies that are around and interested in breaking the law -- I have not heard the Attorney General going into court --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Mr B. Rae: -- and talking about them --
The Speaker: The question has been asked.
Mr B. Rae: -- ”promoting, counselling, encouraging or participating in ... Just what kind of standard --
The Speaker: Order. The question was asked a little while ago.
Hon Mr Scott: I do not agree that there is a double standard. The defendants in the case to which the honourable member refers faced an injunction last week, and the four supermarkets to which he refers will face one tomorrow.
Mr B. Rae: I can say to the Attorney General, there is this difference: Section 8 of the law on retail sales, which we passed in this House, gives the Attorney General and the municipalities the power to do something. The fact of the matter is that we have a situation here in the province with respect to Sunday openings which extends beyond Peel or Durham; it extends throughout the province. It is very clear that this is part of a systematic effort by a number of companies -- systematic, planned, directed, counselled, encouraged and participated in --
Hon Mr Scott: You’re getting hysterical.
Mr B. Rae: No, I am not.
Hon Mr Scott: You’re getting hysterical, I tell you.
The Speaker: Order. Question.
Mr B. Rae: The question that I have for the Attorney General is quite a simple one. If he is prepared to carry out this kind of action against our native people, and he has no objection to doing it, and knowing the implications of that, why is there one law for those people who are on the Red Squirrel Road and another law for the people who are planning in their corporate offices on Bay Street precisely what they are going to do to the people of Ontario? Why are there two laws in Ontario?
Hon Mr Scott: Of course there are not. I just want to draw to the attention of the House that the things the honourable leader said about the four retail organizations are essentially the things I have said, and he will join me now among those affected by hysteria; and as was said today, he is among us a high priest of justice, which was the other allegation made when words such as he used were used.
The fact of the matter is, we have indicated our prosecutorial policy with respect to companies that remain open in breach of the law when they could be applying to the city council for a variation in the law. We have also indicated, and I have today confirmed to the House, that some of those four companies, if not all of them, will face the injunctive process tomorrow.
Mr Jackson: I have a question for the Minister of Health on what I fear is an all too common occurrence in this province. A constituent of mine, a Burlington resident named Irene Linneborn, was recently diagnosed with uterine cancer and underwent a massive hysterectomy on 2 November. The recovery time for this operation is six to eight weeks, and yet the doctors, with recent pathology reports, now determine that she needs radiotherapy treatments. The wait at the Henderson General Hospital would be over 11 or 12 weeks. She needs those four- to six-week treatments almost immediately. Her doctor contacted the ministry’s referral service, which is operated out of Princess Margaret Hospital, and was informed that she would have to travel to Thunder Bay, nearly 1,000 miles away, and that she would have to take that trip alone unfortunately.
My question to the minister is, why is her ministry-run referral system so unable or so unwilling in individual cases such as this to understand the unique nature of what the patient is going through so that a constituent or a citizen like Irene would not have to face this ordeal alone, so many miles away, without her friends or her only daughter being able to accompany her?
Hon Mrs Caplan: In fact, the member opposite sent me a letter outlining the case he is referring to, and I want him to know that the professionals operating the referral centre are as compassionate and concerned as I am about ensuring that people get access to the treatment that they need when they need it.
I want him to know as well that the Canadian Cancer Society district offices and branches across the province are responding so that anyone who is referred to a centre in Ontario is supported. I have already spoken to my colleague from Thunder Bay who assures me that arrangements will be made to meet the member’s constituent and to ensure that she has the community support through this difficult and trying time.
Mr Jackson: I have spent most of the morning on the telephone talking to this so-called referral system of the minister’s. This constituent, Irene, is not even on a list anywhere in this province because her first condition was that she had to agree to get on a plane to Thunder Bay. It does not have the sensitivity. This woman is a senior; her husband passed away two months ago. This is a very difficult time for her, both emotionally and physically. She is being asked to undertake a trip to Thunder Bay by herself. Quite frankly, she will receive the very best of treatment in Thunder Bay. That is not the question here. That is not the issue. She will be met by some very nice and well-meaning people.
The Speaker: And what is the question?
Mr Jackson: The fact is that the treatment will require her to sit in a hotel room for four or five days during Christmas, alone, with none of her family. My question is, will the minister undertake to look into individual cases such as this where it is abundantly clear that the system is not reacting sensitively to this woman’s needs so that she does not have to go through this ordeal, period?
The Speaker: Thank you.
Mr Jackson: Not alone, not with people in Thunder Bay --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I want to say to the member opposite that everyone, every dedicated professional providing health services in this province, is trying to respond as sensitively as possible to meet the needs of the people of this province. I agree with him that she will receive outstanding and appropriate care in the community of Thunder Bay.
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I want him to know as well that if the situation is an emergency, I have been told by ministry officials that Princess Margaret Hospital, the Bayview clinic and the clinic in Hamilton are accepting new radiotherapy patients who are emergencies or who are too ill to travel. That is what they told us; I understand that.
I want him to know that others are being referred to facilities, hopefully in this province, and then we are supporting them in those communities with the assistance of the Canadian Cancer Society. I want him to know as well that coverage of expenses for patients who choose to commute to the centre where they are being treated is going to be dealt with on an individual basis.
But if he has any concerns about whether or not the treatment on an individual basis is appropriate, or if he is concerned about whether the medical judgements about what is an emergency are being considered, those are appropriately directed to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
Mr Daigeler: My question is to the Minister of the Environment, whom I see flirting with the NDP over there. We will give him a chance to take his seat.
Some food producers have recently begun to package their products in a manner that is environmentally responsible. Also, Pollution Probe has recently published figures that show most Ontario residents would accept higher consumer prices in exchange for environmental protection, such as improved packaging. In light of these trends, is the minister taking any new steps that will encourage even more merchandisers to use environmentally sensitive packaging methods?
Hon Mr Bradley: An excellent question from the member, who I know has had a long-standing concern about this matter. In fact, I have asked --
Mr Sterling: Say that with a straight face.
Hon Mr Bradley: He has. I am just surprised that members of the opposition have not asked this question previous to this.
I have asked the Canadian Council of Resource and Environment Ministers and the federal government to establish this federal packaging legislation. We are hopeful of a report in March 1990 which will stipulate regulation and legislation in this regard.
I encourage a national approach because, as we know, one of the things we are trying to do in this country is to ensure that we have open borders between our provinces. It is certainly an advantage to have packaging which is the same, for instance, across the country and which is reduced significantly.
A principal goal of the legislation would be to ensure that products and packages are recyclable and, where it is possible, that they have some recycled content. I think this is exceedingly important.
There are a number of approaches that are being considered, I want to inform the member, including the introduction of minimum recycled content requirements for packaging materials, deposits for a wide range --
The Speaker: Order. If you have it written out, probably you could fax it to the member.
Mr Daigeler: For the opposition’s benefit, just in case they do not read the newspapers, I refer them to 21 October, and there they can find some of the concerns I am expressing here. I think they can find that themselves rather than having to ask the minister.
Many communities in Ontario currently are still without a blue box program, and recycling is also not available to most apartment residents. Given the urgency of waste management in Ontario, can the minister tell the House whether there are plans to provide these services in the future?
Hon Mr Bradley: I can respond to the member in that regard by telling him that the government has announced proposals to expand the blue box program, goals that are for diversion from both incineration and the landfilling of garbage; those goals are extremely ambitious: 25 per cent by 1992 and 50 per cent by the year 2000.
To date, our success has been very high in terms of its level. I think about 1.8 million households now are on the blue box program in the province. The $20-million fund established by Ontario Multi-Material Recycling Inc in response to our regulation has been very helpful.
What we are doing now is we are in the process of discussing with many of the people who con-tribute to the problem how they can contribute to the solution. We are discussing this with a number of those industrial sectors to establish an expanded OMMRI-type structure which would expand the blue box program, which would allow for movement into apartments, which would of course get deeply involved in composting, which we think can be extremely important. I believe it is critical that we embrace the idea that those who produce the product or the waste should be responsible for its ultimate fate.
Mr Mackenzie: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. As he is undoubtedly aware, the 400 workers at the Libbey-Owens-Ford plant in Lindsay, members of CAW Local 225, have now been on a legal strike for three weeks over the issue of wages and benefits; yet despite the fact that this is a legal strike, the company is using the local police to allow strike breakers to cross the picket line.
What action is the minister taking to ensure that the strikers will not be arrested, as is now happening, for exercising their right to try to talk to the scabs who are crossing the line?
Hon Mr Phillips: I am aware of the situation. In this case, as I understand it, I think we have had a request for the Ontario Labour Relations Board to take a look at the possibility of asking for a vote on the final offer of the company. That is one situation. I believe the labour relations board is talking to the two parties now to see if that is a possible next step in the matter. Our industrial relations group is available to help both sides, if requested, to resolve those situations, and we are available to help both parties to move forward towards a solution.
Mr Mackenzie: As the minister should be well aware, Libbey-Owens-Ford is the plant where a large number of workers were sensitized to isocyanates, a problem which led to extensive struggles over the workers’ rights under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In fact, Libbey-Owens-Ford flagrantly flouted the health and safety laws of the province and now the company is perpetuating its image as one of the real worst corporate citizens in Ontario by using local police to allow strike breakers to cross that picket line. How can the minister allow a company that clearly has little, if any, respect for the labour laws of this province to use the law in contravention of the workers’ rights in a legal strike situation?
Hon Mr Phillips: Two things. We, of course, will look at the situation, and if there is anything that is being done illegally there, we will ensure that it will be corrected. I think the second thing is a reminder to all of us here about the importance of moving forward on occupational health and safety. Certainly I hope the plans that we are all looking forward to implementing on Bill 208 will resolve circumstances that may have existed in a case such as we have heard about today.
Mr Sterling: I have a question to the Attorney General. In Ottawa there has been a lot of publicity over a trial involving one Doug Small relating to a charge for possession of stolen property under $1,000 relating to the federal budget leak. What has happened in Ottawa recently is that this trial has taken precedence over some other very serious matters before the provincial court (criminal division) and the priority that has been given or was to be given was over a trial involving a dangerous offender convicted of sexually assaulting a young child. I do not believe, notwithstanding the notoriety of the other case, that the priority of the justice system should be based on this matter. Could I have the Attorney General’s comments with regard to this particular matter?
Hon Mr Scott: The honourable member will know that the rule of judicial independence permits trial judges the exclusive determination of the priority that is to be assigned to trials. Now we have to, of course, provide facilities for them. That is a public responsibility that I bear, but in this particular case the determination that this case should proceed in place of the other case to which the honourable member refers, is a judicial decision made by the two judges conducting the case and it is exclusively within their capacity to decide.
Mr Sterling: In the words of the crown attorney, Mr Berzins, in relating to this, he said it is unfortunate. When the trial was to take place in the latter part of May, he said: “What I am saying is that is reality. That is what exists with all our cases.” In other words, the problem is not with what the courts are deciding or the independence of the judiciary, even though I may personally disagree with a particular judge, but the problem relates to the fact that the courts are backlogged and cases that are now appearing in front of the judges are being heard in September 1990. When is the Attorney General going to address this situation so that matters can come before the courts in a timely manner?
Hon Mr Scott: The honourable member has the problem all wrong. Though there are delay problems in Ottawa being addressed by the delay reduction committee, this instance has nothing to do with delay. The judge who presided at the Small trial thought that the case should proceed in December. In order to achieve that, an adjustment was made in the list so another case was stood down. That is exclusively a judicial function.
The crown attorney in Ottawa is critical of that judicial decision, which he is perfectly entitled to be, as is the honourable member. Others may be critical of it, just as one may be critical of judgements that the courts make, but that does not mean we can make the judgements in place of the judge. The judge was discharging his judicial function in an entirely appropriate way. It is a matter exclusively within his authority.
Mr Sterling: Why does it take nine months?
Hon Mr Scott: It does not.
Mrs Crier: My question is for the Treasurer and it concerns a document that has become known as project X, which I hope the Treasurer will acknowledge originated in his ministry or with which he was connected during its development. In response to the concerns expressed about this document and its recommendations that the land use planning process be expedited at the expense of the environment, the Premier (Mr Peterson) wrote to a number of environmental groups that had contacted him saying: “The document cited in recent media coverage does not represent government policy. That document was a staff report.” The Premier went on to say that he would appreciate any specific comments and suggestions the group had on the staff report.
Could the Treasurer please clarify for the House, if the document is a policy proposal or a staff report on which public comment is invited?
Hon R. F. Nixon: The document to which the honourable member refers is in response to the government’s efforts to reduce the time needed to process applications for development. The design was particularly important, since it is generally accepted that the costs of land for development are about 30 to 40 per cent increased by the length of time presently required for this. The basis of the document is not to speed it up at the expense of environmental protection, and the honourable member, reading the document which has become public, would surely be aware of it, but simply to see that there is a minimum of duplication in the areas where government approval, municipal and provincial, is required.
The status of it is exactly as the Premier has indicated. It is a staff paper that is not policy, but there is still a concern in the government that the time required for planning approvals is too long. There is no thought of reducing the care with which the decisions are made, but something other than the average 4.3 years for response should be at least an aim.
Mrs Grier: It is obvious from the Treasurer’s response that the ideas expressed in the paper are still very much alive and being pursued by the government. I find that at variance with a response that the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) gave me on 31 October 1989 during discussion of his estimates, when he said, ‘Project X is dead; it was never alive.” There is a Monty Python skit about whether a parrot is dead or alive and I would like to ask the Treasurer, is the document a dead parrot or a live parrot?
Hon R. F. Nixon: I have not seen the document for a long time and I expect that it, as a document, is dead. The need, however, for improving the process of planning is very much alive and a matter of concern not only to supporters of the government, but of every reasonable citizen in Ontario, including some who may even be found in the opposition.
Mrs Marland: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. We have stood in this House in our party for the last two years and asked him questions about the Rouge Valley and the Rouge Valley tablelands. These lands are publicly owned. It was decided a large number of years ago that it should be a conservation area and the question of these lands is still before the Ontario government. The people of Ontario are asking the Ontario government to make a decision.
My question is this: Since there is other property available for public housing, at least 2,000 acres in the greater Toronto area, and since housing on these lands would not be affordable housing in any case, what is it that will make the Liberal government finally decide on the future of the Rouge Valley and the Rouge tablelands and save them, as the people of Ontario have asked the minister?
Hon Mr Bradley: I think that is a question that could be addressed to any other minister, but I am happy to answer it because I have an interest in this, as well. As the member well knows and has been stated publicly in this House on many occasions, the government of Ontario is interested in preserving the Rouge lands and has been for some time, and has indicated that publicly.
The Ministry of Natural Resources has done it not only by means of indicating it publicly but by acquiring land and spending considerable money and being involved in the development of passive lands in that area for park purposes. There has been a statement by the Premier that he is interested in seeing those lands preserved; he -- once again, when we were talking about the waterfront in Toronto and other areas -- has indicated this. It is simply a matter of determining specifically which lands we are talking about because there are some lands beyond what many people thought were the narrow confines of the Rouge Valley that are being looked at as well for the purposes of parks and passive uses. That is why defining the specific boundaries is important as is defining the specific recreational uses, if any, that would be permitted within those boundaries.
So I think this has been very clear for some period of time. I recognize the member has an interest in this, and I am pleased to see that she is asking this question. I know that my colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources (Mrs McLeod), is excited about the potential for this particular area, as are all members of the government, including the members who represent that area.
The Speaker: Thank you.
Hon Mr Bradley: As Minister of the Environment I am interested in seeing that kind of outcome in this --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Mrs Marland: The question was not about the property within the Rouge Valley itself, and I wanted the minister to hear the question very carefully because it is the same question that I have asked the Premier of this province; I have asked the Minister of Natural Resources; I have asked the Minister of Government Services. I am asking the minister today, as Minister of the Environment, what is it that makes this Liberal government sit on its hands and not make a decision? If this government is so keen on preserving it, why do you not tell the people of Ontario that you want to preserve it instead of going on for two years saying, “Well, we have got -- ”
The Speaker: I think we had the question.
Hon Mr Bradley: I think that the Premier has made this very clear on a number of occasions both here in Metropolitan Toronto and in other places where he has been asked about this. He has been very clear about the future plans in that area not just for the confined area of the valley. There is not anybody in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario who believes for one moment that if the opposition were in power that we would be retaining the degree of lands and looking at the uses that we see potentially for the Rouge Valley.
To be lectured by the opposition, particularly that party, about the retention of this particular area is just stretching it a little bit, particularly when the Premier of this province has made it so clear on a number of occasions that we see that, as a government, as being an exciting potential for urban wilderness area in this area, and we want to ensure that there is sufficient land taken into consideration, that the uses that are ultimately there are compatible with the people who reside throughout Metropolitan Toronto and that it is retained in a state which is acceptable to everyone.
I think that has been very clear, whether it is the Minister of Natural Resources speaking, whether it is the individual members from the area, or the Minister of Government Services and others.
The Speaker: Thank you.
Hon Mr Bradley: All of us have said this, and the member is attempting to manufacture an issue which is not, and it simply --
The Speaker: Order.
Mr D. R. Cooke: I have a question for the Attorney General. In January of this year this House unanimously approved at second reading a bill to amend the Limitations Act in cases of sexual assault where the plaintiff is constrained in exercising her cause of action because of a physical or emotional restraint until after the limitation period expires. At that time, the Attorney General generally withheld comment pending a complete review of the Limitations Act, which hopefully will bring some uniformity to limitations in various areas of the law. Can the Attorney General tell the House at what stage this review is, and when we might see a government bill amending the Limitations Act?
Hon Mr Scott: As the honourable member knows, because he has maintained a vigorous interest in this important issue, the proposal that was the subject of his resolution is one of a number of proposals made in the process we have developed that was designed to consider and, if the government agrees, introduce a new Limitations Act for the province of Ontario. The proposal the honourable member makes is one that has attracted a good deal of support, and those organizations with which we are consulting have had the opportunity to comment on it and all the other provisions as well.
In fact, one of the major consulters, the Canadian Bar Association, which has an interest in many of these matters, forwarded to us some short time ago its determinations with its reasons for those determinations to follow. We hope to have those in hand shortly. They will be shared broadly and we hope that in due course the government s decision will be made and announced.
Mr D. R. Cooke: The Canadian Bar Association -- Ontario rightly is concerned about bringing uniformity to the Limitations Act and therefore in concert with their representatives, I prepared a new amendment to the Limitations Act, Bill 57, which I tabled in July.
Rather than trying to extend the time frame in the manner of the bill which was heard in January, Bill 57 simply reverses the onus requiring the defendant to raise and show beyond a balance of probability that the plaintiff had all her physical, mental and emotional wherewithal when the limitation period was on, if there is to be a limitation period at all.
Would the Attorney General care to comment on this bill and whether the government is considering including this concept in the omnibus Limitations Act?
Hon Mr Scott: I hasten to say that the honourable member has spent a significant period of time trying to draft and craft responses that will meet the needs of this problem and the difficult issue that the court case reflects. Indeed, if it would not offend him to say it, his concern about this kind of issue and the dedication with which he has addressed it in depth is a model that opposition members might well want to consider in forming legislative policy, and is much to his credit as I am sure will be recognized everywhere.
We are considering both of the possibilities that the honourable member has suggested. The question of where the onus lies is of course a critical question, about which not only the bar association but women’s groups and other organizations have had much to say. The honourable member will be aware of that and when all the comments are in, the decisive process will promptly begin.
AIR AMBULANCE SERVICES
Miss Martel: I have a question for the Minister of Health concerning air ambulance services. Regulations 57 and 58 of the Ambulance Act state that in an emergency, medical care assistants must work with another qualified partner in carrying out duties and, while the ministry has been interpreting that to decide whether that applies to air ambulance as well, there has been no ruling to the contrary so I assume the same provisions apply.
I was surprised to learn that at air ambulance bases in Timmins, Thunder Bay, Sioux Lookout and Buttonville, staff all had to work alone while their partners underwent advanced life support training. I would like to ask the minister why, in fact, this is occurring?
Hon Mrs Caplan: As the member opposite knows, the air ambulance system has been reviewed. We had an expert, Mr McLeish, in. I received his report. I have accepted the recommendations of the report in principle. We have invited the Ontario Public Service Employees Union to work with us to see that the recommendations are implemented and I am pleased to say to the member that I believe that implementation process has begun.
Miss Martel: The question is, what is happening with training? I met with OPSEU representatives in the Sudbury district last week. They advised me that their staff wanted advanced life support training. However, they did not want to downsize at the same time because they were concerned about health and safety of their own workers and the health and safety of patients. They want to work together as a team. They have been told that unless they downsize, they will not get the training that they require and deserve.
I would like to ask the minister if she can ensure that the Sudbury air ambulance attendants are going to receive advanced life support training without having to downsize their staff?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I can assure the member that I am concerned about making sure that the appropriate standard of care is available across this province and that we work to implement the McLeish report co-operatively with OPSEU, that the ministry officials are dedicated and deter-mined to have that report in place and they tell me it is possible to have that done by the end of March. I would say to her that in fact that is ongoing at the present time.
Mr Brandt: Information has just been brought to my attention within the last few moments about an extremely troubling situation relative to our health system. I do not know whether the minister is aware of the fact that there is a shortage of a polio vaccine known as DPTP quad vaccine. I want to bring this to the minister’s attention, because the information I have is that the government has been aware of this shortage. It is not being supplied to our doctors in our hospitals. Apparently, most at risk are children up to two months of age.
The shortage is something the Ministry of Health has known about and is apparently now attempting to do something about. But the continuing shortage will carry on, to the best of my information, for some time.
I wonder if the minister could indicate whether she is aware of the situation and what she intends to do about a very troubling and critical matter; namely, the supply of this absolutely essential vaccine.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I will say to the member that I am certainly prepared to investigate the allegation or the suggestion that he has made. I would say as well, as I have said on many occasions in this House, how important it is for us to ensure that information is accurate so that the people of this province can maintain confidence in what is a very excellent health care system.
That does not mean it is perfect and that does not mean that we cannot do better tomorrow, but I will say to him that I will investigate this suggestion and the concern that he raises.
Mr D. W. Smith: I have a petition to the Lieutenant Governor and the Parliament of Ontario from 373 petitioners from the community and the surrounding area of Arkona. They are very concerned about the traffic that comes together at the point of Highway 79 and county road 12. There have been a number of accidents there and these people are very concerned. They would like to see a stoplight installed there to prevent any serious accidents in the future.
Mr Furlong: I have a petition signed by 54 residents of my riding requesting that the Legislative Assembly of Ontario pass legislation repealing the French Language Services Act. While I do not personally subscribe to these views, I have affixed my signature to the petition as required by the standing orders.
Miss Martel: I too have a petition addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It is signed by 911 residents in my riding. They are requesting the withdrawal of Bill 8. While I do not agree with their intentions or their purpose, I have affixed my signature to it and present it on their behalf.
The Speaker: Before I call for the next order of business, I know all members would want me to draw attention to a visitor in the lower west gallery, Luc Guindon, a former member.
REPORT BY COMMITTEE
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ESTIMATES
Mr McCague from the standing committee on estimates reported the following resolutions:
Resolved that supply in the following amounts and to defray the expenses of the following ministries and offices be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending 31 March 1990:
Ministry of the Environment: ministry administration program. $36,670,500; environmental services program, $95,369,400; environmental control program. $99,232,900; utility planning and operations program, $297,183,900.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs: ministry ad-ministration program, $7,063,400; municipal affairs program, $508,321,500; community planning program, $43,836,300; municipal education training program, $3,097,100; Niagara Escarpment Commission program, $1,899,600; Ontario municipal audit program, $1,684,200; waterfront development program, $564,900.
Ministry of Transportation: ministry administration program, $52,353,200; provincial transportation program, $20,077,400; transportation regulation program, $103,510,700; provincial highways program, $789,906,900; provincial transit program, $251,284,500; municipal transit program, $395,656,000; municipal roads pro-gram, $700,261,800.
Office for Disabled Persons: Office for Disabled Persons program, $7,859,000.
Office Responsible for Senior Citizens Affairs: Office Responsible for Senior Citizens Affairs program, $9,392,100.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of the whole.
ONTARIO MUNICIPAL IMPROVEMENT CORPORATION AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Consideration of Bill 18, An Act to amend the Ontario Municipal Improvement Corporation Act.
The First Deputy Chair: Mr Phillips moves that Bill 18 be reported.
Bill ordered to be reported.
DEVELOPMENT CHARGES ACT, 1989
Consideration of Bill 20, An Act to provide for the Payment of Development Charges.
The First Deputy Chair: Mr Phillips moves that Bill 20 be reported.
Bill ordered to be reported.
INDEPENDENT HEALTH FACILITIES ACT, 1989
Consideration of Bill 147, An Act respecting Independent Health Facilities Act.
The First Deputy Chair: I believe that we have some amendments. The chair is aware that the Minister of Health has provided us with a number of amendments to a number of sections. I believe the member for Riverdale (Mr Reville) has provided us with some amendments, and the member for Parry Sound (Mr Eves), I believe, has some. If there are amendments other than from those three members, please assist the chair by providing us with them.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I request permission from the House to move over and to ask my staff to come forward as we proceed through committee of the whole.
The First Deputy Chair: Is the House in agreement that staff be allowed to the minister?
The First Deputy Chair: I am going to need a little assistance from members this afternoon. I am sitting in the middle of a great white pile of amendments to the bill from all quarters. If you are patient with the new chair, I think we will proceed through the afternoon.
Does the minister have any opening remarks? Will she indicate where she has proposed amendments? Then we will go through a rotation to other members who have amendments.
Hon Mrs Caplan: The bill, as members know, has been considered by committee. We have met further with some parties with interest in the bill, and as a result of the discussions and deliberations, we have a few amendments, all of which would fall into the category of either clarification, with the original intent, or an appropriate and fair response, as I said I would give, to the amendment to subsection 7(7).
The First Deputy Chair: Could you indicate to the chair the sections where you are proposing amendments? If you would just go through that list, that would help us.
Hon Mrs Caplan: The amendments have been circulated. Do you want the sections?
The First Deputy Chair: Yes.
Hon Mrs Caplan: Subsection 1(1); clause 6(3)(c); section 7, adding clauses 8(a) and (b); clause I l(2)(b); subsections 11(3) and 11(4); subsection 11(5); subsection 13(2); clause 16(I)(a); clause 18(I)(f); paragraphs 42(1)28A and 42(1)28B; paragraph 42(1)29; section 42; subsection 43(3).
I believe that those are the ones that have been filed.
The First Deputy Chair: Okay. The member for Riverdale -- if you would give us notice of the sections where you are proposing --
Mr Reville: Yes, I would be glad to do that.
Before I do that, I would like to point out that this is an unusual situation, and this is the second time we have been at this stage of the process. The bill was ready for committee of the whole and then was referred back out for another four days of public hearings, out of which have flowed some additional amendments.
I point out for those members who have an extraordinarily long memory that when the bill was introduced on 2 June 1988, almost a year and a half ago, it was 24 pages long. That copy is no good any more. When it came to committee after second reading, we were provided, thoughtfully, by the government a copy of the bill reprinted to show amendments that the government had decided to make before the public hearings. That made the bill 30 pages long.
After we had the hearings, amendments were incorporated and the bill became 32 pages long. It is the copy that says, “Second reading, February 22nd.” Anyone who has the previous two editions should put those in the archives, where they belong.
So we are now working from this, and this day we have 13 amendments from the government, three amendments from the official opposition and five amendments from the third party. Depending on what happens to these, the pagination of Bill 147 may have to be altered once again.
However, that is all by way of preamble to say that I have amendments to subsection 5(7), section 7 and subsections 7(3a) and 7(3b). I am putting them in order on my desk and I hope that I get it right.
The First Deputy Chair: Would the member for Parry Sound give us an indication of where he will have amendments.
Mr Eves: I too would like to make a few preliminary comments. The member for Riverdale is quite correct in saying that this is the second time that we have arrived at this stage of the process, but I think in fairness to the government, it quite properly reopened public hearings with respect to the concerns of radiologists and radiology clinics and, indeed, even radiologists operating within the hospital setting, as initially the government, by its own admission, had indicated that this bill was only designed to apply to anywhere from a dozen to two dozens independent health facilities in the province.
In fact, they had even notified the radiology association in writing that there would be no need for it to request to appear before public hearings because: “Rest assured, it is not the intention of the government to include you people within the guise of Bill 147. We are just going to start off slowly here with about 12 clinics being grandfathered in the province, and the most we would ever think about licensing would be five or six a year after that. The bill is very minimal in scope and you people do not even have to bother coming, because we are not going to affect you.”
Of course, then we found out that indeed after what is now infamously known as the Reville amendment -- I refer to it as the Barkin-Reville amendment -- we then decided to include some 1,800 radiology clinics in the province of Ontario. That is just slightly more than 12 -- 1.800 -- so we have expanded the bill just slightly over the last few months of deliberations.
Mr J. B. Nixon: Did you vote for the amendment?
Mr Eves: We are getting to those.
Mr J. B. Nixon: Did you vote for it?
Mr Eves: This is all to do with those amendments, the member for York Mills will be happy to know.
So here we are. We finally did give the radiologists an opportunity to appear before the committee after we decided to include them, or some of us decided to include them. I must admit that I originally voted for the infamous Reville amendment. I think it is only important that I be honest and forthright with the members of the Legislature and the public.
But having had some time to reflect upon the scope and what I think the effects and results of the Reville amendment will be, I think I have changed my opinion slightly, especially after having heard these groups that appeared before the committee.
Now, that brings us to the point in time, as my good friend the member for Riverdale was commenting, when this bill, which apparently was in excess of a year and possibly as long as two years in the making, the Independent Health Facilities Act -- if members go back to the second reading debate which took place many months ago in this Legislature, they will see that the government, the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) expounded in the Legislature that the reason for introducing Bill 147 in the first place in this House was to increase community-based health facilities throughout the province of Ontario, putting a bigger emphasis on community-based health care, and presumably to afford more accessibility at a lower cost or more efficient cost to the people of Ontario.
That brought us to the point where the bill was debated at some length in this Legislature in second reading. As the member for Riverdale has quite properly stated, the bill originally was 30-some sections long. Then after the second reading debate, before we even proceeded to public hearings, the ministry introduced 22 amendments of its own to, I believe, a 31-section bill, at that point in time; 30-something anyway.
So then we had the reprinted version of Bill 147 as the committee started its deliberations to go through public hearings. One member of the government, who unfortunately was a member of the committee, was put in the rather embarrassing position of having to move that a reprinted bill be treated as the bill, because to introduce the government s 22 amendments one at a time would indeed be a very time-consuming and perhaps somewhat embarrassing process for the government from time to time.
So we on the opposition side of the House sort of snickered to ourselves, but we said: “Fine. We’ll overlook the government’s incompetence and we’ll treat the new printed bill with 22 amendments to 31 sections as the bill. We know you didn’t have much time to prepare this bill, only two years. You know, that wasn’t quite enough time to get your act together.”
Then we went through public hearings, and during public hearings there were 16 government amendments introduced that were passed to this piece of legislation. So now the government has amended it 22 times before it got out, 16 times when it was in committee. Surely, 38 amendments to a bill that started out with about 31 or 33 sections to start with -- that is more than one per section. One would have thought that would have been sufficient to correct all these deficiencies for this piece of legislation that they had now been considering for over two years. That would be reasonable to presume, if things were being done in an efficient operation and way, I would think.
But apparently not. There were a few opposition amendments that were even agreed upon in committee, I must say, by myself and by the member for Riverdale. Here we are at this stage of the proceedings, where we have the ministry officials as late as this morning presenting members of the opposition -- and I must say that they graciously afforded us the opportunity of explaining to us what the amendments were about and why they were introducing them. We appreciate that, but here we have another 13 amendments, as my colleague the member for Riverdale has already indicated.
That brings the government amendments alone to this point in the proceedings to 51. Let me see now. Oh, there are only 45 sections in the bill and we have had 51 amendments today. That is more than one per section. I really do find this rather astounding and I suppose the government’s response to this is that it is listening to the people. I thought that was what they were doing for the two years before they drafted the bill in the first place, but apparently they were not. However, they are now. Better late than never.
I will be moving amendments today to subsection 1(1), subsection 7(7), subsection 8(1), subsection 9(5) and subsection 22(1).
The First Deputy Chair: It is going to be a busy afternoon. I do not see an easy way to proceed with this, so I suggest that with the concurrence we will do this clause by clause. The government has an amendment to subsection 1(1). Perhaps we could begin with that.
Mrs Caplan moves that subsection 1(1) of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following definition:
“‘maximum allowable consideration’ in relation to a licence for an independent health facility means,
“(a) if section 7 applied with respect to the facility at the time it came into force, the amount prescribed by the regulation or determined by the method prescribed by the regulation; or
“(b) in any other case, zero.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I would like to just very briefly explain this and the series of amendments that follow for sections 11, 13, 18 and 42. We are making amendments that permit an amount to be paid for the transfer of such licences that reflect the goodwill value of the practice prior to the act coming into force.
These amendments are introduced to fairly compensate any grandfathered facility, upon transferring its licence, that feels that it may have been penalized by the act by therefore removing the value that in some cases was built up over a period of years of operation. Should the grandfathered facility wish to transfer its licence for an amount beyond the prescribed licence fee, it may make a proposal according to the regulation and the drafting and in an amount that will be set out via the regulation following discussions with those persons who are most directly affected.
This was in fact the representation made to me personally when I met particularly with the radiologists as a result of the amendment to subsection 7(7). We heard it as well through the course of the public hearings. We believe that this approach is one which will respond appropriately and fairly to the concerns that were raised.
The First Deputy Chair: Any further discussion on the proposed amendment to subsection 1(1)?
Mr Reville: On a point of order, Mr Chair: The member for Parry Sound has an amendment to that same section. Perhaps it would be appropriate if he put that.
The First Deputy Chair: I think, to save my soul, we will deal with them one at a time.
Mr Reville: All right. Fair enough.
Mr Eves: Mr Chairman, I have a comment about the proposed amendment that the minister is making, I guess on a point of clarification. I would like to ask her if the purpose and the ultimate result or intent of her proposed amendment is indeed that only radiology clinics, so to speak, for lack of a better terminology, covered by subsection 7(7), are going to be caught by this amendment, or are all grandfathered independent facilities period, such as Dr Stein’s eye clinic, also going to be included in her amendment?
Hon Mrs Caplan: All grandfathered independent health facilities will be grandfathered and entitled to the application of this amendment as proposed.
Mr Eves: My concern is that all grandfathered facilities are included. I was not clear on that. I still would like to place my amendment, because I understand that all three parties have agreed that we will not be voting on these amendments in committee of the whole House until, I believe, Monday afternoon, at the conclusion of the day. We have also agreed by unanimous consent that any votes that are required will be agreed upon in that fashion. So would the chair like to direct me as to how he wishes to proceed? Do you wish me to read my amendment now or do you wish to deal with the minister’s at this time?
The First Deputy Chair: We are running into a little difficulty here. The chair is not aware of any agreement, for starters. Second, as far as the chair is aware, Monday is designated as an opposition day. So I believe the best that I can offer you is that the House can agree to stack a vote, and we can do that. Perhaps some time during the course of the afternoon someone could provide us with a little more information.
I would just say this too. We are in committee, so we can be a little more flexible than we normally would be. There is no problem. If we want to defer votes, if we want to provide the member for Parry Sound with an opportunity to put an amendment, we can be a little more flexible. We are not looking for trouble this afternoon.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I am assured by legal counsel that the amendment I have placed will achieve the objective the member seeks, and I believe there will be an opportunity for him to have that opinion verified.
Mr Reville: On the procedural matter, it would be appropriate perhaps to have three-party agreement now to stack votes. There was a discussion at the House leaders’ meeting this morning that the vote on the stacked votes would take place after the vote on opposition day on Monday.
Now there is a way in the standing orders to achieve that. We thought we might achieve it by a unanimous consent approach, if that was acceptable to you. Mr Chair. It would be interesting, I think, to see if all three parties would agree to take the vote on the stacked amendments following the vote on the opposition day resolution on Monday, somewhat after 5:45 of the clock.
The First Deputy Chair: I will give you something to think about then. We have no problem with deferring votes while we are dealing with the bill. Some options you may wish to consider are to leave a final vote until a later date and do it then. I can think of at least one little difficulty you are going to have. If bells are ringing and it is after six o’clock when you come back, we are out of business. So perhaps while we are doing this this afternoon, others can amuse themselves with a way around that. There are other ways to handle it.
Are we ready for the first amendment then? I take it we are.
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
We have an agreement that we will defer these votes.
I am having a bit of a problem here. I do not want to look around the chamber too much this afternoon, but we are being a little lonely in here. Could some messages be sent to other quarters? For example, if someone does want to cause a division, I believe the standing orders say we need five people to stand in their place. This early in the day, I do not usually have double vision and I would certainly need it to see five members standing.
Mr Reville: The difficulty has been created by what we had thought was an appropriate agreement that was made that where there were contentious issues, those would be dealt with at a later time. I do not want to be difficult and I certainly want to make the proceedings go along as smoothly as possible. but the House is not jam-packed because in fact we were going to discuss these amendments. Where there were issues of contention, those were going to be put over until another occasion. We can create this division if you think it is necessary, but --
The First Deputy Chair: I am a little reluctant to suggest that people seek unanimous consent to do this, but it does seem to me that on all three sides there is agreement that we will defer these votes. So I think we will just leave it at that and we will defer them to the end of the sitting or until the bill is finished. Is that understood?
The First Deputy Chair: Mr Eves moves that subsection 1(1) of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following definition:
“‘Maximum allowable consideration’ in relation to a licence for an independent health facility means the amount prescribed by the regulations or determined by the method prescribed.”
Mr Eves: I have already briefly made my comments on the amendment. In the final analysis, it may or may not be necessary when we come to vote, but I would like to have the opportunity to check out the legal implications of the amendment prepared by the ministry. So at this point in time I would like to move this amendment, which I think is a little simpler and clearer as to what the intent is. I have already stated that and that is my purpose for moving the amendment.
Sections 2 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: Mr Reville moves that section 5 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:
“(7) If a person petitions the minister in writing to request proposals for the establishment and operation of an independent health facility, the minister shall,
“(a) consider the petition; and
“(b) if the minister decides not to request proposals, give written reasons for his or her decision to the person who made the petition.”
The First Deputy Chair: Perhaps you would let Mr Reville --
Hon Mrs Caplan: Sorry. I am new at this.
Mr Reville: Yes, quite often the person who introduces the amendment will speak first to explain why he or she moves the amendment and the people who want to speak then, speak then.
This is an amendment that flows from deputations made to the committee by groups that were concerned that the other methods of generating proposals to which a response could be made might leave out some kinds of endeavours. For people who are not familiar with the bill, the way an independent health facility gets created is either it is designated an independent health facility and grandfathered and then licensed or it is licensed following a process that is begun within the Ministry of Health or as a result of a needs assessment that a district health council has done, after which the minister may ask for submissions to be made to fulfil the undertaking identified by the district health council.
It is going to be necessary to be blunt about my concern in this regard. Although there were efforts during the hearings to not talk about abortion services directly, I fear that I cannot adhere to that bluntness blackout. Given the government’s record in terms of providing abortion services and given the difficulty I believe district health councils across the province may have in coming to grips with some kinds of health services that may be seen to be controversial and/or political, I do not suspect that we will see, either from the district health council or from the Ministry of Health, proposal calls for groups to establish abortion services through an abortion clinic or a women’s health centre which included abortion services.
The evidence I have for this concern of mine is that we have seen that three free-standing abortion clinics have been established in the province, presumably because those who established them felt that there was inadequate access for women in Ontario to abortion services provided by hospitals. In fact, the evidence is that all three of those free-standing abortion clinics in downtown Toronto are providing a large number of services to women from all parts of Ontario. For whatever reason they come there, it is clear that they do. For instance, the Choice in Health Clinic, since its opening a little over a year ago, has provided services to 2,000 women, and the Scott and the Morgentaler clinics have provided more than that.
This is a case in which a health care vacuum was allowed to be created by the government and that vacuum was filled through the initiative of people not connected with the government, by health professionals and others who decided that they would provide these services in spite of the fact that there was some ambivalence about the status according to various federal and provincial laws.
Similarly, the Toronto Birth Centre, a project close to my heart and some of the adherents of which live in my riding and speak to me frequently about their interest in birthing centres, has for a decade urged the Ministry of Health to allow that alternative for parents who wanted to bring their children into the world in a setting that was other than a hospital or, alternatively, the back seat of a cab.
The response of Health ministries over this decade -- and I do not want to single out solely this minister because there have been probably half a dozen ministers in the decade -- have basically sandbagged -- now that may be a loaded word, but I think it fairly describes what the governmental response has been -- this very detailed operation, which has absolutely finely detailed protocols for how they would deliver this service. This service, notwithstanding, has never been funded, has never been allowed to operate, and it makes you think that you need another avenue to ensure that a good idea is not buried under an avalanche of inertia or bureaucracy.
That is why the amendment suggests that if people have a proposal or a health service that they believe is needed, they may petition the minister to request that he or she ask for proposals. Should the minister decline to ask for proposals, the minister must give reasons. That just seems to be ordinary good manners on the one hand and provides for appropriate government accountability on the other.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I will not be supporting this amendment. We had this same debate and discussion in committee. I do not believe the amendment is required, as petitions can be made and are now made directly to the minister. The district health council process is not a requirement in the legislation as the member opposite knows, my critic who has spent so much time looking at this bill and making some very worthwhile representations, I believe, in the public interest.
He knows that the district health councils are advisory to the minister and that the minister may at any time issue a request for proposal on the basis of the need assessment. I would say to him that I believe that is set forth in the public interest criteria and that the concerns he has are addressed in the bill as it presently stands.
Mr Eves: This is a novel approach by my colleague the member for Riverdale. There are possibly, I suppose, some independent health facilities that would be needed, proposals for which were not requested by the ministry. I would at least consider supporting this proposed amendment to section 5.
The First Deputy Chair: Mrs Caplan moves that clause 6(3)(c) of the bill be struck out.
Hon Mrs Caplan: The intent of this legislation very clearly always has been that preference be shown to nonprofit Canadian-owned corporations. That in fact remains in the bill. This amendment strikes out the preference for non-profit Canadian-owned management services, which was never intended in the bill in the first place. In fact, in Canada and in Ontario today there are many multinational companies providing all kinds of services. We believe this amendment is necessary to ensure we do not unfairly discriminate against those who are already providing services in this province.
Mr Revile: Members will recall that section 6 is the so-called free trade section of this legislation. When the bill was introduced in June 1988, prior to an electoral event in respect of another place, there was a good deal of concern in this province and elsewhere in the country about what would happen to our health care system if free trade were to be become a reality. The government included a number of sections intended, it said, to protect our health care system from being overwhelmed by American health megabusiness.
I understand the nature of the amendment. I also recall, dimly, from my reading of the free trade agreement that management services in respect of health care facilities, blood banks and a number of other things were in fact included in the free trade agreement. I continue to think we need the kind of protection that was in the government’s mind when it originally wrote clause 6(3)(c) into the bill. Therefore, I think it should stay there and I will not be supporting the government amendment.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I would just like to point out, if I could, that this was not in the original printing of the bill. This amendment does not affect the ownership of independent health facilities where preference for nonprofit Canadian ownership remains. This affects the management only and in fact was not in the first printing of the bill.
Mr Eves: That is an interesting comment indeed from the Minister of Health. She indicated just a few moments ago that it was not the intention of the government to have included these people in the bill. Now she has just told us that originally they were not in the bill. Then the minister, I guess, somewhat inadvertently put them in the bill and now wants to take them back out of the bill. This is all a very convoluted way of arriving at the same point in time.
I just cannot let this section or this proposed amendment go by without a comment about what I guess has been referred to as the free trade component of the Independent Health Facilities Act. I think the very fact that the government has waffled back and forth from management companies not being in the bill to putting them in the bill and now taking them out of the bill demonstrates to me its commitment with respect to the whole free trade issue. I think that it is somewhat of a farce. I just make that comment.
Hon Mr Elston: Another lonely voice in the wilderness, the product of the Tory blue box.
Mr Reville: I am trying to understand the intervention from the member for Bruce but I cannot.
The minister is correct, now that I have referred her back to the thin copy of the bill, the 24-page one, that clause 6(3)(c) was not then there. It certainly was there when the minister kindly provided a reprinted version after second reading and before the hearings. I will have to confess that my memory has been shown to be inadequate and that prior to the hearings beginning last summer that section was not there.
I should point out that the government’s concern seemed to me to be misplaced. It may be misplaced because it is so far from clause 6(3)(c) to the beginning of the section that they may have forgotten that the operative clause is that preference shall be given to proposals which do this, that and the other thing.
What the government’s amendment meant -- clearly it had a sort of flash of wisdom when it moved it some time ago -- was that preference would be given to independent health facilities whose management services were provided by “a Canadian citizen ordinarily resident in Canada... a permanent resident within the meaning of the Immigration Act (Canada)...a corporation con-trolled” by Canadian citizens.
I think that is a good kind of preference to have and I am surprised the minister would want to delete that preference at this stage. Having got her mind right on one occasion, why does she just not stay there.
The First Deputy Chair: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
Section 6, as amended, agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: Section 7 is a very popular section. Everybody has amendments on that.
Mrs Caplan moves that section 7 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following section:
“(8) Subsection (3) does not apply to allow a person to charge an insured person a fee, or accept from an insured person payment of a fee, for a service if, before this section comes into force,
“(a) there was a fee for the service set out in a column described in subsection (7); and
“(b) the regulation described in subsection (7) is amended so that a fee for the service is no longer payable under the regulation.
Hon Mrs Caplan: This is a technical amendment. It is our intention to ensure that there is continuity of service and that an alternative form of payment for the service is provided. This technical amendment prevents such a facility during the one-year grandfathering period from directly billing patients, which I think is very clear from the stated amendment.
Mr Reville: I will support this amendment.
Mr Eves: I also will support this amendment. It is my understanding that the clinics that are covered by subsection 7(7) have not and do not intend to direct-bill patients, so I would be very happy to support this amendment.
Motion agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: Mr Reville moves that section 7 of the bill be amended by striking out subsection 7(1) and substituting the following in lieu thereof:
“(a) a person who operates an independent health facility on June 2, 1988; or
“(b) a person or an individual
“(i) who had taken significant steps towards the opening of an independent health facility by June 2, 1988, and
“(ii) who is operating an independent health facility on June 2, 1989, notwithstanding that the independent health facility may not have been operated under the same name or through the same entity throughout the period may, within one year after the date on which this section comes into force, submit a proposal for a licence to continue to operate the facility, as if the minister had requested proposals under subsection 5(l).”
Mr Reville: This is an amendment that will be basically my third try at achieving a result I was not able to achieve by two previous amendments. It relates to the business of grandfathering, which is the transitional section of the bill. Section 7 is the transitional section and it is not an uncommon section to have in a bill such as this when you are changing from one status to another. You have to provide for those groups that are already operating and will have to operate in a new way.
It is also not uncommon that the transitional period begin on the day the bill is introduced for first reading. In that regard the minister has followed a time-honoured tradition and has indicated to anybody who wanted to know that from 2 June 1988 the world will operate differently, should this legislation carry, and that is kind of fair warning to everybody that this will happen.
It is just kind of tough luck if on 3 June 1988 you began what might be an independent health facility were the date different. Again, my intention is primarily directed towards two independent health facilities or health operations that I believe are independent health facilities. One is the Choice in Health Clinic operated currently by Dr Colodny, which began its operation after 2 June 1988, but towards the operation of which significant steps had been taken prior to the introduction of this bill.
Previously in committee I had tried to change the grandfathering date, on the one hand to the date of third reading, I believe, and on the other hand to some kind of specified date. Both of those interventions were unsuccessful and the government was able to partly justify its refusal to accept this approach by saying that such an approach would perhaps capture independent health facilities that no one would want to have captured by a change in that date.
I would submit to members that at the time we were talking about 20 known independent health facilities that were grandfathered and one known independent health facility that would not have been grandfathered and there was no evidence that anybody could lead to the contrary.
A further amendment, about which my friend in the third party will speak soon, has added practically the population of the world to this grandfathered clause. The number of independent health facilities has jumped from 20 to thousands; some people would say 1,800; others would say 1,801. Let’s not quibble.
I think the other point that needs to be made in this connection is that given the concern expressed that all sorts of people would hurry to get into operation to get the benefit of my new grandfather date, they will hardly be able to do that now because of course the bill is going to have third reading almost before my hair gets any greyer, maybe even next week, although you never know.
Miss Roberts: It won’t be soon enough.
Mr Reville: I agree very much with my friend from the great riding of Elgin that it could not possibly be soon enough for me that I get to vote against this bill on third reading. It has occupied far more of my time than I had originally assigned to it, which was around a millisecond. Those are my arguments.
I want to say that I think it would be unconscionable if the efforts of the government to encourage community-based health facilities and to get a handle on quality assurance in those facilities that operate outside of hospitals were to have the effect of closing down the Choice in Health Clinic. That would be an irony and an outrage. Those are my reasons.
The First Deputy Chair: Mr Reville moves that section 7 of the bill be amended by adding the following clauses:
“(3a) A person described in subsection (3) who has received notice that the director proposes to not issue a licence to the person for an independent health facility and who has required a hearing by the board may, within 10 days of receiving the notice of the director’s proposal, give the director notice requiring an assessment of the facility.
“(3b) If the director is given notice requiring an assessment,
“(a) the director shall give notice under subsection 27(3); and
“(b) the board shall not hold a hearing until the assessor has reported on the assessment and a copy of the report has been given to the person requiring the assessment.”
Mr Reville: This is a process amendment, which I believe is required, because if subsection 7(7) were to carry, a large number of independent health facilities will be grandfathered. will have an opportunity to apply for a licence and will have a certain process which the operators thereof can follow, should they not be granted a licence.
This goes towards the eventuality that some operators -- perhaps a few, perhaps none, or even only one -- who have been performing their duties in a way that heretofore had not attracted any concern were to be told that they were not going to get a licence.
What I think is quite common in other kinds of quasi-judicial proceedings is that the person to whom something is not going to be granted has the right to know why that boon shall not be granted prior to the hearing to deal with the appeal of the denial of such granting.
If that sounded a bit convoluted, I think to simplify it, you are entitled to know where you went wrong or where you fell down before you have to go to court. It is like sharing pleadings and evidence and that sort of stuff.
This process has been recommended by men and women learned in the law; and whenever I get advice from men and women learned in the law, I certainly pay a heck of a lot of attention.
Hon Mrs Caplan: First of all, we do not believe this amendment is necessary. The information will be available both at the hearing and upon appeal through the due process provisions with or without this amendment. That is why we do not think it is necessary.
But I think it is important to note -- and I will be very brief -- that a licence may not be granted for a number of reasons which are part of the public interest criteria. The one that I think is most significant, and that is really the fundamental principle of this bill, is in the area of quality assurance. I think that is a very important consideration and that it is important to note that even where the licence is denied, for that reason there is still the right of the appeal process which is already in place in this bill; so there are significant rights of appeal contained in the legislation as it stands.
Mr Eves: I would support the amendment introduced this afternoon by my colleague the member for Riverdale. I think, as we will soon see in the next section of the bill, there are some deficiencies with respect to providing a successful or unsuccessful applicant for an independent health facility licence with written reasons why that individual, corporation or entity was refused to be granted a licence. I think these people are entitled to know that. I think they are entitled to know that in writing. I think it makes abundant sense.
I think it is only equitable and fair to the people who have made submissions to receive written reasons as to why the ministry or officials within the ministry have decided not to grant a licence. I know there is an appeal process, but I think it is really incumbent for the sense of equity and fair play that such reasons be given in writing.
Hon Mrs Caplan: Let me restate that, in fact, that process is in place. It is standard practice where reasons are requested through the appeal process that those be provided. I want to assure the member that the provisions within the bill will ensure that that process and due process will achieve the intent that both members opposite have stated, and we do not believe this amendment is necessary to achieve that objective.
Mr Reville: Since everybody is having a second round, let me say that we certainly do not doubt the intentions of the minister in this regard.
She says that the amendment is not necessary.
She has not said that she disagrees with it. It would seem to me that to make absolutely sure that due process occurs, it is an awfully good idea to enshrine due process in legislation, which we are trying to do here.
The First Deputy Chair: Mr Eves moves that subsection 7(7) of the bill be struck out.
Mr Eves: Although the amendment I am proposing to section 7 is relatively short, my explanation will not be. This is really the crux of the reason why the bill was sent back to committee in the first place, as members know: to deal with subsection 7 of the bill, or the Reville amendment as it has now become known.
I must admit that initially in committee I supported the member’s amendment, as did my colleague the member for London North (Mrs Cunningham). However, at that particular point in time we were asked to make a decision on relatively short notice. I think that is more than fair to say. We were led to believe, or believed, that the amendment had the support of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the Ontario Medical Association and the Ontario Hospital Association.
Upon hearing from those delegations, both inside and outside of the hearings which we had for four days on 30 and 31 October and 6 and 7 November when committee was reopened for public hearings on this particular subsection, I learned many things. I learned from the Ontario Hospital Association, for example, that its concerns were basically twofold. Their concerns were that they would not lose their T fees for procedures that were done within their facilities, that there should be some sort of planning for independent health facilities or clinics throughout the province and that they were subject to more planning criteria, for lack of a better word, than perhaps independent clinics were.
When I talked to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and when they appeared before the committee, I must say they were supportive of subsection 7(7). However, they sort of were and sort of did not want to be. As I recall, they put in a qualifier near the end of their submission to the committee that they were not passing any judgement on the financial implications of this proposed amendment. “Heaven forbid, we don’t want to dirty our hands” -- the college said in talking about fees -- ”we think that should be left for determination between the ministry and the individual physician or clinic.” There was some concern there: “Perhaps it should be addressed, but far be it from us to make any constructive suggestion in that regard.” I did not find that altogether helpful.
The extended committee hearings for those four days were to hear from the people, as we have already been told, who were told not to come in the first place because they did not have to worry about the bill including them, but now were being included. “You have exactly four days to present your case,” the government said. “We’ll hear what you have to say, but don’t confuse us with the facts, because our minds are already made up, and we are going to pass this bill and include you anyway.” That is the impression I got from the hearings.
The Ontario Association of Radiologists was the first delegation on the second day, 31 October. They presented, I believe, in their brief an eight-point plan which they felt the government could accept. If the government’s primary concern was some orderly and responsible quality assurance for independent clinics, this could be done outside of Bill 147; it did not have to be done inside Bill 147. Indeed, by the ministry’s own admission, in writing and verbally, Bill 147 was never intended to include them in the first place; it was never intended to do what subsection 7(7) says it is now going to do. They felt, I think it is fair to say, a little bit betrayed by the process and by the minister.
Shortly after the delegation from the Ontario Association of Radiologists, I made the request of Dr MacMillan, the assistant deputy minister, whether the eight-point plan put forward by the radiologists’ association could be done inside or outside Bill 147. He very honestly answered that in his opinion it could be done either way; it could be done either within Bill 147 or outside of Bill 147. That is the same information I am getting from radiologists and professional people whom I have talked to concerning this amendment.
My concern about the amendment is that now we are trying to make all kinds of changes. We have already commented on all the amendments; there will be some 51 by the government alone. and some by both opposition parties as well by the end of the day here today. It is my concern that we are really trying to make a bill, which was not drafted to do a particular job, do a job that it was not drafted to do, if that makes any sense.
I have some real concerns about that. There are other ways of assuring quality control. I do not think anybody would be against quality control. We have heard delegations from the Ontario Medical Association, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the Ontario Hospital Association and others, and they have all indicated, I think, that they are concerned about quality control and assurance.
I think if that is the government’s objective -- and I do not think it is a questionable one -- surely it could be done just as well, and perhaps better, under the Health Disciplines Act. If that is what the government really wants to do, then why not change the Health Disciplines Act to do that? Why only capture some 1,800 radiology clinics when there are other physicians in the Ontario doing other procedures that will not be captured by Bill 147?
I can tell the government that it is probably going to be faced with a lawsuit or two by radiologists in the province or by the Ontario Medical Association or some other concerned physicians, because I think this legislation, if this amendment is accepted and it passes, is going to be very discriminatory.
We want quality control in the medical profession but only for some people in the medical profession. We do not care about others. There are some people, because they do not have the same technical code component, doing very similar diagnostic procedures as radiology clinics. For example, people who do echocardiograms, I believe, are one. Ophthalmologists. I believe, are another. They are not included or captured by Bill 147, yet they are doing almost exactly the same thing, generally speaking, in the practice of medicine, as radiology clinics are.
I have a real concern that we are treating one group of physicians in our society with one set of rules and that we are treating another group of physicians in our society with another set of rules. If the object of the exercise is to improve quality standards throughout the medical profession and peer review, then surely we should come up with a mechanism and a system that governs the entire medical profession in Ontario and we should not just be picking on one group in society because they happen to bill a lot of money through their radiology clinics.
I went through the remarks made in committee by the member for Riverdale at the time he introduced the amendment. His comments are very interesting because they do not talk much, if at all, about quality control. They talk about how many dollars this is costing Ontario taxpayers. It is very interesting at the outset and in the introduction of Bill 147 in the Legislature for second reading, as a matter of fact, by the minister, there was no mention of cost containment or cost control. That was not the supposed concern or reason or rationale behind Bill 147. Nor was there any great mention of quality assurance in any aspect of the medical profession. That was not why the minister came in here, by her own words that are in Hansard, and introduced Bill 147.
The reason she introduced Bill 147 was to expand independent health facilities in Ontario, to encourage more community-based health facilities in the province. I do not think anybody in this Legislature has a problem with that principle. But I do have a problem with trying to make a piece of legislation work and apply to a group of people it was never intended to apply to, and I do have a problem of coming along with hindsight later on and trying to justify the reason we are amending the bill as being quality assurance or quality control when we know damned well it is not the reason; it is cost containment.
If that is the reason, why not just be forthright and honest about it, saying. “We think the radiology clinics are running rampant; some of them are abusing the process,” and do something about it? If the minister is truly concerned about quality control, then she should be truly concerned about quality control by every single physician in the province and she should not just be including the 1,800 whom she is going to capture in Bill 147.
Maybe there has been some foot-dragging -- I do not know; I am not privy to all the discussions and proceedings that go on between the ministry and the OMA and the college -- but surely, having gone through these extra four days of hearings with respect to Bill 147 and the whole radiology thing, the minister would have to agree that the delegations that appeared before the committee representing the OMA, the OHA and the college were more than willing to sit down and devise a plan in a co-operative consultative fashion with the minister that would perhaps fall short, according to some of those delegations, of inclusion in Bill 147.
For the life of me, I do not know why the minister would not listen to that. If these people are willing to voluntarily discuss with her a system that will be better and all-encompassing with respect to physicians and the standards of treatment they provide in the province, why would she not be interested in doing that?
I think this proposed section, subsection 7(7), has several problems. I think it does something that the bill never intended it to do in the first place. There is no doubt about that; from the ministry’s point of view, we have that in writing. I really do not see how it is going to help a great deal if the true object of the exercise is to expand community-based health facilities. It definitely will help contain the cost of those facilities, and we know there has been some abuse by some of those facilities; but I think it is discriminatory in nature, and I do not think that any good piece of legislation should be. I think there is a better way of doing it and achieving the morale that you need in the health care system in the province today. I think there is a better way of doing it in a co-operative approach, as opposed to doing something that some members of the medical profession -- I think it is fair to say -- do not want done.
I have a real problem with the section the way it stands now. I have also heard the minister say, and I would like her to put it on the record here today, on a couple of occasions that if what the radiologists or the radiology clinics are concerned about is a loss in fees, they can rest assured that there will be no financial loss as a result of the implementation of this bill.
She has also said, I believe -- and if I am taking some comments out of context, I am sure the minister will correct me when she stands up in a few moments -- that she has no intention of changing or implementing a regulation to change the T-code aspect without consulting the Ontario Medical Association, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and the Ontario Hospital Association. But consulting is a little bit different than agreeing with the OMA, the Ontario College and the OHA. So I would ask her to clarify that on the record here this afternoon as well. I would ask her to make a commitment to those people that if subsection 7(7) goes through -- in spite of my efforts to prevent it from going through this afternoon and next week -- that she will give them the assurance that not only will she consult with them, and not only will she negotiate with them, but also that she will not proceed until they agree with her and she agrees with them because I think that is a very fundamental aspect of the morale in our health care system.
When the president of the Ontario Medical Association appeared before our committee, she was quite upset and made the comment that in effect these codes that we have were negotiated; they are an agreed-upon, negotiated settlement. And now they perceive -- and if they are wrong, please stand up and say so, Madam Minister -- that the minister is attempting to change a negotiated settlement unilaterally through this subsection 7(7).
So I would really like to get some of those things on the record and clarified by the Minister of Health here this afternoon. I have also been approached -- as I am sure all members of the committee have been at one time or another -- in the hallways by members of the radiologists’ association, and their final plea to me today was they had hoped that perhaps a month might be allowed to lapse where they could sit down and negotiate and talk further with the minister and Ministry of Health. If that proved not to be possible, and obviously it is not because we are proceeding with this this afternoon, that at the very least they would have a commitment from the minister that a committee would be set up representing everybody’s interests in radiology clinics around the province of Ontario, and that committee would indeed decide how we were going to proceed.
The minister has, to be fair, indicated that she is prepared to do this in committee from time to time. There is another group of technicians, or technologists as I call them, in the radiology field, and they asked that they be included on that committee, and I just make that request publicly again to the minister here this afternoon.
I want to make it clear that I do not think that being the Minister of Health is an easy job. In fact, it is probably the most difficult job in the Legislature today in the province of Ontario. I also want to make it clear that I am not questioning the minister’s motives or intentions with respect to Bill 147 or, indeed, with respect to subsection 7(7), but I do feel very strongly that we should have an equitable, well-thought-out piece of legislation.
If we are going to do something and if we are going to start talking about peer review and we are going to start talking about quality assurance and standards in the medical profession. I think it is very important that we do this with the co-operation of the various groups representing the medical profession, not only the college which is very important, but also the Ontario Medical Association and others as well because I think it is only through that type of co-operation and consultative approach that we are going to be able to achieve the common purpose and the morale that we need in our health care system in the province of Ontario today to make it better and to achieve the goals that we all want to achieve, which are increased accessibility and quality health care for all Ontarians in the province today.
I think I have probably talked quite enough about the reasons why I am moving to strike out subsection 7(7). No doubt the minister does not agree with me, or at least has indicated on previous occasions that she does not. I understand the disagreement. I do not agree with it obviously but I understand her point of view but I would like her to respond here today to those few points that I have made because I think it is very important that the constituency out there understands where the Minister of Health is coming from.
The Acting Chair (Mrs LeBourdais): Does the minister have any further comments?
Hon Mrs Caplan: It is up to the critic of the opposition. I said I would yield to him if he wished to go first.
Mr Reville: I have some comments and I am sure that the minister will respond to the questions that the critic for the third party has put when it comes her time to speak. I would like to make a couple of remarks now because this was indeed my amendment which, as has been pointed out, was initially supported unanimously at committee although subsequent to that and very soon after, the third party indicated that it was having difficulty continuing to support the amendment.
I think it was very useful that the bill was referred back to committee so that we could hear from parties directly affected by this amendment. It was a useful learning experience for me and I am sure for other members of the committee.
A number of excellent briefs were put before the committee, not all of which had the same recommendations but, clearly, the common thread that was running through all the presentations was that health professionals who were involved in diagnosis and those who run hospitals and who are involved in the professional responsibilities in connection with health professions all share a concern that there be the highest possible quality of any procedures and that, in fact, health care resources are used as wisely as they can be used. There was no suggestion by anybody at the committee that it was not a desirable goal nor that it was not an achievable goal. There was, indeed, some considerable disagreement as to how that goal might be achieved.
I think it is important to state that although the amendment and the substance of the amendment was not contemplated when the bill was introduced in June 1988, certainly not by me, perhaps by no one else either, it was not a will-o-the-wisp kind of amendment.
The matter of the empirically knowable growth in diagnostic services and payments therefore has been a matter that I have raised over the past number of years.
Prior to the beginning of the hearings I requested information from the Ministry of Health and received from the executive director of 0HIP a printout showing billings from the largest to the smallest. The range is significant. I think the smallest billing was $4 and the largest billing was $4 million. I think a little over 90 per cent of the top billings were in respect of numbers that relate to diagnostic radiology.
The information does not indicate anything more on its face than the numbers are high and the numbers are larger than they used to be, and the fact that one can plot on a graph if one is so inclined to, the percentage increase year to year and the percentage share of that type of billing that is held by particular grouping.
I think there are about a dozen diagnostic radiology facilities that account for around 20 per cent of all the billings, and then there are several hundred that account for the remaining 80 per cent. I think the conclusion one would draw from that is that there is some concentration of services, but it does not say anything except that it is a great deal of money and that it is a much larger amount of money than can be easily accounted for purely by demography.
It does not say very much about quality assurance, which clearly is a concept which we all need to learn more about, and perhaps it is coincidental that the Ministry of Health, the province of Ontario, sponsored an international conference on quality assurance last week. People expert in the field came from all over the world to Toronto to talk about their experience with quality assurance, their passion about quality assurance and their suggestions to Canadians about the kind of quality assurance that we should have and might like to try and implement.
So that was an event that occurred just recently and I have sort of lost my thread here. I was trying to suggest that the question of diagnostic procedures had been on my mind certainly for some time and when the witnesses were before the committee, in public hearings, on Hansard, documented in their briefs, the Ontario Hospital Association made a special point in the middle of August -- I think 16 August or so -- that indicated their concern about that matter, and again reiterated that concern on the second round of hearings when they came back in November.
The matter was properly before the committee to the extent that it was a matter raised by witnesses at the committee. The experience that I have had since has been interesting. It took a few weeks before the stakeholders rose up, but I will have to congratulate them that since they rose up they have had a very concerted and effective lobby and have provided me with a good deal of information by mail, telephone and in person which I found useful. Their intervention at the committee was useful as well.
I think a number of briefs -- particularly the brief of the Ontario Association of Radiologists and the brief from the radiology section of the Ontario Medical Association -- were excellent briefs, and the issue was joined, it seemed to me, in a very responsible and credible way.
The OAR, the Ontario Association of Radiologists -- that is the specialty most affected by the amendment -- developed an eight-point plan which I take is a particularly valuable contribution to not only indicating a method by which we might attack our joint interests in quality and appropriate utilization, but also suggesting who the players should be and indicating that they, too, recognize that there are problems in the delivery of diagnostic services that must be addressed. The most concerning of those problems is the provision of diagnostic services at least in part by people who are not trained to provide those services.
There are some methods, and these points were raised frequently by radiologists and others, that there is legislation dealing with the use of diagnostic radiology, and there is the Healing Arts Radiation Protection Commission, and we have learned a number of things about not only radiology but other kinds of diagnostic imaging that were useful to know so that in some cases the atomic energy people are involved, as well. We also learned that everybody in the field, every professional in the field, is interested in quality assurance and is interested in developing standards for peer review.
I think it was important, though, and this is what we learned from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and others, that there is a world of difference between the peer review that they are accustomed to doing and the quality assessment that would be possible under the amendment that I moved. They provided us with a helpful comparative chart which showed the similarities and differences between peer review which currently involves about 400 of the 17,000-odd positions in a year. The essential difference, it seems to me, is that quality assurance will allow us all to take a look at the outcomes that are achieved by services that are delivered. It strikes me that unless you are measuring your outcomes and setting them against your health objectives and making adjustments when your outcomes are not meeting your health objectives, you are doing less for the health of your people than you should be.
It is probably because of the enormous numbers of dollars that we are dealing with here, but not entirely so, that ministries of health everywhere are changing from a previous habit of just being an insurer and just paying when the bill came to saying: “Let us get advice from the professionals. Let us plan. Let us measure. Let us set targets. Let us look at the best way to achieve the targets. Let’s try and create a situation where the health status of people is improved by the expenditure that we make.”
There is increasing evidence, I regret to say, that health expenditure is not equal to health status, and that fact is perhaps most dramatic in the United States, but it is not undramatic here in Canada either. I sat with some amazement when one of the diagnostic imagers, a respected professional and a person to whom respect is owed -- there is no question about that -- told the committee that Ontario has fewer magnetic resonance imagers than the city of Cairo. That is an empirical fact. Regrettably, the health status of the people who live in Cairo is far worse than that of the people who live in Ontario. The mere presence of a particular technological device or technology does not indicate that people’s health will be improved thereby. What it indicates is that the people in Cairo who can afford to pay for magnetic resonance imaging, in fact, have a superior diagnostic tool at their service.
Every year, thousands of people who are in Cairo die of hunger and thirst and pollution whether they have a lot of MRs or not. I think that when you are thinking about these kinds of things, the Bay area has 50 times more MR imagers than we do. The Bay area is where if you are not moving along on the freeway at an adequate speed, someone takes a shot at you. I am not sure that the presence of 99 MRs really has made life relaxed and healthy in the Bay area.
I am using the device of hyperbole, but on the other hand I think it is true to say that you have to look at outcomes. You can indeed invest money in technology and it will go for nought if you are not also investing money in health promotion and disease prevention. What you will be able to do is identify that your people are sick, and you may be able to identify that your people are sick with illnesses that you can do nothing about, which is interesting to know about from an intellectual point of view but not particularly helpful for those for whom there is no cure.
These are not always questions of either/or either, and that makes it a little bit more difficult.
I think we have to confront those challenges. I am not suggesting that we could not do with more of this or more of that or less of this and less of that. Those matters have to be decided through broad consultation with professionals, consumers, managers, epidemiologists, planners, economists and the people. It seems to me that it is our responsibility to try to achieve the best outcomes that we can. Having listened to all the debate around the amendment to section 7, I am more convinced than ever that the amendment is appropriate and that it will achieve and can achieve an important goal of healthy public policy, and that is quality assurance and outcome measurement and a utilization review that will inform and guide the kind of planning that we do for the future.
It is not necessary, I suppose, to go through the fors and againsts on this matter. There is no question there is a significant number of people who are opposed to this amendment, people with a lot of letters after their names and people of status and learning and skill. There are also other piles of groups that support the amendment.
Primarily, hospital administrators, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the Ontario Hospital Association and the teaching hospitals see some value in this, but we certainly do not make law on the basis of weighing the cards and letters on the one side versus the cards and letters on the other side.
It is not true, Mr Chair. If anybody tells you that, that is not the way it is done, and let’s hope that it never is the way that it is done.
The minister has indicated on a number of occasions, both publicly and privately, that the implementation of this amendment will be with the counsel and advice of the key stakeholders, which would include the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the Ontario Hospital Association, the Ontario Association of Radiologists, the appropriate sections of the Ontario Medical Association. I have left out probably somebody, but there is, I believe, every intention on the part of the government to ensure that this is implemented with the fullest possible consultation with those who are affected. That only makes sense, because it is a complicated matter.
There are smarter ways to do it than others, and I am sure the advice that the minister and the Ministry of Health will get on this matter will be useful and thoughtful. I hope that the months and weeks ahead, if this amendment is carried, the bill is passed and the implementation is under-taken, will in fact be a useful experience and a congenial experience for those who are involved.
I think those are the remarks that I need to make at this time. I thank members for their indulgence.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I intend to speak very briefly. I will try to contain my remarks to five minutes. I will undertake to the critic for the third party that I will review his comments in Hansard and during third reading of the bill will provide an appropriate response to all of the points that he raised. However, I would like to say that this is the first piece of legislation in Ontario which has a mandated, legislated requirement for proactive quality assurance programs in this province. That is very, very significant, and this bill is all about quality assurance.
Presently, outside of the hospital environment, there is no quality assurance program in place on a proactive basis. What we have heard is that there is some voluntary peer review program.
I would say that I am very pleased to hear that the critic for the third party is supportive of quality assurance programs, and I want him to know that I will be, hopefully, tabling in the spring the health professions legislative review, which will give us an opportunity to talk about a mandated quality assurance program to ensure continuing competency and maintenance of explicit standards of professional care. I am pleased to hear that that has his support and will look forward to the very important debate that we will have in this province at that time.
I want to point out that this bill,. which I tabled some 18 months ago, has stated very clearly principles and intent. I said over the course of the development and the legislative process that I would listen, that I would be open to suggestions, changes and amendments to ensure that we ended up with a bill that was as good as it could be to give legislative force to our intent, to expand community-based services, to respond to new. developing technologies and to make sure that the people of this province could have confidence that any procedure that they have in an independent health facility meets at least the same safety and quality standard which presently exists in hospitals.
Over the course of the legislative area through first reading, second reading, after committee. we did just that. I heard from the college of physicians and surgeons that it has as part of its mandate the public interest. I heard from them that they were concerned, as all members of the committee heard and the critics heard, about the activity in some diagnostic centres. They pointed out to me that, specifically, they were concerned about the fact that cardiac catheterizations, a procedure done normally in hospitals with the kind of quality assurance programs that are provided in hospitals, are taking place in the community in community-based facilities. They were concerned about that.
The Ontario Hospital Association, in its brief to committee, also raised this issue. It was not only concerned about it because of the duplication of facilities, the lack of planning and the impact that this was having, in its view adversely, on the hospitals, but it also raised the issue about the lack of any kind of quality assurance, quality control outside the hospital environment.
Before the public hearings, we also heard from some members of the Ontario Medical Association. My colleague opposite did state one thing that I want to make sure is clear on the record. I never said to him that the Ontario Medical Association supported this amendment. I did say to him that there were doctors in the province who had come to me expressing concerns about what was going on today in an environment that did not have quality assurance, but I never suggested to him for a moment that the Ontario Medical Association supported this amendment or, in fact, any part of this bill. We know that regularly we have had representations from the Ontario Medical Association that it does not support this bill or any component of it. I think that is very clear and on the record. I just want to make sure he knows that I in no way suggested that it did.
I accepted this amendment as proposed by the member for Riverdale because I believe it is in the public interest. I think it is significant that it has been supported by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the Ontario Hospital Association and many individual physicians.
I want to say that this is an example of the fact that the legislative process does work and that every member elected to this Legislature, regard-less of whether he is in the government or the opposition parties, has an opportunity to make a significant contribution. There are some people who say: “You know, your legislative hearings don’t really mean anything. Your process of debate and discussion in this House, you don’t really listen, you don’t really consult.” In fact, I think this bill and the process it has had through the committee, through the hearings, through all of the legislative stages, show that the legislative process does work.
I want to say very briefly, and I hope to speak longer at third reading, that I make the commitment that I made at the committee, and that is that we will -- in fact, I have already instructed ministry officials to implement what I am going to call an implementation advisory committee, to strike such a committee, which will include, at least, those representing the views of the Ontario Hospital Association, the college of physicians and surgeons, the district health councils of this province that have a mandate for recommendation on planning; to make sure that radiologists are represented on that advisory committee; to see that the Ontario Association of Medical Radiation Technologists has a representative on that committee and that the of Independent Diagnostic Facilities Association also has a representative.
I want to say that I believe that this implementation advisory committee will make a meaningful and important contribution as we develop the regulations and also as we assure the implementation of this bill. I want to say as well that there will be no interruption of payment and that anyone -- I want to be clear -- who is providing a needed quality-assured service will not be adversely economically impacted by this legislation.
I want to further say that I do not believe that this bill is in any way discriminatory, as any doctor who is charging a facility fee is included. I want to say as well, to follow up on the comments of my colleague the member for Riverdale, that we want to make sure that our resources are used most effectively. I want to point out to all of the members in this House that diagnostic technology, which is affected by this legislation in this particular amendment, is actually costing the taxpayers of Ontario about $1 million a day.
Members of the third party for reasons unknown to me have decided not to support this legislation. I say to them, because I think it is in the public interest -- and I thought I had discussed that with the member opposite -- is it not reasonable that we would want to have accountable distribution of such services in a quality-assured environment? That is the question. The reason I accepted this amendment is that I believe it is in the public interest.
I will close my remarks by quoting my colleague the Honourable Ray Frenette, who is the Minister of Health and Community Services for the province of New Brunswick. At the quality assurance and effectiveness in health care conference that my colleague referred to, Mr Frenette said that he had gone from the easiest job in government to the most difficult in a matter of five minutes when he went from being the Health critic to the Minister of Health and Community Services in the government of New Brunswick.
I will conclude my remarks on this amendment with that statement.
Mr Eves: Just a couple of brief comments, one in a lighter vein than the other. I will take the lighter-vein one first.
I do not know New Brunswick’s experience, but I would say that I have had easier jobs than being the Health critic for the third party. I would not dispute the second part of that statement though. The minister probably does have the most difficult job in the Ontario Legislature, although I am sure the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) and some others would not agree with me.
This may be an honest disagreement, but I do want to make it very clear on the record, as the minister has indicated on the record that she never said to me that the OMA supported this amendment, that I beg to differ. Outside the committee, the minister talked to me about this amendment, which was dropped on me that morning by the member for Riverdale.
She indicated to me. from my recollection of the conversation, that she had talked to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. the Ontario Medical Association, the Ontario Hospital Association, and there was no problem with this amendment. If I was wrong in concluding from that that she had the support of the OMA, then so be it. but she wanted her statement on the record and I am putting mine on the record.
The First Deputy Chair: Mr Eves moves that subsection 8(1) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“8(1) Where the director proposes to issue a licence under subsection 6(1) or to refuse to issue a licence to any person, the director shall serve notice of the proposed action, together with written reasons therefor, on every person who submitted a proposal for a licence.”
Mr Eves: This is an amendment that was deliberated at some length in committee and was supported by my colleague the member for Riverdale and others in the committee, at least other opposition members. Basically, what it does is that it requires the director to give written reasons to every person who submits a proposal as to why the decision that was reached by the director was reached, or perhaps why the proposal was not favourably received.
I think it is relatively important that these people receive a written explanation of why they were turned down. I believe the reason given by the ministry at the committee stage was that this would be too onerous a task to place on the ministry. I do not believe it would be. I do not know how rapidly the ministry plans to expand or call for proposals under Bill 147, if and when the bill becomes law, but its initial indication was, as I said, that it hoped to add five or six independent health facilities a year. I do not think it would be too onerous a task, if that is the case, to ask that the ministry be accountable for decisions that it reaches.
I think that should be automatic, without an individual having to request reasons. I think if any individual is going to be able to launch a proper appeal from whatever decision is made or whoever makes it, it is incumbent upon the government to provide him, out of a sense of fairness if nothing else, with written reasons at the outset. So that is the reason. I am not going to belabour it any more. We have talked about it in committee before, and that is the reason for this amendment.
Miss Martel: My colleague the member for Riverdale has had to step out for the moment, so I will substitute as best I can in his place.
We agree with the amendment that has been moved by the member for Parry Sound. Let me just say a couple of things very briefly. It seems to me that when a particular agency, facility, etc, spends a great amount of time and effort and energy to put together a proposal to submit to the ministry in order to be licensed, it then becomes incumbent upon the ministry to respond to that, either the reason for accepting that facility or the reason against. If someone goes to that much trouble to put together a proposal, it is just common courtesy and common decency, in my opinion, at least to make the licensee or the person who wants the licence aware of the reasons why either the ministry cannot support or the director cannot support that particular proposition.
If, as my colleague from Parry Sound has said, the ministry replied during committee that in fact this would be too onerous a task, I would have to say that during the course of the selection process itself, surely those reasons why a particular facility was not going to be granted a licence would come about. It would not seem to me to be that difficult a task then to put those reasons in writing and merely send them off to the particular group or agency wanting the licence in order to make it aware. Certainly, if they are going to appeal that particular decision, they deserve to have the ministry’s response on file in order to know how to defend themselves and put forward alternative proposals or reasons why they feel the ministry’s position or the director’s position is wrong.
I think, just on the basis of common courtesy alone and the fact that I do not believe it is going to be as onerous a task as the ministry would like to make of it, that this amendment should be supported, and in fact we will be supporting it.
Hon Mrs Caplan: It was debated in committee. We believe that there is due process, that simply by a request the answers will be given. This would require three additional bureaucrats in the ministry and if we do not get those requests, we really do not feel it should be mandated, this kind of response, which would likely be a form letter. I would say that this was fully debated and I am satisfied that there is not only due process, but the opportunity to just simply respond on request.
The First Deputy Chair: Mr Eves moves that subsection 9(5) of the bill be struck out.
Mr Eves: This amendment has to do with the appeal process. It is our feeling that all decisions should be appealable and they should not only all be appealable but all be appealable to the Divisional Court in the ultimate analysis. We feel that the act should be consistent throughout and that any decision that is appealed under any section in the act should go through the same appeal process and that is, I believe, to a board and then ultimately to Divisional Court, if need be. That is the rationale behind the amendment.
Mr Reville: I think the process that is suggested by the critic for the third party is eminently sensible and I will support the amendment.
Hon Mrs Caplan: It was fully debated at committee. I would refer you to Hansard, Mr Chairman. We will not be supporting it.
Section 10 agreed to.
Hon Mrs Caplan: Could I ask if I could read all the ones for section 11 together since they all flow one from the other, or do you want them individually?
The First Deputy Chair: It is at the pleasure of the House. My personal preference is to have one thing on the floor at a time.
Hon Mrs Caplan moves that clause 11 (2)(b) of the bill be amended by inserting after “fee” in the fourth line “and an amount not exceeding the maximum allowable consideration.”
Hon Mrs Caplan: These all flow from the amendment to section 1. They are technical to give force to that amendment.
Mr Reville: I will not be supporting any of the amendments to section 11, of which there are a number, and there are some corollary amendments that relate to this matter. When the bill was originally tabled in the House, both at first reading and second reading and then the reprinted copy to show the multitude of government amendments, it had a simple section 11 that said that a licence shall not be transferable.
During the course of the hearings, the member for the third party moved an amendment that was accepted by government that licences could be transferred with the consent of the director. Following that, a number of amendments that purported to ensure that licences would not be matters of sale were put into the bill. My argument at the time was that there were ways to create value for licences that, notwithstanding prohibition of selling licences, would in fact create a market for a licence for an independent health facility; and that we would see a kind of independent health facility licence commodity market develop because, of course, if you cannot run an independent health facility without a licence, then the licence really does have a value, even though it would be prohibited under grievous penalty to actually put a number beside the fact of the licence.
My sense is that the 12 gross of surgical gloves that were in the second drawer would all of a sudden have a value that would shock those who are used to buying 12 gross of surgical gloves. I am not offering anybody any hints because that is probably the dumbest way to do it, and I do not recommend anybody try that because everybody knows how much a surgical glove costs.
Mr Philip: How much does a surgical glove cost?
Mr Revile: A surgical glove costs about 4.2 cents.
Mr Philip: Gosh, I didn’t know that.
Mr Reville: A used surgical glove is even cheaper.
Mr Philip: What do you use a used surgical glove for?
Mr Reville: No, I am sorry. These interventions are out of order.
So although this amendment is in line with the way the bill has turned out and makes some sense in that connection, I feel so unalterably opposed to the principle involved here that I just cannot support the amendment.
Mr Eves: I would just like to say that I think the amendment makes eminent sense now that we have a definition for “maximum allowable consideration” in the bill. I think it is a necessary technical amendment.
The First Deputy Chair: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
All those in favour of will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I move that subsections 11(3) and (4) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“(3) No person shall, for the transfer of a licence, pay, transfer, accept or receive money or other consideration other than the prescribed fee and an amount not exceeding the maximum allowable consideration.
“(4) Every director of a corporation that transfers a licence shall take all reasonable care to ensure that, for the transfer of the licence, no money of other consideration other than the prescribed fee and an amount not exceeding the maximum allowable consideration is paid, transferred, accepted or received.”
The First Deputy Chair: I think you meant to say “no money or other consideration.”
Hon Mrs Caplan: Yes, it is a misprint. I meant “or.”
The First Deputy Chair: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Will we let this one carry? Interjection.
The First Deputy Chair: I thought in a moment of joviality someone said he wanted to stack.
Mr Reville: No, do not stack.
Motion agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: Mrs Caplan moves that section 11 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(5) In consenting to the transfer of a licence, the director may attach to the licence such limitations and conditions as the director considers necessary in the circumstances.”
Hon Mrs Caplan: This is to ensure consistency and clarity, whether a licence is issued, renewed or transferred, the ability to ensure that appropriate limitations and conditions are applied.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Eves: I have just a brief comment. To be fair to the minister, I think the proposed amendment does make abundant sense. It does make the bill more consistent so I will be supporting it.
The First Deputy Chair: Perhaps that is the reason the House just earned it.
Section 11, as amended, agreed to.
Section 12 agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: Mrs Caplan moves that subsection 13(2) of the bill be amended by adding at the end thereof “other than an amount not exceeding the portion of the maximum allowable consideration allocated to the shares as prescribed by the regulations.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 13, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 14 and 15 agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: Mrs Caplan moves that clause 16(1)(a) of the bill be amended by inserting after ‘licence” in the first line “without a corresponding transfer of the licence.”
Mr Reville: Perhaps the minister would be prepared to describe whatever that might mean.
Hon Mrs Caplan: It is a technical amendment to ensure both consistency and clarity.
Mr Reville: With respect, consistency and clarity are two good things to have but I still do not understand what it means. We were talking about a change in the beneficial ownership of the licence, I think, and we are adding the words “without a corresponding transfer of the licence.” Is the minister trying to deal with the situation in which somebody is buying into a partnership, corporation or consortium, or what?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I am pleased to give the member an explanation. When we accepted the amendment to permit transfers, this was inadvertently overlooked, to make sure all the sections of the act were consistent to accept that amendment. The bill currently prohibits a licensee from entering into a contract that changes his beneficial ownership and this housekeeping amendment permits that change.
Motion agreed to.
Section 16, as amended, agreed to.
Section 17 agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: Mrs Caplan moves that clause 18(1)(f) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“(f) any person has, for the transfer of the licence, paid, transferred, accepted or received money or other consideration other than the prescribed fee and an amount not exceeding the maximum allowable consideration.”
Mr Reville: I assume what has changed here is the addition of this new concept called “maximum allowable consideration.” The jury is out somewhat on whether that is a great idea or not because that was the first set of amendments, but it does appear to be consistent with that thrust and I am going to keep members in suspense as to what I am going to do about this.
The First Deputy Chair: Any other suspenseful notions this afternoon?
Motion agreed to.
Section 18, as amended, agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: I have an indication, just because we were short of amendments, of some amendments to section 19.
Mr Eves: I overlooked an amendment to section 19. so that we could be consistent with respect to our approach to appeals throughout the entire act. I dealt with one in section 9 earlier and the government switched the section numbers on me when the bill was reprinted, so this is an amendment with respect to subsection 19(4), and subsequent ones follow out of this one.
The First Deputy Chair: Mr Eves moves that subsection 19(4) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“(4) The director shall deliver with the notice under subsection (3) a notice that the licensee is entitled to a hearing by the board if the licensee mails or delivers, within 15 days after the notice is served on the licensee, notice in writing requiring a hearing to the director and the board, and the licensee may so require such a hearing.”
Mr Eves: The reason for the amendment is basically the same reason I enunciated with respect to my amendment for subsection 9(5), and that is that we have the same appeal process consistent throughout the bill. They would be all be appealable, if I had my way, in the fairness of equity and consistency and fairness, to a board and then ultimately to Divisional Court. The way the bill was drafted, there were two exceptions to that rule and by these amendments I propose to make to sections 9 and 19, it would do away with those two exceptions to the rule with and it would be a consistent appeal process throughout the bill.
Hon Mrs Caplan: Very briefly, this amendment was debated fully at committee. I pointed out then that this approach is consistent with other pieces of health legislation, specifically those in the area of lab licensing and nursing homes. We will not be supporting this amendment now. We did not at committee either.
Mr Reville: The minister is right that we debated these matters fully at committee. It usually is difficult for four to beat six and so the description is adequate.
Mr Fulton: Not on the teams I play on.
Mr Reville: The member can appeal that, I understand, to the Toronto minor hockey league appeal tribunal and from thence to the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
There are actually some anomalies in this bill, a bill to which amendments have been moved for greater consistency all afternoon. You would think this would be another case where greater consistency would be desirable. We were provided, perhaps by the Ministry of Health, with a number of situations and the appeal process therein. At least I remember a document. In many cases, the appeal is to the board and then to the Divisional Court. In this particular case, the appeal is to the Lieutenant Governor in Council and we are supposed to believe that the Lieutenant Governor in Council might well revoke the direction of the minister.
I can only imagine what the Lieutenant Governor in Council process is like because I have never been involved in it. but I do know that it is a private process and that it happens in a room with a big table and a stout door. It is a process that is not ventilated by the hot breath of the public eye. Now if members ever want a mixed metaphor, I invite them to use that. They can take it around with them, but they should not share it with their English teacher. She will be so disappointed in them.
Basically, the Lieutenant Governor in Council will revoke or not revoke the decision of the minister totally in private. I think it is wonderful to go off to Divisional Court, pay lawyers and whatnot and do this all in public, so I will support my colleague, who one might recall is a lawyer in his other life, to try to create a bit more work for them.
The First Deputy Chair: I have an indication from Mr Eves for a series of amendments now,
Hon Mrs Caplan: Dispense.
The First Deputy Chair: I think we have to let him put them on the record first and then --
Mr Eves: Mr Chairman, I can appreciate the minister’s anxiousness to proceed with this piece of legislation after two-plus years, but I think we can hold out for another 26 minutes or whatever it is. I have a series of amendments that I would be pleased, in the interest of progress, to move all at once if you would so permit me, because they are all identical.
I move that subsection 19(5) of the bill be struck out.
The First Deputy Chair: Let’s hold it right there. We have a motion by Mr Eves. Let me get it on the record for starters.
Mr Eves moves that subsection 19(5) of the bill be struck out. Any comments?
The First Deputy Chair: Mr Eves moves that subsection 19(6) of the bill be struck out. Comments?
The First Deputy Chair: Mr Eves moves that subsection 19(7) of the bill be struck out.
Mr Reville: I have some comments to make on this section.
The First Deputy Chair: That is why we read them out.
Mr Reville: Subsection 19(7), like 19(6) and 19(5), is a clear case of mutatis mutandis, and I will vote the same way as I did the other two times.
Mr Fulton: Could we have an interpretation?
The First Deputy Chair: No.
Mr Reville: Yes. It means having changed those things which have to be changed. It is Latin.
The First Deputy Chair: My Latin is slipping. Thank you.
Sections 20 and 21 agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: Mr Eves moves that subsection 22(1) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“22(1) Any party to proceedings before the board may appeal from its decision or order to the Divisional Court on a question of law or fact or both.”
Mr Eves: The reason for this amendment -- and again it was discussed at some length in the committee process, so I will not belabour it here -- is just to keep consistent with what we think the appeal process should be. We think that the appeal process should allow not only an appeal on the basis of a question of law but an appeal on the basis of a question of fact or indeed on a combined question, or more than one, of law and fact. That is the way that we think it would be most equitable and fair for appeals to take place under this piece of legislation.
Mr Reville: The Health Facilities Appeal Board, to which applicants must go with their appeal. will admit evidence that is hearsay. It is possible therefore that the Health Facilities Appeal Board would make a decision on the basis of incorrect fact that whatever has been before it is not subject to the stricter evidentiary tests that are applied in nonadministrative tribunals. That is why I agree with the critic for the third party that when you go to the Divisional Court. you should be able to address both questions of fact and of law so that in fact you get complete justice in this connection. Had he not moved it, I should have.
Sections 23 to 41, inclusive, agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: Mrs Caplan moves that subsection 42(1) of the bill be amended by adding the following paragraphs:
“28A. prescribing the maximum allowable consideration in relation to a licence or prescribing a method for determining the maximum allowable consideration;
“28B. prescribing the allocation of the maxi-mum allowable consideration in relation to a licence held by a corporation among the shares of the corporation or prescribing a method for determining the allocation.”
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: Mrs Caplan moves that paragraph 29 of subsection 42(I) of the bill be amended by striking out “28” in the second line and inserting in lieu thereof “28B.”
Any comments? Are we ready for the question?
Mr Reville: No. What does this mean? Is this for clarity?
Hon Mrs Caplan: This is for clarity. It is a highly technical amendment. Members can see that it changes 28 to 28B. It is self-explanatory. If members would like to talk about it for 10 minutes, I am sure that the member opposite could accommodate.
Mr Eves: I am going to talk about your last one.
Mr Reville: I went to school a very long time ago and so things may well have changed. It may be the new math, but when we had 26, 27 and 28, we did not say 26, 27, 28B, so Icannot possibly understand why the minister has to change that. Oh, lam looking at the wrong paragraph. That is probably why.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I refer the member to the amendment to subsection 42(1), which now has 28B. It is necessary, and the amendment that flows from that changes the need to have 28B acknowledged in the legislation.
Mr Reville: We could have saved the last hour if the minister had explained when she moved the previous amendment that moving that amendment would require an additional amendment that would change the alphabet, as it were, or the numerology, as it were. But the minister is quite right. I now understand that if she has added a 28A and a 28B, the next number would be 29. Or it could be 28C. though, could it not? It is a little hard to know, but I think I will support this anyway.
The First Deputy Chair: We are here to help.
Mr Eves: I could help the member for Riverdale here, I think. If the section after 29 was 30, then it could not be called 28C.
Motion agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: Mrs Caplan moves that section 42 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:
“(3) In a regulation made under paragraph 28A or 28B the Lieutenant Governor in Council may delegate the determination of any matter to the minister or persons the minister may designate in writing.”
Hon Mrs Caplan: This amendment again flows out of the previous one and is consistent and needed for the purpose of clarity.
The First Deputy Chair: Discussion on the motion?
Mr Reville: Yes. I am looking at the clock, Mr Chair. We still have a bit of time, so that is why I have to intervene.
I do not know whether the effect of this is that paragraph 30 now follows paragraph 28A or 28B. Clearly, this is an amendment under the enabling section, which has 30-odd kinds of regulations that can be made. It appears that the minister can designate persons to do the regulations newly added by paragraphs 28A and 28B. This is a prescribing function that has to do with maximum allowable kinds of things. I wonder if the minister would indicate who such persons might be and if this kind of designating power is common in the enabling sections of the legislation.
Hon Mrs Caplan: What this amendment does, and in fact the member opposite is quite correct, is it allows for the designation of the appropriate ministry official, likely the director, so that discussions and negotiations, as appropriate, can be undertaken given the new provision in this act, which I am sure he will not support as he has not supported any of those provisions around maximum allowable consideration.
Mr Eves: I have some concern that a regulation-making power, normally done by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, is now going to be delegated to the minister or indeed to persons whom the minister may designate. I just want that on the record.
Hon Mrs Caplan: To clarify, it is not the regulation-making power but the ability through regulation to allow a ministry official to negotiate which I think is appropriate in this instance.
Motion agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: I believe that is all the indication that I have of amendments to section 42.
Section 42, as amended, agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: Mrs Caplan moves that section 43 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(3) Section 51 of the said act is amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(5) A regulation may prescribe an amount payable by the plan for an insured service rendered in a hospital that has been approved under the Public Hospitals Act without prescribing an amount payable if the service is rendered in a health facility operated by a person to whom subsection 7(7) of the Independent Health Facilities Act, 1989 applies.”
Hon Mrs Caplan: This responds to the concern that was raised by the Ontario Hospital Association and by some hospital-based radiologists. The amendment does result from the concerns that were also addressed in the committee hearings as they related to the amendment to subsection 7(7) regarding the implication of grandfathering facilities billing T fees in respect to hospital diagnostic services.
This is a housekeeping amendment which clarifies the authority in the Health Insurance Act to treat hospitals differently from community radiology clinics, and allows hospitals to have a different method of funding or to apply for alternate payment to the ministry. This is merely a housekeeping and clarification amendment which should give some comfort to the Ontario Hospital Association, to the individual hospitals and to hospital-based radiologists that in fact there is no intention to impact adversely on hospital budgeting.
Mr Reville: I will be supporting this amendment, clearly.
One of the matters that hospital administrators, the Ontario Hospital Association, the Ontario Council of Teaching Hospitals and the Hospital Council of Metropolitan Toronto were at pains to point out to the committee was that while they supported the intentions of the amendment, the so-called Reville amendment, they were concerned that the loss of the technical fee would have an adverse impact on hospital revenue, and quite properly wanted to point that out to the committee. It is my belief that the amendment to section 43 will address the concerns that have been expressed to us adequately.
People may not be aware that the revenue from technical fees currently received by hospitals for services performed in this connection contribute towards the equipment and operation of their diagnostic centres. Were they to lose those fees, there would be in some cases, a very significant loss in revenue which would have to be made up in other ways. In fact, as an example, one teaching hospital indicated that if it were unable to bill for an equivalent to a technical fee, a shortfall of $3 million would result, and that would have to be provided in an alternate funding arrangement to compensate for the loss of revenue. If it were not provided alternatively, then the hospital would have no choice but to reduce services by that dollar value, and that is not a position into which we would want to put hospitals in these troublesome times.
So I will support that. I think I will sit down now, because it seems a good time to support this.
Mr Eves: I am somewhat concerned about the amendment. I am not concerned about the amendment from the point of view -- I do not want anybody to get me wrong, I do not want hospitals to lose revenue as a result of Bill 147. However, depending on what the ultimate effect is with respect to independent radiology clinics and their loss or nonloss of technical fees, this could be construed as being discriminatory by those independent clinics. I just want to get that on the record. Perhaps the minister can comment about it. I think I may end up voting against it verbally, depending on what the minister says at this point in the proceedings, only so I can have some time to think about it before the ultimate vote next Wednesday.
Hon Mrs Caplan: In fact, the intent of this amendment is to give the hospitals comfort. We acknowledge that they are different, that the way they function today is different from the way an independent health facility will likely function.
We were advised by legislative counsel, as I told the hospitals, that it was not the intent to adversely impact on their budgets. This gives us some clarity to give them that assurance. We were advised that we could give them that assurance without this amendment, but that this gives further clarity and acknowledges the fact that a hospital is a hospital and an independent health facility is a community-based nonhospital facility which is, in fact, different. Rather than being at all discriminatory, what it does is to ensure that the hospitals will be treated fairly and that independent health facilities will be treated fairly, but differently. I think that clarifies it.
I would like, if I could, since this is my first opportunity. I have been advised by legal counsel that the statement I made regarding section 42 should be clarified as follows: That is, that the powers given to the director or to the ministry official will be to allow for negotiations, as I stated, for prescribing amounts which we will be evaluating following the negotiations about the transfer of one independent health facility to another individual. In so prescribing, technically that could be seen as actually exercising a regulatory power. That is a technicality and in fact the concern here is that I had said that it was not exercising a reg power. For the information of members, following that, that reg would then be reviewed and have to go through the appropriate cabinet committee and on to cabinet for approval, so that it should not give the members any discomfort as to the process.
Sections 44 and 45 agreed to.
The First Deputy Chair: I have a suggestion to make to the committee. It has occurred to us in our earlier discussions about how we might proceed, since there seems to be agreement that we would like to hold the votes at a later date, that with the concurrence of the House, we could simply rise and report at this stage. That would allow us then to call that order at any time that the House pleases and you could then have your divisions and we could complete things in that way.
On motion by Mr Phillips, the committee of the whole House reported progress on one bill and reported two bills without amendment.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon Mr Phillips: In the absence of the government House leader, I will be announcing the business for the following week which I understand has been agreed to by the House leaders.
Pursuant to standing order 53, next week’s business is as follows:
Monday 20 November will be opposition day in the name of the member for Mississauga South (Mrs Marland) on the subject of the Rouge Valley, a vote on the opposition day motion to be at the conclusion of the debate.
Tuesday 21 November there will be opposition day in the name of the member for Nickel Belt (Mr Laughren) on the subject of the federal goods and services tax, with a vote on the opposition day motion at the conclusion of the debate.
Business for Wednesday 22 November and Thursday 23 November will be dealt with in the following order:
Immediately following routine proceedings on Wednesday, we will deal with the votes stacked from committee of the whole on Bill 147 today. At that point, we will seek agreement to proceed with the third reading of Bill 147. Following third reading of Bill 147 we will then proceed to third reading of Bills 18 and 20. The votes on third readings of Bills 147, 18 and 20 will be stacked and taken after third reading of Bill 20. With time permitting, we will proceed to second reading of Bill 71, second readings of Bills 39 and 40 and second reading of Bill 66.
The House adjourned at 1800.