The House met at 1000.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ PUBLIC BUSINESS
CUSTODY AND ACCESS
Mr Henderson moved resolution 34:
That in the opinion of this House, recognizing that the best interests of the child can be fulfilled by ensuring the child’s access to love and emotional nurturance of each caring parent; and recognizing that a mother and a father are likelier to participate more fully in the growth and emotional development of their child through a nurturing parent-child relationship when child care and child nurturing responsibilities are shared with another caring adult; and recognizing that children benefit from a caring relationship with grandparents who bring a wealth of life experience to a nurturant relationship with a grandchild; and recognizing that society at large can benefit from the creative energies of mothers, fathers and children who are facilitated in their pursuit of vocational, academic, recreational and social opportunities and who are freed from the painful and demoralizing personal struggles that occur when matters of child custody and access are determined through adversarial process, every effort should be made to foster mediative rather than adversarial process to resolve disputes about custody and access, and every administrative effort should be made to bring together services designed to facilitate the co-operative mediation and resolution of custody and access disputes as a preferable alternative to adversarial court process, and efforts should be made, after family dissolution, to allow a child to have a frequent and continued nurturing and care-taking relationship with each parent unless the court determines that such a relationship with a particular parent will have a destructive influence on a particular child’s healthy development and sense of well-being.
Mr Henderson: My time is brief this morning, so I will move very quickly to the point.
I came to this matter of shared parenting arrangements through constituents, two fathers and one mother. All three had children who, unnecessarily it seemed to me, had been shut out of a meaningful relationship with a loving parent, because even when both parents are conscientious and caring, one or the other usually loses a custody dispute. But these children do not deserve to lose a parent. We can do much better than this in our approach to family breakup.
Members may presently hear a point of view that women need adversarial process in the courts rather than mediation to be fairly treated in custody awards. To me, that view is somewhat patronizing to women. Are family mediators, many if not indeed a majority of whom are women, biased against women? Do courts, criticized for decades by feminists and others as paternalistic and chauvinistic, really offer something better? In any case, can a parent who is dissatisfied with the results of mediation not turn later to the courts for a fairer outcome?
Ontario’s approach to these matters badly needs review. We ought to expect parents to continue caring for and nurturing their children following family breakup, unless there are reasons to have it otherwise. I believe that Australia’s statute says much that. Of course, neglect, abuse, mistreatment, disinterest or cruelty would constitute such reasons for having it otherwise. No bill or resolution that I sponsor will ever allow a child or wife batterer or abuser a share of custody or joint parenting, but we ought not to assume an adversarial struggle, with a winner and a loser in every case, because when we do, the children are the losers.
Everybody wins with good shared parenting provisions. Women win because they escape the burden of sole-parenting arrangements and enhance their opportunity to develop professional, career or social and recreational interests. Karen Decrow, a past president of the National Organization for Women in the United States says:
“I fully support joint custody after divorce, both as an attorney and as a feminist.... It is clear from the evidence that women will never have the opportunity for full participation in the professional and public spheres if they are designated as those solely responsible for the care of children.”
It seems to me that some feminists who may oppose this resolution are at risk of drifting into a reactionary position. What this resolution com-prises is a general statement of this Legislature that equality and sharing be the negotiated norm, not the exception in times of family breakup. The flexibility and specifics and feasibility are left to later. Surely that general statement is something this Legislature could support.
Fathers also win because they gain an opportunity to participate in the nurturance and development of the children they love. Grandparents win because grandparents do not deserve to be alienated from the future life of their cherished grandchildren. Society gains because we need the societal contribution of mothers and fathers whose energies and resources are not siphoned off by adversarial courtroom struggles.
But most of all, the children win because they deserve to have the benefit of two parents. I have practised family therapy in my other life. I have published papers on parenting. I know about the dynamics of family breakup and its effects on people, and I believe the mental health of future generations is at issue.
California, Illinois, Louisiana and several other US states have had shared parenting statutes now for some years. A recent attempt to change the law in California proposed 32 amendments which would have in effect returned California to a sole-custody presumption. All 32 were defeated. In one recent survey, 80 per cent of families coming through the California system were opting for some form of joint custody.
Dr Frank Williams, director of the Cedars-Sinai Program for Children and Families of Divorce in Los Angeles, goes even further. He refers to the myth in some mental health, legal and judicial thinking that joint custody can only be effectively undertaken by co-operative parents. To the contrary, he says: “…joint custody provides one of the best methods of stimulating a degree of significant and meaningful co-operation among warring parents who would otherwise continue years of battling to the detriment of their children.”
My first approach to shared parenting took the form of a preferential joint custody bill, Bill 95. Certain features of that bill were worrisome to important women’s groups, so I met with some of the leaders of those groups and invited them to work with me to redraft the bill, mentioning that my only objectives were to encourage some alternative to costly and upsetting adversarial courtroom process and to try to allow the children of family breakup the advantages of having both a mom and a dad, unless there is reason in a particular situation to do otherwise. Those seem to me be reasonable objectives well worth pursuing, but I was not able to get agreement to work together to redraft the bill.
So I did it myself, attempting to meet their concerns. I deleted the so-called friendly parent provision because I was told that that clause would put women at a disadvantage. I deleted any reference to custody, using instead the words “shared parenting” to emphasize that I was interested in a child’s emotional nurturance, not some kind of legal control or entitlement. Most important, I changed the bill into a resolution so that it would not impose anything on anyone.
I then discussed the resolution with a number of knowledgeable women, including women who are members of this caucus, and made still more changes to remove or soften wording that might still be worrisome. My resolution gained the clear and thoughtful of several female caucus colleagues. It therefore surprised me this week to learn from caucus colleagues that this very benign resolution was evoking an opposition from women’s groups scarcely less vehement than had my original Bill 95.
I responded by offering once again to work with those caucus colleagues to rewrite the resolution to remove whatever still was worrisome. I agreed to accept any wording at all that would help encourage negotiation and mediation rather than adversarial process and that would try to offer children both a mom and a dad whenever that is workable.
That invitation was not accepted, this time for the stated reasons that I personally had become a bête noire for women’s groups and that, whatever the resolution were to say, there would be a perception or, if I may say so, a misperception that it was insensitive to the concerns of women, especially women who are disadvantaged or had been victims of assault. To a physician the difference between a perception and a misperception matters greatly, although I realize that in politics the distinction sometimes seems unimportant. But I do not know what more I could have done nor could do to meet the concerns of women, except to abandon my objective for these kids, and that I have not been willing to do.
At any rate we have now run out of time. Naturally, I hope this resolution will pass because I think it is a progressive and worthwhile step. But if it is defeated, I repeat my willingness to work with anyone to draft a resolution or bill to better address the needs of children of family breakup. If I am in some way too much a bête noire in the matter of shared parenting, then work with some other legislator of your members’ choice.
There are times in this profession of politics when a politician who feels very strongly on some point has to stand alone. I do not enjoy that. It is not habit-forming. But if that is what occurs today it will not be the first time, nor perhaps the last, and I feel confident that the direction I am trying to move us today is the right one.
Ultimately, history will be the judge. I believe that a time will come, and maybe fairly soon, when we will look back in horror and shudder at the days when they gave the kids to one or other parent when families ended.
Mr Jackson: I listened very carefully to the statements by the mover of this resolution. I am not unfamiliar with his position on this subject. We have had many discussions about his concerns in this regard. I respect that he defines himself as an advocate for some sector in society on this issue. However, I cannot agree and will continue to disagree with some of the basic premises which are developed in this resolution.
At the heart of the member’s resolution is the notion that mediation is somehow a much better form of dealing with matters of family law than our advocacy system which is currently entrenched in law. The second principle he wishes to entrench in his resolution is that the best interests of a child are generally, if not always, served when joint custody is the preferred model. I happen to disagree with both of those premises.
Having listened to my constituents and having listened in particular to those people who have been victimized by marital breakdown, particularly children and women, who are quite frankly in the majority of cases the victims of separation and divorce in this province, having listened to them carefully, it is clear that they share a concern that the evolution of our family law reforms in this province has clearly brought us to a position now where a lot of fathers’ advocate groups have indicated that they wish to somehow turn these reforms around, because they feel threatened by the legitimate advances that have been made by women and children in our family law reform over the last decade and a half.
It is clear to show that property matters were only clarified in the last decade so that property matters on the dissolution of a marriage are more fairly and equitably shared between husband and wife. That was very late in coming in this province unfortunately, but in fact that was the first major gain for women in their right to be dealt with in a more balanced and appropriate way before the courts. But in no way was that the end of the necessary reform.
We also know that as a reaction to that, fathers’ rights groups have not been happy with the gains that women have been making in this area and it is they who have been calling for laws on joint custody, on forced mediation and, as we all know from Bill 124, access enforcement. Some politicians have been listening to this group. Obviously the member in his resolution has been strongly moved to listen to their message, but I have resisted that temptation on the basis of my understanding of the real issues.
I would like to clarify, first of all, that what we are voting on today is a resolution which, quite frankly, is a statement of intent which hopefully will guide the government in a policy fashion. This is not a bill that is before us. A bill would give specific legal language and direction for the government to lift from the table today and proceed to enact it as part of a law. So I am pleased that this is simply a resolution, because I am quite convinced it will be defeated today and I am quite convinced this Legislature will make a more clear statement to the citizens of this province of its views on joint custody and forced mediation.
So we understand what we are talking about here, I want to indicate what the definition of joint custody is. This is very much a legal concept, allowing both parents to share equally in the rights and responsibilities of their children upon separation. It is easily and can easily be used as a tool by men to continue their control over mothers and children without forcing them to take equal responsibility.
As far as forced mediation is concerned -- and I use the words “forced mediation” because it is abundantly clear that there is a growing trend in this province, the trend being that because the government is unable or unwilling to organize our court systems more fairly and more equitably and fund them adequately, because of that there are blockages in our court system.
I am very distressed when I see examples in all sectors of society of people being denied access to justice and the government is developing plans. For example, the auto insurance plan is clearly an example of removing people from our court system and access to our courts. There are mixed messages from the Solicitor General (Mr Offer) with respect to police providing appropriate assault charges in domestic violence. In fact, those are not occurring with the degree of frequency that they should be occurring, because there are mixed messages from the Attorney General (Mr Scott) that somehow our court system cannot cope with the major influx of assault cases involving domestic violence.
Now we have a case where the Family Law Reform Act and revisions upon court access for purposes of separation and determining custody -- now we have this attitude that somehow we should limit access to the courts in the best interests of the child by forcing people to mediation. That is why the concept of mediation cannot stand alone without us realizing that this is a form of forced mediation, because it is the preferred option of the courts, and that is the signal that the mover of this motion would have us give our court system.
It means it would force both parties to work out any or all of their issues of separation with a mediator, whether or not that mediator has been properly trained. Also, this dispute resolution mechanism does not recognize or compensate for the power imbalances that exist between men and women when they are forced into a mediation situation. Women, and there are studies to prove this, feel they are coerced, feel they are pressured into situations, because they feel if they did otherwise, they would appear to be unfriendly and unco-operative, and in some way that might jeopardize any of the final settlements that occur to them with respect to the child who is involved.
We visited the entire issue of forced mediation during the Bill 124 hearings and the message was loud and clear from absolutely every women’s group in this province and nationally, based on sound research, to show that programs such as the one proposed in this resolution are not working in many jurisdictions. In fact, in California, which was hailed as the major model, they are currently undertaking to dismantle it, because they realize that a child does not have its best interests served when the courts presume that they must share equally with parents who are in dispute.
Our current system is working well from the point of view that the judge has one simple, clear message, that a child’s rights and the best interests of a child are first, foremost and paramount. The child, in his best interests, should not be treated like property and divided equally among both parents. He should not deal with compulsory parenting, whether or not a child wishes it to happen. As I learned from California, this is not the experience that worked in that state and it certainly will not work in this province.
I wish to conclude my statements by simply reiterating that the following groups have indicated their lack of support, and I am proud to join them against this resolution: the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, the Ontario Women’s Action Coalition, the Federation of Women Teachers’ Associations of Ontario, the Family Service Association of Metropolitan Toronto, the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses, the National Association of Women and the Law, the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic and the Family Law Reform Coalition. I as well, as the member for Burlington South, stand against this resolution.
The Deputy Speaker: We usually follow rotation but there seems to be an agreement between the parties that the next person will be the member for Markham, if that is agreeable.
Mr Cousens: It is a subject of great importance. I am due in committee at the same time as I am here in the House and I very much wanted to be able to participate in this private member’s resolution from the member for Etobicoke-Humber (Mr Henderson).
Before I make any comment about the resolution, I would like to talk about the intent of the member for Etobicoke-Humber, who I believe has a sense of compassion and caring that comes through in this motion, which really touches upon one of the most serious problems of our society today, the importance of providing a loving, caring relationship for our children. The kind of leadership that is expressed by his actions and by his concern, not only as a parent but as a legislator in the service of his own community, is something I would like to subscribe to myself in my own life and as a politician.
If anyone reads the preamble the member for Etobicoke-Humber has read into the record and understands the emphasis he is putting there on the best interests of the child, the need for love and emotional nurturing -- he goes on to look at the parents’ role, the continuing role. If one looks at our society today with the problems our young people and families are having through breakup, it has to be something that we as legislators should address.
It is tragic that we have only an hour to deal with a subject of such great importance, yet those are the rules so we have to really compress our thinking, our thoughts and words into a much shorter type of crystallized view.
May I say that we had a chance to review these issues in Bill 124 when it was brought before the House and at that time I was able to bring forward a number of amendments to the bill. Very little consideration, I felt, was given by the government. One of the things we were stressing -- I had the full concurrence of the Progressive Conservative caucus when I made these amendments on behalf of our caucus -- had to do with the role of the grandparent, with the importance of the grandparent maintaining emotional ties with the child.
Ladies and gentlemen of the House and of Ontario, we have to understand that a family has to be understood in a bigger context than the law sometimes presently allows it to be considered. We tried to bring in amendments that would have given it a position in law so that grandparents had a role. They do have a role, but they do not have much of a one if we look at the laws as now written.
We also pressed for a number of considerations in relation to mediation. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of mediation as a way of bringing families together, of having access. I outlined earlier in the House in the Bill 124 debate how we could begin to address the adversarial nature and the stress that go into the already stressful situation of a marital breakup by having mediation provided in a way where parties to a dispute could sit down together or separately with a trained person to resolve their differences.
In advocating mediation, not necessarily calling for mandatory mediation but rather mandatory entry into mediation as a viable dispute resolution mechanism, we felt there would be a way in which we could have a clearer framework in which mediation could work. We outlined how mediation could be improved on, in the legislation presented to the House by the Attorney General, as to who should act as a mediator, guidelines for the process and levying the fees for mediation. We expanded on these concerns at length.
I would have hoped that the direction the preamble of the member for Etobicoke-Humber would have taken could have led into the mediation role. What I fear has happened is that the conclusion that is arrived at in this resolution we are considering takes us in a direction I am not able to support.
I agree in principle that a child should have a continuous, nurturing and caretaking relationship with each parent, and with grandparents for that matter, where it would be in the best interests of the child. I cannot endorse a process that would automatically assume that situation of joint custody. Each situation with which we are dealing in a marital dissolution has its own particular circumstances. Each situation should be judged accordingly in a way where the adversarial nature is removed. That would increase the role of a mediator.
What the member for Etobicoke-Humber has done is to bring forward to this House a number of considerations that should be part of our family law reform. I think he is taking it a little farther at this point than I am able to understand and accept. That has to do with the whole joint custody of children. I think it will work in some cases; it cannot work in them all. Somewhere he goes a little too far for me to be able to support him on this.
We are in a position in our society where we have to deal with this as one of the major issues society has to be concerned with. I thank him for bringing it to this House to give us a chance to debate it.
Ms Hošek: I want to speak against the motion in ballot item 31. The wording of the motion expresses a wish for the resolution of family conflict about divorce and about custody in a way that is not adversarial, and I think that is a wish we all wish we could support. The language gives the impression of sweetness and kindness and I understand why some people might be tempted to go along with it because of the way it sounds. We would all like to believe that conflicts can be settled in a reasonable way so that no one is hurt, and in particular so that children can continue to have relationships with all the significant people in their lives.
Unfortunately, the reality is much more grim than that. We live in a society in which one woman in eight is beaten by the man she lives with. The usual differential in power between men and women is even more palpable and destructive in those relationships in which the woman has been battered.
In California in 1980 mandatory mediation and automatic joint custody were initiated by the state, presumably because of the same wish for a peaceful resolution to family conflicts. By 1987 it was apparent this did not work. The Senate Task Force on Family Equity in California in 1987 said: “It is imperative that the impact of California’s joint custody and mediation reforms be ascertained as soon as possible. It is bordering on irresponsibility to continue the current system without beginning a systematic study of its impact on children.”
In fact, there is a recent study which found that contrary to our assumptions about what processes have what effect on children, “there is no difference for children as a result of the method by which their parents divorced,” so the wellness of children was not dependent on how their parents got divorced or organized that divorce.
The real differences for children had to do with whether the parents were able to co-operate with each other and whether there was violence in the family. Because of the grim story of battering in our society, there are going to be parents who simply will not be able to co-operate with each other, and my sense is they should not be forced to co-operate with each other.
I do not believe we can impose compulsory mediation or joint custody on the family law system because of the large number of families in which this is the case. It is unconscionable to require that women, who in many cases with very great pain and difficulty have managed to extricate themselves from a very difficult and violent relationship, then be forced to be hostage to that relationship because they have children. I think that by requiring a woman who is in that situation to do that we would be continuing the violence of which she has been a victim.
In a court of law, each person has a lawyer to represent him or her. In mediation they do not. What that means is that the imbalance in power between the two people involved, which is even more heightened in a situation in which there has been violence, has no buffer, no support for the weaker party. It puts that person in a much more vulnerable position when mediation is imposed on them.
I am very distressed by this motion because I believe that although it was expressed in goodwill, it is really quite a dangerous one. It is because of my sense, which I hope others share, that women in this society already face a disproportionate burden, and those women who have been victims of violence most so, that I would urge this House to defeat this resolution.
Mr Hampton: I am pleased to be able to take part in this debate today because the issue we are dealing with -- I should say more properly the issues we are dealing with -- is fundamental to the social life of our province today. I want to state directly that I am opposed to mandatory joint custody and I am opposed to joint custody that moves in any way on a mandatory or an advisory mandatory basis.
I want to put clearly on the record why I am opposed to mandatory joint custody. In 90 per cent of the cases where parents separate or divorce, they are able to work out custody issues amicably without going to court, in many cases without the assistance of a lawyer. There is no doubt that in many of these cases where the separating or divorcing parents work out their custody and access issues, the situation results in joint custody. There is no doubt that happens where the separating parents separate on an amicable basis.
However, in 10 per cent of the cases an amicable separation does not result. That is really what we are talking about here. That is what we are talking about when we get into this sort of thing, those 10 per cent of situations where there will be ongoing strife, ongoing altercation between the spouses. To insist upon mandatory joint custody in those situations or to move in any degree towards a court-influenced joint custody in those situations in my view would be harmful to children and definitely not in the best interests of children.
If the parents cannot agree on the fundamentals of custody in these situations -- in many cases they will have other issues to fight about in addition to the custody issues -- and if there is going to be continued strife over the issue of custody in these situations, it cannot be in the best interests of the children to be stuck in the middle in a mandatory joint custody situation as if they were some kind of property. That is really what you get down to.
Let me repeat again that where parents are able to work out their custody questions on an amicable basis, joint custody may be a possibility, in which case the parents may come to a decision on their own as to how they can best suit the best interests of the child in terms of their custody agreement. But where there is a division or where there is altercation or where there is divisiveness between the separating parents, joint custody is not an answer.
I also want to address briefly the question of mandatory mediation. Several speakers have already referred to the trials with mandatory mediation in the state of California, and indeed it has been tried elsewhere in the United States. For a while it was the fad, the way to go in the United States.
Earlier, in this Legislature, some months ago when we were addressing Bill 124, the bill that it was hoped would deal with access, we had occasion to review the situation in California. I will repeat what has been repeated here already earlier today, that the situation in California has turned around radically in 10 years. Whereas social policy experts and child welfare experts in that state at one time favoured mandatory mediation, that is no longer the case. It has been recognized that in many cases when parents separate there is not always an equal footing, that you do not always have both parents operating on an equal basis.
In many cases you have situations of abuse, a history of abuse. In other cases you may simply have a situation where one parent has all the financial assets or all the capacity to live in financial security and the other parent does not. Usually it is the woman who lacks financial security and in almost every case it is the woman who has been physically abused. To then ask and expect that you can require both of those parents to be in a mediation situation and that there is going to be some sort of equality emerge, that there will be a capacity, one vis-à-vis the other, to stand up for one’s rights and not be forced into an agreement one does not support or believe in, I think ignores some of the fundamental issues of politics in our country and in our province today.
If you do not have equality in a bargaining situation or in a situation that is supposed to lead to an agreement, you will not get an agreement that is in the best interests of the party who is in an unequal situation, and I suggest you will not get an agreement that will be in the best interests of children either.
I want to go on and talk briefly about this private member’s bill in the context of some of the legislation the government has been bringing forward.
I appreciate why the member has brought this private member’s bill forward. I understand his motives. In the context of Bill 124 and the access issues, which were dealt with over the past two years in this House, I want to point out that if some parents have difficulty in terms of seeing their children, in terms of establishing a relationship with their children, there are other ways to deal with that issue.
One of the ways is to provide access centres in this province, access centres where if parents are in dispute, if parents who are former spouses are in dispute, a child can be left with an access agency that has all the required supervisory capacity and so on for the father to visit, or as the case may be for the mother to visit, on a supervised access basis. In fact, two of these projects did exist in this province not long ago. One was in Lakeshore, the Lakeshore Area Multi-Service Project, which operated Access for Parents and Children, and there was a pilot program in the city of Kitchener-Waterloo.
What these programs showed was that in many cases parents who had difficulty sorting out this custody issue, who had extreme differences over it, were able over a period of time, through the help of these access centres, to develop a more normalized relationship in terms of exercising access to their children. Over a period of years, starting out with supervised access, then moving to unsupervised access and then moving to a more trusting relationship, some of these even moved to a situation where there was joint custody negotiated on mutual consent.
I think there is great potential for dealing with this social issue. There is great potential in terms of funding more centres that provide supervised access for parents, and over time parents can work these situations out. Alas, however, the government will not provide funding for these agencies.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services withdrew funding for the pilot project in Kitchener-Waterloo and the very successful LAMP in Etobicoke never, ever was funded by this government. They always had to rely on voluntary funding from churches. So that whole prospect, that whole program has collapsed and one of the alternatives, one of the options in terms of dealing with this very important social issue has literally gone down the drain.
Do the ministers know what is happening today? People who formerly worked at Access for Parents and Children are being telephoned by family lawyers in this province and are being offered $70 an hour to supervise access. That is how shameful the situation is in the province today.
I understand the kinds of problems the honourable member has seen and I understand the motivation. I disagree with his project, but I also disagree fundamentally with this government’s lack of regard for the problem and this government’s lack of funding for potential solutions for this problem. It is absolutely disgraceful when a social worker is telephoned in this province and are being offered $70 an hour to supervise access for one hour because you cannot get supervised access anywhere else.
Grandparents also figure in this calculation. I want to say to the honourable member that I do not think this is the way to go for grandparents either. I think there is an option for grandparents. There is a way the existing law could be amended so that grandparents would receive some recognition. As it is, the Children’s Law Reform Act basically says that anyone is entitled to custody of a child and access to a child if it is in the best interests of a child.
All one needs to do, I think, is to put into the Children’s Law Reform Act a clause that creates a rebuttable presumption, a clause that could say it would be presumed to be in the best interests of the child that grandparents have access to their grandchildren, but it would be a rebuttable presumption. If you could introduce any kind of evidence at all that would show it is not in the best interests of a child, then grandparents in that particular case would not get that kind of consideration. We all know of situations where parents have separated and where because the former spouses cannot get along, no matter what kind of decent caring relationship the grandparents had with the grandchildren they do not get to see them either, because again, the former spouses cannot get along.
There is a way, as I point out, to give grandparents the consideration they deserve and to give children the consideration they deserve in terms of establishing warm and decent and rewarding relationships with their grandparents.
As I say to the honourable member, I do not think this resolution measures up to the social policy issues that really have to be dealt with here, so l will oppose it and I expect that many of my colleagues who I have spoken to about it on numerous occasions will be opposing it as well.
In closing, I want to point out a statistic that was provided to me earlier this morning, just to show members what we are talking about. I will get back to the central issue here, mandatory joint custody. The London Family Court Clinic is essentially a clinic of social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists who help or try to help separating parents deal with the difficult issues of custody, again from the perspective of the best interests of the child.
At the Family Court Clinic in London, joint custody is recommended in only five per cent of the cases. Keep in mind that the cases they see at the London Family Court Clinic will be cases where there is a dispute. You see a dispute in only 10 per cent of the cases. Just to give you an idea of the magnitude, you have all of these cases where parents separate and you have children. In 90 per cent of those parents are able to work things out themselves in terms of the custody and access relationship. In 10 per cent, they cannot. Those 10 percent usually wind up going to court. In only five per cent of that 10 per cent figure does the Family Court Clinic recommend joint custody.
That is how seldom they think joint custody will work in terms of the best interests of the child. If you cannot negotiate it, if parents cannot negotiate it on an equal basis, amicably, then in very, very few cases will the Family Court Clinic recommend it.
I thank the House for the time to address this important bill.
Ms Oddie Munro: I am delighted to join in the debate on this resolution. I should say at the outset I am against the resolution and will so vote. I am totally opposed to any move which leads us towards mandatory or compulsory mediation and mandatory or compulsory joint custody.
Joint partnership custody is based on the premise that a partnership is possible and workable and meets the best interests of the child. A search of the psychological and social research involving the helping professions -- ie, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, legal workers and church workers -- reveals difficulties in defining “partnership” as it relates to mediation and joint custody, and recruiting significant numbers of subjects willing to participate in studies on partnerships or who would even fit within acceptable working definitions of “partnership.” In fact, research reveals that mediation partnership custody only works with a restricted group who are willing and able to mediate and partner.
The reality of the majority of separation, custody and divorce proceedings is that there was a marriage breakdown of such significance that the couple must separate for reasons of irreconcilable differences occasioned by psychological or physical harassment, violence and accompanying social and economic concomitants, including financial events and breakdown of health occasioned by stress. The reality is that the environment in which the vast majority of couples and children find themselves is negative and destructive and at risk, especially for women and children, and that the probability of a positive partnership custody existing and surviving is therefore low.
Any directive which forces partnership custody will cause untold continuing damage to the family and the new or extended family. It will be particularly damaging on women and the children, who will simply be subjected to “more of the same.” It is in fact a step backward in family law reform.
Finally, I should remind the Legislature that it is currently possible in a voluntary way for couples whose marriage breakdown was not personally injurious to either partner or children to enter into partnership custodial and access arrangements and to avail themselves of mediation without legal representation. I therefore reiterate that I am against the resolution and will so vote.
Mr Fleet: I believe the opposition parties have used their time or their speakers are completed and I anticipate that our party will then speak in succession until our time is used.
The Deputy Speaker: That is correct.
Mr Fleet: As the member for High Park-Swansea, as the parliamentary assistant to the Minister without Portfolio responsible for women’s issues and as a lawyer who has practised in the area of family law, I rise to speak strongly against this resolution.
This resolution is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, because a careful examination of the final clause reveals a proposal for a presumption of joint custody which would apply except in very hard to prove circumstances. This resolution proposes a new legal test that deviates from the almost universally accepted test of the best interests of the child. This new proposal would force a parent opposing joint custody or frequent access to convince the court that such an arrangement would have a destructive influence on the child’s development and wellbeing. This moves the legal decision from a positive emphasis on what is best for the child to a negative approach. Simply put, this new test would put more children at greater risk.
A decade ago California implemented a state policy encouraging divorced parents to share child-rearing responsibilities. Subsequent evaluation studies in California showed that when parents are involved in ongoing disputes children with more frequent access to both parents are more behaviourally disturbed and emotionally troubled. Such access was clearly not in the child’s best interests. California has now passed legislation declaring that there is “neither a preference nor a presumption” for joint custody.
Joint custody of children will work only when both parents co-operate, support each other’s parenting skills and do so with truly free consent to such an arrangement. Adoption of this resolution could lead to policies or practices which would increase the risk and danger for both children and women in our society. This is particularly so when there has been violence in the family. As our wife assault prevention public information program has highlighted, one in eight women is assaulted by her male partner. It is shocking, but true, that over half of these assaulted women continue to be assaulted after marital separation.
Joint custody or frequent access to children inevitably means more contact between the parents and therefore more opportunity for wife assault to continue. In cases involving child abuse, including sexual abuse, joint custody and frequent access by the abusive parent is very clearly not in the best interests of the child.
This resolution also presumes that mediation without having lawyers present is preferable to the current process of resolving custody and access disputes. However -- and I might add I also speak with some experience as a mediator in labour relations situations -- in order for mediation to work both partners must have a relatively equal bargaining and negotiating power. This is simply not the case for many women. It is particularly not the case for women who are victims of wife assault, as violence and threats and other forms of intimidation are a completely unjustifiable means to exert control over another person. We should also bear in mind that over 90 per cent of all matrimonial matters are currently resolved without a trial and that in the vast majority of cases people are completely able to avoid resorting to the courts.
The current adversarial process offers safe-guards which are especially critical for children and for women, but these safeguards are not present in this resolution. Therefore, once again I urge all members to reject this proposal.
The Deputy Speaker: The member has that time left plus his habitual two minutes to wind up.
Mr Henderson: I want to thank all the speakers who have spoken. I hope some of them also read the resolution before they spoke. I do not want to embark on rebuttal really, but I do want to just mention some points of information and, shall I say, perhaps points of misunderstanding.
I think one speaker suggested I had been very influenced by fathers’ rights groups in this resolution. That is not so. I have not heard from them nor spoken with them for over a year, I think, and they are not a factor in this resolution at all.
The resolution says nothing about joint custody. It refers to shared parenting and parenting agreements. A shared parenting agreement does not require a warm, supportive relationship between separated spouses; it requires a businesslike relationship and good faith on the part of the spouses and their willingness to comply with a parenting agreement.
This resolution contains no move to force mediation on anybody, nor especially to limit access to the courts. In California -- I almost think there are two Californias. Depending on who you talk to, you get different information about what is going on there, but my information is that California recently beat back a 32-amendment attempt to water down its joint custody statute and that joint custody in California, shared parenting, is proceeding much as it had before, with something like 80 per cent of California decisions in the area of a shared arrangement.
Somebody said something about automatically assuming joint custody. This resolution does not. It does not even mention joint custody. It certainly does not contain anything that would impose anything on anybody, and one of the speakers even insisted on continuing to call this resolution a bill. It is not a bill, it is a resolution, and the implications are quite different.
I just want to emphasize a few points. I am very sceptical of the view that women need courts and an adversarial process rather than mediators to get fair treatment. Of course, the courts will always be there to turn to when anybody chooses to, but many mediators, a majority at meetings of their societies that I have attended or represented, are women. Feminists and others have criticized the courts for decades as paternalistic, chauvinistic and biased against women. I do not agree that women cannot hold their own in family mediation, and that view to me seems very patronizing to women.
I often hear it said that shared parenting is available right now under Canadian law, so that no change is needed. Yet 80 per cent or 90 per cent of custody awards in Canada are sole. So unless we assume that 80 per cent or 90 per cent of couples contain an incompetent or abusive mother or father -- and I do not assume that -- some kind of change or shift seems to me to be needed.
There is much, much more that could be said, but we are nearly out of time. As so often happens in social sciences, the research data are conflicting. They often reflect the bias of the researcher and I believe that helps us rather little as legislators, but here we have, in my view at least, a very progressive resolution.
I think custody reform is a little like Senate reform. Nobody seems to like what we have and it is easy to get a consensus about changes not to make, but constructive reform is very hard. We have had a useful airing and I repeat that I think we will some day look back in revulsion on the days when they gave the children to one or other parent when families ended.
The Acting Speaker (Mr Cureatz): If I may so indicate to the honourable member, you still have two more minutes, if you would like to conclude your remarks.
Mr Henderson: The clock was doing funny things there for a second.
I want to take a minute to highlight some of the California research and I will do so quickly, touching only on some key points. The Pojman study compared four groups of 20 boys and found the boys in shared-parenting arrangements about as well adapted as the boys in happy intact homes and the boys in sole custody about as badly adapted as the boys from unhappy intact homes.
The Ilfeld study found that relitigation was half as frequent following joint-custody awards as following sole-custody awards. Support payment compliance is much higher with joint versus sole custody; 85 per cent versus 34 per cent. The Ahrons study of divorced parents found that most were able to maintain a shared parenting relationship in ways that were satisfactory to them. The Abarbanel study found joint custody to be working well in several families subjected to an in-depth dynamic study. The Nehls study found that 11 of 12 children, following joint-custody awards, were satisfied with the custody arrangement -- that is the children -- and that all the parents were satisfied.
The Steinman study of 25 joint-custody families found that the children did not suffer loyalty conflicts. The Woolley study of relatives, judges, lawyers and psychologists concluded that shared custody is best for the emotional health of children and parents. The Ricci study followed cases for eight years and found that shared parenting worked under a wide range of circumstances including geographic separation and, believe me, there is much, much more research out of California, Louisiana and Illinois that I only wish we had time to debate.
NATIVE HEALTH SERVICES
Mr Pouliot moved resolution 33:
That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing that health care is totally inadequate for Ontario’s first nations people, and recognizing that aboriginal people’s requests for improvements are often not met because of jurisdictional disputes between the federal and provincial governments and further recognizing that Ontario’s indigenous peoples want some control over the provision and delivery of their health care, the government of Ontario should immediately take whatever measures necessary to ensure that:
the level of health care services to Ontario’s first nations is at the same level as other Ontarians;
the jurisdictional disputes between the federal and provincial levels of government are reduced and eventually eliminated; and
a process of giving control over the provision and delivery of health care services to the first nations is developed and implemented.
Mr Pouliot: Mr Speaker, as you are most aware and members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario are aware, we have some 120,000 aboriginal people in Ontario, although the Indian Act confers status to only 80,000. Many of those 80,000 people live in the northern part of our province, experiencing living conditions that are unthinkable in other parts of Ontario.
There is a desperate lack of services in those communities, and I am talking about things that we take for granted -- basic, essential services such as running water and electricity in some cases, or if they have electricity, more than 20-amp service so that they can have more than one little hot plate for essential services. We are aware of the despair that the people who were here first, our first Canadians, have to experience in this day in 1989.
Let me share with members some statistics about children, and I see some young people in the galleries who are paying us the compliment of a visit. Infant mortality is twice as high among natives as compared to other Canadians. Life expectancy is 10 years less, so men or women can chop 10 years off their lives. That is what it means; these are real statistics. We live in the same country, sometimes we live a few miles apart, but if one lives on a reserve in Ontario he will live, on the average, 10 years less -- 10 years of missed opportunities, if you wish.
The suicide rate is twice the national average, but for a young male between 15 and 24 years of age it escalates to six times. He is six times more likely to commit suicide if he is a male, lives on a reserve and is between the ages of 15 and 24.
Substance abuse -- we have been through that before collectively. Living conditions -- the list is almost endless. The list goes on.
Let me illustrate vividly some of the things that happen. We talk about a good lifestyle so we say, yes, it does require a good diet, but the people do not have too much money. They go to the Hudson’s Bay store in Kashechewan and a head of what is really rotting lettuce costs $2.24 and a litre of milk is $2.51. So what do they do? They buy sweetened condensed milk at $1.45 and feed their kids with it and then they get diabetes. It goes hand in hand. These are the living conditions they experience.
When they go to the nursing station, there is a nice poster, and I want to share this with members: it says one should brush one’s teeth after every meal, when we get up in the morning and before we go to bed at night. That is quite all right, but they do not have any running water. They have to go and get the water out of the creek. Members know how difficult it is to instil discipline in young people, but when they do not have the basics it becomes almost impossible to monitor compliance to do so.
There is another poster describing how to get rid of scabies. Most of us have never heard of scabies; it is of yesteryear. One must take three baths in two days and then have the special ointment that is applied, and the scabies will go away. There, again, we miss one very basic component in our nothing short of prophetic advice to people: we must give them running water. They cannot heat a little pot with two cups of water with a 20-amp service and expect to take a bath in it to get rid of the scabies. In the real world it does not quite work that way.
We are talking about a very different world. I had the opportunity to spend a week on the shores of James Bay, where James Bay and Hudson Bay meet. I then took another week -- we do this quite often -- and went to the shores of Hudson Bay, including Fort Severn, which is the northernmost community in Ontario. Our task force was there to listen to the grievances of people and to find positive measures to address their needs. Our task force took on what became a mission. Our task force eventually, at its conclusion, became a crusade.
Mr Speaker, you had to be there. It is one of those situations where you try to describe conditions in the Third World but you really have not been there. You know it is bad. You know it is wrong. Your heart tells you that. You know that something should be done. But in the end, it is too far, it is too remote, too distant, so it does not become something of immediate concern, but a concern indeed, yes, it is.
In times of -- and it is the Christmas season -- conspicuous consumption, where wealth is so apparent and so visible at this time of year, self-interest almost becomes a measure of life. I ask for understanding through this resolution because I think it does transcend political affiliation. One does not have to be a member of the Liberal Party, the Progressive Conservative Party or the New Democratic Party. We are talking about people. We are talking about how we treat and how we view each other; how we treat our neighbour; really, how we treat ourselves; how we complete ourselves as human beings; how we complete our lives.
This is what the resolution says. It does not score any political points. It talks about Ontarians. It talks about ideals. It talks about a credo for us and the opportunity to send a message to others who need our help.
I will take the remaining time and tack it on to the additional two minutes.
Mr Eves: It is a pleasure to rise in the Legislature this morning and participate in this debate, especially on what I think is a very worthwhile and deserving private member’s resolution. I would echo the comments of my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr Pouliot) that this is an issue that transcends political party stripes and boundaries, if you will. It is a very real issue about justice and equity for all in our health care system in Ontario.
I would like to begin my remarks this morning by quoting a few examples of what life, unfortunately, is like for some of our first people, native people, in Ontario. For a matter of several years, the Ministry of Health, through the auspices of James Bay General Hospital, was illegally charging native patients for chronic care. When they discovered the error, they retroactively passed regulations on 7 April 1989 to justify the payments that they had been taking without legal authority from native people receiving treatment at those two centres.
Mr D. R. Cooke: For what years?
Mr Eves: From December 1984 to 7 April 1989, in the case of one, and from December 1986 to 7 April 1989 in the other.
The council of chiefs and elders in the area was very concerned and disturbed by Ontario regulation 207/89. They said, and I quote from their document:
“We consider Ontario regulation 207/89 to be a clear and disturbing signal from Ontario. In July 1988 we wrote to our MPP, the Honourable René Fontaine, for his support of our self-government initiatives. In October 1988 we presented Ontario and Canada with a draft political accord. In December 1988 we wrote to the Minister of Natural Resources proposing to establish a new relationship. In January 1989, a written invitation was sent to the minister responsible for native affairs, the Honourable Ian Scott, to engage in direct self-government negotiations relating to education. Most recently, on May 25, we wrote to inform the Premier of our opposition to Ontario Hydro’s plans to develop our rivers.
“In each case we have received no reply whatsoever. Is this how Ontario wishes to deal with its first nations? If so, we can only conclude that this government has lost the respect it once had for our citizens.”
That is but one of many examples, Mr Speaker. I would be pleased to give you some others.
In Fort Albany it is all but impossible to recruit and retain professional people. There should be 14 nurses on duty at all times in Fort Albany. Unfortunately, there rarely is. Those who sign on leave, on average, within a year. Many receive only visits by nursing staff, not permanent nursing staff. They for sure only receive visits by dentists. Other health care professionals are virtually nonexistent.
In Fort Severn a doctor visits once every three months, a dentist once every six months. There are no nurses and only a small health clinic with community health representatives. The equipment is often inadequate. Lack of a good X-ray machine is a common complaint. Ambulances are unheard of.
Presently in the north many communities have native community health representatives, and these workers provide the much-needed language skills and cultural identity with their patients, but they lack professional medical training. They are often called upon to provide care far beyond their qualifications. Even giving birth in northern Ontario to our native people becomes an ordeal, and women are routinely flown out of their communities, away from their families, two weeks prior to their due dates. I do not think that is a very acceptable standard of health care in our province.
To emphasize my point, instead of going through all these newspaper articles and what problems they document, I will take a few minutes of your time to read the headlines only:
“New Democrat Task Force on Health -- Here is a Litany of Concerns for North”; “Health Care in North Shocking”; “Author Says 80 per cent of Natives Experience Violent Death”; “Disabilities More Likely on Reserves”; “Disabilities Hit Indians on Reserves at Almost Twice the Rate in Non-Natives”; “Council Supports Treatment Program for Native Addicts”; “Northern Indians Should Control Health Care”; “Annie is Getting Too Old to Care for Herself”; “In Native Towns, Good Medicine means Plain Talk”; “Consultation with Bands on Health Care Urged”; “More Medical Training Needed”; “Health Aid for Natives Criticized before Panel”; “Cross-cultural Crime Up, Medical Doctor Warns”; “Health Care Hampered by Overworked MDs, Inquiry on North Told”; “Province Urged to Play Greater Role in Native Health Care”; “Inferior Health Care Frustration for Doctors”; “Quality of Medical Care could Crumble, Health Inquiry Told”; “Native Travel to Get Treatment Bumped by Airlines”; “Sioux Lookout MDs Arrogant, Probe Told”; “Indian Woman Delivered Child in Outdoor Toilet.”
Is that the standard of care we want for our native people in the province of Ontario? I would hardly think so.
I think that what is needed perhaps is best summed up in a document by the Ojibway Tribal Family Services, which operates out of Dryden, Ontario. In a brief, they provided what they think are the necessary steps for the provincial government to take, and the federal government too, required to give them the health care that they deserve.
Indian people need to be trained as professionals to provide health care in institutions. They should be found in the front lines of hospitals as nursing assistants or ambulance workers, but especially as interpreters. Non-native professionals need to be sensitized to the culture, language and traditions of the first nations like Ojibway or Cree.
Fundamental to all these needs is that the first nations be given the power to carry them out themselves. In the words of the Ojibway Tribal Family Services, they feel that they require the following. They appeal for assistance in their struggle to become a people of pride and confidence to do things for themselves.
“The moneys are there, but they are not getting to our people, but rather other groups are administering them on our behalf. The bands in our area can no longer tolerate this method of delivery of program to our bands. We are asking you to go and share these concerns with the provincial government so that our people can work to create a healthy place. Our people want to do things for themselves. They want to prevent the fear that our people have in coming to the present health care givers and administration. Our people only want to prevent deaths due to fear and lack of understanding. Our people want develop their own workers to provide strong health care for their people. Our people want to provide tools for their people to provide their own and strong healthy institutions and organizations. Our people now want for you to join hands with us and make our circle strong again. One step along the way to power of self-government would be to ensure significant native participation in district health councils.”
I do not think that those are unreasonable requests. If we pride ourselves, as we often do, on having one of the best health care systems anywhere in the world, surely we can do something for the founding people of our country.
In another submission from a different group of native peoples representing communities along James Bay, they recommend the following and say that there are these eight gaps in services for people in those communities: no residential program for children and adolescents characterized by serious behavioural or emotional disorders, substance abuse or suicidal or self-injurious behaviour; no residential life skills program for young men and women who, without this training, would end up in jail or psychiatric hospitals and progress in a downward spiral of separation from their roots and daily unhappiness of an intense degree; need for detoxification centre for alcoholics; need for a program directed at family violence which would include community-based outreach counsellors; a program for men who are violent and support groups and temporary safe homes for women and children; no community-based follow-up for patients returning from psychiatric hospitals; need for culturally relevant community residential arrangements for the elderly that rely on traditions and not on a centralized nursing home; need for resident physicians in each community or, at the very least, longer visits, and the need for frequent audiological and optometric services in the community so that people, especially children, do not have to travel.
I do not think that any of these requests are unrealistic. I do not think that any of these requests should be denied.
I will finish my remarks with a few quotes that were given to the New Democratic Party task force at the conclusion of one of its hearings.
“The challenge is to ensure equitable access to the conditions leading to good health. Equitable access to good health can no longer be considered an afterthought or a marginal issue, no longer one of impulse or charity, but one of justice. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that the provincial government address a new policy framework that is more comprehensive and proactive and designed to the needs and aspirations of aboriginal peoples in the province.
“The solution lies in the provincial government reorganizing its priorities to address the specific health care needs of native people. Existing funds should be utilized to support innovative and culturally appropriate health promotion and preventive health to support initiative by native people. Provincial funds should be directed towards programs that will promote a holistic approach to wellness, self-responsibility for good health and alternative health care systems of healing. The provincial government should promote the development of native delivery systems that will address the critical service areas in urban and small communities.
“Until the provincial government seriously addresses the health care needs of aboriginal people, the spirits and hearts of aboriginal people will remain broken. The aboriginal nation will continue to be at the bottom of the social and health scale.”
What are they requesting? They are requesting our assistance to assist aboriginal people in utilizing their own power through the empowerment of communities and individuals so that they can achieve good health by the year 2000, which is the year they choose as a realistic goal. I think that is a realistic goal. With the goodwill and co-operation of all members of the Legislature, regardless of their political stripe, I think we can achieve those measures. I think it is the very least we can do to lead to a dignified, fair and well-serving health care system for our first people.
Mr Miclash: First of all, I would like to congratulate my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon on bringing this most important issue to the attention of the House in his resolution today. As the Speaker will know, we share two of the largest ridings in the province, his being the largest, of course, and mine being the second-largest, so we do have a good number of common concerns.
Today it is my privilege to bring to the House some of the recent developments that I, as a member, have seen in the delivery of health care to Ontario’s native people.
Let me begin by saying that we realize this is a very extreme, difficult area in terms of jurisdiction. We know we are dealing with both the federal and the provincial governments in the delivery of these health care services, and it does add a little bit of strife to the problem. We know that, historically, the native people have looked to the federal government to provide their health care and many of their other social services. Increasingly, however, the provincial government is now becoming much more involved in bringing these health services to the native people. It is the two levels of government, along with the native leaders, that still have a way to go in resolving a good number of issues that have been brought forth to the House today.
I am very happy to bring to the House some very definite progress that I have seen in the recent years that I have been a member in the north, some progress that has come to us in the north, as well as throughout the province, knowing that we are culturally sensitive to the needs of our native people.
For more than a year now, the Ministry of Health has had a native health co-ordinator. The job of this person is to devote his energies entirely to formulating new programs and enhancing existing ones in the area of native health care.
Underlying all the recent changes in native health care has been the genuine desire of this government to put the people themselves, whether on or off the reserves, more and more in charge of the direction in which they want the delivery systems to go. I think that is a very important step in involving the people who are going to be involved in this health care in the decision-making at the community level. I have always said that the best decisions can be made at the community level and then brought to the provincial government.
Mr Speaker, I would like to bring an example to you from Kenora, the largest centre in my riding, where we have a native healer program which is in the works at the present time. I was able to get firsthand knowledge of this program, being a former member of the Lake of the Woods District Hospital board, and I must say that I do not think I have ever seen a program that has been so proactive to the native health needs. What it involved was the referral of native people to local healers. We would take our native patients and be able to refer them to these native healers, a program that was very successful.
As well, I was able to examine a treatment centre at Thunder Bay. It is a treatment centre on the Fort William reserve, which members may know is adjacent to my riding. We find the province of Ontario contributing a good deal financially -- $300,000 on an annual basis -- towards the operating of this centre. I must say that this is one example that we have seen of the way both the provincial government and the federal government have come together to work together on culturally appropriate centres to help the native people with their problems.
As well, we have often heard that it is a goal of this government to ensure the level of health services is available to native people as it is available to other people in Ontario; that is, all other Ontarians. Of course, one of the great difficulties in accomplishing this goal is the division that we have within our native groups. We have both status and nonstatus aboriginal people.
As we also know, more than a year ago the Attorney General and minister responsible for native affairs (Mr Scott) spoke at length in Ottawa regarding the possibility of eliminating this distinction between the two groups of native people. His far-reaching proposal, which would guarantee all native people in the province full citizenship in the province in which they live, our province of Ontario, is still being considered by both levels of government, the federal and the provincial, along with the native leaders themselves. A new tone, one of seeing boundaries between peoples disappear, has been injected into the ongoing jurisdictional debates. I am happy to see that. I see results of that every day.
In another centre in my riding, the town of Sioux Lookout, we see a good number of attitudes changing. This is taking place at this very moment in Sioux Lookout, where we are looking at the amalgamation of both the federal and provincial hospitals under a local health authority. This is at the conceptual stage right now. I am happy to say that the mayor of Sioux Lookout is in the gallery today, one of the strong proponents of ensuring that this is going to continue on. As I say, it is in the conceptual stages today, but we are looking forward to growth in that area.
I guess the ultimate goal of everything I have been speaking about in my presentation here today is the greater empowerment of native people themselves. Such changes will, as we know, require many constitutional changes, and we all recognize that takes considerable time and discussion. I think we are moving in this province to provide many vehicles, as many vehicles as possible, for our native communities, as I said earlier, to develop their own programs.
Again, I would just like to thank the member for Lake Nipigon for bringing this to the attention of the House. I congratulate him in his resolution and would like to let him know that I am in full support of what he has said here today in the House.
Mr B. Rae: I am delighted to be able to participate in this debate. First of all, I want to congratulate the mover of the motion, my very dear friend the member for Lake Nipigon. Like all in this House who served with his predecessor, Jack Stokes, I certainly regard Jack Stokes as one of the real heroes of Ontario politics in the life at this Legislature. I would say that, together with Mr Stokes, the member for Lake Nipigon shares a special sense of his responsibilities and his relationship as a representative with the native people in his constituency, or as Jack Stokes would always say, the first citizens of Ontario.
It was at the beginning of my career here as leader of the party that Jack Stokes took me aside and said, “If you are going to understand Ontario you’ve got to get north of 50, you’ve got to spend time talking to native people, you’ve got to get out and visit the reserves and you’ve got to spend time doing that.” It was one summer when we combined a bit of recreational fishing with the then reeve of Manitouwadge, whom I had never met before, who is always a particularly welcoming and warm host to the community. We visited several reserves north of 50 and had a chance to meet with many chiefs, with many elders and to see first hand the conditions in many, many of the communities north of Pickle Lake.
That experience stayed with me as I began talking and meeting with chiefs in other parts of the province, realizing that really we have in our Ontario family communities that are forced to live in conditions that are completely different from conditions faced by any other group of communities in Ontario and, indeed, in Canada.
This is not a particularly novel statement, Mr Speaker, but I would simply ask you to imagine, if you would, a community of 500 or 700 or 1,000 people in which the majority of people have no running water; in which there is no efficient or environmentally acceptable sewage disposal; in which over half the people are living on social assistance; in which there are, apart from the traditional hunting and fishing, which in many communities is becoming increasingly difficult as a source of sustenance and as a way of life, literally no jobs other than those provided by the mission or by the Hudson’s Bay Co or by various government services; communities in which birth rates are exploding, which is quite the opposite pattern in the rest of the province; kids who are drinking water that is untreated and full of bacteria, which means that many of the children, from the time of birth, are suffering from chronic diarrhoea and chronic food and appetite problems; in which there are only the most basic of health care services and only the most basic of services being provided.
This is not just one or two houses, this is not just a small area in a metropolitan area; this is the life of the whole community, with the exception of the mission, be it a Catholic mission or an Anglican mission, the Hudson’s Bay Co or the equivalent thereof, Northern Stores or whatever they may now call themselves, and the government offices. This is the life, this is the way it is.
Very few people in the rest of the province understand that. We do not see it. There are no television cameras that tell us that this is what life is like. The communities are completely isolated, except by communication by plane. Of course, we now have the miracle of television. Many of them have offices with computers, but we still do not have basic sewage treatment. We still do not have running water. We still do not have the basic elements, in terms of decent housing and housing which will last, which we would recognize as fundamental to our sense of what it takes to live a decent life.
People die earlier; suicide rates are much, much higher. The rates of alcoholism are high, drug abuse is a real problem, glue sniffing and gasoline sniffing among young kids is rampant. You have a whole population of young people who come back from school -- where they are sent off to residential schools -- they come back aged 14, 15 and 16 for an entire summer, and there is nothing for them to do.
In some communities sexually communicable disease is a problem, which is inevitable, given the fact that people are living so close together, frankly, and given the fact that there is so little in terms of other recreational activities for kids. What we see happening is the inevitable result of the social conditions which our society has allowed to not just exist, but to grow. Again, this is not unique to northern Ontario; this is the native condition in Canada today.
I want to say this about what we are suggesting: Health care is one example, one area where this province has a responsibility. I know full well that there is a very powerful argument that says quite simply, “No, it’s an area that must be left exclusively to the federal government.” I want to say to this government, if it takes that approach in terms of funding, then we are basically saying to the native people, “You’re on your own, because in terms of the federal government the stuff just is not happening.
What we are suggesting, and what I am suggesting, is that what we need to establish in Ontario is a sense of what are the basic conditions of life that should apply to every community in this province.
I think every community in this province is entitled to electricity. I think every community in this province is entitled to running water. I think every community in this province is entitled to sewage treatment. I think every community in this province is entitled to the basic minimal conditions in terms of housing and social standards which we would feel are acceptable for where we live. There is not a member here who would accept living in a community that did not have running water, that did not have sewage treatment and that did not have basic health care.
I think we are beginning to realize that the health care problems are so visible and so strong, as we experience when we travel in the north. I have been up to James Bay and stayed overnight in the communities on James Bay last winter. We were again up north of Pickle Lake this summer. The member and I went up to visit it together, the most northern community in the province, the community of Fort Severn, where we had a meeting at night and we were talking to the elders about conditions.
The reality is that unless the provincial government provides funding which the native people can then allocate and control themselves, funding which will get into the hands of the communities and be used by the communities, we are simply going to continue to see thousands of people in our province living in conditions of poverty, living in conditions of little hope and living in conditions which, as I say, none of us would accept under any circumstances as a tolerable or acceptable way of life for our fellow Canadians.
This is one of the central challenges of Canadian life and of Ontario life today. Either we deal with this problem, negotiate with the chiefs, negotiate with the native people and create an independent health care service for northern Ontario as it affects our native people, or we continue to ignore it. This is a challenge. We must not ignore it because the future of children, the future of our communities and the future of our sense of what we owe each other is at stake.
Mr Pollock: I believe I have got only about one minute left, but I just want to compliment the member for Lake Nipigon on his resolution. I have listened with interest to the concerns and some of the problems facing our native people here in Ontario, particularly in the north.
I represented a reserve in the old part of my riding. Then when the boundary was changed, I inherited and now represent a reserve in the new part. These people are only roughly about 15 kilometres from two major hospitals, and I am sure they are not that far from dental service or that sort of thing, so it is not a major problem in my area as it is in some of the remote areas of northern Ontario.
Nevertheless, I compliment the member for Lake Nipigon on his resolution and the fact that, as was mentioned here already, a dentist goes to, say, a place like Fort Severn only every six months. That is totally, as far as I am concerned, unacceptable. The doctor only visits, I believe it was stated, every three months. That is a long time to wait if you have got a problem. I just wanted to put that on the record.
Mr Brown: It is indeed a pleasure and an honour to be participating in this debate this morning. I certainly would like to thank the member for Lake Nipigon, the recent star of national radio and television, for bringing this important subject to the Legislature this morning. I would also indicate to the assembly that I will be supporting this resolution and I thank the member for framing the question in a way that all members of the Legislature can support it.
My colleague the member for Kenora (Mr Miclash) has raised some good and interesting points. He has mentioned that this government has been encouraging native people to develop their own health care programs. The government has been doing this in all of Ontario through the community health care model. Several of our native communities are participating through their district health councils.
I have the privilege and the honour of representing eight first nations in this assembly. The issue raised by the member for Lake Nipigon is most important to the wellbeing of my constituents. Health services to my constituents, to the natives in my riding, are very important. But I believe that health is not merely a matter of treating disease and illness. Rather, a holistic approach is needed which addresses the infrastructure and the socioeconomic problems we have on the reserves.
Before I go on to describe some of the ways health promotion activities are being fostered in the native communities, I would like to point out some of the details of how the current funding arrangements work. Many of the members are probably not aware that the provincial Ministry of Health pays the entire cost of health insurance for all status natives in this province and there is no recovery from the federal government. This is in a time when the funding from the federal government to the province of Ontario has dropped to 38 per cent from 51 per cent.
Public health program funding is done on the reserves the same as it is done with the municipalities: 75 per cent of the cost is borne by the province of Ontario, leaving the balance for the first nations to pick up. In my constituency I have had some difficulties with home care. Some of the arrangements on particular reserves have not been made with the health councils or the health unit. I have been working with people to try to resolve that jurisdictional problem, and the member, in his resolution, points to jurisdiction being one of the great difficulties that we have.
It is understandable, though, that most members assume that program activity is exclusively in the north, but in fact for more than a year there has been a native community health centre right here on Queen Street in Toronto. The ministry funds this CHC with $1.2 million a year to operate and provide primary health services. It is worth noting here, as in all programs I will be mentioning, that in Toronto it is the natives who manage the programming.
The Delaware nation in Thamesville is providing youth from nine to 12 with an alcohol and drug prevention program that includes a wilderness experience incorporating native cultural values. A health promotion grant has helped the Sault Ste Marie lndian Friendship Centre to organize a project which involves the traditional Ojibway medicine circle and focuses on a number of specific health problems in native communities, such as diabetes and heart disease.
There are many other examples throughout the province. Nutrition, particularly infant nutrition, is included in many of these programs. I should add here too that the outreach components either exist or are in the development stages for the majority of these programs.
We also have a provincial native health co-ordinator, and he is encouraging native communities to apply, through their district health councils, to enhance programs designed to create equality in health status.
We have been open to discussion with the federal government on how to restructure our government’s relationship with native communities. We all share the same goals of handing control in this area to the natives themselves.
In my particular situation, in our communities, I was privileged just about a year ago to attend the opening of the new community health centre at Wikwemikong. While attending the opening of this very beautiful and functional building, which also includes a section for traditional native medicine, I was pleased to hear a speech by Dr Jack Bailey, who has recently been honoured as Canada’s family physician of the year, in which he talked about what services to the Wikwemikong reserve were when he started to practise in the 1950s.
At that time, Dr Bailey would come to the reserve about once a week. He would go to the church because there were no other facilities. They would ring the bells in the church so that the natives would know that he was there to serve them. While there is a long way to go, we are a long way from where Dr Bailey was just a few short years ago.
At the Wikwemikong reserve, they are doing wonderful things. We have a nursing home, one of the few nursing homes, I believe, in Ontario just for the native community. We have the Rainbow Lodge native alcohol recovery centre. Right now, I am working very hard with the communities on a traditional Indian medicine proposal. I think there are a number of significant things happening on our reserves, and certainly there is great need for many others to be happening.
In the resolution of the member for Lake Nipigon, however, he does note that jurisdictional disputes are part of the problem, and probably the largest part of the problem. But I would say to him, if he can tell me of any other federal-provincial program that does not have difficulties in the jurisdictional area, I would be most surprised. We are not living in Never Never Land. These things happen, and the province is committed to resolving these, but it takes three parties to work together to do that.
I would note that there was a partnership meeting this summer in Timmins with both levels of government and the Mushkegowok Tribal Council. This council represents the seven bands in the James Bay area. The issue of transference of power was the reason for the meeting and there are to be further discussions on how we do this. But just as one small example --
The Speaker: The member’s time has expired. Sorry, but that is what the clock says.
Mr Pouliot: I want to thank the many speakers who have today honoured me by saying a few kind and factual words in support of the resolution, speakers who have woven a tapestry of neglect, who have reminded us in their own words that our first Canadians went from first Canadians to the forgotten and the cliché of “First come, last served” in terms of services.
The member for Kenora, whose riding is neighbour to Lake Nipigon -- they are the two largest ridings in Ontario -- has experienced at first hand the dilemma, the impasse faced by our first Canadians.
I was honoured by having the contribution of our leader. It is not every day that a leader’s busy schedule will allow him to support a private member’s resolution. With me, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr B. Rae) met several uncomfortable truths during his travels to both the coast of James Bay and Hudson Bay.
The member for Algoma-Manitoulin (Mr Brown) knows the problems well. He has had involvement, warm association and understanding and has listened well to the legitimate grievances of the less fortunate, the people who have less in our society and are often forgotten.
There were words of praise from the member for York South (Mr B. Rae) and the member for Parry Sound (Mr Eves). Northern members unanimously are aware and more so; we have a better degree of understanding. It is easier to communicate than ever before -- we have more venues -- what is at stake here.
One would be hypocritical in failing to mention that a lot has been done. I go back to the Berger commission, back to people who put their best foot forward, agonized, travelled all the way to the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and I am looking straight at the Attorney General.
Mr Laughren: The former civil libertarian.
Mr Pouliot: Oh, they were trying to put their best foot forward, trying to bridge the kind of jurisdictional battle between two entities, if members wish, two bodies -- what is provincial, what is federal -- playing ping-pong while our first Canadians are left holding the bag as a third party. It may not be systematic, but what is systematic is the poverty. It is not systematic by design, but it follows through and the Attorney General among others has done a lot to do it.
If we go back 15 years, when we talk about the lack of sewer and water, the lack of basic facilities, we have come a long way. But we sense that we have to go quicker. We have to stop fighting among ourselves. We have to stop cultivating the differences, by convention and tradition, in the relationship between our first natives and the crown. We have to say, “Look, we as a rich province have a role to play,” and not pat ourselves on the back and with a sigh of relief say, “Thank God, it’s not our jurisdiction for we would have to pay for basic necessities.”
First Canadians are first Ontarians. Something is wrong, drastically wrong. A lot has been done; that is good. A lot more needs to be done and we should have a plan of attack. We should have a timetable accompanied by resources. We should listen better. We should give authority and encourage authority where they can take over their own jurisdiction, for they know better what their people need. Those are normal reactions. I think we will get there -- that is why we are on our feet -- but I think we need to do it faster.
The Speaker: That concludes the discussions on ballot items 31 and 32.
CUSTODY AND ACCESS
The Speaker: Mr Henderson has moved resolution 34.
All those in favour will say “aye.”
All those opposed will say “’nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
NATIVE HEALTH SERVICES
The Speaker: Mr Pouliot has moved resolution 33.
Motion agreed to.
The House recessed at 1200.
The House resumed at 1330.
FUSILLADE À MONTRÉAL
Mlle Martel : Si nous sommes toutes et tous bouleversés par l’évènement tragique survenu à l’Université de Montréal hier soir, les femmes, elles, se sentent particulièrement touchées. Cette tuerie effroyable rappelle la vulnérabilité des femmes, aujourd’hui encore, dans notre société, et que nous croyons parfois, naïvement, être à l’abri de tels actes de violence. Ce n’est malheureusement que la manifestation extrême de toutes sortes d’actes hostiles que vivent les femmes dans leur quotidien à l’université, à la maison, au bureau ou à l’usine.
La violence conjugale, le harcèlement sexuel au travail, les agressions sexuelles sur les campus universitaires : autant de manifestations de misogynie sont malheureusement parfois des manifestations de haine à l’égard des femmes. Nous ne saurions tolérer les attitudes dans notre société qui encouragent et engendrent une telle folie et nous ne devons jamais garder le silence quand une femme est victime d’une injustice parce qu’elle est une femme.
Permettez-moi, au nom de mes collègues ici présents, d’exprimer mes plus profondes condoléances aux familles des victimes, à leurs amis et à la population étudiante de l’Université de Montréal.
BOUNTY ON WOLVES
Mr McLean: My statement is for the Minister of Natural Resources and it concerns elimination of wolf bounties in Ontario. A joint letter from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to the townships of Simcoe county indicated that wolf bounties reduce the animal population and suggested that there are other approaches available to farmers to protect their livestock.
Unfortunately, this letter failed to provide a list of suggested alternatives to wolf bounties. There were 417 wolf bounties paid out in 1988. Farmers believe the wolf bounty program worked well in protecting their valuable livestock. Then the minister comes along and discontinues the successful program. He says there are acceptable alternatives to wolf bounties, but he fails to say exactly what those alternatives are.
Wolves can cause unacceptable levels of property damage and livestock losses to municipalities, and farmers and other landlords in Simcoe county must be able to protect their interests. They have a right and a duty to do so, and the minister has the right and duty to let the municipalities, farmers and other land owners know what alternatives are available for them to protect their interests now that he has discontinued the wolf bounty program.
PASSENGER RAIL SERVICES
Mr Adams: I spoke yesterday at a Union Station rally protesting cuts in Via Rail services to Peterborough and other communities. Others attending were Mayor Art Eggleton of Toronto, author Farley Mowat, the member for Kitchener (Mr D. R. Cooke), Alderman Jeff Leal of Peterborough, and the rally organizer, the member for Brantford (Mr Neumann). The rally included people from many areas affected by the cuts and a variety of labour and other groups.
All members of this House, whether their own communities are directly affected or not, must realize that there will be huge cuts in Via services in Ontario not in the distant future but next month. The quality of life of everyone in the province will be affected by this cruel and shortsighted federal policy. The efficiency of our economy will be reduced and our environment will be damaged. Via services to Peterborough will be completely eliminated.
Once again, I call on all members to do everything in their power to persuade the federal government to heed its own standing committee and at least place a moratorium on the Via cuts so that there can be some proper planning. Let’s all work together to develop a modern, complete rail system in Ontario.
Mr Wildman: The Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology jointly established a Food Industry Advisory Committee to look at the serious developments in the food processing area of our economy with representatives of various sectors of the food industry in this province. The final report of that committee was supposed to be published in October 1989. Yesterday it was announced in the House in answer to a question that the report now will not come down until some time in January.
This government does not seem to understand the seriousness in the food sector as a result of various changes with regard to the so-called free trade agreement and the GATT announcements. The food industry is deteriorating in this province, yet this government is doing nothing.
We have a loss of 370 jobs in the beef slaughterhouses alone in this province over the last year. We have predictions from Gerber (Canada) that it will close in Niagara Falls and St Lawrence Starch will close in Mississauga, with a further loss of 550 jobs in this province, much less the dangers that produces for the agricultural producers who will not have a market if these operations shut down.
It is time this government came up with a strategy to protect and expand the food processing industry to protect the jobs in the industry and the market for farmers in Ontario.
Mr Cureatz: Today Ontario Hydro is requesting permission to increase power output at the Darlington nuclear generating station which, of course, is in my riding of Durham East. With the brownout situation we are facing, Ontario Hydro and others might argue that it is prudent to get Darlington going quickly. However, we should not let expediency get in the way of safety.
The town of Newcastle, which is my own hometown, which is responsible for dealing with any emergencies arising at the Darlington plant, has not yet approved a complete fire plan for the plant. Until it does, Ontario Hydro should not be allowed to increase power, no matter what the external pressures are.
The safety of the residents living in the surrounding area should not be jeopardized because Ontario Hydro has not had the foresight, nor has this government, to supply adequate power to the rest of the province when it gets cold. Ontario Hydro and the Solicitor General’s office are not taking the town’s concerns seriously. If the local fire chief says he is not satisfied that public safety is adequately addressed, his opinion should be respected.
The corporation is trying to push an agenda that could jeopardize public safety. Using the excuse of brownouts to speed up the licensing process shows Hydro and this Liberal administration have not planned adequately enough, as I have indicated in this portfolio many times over the last two years. They have been dragging their feet in terms of ensuring that Ontario residents and industry will be supplied with an adequate amount of electricity. Here we have a situation facing brownouts which indicates they have not planned.
SIMCOE CHRISTMAS PANORAMA
Mr Miller: I would like to use this occasion to draw attention to the 32nd annual Simcoe Christmas Panorama. For those members who have not yet had the pleasure of being in Simcoe during the Christmas season, let me shed some light on what they are missing.
The Simcoe Christmas Panorama has been a yuletide tradition since a dedicated group of Simcoe businessmen decided to light up Wellington Park back in 1957. The panorama consists of 60 different displays illuminated by 25,000 Christmas lights and set in the natural beauty of Wellington Park along the Lynn River. In 1988, the panorama attracted 220 tour buses from all over Ontario and the northern part of the United States. The Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce has estimated that a total of 500,000 people visited last year’s panorama.
The panorama is a labour of love for the 500 volunteers who unselfishly give of their time each December to make Simcoe’s Christmas-light show the best in Canada. The official opening ceremony for this year’s Christmas panorama was held on 1 December in Wellington Pork with our federal member of parliament, Bob Speller for Haldimand-Norfolk, pulling the first switch. The lights will be on every evening from 5:30 until midnight from now until 1 January. I invite all members, if they have the opportunity, to drop in and see them for themselves. It will be worth it.
Miss Martel: On Monday afternoon during the debate on Bill 68 and again on Tuesday, this party pointed out that Bill 68 would have a tremendous impact upon the workers’ compensation system. Specifically, the bill will take some $25 million a year out of that system. That will significantly increase the unfunded liability fund and cause the board to look for new and innovative ways to reduce workers’ benefits in order to cut costs and employer premiums.
The Minister of Financial Institutions (Mr Elston) does not understand what this means. In response, he argued that Bill 68 would increase costs and therefore employer premiums, but that these increases would be offset by lower insurance premiums paid by these same employers.
First, what employers pay into workers’ compensation depends upon what industry they are involved in and how many accidents their employees suffer. What an individual employer pays for his or her own automobile insurance has absolutely nothing to do with what he or she will have to pay to the Workers’ Compensation Board for coverage for his employees. Second, it is a fallacy to argue that injured employees will benefit by paying lower automobile insurance premiums, because this government has already admitted that rates in urban areas will jump another eight per cent.
The problem is that under Bill 68, the WCB will not be able to recover costs from a third party unless the worker dies or is seriously injured. That means more people will need WCB and that will increase costs to employers. In turn, the board will have to cut benefits to injured workers to reduce its unfunded liability. That is where the injustice lies in this bill.
Mrs Cunningham: I am rising in the House today to voice some very serious concerns over the children’s and infants’ development services program in York region. It is in tremendous need of support from the Ministry of Community and Social Services. I realize that there has been incredible population growth in regions outside of Metropolitan Toronto. This has placed a substantial amount of pressure to maintain levels of services in programs for infants and children in these communities.
The Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr Beer) must realize that there are over 150 families waiting for ministry support for the CIDS program. These children do not have the time to wait. Their development has been delayed and every day that they wait affects future positive development. Over 150 young lives are waiting in the balance while this government stalls in its support for this program.
My office has been contacted by numerous concerned and angry parents who feel that this government is ignoring them. One family’s daughter has been waiting since March to get physiotherapy. This two-and-a-half-year-old little girl is waiting right now as we speak for the services she deserves. Let me tell the House that there are many more children in York region waiting for similar services that they deserve. When will this government address this most urgent need? When will this government plan ahead to meet the pressures today and in the future? The citizens of Ontario deserve services for developmentally delayed infants and children now and in the future. This community wants action, as does Ontario.
Mr Tatham: “Ring-a-round the rosie; pockets full of posies; hush-a, hush-a; we all fall down.”
Under the joint board, the Consolidated Hearings Act, 1981, the decision for the proposed transmission plan of Ontario Hydro for southwestern Ontario, dated 20 February 1987, section 16 says:
“Narrow-base towers shall be installed on specialty crop lands and on class 1 to 4 lands on in-field locations where possible. These towers shall also be installed on fence lines and boundary lines crossing specialty crop lands on class 1 and 2 lands, wherever possible, where the lands are now capable of being farmed on both sides of the lines.”
“Wherever possible.” In Oxford, our farmers believe it is possible. Hydro suggests otherwise. There has been a mediation in one case. The mediator said yes. The cost would be up about 10 per cent to 15 per cent. Ontario Hydro, be fair.
“Ring-a-round the rosie; pockets full of posies; hush-a, hush-a; we all fall down.” The alleged origin of this nursery rhyme was the Great Plague of London, 1664-65.
Mr Sterling: Mr Speaker, I would like the unanimous consent of the House to express our regrets with regard to the happenings which took place in Montreal, Quebec, yesterday.
The Speaker: Is there agreement?
SHOOTING IN MONTREAL / FUSILLADE À MONTRÉAL
Mr Sterling: On behalf of my party, we would like to express our deep and sincere regret and sympathy to the many families in Quebec who have experienced an unbelievable tragic event. A reaction to it can be nothing but a total lack of understanding why any individual would take upon himself this kind of reprehensible action. We really do not know what to say to the families, except that we are truly sympathetic and bereave the loss of their loved ones. We hope that they will take some comfort in knowing that the thoughts and prayers of members of the Legislature of Ontario are with them today.
Hon Mrs Wilson: On behalf of the Premier (Mr Peterson) and members of our party, and especially as Minister without Portfolio responsible for women’s issues, I rise today to express the shock and outrage of this House and the people of Ontario at the mass shooting of women students yesterday at the University of Montreal.
This incident is a tragic example of the violence that women face in our society, not because of who we are as individuals or where we go or what we do, but simply because we are women. We extend our sympathy to the injured and to the family and friends of the 14 women who were murdered.
Upon completion of members’ remarks today, I would ask the House for a moment of silence in memory of the 14 women who were murdered.
Mr B. Rae: I know all the House has been profoundly moved by the tragedy in Montreal and no words of ours can possibly express the horror, outrage and anger as well as the enormous sadness that all Canadians feel, and indeed the whole world feels, when we confront a tragedy of this dimension.
It is hard to imagine life as many members have experienced it in a university, a community like that being violated in this way. It is hard to imagine the feelings, the terror, of the women who were set aside and then shot. It is very difficult for us as parents.
Notre parti et moi, j’en suis certain, au nom de la population en général partout dans la province de l’Ontario, exprimons notre profonde sympathie aux familles qui ont été tellement touchées par ces évènements. Nous exprimons notre outrage, surtout parce que ce sont des femmes qui ont été tuées.
Nous savons très bien que la violence qui se manifeste contre les femmes est une triste réalité, une réalité inacceptable et atroce de notre société et que cet évènement si bizarre, si extrême et si violent est une expression de la violence générale contre les femmes.
Nous exprimons notre sympathie profonde en tant que parents. J’ai une nièce et un neveu qui sont étudiants à Montréal, à l’université, alors je comprends un peu et peut-être pouvez-vous comprendre, vous aussi ; nous avons tous des exemples ou des situations où nous comprenons très bien l’horreur, où nous comprenons la peur et la tristesse profonde éprouvées et comment celles-ci touchent tous les Canadiens.
Nous désirons dire aux parents, aux familles, aux femmes et à toutes les Canadiennes et à tous les Canadiens que nous allons sûrement survivre à cet évènement. Cependant, c’est un évènement qui a touché toute la population et nous devons encore trouver des moyens pour éliminer la haine qui existe dans nos cours et dans le coeur de certains de notire communauté. Aussi, nous devons trouver des moyens pour éliminer la facilité qu’ont les gens d’avoir des pistolets en leur possession et également, je pense que nous devons réfléchir aux lois possibles, peut-être, pour empêcher qu’un évènement semblable se reproduise.
To say that our hearts go out is just so inadequate in the face of this outrage, an outrage against women, an outrage against any person who is affected by this terrible random violence that occasionally and so awfully strikes our society. Nevertheless, we must commit ourselves to fighting hatred, the wild hatred that was obviously expressed in this terrible event. As well, I think we need to look hard at questions about how people get access to the guns that cause these terrible, terrible tragedies. That is all I can bring myself to say at this point.
The Speaker: I thank these members for commenting on this unprecedented massacre. As the minister has suggested, I am sure all members will want to join me in a few moments of silence as a sign of our deepest sympathy for those families touched by this tragedy. Would all members stand, please.
The House observed one minute’s silence.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
INTERPROVINCIAL ENERGY AGREEMENT
Hon Mr Ward: On behalf of the Premier (Mr Peterson) and my colleague the Minister of Energy (Mrs McLeod), I am pleased to be able to advise the members of the signing this morning of an unprecedented interprovincial energy agreement between the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba.
This pact, the largest and most significant of its kind in our nation’s history, was signed earlier today in Winnipeg by Robert Franklin, the chairman of Ontario Hydro, and Brian Ransom, the chairman of Manitoba Hydro. It was witnessed by our Premier, by Premier Gary Filmon of Manitoba and by our Minster of Energy.
The agreement involves the purchase by Ontario of electrical energy produced in Manitoba at a price of $13 billion over a period of 22 years. Beginning in the year 2000 our province has agreed to purchase from Manitoba 1,000 megawatts of electricity per year.
This energy pact is designed to assist in ensuring security of supply to meet our province’s energy needs well into the future. It will assist in providing the energy required to drive the engines of our economy, supplying our industries with a vital resource that will permit them to remain a strong generator of prosperity and the cornerstone of our province’s economic well-being.
As the Premier said this morning, “For Ontario, the agreement provides a reliable source of clean Canadian energy at competitive prices as well as contributing to greater diversity of energy supply.”
But I believe this agreement represents more than simply an economic gain for Ontario. It is, as the Premier said earlier today, an act of nation-building in which our province, the province of Manitoba and indeed our country as a whole are clear winners. This pact manifests the will of our province to forge powerful new east-west ties in the tradition of generations of Canadians before us, ties that resist the historic pull between north and south.
For Manitoba this agreement enables the confident start of a major new hydroelectric power project at the Conawapa Dam on the Nelson River. This facility will provide Manitoba with a secure new source of electricity for its own needs, as well as for sale to others.
For Ontario, and especially for northern Ontario, this agreement means an important new transmission link between the northwest and the rest of our province. This link takes on special importance as we proceed with the development of private sector electricity generation in the northwest. It gives us added capacity to get that supply to market.
For Canada, this agreement stands to lead to the creation of a national power grid with the potential to turn Canada’s various electricity resources into a truly national resource.
This agreement calls for the construction of 2,000 kilometres of new transmission lines divided nearly evenly between the two provinces. These lines will be subject to environmental assessment in both provinces. Ontario Hydro will ensure that local communities are fully involved and consulted throughout the transmission project. Environmental assessments will be co-ordinated to permit timely implementation of the purchase agreement.
Development of the transmission line will mean new business and economic opportunities throughout northwestern Ontario, with new jobs and training programs, particularly for our native people.
This agreement is the largest co-operative venture ever undertaken by the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba, but it truly is much more than that. As the Premier stated today in Winnipeg, “This agreement shows what can be accomplished when we stop talking about interprovincial co-operation and actually do something. This kind of exchange -- in energy, trade and other activities -- can help us to make this a stronger country, and one better able to meet the challenges of the 1990s and the century to come.”
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY
Hon Mr Wong: As members know, this Sunday 10 December will mark the 41st anniversary of International Human Rights Day. On that day, we will celebrate the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration affirms our faith in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women. As a charter member of the United Nations over 40 years ago, Canada cast its vote in favour of this universal declaration.
This year has indeed been a remarkable one. While we have witnessed changes all around the world, the ones in eastern Europe have been momentous. We have seen the Berlin Wall fall. We have seen thousands of citizens of eastern European states assert their rights to full participation in the destinies of their own nations. This is the year in which believers of all faiths will be allowed to worship in the Soviet Union. All of this gives us hope as we face a new decade, a renewed hope in the course of international human rights as we look into the next century.
Here in Ontario we can be proud of our province’s accomplishments, but we must be vigilant in ensuring that we enhance our commitment to human rights. In our province the Ontario Human Rights Code was proclaimed 27 years ago. The code draws from the United Nations declaration. Not only has it influenced our commitment to human rights in Ontario in the past, but it continues to inspire and guide us today, and I am sure will for many years to come. Ontarians should be proud that their province was among the first to adopt a code of human rights in Canada.
As I have mentioned, this year’s celebration of the universal declaration coincides with a number of historic events, events that have a universal impact, events that until recently we would have considered unlikely in our own lifetime.
As we approach a new decade, let us all ensure that the advancement of human rights is more than a reflection of principles. Human rights protection means that all of us take practical steps to change our attitude and behaviour to bring us to true equality everywhere.
Hon Mr Scott: Later today I will be introducing the Provincial Penalties Amendment Act, 1989. This act raises maximum fines and in some cases minimum fines for a large number of offences under provincial statutes. By and large, it does so to reflect the changed value of money since the fines for these offences were established or last revised, in many cases years and decades ago.
Therefore, the effect of the act will be to restore the fine to the level of seriousness it had originally. This will help to ensure that the fine’s effect as deterrent or as punishment will not be lost.
The bill should also increase provincial fine revenues in real dollars to the levels anticipated when the fines were first calculated.
A few fines are, however, being raised above the level required to compensate for inflation. The maximum fine under the Ticket Speculation Act will rise from $50 to $1,000. The maximum fine for selling tobacco to minors will rise from $50 to $500 for individuals and $25,000 for corporations. The maximum fine for paying for an adoption will rise from $5,000 to $25,000. The maximum fine for most residential tenancy offences rises from $1,000 to $5,000 for individuals and to $25,000 for corporations. Maximum fines in statutes of the Ministry of Financial Institutions will rise in accordance with those proposed already for the Securities Act in Bill 155. The maximum fine under the Highway Traffic Act for failing to stop when requested by a police officer will rise from a range of $100 to $500 to a range of $500 minimum to $5,000.
The principal group of fines not included in this act is speeding fines under the Highway Traffic Act. The House will recall that these fines are being dealt with under the government’s driver protection plan.
The House should also note that we are dealing here for the most part with maximum fines, which are imposed only in the gravest of cases. The actual fine imposed in a particular case will depend on the circumstances of the case as weighed by the judge who hears it.
I hope the House will be able to give speedy attention to this bill in the interests of the more effective administration of justice in Ontario.
INTERPROVINCIAL ENERGY AGREEMENT
Mr Charlton: I would like to take a few moments to respond to the statement made by the government House leader on behalf of the Premier (Mr Peterson) and the Minister of Energy (Mrs McLeod) regarding the announcement of an agreement with the province of Manitoba for the purchase of 1,000 megawatts of electricity per year starting in the year 2000.
This is the kind of announcement by this government that tears you in half. On the one hand it can be said that we are all glad this will be a hydraulic facility in Manitoba and not some other environmentally nastier option in a generation facility here in Ontario. Having said that, there is also, on the other side of the question, concern about hydraulic facilities in the far north themselves. There are concerns by Ontario citizens and aboriginal peoples in this province about a number of hydro proposals in northwestern Ontario. One would certainly hope we are not simply shifting those environmental concerns and the concerns of aboriginal peoples into Manitoba to get them off our backs.
As well, it is good to see the co-operation between the province of Ontario and the province of Manitoba. Having said that, on the other hand one would not want to see us causing to have built a major hydraulic facility in the Manitoba that is unnecessary because we have not achieved the maximum of energy efficiency that we should be striving for.
As I said at the outset, this is one of those statements that tears you in half because on the one hand you are happy it was not something else, and on the other hand we still have not got the order correct in terms of our approach to energy and the provision of electrical energy in Ontario.
The government House leader perhaps could pass on these comments to his colleague the Minister of Energy. The system needs to start from the top down, energy efficiency being at the top. You do not start buying power and causing the creation of generation facilities until you have achieved all that you can or all that is attainable at a reasonable price in terms of energy efficiency, as we move into the future and the greater and greater demands our complex society places on the environment of this planet.
Mr B. Rae: The statement by the Attorney General sounds good in terms of bringing the levels of fines up in areas where they have just become scofflaws, but the trouble is that in many cases all he is really talking about is increasing the maximum fines.
Perhaps I can give a couple of examples very quickly. With the Ticket Speculation Act my colleague the member for Cambridge (Mr Farnan) has been so eloquent on, the effects of speculation as they relate to the price of tickets, the reality is that a maximum fine of $1,000 for a professional speculator in tickets is simply a license. That is what it is. The minister is increasing the cost of the license; that is all he is doing. He should not pretend he is putting these guys out of business. All he is doing is increasing the amount of money he is charging them to carry on their business.
With respect to the Landlord and Tenant Act, all I can tell the Attorney General is that we had the member for St Andrew-St Patrick (Mr Kanter) at a meeting last night with 570 tenants. He was telling those tenants that the Attorney General was going to change all kinds of things in the Landlord and Tenant Act, that the government was going to do all sorts of things. Yet when I asked the Attorney General the same question, he said, “No, we’re not going to change those things.”
Frankly, until we get a clear indication from the government as to what it is going to move on when it comes to these laws, I am not sure we can count on too much. I look forward so much to question period with the Attorney General, because it now turns out he has blown it again when it comes to some of these critical issues.
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY / JOURNÉE INTERNATIONALE DES DROITS DE LA PERSONNE
Mr B. Rae: Together with the government and all citizens of the province, we join in the celebration of International Human Rights Day, a great day for all Ontarians.
Nous sommes très heureux de la Journée internationale des droits de la personne et nous sommes convaincus que nous avons beaucoup de travail à faire ensemble dans ce domaine.
The Speaker: Further responses? The member for Parry Sound.
Mr Eves: I am very surprised that none of the ministers in their statements today rose on behalf of the Premier (Mr Peterson) and issued a public apology to Dr Derek Nesdoly in light of the coroner’s jury’s inquiry finding yesterday, which commends Dr Nesdoly instead of criticizing him as the Premier did.
The Speaker: Order. This is the appropriate time for responses to the statements made.
Mrs Marland: We too join in the recognition of International Human Rights Day, which we will do in more detail on Monday and hope that at that time it will be with the agreement of everyone in the House.
At this point, I want to comment on the statement by the Minister of Citizenship where he says we must be vigilant in ensuring that we enhance our commitment to human rights. When he talks about the fact that in our province the Ontario Human Rights Code was proclaimed 27 years ago, that is something of which all of us are very proud.
When he looks at the words in his statement, he might reconsider the position he has taken on same human rights issues lately, in particular in connection with that commission whose responsibility it is to protect human rights in Ontario.
May I just say that with that problem unresolved, looking beyond our province and speaking on behalf of our caucus, I want to say that we praise the courage of those people in eastern Europe and we pray that the true celebration of this International Human Rights Day internationally will be enshrined in peace agreements around the world.
INTERPROVINCIAL ENERGY AGREEMENT
Mr Runciman: I want to respond to the statement by the government House leader with respect to the energy agreement reached with Manitoba, signed today, to provide 1,000 megawatts, hopefully by the year 2000. We have some concern with the announcement.
I share the view of the official opposition, which has somewhat mixed feelings in respect to this. Certainly, if the opportunity to purchase power from neighbouring jurisdictions is appropriate, we are very supportive of that. But I think we have some very serious questions in respect to this particular deal.
The fact that the government has decided to do away with the opportunity for public review of this proposal, in effect, is a slap in the face to the Legislature and the people of Ontario and certainly to the select committee of this Legislature, just about two weeks before the demand-supply planning study is to be released by Ontario Hydro. One month ago, we had the Minister of Energy (Mrs McLeod) boasting about the need for public input into very significant decisions like this.
The reality is that this is going to supply the equivalent of 1.1 Darlington reactors. It is going to cost the taxpayers of Ontario at least $13 billion to import 1,000 megawatts of energy.
Those kinds of dollars are enough to construct a new power station in Ontario that could provide three or four times as much new energy. It would be directly beneficial to the Ontario economy and would provide a much more reliable source of energy.
We are looking at very serious concerns in this province in respect to brownouts now. We have talked about the managerial incompetence at Ontario Hydro. Obviously, the energy mismanagement also is at the top of this government.
Mr Sterling: I want to comment briefly, in view of the shortness of time, about the legislation relating to fines. I want to indicate to the Attorney General that while he might want to indicate or hold out to the public that he is in fact making things tougher for people, there is very little mention in his announcement today about the increase in minimum fines.
There is nothing in his announcement today which indicates that he is in fact going to prosecute people who sell tobacco to minors. I would like to have the minister report to us how many prosecutions he has undertaken in the last year with regard to this matter.
RETAIL STORE HOURS
Mr B. Rae: Having been told by the Attorney General so many times in this House that the reason we needed new Sunday shopping legislation was to end the legal chaos that was out there, imagine my surprise at just after one o’clock today when one of Canada’s outstanding jurists, Mr Justice Potts -- someone who is known to many members of this House and, I suspect, to more members over there than indeed anywhere else -- ruled on an application from Metropolitan Toronto to stop three businesses from opening illegally on Sundays. Mr Justice Potts’s ruling was that the Ontario government, not the municipality, is responsible for setting rules on Sunday shopping.
My question to the Attorney General is, will he say it is not so?
Hon Mr Scott: It is so.
Mr B. Rae: Does the Attorney General not realize that his effort and his intended purpose of ending the so-called chaos with respect to Sunday shopping not only has not been achieved by his legislation but it has been compounded, increased, doubled, tripled and quadrupled by his legislation? Will the Attorney General finally stand up and recognize and say to this House that his legislation has created far more legal chaos than it was ever able to solve?
Hon Mr Scott: I used to know the Leader of the Opposition in an earlier life, when he was an agreeable, moderate spokesman. Indeed. I sup-ported him in one of his campaigns -- as a citizen, not as a member of the party. He now runs around all the time like the chickens, claiming that the sky is falling.
What happened in this case, as the honourable member will perhaps know, is that the court decided that a municipality could not enforce a provincial law. That is a most extraordinary conclusion, but it has been achieved by a very distinguished Ontario judge. There is no doubt that an appeal will be taken. The sky is not falling; the law will be enforced; the cases will be prosecuted as before.
Mr B. Rae: The Attorney General reminds me of Hamilton Burger in those Perry Mason cases. He has not won a case yet.
The Attorney General says the law will be enforced. Does he not realize that companies that have wanted to open on Sunday will see this ruling by Mr Justice Potts as an invitation to open --
Hon Mr Scott: Only if you say so.
Mr B. Rae: No, not if I say so.
I say with due respect to the Attorney General -- and I think this is a perfectly moderate, rational thing to say -- does he not realize a judge has ruled that his legislation does not stand up? What is he going to do about it?
Hon Mr Scott: I know the honourable member is having difficulty, because he has not been briefed on what the decision says. What the decision deals with is who may apply for an injunction. It has nothing to do with the validity of the law as a whole.
The region of Metropolitan Toronto applied and the court concluded, and it was a conclusion of considerable novelty, that only the Attorney General can apply to enforce a statute and that he cannot enforce a municipal bylaw, and that a municipality cannot enforce a provincial statute, which I must say is a matter of considerable surprise after 30 years of practise when this has consistently happened.
The case will no doubt be appealed, but I want to assure the honourable member that we have already indicated to the region of Metropolitan Toronto that if it wishes to renew its application tomorrow, the Attorney General will lend his name in a relator proceeding on an application to support it.
The honourable member and my good friend may think that I sound like Hamilton Burger, but the really bad news is that he looks like Hamilton Burger.
Mr B. Rae: It is nice to know that in addition to patronizing members of the Legislature he is also patronizing judges.
The Speaker: Your question is to which minister?
Mr B. Rae: I have another question for the Attorney General in his capacity as the minister responsible for native affairs. I just say to the Attorney General that this is part of an ongoing campaign on our part.
I want him to tell me why it is that the Ontario government cannot launch a program now, negotiated with the chiefs and with the bands and band councils across the province, that will ensure that all the citizens of Ontario have running water in their communities, have sewage treatment in their communities and have the basic minimum that all of us would regard as essential to a decent life for all the citizens of Ontario.
Hon Mr Scott: As the honourable member knows, the native people of Ontario, particularly the native people on reserve, with whom we are primarily concerned in respect to this question, regard themselves, for better or for worse, as having a special relationship with the federal crown.
Indeed, the honourable member will perhaps recall that when the province of Ontario sought to alter favourably our contributions to policing on reserves, it was the native organizations of Ontario that opposed that. They opposed it precisely because they would not permit the province to intervene to displace federal responsibility. I do not think they were primarily concerned about the province of Ontario doing that, but they were afraid that to acknowledge the possibility of that step being taken on an Ontario reserve would encourage other provinces that may have different views about the provision of services to native people to take the same position.
As the honourable member will perhaps know, I have written to the federal government proposing a completely new reallocation of responsibilities which is designed to ensure that Ontario can discharge fully its responsibility to native peoples as citizens of the province, and negotiations will shortly begin to achieve that result.
Mr B. Rae: In my discussions with native chiefs and elders, not only at the leadership level in Toronto but at the band level in the communities that I visited over the past several months and indeed several years, my impression is, and I just offer this for what it is worth to the Attorney General, that as long as we are not talking about shifting jurisdiction and legal responsibility from the federal government to the province, there is no objection from any band chief or band council that I have talked to, to a provincially funded program that would be run and administered by the bands themselves that would allow them to improve basic conditions.
We have bands where we have 400 or 500 people. We have a population explosion on our reserves today. Kids are drinking water that is untreated from virtually the time they are born and they have chronic diarrhoea and chronic health problems as a result. We know that these things can be handled and dealt with. We have the means and capacity to do it.
What I am asking the Attorney General is this:
Is the province willing to negotiate that kind of a capital program which will allow the infrastructure on these reserves to begin to be changed in such a way that we will have the basic standards of life which we regard as essential to any civilized community?
Hon Mr Scott: As the honourable member and indeed every member of the House knows well, when a provincial government begins to assume a financial responsibility it displaces the federal obligation. Everybody knows that from experience and I can say that in those areas where we have done so, in education in some instances, in health care, that is precisely the result that has occurred.
What we are anxious to do, as the native people are anxious to do, is to see that the responsibility of the federal government is not displaced, because many native people regard that as very important and would prefer to deal with the federal government than with a variety of provinces, all of whom have different standards.
The honourable member, in so far as he asks a question about self-government, raises an important consideration, and there is no difficulty as far as this government is concerned about starting self-government discussions with any native organization on or off reserve on a sectoral basis. We have already begun to do that and a number of such negotiations in education, for example, are already under way. The honourable member will be interested to know that later in the month I will be issuing a statement about that whole subject.
Mr B. Rae: We will also be issuing a report very soon on the findings of our health care tour, which has taken us over a year and on which we have visited dozens of reserves.
We have heard from chiefs and from councils across the north. I know it is controversial and I know it is not easy, but I hope the Attorney General would not simply be saying that we are not going to spend the money because the federal government knows how to spend it. The fact is that Ontario is in a better position in terms of the environment, in terms of the skills that we have in various ministries and the skills that we have in terms of the assistance we can offer; we are in a better position to do this than any other level of government.
The problem we have to get over is the one of jurisdiction. I am not suggesting for a moment that we transfer jurisdiction because I understand, as anyone does, the sensitivities of the bands and the chiefs in this regard.
Can the Attorney General give us at least the commitment that the government of Ontario is prepared to transfer funds to the councils and to the bands and to the native people without for a moment assuming jurisdiction? Why not make that up?
Hon Mr Scott: I am afraid it will really embarrass the honourable member if I say there is not much difference between his position and mine. The reality of the need is demonstrated. There is no question about that. But the honourable member also knows that many native organizations, primarily organizations on reserve, are very concerned about federal responsibility. They also know that if, for example, we were to take over education on a federal reserve, that would be the end of the discharge of federal responsibilities.
Mr Wildman: So let them take over and give them some money to help them.
Hon Mr Scott: Does the member want to say something?
Mr Wildman: Yes. I do.
Hon Mr Scott: Well, get up and say it.
Mr Wildman: I am sick and tired of your rhetoric.
The Speaker: Order. I think it is time we calmed down a little bit.
RETAIL STORE HOURS
Mrs Cunningham: My question is to the Attorney General. I am sure the Attorney General is just as disappointed as all of the other members of his government in the decision that was reached today in the Supreme Court of Ontario. However, we still have a responsibility to the public.
The reason that was given in the decision was that Metropolitan Toronto did not have a valid bylaw, which, of course, affects the implications of clause 8 of the bill. Was the Attorney General stating earlier, in point of clarification, that in fact he would use clause 8 in order to make certain that the stores will remain closed on Sundays?
Hon Mr Scott: My understanding of the decision is that it does not say any part of the law or any part of any bylaw is invalid. It says nothing about that. What it says is that the Attorney General should apply for an injunction to enforce provincial law and the municipality cannot, and that only a municipality, not the Attorney General, can apply to enforce a bylaw. That is an important, if novel, proposition that the court has stipulated and an appeal will no doubt be taken.
I have already said to the officials of Metropolitan Toronto, whose case it was, that we would support a renewal of their application tomorrow, if they wished to make it, by allowing the name of the Attorney General to be used in the application.
Mrs Cunningham: Would the Attorney General then be assisting any municipalities that come to him for assistance in the next short while in order to make certain that stores that they do not want to open on Sunday remain closed on Sunday?
Hon Mr Scott: During the period of this uncertainty as a result of the decision, we have indicated that if any other municipality prepares an application, supports it with appropriate material and applies to the court, we will join to support that application. The honourable member will know that the Regional Municipality of Peel has already applied, and so that there will be no technical imperfection in its application, we will support it in that sense.
Mrs Cunningham: The Attorney General has admitted that there is some uncertainty right now in the application of this law. Our concern is if he does in fact include the municipality in his plea to the court, they may still go back on what we understand to be the excuse of the bylaw part of clause 8.
If they do that upon his next application, would the Attorney General then take it himself, just the Attorney General of Ontario, to the court -- just himself -- for any municipality, but not naming them in case they do not have a bylaw, so that we can be assured that stores that should not be open on Sundays, at least in this next two or three weeks before Christmas, will remain closed? Would he do it just himself if that then becomes a technical problem?
Hon Mr Scott: The honourable member is essentially asking me if I would ask the court for a blanket injunction directed at no particular named owners and with respect to all municipalities. That simply could not be done. The law does not permit that.
There is no uncertainty about the effect of this law. What this decision has done is it has raised a question about who may make the application and when. Because there is a dispute about that, we have indicated that we will support any applications that municipalities make for injunctions to restrain the bylaw.
The reason to do that is, of course, as the honourable member will know, that the issue in these injunction applications, so far, has not had to do with the validity of the law; it has had to do with the extent to which municipal police forces have been used to close down others that perhaps historically have been open. That is the case of the retailers in Metropolitan Toronto. They say:
“We want to open. We don’t want an injunction, because Metro Toronto police have not enforced the law against others.”
It is clearly a municipal issue, but if there is a technical difficulty about making the application, we will support them.
ELECTRICITY DEMAND AND SUPPLY
Mr Runciman: My question is for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. He may recall that yesterday I asked the Minister of Energy (Mrs McLeod) some questions with respect to the restrictions being placed on industry across the province and the concerns being conveyed to me, certainly by industries in my own region, about the cutbacks they are facing -- slowing down processes, most of the companies being put on alert.
I am sure the minister appreciates that when companies are put on alert, they could be faced with a power cutoff, and they have to shut down processes in anticipation of that kind of eventuality. This is having an impact on operations right across the province. The Minister of Energy has sloughed this off. I would like to hear the views of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology on this matter.
Hon Mr Kwinter: I thank the member for the question. I am sure he will understand and realize that the only companies that are being put on alert are those that have contracted with Ontario Hydro or their local hydro for interruptible service, and as a result of their contractual obligations, they paid less, on the understanding that, if need be, they would have their service interrupted.
What we have is a strange situation where these particular industries are saying, “We want that right to pay less for this interruptible service, but don’t, whatever you ever do, interrupt it.” They cannot have it both ways. I am satisfied that Ontario Hydro has adequate supply, but where there are situations when we have a cold snap and when it is very cloudy so that people are using lights during the day, where they do call, under their contract, for interruption, that is the arrangement that has been made with those companies.
Mr Runciman: I guess what the minister is saying is quite comparable to what his colleague the Minister of Energy said. He is not really concerned about what is happening with respect to the operations of Ontario Hydro or the reliable supply of energy in this province, which has been a major attraction in terms of getting new investment in this province. That is essentially what he is saying here today.
We have the chairman of Ontario Hydro quoted in the Globe and Mail today foreshadowing problems and difficulty in supplying power for at least the next decade in this province. The minister is the advocate for industry and business around the cabinet table. What is he doing with respect to this? Is he not expressing any concerns on behalf of industry in this province?
Hon Mr Kwinter: Of course. I meet with the associations of the major power users. We are monitoring the situation very carefully, and I can tell the member that one of the strong competitive situations we have in Ontario is our abundance and our cost of electricity compared to many of the jurisdictions that we compete with. Certainly, we watch the situation very carefully. The reason the Premier (Mr Peterson) is in Manitoba today is to make sure that with the contract he has just signed this morning we will ensure adequate supplies.
But to get back to the basic premise that the member raised in his question, a contractual arrangement has been made with these companies whereby they have agreed to be billed on an interruptible basis, which means that Hydro, if need be, can interrupt the service. What is happening is that from time to time, Hydro in fact does that. They get a benefit and a saving for being on that plan. If they feel that is not acceptable, they have the alternative of saying, “We do not want to be on the interruptible service arrangement. We will pay the full rate for Hydro. We do not want to be interrupted,” and Hydro will not interrupt them.
Mr Runciman: I suspect they also have the alternative of looking at other jurisdictions in which to locate. The interruptions in power are becoming more and more frequent, as the minister should be aware. He mentions the Manitoba deal. I would certainly like to know his views with respect to spending $13 billion of taxpayers’ money to import electricity, when those same dollars could construct a new generating facility in this province, generate three to four times the amount of energy and it would be reliable for the consumers of this province. Where was the minister when that decision was made? Where was the minister on behalf of electrical consumers and industries and businesses across this province?
Hon Mr Kwinter: We have an obligation to ensure that the citizens of Ontario have an adequate power supply. That does not necessarily mean that we have to provide all of it. If we can help our sister province by buying power from it, which makes it economical for it to generate that power, and if we can do it in an economic way, and if we can be assured of security of supply, then I think we have an obligation to do that.
Mrs Grier: I have a question on waste reduction, which I would have asked the Premier (Mr Peterson), the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) or the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley), but in the absence of all three, I will narrow my question and ask it of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
I am sure the minister, in his capacity as the minister responsible for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, recognizes that one of the packaging elements that is most easily reused is glass bottles, and that the Liquor Control Board of Ontario markets a vast number of glass bottles, which are used by our domestic wine and spirit producers. Can the minister tell the House whether or not he would support setting a deadline by which all producers of wine and spirits in Ontario would have to provide their spirits in refillable, returnable bottles?
Hon Mr Sorbara: The first thing I will tell the House is that it is rather a pleasure to get a question on the environment from the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. I know that occasionally she has some severe difficulty with the Minister of the Environment in her debates during question period.
I want to tell her, on the narrowing of the subject to waste reduction and waste elimination in the area of liquor control, that there are some options that indeed are worthy of studying; that is, in a regulatory capacity, whether or not there ought to be rules about what size containers beverage alcohol should be in, whether it should be in bottles or cans or whatever.
I want to tell the member, as I have told my friend the Minister of the Environment, that within the narrower definition of my responsibilities in this area, we are looking at some of these questions.
Mrs Grier: That answer, that he is looking at it, is, I guess, what I have come to expect from this government -- it is looking at everything and it is exploring options. It does not seem to have any sense of the urgency of the waste crisis that is facing this province.
We hear from other ministers that the Minister of Government Services (Mr Ward) is going to be showing leadership in recycling paper. We hear from the Minister of the Environment that we are going to be reliant on voluntary effort to reduce garbage and that we are leaders in the field. Why can the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations not show that leadership, implement a voluntary program? Why is he not volunteering, as the Minister of the Environment says people want to do, to reduce garbage within his own jurisdiction?
Hon Mr Sorbara: We have gone from the narrowing of the subject to some sort of broad and sometimes ridiculous generalities that my friend the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore gets into. Let me give her some of the facts and some of the things that have been accomplished in this province.
First of all, let’s look at our beer stores, the Brewers’ Retail operation, which returns and collects 98 per cent of the bottles that are sold in beer stores.
Mrs Grier: I didn’t ask that.
Mr D. S. Cooke: We’re talking about liquor stores.
Hon Mr Sorbara: Let us now look at the recycling programs and the blue box programs that my friend the Minister of the Environment has implemented in this province, which as he said yesterday and I repeat today, won an international award. It has dealt with many, many of the cans, although we have a deposit system, that do not get back to the beer store. We are looking at ways to improve that.
Finally, we have bottles of liquor. We are looking at ways to bring that back into the stream. Frankly, I think if we are around for a little while longer, we will win an international award on that score as well.
CAPITAL FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS
Mr Jackson: I have a question for the Minister of Education. I would like him to respond to a math equation that was provided to me by the Durham Board of Education. His recent budget allocated $100 million for capital projects associated with the throne speech junior kindergarten initiatives. In reality, though, this proposal is going to cost quite a bit more. In November his ministry allocated $400,000 to the Durham Board of Education for the construction of two junior kindergarten classrooms in schools that are now under construction in Oshawa and Ajax. That works out to $200,000 apiece.
At the time of the minister’s throne speech announcement, the Premier said that 53,000 four-year-olds were currently not attending junior kindergarten. Assuming, for the moment, that the same class size ratio for grades 1 and 2 will also apply to kindergarten, then we are looking at 2,650 new classrooms that will be required. At $200,000 apiece, that is well in excess of half a billion dollars.
Will the minister assure the school boards, particularly the Durham school board, that his government intends to pick up the cost of these and he is not going to pass it off to taxpayers in this province?
Hon Mr Conway: I want to thank my friend the member for Burlington South for his interest in a very important Liberal government initiative in respect of early childhood education.
When we came to office four and a half years ago, we recognized that, unlike our predecessor government, there were very, very important initiatives that had not been undertaken in the area of early childhood education. That is why, over the time we have had the responsibility, we have committed substantial new resources, not just in the area of capital but in other areas as well, to ensure that all of those young people aged four and five will receive the benefit of the very best foundation as they begin the process of lifelong learning.
When the speech from the throne was read in this chamber earlier this spring, it was made very plain by His Honour, on behalf of the government, that we expected the implementation of these new initiatives, particularly in the area of early childhood education, would take a considerable amount of time. In fact, the government has indicated as well that we would be committing very substantial new resources, which we have begun to do.
Mr Jackson: It is apparent that the minister refuses to respond to the math equation which has been presented to him. Maybe he should take his own government’s mandatory grade 8 standardized math test. We will see how well he fares. But the fact is, boards like the Durham board have articles in the paper. The Oshawa Times, for example, says, “Trustee Says Construction Misleading.” I am quite fearful that the minister’s nonstatements in the House only help to continue to invite articles such as this.
The fact is that the figure of $100 million was dreamed up by the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon), and the proof of that is that in an Orders and Notices question I asked on 4 May. I simply asked what was the available stock of vacant school spaces that could provide this program. The then minister told us they did not have any idea it would take them two years to do an inventory. Well, the truth is, this program is needed in growth areas that do not have vacant spaces.
My question is simply this: Last year the minister’s government promises and the shortfall in grants cost local taxpayers $1 billion additional municipal taxes. Can the minister assure property taxpayers that he is not going to do the same to them this time on junior kindergarten that he did last year?
Hon Mr Conway: The honourable member invites me to a bit of arithmetic, and I do not suggest for a moment I have his level of proficiency in that respect, but I can recall to my attention, and I would happily inform the House that there is one statistic that I think makes plain the relative standing of our two parties when they have had the responsibility of office.
In the last year of the Progressive Conservative administration, 1984-85, the then Tory government was committing something in the range of $70 million for school capital. This year this government will be committing in excess of $300 million for school capital. I do not think one has to be an Einstein to see that while we may not be perfect, we are much better in meeting the needs in school capital than our predecessors.
The Speaker: The member for Guelph is waiting patiently to ask a question. Would you allow him to do that?
Mr Ferraro: My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and it relates to the rules and regulations governing bingo in our province. The particular issue is of particular significance to my riding, but I am sure it applies to every riding in Ontario.
The situation is that for years now all the seniors’ buildings, government-owned seniors’ housing, in my community of Guelph have been having bingo games periodically. Indeed, they have been charging around 25 cents and upwards and there have been prizes of 10 cents, or indeed a book or a magazine. A very popular event, I might add.
One individual complained to the city that indeed they need a licence for this. The city, quite properly, responded that, yes, that is absolutely true, you do need a licence to do this and two per cent of the prizes would be the cost of the application. You have to fill out an application, obviously. You have to be a nonprofit or charitable or religious organization, and you have all these other bureaucratic expenses.
The Speaker: And your question might be?
Mr Ferraro: The question to the minister is:
Would he agree with me that this type of function is not subject to investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police antiracket squad, nor are they candidates for Gamblers Anonymous and indeed --
The Speaker: Thank you. Do you agree with that speech?
Hon Mr Sorbara: I am glad my colleagues in the House let the member for Guelph ask the rest of his question. I got a little bit nervous when he started mentioning antiracket squads.
I had an opportunity to see a CKCO report on this matter, and indeed my ministry was described as the grinch who stole Christmas from seniors in Guelph. I felt very bad.
Let me tell my colleagues in the House and the member for Guelph this: If he looks at the technicality of the law -- and he will need a pretty powerful magnifying glass in this case -- that senior citizens’ club would require a licence to operate that bingo, even if the prizes, as I heard, were 50 cents or a magazine. But surely to goodness, we do not have regulations regulating charitable bingos in order to deny senior citizens an enjoyment they have undertaken for many years, so I question whether in this case, notwithstanding that our ministry was asked whether technically this was a violation. Indeed, I have to answer yes, and I regret that is the case.
Mr Ferraro: The minister would probably like to know that there are countless numbers of seniors who are asking for what little hair I have left on a platter.
I would like to mention the fact that my mother-in-law, Alice, is a senior. Alice likes to play bingo and she likes to play for these meagre prizes. She is a lovely woman and I would not trade her for anything, but if my mother-in-law cannot play bingo, that means she is going to have more time to visit, and she is obviously going to be at my house.
The Speaker: Order. Would you place your mother-in-law’s supplementary, please?
Mr Ferraro: I see you have met her, Mr Speaker.
Could the minister please tell Alice when she will be able to go back and play bingo?
Hon Mr Sorbara: I am not sure, without looking at the conflict-of-interest act, whether that question is permitted. I know the member’s mother-in-law always spoke very highly of you, Mr Speaker, and I am glad you interrupted that line in the supplementary.
I simply want to say to all those mothers-in-law who are out there playing bingo at senior citizens’ facilities that I would not expect that this technicality would prevent the carrying on of those bingos. Indeed, in the situation that we have in Guelph it was another ministry of government that actually provided the bingo equipment to allow the seniors to carry on their functions. I would not want to interfere with that at all.
Mr D. S. Cooke: I am sure most of us will not be going to Guelph for Christmas this year.
RENOVATIONS TO APARTMENT BUILDINGS
Mr D. S. Cooke: My question is to the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) -- or the Minister of Housing.
Hon Mr Sorbara: Which is it? Choose one.
Mr D. S. Cooke: It is hard to remember. They are all the same.
My question is concerning unjustified rent increases and comes specifically out of last night’s rally. The tenants missed the minister not being there. Has the minister now had the opportunity to look at this issue? Since there have been all sorts of suggestions made to him of how to solve the problem of unnecessary renovations, some of the suggestions coming from members of his own caucus, is he prepared today to announce a solution to this problem so that tenants will not continue to be ripped off by landlords who are abusing the rent control legislation in this province?
Hon Mr Sweeney: I want to take the opportunity to thank my colleague the member for St Andrew-St Patrick (Mr Kanter) who represented me at that meeting last night.
Mr Laughren: Nice try, John. He apologized for you all night.
Hon Mr Sweeney: Yes, I understand.
As my honourable friend indicated, I have had a chance to meet with other groups of people representing both sides of this concern. The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations came in to see me about two weeks ago and the representative of the landlords’ group about a week ago. They have both indicated that they are prepared to recommend changes. The first one is a recognition that the basic integrity of the building and any repairs necessary to maintain that should be done. They both recommend that there needs to be better dialogue between the landlord and the tenants when renovations and repairs are being contemplated.
The difficulty, however, particularly coming from the tenants’ association, was that I not do something that will make the repairs and renovations even more difficult. As a matter of fact, as the group was leaving my office, their chairman turned to me and said, “Minister, we may be very concerned about rents this year, but two years from now we will be concerned about the stability of the buildings, and we want to make sure that we don’t solve today’s problem and create a worse one tomorrow.” So we are working on that.
Mr D. S. Cooke: The tenants in this province, and specifically in this community, are worried about economic eviction today. It is something that the minister is going to have to come to grips with and he is going to have to bring in those solutions either by regulation change or by major changes to the legislation.
I would like to ask the minister specifically about the buildings at 138, 140 and 142 Wellesley Street East. Wendy Blaine, who is one of the tenants there, is facing a rent increase, between last year and this year. It is going from $529 a month to $873 a month in 1990 for such repairs as new bathroom fixtures, apartment door locks and kitchen cupboards, all things that the tenants say are not necessary in that building.
We do not need the minister to study the problem any more.
The Speaker: Your question?
Mr D. S. Cooke: The tenants were clear last night. They are demanding changes in the rent review legislation to protect them against these kinds of unjustified rent increases. When is the minister going to bring about the changes so that these tenants are protected?
Hon Mr Sweeney: The difficulty with the situation, as my honourable friend has just described, is the difference in interpretation between the two groups as to what is necessary and what it unnecessary. That, again, was something which we discussed with the tenants and with the landlords’ association. What we are trying to do is come up with a clearer definition as to what falls into those categories. There have been some things that a number of people have agreed upon. Microwave ovens, for example, are one, but when you start talking about locks on doors and windows there is no common consensus.
I do not expect that we are going to be able to reach a common consensus, and I am not waiting for that, to be frank with my honourable colleague. We are trying to come up with a solution that is going to deal with today’s problem as quickly as possible but that does not create a more difficult problem for tomorrow.
Mrs Marland: My question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. He actually was not my first choice but since my first choice --
The Speaker: Order. We have a standing order that does not allow insulting or abusive language. Do you have a question?
Mrs Marland: Actually, I had not finished what I was going to say. My first choice would have been the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley), the Premier (Mr Peterson) or the Minister of Government Services (Mr Ward), but we have nine cabinet ministers absent this afternoon. But the Minister of Housing is my first choice on a personal basis, because I feel that with his own personal integrity I will get a straight answer from him.
I know the minister is aware of the vote that took place yesterday where Metro Toronto council voted 23 to 9 in favour of a site adjacent to the Rouge Valley as Metro’s proposal for an interim landfill site. My question to the minister is, will he reconfirm the government’s support of my motion that the Rouge Valley and tablelands will all be protected as a provincial park and acknowledge that a landfill site is incompatible with a provincial park?
Hon Mr Sweeney: My honourable colleague is correct with respect to the decision taken by council, but she is probably also aware of the fact that at the same time Metro council and Durham council either have already concluded or are about to conclude an arrangement between the two of them whereby Metro’s waste will in fact go to a site in Durham, and the likelihood of using the site on the Rouge is not high. My honourable colleague is aware that each of the five regions in the greater Toronto area is required to name a site, and the extent to which Metro will actually use that site is something that is not known to me at the present time.
Mrs Marland: Durham and Metro councils do not have the power to designate the park. The minister’s government has that power and he supported my motion to that effect. Maybe I should ask the minister, since he is also the Minister of Housing, if he would agree to guarantee that there would be no housing either on the Rouge lands?
Hon Mr Sweeney: To the best of my knowledge, there is no plan to put housing on the Rouge lands that have already been identified by the Premier as being protected by the province. The difficulty, as my honourable colleague will well know, is that there are varying interpretations as to what the Rouge lands are. I can assure her, however, that those the Premier has already indicated are protected will not be used for housing.
Mr Daigeler: My question is to the Minister of Colleges and Universities. About 10 days ago, I asked you about the enrolment in technology courses at our community colleges. At the time, you confirmed that in fact there has been a drop in recent years. Can the minister advise this House whether this enrolment decline has been substantial and, above all, whether we have any indication as to why our students are staying away from these very important courses?
Hon Mr Conway: I want to thank my honourable friend for his ongoing interest in what is a very important aspect of not just post-secondary education but, quite frankly, our economic prospects for the province. I have had the opportunity since he last raised the subject with me to check the data and, regrettably, I have to inform my colleague in the House that over a five-year period, from 1983 to 1988, the college enrolment in the technology programs declined about 25 per cent, though this year, 1989-90, there appears, on the basis of preliminary data, to be an increase of about 3.5 per cent in those programs year over year.
The reasons for the decline seem to be quite varied. There has been some evidence to suggest that a lot of students are not identifying the technology programs as an avenue to the kind of careers they imagine for themselves. The House will know that the female participation in college programs has increased in the main, but female participation in the technology programs continues to be not nearly what it must be. We are looking very carefully at the factors that appear to explain the lack of enrolment in those key areas.
The Speaker: This might be an appropriate time to advise all members that the tradition in this House is that it probably is best if members would address their questions and responses through the chair.
Mr Daigeler: Obviously there has been a very substantial drop, and I am surprised that it has been as great as the minister has just indicated. In view of these facts, has the minister already developed a strategy to deal with this problem? More specifically, does he plan to involve business and industry in Ontario’s efforts to promote technology studies?
Hon Mr Conway: Mr Speaker, through you to my friend the member for Nepean, I can indicate that we have undertaken a number of initiatives. I would point to, for example, the restructuring of technological education at the high school level. We are going to be pursuing some new initiatives in the area of counselling because quite clearly we have got to reach students, particularly female students, in the elementary and secondary years if we are going to make them more aware of the opportunities that are out there, particularly in the technologies. We have got to change parental attitudes because parents must understand that careers in the skilled trades and in technology are in and of themselves very worthwhile and quite remunerative careers.
My honourable friend asks about the involvement of business and industry. That is certainly a direction that we are pursuing. I was down in the Niagara Peninsula just a few weeks ago joining in a number of very successful initiatives that school boards in that area have undertaken. I recognize more needs to be done and I will be happy to report at another time about other initiatives from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Skills Development.
RETAIL STORE HOURS
Mr Philip: In the absence of the Solicitor General (Mr Offer), I would like to ask a question of the Attorney General. Is it the minister’s view that under the Retail Business Holidays Act if a merchant closes on another day of the week, such as Monday, he may be allowed to open on Sunday and not be charged under that act?
Hon Mr Scott: I will have to refer the question to the Solicitor General. I would not want to give legal advice to the member as to how he conducts himself without looking into it very carefully, which I will undertake to do.
Mr Philip: Is the Attorney General aware that if an Etobicoke store owner opens on Sunday and closes on Monday he will be charged by the Metro police and that if, on the other hand, a Mississauga store owner opens on Sunday and closes on Monday he will not be charged because Chief Teggart says that he cannot interpret section 5 of the act? Is he aware that the Solicitor General’s office issued a directive that these people should be charged and then withdrew that advice? What kind of anarchy is the minister creating with this act when he cannot have one municipality interpret the act similarly to another municipality?
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Philip: What is he going to do to correct the mess so that all merchants are treated the same regardless of which municipality they happen to be located in?
Hon Mr Scott: As the honourable member knows, charges under this act, like charges under hundreds of other acts in the Criminal Code, are laid by municipal police officers who are regulated by local boards of commissioners of police. I cannot comment or answer for the practices of those municipal officials and I would direct the honourable member to the Metropolitan Toronto council or the regional mayor.
TORONTO AREA TRANSPORTATION
Mr Cousens: I have a question for the Minister of Transportation. Given the decision of Metro and Durham region to approve an interim dump site in Whitevale, what provision will his ministry be taking to improve the transportation systems around the dump site?
Hon Mr Wrye: I can say to the honourable gentleman that our ministry has been working, not just in the area of east Metro and Durham but all over the greater Toronto area, very diligently to put together a mix of what we believe will be outstanding public transportation modes, and indeed proper arterial roads and freeways, to ensure the smooth movement of vehicular traffic and people throughout the Metro area and throughout the overall GTA. We are right now considering our options and in which ways we ought to go forward in the east Metro corridor and in Durham region. I look forward in the months to come to bringing forward a number of, I think, interesting proposals. I hope to have something to say next month as part of a public transportation proposal.
Mr Cousens: It is obvious that the minister does not have an answer to this very important question. Already we are approaching gridlock in east Metro and northeast Metro; we can barely cope now. The government is busy dealing with the glitzy entertainment issues like the 1996 Olympics and Expo 2000 and not building the necessary infrastructure. This could be a world-class province when we have the needed infrastructure, such as the dumps and the roads that serve people, instead of just making snap decisions. The minister is not involved with them; he is having a knee-jerk reaction. He is not able to come along with programs and initiatives that begin to serve those areas that we are talking about.
I will ask the question again because the Minister of Transportation has sidestepped it. He has talked about other areas. I want to ask him specifically, what will he do to improve transportation systems around the dump site? He cannot just keep on making announcements of other things without doing something specifically in that area.
The Speaker: Thank you. You did place it the second time.
Mr Cousens: Will he please tell us what he will do in that specific regard?
Hon Mr Wrye: I do not know how close to the proposed site the member wants to get, but I would prefer to look at the overall corridor. I would, in answer to the question, offer my honourable friend just one of the many, many initiatives that we are taking. I could talk about public transit, but let me, while I am on my feet today, talk about an automotive initiative.
We have just broken ground for a new project to add an additional six lanes to Highway 401 towards the east, from Morningside to Brock Road. That project is now under way and we will move ahead as quickly as possible. That very ambitious project will help unclog the congestion that party, when it was the government, helped create. The total cost of that project is nearly $250 million. It is part of the solution, but only a part of the solution that we are getting on with.
Ms Oddie Munro: My question is to the Minister of Government Services. He is aware of the concerns expressed by members of the local bar, court system, police and citizenry with respect to the adequacy of court facilities in the Hamilton area, notably facilities in the criminal jurisdiction. He is also aware of the excitement several months ago at his announcement of proposals for tender in the available federal post office building was released by his ministry. I understand that the tendering process did not attract proposals which fell within the terms of reference laid down by MGS and the Ministry of the Attorney General. Would the minister outline in brief the reasons why the responses to the call for tenders were unacceptable?
Hon Mr Ward: I know that the member for Hamilton Centre has had an ongoing interest in the development of court facilities within the Hamilton-Wentworth region. Certainly the Attorney General (Mr Scott) and the Ministry of Government Services are well aware of the concerns that have been expressed over time by members of the local bar, employees of the Hamilton-Wentworth regional police and all of those that are using the current facilities at 125 Main Street. She will also know that the current lease is due for renewal in very short order and that one of the proposals we looked at was an improvement of those facilities of 125 Main Street.
But after a great deal of representation from individuals within the local community, we did take a look at possibly accessing the Canada Post building in downtown Hamilton since that facility will be moving. I believe, to Stoney Creek. As a result, we put out a request for proposals which contain certain criteria, the first of which was a financial commitment that the cost of a lease arrangement could not exceed, I think, $892,000. Some 60 individuals --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Hon Mr Ward: -- and firms came in and picked up the requests for proposals, but none of the responses met --
The Speaker: It seems like a fairly comprehensive response.
Ms Oddie Munro: The concerns of Hamiltonians in all walks of life, be they professionals involved in the courts or citizens who may be subject to the procedures and rulings of the court system, for adequate court facilities are still paramount.
I understand that the bar is now asking that the minister and the Attorney General reconsider the possibility of expanded centralized court facilities which more effectively house court administration dealing with a variety of judicial decisions, youth, criminal, civil and registry.
Could the minister assure the Hamilton-Wentworth community that alternative proposals will be entertained in the future and could he provide details of plans to receive and consider such proposals?
Hon Mr Ward: I want to reiterate the fact that we share the concern of the appropriateness of the current facilities. Both the Attorney General and I are anxious to find a long-term resolution of the difficulties that we have in terms of court accommodation in the Hamilton-Wentworth region. Currently, court facilities are at five different sites.
Last Friday, the Attorney General and I did meet with representatives of those affected. We indicated a willingness to look at four particular options: One is reconsideration of the existing lease at 125 Main Street; two is to pursue further the redevelopment of the Canada Post building; three is to find rental accommodation somewhere else within the Hamilton-Wentworth regions; four is to look at the possibility of building a new facility.
The Speaker: Thank you.
Hon Mr Ward: We have given an undertaking to the parties within Hamilton that we would review our needs and make a determination by the end of --
Mr Jackson: You’re trying to run out the clock with all this technical information, are you?
The Speaker: I have noted on many occasions, though, that when 60 seconds go by, the person who is answering the question feels it is 40 and the person who is listening feels it is 80.
Mr Allen: The House leader did not manage to spare the Minister of Community and Social Services a question, so we can perhaps get one on deck at least to him.
I think the minister is aware of the serious dilemma that food banks are facing in Ontario as they become increasingly institutionalized and part of the welfare system, the social assistance system, in the attempt to deal with the ongoing poverty problems in this province.
Would the minister be prepared to sit down with the operators of food banks in this province and have a serious and substantial discussion with them about their future and the possibility of devising strategies so that they might move out of that operation and the minister move in and take over the responsibilities that the province is effectively avoiding by allowing them to continue in the ways in which they do?
Hon Mr Beer: As the honourable member is aware, arising out of the social assistance reforms and various programs that we had announced at that point in time, we were directing a great deal of funding, some $400 million, specifically around the problem of poverty. As we go forward with the next phases of that, part of it includes working closely with those groups that are most active in this area, reviewing how our programs are in fact working, what kind of implications they have for that whole area of programs and how we can better assist people who are in that situation.
I think what I have said in meeting with groups and agreeing to meet with others that I have not as yet met is that anyone who is concerned about this issue, I want to meet with and discuss the --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Mr Ward moved that the standing committee on social development be authorized to meet in the evening on 11, 12, 18 and 19 December 1989 and to meet from 7 pm to 9pm on 13 December 1989 to consider Bill 66, An Act to revise the Teachers’ Superannuation Act, 1983, and to make related amendments to the Teaching Profession Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Ward moved that the standing committee on finance and economic affairs be authorized to meet following routine proceedings on Wednesday 20 December 1989.
Motion agreed to.
Ms Oddie Munro: I beg leave to present to the Legislative Assembly a petition given to me by Alliance Ontario which basically asks for a repeal of Bill 8. Thirty-two names have signed, and in compliance with the standing order, I hereto sign my name, but I want to make it quite clear that I do not agree with the resolution.
TEMAGAMI DISTRICT RESOURCES
Mr Adams: I have a petition from citizens in the Peterborough area who are members of the Learning in Leisure group at Kenner Collegiate Institute. It reads:
“We, the undersigned senior and other citizens of Canada and residents of Ontario, ask you to halt the construction of the New Liskeard Road and the logging of the largest known old-growth pine stand at Temagami, Ontario.”
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Mr Ward moved first reading of Bill 91, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon Mr Ward: I have just a brief explanation. The bill increases indemnities and allowances for members by 5.5 per cent, effective 1 April 1989. It also makes the following changes in members’ additional indemnities, effective 1 January 1990.
The additional indemnity of the following members is increased: the leader of any party, other than the government and the official opposition, having at least 12 members; the House leader of any party, other than the government and the official opposition, having at least 12 members; the chief whip of the official opposition; the chairs of standing committees; the chief whip of any party, other than the government and the official opposition, having at least 12 members.
An additional indemnity is provided for the following members: the chairs of select commit-tees; the vice-chairs of standing and select committees; the chair of the caucus of each party; the deputy House leader of the party recognized as the official opposition and the deputy House leader of any other party having at least 12 members.
PROVINCIAL PENALTIES ADJUSTMENT ACT, 1989
Mr Scott moved first reading of Bill 92, An Act to amend Fines and Terms of Imprisonment contained in certain Acts.
Motion agreed to.
EXECUTIVE COUNCIL AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Mr Ward moved first reading of Bill 94, An Act to amend the Executive Council Act.
The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
All those in favour will say “aye.”
All those opposed will say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
Hon Mr Ward: The bill provides for a 5.5 per cent increase in the remuneration for members of the executive council.
HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Hon Mr Wrye moved first reading of Bill 95, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon Mr Wrye: These amendments address one of the primary objectives of the ministry, and that is safe usage of our province’s roadways. At the present time, the fine structure for speeding is 20 years old and excessive speed continues to be one of the most common factors in traffic fatalities. This amendment to the Highway Traffic Act will as much as triple speeding fines and send the message that the price of recklessness behind the wheel will be steep. For example, those who insist on endangering other people will pay up to $9.75 per kilometre over the legal limit. That would mean that those who exceed the posted limit by 50 kilometres per hour would face a fine of almost $500.
The increased speeding fines are a necessary initiative in support of the Ontario motorist protection plan, which is intended to reduce the human and economic costs of traffic accidents in the province. To further protect the public, other amendments are proposed to ensure that all commercial vehicles carry adequate liability insurance. There are other amendments to the act that deal with other matters, such as changes to lighting on emergency vehicles, responsibilities for air brake endorsements and the exchange of Criminal Code information with US jurisdictions.
The consideration and passage of these amendments will contribute to a safer operating environment for all motorists in Ontario.
TIMES CHANGE WOMEN’S EMPLOYMENT SERVICE INC ACT. 1989
Ms Poole moved first reading of Bill Pr56, An Act to revive Times Change Women’s Employment Service Inc.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Mrs Grier moved opposition day motion 5:
Recognizing that Ontario faces a serious crisis in disposing of garbage; and that the government has stated that its goal is to divert 25 per cent of municipal solid waste from landfills by 1992 and 50 per cent by 2000; and that the government has so far failed to establish policies which would enable these targets to be met; and that by regulating the control of ozone-depleting substances Ontario has shown a willingness to act in advance of federal initiatives, the government of Ontario should:
(i) adopt waste reduction at source as the overriding first priority of the three Rs garbage strategy (first reduce, then reuse, lastly recycle);
(ii) establish a waste reduction office with a statutory mandate to achieve a 50 per cent reduction of solid waste within the next decade;
(iii) legislate mandatory waste reduction pro-grams for municipalities;
(iv) legislate mandatory source separation for all waste generators and for all types of waste for which reduction, reuse and recycling opportunities exist;
(v) pass regulations to prevent the disposal of materials and products for which waste reduction alternatives exist;
(vi) phase out containers and packaging products that cannot be diverted from the waste stream;
(vii) establish warranty conditions to extend product life;
(viii) use financial incentives and disincentives such as a graduated waste management surcharge system to favour reduction and reuse of products;
(ix) introduce the needed legislation and establish the required policies at the opening of the March 1990 session of the Legislature, without waiting for a report on new federal packaging legislation expected later in 1990.
The Speaker: You have heard the motion placed by Mrs Grier. According to standing order 41(f), it will be our privilege to see that all parties share the time equally. The mover of the motion, of course, may use as much of her party’s time as she wishes.
Mrs Grier: I would like to reserve perhaps five minutes at the end of my party’s time allocation so that I can comment on the other interveners in the debate, if I may.
I am very pleased to have an opportunity to lead off this debate today on a motion that is extremely important and, in my opinion, extremely timely.
I regret that the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) is not here to participate in the debate. I was looking forward to hearing his response and, I trust, to having his support for this eminently sensible resolution. However, he is not here. But I suspect that were he here, be would have repeated his frequent criticism that the opposition members are always critical and never gives the government any support or that it is our role to be critical of the government.
The resolution before the House today is indeed critical of the government, but it is also a very constructive resolution. It is a resolution that calls for specific action and lays out precisely what that action has to be, and it is timely, because I do not think anybody is going to deny that we have a crisis in waste management in this province.
It is a crisis that has been caused by the government’s mismanagement of the problem. We hear a lot of rhetoric, we hear a lot of self-congratulation, we receive a lot of press releases, frequently recycled press releases, and we see a lot of public relations and media opportunities, but there has been a crisis in leadership. I think as evidence of that is the fact that there is dissatisfaction, unhappiness, frustration right across this province with the lack of leadership that this government has shown in resolving the waste management crisis.
We have here today, listening to this debate, just a very small number of citizens’ groups, a small proportion of the large number that have sprung up in every corner of the province. There are people here from Protect Our Water and Environmental Resources, a group in Halton Hills, in the riding of Halton North. There are people here from Watford-Warwick Landfill Committee near Sarnia, in the riding of Lambton. There are people from Pickering Ajax Citizens Together, a particularly beleaguered group from Pickering and Ajax, in the riding of Durham West. There are Citizens of Plympton Against Landfill, representatives of that group here from the Sarnia area, from the riding of Lambton.
During discussion of the minister’s estimates, I shared with him a report of a meeting that had been held in the Windsor area, where I think 22 groups who are participating in the waste management planning process had come together to express their dissatisfaction with the process, their feeling that there was a lack of guidance and a lack of guidelines from the Ministry of the Environment and their extreme frustration with how the process was proceeding.
This week during question period, I and the member for York South (Mr B. Rae) have attempted to elicit from the minister some indication of where he stood on this issue of waste reduction. It is very difficult to discover where the minister stands, but by reading Hansard and trying to sort through his semantic squirmings, I think it is possible to state what his position seems to be.
His position is acknowledging that there is a crisis. In fact, the crisis is so severe in the greater Toronto area that the minister is prepared to waive the Environmental Assessment Act. There is no time for the kind of comprehensive evaluation of the interim sites which this minister and this government had pledged themselves to prior to taking office.
He also acknowledged the possibility that some of those interim sites for the greater Toronto area would not in fact be in the GTA, that they might be in Plympton, in Marmora and Lake township or in Orillia and that those sites outside the greater Toronto area might also be exempted from the Environmental Assessment Act.
The minister told us that he preferred recycling of the three Rs, that this was the way in which we were going to come to grips with the garbage crisis. He stressed very clearly his reliance on volunteer effort. When I asked him whether he would be prepared to put in place some regulations about waste reduction and reuse of products, he said, “That’s just like the NDP, always wanting to pass regulations.”
Finally, there is the position of the minister -- I cannot really believe this is a serious position for the minister -- that the federal government was going to be coming through with something on the reduction of packaging and that we ought to wait for action from the federal government. He must be joking. I put it in my resolution before this House today. I pointed out that when it suited the Minister of the Environment’s purpose to appear to be a leader in environmental protection, he moved ahead of the federal government in producing legislation to deal with the ozone depletion problem.
That is just one of the contradictions and inconsistencies we so frequently see. On packaging, he is waiting for the federal government. When he wants to take credit for having moved on acid rain, he is blasting the federal government and telling us all how lacking in environmental commitment it is.
When I pointed out the very small percentage of people in his ministry that were in the waste reduction office, or the waste diversion office as he now calls it, he said, “You’re always wanting me to hire more civil servants.” When he is boasting about his commitment to MISA, the municipal-industrial strategy for abatement, he tells us at great length how many civil servants are working on that problem and how much resources is being devoted to that issue.
When he speaks in Sarnia about discharges into the St Clair River, he shares with us his speeches about how he is going to get tough with industry and how industry has to do its part. When we ask him to regulate industry when it comes to waste reduction, he says, “Industry is a partner and is leading the way in trying to resolve this problem.”
The minister cannot continue to have it both ways. It is about time that he came up with some consistent and coherent policies and programs that would show he really had a plan and a strategy to deal with the garbage crisis we face.
The position of this party is very different and it is very clear. I want to deal with some of the points the minister has made and show how we would differ.
First of all, our commitment to the Environmental Assessment Act: This act came in in 1976 because there were sanitary landfills all across this province that were leaking and causing problems. The Liberal Party, then in opposition, joined with my party in calling for better, stronger and more environmentally sensitive legislation so that this problem would not arise again. We have the Environmental Assessment Act.
What are we doing in 1989 and 1990? We are moving backwards. We are saying that we can exempt sanitary landfill projects from the Environmental Assessment Act. The strength of course of the Environmental Assessment Act is that if you are evaluating a project under that legislation, it is incumbent upon the proponent to examine alternatives to the project that is being evaluated. Those alternatives are not just alternative locations for a sanitary landfill, but alternative ways of dealing with the garbage.
That is the crux of the resolution that is before us today. There has to be a better way than dumping it into the earth or burning it and dumping it into the air.
The result of the minister’s’ attitude, and the fact that so many of these dumps are now going to be looked at under the Environmental Protection Act as opposed to the Environmental Assessment Act, is that the municipalities and the groups -- the representatives of some of them are here today -- share a very common and legitimate concern, that the sites will not be adequately evaluated.
They have no confidence that at the end of the process the best possible site will be chosen. The result of that is that a lot of unnecessary fears are raised and a great deal of effort goes into trying to prove points that, frankly, to our party are self-evident, points such as the fact that you do not put sanitary landfill in a leaky quarry on the Niagara Escarpment where blasting has been going on for 10, 20 or 30 years. Surely it is obvious that that is not a candidate site for garbage.
Surely it is obvious that the Rouge Valley lands, acknowledged to be a national if not a worldwide treasure, are a site that ought to be ruled out for garbage. How can the government say that it is going to protect the Rouge and that we ought to keep open space and all of the rhetoric we have heard from this government, and on the other hand say, as the minister did this week: “We have to examine every site. There will be adequate criteria. They will be given a hearing before the environmental board.”
The refusal of the government to set down some guidelines and to eliminate patently inappropriate sites has led to all these groups almost having to fight among themselves as to, “Will it be in your backyard or will it be in my backyard?” That demeans and diminishes their really sincere and legitimate concerns about the broader environmental issues. It allows their critics to say, “All they want to do is keep it out of their backyard,” instead of allowing them to put their energies and initiatives and creativity into looking at the general problem and trying to resolve the issue.
The Environmental Assessment Act is the first area where we differ significantly from the minister.
The second point I want to elaborate on a little bit is the whole question of the hierarchy of the three Rs. Reduce, reuse and then recycle is the position of this party.
The traditional attitude towards government -- towards garbage has been, “How do we dispose of it?” Maybe “towards government” is an inadvertent slip of the tongue. How do we dispose of garbage? At this point in the 20th century, surely we ought to be looking at how we avoid having to dispose of it. What can we do that we do not have the amount of garbage to dispose of that we have had in the past?
That is why we say the government has to come to grips with the situation on reduction. Garbage is waste. It is a waste of resources and it is also a hazard when we dispose of it. It is a hazard whether we put it in the ground or whether we burn it. No matter what we do with it, it comes back to haunt us in another form.
At a conference of the Recycling Council of Ontario last October, I would like to give a quote from one of the speeches:
“Garbage is too valuable to waste. It is waste, and a waste disposal problem only when we miss the point that garbage is in fact a valuable resource. This lack of understanding is coming back to haunt us with a vengeance; overflowing landfills, contaminated ground water, incinerator-generated air pollution and all in the cause of using limited resources once, and then throwing them out.
“The only thing which absolutely needs to be landfilled in this province is the wrong-headed notion on onetime use of materials. Our wasteful way of life is turning valuable reusable resources into problems.”
The speaker was the Minister of the Environment. I could not have said it better myself. However, what is lacking is any commitment by this minister to put the resources and the staff in place that would get some action on reducing and reusing the materials that are wasted in this province. It is time he put the resources and the staff where his sentiments are.
The member for York South pointed out in the House this week that of a staff of 2,900 in the Ministry of the Environment, 13 are in the waste diversion office. This ministry is spending far less on finding ways to reduce garbage than it is spending on ways to dispose of it.
The third element where we differ profoundly from the minister is on the question of whether all the effort on reduction, reuse and recycling should be left to voluntary effort. The minister made it very clear this week that he was not about to regulate.
I know, we know, I think everyone knows the commitment of the people of this province to trying to do something to protect the environment. We have seen it in the blue box program. The response has been overwhelming. I was on municipal council when blue boxes were first suggested and I well remember the works commissioner pooh-poohing the idea and saying that people would not inconvenience themselves, would not put it out and were not prepared to participate. But in fact people have shown that they are prepared to participate.
The public is committed, is concerned and is willing to do its part, but the public cannot do it alone. Hand-in-hand with that voluntary effort must go regulations and the creation of an infrastructure to support that public voluntary effort.
We know that in jurisdictions where recycling is mandatory the participation is up to 95 per cent. We are going to be very happy to get to perhaps 75 per cent with voluntary participation in the province of Ontario. One is forced to come to the conclusion that this government is so afraid of offending its friends in the business community that it is content to do less than the maximum that could be achieved in the way of reduction, reuse and recycling.
Leaving recycling to voluntary effort means that at the best, six to eight per cent of our garbage will be diverted from landfills and incinerators. The minister has said his target is 25 per cent by 1992 and 50 per cent by the year 2000. In my humble opinion the minister is dreaming. He cannot reach those targets unless he is prepared to be proactive, unless he is prepared to put in place a clear strategy, a clear plan, a clear program, some targets and some timetables. One of the problems of dealing with garbage has always been the problem caused by the divided jurisdictions on the issue. The area municipalities collect the garbage, the regional municipalities dispose of it and the provincial government has prime jurisdiction over protecting the environment.
The minister boasts that 200 of the province’s 900 municipalities are participating in the blue box program. I concede that many of the larger ones are in the program or are coming into the program, but there is no guarantee that they will stay in and there is no guarantee that even when they are in the program they are going to do it correctly.
I think the story in today’s Toronto Star illustrates that precisely. The minister was very critical of the city of Toronto for not doing the blue box program right. Why did he not lay down some guidelines? Why did he not put in place some rules? Why did he not make sure that if they are going to be in the blue box program they do it right? Why is he coming around now and criticizing them while yesterday he was standing up extolling the virtues of voluntary effort and how wonderful all the municipalities are? It is time we had some consistency.
The voluntary effort is very enthusiastic at this point in time. We all know we have a crisis and people are really participating, but I am not sure we can count on that level of activity being sustained into the indefinite future. I hope it will and I trust it will, but it may not be. That is another reason we support mandatory recycling and support the municipalities being forced by the provincial government into participating and recycling.
The provincial government is prepared to do that to municipalities on housing. They are going to say, quite properly, that 25 per cent of new projects should be affordable housing. I think it tried to do something to municipalities on Sunday shopping, but that seems to have gone off the rails too. When it suits their purpose they are prepared to say to municipalities, “Thou shalt.” I think it is time they did that on waste management.
The minister makes much of this voluntary aspect of the blue box program. He seems to forget that in fact the blue box program was put in place by Ontario Multi-Material Recycling Inc, not solely by the ministry, and that OMMRI was created because of the regulation on soft drink containers. We would not have had the blue box program in this province if the minister had not put in place a regulation that encouraged it, initiated it and gave it a deadline by which it had to be in place to a certain degree. I do not think that particular regulation was an appropriate one -- he should have had refillable, returnable bottles rather than the emphasis on recycling -- but when he is opposed to regulation it is worth reminding him that it was a regulation that brought blue boxes here in the first place.
The second element his voluntary approach ignores is the almost cliché that is now frequently ushered from that side of the House that it is time to make the polluter pay. Those responsible for producing waste have got to be made responsible for disposing it. Why should the consumer continue to pay and why should the consumer continue to assume prime responsibility for disposing of the waste, while the manufacturer has no responsibility placed on him to use recycled materials in the production of some of his packaging things or to reduce the wastes he produces in the first place?
Yet another inconsistency that is illustrated by the minister’s approach is the fact that we do not have markets for some of the recycled products that come out of the blue boxes. Industry is saying: “We need some certainty of supply. We are not going to invest in another de-inking plant until we can be assured there will be a constant and steady supply of waste newspapers in order to feed that plant.” If the government is going to rely on voluntary recycling that is going to rise and wane depending on the public’s perception of the degree of crisis that is out there, it cannot guarantee that kind of constant supply to the markets it is hoping is going to pick up the recycled products.
Finally, an inconsistency appears when we see some of the other programs this minister has put in place. I remember well that when he announced the Countdown Acid Rain program he was asked why that program was focusing only on the four major contributors to acid rain. I happen to agree that this is what it should have done, but the minister’s explanation was interesting. It was that we had to put our effort where we got the most bang for our buck, putting our resources into cutting down on the biggest contributors to the problem. In that case, the problem is acid rain.
Contrast that with the incredible amount of resources, private, public and voluntary, that have gone into the blue box program to reduce a maximum six to eight per cent of the waste. I suspect that if there had been any cost-benefit analysis done of where we should put that amount of effort, the government would have found that it was prohibiting corrugated cardboard from going into dumps and putting reusable bottles on the stores of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. A whole lot of other initiatives with that amount of effort put into them would have reduced the garbage going to landfills by much more than eight per cent.
The plan of action outlined in my motion today, I must confess, is not an original initiative from me or from my party. The things I am suggesting are not unique. They are not as though they have never been thought of before. They are not even as though they have not been tried in other jurisdictions. They come, most specifically from the solid waste environmental assessment plan report, a very worthwhile discussion paper on solid waste reduction and recycling that was put out by SWEAP for the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.
The suggestions that are put forward are not, perish the thought, socialist kinds of suggestions. They are in place in many other jurisdictions.
Many of them are in place in the United States. New Jersey’s legislation requires each of the state’s 21 counties to develop and implement district recycling plants within prescribed time limits. Maryland requires all counties with populations of 150,000 to develop plans that will recycle 20 percent of their waste stream. Florida, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania mandate the establishment of recycling programs by counties and cities of specified populations.
Massachusetts requires recycling ordinances that call for curbside separation by all municipalities that seek state funding to establish material recovery facilities. Florida mandates source separation. New Jersey requires that all counties pass local ordinances that mandate source separation. Oregon has a Recycling Opportunity Act, and Maryland -- these are not NDP jurisdictions; these are jurisdictions that have a problem disposing of their waste, have realized they have a problem and have come to grips with that problem by a government that shows some leadership and is prepared to put down some plans and some programs.
The element in my motion today that sets a deadline is precisely because of the lack of any sense of urgency that we get from the government of this province. Every program it has put in place, whether it be the clean air program, the MISA program, the EAPIP program or any acronym you want to use has such a long time frame that one has no confidence this government recognizes the seriousness of the environmental degradation that faces us. We cannot afford a Liberal time line to come to grips with solid waste problems. That is why I have put clearly the deadline of March 1990, the new session of this Legislature, for getting from this government some comprehensive and consistent plans so that we can deal with the crisis that faces us.
That is the kind of action the people of this province are calling for: practical, possible, essential programs. That is what this motion contains and I look forward to having support for it and action from the other side of the House.
Mrs Marland: I am very happy to speak to the motion put forward today by the Environment spokesperson for the New Democratic Party. The member’s motion addresses a pressing problem faced not only in Ontario’s major cities but in our small towns and rural areas as well -- that is, the serious crisis in disposing of garbage.
I have to wonder how serious the Liberal government, however, thinks this motion is since we have eight members of its 94 majority in this House at this point. I think it is significant that there are eight people here representing the government and supposedly representing the interests of the people in this province. This is a crisis that falls on everybody’s responsibilities, but most of all, of course, it falls on the Liberal government.
If they do choose not to be here, even in spite of the fact there are people who have travelled hundreds of miles to be in this House for this presentation this afternoon, I think for those deputations that are here in attendance for this critical motion the fact that same of their own members are not even in the House is rather an indication of the callous attitude of this government toward anything the opposition does.
Mrs E. J. Smith: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The member might like to remind the people in delegations that many of the members of her caucus and ours, although not all, are at committee meetings where their presence is urgently required.
The Deputy Speaker: That is not a point of order. That is a point of information.
Mrs Marland: It certainly is not a point of order. Is it not interesting, when there are 94 of them, they have the same number of committees to cover as do the two opposition parties? I think it is very significant --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mrs Marland: I think the government whip should know what is a point of order.
Mrs E. J. Smith: The member should put correct information on the record.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mrs Marland: Is it not significant that the government whip chooses to use the opposition time by raising points of order which are not indeed points or order? I would have thought, after being in the House almost five years, that the government whip would have known the rules of order of the proceedings in the House.
Anyway, the importance of this motion is certainly recognized by the mover of the motion and by myself as spokesperson for Environment for the Progressive Conservative caucus, and we will be supporting this motion.
I had the opportunity to discuss the pending crisis recently in the standing committee on estimates with the Minister of the Environment, and also on the CBC television program Provincial Affairs, and I welcome the chance for further debate on how to solve this urgent problem of the garbage crisis.
The gist of the member’s motion is commend-able. We do face a serious garbage crisis and we do need more than promises from the Liberal government in order to divert 25 per cent of municipal solid waste from landfills by 1992 and 50 per cent by the year 2000. We need action and we need it now.
In her motion, the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Mrs Grier) proposes adopting “waste reduction at source as the overriding first priority of the three-Rs garbage strategy.” There is no doubt that waste reduction is an ideal we must strive to achieve. Any solutions to our garbage crisis will be temporary unless we create less garbage in the first place.
However, the fact that garbage reduction requires a huge range of changes -- some of which are reduced packaging, producer and consumer education and lifestyle changes -- these changes will take time to implement, whereas we require immediate action to divert the pending garbage crisis. My constituents in Mississauga South cannot only stand and wait for longer-term changes, such as waste reduction at source, when their regional landfill site will be full by the end of next year.
Other options, for example a broadening of our recycling programs, can offer more immediate help while we work on achieving our end goal of reducing waste at source. It would be inappropriate to delay or reject recycling at the cost of concentrating on reduction.
I would be happier if the member’s motion did not establish first, second and third priorities for waste management since all the three Rs, reduction, reuse and recycling, are valuable and will need to be emphasized in various phases of waste management. Perhaps the member might have considered appropriate short-, medium- and long-term goals for waste diversion and the means of achieving these goals through various balances of all the three Rs.
Even though I have problems with waste reduction at source as an overriding first priority, I am going to support the member’s motion. I will also note my concern with same of the means by which the member would achieve waste reduction, but I find her motion to be basically sound. I agree with most of the member’s proposals for achieving waste reduction at source. I will make a few comments on each part of her motion indicating what I support and offering suggestions for changes.
First, the member’s suggestion to “establish a waste reduction office with a statutory mandate to achieve a 50 per cent reduction of solid waste within the next decade.” I agree that a body does need to be assigned the responsibility of achieving the waste diversion goals which the government has set; however, I question whether it is necessary to create an organization when we already have the Ministry of the Environment, a waste management branch, and under that branch a waste diversion section.
Certainly this section will need to have far more resources devoted to it in order to meet the mandate of overseeing waste diversion programs; however, the section could accomplish the job without creating yet another government body.
As well, since I believe that we must continue to look at all three Rs, I would want such a body to have a broader mandate than simply waste reduction. Again, the waste diversion section of the ministry would be appropriate for such a broader range of responsibilities. Rather than having responsibility for 50 per cent reduction of solid waste, it would be responsible for having a 50 per cent diversion of garbage from the landfill sites.
My last comment on this proposal for a waste reduction office centres on it having a statutory mandate. The Ministry of the Environment already has the mandate to oversee waste diversion. Further statutory specification of a narrow mandate would result in inflexibility for redefining that mandate. Moreover, it is unnecessary. We have limited time to develop and debate legislation in this House. Let’s make sure that we spend our legislative time wisely.
I will move on to the next part of the motion, which is to “legislate mandatory waste reduction programs for municipalities.” I support this proposal. As the House knows, in October 1988 I introduced a private member’s bill that would have made recycling programs mandatory in all municipalities. However, the Liberal government defeated it. Judging by this Liberal government’s reaction to my bill, I fear the motion before us today will suffer the same fate.
That is a pity, because we have a situation in which many Ontario municipalities still do not have recycling programs while those that do, such as Mississauga, are making important strides towards diversion of waste from the landfill sites. The success of waste reduction will be seriously hampered if it is limited to only certain municipalities.
The next proposal in the member’s motion is to “legislate mandatory source separation for all waste generators and for all types of waste for which reduction, reuse and recycling opportunities exist.” This is a noble aim. Again, though, I have some misgivings which I will outline briefly.
First, let us consider that “all waste generators” really means every man, woman and child in Ontario. Before we can expect to make source separation mandatory for everyone, a massive educational campaign will be required. I am surprised that the member’s motion does not mention the vital educational component of waste reduction. Even fairly simple recycling programs face problems with people who do not know what is and is not recyclable. If we have had educational challenges with recycling, we will face even greater challenges with reduction programs.
I am also concerned about the practicality and the cost of enforcing mandatory source separation. We already lack sufficient means of enforcing our current environmental protection laws. I acknowledge and applaud the greater emphasis on enforcement that is emerging, but let’s face it, we still are not catching many of the offenders. We must consider whether public money could be better spent on enforcing our protection laws than on developing and operating a new enforcement team for waste separation at source.
I have similar concerns with respect to the next part of the motion, which is to “pass regulations to prevent the disposal of materials and products for which waste reduction alternatives exist.” I see this as being a noble but somewhat impractical idea. Are we going to require that all garbage be kept in open containers so that it is obvious whether there are materials in that garbage that are not allowed? There will always be some garbage that is meant to be kept under cover because of odour and the ability of gusts of wind or pets to carry it off, etc.
How will we ensure that all garbage meets the waste reduction requirements? Even if we can, what about the garbage that does not fulfil those requirements? People will end up dumping such garbage illegally in dangerous locations or putting waste into the sewage system.
A more practical waste diversion practice is the member’s next proposal, to “phase out containers and packaging products that cannot be diverted from the waste stream.” I note her choice of the words “phase out,” for it would have to be a gradual process and would require extensive consultation with businesses and industries. I note too that for this specific proposal the member speaks of waste diversion, not just waste reduction. We cannot totally eliminate containers and packages, but we can certainly reduce them and ensure that to the largest degree possible they are refillable, recyclable and biodegradable.
I like the idea contained in the next proposal, to “establish warranty conditions to extend product life.” Obviously the better built a product is and the longer its life, the less we will send worn-out products to garbage dumps. However, I do not see the establishment of warranty conditions to be a government responsibility. What the government could do, however, is to provide incentives for companies to manufacture or market, and for consumers to purchase, long-lasting warranteed products. The government must recognize that because such products are more expensive both to manufacture and to purchase, it will take incentives to break our bad throwaway habits.
The member recognized the need for such incentives. Her next proposal is to “use financial incentives and disincentives such as a graduated waste management surcharge system to favour reduction and reuse of products.” There are other incentives the government might consider. For instance, provincial income tax credits, business tax credits, capital cost allowances and grants. Another possibility would be a combination debit-credit system: credits for meeting waste reduction requirements and debits for noncompliance.
I have come to the last part of the member’s motion, “introduce the needed legislation and establish the required policies at the opening of the March 1990 session of the Legislature, without waiting for a report on new federal packaging legislation expected later in 1990.”
I agree that the sooner the government takes action the better. The Ministry of the Environment should already be working on the means to achieve its minister’s stated goals of 25 per cent diversion from the waste stream by 1992 and 50 per cent by the year 2000.
We need concrete evidence of what is being done. It should be possible for the government to present a strategic plan and to take the first legislative steps in another three and a half months. Later adjustments are possible to ensure that the provincial and federal packaging laws work in tandem.
In closing, I want to state my support for one of the member’s purposes in introducing this motion; that is, to make diversion from the waste stream mandatory across the province. Many municipalities, residents and industries have happily jumped on the blue box recycling wagon, but recycling could have been even more successful if, as I had proposed in my private member’s bill, it had been mandated in all municipalities.
I also want to make it clear that I believe we have to broaden our approach to waste diversion to include reduction at source, which is the ultimate answer to our garbage crisis. I do not agree with the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore regarding the establishment of a one-two-three order for the three Rs, since that order will change depending an local conditions, phases in a waste diversion strategy, etc. However, that does not mean I do not believe in waste reduction. Indeed, I will vote in favour of the motion before us.
I wish the member luck, however, in obtaining the Liberal government’s support for her motion, when it would not even support mandatory recycling. Hopefully, in the year that has passed since my recycling bill was debated, the government has accepted the fact that it can learn some lessons from the opposition.
I note at this time that the Minister of the Environment has arrived. I am hopeful that his presence among the other few members of his government will at least guide some wisdom into the vote that his members will take at the end of this afternoon.
The Liberals saw the light of day when it came to my motion to preserve the Rouge lands as a provincial park, which they supported unanimously. Let us hope they will show the same logic and intelligence today and support this motion.
Hon Mr Bradley: I am sorry I did not get an opportunity to hear the leadoff speaker for the New Democratic Party and the mover of the motion, the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. I did get to catch the very end of the presentation made by the member for Mississauga South (Mrs Marland) on this important subject.
I am pleased the members brought this forward. I know they never believe that when the opposition brings forward something the government is interested in it, but I think it bodes well for the environment when we have people from all sides of the House raising these matters.
While there are individual points within it that are difficult, I suspect when it was crafted -- not by the member, because I fully respect her commitment to the environment and her seriousness about all of these matters -- I suspect when some of these are crafted by the official opposition, whoever actually crafts them, they are written in such a way so that they will not be supported by the government or will be difficult to be supported by the government. I really believe that.
Hon Mr Bradley: I look at some of the dates, for instance, as they coincidentally coincide with the federal-provincial task force report, which is to be in March of this year, and I know they are aware that report is to came forward in March.
Anyway, I wanted to participate in this debate. Interestingly enough, I have been at the meeting of the Ontario Round Table on Environment and Economy all of the days so far, and one of the subjects in a general sense that a lot of us were talking about was a manner in which we can reduce the amount of material that would be thrown out; let’s put it that way, in plain terms. So it would go to either a landfill or an incinerator.
I think we have made some significant strides in North America, which I consider to be a very wasteful society compared to others, and largely because we have had room out there, probably, over the years, or we have felt that we have had room for landfilling purposes, so there has not been that pressure that there has been in some other jurisdictions where there has not been that land mass. It has been unfortunate that there has not been that pressure. That pressure is there now, and it has motivated people, I think, in various jurisdictions.
I was told by some of my members a few of the things that the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore had said as I came in -- and she has municipal experience, as do the member for Mississauga South and I -- about the initial reactions to recycling; even the blue box program, which is quite basic in terms of recycling. Some of the early reaction to it was what I would call Neanderthal at best in terms of those who should have known better and those who had to make it work. Essentially, it was a perception of increasing difficulties in the future, and really, I give credit to local groups, public-spirited, public-minded groups with an environmental bent, that persuaded municipal councils to become involved. The member for Mississauga South would know, of course, that her municipality was among the first in the province of Ontario to have a program, and I was certainly delighted to see that, and I was delighted to see the number of municipalities that have joined since.
As the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore and her leader said the other day, on 10 March 1989 I announced some province-wide recycling goals of 25 per cent diversion in 1992 and 50 percent in 2000. Many people at that time said they were very ambitious goals, that somehow they were unrealistic goals. People who were pretty, I would say, radical in the field of the environment in terms of waste management said those were very ambitious goals.
I genuinely felt at the time they could be achieved. Part of that was based on the fact that I cannot recall any program in the field of the environment or in other fields -- and there might be others; I really cannot say for certain -- where there has been the kind of enthusiasm and voluntary participation that we have seen in the field of recycling and the ways that individuals and, now, people who are in the business and corporate sector are looking at ways of diverting from incineration and landfill.
In terms of the corporate sector, I think, first, there is a recognition that it sees that the consumer out there and the general public do not look favourably upon those who are wasteful in their ways, and that has been one of the motivating factors.
The second, and probably more important, motivating factor has been the fact that tipping fees have increased drastically in various jurisdictions in the province of Ontario. They have increased because, of course, the cost of siting a new landfill or incinerator or operating it or the perpetual care, in the case of a landfill, is substantially higher, many times higher, than it was in the past. And I am one who believes that many of those who operated landfills, or incinerators, in the past in fact undercharged for their use. There was not full-cost accounting taking place in those days. We are moving closer to full-cost accounting now, and it has compelled business and industry to look very seriously at and start to change their ways so that they are not creating the same kind of waste in terms of their operations, waste they would directly have to dispose of, because of that substantial cost. It has many people thinking about and moving forward in ways of not creating it and diverting that waste from either a landfill or an incinerator. That is pleasing to me.
I know our waste management branch, which is a very extensive branch within government, there are many components to it, as well as other parts of the ministry, and other parts of the government, for that matter, have been encouraging people to adopt new ways of looking at the waste they are creating and of avoiding the creation of that waste.
I am told the motion incorrectly states our goals. It is a diversion from landfill and incineration, not just landfill, but I do not want to quibble with the parts of it. I know the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore believes, as I do, that there is not a fourth R in terms of diversion. There is a fourth R, there is incineration in terms of an option that is available for waste disposal in the province under very careful evaluation, but it is certainly not one which I consider to be a method of diversion from ultimate disposal.
So I look at three Rs, as I know she does, and I know she means the diversion from either one. I do not want to quibble with that. Even though I have a little note here that says I should quibble with that, I am not going to do that today.
The first principle of waste management, of course, I think, are all the three Rs. I think reduction, reuse and recycling are all important components in our society, depending on the municipality, depending on the location, depending on a lot of different circumstances. I think the three of those are valuable to pursue, and if pursued properly and with the proper attitude of mind, they can be very useful.
One of the problems we encounter, I guess, in any jurisdiction is how people actually approach it. If they approach it with enthusiasm and with commitment, we often see that there are few glitches that take place in any of the programs that are set up.
Same people, you almost believe, make the programs so that they will fail. I hope that is not the case in any of our jurisdictions, but I remember listening to a program at one time, somebody from Rochester was on the air, saying:
“See? Recycling did not work in Rochester.” They gave all the excuses as to why it did not work in Rochester, New York.
These goals. I must say, have been adopted by environment ministers across the country. Not all of the provinces have the same circumstances we have. We are highly industrialized. We have the largest population of any of the provinces. Some of them, I think, have the same problems or will have them in the near future, but there is not the same sense of immediacy, sometimes, in other jurisdictions. But all of them adopted the Ontario goals as national goals at a recent meeting of the Canadian Council of Resource and Environment Ministers.
In addition, I have expressed on many occasions, as members of this House will know, the view that if the federal task force -- it is not just the federal government we are looking at; it is a federal-provincial ministers task force which is set up to report in March of this year -- does not come up with a program that we in Ontario find to be satisfactory in terms of, for instance, national packaging laws, that we must move rapidly in Ontario to establish those laws.
It is unfortunate because we have interprovincial trade. Everybody, I think, recognizes how much better it is in that specific case, because we are dealing with interprovincial trade, to in fact have national packaging laws. I have stated to several conferences that I have spoken to that Ontario is quite prepared to go it alone if this task force does not produce the kind of national program that we think suits the needs of Ontario and of this country as a whole.
There has been some discussion of environmental assessment, and I must say that this government has, in fact, expanded environmental assessment into the private sector, much to the chagrin of some in the private sector and much to the chagrin of many municipalities across the province of Ontario.
Of course, the Environmental Assessment Board may evaluate any particular site that is dealt with under either the Environmental Assessment Act or the Environmental Protection Act. The Environmental Assessment Act, of course, particularly looks at some of the alternatives, but the Environmental Protection Act ensures that no particular site or facility or proposal can be accepted if it is not environmentally acceptable. They look very carefully at that.
The board renders the decision. There are commenting agencies within government and others, and of course, there are opponents to any particular proposal, who I have found, particularly in recent years, have made some very articulate and compelling cases before the board.
As members know, the board has turned down some proposals from time to time, as well as accepted some proposals with conditions. I cannot think of any they have ever accepted outright.
I also recognize that whatever site is chosen for either an incinerator or landfill in the province of Ontario or in any jurisdiction will not meet with the approval of some people. There is always going to be opposition. That is understandable, and one would expect people to make those arguments. I never expect that the opposition is ever going to agree that something should go someplace or other. That is, frankly, not the role of the opposition. I sat there for eight years, and certainly, if I were sitting where the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore or the member for Mississauga South or any other member is sitting, I would not be saying -- I might be saying. “It should not go here, here, here and here,” but I would not be telling the member where it should go. That is the role of the government, they will say, and that is one of the luxuries of being in opposition, that you do not have to make those very difficult decisions.
But again, I have heard people from this side of the House condemn us for that in years gone by. I have come to recognize, having sat on both sides of the House, that the buck always stops eventually on the side that has to make the decision. Others will offer their constructive or other kinds of criticism of whatever we happen to do.
I want to indicate as well, as I have on a number of occasions, that I listen sometimes and perhaps the opposition will say, particularly the New Democratic Party, I suppose, to the Conservatives, “You know, it’s your friends in business or industry,” or something like that. I am going to tell members, if they took a poll of what they think of the Minister of the Environment of Ontario in the industrial and business sector, I am afraid I would not register in double digits in that particular poll.
Mrs Grier: If they had to choose between you and me, you would win.
Hon Mr Bradley: If the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore actually had the responsibility of being the Environment minister and had to make those tough decisions, I am not convinced that the poll would be any different in terms of the popularity of the minister. I can tell members that out there probably many people, at least in that sector, consider that I move far too drastically. The member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore would not think so, and I hope she never does, because we will always require prodding on this side, and constructive criticism, which she and others offer to us.
I want also to deal with, because it was in a question that was asked the other day -- first of all, I want to say the fact is that I have always indicated that we are prepared to regulate when regulation is actually required, when we do not see the voluntary participation.
I like to see the private sector investing money into the three Rs in the province of Ontario. Ontario Multi-Material Recycling Inc was one good example of that, where they invested $20 million into it and they had an infusion of funds. We have had a drastic increase, of course, a 10-fold increase in the infusion of funds into the field of waste diversion since we have come into office. There has been a good investment by OMMRI, not only the investment of money but the commitment to make recycling work, from people like Bob Flemington, who I happen to think has done a very good job in that regard. There are not many people I compliment who we regulate, but I think Bob Flemington is one person who comes to mind who is certainly deserving of that.
We have also staff and resources within our ministry. That is not the entire answer. In the specific area of waste management, for instance, it is essential that we have in the province of Ontario a component of that, but there are many people in municipalities and in groups such as the Recycling Council of Ontario, my recycling advisory committee and others who are doing a lot of work in advising us in the field of recycling. Those people, I think, must be taken into account when we are looking at the number of people who are actually working on this problem. As the new allocations are being developed in each of the ministries, I always make representations to my friend the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) and my friend the Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet (Mr Elston) for additional people and resources when they are required. I want to assure members of the House I will continue to do that.
I also want to say that I hear talk about what they do in other jurisdictions, and I guess the grass is always greener somewhere else. I often think, “Gee, there must be some good ideas in other areas,” and there are. We are prepared to adopt those ideas when they are better. Interestingly, though, I hear many states and other jurisdictions talked about as leaders, and we should go there and we should see what they are doing. In fact, they keep coming here to see what we are doing and why we have the success that we have, why we have 1.8 million households on blue box recycling, why we see so many new initiatives happening.
That is obviously why the United Nations awarded the province of Ontario, not the Ministry of the Environment, not OMMRI alone and not the recycling council, but jointly accepting on behalf of the people of the province of Ontario the award for the blue box initiative.
We also have wood recycling. I was up in Brampton, as I made note, in the not-too-distant past to open a wood recycling initiative. There are a lot of things happening out there in terms of that, as well. They are seeing it as a resource. Instead of just seeing it as a waste, they are starting to see this as a resource. “How can we reuse that?”
At Quebec and Ontario Paper -- I was looking at what they do down there. It is near my particular municipality; it is in Thorold. They have a de-inking plant where they de-ink the newsprint and then they make new paper out of it. Recycled paper is part of that component. They also use a lot of wood waste that used to be thrown out into landfills or burnt or something. They use that as well. Wood chips used to be thrown away, but in the combination they use that in the pulping process, and that has been exceedingly helpful.
We have Atlantic Packaging Products in Whitby which is coming on with a de-inking plant, and I think others who are perceptive and looking to the future will recognize that that is a good investment for them to get into in terms of the paper industry.
I look at Fraser paper in Thorold, Ontario, which I think has doubled its initiative in terms of fine paper recycling in the province of Ontario, and I think that is extremely positive.
I look at boxboard and corrugated cardboard and so on; people are recycling that today.
I look at Guelph, which has been a leader on many occasions, with its pilot projects getting apartments involved. There was some misperception among some that somehow people who live in apartments would not care to participate in recycling. What nonsense. In fact, they have participated at exactly the same rate as everybody else, and it was just silliness of people to suggest that. So we see municipalities getting into the field of getting the multiple-family units, the apartments and townhouses and others involved in recycling efforts and that is exceedingly important. It is growing in this province.
I think the kind of investments we are making and private industry is matching and making in terms of the industrial 3Rs are going to make a substantial difference as we go into the future.
Composting -- the farmers smile when you talk about composting. They have been doing it for years, but now people are buying home composters and that is making a difference. Does it, by itself, change the world? No, but it is yet another component of it, whether it is leaves that they are composting or it is household wastes that can go into it. There are a number of things, of course, that can go into the composter.
Where it is not viable necessarily, for instance, perhaps for apartments to have an easy composter, municipalities are now looking at and establishing major compost areas within the municipality to deal with that initiative, and I think that is exceedingly important.
I mentioned OMMRI. I think there is going to be a daughter of OMMRI, or OMMRI II, or whatever you want to call it, that will be emerging in the province of Ontario, and that is where we are going to see people such as the newspaper publishers. We notice that large newspapers, for instance, are now looking, in their next contracts, at the possibility of having a major contribution to it. They recognize that they are part of the problem and they want to be part of the solution.
So while the Toronto Sun contract, for instance, came up at the right time and it is buying from Quebec and Ontario Paper and have a newspaper which has a recycled component in it -- I think the Financial Post and a number of other newspapers -- others, when you think mainly of dailies such as the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star, no doubt will be coming on stream as their contracts come up. They will be in a position then to stipulate within those contracts that they should have a certain component of recycled paper. I think that is going to be very, very important when that happens.
So we are seeing a lot of these activities taking place. I expect the grocery sector, the food sector and others to be participating in OMMRI II, as well as the soft drink industry and others.
I am therefore much more optimistic perhaps than the member who has brought forward this resolution, though Heaven knows I am always thankful that she does bring these forward, because it does focus attention both outside government and inside government on the real needs that exist in the particular area. And even I suspect that she gets help from the member for Nickel Belt (Mr Laughren), who would have a concern about these matters, the member for Riverdale (Mr Reville) and others. She shakes her head no, but I think he has been --
Mrs Grier: Constantly.
Hon Mr Bradley: Oh, “constantly,” she says. It is nice to hear that even those who have not been noted in terms of being the Environment critic but have certain environmental concerns are supportive of her, and I appreciate that on the part of the member for Nickel Belt.
I am going to look at a few other things that I have put together here. I want to save some time for some of my colleagues. I think I have covered a lot of the activity that is in here.
We expect that by 1990 there will be over two million households on the blue box program. We have a lot more components. We have had discussions with the plastics industry. We think we can have mixed plastics in there in the not-too-distant future. What we have to do is separate those, and probably put certain logos on them, to ensure that you do not mix certain kinds of resins, certain kinds of plastics into those to cause a particular problem. We think that can work and we think we can expand the number of plastics and reuse those again so we are not just tossing them away after using them on only one occasion. We expect to have three million households in the not-so-distant future on the blue box program.
I am told some 60,000 apartments and 70,000 rural homes now receive blue box service. As I say, it is expanding on almost a weekly basis. It is the largest program of its kind in North America. Regardless of what people will tell you about other jurisdictions, take a look at ours. It is the largest in North America. Does that mean it is enough? No, it does not, but it means it is a good start and it means we have to build on that.
I look at compulsion. As I mentioned in my speech earlier, we are certainly prepared to regulate. We have in a number of fields. But boy, we have seen such a good reaction in people voluntarily participating, starting up these pro-grams, you hate to come in with a sledgehammer and hit the rest of them. But if it does not work, if we see a flagging of that enthusiasm, whether it is in the private sector where people are generating these wastes or whether it is in participation, we are certainly then prepared to move forward. That is why I think many of these components within the resolution are certainly worthy of support.
I speak of the Student Action for Recycling program in schools. I go to various schools and people are eager to get involved. Now all of the schools are eager to participate and are eligible to participate wherever there is a blue box recycling program in a community. That puts additional pressure on that community to adopt those particular programs. I think that is very positive.
That is positive from two points of view. First of all, there is that so-called waste created -- I call it good waste in this case -- in those schools that can be recycled. Second, there is the educational component, which I think is very important to many in our community.
I want to tell the members of the House that funding for waste management programs has increased by 33 per cent this year, to $32.1 million from $24.1 million last year. That is, I think, a substantial increase in the amount of money.
I expect, and I genuinely expect this at all times, that the business community is going to recognize its responsibility for the products it makes and continue to assist in the three-Rs effort. I think that can make a difference. Not only should every industry be striving to reduce its waste, but also to incorporate recycled materials into its products and make its own products recyclable. I think that can be done.
As I have indicated, if these voluntary contributions are not forthcoming, this government will not hesitate to bring in legislation on packaging which will help achieve our recycling goals.
The ministry is committed to market development for recycled materials as well and we have been working in that direction. I am working with other environment ministers to create national packaging standards. I already said that, I guess. Packaging standards are certainly going to be important in the future.
I think the member who puts this forward should take heart. I appreciate what she has done today and I say that in all sincerity because I think that is important.
Mr Laughren: However --
Hon Mr Bradley: I am not even saying “however.” I am just looking at the resolution right now. I think if it had been crafted in a certain way -- the member for Riverdale might be the kind of person who thinks in a more partisan sense and would deliberately craft such a resolution, thinking, “If I put in certain deadlines that I know are nonsensical, somehow the government can’t vote for this.”
Mrs Grier: Such cynicism ill becomes you.
Hon Mr Bradley: I hate to be cynical, and I should not be, but the member has to remember how long I sat on that side of the House. I know how opposition people think.
Mr Laughren: Just because you behave that way doesn’t mean we do.
Mr D. S. Cooke: You were House leader for a while.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Hon Mr Bradley: I am glad that you have intervened, Mr Speaker, to protect me from these illegitimate and ill-conceived interjections on the part of the people opposite.
I hope that I have been of some assistance in outlining the position of the government of Ontario. Other members will want to participate, my colleagues who want to participate in this.
I have taken a lot of time myself, but I felt it was in fairness to the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, even though these opposition days come as a surprise, always when there are 100 meetings. I have even more meetings today -- for instance, the Premier’s Council on Health Strategy -- yet I still think it is very useful to come back.
Mr Laughren: Stop whining.
Hon Mr Bradley: The member over there says I should not complain. He is probably right because I recall those kinds of interventions on a surprise basis in the past, back in the days when we could have an emergency debate.
I hope I have been helpful in clarifying the position of the government and I certainly want to offer my congratulations to the member for having this matter debated before the House. I do not think we have enough of these kinds of discussions within the House itself.
Mrs Grier: Oh, we can do it again next week.
Hon Mr Bradley: She suggests we can do it again next week. There is question period. She enjoys estimates very much, where we are able to talk at some length on these issues. I hope that this resolution will be helpful in generating even more interest in the subject, and the kind of action that we would like to see will of course continue to be forthcoming from this government.
Mr Laughren: I am pleased to engage in this debate, particularly in view of the quality of the motion brought forward by my colleague the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. I could not help but think as I was sitting there, having listened to the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore and then to the Minister of the Environment, what a wonderful, what a truly marvellous Minister of the Environment the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore would be. There would be no smoke and mirrors, none of this press release a day and no long, rambling, self-congratulatory answers.
Hon Mr Bradley: I’ve seen the NDP when they’re in power and I tell you they’re pussycats.
Mr Laughren: Her speeches would not be totally preoccupied with self-congratulation either, but there would be crisp, decisive, environmentally friendly answers all the time.
Hon Mr Bradley: You just try to get NDP governments to move. When they were in power, you couldn’t. I remember.
Mr Laughren: Environmentally friendly answers and environmentally friendly decisions day after day are what we would get from the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore.
Hon Mr Bradley: I dealt with Manitoba and I dragged it kicking and screaming.
Mr Laughren: I should tell the minister as well that he is being so defensive. He is either being self-congratulatory or he is being defensive, one or the other.
I should tell him that he made a remark that I was not the Environment critic. He is quite right, and I would not want to be the Environment critic with the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore here.
I will just tell him that all of our economic policymaking within this caucus now is fully integrated with environmental questions and decision-making as well. We realize that is a terribly important component of the whole decision-making surrounding ecological questions. I only wish that the minister could convince the Treasurer that was the case. I will have a word about that a little later.
We truly must challenge some of the accepted so-called truths that we have lived with for these many years, such as that so-called truth that maximum economic growth would bestow a degree of happiness on all of us. That is the marketplace way of thinking. It started with Adam Smith and it has never gone away. It is still here. We still live in that kind of society where economic growth is important, but surely to goodness we are now realizing that the way we produce fundamentally wrong and that the way we distribute what we produce is fundamentally wrong as well.
We know with a certainty that we have limited resources on our planet and yet we are still not behaving as though we know that and understand that. By doing that we are, in effect, stealing from those generations that will follow us. We are not going to leave future generations what we should be leaving them. We need to develop alternatives to the present economic system, alternatives that will pollute less and, dare I say it, might in some cases even produce less, produce more efficiently but produce less.
I hasten to add, before members start hooting at me, that we must at the same time protect people and their jobs. We would be pretty foolish to do otherwise. But we really do need to rethink our economic system. I would hope that the Progressive Conservative Party, which really is the beacon for the free enterprise system in this country -- I am thinking now more at the federal level because it is the government there -- has to very seriously think and really must start reassessing its commitment to the market system. It simply is not going to protect our environment.
We have never factored in environmental costs in what we do. I think of the community I live in. I live perhaps three miles from Inco’s superstack and I think of the taxes that Inco has paid over the years compared to the environmental damage that it has done, not just in the immediate community, but for miles and miles and miles around. At no point have they been assessed for that environmental damage.
I can remember during the crisis when there were layoffs and shutdowns in the Sudbury community we engaged in what we called the greening of Sudbury. I am glad the member for Sudbury (Mr Campbell) is here today. One summer I believe there were 1,500 people out in the surrounding terrain planting seed to make Sudbury greener. Guess who picked up the tab for that? Not the people who had made it ungreen, no. The taxpayers picked up the tab for that; not Inco, not Falconbridge.
We have got to start building into the cost of the goods we produce the cost of the environmental damage that they do. That is why the present Minister of the Environment has to have a more serious talk with the Treasurer about changing the tax system in this province, because we simply cannot continue the way we are.
But I hasten to add -- and I am glad that the member for Essex-Kent (Mr McGuigan) is here, being a farmer -- that we cannot simply say farmers will not be allowed to use any more chemicals without thinking what that means to the farming community and making sure that we do something about it.
I remember being engaged in a debate over forestry where I was adamantly opposed to the spraying of chemicals. People came to me and said, “You can’t do that” -- this is in my own community -- “because it is going to cost jobs in the forestry industry.” Guess what? We found a better way to do it, by spraying biological sprays, and it did not cost the jobs. But there had to be a fierce determination not to use chemicals first, and that put the pressure on to develop a new system of spraying. We had to rule out chemicals first.
I look at the Temagami area. The issue at Temagami now is multifaceted because we have the native land claim. But even if there was no native land claim, there would be a serious issue in Temagami about whether or not to cut that stand of red and white pines. That would still be a serious issue. We cannot -- and I am speaking of my own party here as much as anyone else -- make decisions in isolation from the people who earn their living cutting those trees. That is going to cost us a lot of money as a society; it is not going to come easy. But I have not heard this government talk about one program that would help the people in Temagami if those trees are not cut, and it is not certain at this point that they will be cut. So the government allows tensions to build, conflict to build, because it does not do that. We simply have to take the inequality out of change.
It is not those working people who have done the environmental damage and they are not the ones who should pay the price for correcting it. We must be absolutely sure of that. I will not have any part of a system that says, “We’re going to clean up the environment but we’re going to make the working people pay for it.” If we as a society are going to jump on, for lack of a better term, the green bandwagon, there had better be some luggage on that bandwagon that contains a large dose of democracy and equality because it is simply inappropriate to ask people who are simply earning their living to pay the price for change.
I am not saying they are uncaring or un-thoughtful, but I would encourage those groups out there, such as Greenpeace, the Temagami Wilderness Society and the Green Party, everybody in the ecological movement, that when they are talking about greening our society they also factor in the redistribution of wealth and power in our society when they are doing it. To do otherwise is completely unacceptable. That is when we test the people out there who have a commitment to the environment, because somebody is going to have to pay, and we are going to see who is going to do that paying.
That is where the provincial government comes in. I know we all have individual responsibilities in protecting the environment. I understand that. I understand as well that individuals doing little things adds up to big things. I appreciate that, as David Suzuki so often tells us, but I also know that there is a very important role for government. Individuals out there cannot change the tax system. Governments can change the tax system and thereby alter individual behaviour. That is why it is terribly important that the government do that, because we simply must convince this Treasurer that taxes take consideration of the cost of the products that are being produced and distributed. We cannot remove taxes from that.
We must impose taxes. I am not talking about a tax grab here. I hesitate to even say this to the Treasurer, because Maximum Bob, who will always tax to the max, is too apt to see this as an opportunity for a tax grab, and that is not what I am talking about. I hope it could even be taxation-neutral in the end, that it would simply alter the way in which people consume. I agree, as I think most people do, about the 3Rs of reduction, reuse and recycling, and this is not a pitch for taxes to increase revenues for government.
I would simply say we need to have a recycling tax on packaging, and that can be done. There is no reason it cannot be done. We need a provincial carbon tax that would tax fossil fuels and encourage energy efficiency. We need a sliding scale of rebates and taxes. As a matter of fact, this government did that already with a tax on large automobiles, but at the same time it did that, there is no rebate that encourages people or rewards people who buy smaller cars. There is a contradiction there, it seems to me, and the government has to understand that.
At this point there still is a provincial tax on people who retrofit their homes, and that is ridiculous. If we are serious about this, we encourage people. We use financial penalties -- I call them disincentives -- and financial incentives for people who will engage in energy efficiency.
I am running out of time, because I want to leave time for other people, but I could spend the rest of the afternoon talking about ways in which we could make the forest industry a lot more efficient and encourage a different kind of consumption of products that are based on the forest industry.
In conclusion, I would simply say that we have got to get off the train of production and consumption which is taking us to a destination none of us wants to go to. That simply has to be changed. The government must stop talking and engaging in rhetoric and really get into some serious action on this. The government has provided the leadership with the blue box program, but there is much more to be done. I am speaking primarily as the Treasury critic for my caucus in saying that it is time the tax system in the province reflected the new concerns that are out there in our society about protection of the environment.
Mr McLean: The first part of the member’s resolution really says it all. It says, “Recognizing that Ontario faces a serious crisis in disposing of garbage; and that the government has stated that its goal is to divert 25 per cent of municipal solid waste from landfills by 1992 and 50 per cent by 2000; and that the government has so far failed to establish policies which would enable these targets to be met....”
The first part of that resolution really says it all, and that is why we are here today debating this very special resolution. I am pleased to have the opportunity to say a few words concerning the resolution from the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. This is an extremely important matter. If the government continues with its lack of action on the garbage disposal front, our children and our children’s children will be confronted with a very serious crisis. This government will leave them with a legacy of garbage, pollution and environmentally unacceptable landfill sites throughout the province.
I commend the member for bringing this resolution forward and the participation and the interest that she has in this, along with my colleague the member for Mississauga South who has previously brought resolutions forward too. This government has very poor marks when it comes to the test of garbage disposal. The minister likes to indicate how tough he has been, but really when we get to the facts, it is not proved so.
We talk about the three Rs, a garbage strategy to reduce, reuse and recycle. It has hit close to home in the riding of Simcoe East. This government’s apparent support of Metropolitan Toronto’s proposal to ship its garbage to the UHTHOFF quarry, if it qualifies, which is located northwest of the city of Orillia in the township Orillia, puzzles me a great deal.
This is a limestone quarry that has cracks caused by blasting, and there is a great deal of ground water in the vicinity of the quarry. Yet I believe the Ministry of the Environment claims that the quarry would make an acceptable landfill site for the Metro Toronto garbage if tests prove acceptable, if it is lined properly. If that is true, then why does this government not find a site in or around Metro Toronto, line it properly, and use it for Toronto’s own garbage rather than having it shipped to the municipalities of Simcoe county?
But that is not the answer. The answer is that we have to get away from landfills. By even suggesting that this quarry would make an ideal landfill site for Metro Toronto is a clear indication that this government is again failing to rise to the challenge. The challenge facing our modern, industrialized society is that of finding environmentally safe and economically sound methods for solving the waste management crisis in this province. It is a sad state of affairs when Ontario’s Minister of the Environment continues to show a lack of leadership and imagination when it comes to facing the serious crisis of the disposal of garbage.
I have repeatedly, on several occasions, urged the minister to support the construction of recycling plants for paper, aluminium, glass and plastic, but the minister fails to recognize that recycling plants would create jobs, save resources, reduce pollution and assist municipalities struggling to cope with the burden and expense of garbage disposal.
Instead, the minister prefers to suggest that the way out of this garbage problem would be to ship garbage from one municipality to another. The minister is not solving the garbage crisis; he is aggravating it and helping it to grow. Why does he not order the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail to use reusable paper? Why has he not shown that leadership? Why has he not instructed them to do that?
The government had an opportunity to show some leadership in a nonpartisan fashion when my colleague the member for Mississauga South introduced Bill 89, An Act requiring Municipalities to establish Programs for Recycling of Garbage. I sincerely believe that Bill 89 was a thoughtful and practical proposal that would have contributed a great deal to easing the strain of our overloaded landfill sites. The member for Mississauga South and I would have been the first to admit that Bill 89 was not the ultimate solution to the garbage crisis in the province of Ontario, but it was more than the government has offered to the people of Ontario and it would have gone a long way towards helping solve this extremely serious problem.
But the Minister of the Environment and his government colleagues choose not to support Bill 89. The minister and his colleagues apparently do not know that the benefits of recycling are enormous. To begin with, experts indicate that more than 30 per cent of all garbage could be recycled. That means that 30 per cent less of our garbage would end up in landfill sites. Recycling is an environmentally sound proposition. Instead of burning garbage or allowing it to decay in landfill sites, Ontario’s industries could reuse materials such as glass, metals, plastic, paper.
Private enterprise is going to be the major industry that is going to solve our garbage crisis, not the minister, but the minister should be showing leadership in helping to do it. Ultimately, everyone, including industry, government and private citizens, benefits from recycling. I think it is time for the Minister of the Environment and his government colleagues to wake up to this fact. But he continues to dream on while the people of Ontario are left with a nightmare problem in garbage.
The list of crisis areas in this province grows longer every day. The government should be aware of the severity of the garbage crisis by now. At least I hope they is aware of it. I only wish the Premier and the Minister of the Environment could have been with me earlier this year when I met with pupils and teachers at Couchiching Heights Public School in Orillia to discuss waste management and the benefits of recycling. Members would have been amazed by the knowledge these youngsters have about recycling and would have been touched by the concern about the garbage crisis and what the future holds for them.
Reduction is the decreased generation of waste in the home or on the farm. Reduction is accomplished by not purchasing items which are overpackaged, disposable or lack durability.
We get into reusing, reusing an item which in its original form is for the same or a different purpose. Refillable beer and soft drink bottles are good examples of this. Today questions were asked of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations with regard to the liquor bottles from the liquor store. Why are they not recycling them? Why are they not having a rebate for them to bring back to be reused?
Then we have recycling, the whole aspect of collecting materials and recycling them. The Couchiching Heights pupils brought to our attention that they believe that people who are actually engaged in recycling waste materials automatically learn how to reduce and reuse the amount of waste they generate. They become more aware of their own garbage-producing habits and often go out of their way to alter them.
So the young people in the province today are far more aware than a lot of us believe. My colleagues in the Legislature here have brought it to our attention in caucus on many occasions. The member for Wellington (Mr J. M. Johnson), the member for Hastings-Peterborough (Mr Pollock) and I have had many discussions in our caucus with regard to recycling and reusing and with regard to what is happening about our landfill sites in Ontario.
It is going to be interesting to know what the minister is going to do with regard to Cleantario. Is he bringing in legislation to have a lottery to help pay for what is taking place in the environmentally sensitive parts of this province? How is he going to handle it? What is he going to do about it? It was announced some time ago, but I anticipate that probably about January there will be another announcement about another lottery for Cleantario.
The garbage problem in Ontario is at a crisis, and I commend the member for bringing this bill forward. We have had a crisis in the county of Simcoe where it is being hauled to the Keele Valley site. The minister talks about $32 million this government is spending with regard to parts of the Ministry of the Environment. Does he ever consider the costs that these municipalities have gone to ship their garbage from their municipalities to Keele Valley? It has gone from $10 a tonne to $100 a tonne. What has he done to help the municipalities?
The minister has to show some leadership. When he turns down a site, there should be an alternative. The government should have a plan in place: “Here is how you create a landfill site if you want it.” He should be helping industry to prepare for these large facilities that we need for recycling plants, to start reusing our paper, our bottles, our glass, our plastic. There are so many things that we have to do with regard to recycling. He also has to take some leadership with regard to what our packaging is causing, the great problem of landfill.
I am glad the member brought the resolution forward and I will be supporting her resolution. Regarding the garbage crisis in Ontario, it would have been a help if the minister had supported my colleague’s Bill 89 on mandatory recycling. Only one municipality in Ontario that I know of has mandatory recycling, and that is the town of Midland. It has worked well there, and I believe the day will come when the area municipalities will be showing some leadership also to have mandatory recycling. I believe industry is going to have to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and show some leadership with regard to having facilities to reuse.
Mr Adams: I am pleased to take part in this debate on the motion of the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. My riding in Peterborough has a long history of environmental interest. My constituents are very interested in all aspects of the environment. I myself was involved more than 20 years ago in recycling projects on a volunteer basis in Peterborough. I remember at that time that we had a two-car garage for the newspapers we collected for recycling. I have to say, even in a community like mine, there was not much progress from that two-car garage until just a few short years ago.
Now the city of Peterborough, and it is extending to the county, has a blue box program, and most of our citizens participate in that program every week, putting cans, bottles and newspapers to the curbside for the blue box program. The county of Peterborough is moving vigorously on composting and we are already in the position of having to more than double the capacity of our recycling facility. What a change in these last few years, since the introduction of a program such as the blue box program.
One of the things that I really like about the blue box program is that by using a blue box each of us is committed every week to a public demonstration of his or her commitment to recycling. Every time we use the blue box we not only help the environment and divert materials from the garbage stream, but we advertise and reaffirm our commitment to reducing waste. The government is determined to make such recycling a permanent, province-wide activity which touches the day-to-day lives of all our citizens.
Members know, and it has been mentioned today by a number of speakers, that we have co-operated with the private sector, the OMMRI group, in recycling cans. This has been a very important initiative. The industry has committed $20 million over a certain period of time to assisting municipalities with the capital costs of establishing recycling projects involving cans.
You should know, Mr Speaker, and I suspect you do, that the province’s commitment in this area has risen from $750,000 to this year alone $11 million, an enormous increase in commitment to the recycling of cans. Right now, province-wide recycling projects divert about seven per cent of municipal garbage destined for landfill sites. I know that seven per cent, as has been mentioned, leaves 93 per cent which has yet to be diverted, but what an extraordinary change. Remember, our objectives are 25 per cent diversion by 1992 and 50 per cent by the year 2000.
Another aspect of recycling which the province has moved on very substantially in this last year or two is the household hazardous waste collection program. This program provides municipalities with up to 50 per cent of the funding of household hazardous waste days. Like the blue box program, this allows each individual to participate and gives him or her an opportunity to safely manage his or her own waste, to avoid dumping these hazardous wastes in our sewers and contaminating our streams.
This year the ministry is funding approximately 30 hazardous waste days and 15 permanent depots. This year too, the ministry will change the funding formula to give increased funding to those municipalities that recycle the hazardous wastes that were collected, and some of these wastes, such as waste oil and paint, can easily be recycled.
Metro Toronto has started its toxic taxi program which our ministry funds. By calling a telephone number people can have a specially trained staff and truck take their old paint, pesticides and other wastes for safe disposal.
Just a few weeks ago I participated with the Kinsmen Club of Peterborough in a hazardous waste disposal day in Peterborough. This again was a demonstration to the people of the community of the dangers of wastes in their households and of the fact that it is possible to safely dispose of such wastes and to recycle many of them.
Our Environmental Youth Corps also contributes to environmental protection and conservation of various sorts, including recycling and reduction of wastes.
Another very important program announced only this last couple of months is the student recycling program. Here again I think we have a case of environmental education through actual recycling experience. This will include recycling and other waste management initiatives in all the schools in the province. The program will assist recycling initiatives at 179 school boards representing over 5,000 schools. There will be a five-year phase-in, but all the schools in the province will be able to participate.
The Ministry of the Environment will provide school boards and others with two thirds of the cost of establishing a recycling program in the schools. The ministry will also provide up to 50 per cent of the salary of a recycling co-ordinator hired to assist a school board in initiating such a program. Furthermore, where a municipality, faced with having to collect these recyclable materials from its schools finds that it needs another collection vehicle, the ministry will fund totally the cost of that vehicle. I repeat that this is an example of individuals, in this case students, becoming involved and being educated by actually doing something about the environment.
This motion before us interests me greatly and I have a great deal of sympathy for it, but members will have noticed, as have I, that it greatly stresses reduction among the three Rs. It was only a few years ago that we thought of the three Rs in the schools as reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. We used to think of the three Rs in this House as reading, writing and rhetoric. But now when we say the three Rs, I think most people immediately think of something to do with reduction, reuse and recycling. They may not be able to recite the terms, but that is what people think of.
That shows how successful the government has been in taking this idea, this concept of these three Rs and promoting it through the province, giving the people the means to do something about it and helping our environment through reduction, reuse and recycling. Therefore, I regret that the motion stresses reduction over all others.
I know there is a certain logic to the order. The logic is that first, we should not use things unnecessarily. That is what the reduction part really means. The second part, the reuse, is that if we have to use something, ideally we reuse it. When we finish reusing it, ideally we recycle it. Then and only then, if we cannot recycle it, do we do something else with it. We dispose of it in some other way, usually a way that is not environmentally friendly.
That sequence is important. It is very logical and people should think about it. I think the member’s resolution causes people to think about it, but draws out only the reduction part.
I would like to share with members, if I might, some extracts from a letter I received from a constituent about another form of reduction, an important form and in its own way a very useful form, but not the one that is envisaged in the three Rs.
He is referring to controlling wastes. “Personal Compaction,” he calls it.
“Most reports refer to quantity of waste in terms of mass -- so many tonnes have been moved from hither to yon or have been converted to something. In reality the problem” -- and I suggest to members one problem -- “is the volume which waste takes up in landfill sites and the process of compacting before and when it gets to the sites.
“A great deal of the volume filling landfill sites is air trapped in containers. Many commercial garbage trucks have compactors. Thus garbage bags filled largely with air are often but not always compacted before reaching the landfill sites.
“The next logical step is to compact in the home, store and factory before the waste is put out for collection. Things like cereal, sugar cube and Jell-O boxes can be flattened and torn into small pieces in seconds. Every plastic container like Fleecy” -- and other bottles -- “can be cut into small pieces with scissors or sharp knife. Every magazine can be ripped into small pieces and every item put into wastepaper baskets can be torn into small pieces. Folded and crumpled paper entraps air.
“This personal compacting reduces the number of personal garbage bags required, a saving of raw materials and cost. It reduces the wear and tear on truck compactors as well as the ‘pause time’ while compacting is going on -- a waste of fuel and costly pickup time.”
“An incentive to do this is a gift by the municipality of one bag (biodegradable) per week per household and a charge for additional bags, purchased by the householder, which are put out. The normal waste for a family of four can be compacted and some of it composted in a weekly period so that the volume can be put out is less than one garbage bag.”
I read that letter not because I say that is the only form of reduction we should participate in, but because I think there is a danger in taking one of the three Rs and giving is pre-eminence over all others. I would suggest, as one speaker did, that one of the three Rs should actually be first. I think all are useful; the concept is there.
This, for example, is a form of reduction that would best be fourth. There would be reduction in the way of avoiding waste; there would be reuse; there would be recycling; then there would be reduction of this type, and then we would have disposal of some other sort.
As I mentioned, I have great sympathy with this motion. I do believe the government has moved in many areas. I do believe the volunteer approach has been already embarrassingly successful. So I regret that the member, in phrasing this motion with, I believe, the very best of intentions, has greatly emphasized one of the three Rs at the risk of downplaying the other two.
Mr Charlton: I guess the timing of my entry into this debate is useful in following the member for Peterborough since he raised the fact and pointed repeatedly to the fact that we have chosen, and my colleague the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore has chosen, in this motion to signal out reduction because although he may be correct that in some respects and in some areas there is same danger in doing that, in an overall general sense it has to be done.
I would like to set out a very specific and primary example of why that is the case. Since we started the blue box program in Ontario, I have been essentially sorting my waste into three streams: (1) those items that are recyclable through the blue box program; (2) those parts of my waste that are compostable; (3) everything else. Everything else in that third category is all -- 100 per cent or 97.25 per cent or whatever -- the exact calculation works out to -- packaging. It is all packaging and in most cases it is largely unnecessary packaging, at least in its total volume. There are things we buy that have to be packaged. The question is whether they have to be packaged in the way they are.
As an example, in that third-way stream that is made up almost exclusively of packaging, it makes up, of the total of the three streams, 60 per cent. We are talking about trying to reduce by 50 per cent over the course of the next decade the amount of waste we have to dispose of through our various systems and formats of disposal. That packaging sector, that largely unnecessary sector of the waste we have to deal with, is where we can accomplish the vast majority of the waste reduction in terms of what we are putting into our waste streams in the first place. That is why reduction has to be centred out and has to be the primary focus of the next decade.
When we have achieved the maximization of reduction in terms of the things we use that are unnecessary, for all intents and purposes except for how we approach new things in the future reduction can be eliminated from the list because we are going to have to deal with everything else, presumably because it is necessary, in some other way. To achieve the 50 per cent goal that this motion sets out, which has been espoused by our governments, the reduction of that unnecessary waste stream, the packaging stream, is where we have to win the battle. That is one of the major reasons we have focused directly on reduction here in this debate today.
To take that a couple of steps further very briefly in terms of the other specifics my colleague has set out in this motion, one of the things that she has suggested in item (iv) is “legislate mandatory source separation for all waste generators and for all types of waste….” For example, I have heard a number of times during the debate here today reference, as I have made reference to, to those parts of our waste stream that are compostable.
Same people will always want to keep their compostables and compost them themselves and use them in their own ways in their yards and so on, but there will always be a majority in this society that does not do it. If we were to make mandatory the source separation of all wastes so that we can identify a type of waste, then we can better decide what to do with that waste.
In the case of compostables, for example, there is absolutely no reason why those campus-tables cannot be composted on a societal scale. They have benefits and there is a lost resource when we dispose of those compostables along with a lot of plastic and cardboard packaging -- the unnecessary stuff I was talking about before. That compostable material is a very valuable resource that we are allowing to a large extent to disappear.
While this debate is an important one, it is one that unfortunately cannot be totally dealt with in one afternoon. I have tried to quickly deal with a couple of the specifics in my colleague’s resolution. I understand my colleague would like some time left. Let me wrap up by saying that the goals we are talking about are attainable. Fifty per cent reduction over the next decade is attainable, but I want to assure you, Mr Speaker, the member for Peterborough and all the members of the government party that although the voluntary approach has its benefits and although it is great when we can get a voluntary response, to achieve the 50 per cent reduction in waste by the year 2000 we are going to have to be prepared to take tough and mandatory actions in this province. There are no two ways about that.
If we look at the other items -- which I have not been able to discuss, but I will just quickly mention: legislating mandatory waste reductions; establishing a waste reduction office in this province with mandatory, statutory goals; the phasing out of certain products by legislation -- those are all mandatory measures which, if we do not proceed to take them, all of the volunteerism that we like to talk about and that we love to feel good about will not get us to the 50 per cent reduction level by the year 2000.
Mr Cousens: Who would have believed 25 years ago and even less that we would be talking about a resolution such as this, about garbage? It was not that long ago that people thought they could put anything into the rivers and the streams and it would not have any impact.
We have seen what has happened with man’s carelessness to nature and to the whole environment around him. We have seen a society grow and build, thinking it is strong and all-powerful, and yet when we start looking at the damage we are doing to the world around us we begin to realize that every one of us in Ontario, every one of us in this Legislature should become an environmentalist, where we are committed to doing all we can within our power as legislators, as homemakers, as business people, as whatever we are, to be genuinely committed to the long-term preservation and protection of the environment of our world.
It is to that end that l am pleased to be able to participate in this debate, but also very sorry at the whole way in which this debate is having to be directed and at the failure of the government to do what it should be doing and our own failure as a society to really come up with the answers to this.
I commend the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore for making an effort to it. I do not think she has a perfect resolution, but no one else has and so to that extent I commend her for her genuine and sincere effort to try to do something about it. I would also like to compliment our own member, the member for Mississauga South, who has done a great deal to teach our caucus on the needs of our environment.
It takes a leader within every organization. The government does not have a leader. It has all the pomp and the ceremony, but it does not have anyone who can stand up and teach the people who are a part of that group just what they should be doing and how they should think about it with a balanced consideration. If an environmental award could be given to a person who has wakened an awful lot of people, not only our caucus but people all across Ontario, a person who is looked up to as one who has set a standard of excellence in the environment, it is the member for Mississauga South. I think every member of this House should remember her when it comes time for the presentation of an environmental award.
We have a crisis in Metropolitan Toronto that is symbolic of the way the Liberal government has performed to date. We are dealing with a government that is better at reacting than at being proactive and it is not until there is a crisis that we begin to see it start to hustle and run around.
It is funny how this was developed, because the Premier saw that the Minister of the Environment was not doing that much with it, so the Premier even excluded the Minister of the Environment from one of the key meetings with the regional council chairmen to help set up a program to bring the greater Toronto area leaders together to try to solve it, because the Ministry of the Environment was tripping over itself and trying to come up with its own solutions and somehow lost sight of the overall goal of trying to respond to the garbage crisis in the greater Toronto area.
It is not just a greater Toronto area problem, it is all across this province and this country and the world. None the less, this government chose not to act proactively before the problem became so great. It is now in a great, big hurry to come up with solutions and in so doing -- I will come to this in a moment -- has failed to take into consideration all the environmental assessment needs that it should be.
It has done this with transportation. It has made all kinds of announcements on transportation -- not on transportation; no, I take that back. They have made all kinds of announcements of things in the greater Toronto area such as the SkyDome, the BCE centre, the CBC centre, and yet we never get transportation announcements.
Hon Mr Sorbara: Once it’s in Hansard, you can’t take it back.
Mr Cousens: I just got it the other way around. We are allowed to make those little mistakes; not the big mistakes those guys are making all the time.
Mr Fulton: Nice recovery.
Mr Cousens: I had to recover on that one. To the former Minister of Transportation, the member for Scarborough East (Mr Fulton), I appreciate that.
Okay, the crisis continues. We have a crisis. Unfortunately, words are awful cheap, and that is about all we are getting from the government, because it is not prepared to put the investment into the solution for the long term, to make this a world-class centre. We keep talking the big words, but in order to have a world-class environment, a world-class province, we had better put the dollars out there on simple things like garbage dumps, simple things like roads, simple things like homes, and stop worrying about trying to get Expo 2000 or the Olympics and other things. I want them, but the whole theme of bread or circuses has to do with priorities, and this government does not have those priorities.
Mr Cousens: I can tell I am touching a nerve, because these other honourable members are waking up. They have been asleep for a while. I would say they have been asleep for years.
We have another problem and that has to do with the not-in-my-backyard dilemma. There is not a person around here who does not want to have something in their own backyard, and they are all interested in saying, “As long as it is not here.” That is something I would like to see addressed.
Mr Cousens: Mr Speaker, could you give them a banana or something so that they stop shouting so much? Next time I come to the House, I will come with a great big pile of bananas and you guys can do what you are good at.
Hon Mr Sorbara: That will be better than the great, big pile you have brought today.
Mr Cousens: This is serious, and here you are interrupting. You are all so eloquent when you are sitting down, but you never stand up and have anything to say when you have a chance to say it.
The NIMBY dilemma is one of those problems where everybody says, “Not in my backyard.” Why can we not somehow, as a society, have that sense of responsibility for all of our neighbours and all of our communities? I am not saying that Whitevale is the site or should not be the site or that Keele Valley should or should not be the site, but it sure has been used for the last many years.
What I am saying is that everyone in our society has to accept an element of responsibility for the creation of garbage, and therefore part of the solution. It is no good just to keep on saying, “Not here; not there.” What we have to do is take the process through its full length. At that point, I am strongly a believer in having an environmental assessment on any decisions that have to do with even interim dump sites.
I am talking around the motion that is before the House today, but I am touching upon what is a true issue. Any solution that we have has long-term ramifications. We talk short-term decisions from this government, but they are going to have long-term ramifications on what happens with the land in the neighbouring areas surrounding where those dump sites are going to go. The government cannot just come along and put in a dump site now and just have a localized type of review on whether or not it is advantageous, good, bad or whatever. It has to have a more full, clear understanding of all the ramifications of what we are doing with our garbage, and proposing different locations for dump sites.
I therefore say that this government is violating -- violating -- its own legislation; also, its own promises those people made when they were running for election. I have never seen a more sanctimonious group of people when they are going out to get elected, when it comes to putting their hands on their hearts and saying, “We are going to do all the right things for all the people in the world.” It turns out they do all the right things for the right people and not for the small person and not for the people at large.
As it stands, I am a strong believer in having the process that we have defined, the process that we have put together in this province followed, and that would mean a full environmental assessment would be involved in this.
I would like to see us look at more options as well. I know the environmentalists out there will not be happy when I mention this as a point, but we are shipping some of our garbage across the border into the United States to be incinerated. How can we do that with any sense of justice if in fact we are saying, “We do not believe in any kind of incineration,” yet we can go and ship the garbage over there and then we will get it back through the pollution in the air?
We need a Minister of the Environment who is going to strike a series of standards, and from those standards we might then be able to develop some guidelines for incineration. They might be ways in which we can burn garbage and do other things with it that are in fact going to help us get rid of it. I do not think it is the whole solution. I think it is just something that should not be put off the table entirely.
One of the things that I have done over the last year and a half or two was to establish my own environment advisory council in my riding. I have approximately 12 people who meet with me every six weeks and we consider various concerns that pertain to environmental matters. I needed their help to assist me in heightening my own understanding of environmental considerations. It is through reading and discussion of matters that I have been able to grow significantly in my own knowledge of environmental concerns. It was through that that I was invited to participate in the summit on the environment and was extremely pleased with the initiatives that were taken there at the Ontario Science Centre early this fall.
One of the things that I presented at that forum, which I would like to just tie in to the motion the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore has presented, is that a household in our community has to have its own environmental policy. Why is it every home does not have its own recycling policy? Why does every home that possibly can not have its own compost heap so that we have that commitment to the environment? Why does each household, the family and the children of any age group, not have a way in which they are buying those things that are not going to have any kind of long-term or negative impact to the environment? Why does more industry, my second point, not have its own policy on environmental matters?
People berate the large oil companies, and say, “Aren’t they terrible?” They may not be perfect, but they have got a statement that their employees know is clear and understood on environmental matters. Every company and every business should have its own environmental statement so that people are buying in to the subject. I do not think there should just be a Ministry of the Environment in the province. Every ministry should have its own environmental thrust so that they are all buying in to the importance of environmental matters.
I wish there was more time to touch on this motion that is before us today. I feel there are some flaws in the motion that has been presented by the New Democratic Party. None the less, I am going to vote for it because I think the intention behind it is basically honourable.
However, one of the mistakes that the New Democrats always make is that they would like to have the government solve all of the problems surrounding an issue. In other words, they heap it on to the government rather than having a balanced approach where we have government and industry and individuals all working together to try to solve it.
The New Democrats are famous for trying to get the government to have sole responsibility for it, and that is much the way in which this motion is presented. What I would like to do is see that there is greater responsibility, not just upon the government but on individuals, on households, on business and on each ministry of the government; that it become something where, as I said in my introductory remarks, we are all environmentalists.
I also believe we need a greater co-operative effort by all citizens, and I do not think that is built into the motion that has been presented to us today.
I think the government should maintain and improve its commitment, including increased vigilance of environmental assessment, adequate funding to municipalities for waste disposal systems and also improving educational programs to the public so that the people become aware of the total context of what is going on.
We are dealing with a subject that is large and it is important. Yet what is happening is that decisions are made in the Ministry of Environment and they do not even get over to other ministries so that they are aware of it. The members saw that today in the terrible answer from the Minister of Transportation (Mr Wrye) when I was asking him what plans he had to do anything about the transportation systems around the Whitevale dump site that is being proposed, and he had no plans at all. So they are going to bring in that whole new dump site, and at the same time they do not have the Ministry of Transportation doing anything to help with it.
The government has got to bring things together. We have got to work together and to plan for the future and the long-term future, not just for 10 or 15 years, because what we do now has implications into 1,000 or 2,000 years from now. We have to take this seriously.
I believe that through motions like this, each one of us can become more and more aware and committed about the urgency of responding to the needs that are expressed in this motion, and we as a government, we in opposition and all levels will participate to make this a better world.
Mr Elliot: As the past chairman of the caucus waste management committee, I have had an opportunity to learn my three Rs. The committee has heard from a large number of parties on different methods of waste management. The committee welcomed the announcement of the provincial goals of 25 per cent diversion from landfill and incineration by 1992 and 50 per cent by the year 2000.
Reduction, reuse and recycling help Ontario conserve its resources, its energy and landfill space. I urge all members to make the three Rs part of their everyday lives.
In the next few years, we must learn how to divert mountains of garbage from landfill and incineration by recycling used resources back into the production stream. I think in the few moments that I have left, the best way that I can use those few moments is to perhaps give the member for Markham a bit of a lesson on what we have learned by intensive discussion and study over the last two years.
What we need in Ontario is an integrated waste management system. That system has to be based on a detailed analysis of our waste stream as it presently flows.
Mr Cousens: You guys keep studying everything.
Mr Elliot: We are not studying this. This is a proposal by me, and if the member for Markham would be good enough to listen, he might learn something in the next couple of minutes.
A minimum of our waste stream, 20 per cent, is yard waste. All of that yard waste can be either composted or recycled through wood recycling systems such as the one opened on 21 November in Peel county. Surprisingly enough, 20 per cent of our waste stream in the Halton region is now being picked up curbside. These processes were started more than 10 years ago in Halton Hills.
They started the blue box program, though, just last January because they did have a good system in place for more than a decade.
Another 20 per cent of the waste stream, we find, now can be recycled by separating things close to source. We are talking about concrete and a whole lot of other products like that. That accounts for 60 per cent of the waste stream.
The other 40 per cent, we are told, could be burned, or it could be landfill. If we burn it, because of the organic content, approximately 60 percent of the 40 per cent will be burned away. That means 24 per cent of it, so we are left with 16 per cent that has to go to landfill.
The reason I mention this is, it does not matter what integrated system we come up with, we are going to require some landfill at some point in time. I prefer to call these locations stockpiling locations, because if we truly look at our waste stream, they should be benign stockpiling facilities that do not harm our environment.
What I would like to emphasize is a point that my friend from Markham made. I think every member in this chamber and every member watching today has to ask the question, what have I done in the last period of time with respect to my own residence and my own workplace?
What I have done in my own home is, I have reduced our waste flow by 80 percent in less than 12 months. What I am going to do on Saturday when a reporter from one of our local papers comes to see me to see how we did it, because she set aside the afternoon for it, is after we have taken a look at our facility, I am going to drive over to Markham and visit our friend from Markham and see what he is doing on his home turf.
The concluding point I would like to make is, we can pontificate all we want in this chamber, but unless we get at it house by house, industry by industry, each commercial spot by each commercial spot, we are not going to meet the aims that we have set out. It is not satisfactory for the Leader of the Opposition (Mr B. Rae), as recently as yesterday, to say we cannot meet the mark of 25 per cent by 1992.
I would like to conclude, to leave some time for the final speaker here, by borrowing one of his good pedagogical tools. When he is really emphatic about things, he repeats things three times, and I am going to say: “Yes, we can; yes, we can; yes, we can.”
Mr Pollock: There are a few things I want to put on the record. Let me first say I am certainly in support of the resolution brought forth by the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. I certainly support the concept of the three Rs: reduce, recycle and reuse. I think it is very important to follow them, and I would like to see the time frame that is mentioned in there even increased, meaning, of course, stepped up; the 25 percent in 1992 and the 50 per cent by the year 2000 increased. But knowing how government works, I doubt that we even meet those particular time frames.
I want to just talk briefly on landfill sites. I think it is rather unfair that the large cities can take their garbage out and dump it on small municipalities. They are going to eventually cause trouble, if not for this particular generation, certainly for the next. There is no proof that over the next 50 or 100 years landfill sites will not cause as many problems to the environment as possibly incinerating garbage.
I would like to inform the House just what takes place in some of these situations where a group of municipalities gets together to form an area to get a landfill site. I would like to use the number of, say, 20, municipalities going together to find a landfill site.
They hire a consulting and engineering firm. That firm goes out and it will possibly go to one municipality and it will pick four or five sites in that municipality. All of the other 19 municipalities think that is great. The reason why they think it is great is that it is not going to be in their municipality. They just think it is great that it is going to be in that one particular municipality. Then those people in that municipality have to lobby to get their name off the list.
I know that is a major concern for people to have a landfill site next to them, and I might mention that in one particular case they picked this site and it was 400 acres. The people there regarded it as good farm land. They went to the meeting and they said, “This is good farm land.” The consulting engineer said, “No, it is class 5.” So they looked up and saw what class 5 was, and class 5 is claimed that it is pasture land only. On two of these farms on that 400 acres there are storage facilities for 500 tonnes of corn silage. There are also storage facilities on those places for possibly 15,000 bales of hay and approximately 3,000 bushels of grain.
So there is no question that it is good farm land, but when you go back to the engineers and say, “You know, this is good farm land,” they say, “No, that is not what the map says,” and they have to go by the map. That is totally ridiculous.
Also, I just want to touch base on the fact that there is a proposal out there, a request to dump Metropolitan Toronto’s garbage in the old Marmora iron ore site. I attended a meeting there one Saturday morning, and the place was packed. It was hosted by a group called TNT, which is Take No Trash.
Some of the miners who worked on that mine told some of the stories about that particular site. They said that when they were drilling in that mine, they sank a shaft down there. It was an eight-inch drill hole, and when they pulled out the drill, the water came in full size of that eight-inch hole. That rock is porous. There is all kinds of water flowing into that particular pit. They claim that there are well over a billion gallons of water in that particular pit now, and yet they are thinking of actually dumping garbage in it. There is no question that if they ever did dump garbage into that, it would eventually fill up and that water might well run the other way, maybe even back into Lake Ontario. So as far as I am concerned, there is no way that they should be dumping garbage in that old abandoned iron ore mine.
Some of the criteria that they also use as far as landfill sites, they tell me that you are not supposed -- I guess my time has run out, Mr Speaker.
The Acting Speaker: I guess your time has run out. The honourable member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.
Mr Faubert: I am happy to join in this debate on opposition day on waste management. I would like to thank the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore for moving the resolution today concerning the government’s recycling program, not because we support it in total and not because we support the detail of this, but because it gives many of us, as government members, the opportunity to stand in this House and to put forward and to bring to the attention of both the members opposite and the people of Ontario what this government is doing in the area of recycling.
I believe, though, the resolution can be supported in general principle. I will touch on that in my conclusion. I think this government has set a positive example to jurisdictions, not only across this country but also, as the Minister of the Environment said in the House yesterday, their people recognize what this province is doing from across the world. They are recognizing the good job that Ontario is doing in terms of recycling.
But when you read this resolution, you would think that the government’s efforts to promote recycling have indeed not been successful, and unfortunately, the resolution is passing judgement on municipalities and on the blue box program before the program can really be geared up. As a matter of fact, most municipalities that went into this were actually put in a position of being embarrassed or had problems caused to them because of the public acceptance of the program. Indeed, they are inundated by the public’s co-operation in this program and by the amount of material that is generated. I think it proves conclusively that the public is supportive of recycling and of this program.
It was touched on by my seatmate colleague, the member for Halton North (Mr Elliot), when he pointed out the extent across Ontario. I know people say that in Metro there are problems, and indeed there are. There are certain problems in Metro because of such things as contamination of the blue box in the area of glass -- the minister brought this to the attention of the city of Toronto -- and the problems that are caused in this, but across Ontario the statistics show that while there is an 82 per cent rejection in Toronto in some areas, in same parts, actually across Ontario there is an eight per cent rejection rate. I think that speaks well of the program in other areas.
I think we should be aware of the fact that Metro Toronto has been implementing landfill bans on corrugated cardboard, gypsum wastes and old tires. That is a major step to some of the volume within the waste stream.
Just in closing, I would like to point out that we do not believe in the legislative club in this instance. We think it is proven that the public will support this. I think we are talking about a change in societal values in which they talk about a move from a consumer society into a conserver society. I do not believe you legislate societal values, contrary to the principle that is put forward in this resolution.
I would like to point out one other thing. This resolution calls for the Ontario government to bring forward changes in legislation prior to any anticipated report from the task force, which is expected to report in March 1990. I think anyone who has ever had anything to do with the packaging industry knows that we must have national packaging regulations because most packaging goods are manufactured within a central location and distributed across this country. So I would say --
The Speaker: The member’s time has now expired. Sorry to interrupt.
Mrs Grier: I would like to thank all of the members who have participated in the debate. As the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere has said, I think it has been a useful airing of the diversity of opinions and approaches within this Legislature. I hope that the representatives of the citizens’ groups who have listened to it all have understood something of the various positions from which people come to this issue. I just want to mention that representatives from the Vaughn Committee of Associations to Restore Environmental Safety were here too as part of the debate.
I want to particularly thank the Minister of the Environment for participating in the debate and for coming back to listen to some of the discussion. I was uncertain of his position on my motion by the end of his 20-minute speech, but I am sure that when the vote is called we will then know where he stands on the motion.
He did once again, of course, make reference to the United Nations award for the blue box program, a thing which he is very fond of mentioning. I did want to point out to him that the United Nations was considering designating the Niagara Escarpment as an item of world interest as well as the Rouge Valley, which has been looked at by international bodies. It is somewhat ironic that having given us an award on one hand, we would now be perhaps considering placing garbage in areas that international bodies are thinking we ought to preserve.
However, a couple of comments on the submissions that have been made: I particularly want to support the members of the third party for their support of the motion and to comment briefly on the reservations that the member for Mississauga South had about the waste reduction office which is included in my resolution.
I simply want to explain that the purpose for setting up such an office, giving it a statutory mandate and making is a separate entity is because of the need to co-ordinate waste reduction efforts in all the other ministries. Somebody has to have some authority to be able to say to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, who is also the Minister of Housing (Mr Sweeney), to the Minister of Education (Mr Conway), to the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan), to the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr Beer), even to the Treasurer, “Here’s how you have to go about waste reduction.”
My understanding is that unless there is a mandate given to that body, we are going to be into, dare I say it, the turf wars, the controversies and the “After you, Alphonse,” that happen when one has to deal with more than one ministry of this and, let me hasten to add, any other government.
The member for Peterborough (Mr Adams) regretted my emphasis on waste reduction as opposed to the other Rs. I think that has been answered by the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr Charlton), but let me also give the additional reason. Reduction and reuse are more difficult. Recycling has proven fairly easy. I submit that a lot of emphasis an recycling is because it is the first thing, it has been popular and it can be done through the blue boxes. If we are really to reach those targets, we have to move to the more difficult issues, and I do not think those can be done on a voluntary basis.
Let me comment briefly on the whole issue of a target. The emphasis on 25 per cent by a certain year has a built-in problem in that as the economy expands, as the population expands, the amount of garbage expands. If growth is such as is sometimes predicted, what is 25 per cent of today’s garbage may be more in volume than 25 per cent of 1992’s or 25 per cent of the year 2000’s. That is why we need a waste reduction office with a mandate and the authority to set some specific plans and some very specific targets.
As the member for Hamilton Mountain said, the goals set out in my motion are attainable. Those goals must be attainable and they must be attained. I think all of us who today have supported the concepts embodied in my motion have a responsibility to make sure that they are attained for ourselves, for the people of this province, for our children and, in my case, for my grandchildren.
The House divided on Mrs Grier’s motion, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Adams, Allen, Beer, Brown, Bryden, Campbell, Carrothers, Charlton, Cleary, Collins, Cooke, D. S., Cordiano, Cousens, Curling, Daigeler, Dietsch, Elliot, Elston, Eves, Faubert, Ferraro, Fleet, Fulton, Grier, Hart, Henderson, Johnson, J. M., Kwinter, Laughren, LaBourdais, Leone, Lipsett, Mackenzie, Marland, Matrundola, McClelland, McGuigan, Miller, Morin, Nixon, J. B., O’Neill, Y., Oddie Munro, Philip, E., Phillips, G., Poole, Reville, Reycraft, Ruprecht, Smith, D. W., Smith, E. J., Sola, Sterling, Tatham, Villeneuve, Ward, Wong.
Ayes 56; nays 0.
Hon Mr Ward: Before reading the following week’s business, I would seek unanimous consent to revert to reports so that we receive the report of the standing committee on finance and economic affairs.
The Speaker: Is there agreement? Agreed.
REPORT BY COMMITTEE
STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Mr Ferraro from the standing committee on finance and economic affairs presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bills as amended:
Bill 46, An Act to establish a Commercial Concentration Tax;
Bill 47, An Act to impose a Tax on Employers for the purpose of providing for Health Care and to revise the requirements respecting the payment of Premiums under the Health Insurance Act.
Motion agreed to.
Bills ordered for committee of the whole House.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon Mr Ward: Pursuant to standing order 53, next week’s business is as follows:
On Monday 11 December, debate on a motion to extend the hours of sitting of the House. At the conclusion of this debate, we will proceed to second reading debate on Bill 69 and Bill 70, followed by second reading debate on Bill 84, followed by committee of the whole House on Bill 119, second reading debate on Bill 91 and Bill 94. Just for the information of the members, the votes are deferred until Tuesday.
On Tuesday, we will continue with any previously unfinished business and then proceed to second reading debate on Bill 60, followed by second reading debate on Bill 86 and second reading debate on Bill 92.
On Wednesday 13 December in the afternoon, third reading of Bill 119, third reading of Bill 47, second reading debate of Bill 79, committee of the whole on Bill 49 and Bill 52, second reading debate on Bill 95.
In the evening, beginning at eight o’clock, we will continue any previously unfinished business.
On Thursday 14 December, we will have private members’ business during the morning, beginning at 10.
In the afternoon, we will continue any previously unfinished business, followed by second reading debate of Bill 90, second reading debate of Bill 53, second reading debate of Bill 34, second reading debate of Bill 101, second reading debate of Bill 102, second reading debate of Bill 99, second reading debate of Bill 163. If we are finished early, we will go home.
The House adjourned at 1808.