The House met at 1330.
Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, watch tomorrow night 31 May at 7:30 pm on Vision TV. Vision TV down in Welland is carried by the Armstrong Cable network and is carried by cable companies not just across Ontario but across the country. Why Thursday 31 May at 7:30 pm is special is because it is the first of five half-hour documentaries on the Islamic faith written and developed by none other than John Giancarlo, a long-time Wellander, a person who established himself well in the community many years ago as an educator and, until his retirement in 1985, served as a dean of Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology. Indeed, John Giancarlo was a founding dean of our community college in Welland in the Niagara Peninsula.
This series of five half-hour documentaries is incredibly insightful into the relationship between the Islamic religion and western religions, the influence of Islamic religion on our own and the relationship between the Muslim community and indeed, of all things, the Vatican. It is something not to be missed, Mr Speaker. I know you will be watching it, as I will, tomorrow night at 7:30.
Mr J. M. Johnson: All rural members of this House will be familiar with the contribution that Brigid Pyke has made to agriculture in Ontario. Her work on behalf of farmers, as president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, is particularly noteworthy at this time under an Ontario government which has placed such a low priority on agriculture.
After years of fighting for the legislation and programs that our farmers need to remain competitive in a changing world, Brock University is recognizing her leadership and contribution to agriculture by awarding her an honorary doctorate of laws. Honours such as this are normally granted to individuals at the end of distinguished careers, but in Brigid’s case this is as much a recognition of things to come as it is of past achievements.
We in the Progressive Conservative Party and the rural caucus fully expect Brigid to continue to provide the same high quality of leadership to the agriculture community for many more years.
Mr Furlong: We in Durham continue to take a proactive role and demonstrate a keen interest in our environment. Today I want to bring to the attention of the members of the House one recent example of a unique environmental undertaking by the youth in the riding of Durham Centre.
In May of this year, adoption papers were drawn up between 17 public elementary schools and two high schools and 23 parks in the town of Whitby. Under the Adopt-a-Park program, the first of this nature in the province of Ontario, each Whitby school has adopted a park. Students ranging from four to 18 years of age visit their park and clean it up once a week during school hours.
This is a year-round program designed to raise public awareness. It is felt, and rightly so, that kids who spend time picking up after others are less likely to need others to pick up after them in the future. They will also be more aware of the damage that we do to our environment, having seen and cleaned up graphic examples.
Adopt-a-Park is the brainchild of Phil Long, principal of West Lynde Public School in Whitby, who, recognizing that the residents of his community were concerned about the general state of their parks, adhered to the philosophy that necessity is the mother of invention.
I know that my colleagues join me in extending congratulations to Mr Long and to these environmentally sensitive students in Whitby.
Miss Martel: On 2 May 1990, I asked the Minister of Labour what he planned to do in response to a recent ruling by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal with regard to gold mining claims.
The WCAT confirmed what most of us already know, that the Workers’ Compensation Board uses the gold criteria to bar rather than extend compensation. Workers not meeting all of the policy guidelines do not qualify for benefits. In the vast majority of cases, the merits of the individual claim are not taken into account when a decision is made.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is how the board responds to most industrial disease claims as well. The board has criteria for other diseases such as silicosis, mesothelioma and asbestosis, and the pattern is the same in these cases. A worker qualifies for benefits if he or she meets all of the criteria. If not, the claim is rejected out of hand, even though a full investigation of the case might indicate it should be allowed.
Given this important ruling, the Minister of Labour should do two things: first, ensure that the WCB reviews all of the gold claims which have been denied to see if many more can be accepted based on their own merits; second, demand a review of all other industrial disease claims to determine if their rejection was premature as well. In this way, workers and/or their dependants could finally be assured that the facts of their individual case were taken into account in making a decision on benefits.
I believe many more cases could be won. Workers or their widows would finally receive the compensation they deserve.
Mr McLean: This concerns the recent announcement that the city of Orillia has been selected as the site for a massive new general headquarters complex for the Ontario Provincial Police. The 740 jobs and the accompanying $35-million-a-year payroll was welcome news to the people of the sunshine city.
It certainly restores my faith to know that the government ministers were listening on those many occasions when I suggested that the Huronia Regional Centre property could be used to build a facility to treat Alzheimer’s patients or as a Workers’ Compensation Board rehabilitation and treatment centre or to house chronic care beds or for some other government agency.
It pleases me to know that my suggestions were not falling on deaf ears. I think a great deal of credit should go to the senior staff of the Solicitor General’s office, the OPP and the Ministry of Government Services for the in-depth studies that resulted in the OPP coming to Orillia.
I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to the administration and staff of the Huronia Regional Centre and the Government Services office in Orillia for the efforts they put into this welcome announcement.
It was a pleasure to be on hand when the Premier and the Solicitor General visited Orillia on 18 May to announce that the sunshine city had been chosen as the new home for the OPP general headquarters. I would personally like to thank them for recognizing the benefits of building in Orillia, and especially for giving my earlier suggestions for the Huronia Regional Centre serious consideration.
Mr Kozyra: It gives me great pleasure to call members’ attention to a new medical training program announced for northern Ontario. On 22 May the Premier outlined a program to assist in the recruitment of physicians in northern communities. This program is both innovative and practical and involves two northern Ontario universities, Lakehead University and Laurentian University of Sudbury.
Statistical evidence reveals that physicians are more likely to practise in the area where they receive post-graduate clinical training rather than where they attend medical school. In keeping with this finding, medical school graduates will now have the opportunity to train in hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices throughout northern Ontario. As part of the program, postgraduate students will train in remote communities. It is part of an integrated strategy to decentralize health care and to expand training.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, after an intensive review, has recommended a mandatory two years of training before licensing. The ministries of Health, Colleges and Universities and Northern Development were involved in the development of this program, as were the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Ontario chapter of Family Physicians of Ontario and the Ontario Medical Association. In simple terms, this program should provide more family-practice doctors for northern Ontario communities, certainly a big step in the right direction.
COMPETITION AMONG SCHOOL BOARDS
Mr R. F. Johnston: A number of months ago I raised with the Minister of Education in this forum the problem that is taking place now as the school boards in the separate system and the public system are competing more and more to attract people to their systems. We now have public advertising on a regular basis being undertaken which would surely be acceptable, but we have also had the situation I raised at that point of the Windsor Roman Catholic Separate School Board putting a bounty on the heads of people, ratepayers, who come over and giving a reward to their own staff to go out to attract new ratepayers to their community.
I have just learned of a situation on the other side where public boards are a little upset because a prominent ski lodge that decided to change its support to the Catholic system, as was the right of that ski lodge to do, is now being boycotted for school trips, and a major campaign against public boards using that facility is being promulgated around Ontario.
It strikes me, as it did at that time, that the Minister of Education should sit down with representatives of the various associations of boards in Ontario and set down some guidelines for what is acceptable in terms of the competition that is now going on to attract people into that system in terms of ratepayers and students.
Mr Wiseman: Last weekend several commercial border crossings in Ontario were clogged by a blockade organized by frustrated truckers. It was the only way they knew to show this government what it had been told over and over again during the committee hearings on the trucking bills in 1988. I warned the previous Minister of Transportation at that time that our truckers, especially the small truckers, the owner-operators, simply could not compete under the conditions this government was laying down. Now the truckers who told him the same thing had to find other methods of letting his successor know that their American counterparts have all the advantages.
Our truckers cannot buy equipment at the low prices available to American truckers, so it would be a great help if this government would eliminate the 8% sales tax on the cost of trucks and trailers. It would also assist our Ontario truckers if it would give them a rebate on the provincial portion of the tax on diesel fuel.
These ideas are not new. I advanced them on behalf of the Ontario Trucking Association when Bill 88 was being debated two years ago. No one listened then. With plants being shut down, workers losing pay and productivity slowing, with produce rotting and costs being passed on to the consumer, is the minister finally listening now?
GAMES FOR THE DISABLED
Mr Cleary: I would like to take the opportunity to commend the city of Cornwall for hosting the Eastern Ontario Games for the Physically Disabled on 26 May 1990. I had the pleasure of sharing some time with 150 physically challenged participants as well as an equal number of supporters. The athletes were placed in categories. The games consisted of such traditional sports as track, field, swimming and weight-lifting.
While I was at the games, I could not help but feel an obvious sense of pride and determination. I believe it is individuals such as the participants in the eastern Ontario physically handicapped games who set an example of how to reach for our goals regardless of the problems we might face.
I would like to thank the organizers and all the supporters for the efforts they put forward into making these Eastern Ontario Games for the Physically Disabled such a success. I certainly hope this is one step along the way of heightening awareness in all the communities.
Most of all, I would like to congratulate the athletes themselves. I am pleased to note that three members of the Cornwall Handicap Club will be going to compete in the physically handicapped games in Etobicoke in July.
I would like to conclude by saying that I am proud to be part of the provincial government that makes this event such a success.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
LONG-TERM CARE / SOINS DE LONGUE DURÉE
Hon Mr Beer: On behalf of myself and my colleagues the Minister of Health, the Minister without Portfolio responsible for disabled persons and the Minister without Portfolio responsible for senior citizens’ affairs, I wish to announce that the plan for the comprehensive reform of long-term care called Strategies for Change has been released today both in English and in French -- Stratégies de réaménagement.
The strategies outlined in the plan will make major changes in our services to elderly people and people with disabilities. We will integrate in-home services, we will strengthen community agencies and supports so that people may retain their dignity and remain in their homes and communities as long as possible and we will provide for co-ordinated access to long-term care facility services.
Les stratégies énoncées dans le plan vont entraîner des changements profonds dans les services que nous offrons aux personnes âgées et aux personnes handicapées. Nous allons intégrer les services à domicile et nous allons renforcer les services de soutien et les organismes communautaires. Ceci permettra aux citoyens de préserver leur dignité et de continuer à vivre dans leur domicile et au sein de leur communauté le plus longtemps possible. Nous allons également pourvoir à la coordination de l’accès aux services de longue durée.
This government has demonstrated its commitment to the comprehensive reform of long-term care by assigning funding to the reform initiative in its 1990 budget. We will spend more than $52 million in the current fiscal year. By the fiscal year 1996-97, new funding to improve services will increase to $640 million annually.
Further, this government is committed to consultation and local planning. That is what this document is all about. Beginning immediately, we will be seeking advice from consumers, service providers, municipalities and voluntary organizations. Their assistance will be invaluable as we plan the implementation of Strategies for Change together.
Long-term care reform, a major health and social services initiative, is moving forward to improve the quality of life for disabled and senior citizens of Ontario.
CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES / ÉTABLISSEMENTS CORRECTIONNELS
Hon Mr Patten: I am pleased to announce today the construction of a 120-bed addition to the Mimico Correctional Centre in Toronto’s west end. This new remand accommodation will be used to house adult male inmates awaiting trial, sentencing or other judicial proceedings. As with most correctional facilities providing pre-trial detention, this new unit will have a maximum-security classification and will hold inmates charged with a wide range of offences.
Les députés de cette Assemblée sont bien conscients des défis auxquels mon ministère doit faire face.
Secure remand facilities for those being held while awaiting court appearances have been under pressure in recent years, particularly in the greater Toronto area. These pressures are mostly due to rapid population growth in the region, increased police enforcement against drug-related offences and our recognition of and response, through criminalization, in such areas as domestic violence, sexual assault and drinking and driving.
Members will recall my announcement last December of the construction of a 272-bed remand detention unit to be added on to the Maplehurst Correctional Centre in Milton, which of course was to serve the rapidly developing areas of Peel, Dufferin and North Halton. I am pleased to note that the proposal call for the Maplehurst project has already closed and that we expect to see construction under way in the short term.
Le gouvernement a aussi fait l’annonce, l’année dernière, de la réaffectation de 136 places à des fins de détention provisoire au Centre correctionnel de Mimico.
Those beds are used for those awaiting further court appearances.
Other recent measures to deal with growing inmate populations in the greater Toronto area include the addition of 90 full-time staff positions to help supervise inmates at institutions where overcapacity has been a problem. Of course, these staff will remain in place as long as pressure on these facilities continues.
Construction of the Mimico detention expansion is expected to begin later this year and will take approximately 19 months to complete. Officials from the Ministry of Government Services will engage in discussions with the city of Etobicoke as we proceed with this project.
This facility, combined with other recent initiatives, as well as future directions being developed, represents a significant step towards the realization of the ministry’s long-term capital plan which calls for the upgrading, renovation and expansion of a number of Ontario’s 52 correctional institutes.
Ces mesures sont conformes aux principes établis par mon ministère dans sa planification générale à long terme.
I believe that the measures that I have announced today will play a substantial role in helping to reduce population pressures at the Toronto Jail, at the Metropolitan Toronto East Detention Centre and the Metropolitan Toronto West Detention Centre, as well as other remand centres in the province.
Mr Allen: I want to respond to the announcement of the Minister of Community and Social Services with regard to the development and funding of long-term care in Ontario and, in particular, his release of the document Strategies for Change, obviously a consultation document for those in the community interested.
Let me say first of all that this has been a question which has been of very vigorous debate and long-term lobbying by the disabled and the elderly in Ontario for many years. Certainly any movement in the direction of long-term care that emphasizes the independence and the capacity of the disabled and the elderly, not only to remain in their homes but to be active in the community, and indeed to work and seek and enjoy employment, is a very, very welcome move for those persons and for the whole tenor of community life in Ontario.
Without wanting to detract from the importance of this proposal, I would want to note that whereas three years ago, when we were going into an election, the government was announcing a very major completion of an integrated homemakers program which was intended to do many of these things, we are now about to go into another election with essentially a consultation in hand and no very hard specifics, no development of a program that would replace or augment the expansion of the integrated homemakers program. However, I recognize that this is certainly much more than an integrated homemakers program. At least I hope it is.
I did not see in the minister’s announcement specific reference to the development of workplace supports, attendant care in the workplace. I am hoping that this indeed is further on in this document than I have been able to get in the last two minutes and that not only will he be providing the supports for those individuals who wish to exercise their new-found independence with attendant care in the workplace but he will be doing two additional things.
I hope that he will be providing immediate funding for training programs for people who will be doing attendant care. This is obviously a more responsible kind of care than was implied in the older style of care for these people. It would be inappropriate to transfer those employed in earlier custodial and attendant care to the new task. The new task is going to be more complex, the support workers will have to be that much more informed and I hope the minister will be immediately looking at appropriate training.
Second, I hope he will be undertaking major initiatives with respect to the preparation of employers for the reception of the disabled, and indeed the elderly, who may wish to continue on a more limited basis with their handicaps some version of activity in a workplace setting. In that respect, in order for this reform to be significant, he will have to prepare the ground.
What the $52 million will be devoted to immediately is not spelled out here, and I am a little concerned that the program does not reach its peak until 1996-97. After all, the last year was supposed to have been spent in consultation. When I read in the document that the first step in reform is to identify strategies that will provide essential components for an effective community care and support services system, I wonder what we have been doing over the last year. Surely that consultation had some meaning and content. I would have thought that particular question would have been resolved already.
Let the minister get on with great haste with this program because it is badly needed, badly wanted and long fought for by the disabled and elderly of Ontario.
Mr Farnan: In response to the Minister of Correctional Services, there is overstress in the system. I have to suggest to the minister that what he is promising today does not come on stream until 1992. That is the first thing.
The second item is that one third of the inmates in our prisons are in for fine violations. They should not be there. We do not have fine option programs in the province except for two small experiments. There is a backlog in the court system.
I can understand some emphasis in terms of renovation, but in terms of expanding a system that costs $47,000 a year to house an inmate who should not be in prison, that is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Twenty-five per cent of the inmates have psychiatric disorders. They need attention. That is where the government should be concentrating.
Mrs Cunningham: I would like to respond to the Minister of Community and Social Services and his long-term care document today.
Obviously, we have not had a lot of time to take a look at these strategies for change as released by the minister and his ministry today. I will say that in the short period of time that we have had to look at this many of the observations, and especially the process, do refer directly to A New Agenda, which I believe was first released in 1986.
We were looking for very specific recommendations. We have not had time to look at it. I will ask the minister to respond sooner or later to the items that are for discussion in this document. It does give us some concern. As we take a look at discussion around the roles and responsibilities of specialized services in relation to the reformed service system, I would have expected more specific recommendations. With regard to the process of assessing consumers’ ability to pay for support services, we thought that would have been looked at in the last four years. More specifically, we would have had some conclusions and recommendations around the discussion there.
As we take a look at discussion for the roles of various types of in-home service providers in the integrated in-home service program, new eligibility criteria for formal in-home services, those were the kinds of specific recommendations that we thought would have come out as a result of recommendations around Strategies for Change. I will speak specifically to one of the programs that we are very much concerned about.
The minister talked about $52 million, assigning some $7.4 million -- I believe it is probably $10 million -- to fund the program for attendant care. I would say to the minister that we are looking at very specific and very extensive services there. Those are the kinds of services that the disabled have asked for. We know the minister has responded, but $10 million will not begin to meet the needs as we know they exist today out there.
I will also say, having spent only a small amount of time reading this report, that we are sceptical of some of the changes and some of the strategies here. We would appreciate the opportunity to look at the report in more detail. That will be what we will do in the next day or so and get back to the minister.
Mr Cureatz: I would like to comment to the Minister of Correctional Services about his statement. Over the last number of months, he well knows, through various questions and private conversations, that we have been concerned on this side of the House about what would appear to be the lack of facilities in terms of housing the correctional population. We are very pleased with the announcement coming forward. We can only say it is probably in anticipation of an election, but we will forgive him for that because on this side of the House we are appreciative. We know how difficult it is for his ministry to garner funds from the Treasurer under the restraints that are taking place in the province of Ontario.
I want to bring to his attention, just for the few moments that we have left, on the last page of his announcement where he indicates, “This facility, combined with other recent initiatives, as well as future directions being developed, represents a significant step toward the realization of the ministry’s long-term capital plan which calls for the upgrading, renovation and expansion of a number of Ontario’s 52 correctional institutions.”
I have brought to his attention a number of times, through letters and through questions in the House, the Whitby Jail. He is smiling, of course, because I think he anticipated my bringing in once again some concerns I have about the Whitby Jail. He has indicated to me, personally and through letters, that the sale of the jail would not even come close to what would be required for a new institution. I would like to bring to his attention that we are not asking for a new institution immediately, but we in our community would look very favourably if his ministry took a hard look at what Mayor Attersley of the town of Whitby is saying, that the present institution -- of course I have had the opportunity of visiting it with my colleague the member for Oshawa -- is really outdated.
I give great laurels to those who are working in the institution, on staff and in the wards, in terms of trying to do the best possible, but if we are talking about rehabilitation, and I know the minister is because we have spoken often enough about this privately, it would go a long way to make a long-term plan of moving that facility, which is located in a prime area in terms of the town of Whitby, near the GO train station and the Whitby harbour. It could be sold and we could be looking at a long-term approach. We are not asking for it tomorrow but maybe within the next four to seven years.
Mr Reville: Mr Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent of the House to pay tribute to Elspeth Heyworth, who died yesterday.
The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
Mr Reville: I join with a number of communities across Metropolitan Toronto in mourning the death of Elspeth Heyworth. Yesterday her friends and co-workers and many of the people on whose behalf she worked as executive director of Dixon Hall gathered to try to cope with the terrible news that she had drowned off Goa, India.
Earlier this year, we had all been delighted that Elspeth had arranged to go on a kind of personal odyssey, a visit to her roots in England, where she went to school, and to India, where she was born. Since Monday we have been thinking about the many ways in which Elspeth has been important to our lives, and many of us are wondering what will become of the many projects on which we were working together with Elspeth.
Yesterday, a friend produced a copy of the June issue of Toronto Life magazine. “Read it aloud,” we said, and we sat and tried to imagine Elspeth being interviewed by Rick Salutin and how impatient that must have made her. We wondered what she would have thought about the title of the article; it was called “Good for Goodness’ Sake.” We thought she might have pulled a very wry face indeed at the subtitle, “A Few Days on the Front Lines of Compassion.”
The last few years had been both the best of times and the worst of times for Elspeth Heyworth. She was devastated by the breakup of her marriage. She was embroiled in many tough battles at the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority, where she had been a director. But she did love her work at Dixon Hall, and she was excited about the possibilities that await in Ataratiri -- which is the huge project the city is developing just south of Dixon Hall, where she worked -- and she was helping to plan that project as a neighbour.
She was worried about the persistence of poverty in the context of 20 years of prosperity. She worried too about the tendencies of settlement houses to become agents of social control rather than social change. That is why she was happiest when the people she worked with found the strength to change their lives themselves and on their own terms, not according to some imposed and value-laden outside prescription.
I brought this book today from my library. It is by Michael Ignatieff. It is called The Needs of Strangers. It is an essay on privacy, solidarity and the politics of being human. This book reminds me of Elspeth, not just because of the way she lived her life, but because of the way she thought about life. In his conclusion Michael Ignatieff says, in a chapter called “Homelessness and Belonging,” “Our task is to find a language for our need for belonging which is not just a way of expressing nostalgia, fear and estrangement from modernity.” It is my view that Elspeth had found that language and, what is more, she was teaching it to us. We will miss her.
Mrs Cunningham: It is with great sadness and a sense of loss that we rise today on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario to pay tribute to Elspeth Heyworth. For the last five years, Ms Heyworth had been the executive director of the Dixon Hall community centre and men’s shelter. Today’s newspapers reported across Canada that she drowned while vacationing at a resort in Goa, India.
Reading of her accomplishments, we feel a particular sense of loss. She was the type of person who is badly needed in today’s society. Her concern for the poor and disadvantaged was evident to anyone who came in contact with her, even for a very short moment. She found great personal satisfaction in helping others. Her goal was to make major changes in people’s lives and really turn things around by working with them as individuals. But she saw the problems, as many of us do, becoming bigger and bigger and much more severe, particularly with the homeless.
In addition to her work at Dixon Hall, Elspeth was a director of the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority and a member of the neighbourhood advisory committee planning Ataratiri, an affordable housing project.
Born in India of English missionary parents, she went to boarding school in England and completed university there. Happily for us in Ontario, she and her husband came to Toronto in 1962 where she was an active social worker. She had three children, became a full-time mother and homemaker for a few years and totally dedicated her life to helping others.
Her death leaves a big gap in Toronto’s community-minded citizens. It is hard to replace people of her calibre. In her words, “We’ve always tried to help people make major changes in their lives.” Those who worked with her knew she could make it happen.
We express deep sympathy to her family in its sudden and unexpected sorrow.
Hon Mr Scott: On behalf of the government, I would like to join my colleagues in expressing sympathy to Elspeth Heyworth’s family. It is no exaggeration, as the honourable member for Riverdale has said, that when the announcement was made yesterday that she had drowned while on sabbatical near her native India, there were thousands of people in my riding and his riding and across Toronto who were heartbroken at what seemed a senseless and terribly unfair act of fate.
I knew Elspeth and her then husband Peter Heyworth and their young family well. They lived two houses away from me on Carlton Street, and when I came there, a middle-aged lawyer, they sought to involve me in community affairs. The first task assigned was Elspeth’s invitation to lie down in front of a tractor that was about to reduce the perimeter of Riverdale Park. Those who know Elspeth would understand that it was easier to lie down than not to. The expansion of the park, through her efforts, was terminated.
She had a distinguished academic career and was a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and a staff member at York University for some time, but it was a matter of surprise to even her greatest friends when she decided to respond to an advertisement in the Toronto Globe and Mail which advertised the position of executive director of Dixon Hall in Toronto. Dixon Hall, as honourable members will know, is one of the oldest settlement houses, as they used to be called, in the city and is an important feature of community life in the south part of the city, in particular St George-St David and Riverdale.
I say it was unusual that she would make such an application because if there was ever an incongruous applicant for such a job it was Elspeth. She was a Brit, if the honourable member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore will forgive me for saying that, the daughter of English people in India and a graduate of Oxford. She had spent all her life in her home bringing up her children and in the scholarly halls of the university. She gave the sardonic reply, when asked why she had applied, that it was within walking distance. But the reality was that in making that application and in taking the job that was ultimately forthcoming, Elspeth responded to a deep need to serve her community in a variety of ways.
In the five years she was the executive director of Dixon Hall, she initiated a wide number of programs, exhibited the most imaginative capacity to achieve government support from all three levels, against the advice, even, occasionally, of the member for Riverdale and myself, she worked assiduously with the community and she served the community in a variety of other ways. At the request of the community, she became our director at Wellesley Hospital to try to make that hospital a great community resource. She served as chairman of the community planning committee for Ataratiri and, as the honourable member for Riverdale has noted, was a major mainstay of the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority.
The happy and vibrant article that Rick Salutin wrote about her in Toronto Life this month unhappily becomes her memorial.
I think the message of Elspeth’s life to her neighbours is that you have an obligation in the community to help others who are less fortunate than yourself and you do that by helping them to organize themselves, helping them to plan for themselves, helping them to teach themselves and helping them to support themselves. That was, for her neighbours and her friends in my community, the message of Elspeth’s career and her life. The people at Dixon Hall with whom she worked in the community will miss her dreadfully, as will we all.
The Speaker: I will, on behalf of all members, make certain that her family will learn of your words of respect and sympathy. As soon as Hansard is officially printed, I will see that a copy is sent.
Mr B. Rae: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Like everyone else around here, I am in receipt of a news release dated 30 May in which it is stated that the Premier has accepted the resignation of the Minister of Culture and Communications and simply encloses a letter from the member for York East to the Premier of the province, which letter, if I may say so, explains nothing. I wonder if the Premier can tell us why there has been no statement from the minister as to why she has resigned or why --
The Speaker: Order. I had not called for questions, and I believe that was a question. You rose on a point of order. I certainly am ready to acknowledge any member who rises in his or her place.
The Speaker: I would draw to the members’ attention that we have a visitor in the lower west gallery, a former member, Milton (Bud) Gregory.
RESIGNATION OF CABINET MINISTER
Mr B. Rae: As I said in my point of order, I would have expected that a resignation of a minister in the cabinet, a minister of the crown, would be at least explained to the House. It is not a private arrangement between the Premier and a member of his caucus, it is a matter of public record and of public importance in terms of why a minister has made this decision. I wonder if the Premier can tell us everything he knows about the circumstances surrounding the resignation of the Minister of Culture and Communications.
Hon Mr Peterson: The minister was involved in a nomination contest in her own riding. She accepted services and goods from certain potential clients under her ministry. I felt this was very bad judgement.
Mr B. Rae: The letter from the minister says, “As you are aware, I am very concerned about allegations that have surfaced concerning requests made in the context of my nomination as Liberal candidate in York East.”
Can the Premier tell us what was the nature of the services that were either offered or asked for, the circumstances surrounding this and which clients or potential clients are involved?
Again, this is not a matter internal to the Liberal Party of Ontario, this is a matter involving a minister. The Premier believes it involved a bad judgement on the part of the minister. I think we are entitled to have at least on the record some information as to what transpired.
When did the Premier meet with the minister? What did she tell him? Did he ask for her resignation? What were all the circumstances? Surely we are entitled to this information.
Hon Mr Peterson: Yesterday, about this matter, I had it looked at in all the details by staff, I met with her this morning and she has resigned. There is nothing illegal in what was done, but, in my opinion, it was a very bad judgement. It was two particular clients, Bell Canada and CNCP telegraph. As the member knows, there is a large regulatory matter that will have to be dealt with by the CRTC, but Ontario will be putting forth a position at some point in the future. It was not significant, it was a matter of some telephones and some staff, but I felt this was a bad judgement.
Mr B. Rae: I do not know why we have to get all this by the back door. Am I to understand from what the Premier is telling me --
Mr B. Rae: Why is there no statement? There is no statement here. What was the nature of the services offered by Bell Canada and by CNCP telegraph to the minister? What was the nature of the services offered? What were all the circumstances?
I do not think we are asking for anything unusual or untoward. We are simply saying we should not have to ask questions about something as fundamental as this. Why can the Premier not tell us exactly what is involved in terms of the services being offered, all the circumstances involving when this took place, how this took place, at what point, so that this can then be a matter of public record?
Hon Mr Peterson: There are no secrets about it. You need only ask. There was a matter of some six, I believe, cellular telephones. There was some staff from Bell Canada who did work after hours, not on company hours, but, again, I felt that was inappropriate. It was on a phone bank for a nomination. Those are the circumstances and I came to the conclusion, as I said, it was not illegal but, in my view, bad judgement.
Mr B. Rae: While we are talking on the subject of bad judgement, the Premier will no doubt be aware of the story contained across Canada in Southam News, a story entitled, in the version that I have, “Ontario Plotting Strategy,” which refers to what has been referred to by officials in the government as a working document on Meech Lake, which says that Ontario should have several goals, two of which would be to fuel a sense of crisis and, second, to undermine the credibility of Clyde Wells, Gary Filmon and New Brunswick’s Frank McKenna. I wonder if the Premier can tell us if this kind of working document is an approach which he feels will help to build a spirit of national unity in the country.
Hon Mr Peterson: Absolutely not; it does not help at all. It was a document that I had not seen. I was not aware of it until I came in this morning. I tracked it down. It apparently was done by a couple of junior-level bureaucrats and was rejected. It was not part of our strategy, and the member is quite right, it is not constructive. It is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen in government, and there are on occasion a lot of stupid things done in government.
Mr Wildman: A couple of file clerks.
Mr B. Rae: These file clerks who produced this tasteless document, which no one has ever seen before -- the Premier this morning said he was not even sure if it existed, and then his principal secretary said if they find out who released the document, they will be charged with breach of trust. It is the first time that anyone will have been charged with breach of trust for a document that does not exist.
I want to ask the Premier, since he is not prepared to tell us the circumstances surrounding this document, perhaps he can tell us exactly who prepared this document, with whom this document has been discussed and, if he is now disowning the document, precisely what discussions regarding this document have in fact taken place.
Hon Mr Peterson: Apparently it was prepared by a couple of junior bureaucrats last week.
Mr B. Rae: Who?
Hon Mr Peterson: I do not know the names at this moment, but the honourable member can believe me that I am trying to find out. Nobody commissioned it. Everybody is --
Hon Mr Peterson: It was rejected at a committee, I was not aware of it until this morning, and that is the most I can assist.
Mr R. F. Johnston: You can’t trust those GO Temps, can you?
Hon Mr Peterson: Well, I get the impression some days that the guys who wrote that report are the same people who write the questions for question period.
Mr B. Rae: I would have thought it would have been obvious by now that no one writes my questions for question period.
The Speaker: The question?
Mr B. Rae: I want to say by way of final supplementary this is the first government document I know which is produced by means of immaculate conception by people who have no names, people who do not exist, and yet if anyone finds out who actually released this non-existent document which no one will take responsibility for, they will be fired. These nameless, faceless orphans will be out on the street. We do not know who produced it. Nevertheless, I think it says something about the political culture of this government.
I want to ask the Premier, who is in charge, who is responsible for this document? Who is it in his office or within the Liberal Party, or within the office of the Attorney General, his top constitutional adviser, who could possibly have produced nonsense such as this that says you have to portray one of the premiers as politically erratic and inconsistent, you have to insist that another person’s concerns are out of proportion, insist that another Premier has to be described as part of the problem, and says that all the while this dirty work is being done the Premier should simply continue to take the high road to nation-building and stay off substance issues? God knows this Premier has avoided substance issues for five years. I want to ask the Premier, who is responsible for this document, and if he does not know, why does he not know?
Hon Mr Peterson: I will try to find the names of the people who wrote this thing and I will send them on to the member, and I will send them a copy of Hansard as well so they understand his view of them. I share most of the things that he has said about that document.
Mr Harris: The Premier was one of the signatories to the Meech Lake accord. Part of the agreement he signed was that all 10 provinces would ratify the accord by 23 June and that all premiers must be in agreement.
We too were distressed to read that the Office of the Premier is suggesting Ontario should be undermining the credibility of the other provinces, manipulating the media and calling other premiers erratic and unpredictable. The Premier would agree, and I have heard him agree with the Leader of the Opposition today, that this is not the traditional role of premiers of this province. It is not the type of game that the government of Ontario should be playing with our fellow Canadians. Who is advising the Premier on his strategy for Ontario on Meech Lake, and did they know of this document?
Hon Mr Peterson: The member is quite right, we should not be calling anybody erratic and unpredictable, except perhaps the leaders of the opposition parties around here; I agree with that.
Let me say to my honourable friend that this was produced and rejected at some meeting or other. I was not aware of it. The Attorney General, who is my chief adviser on these matters, was not aware of it. Like many other working documents going around government, I guess it did not go anywhere.
Mr Harris: What is very disconcerting to me is, when I read the story and I reviewed the events and the Premier’s statements over this past week, “‘Quebec will never be left to stand alone in future constitutional talks,’ Premier David Peterson vowed yesterday,” it matches identically with strategy point 1 in the leaked document he disavows, which is to prevent the isolation of Quebec.
“But Peterson was quick to blame Newfoundland Premier Clyde Wells for the current stalemate: ‘Mr Wells has to remember that his predecessor signed this and he is the one that rescinded that motion and he’s got a very heavy responsibility.”’
This was on Sunday. It seems to fit identically with, “We’ve urged the media to keep constant pressure on holdout premiers by questioning them on the consequences of failure and the responsibility for it.” On Sunday the Premier warned Canada could break apart unless there is compromise by Wells, Manitoba’s Gary Filmon and Frank McKenna of New Brunswick.
Strategy point 3 is to escalate the national crisis.
What is disconcerting to me is that as I have reviewed the Premier’s comments of the past week, they appear to fit exactly with the strategy that we see being leaked as Ontario’s strategy that he now disavows any knowledge of. Again, who is giving him the advice that this is a strategy he should follow?
Hon Mr Peterson: The answer is, I take advice from all sorts of sources. I take advice from the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, the Leader of the Opposition and a variety of other people. When people come forward with good ideas, I am delighted to adopt and embrace them. My chief adviser in this matter, as the member knows, is the Attorney General, who has a very strong group of constitutional lawyers and political scientists working with him.
My honourable friend, I am sure, suffers the same dilemma that I do. He gets advice on all sides of every issue almost every day. Ultimately, one then makes one’s own decision.
As I have told my honourable friend, I disavow this particular document because I think it was rather juvenile, out of date and, frankly, quite stupid.
Mr Harris: I think the Premier has agreed with the Leader of the Opposition and myself that this strategy is divisive, totally inappropriate and very counterproductive to his role as Premier of this province.
This strategy outlined in the document is vintage Peterson and is very similar to strategies in dealing with a number of domestic problems. Given that this strategy, which appears to have been followed on the weekend, is a strategy that the Premier has followed for domestic problems -- and I accept what he is saying to me today that it is totally inappropriate when dealing with fellow premiers and on the national stage -- and given the urgency and the situation this country is in, I find it very difficult to accept that the Premier does not know who wrote this report, that he does not know who had access to this report and that he does not know which advisers who have been advising him on his strategy had access to this report.
First, when is the Premier going to find out, and second, will these people -- assuming maybe one of them is the Attorney General, I do not know -- assure us that there is no place for them in the cabinet --
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Peterson: Nobody advised me to do any of that, just so the member understands. That was never advice that came to me, nor if it did is it advice that I would follow, as my honourable friend knows. So I think he can rest assured that is not the case, and he will sleep well tonight knowing that the province is in good hands.
RESIGNATION OF CABINET MINISTER
Mr Harris: I am very concerned today as well that there was no statement, nothing forthcoming to the House, concerning the resignation of a senior minister of the crown.
The Speaker: The question is to whom?
Mr Harris: To the Premier. I do not accept the Premier’s suggestion to the leader of the official opposition that all the information is forthcoming and that something of this significance should have to be asked about in question period.
The Premier, in response to the leader of the official opposition, talked about services that were provided to his minister for a nomination bid. The information that I had seen in the release talked about the time and the appropriateness of the companies those people work for. The Premier has indicated something new to me in this House, that there were services that were provided as well.
Does the Premier know where those services came from and which employees provided them? How far up the ladder are we with these two companies that were involved in this renomination?
Hon Mr Peterson: I have told my honourable friend everything I know. I gather there were four employees, to the best of my knowledge, from Bell Canada who worked on their own time. It was not on company time and perhaps I gave the member the false impression by using that word “services.” Those are the facts as I know them.
Mr Harris: In response to the question, I believe the Premier talked about a phone bank or some communications equipment. Did this equipment belong to those four employees? Did they have authorization to provide this equipment or was the Premier in error when he talked about this equipment as being provided to the nomination bid of his minister as well?
Hon Mr Peterson: It was a different company that, I could gather, lent them some cellular telephones.
Mr Harris: Then are we involved with a third company that is in the communications business, that would have communications equipment available? Does the Premier have details of that?
When I read the resignation letter I was a little perplexed, if these were four very junior employees working on their own time with no connection or access to the company, that the Premier should automatically deem that very inappropriate without any further investigation and perceive that as a conflict. I can only conclude that there is more to this and I regret that I have to keep asking questions in this House to get at it.
The Premier said there was another company that provided the equipment. Can he tell us the name of that other company, what was the equipment that was involved and who authorized it?
Hon Mr Peterson: I said all that in the House in response to the Leader of the Opposition but I will repeat it for my honourable friend. The member understands the situation with the employees of Bell Canada. They were not being paid by Bell Canada, as I understand it. They were on their own time. So my honourable friend may disagree with the judgement that I made in this case and may think that we displayed, shall we say, too much rectitude in that particular judgement. That is fair enough because there are not conflict-of-interest rules applying to a nomination as my honourable friend knows. There is clearly no violation of the law but I felt it was an error of judgement.
The second company, and I referred to it earlier, was CNCP, Cantel Communications, and as the member knows there is a large regulatory issue now that will go to the CRTC with respect to long-distance rates and things like that. That is why I made the judgement I did. I did not feel, even though it was not against the law, that it was in good judgement to deal with, shall we say, clients of the ministry in this way, because the judgements that would be made have to be made dispassionately and objectively. I thought it was much better to be prudent in the circumstances. This is a harsh business and I regret it very much, but I think the public interest is best served by that resignation today.
SOLID WASTE REDUCTION
Mrs Grier: I have an environmental question for the Premier. In questions this week to the Minister of the Environment I have been trying to get from that minister a commitment to implement programs to reduce the amount of garbage we as a society produce. Yesterday the minister acknowledged that excess packaging is a major contributor to the garbage crisis. In fact, in response to a question from one of his own backbenchers last November on this very subject the minister said he had asked the Canadian Council of Resource and Environment Ministers and the federal government to establish federal packaging legislation and was hopeful of a report in March 1990 which would stipulate regulation and legislation in this regard.
When that federal packaging protocol in fact appeared in March it did not contain the regulation or the legislation that the Premier’s minister said he was seeking. It in fact calls for more studies, for more consultations, for more technical reports.
Can the Premier explain why his government is content to wait for further studies and action by a federal government that has shown no environmental commitment? Why is his government not prepared to act to reduce excess packaging in Ontario?
Hon Mr Peterson: I do not think the minister ever ruled out unilateral action in this regard, by any stretch of the imagination. But my honourable friend I know is reasonable enough to understand that these things are better done on a national basis. It is just like the question we go into on air standards. Is it not more appropriate, if possible, to move with neighbouring states, to move with other parts of the continent? These are transborder problems, many of them, as my honourable friend knows. It is much more efficient, as my honourable friend knows, to make sure that companies have an opportunity to do this on a national basis. The honourable minister has been the leader in pushing for national standards. It is not always easy moving along the process, but I can tell my honourable friend by no stretch of the imagination is unilateral action ruled out, if necessary.
Mrs Grier: What I am trying to get from the Premier and from the government is some sense of when it is appropriate to move unilaterally and when they are content to sit back and wait for the federal government. When it came to smog-free gas, national standards would have been preferable, but the minister is trumpeting his initiative. It is the same with measures to reduce CFCs released into the atmosphere -- Ontario is in the lead, according to our minister; we do not have to wait for the federal government. Last October the minister told the media that Ontario could draft its own packaging regulations if Ottawa does not move.
The Premier must know that one of the simplest kinds of packaging that is entirely within the jurisdiction of this province to reduce is beverage containers of all kinds. Is he not ashamed that when one buys soft drinks in a non-refillable container the label says “Return for refund in Quebec, 5 cents,” but in Ontario two out of three of them go into the garbage --
The Speaker: The question has been asked.
Mrs Grier: Does that not shame the Premier?
The Speaker: Order.
Mrs Grier: Is he not prepared to take action now?
The Speaker: Order. I am afraid you will throw the bottle.
Hon Mr Peterson: Maybe for the first time I heard her trumpet the achievements of the Minister of the Environment. I am not sure if she wanted to do this, but did she not stand up and say that Ontario was first in CFCs? Did she not say that? Did she not say that Ontario was first with the blue box, the leader in North America today? I think she said that, did she not? Did she not say that Ontario was the first with respect to acid rain controls and so many other things?
I think that finally we have found an ounce of charity in the critic opposite, and we recognize the leadership that Ontario has played in all of these matters. My honourable friend, a typical socialist, always wants more, and I understand that. I should tell the Speaker this: I unwittingly said something charitable about the honourable member in this House one time and she used it in her last campaign brochure. I am going to use her speech just now in this House in our campaign brochure.
Mrs Cunningham: I have a question for the Minister of Education that should be of special interest to the Minister of Community and Social Services, as well.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Record reported that some schools were confining students in time-out boxes as punishment for unruly behaviour. The students, sometimes as young as 10 years of age, are put in three-sided partitions which are closed on the fourth side when pushed against a wall. One child was kept in a box in a room with the lights off for more than an hour -- this was last week. The fourth side was boxed off with filing cabinets and if there had been a fire, the child would have been trapped.
Does the minister really feel that this is an appropriate method of dealing with troubled children in our schools?
Hon Mr Conway: I think it must be said that the school community over the years has developed in the main very good practices in coping with its several responsibilities. I have been, in very recent days, made aware of the situation as reported, to which the honourable member makes reference, and I have asked my officials for an update as to what actually occurred. When I have that information, I will be very happy to share it with my friend the member for London North.
Mrs Cunningham: Teachers, as the minister knows, can spend as much as 40% of their day trying to restore order in the classroom. His own assistant deputy minister acknowledged problems in a recent interview by saying that a study showed 18% of children aged four to 16 have emotional problems requiring professional assistance, but it is a tragedy that only one in six gets any help.
Recently, in North York, a principal said that teachers have not been trained to handle violence at all. They are not trained to deal with the kid who is openly disobedient. They are not trained to handle depression, but we have a lot of sad kids out there. That was a principal in North York.
We know, at the same time, that children’s mental health institutions are turning away these children. They are telling school boards: “Make no more referrals. We have no more space. We have long waiting lists.”
When are school boards going to get the social workers’ support that they need to deal with the realities of today’s classrooms? It is a real need.
Hon Mr Conway: The record of the ministry and of school boards across the province, I think, has been quite good in responding to a number of the emerging needs. There is no question that our modern society places all kinds of stresses and strains upon the school community.
But I can tell my honourable friend something that I am sure she is more than passingly aware of. That is, in my recent travels across the province during Education Week, in communities like North Bay, Oshawa and southwestern Ontario, I was quite impressed to see and to hear of many of the very creative initiatives that teachers, principals and others associated with the school community have undertaken, often in concert with partners in the social service community.
Obviously, more remains to be done and we look forward to working together with all in the school and social service community to ensure that young people, particularly young people at risk, receive every attention and all support that we can possibly and reasonably provide.
REGULATION OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
Mr M. C. Ray: I have a question for the Minister of Financial Institutions. It concerns the regulation of trust companies and insurance companies in Ontario. The minister has been involved in an initiative with the federal government and will know the importance of regulating trust companies and insurance companies and bringing into harmony the regulations of these institutions at the federal and provincial levels.
I understand there has been a delay at the federal level and would like the minister to update us with respect to these negotiations with the federal government and advise when we can expect some action on this matter.
Hon Mr Elston: The honourable gentleman is right that we have for some time been pursuing harmonization with respect to regulation of financial institutions across Canada. I should make it very clear that the working relationship to deal with harmonization of regulation has really been between or among the provinces and the territories, to the extent that we can do so, and although the federal government has been invited from time to time to be at the table, it has not yet been able to attend.
We have in fact signed a harmonization agreement or at least an information-sharing agreement about our regulation of various companies, but the federal government has not joined in that information-sharing document.
We have also been waiting for the introduction of new legislation at the federal level and have been advised that before it comes in, the current junior minister, M. Loiselle, will, as we had understood originally, meet with us to discuss what was contained in it. We do not know the status of his current disposition towards those meetings or indeed when he will introduce the legislation, but we have heard from time to time that it will be coming soon.
Mr M. C. Ray: In the meantime I would like to know, what protection is there for the public as we witness insurance companies, trust companies, banks and stockbrokers invading each other’s traditional market area? What can the minister advise us with respect to protection of the public?
Hon Mr Elston: With respect to protection of the public, there are of course deposit-taking institutions that are insured through the Canada Deposit Insurance Corp and that have aggressively marketed their activities. In addition to that, there has been co-operation between the various provinces as we deal with how a company is performing in our various jurisdictions. We are exchanging the information to promote an understanding of the solvency of each of those organizations as our regulators check activity.
We are also watching very diligently the developments at the federal level in particular, where it is allowing certain corporations to come into Canada and do certain things that our native organizations believe they cannot do, and help to promote the best interests of our Canadian institutions so that they remain strong.
POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION FINANCING
Mr Philip: I have a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities and Minister of Skills Development. The minister will recall his recent statement in this House, where he stated it was his belief that it is vital that we enhance technical studies in this province through the province’s various technical education systems.
I wonder if the minister can tell us, does he believe his own statement? If he does, how does he contrast that with the cutbacks to Humber College, the layoff of teachers and the cutback in the number of hours per student at Humber College, thanks to his government?
Hon Mr Conway: I must say to my friend the member for Etobicoke-Rexdale that he surely must understand that I believe what I say. I do not like to see my friend from Rexdale so pained in his expression and so accusatory in his tone, because I know him to be quite otherwise.
He would know, for example, that Humber this year will receive something like $2 million more than it received last year. I think its operating grant this year is up over $55 million -- $2 million-plus up from what it was last year. I have to tell him that this, together with a number of other initiatives the government has taken -- we have indicated, for example, that some $60 million will be spent in the next little while to renew technological studies at the secondary level -- indicates very clearly not only that the government is reinforcing the first order of importance of technological studies across our school system, but that substantial new resources are being made available to high schools and to colleges to ensure that this can take place.
The Speaker: There are quite a number of conversations. I am enjoying them here, but I do not think many other people are.
Mr Philip: The Minister of Skills Development seems to be very boastful of his increase to Humber College in the operating grants. Does he not realize that the increase for the coming year will amount to 1.29%, hardly the rate of inflation? Does he not accept that for the next year the training and grants from his ministry are estimated to decrease by a minimum of 33.5%, or some $2,272,631 over last year?
How can the minister talk about quality education when he is really cutting back on grants to colleges and universities, when he is cutting back in real terms to Humber College and when he is raising the student-teacher ratio, and teachers are being laid off? How is that quality education?
Hon Mr Conway: I must say again to my friend the member for Etobicoke-Rexdale that the facts are otherwise. The facts are system-wide. This year we will increase by 8% our operating support for colleges.
It is true, I must say to my friend the member for Etobicoke-Rexdale that colleges, with their boards, have a responsibility to manage their individual institutions and the programs that make up those institutions. It is also true to say that there are managers throughout the system who are not the kind of antediluvian conservatives that one often finds in the New Democratic Party, who are hopelessly and totally resistant to any kind of change.
Things do change and, yes, some programs are adjusted. Some programs are even discontinued so that other, new initiatives can be undertaken. It seems to be the view of my friend from Rexdale that a cutback is any program that any manager or any board ever decides to alter, to amend, perhaps even to discontinue.
I repeat that, overall, we are increasing our support by 8% to the system. Humber, this year, will receive over $2 million more in operating support than it got last year, at a time when its enrolment growth on a full-time equivalent basis is not as strong as the provincial average. We will perhaps see what that leads my friend to ask next time.
FARM TAX REBATE
Mr Harris: I have a question for the Premier about his government’s gutting of the farm tax rebate program last year. The change in criteria slashed about $50 million from the government’s farm tax rebate program. The Premier will know that in response to an angry outcry from the agricultural community about slashing the eligibility without any consultation, his government initiated a review of the program. That was commissioned in June 1989.
I have here a copy of that confidential report. It has been sitting on the minister’s desk since 11 April. It states clearly that the changes made by his government were wrong. In view of this information, is the Premier now prepared to accept the committee’s recommendation that he reinstate the farm tax rebate as it was always intended, as a universal program available to all farmers?
Hon Mr Peterson: The Minister of Agriculture and Food can help out my friend.
Hon Mr Ramsay: The member opposite is quite right that the government embarked upon a consultation study last year, and I am taking that study into serious consideration in making recommendations for a program this year. I would just like to assure the member that there is going to be a farm tax rebate program this year. Thanks to the Treasurer, we have $7 million more than the $140 million that we spent last year in that program.
Mr Harris: They slashed $50 million last year. It would have been about $100 million this year. He added $7 million, and he says, “Thank you.” It is what happens when the government makes unilateral decisions without consultation. It made a bad decision. Clearly, the independent report says it was wrong. We now have informed advice from the special committee that has studied the matter. They have told the government to change the policy. The committee has concurred with my position, with my party’s position and with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s position that this program is designed to reflect the true value of farm land for assessment purposes, that it is not a vehicle for farm support, that it is not a welfare program.
When farmers appealed to the Premier, he sloughed them off. Will the minister not admit today that he was wrong to treat the program as a welfare benefit, as he did, and will he give us assurance today that he will act immediately to adopt the recommendations contained in this report?
Hon Mr Ramsay: I think it would be very important for the member opposite to give the government some credit for doing two things. Number one, I do not think the member opposite should be sloughing off an expenditure of this government to farmers in Ontario of $147 million. That shows we care about agriculture in this province.
The other thing is, we do consult with the people of Ontario. We had consultations and, as I said to the honourable member, we will be taking those into consideration later on.
Ms Oddie Munro: My question is for the Minister of Energy. I recently met with a group of workers from Camco, Hamilton, representing the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of Canada. They were very much interested in the status of a union proposal regarding Ontario Hydro’s entering into joint ventures with Ontario appliance industries. I believe that in December 1989 the critic from the New Democratic Party, the member for Hamilton Mountain, tabled that proposal, not only before Ontario Hydro but before Camco. I am wondering if she could inform me as to the status of that proposal.
Hon Mrs McLeod: That proposal has indeed been of interest, both to the Ministry of Energy and also to Ontario Hydro, since I think we share a goal of wanting to encourage Ontarians to replace inefficient refrigerators with more energy-efficient refrigerators.
It is my understanding that Ontario Hydro, since hearing of that proposal, has been involved in discussions with appliance manufacturers in terms of their production and the availability of energy-efficient refrigerators, but is also investigating programs that could be put in place that would provide encouragement for people to shift from the inefficient models to more efficient models. Those programs would certainly include information and might also include incentives.
Ms Oddie Munro: I was indeed impressed with the knowledge and the dedication of the workers who came before me, and I do hope this has some immediate effect on the workers at Camco, in addition to the appliance industry itself.
I understand that some new energy efficiency regulations have been introduced by the Ministry of Energy and I am wondering if the minister could explain what effect these regulations will have on Ontario appliance manufacturers.
Hon Mrs McLeod: Indeed, it is correct that a number of appliances have been regulated under the new Energy Efficiency Act. The regulations that have been developed have been done in consultation with appliance manufacturers so that we could ensure that the manufacturers in Ontario could in fact meet both the requirements in the regulations and also what we believe will be consumer demand for those energy-efficient appliances.
The regulations on refrigerators are, in particular, acknowledged to be phased in. By 1994 the regulations will parallel the stringent regulations of the United States. This phasing in was done in order to ensure that the Ontario manufacturers could have an opportunity to enter the United States market, as well as provide for Ontario consumers.
Mr Mackenzie: I have a question of the Solicitor General. Back on 2 April I asked the minister why the United Steelworkers’ union had to wait 17 or 18 months with no inquest being called in the death of G. Mertins at the Campbell Red Lake mine. Finally, on 11 April, an inquest was held. The minister will be aware that the ground shake caused the problem, caused the workers to be pulled out of the Dickenson mine next door as well, because both mines are in the same ore body. These workers are represented by the United Steelworkers of America.
Can the minister tell us why Bob Bainbridge of the United Steelworkers’ union, who went to Campbell Red Lake for the purpose of attending the inquest, was denied standing? Who was responsible for this decision and why?
Hon Mr Offer: In any coroner’s inquest, there is always a question of standing, who is given standing, and those particular representations are made before the regional coroner conducting the inquest. It is within the jurisdiction of the coroner to determine in any one particular circumstance who should or should not be given standing, based on his or her own particular reason and opinion.
That is a usual function of the coroners in the conducting of any inquest. They take that particular function very seriously, as they do all of their functions. They are difficult decisions. They are weighed in every particular matter, and the coroners make those decisions accordingly.
Mr Mackenzie: It does not really sound like it was weighed in this case, because there was certainly a direct interest of the next door mine.
The minister is aware of the growing concern over the number of deaths in the workplace and of the difficulty in getting inquests and the long delays before they are held. Is the minister prepared to hold an inquest in all industrial deaths, as he has been asked to do on a number of occasions, and will he take steps to end the long delays in the current inquests that are held?
Hon Mr Offer: In many ways I share the honourable member’s concern dealing with determination as to whether an inquest is to take place and, if so, when that inquest is scheduled to be heard. I think the member should be aware that there are, in many cases, ongoing investigations which must be conducted. There are issues which must be addressed and there are, in many cases, other ancillary questions which also must be answered. I share the member’s concern that when those particular preliminary types of questions are answered, the inquest be carried on as quickly and expeditiously as possible. I view as very important in carrying out the function and the mandate of the coroners.
The Speaker: New question, the member for Markham.
Hon Mr Scott: Wait for it. Here comes a question on rent controls from the Tories. Maybe pay equity -- no, rent control.
The Speaker: I want to make certain the Attorney General is finished.
Mr Cousens: I would like to ask a question that this minister would answer, but he would not know how to answer anything.
The Speaker: New question, and to which minister?
Mr Cousens: I do not envy you with your job, trying to keep control of these people.
GREATER TORONTO AREA RAPID TRANSIT
Mr Cousens: My question is for the Minister of Transportation. The minister is aware that as chairman of the Ontario Conservative Party’s task force on transportation, I yesterday had the pleasure of meeting with the Toronto Transit Commission. At that meeting there was some receptivity to our suggestion that there be a tax credit for commuters who purchase TTC and GO Transit passes. This would encourage greater use of public transit, and a number of people see some benefit in that.
Has the ministry any plans to introduce this type of program of a tax credit to encourage people to use public transit?
Hon Mr Wrye: I would just indicate that this is a question that the honourable member might more properly address to the Treasurer. It is my responsibility as part of the government, and I think with the support of the Premier, the Treasurer and all of my colleagues, we are trying to carry out my responsibility, which is to ensure the finest public transit system in North America.
We are well on the way to doing that. I am sure the TTC told the member that yesterday. I know, with the member’s support and the support of all members of the House, we will go forward in that regard.
In terms of tax credits, that is a matter the Treasurer may wish to take under consideration.
Mr Cousens: The minister should not pass the buck. The fact of the matter is, he is the Minister of Transportation for the province of Ontario this week. We want him to do everything he can to encourage people to use public transit. He could come forward with some recommendations that would get people out of their cars and on to public transit -- GO trains, Toronto transit, Markham transit, Richmond Hill transit, I do not care.
What is the minister doing, in spite of the fact that he has come out with some recommendations that are going to build some more things? What is he doing right now to get people out of their cars and on to public transit? He has to do more than he is doing; he has to encourage them. Let’s hear today what it is.
The Speaker: Thank you. Do not give the solution after you have asked the question; just ask the question.
Hon Mr Wrye: The honourable member will be pleased to know that I am going to be seeing the federal Minister of Transport this Friday and I will certainly pass on his views to Mr Lewis in regard to support for Via Rail and for those who use Via Rail, or what little part is left of it once the Tories got through with it.
I know my friend will understand that whatever conversations I have with the Treasurer and whatever discussions we have in cabinet in terms of public transportation in an area that would affect the Treasurer would be done so privately, if I wished to bring forward to the Treasurer’s attention the very useful suggestion from my friend the member for Markham, I would do so in the privacy of cabinet, and the Treasurer will take whatever action he deems appropriate.
Mrs LeBourdais: My question is for the Minister of Correctional Services. As a Metropolitan Toronto member, I was delighted with his announcement today and I am just wondering if he can expand on the need for female offenders’ beds in addition to those which he has provided for male offenders.
Hon Mr Patten: I appreciate the question from the member for Etobicoke West. It is a question that often is asked in terms of the breakdown between males and females in our institutions and in corrections. I think she will be pleased to know that only 8.4% of admissions to our system are females, and indeed only 6% in terms of remands. The announcement I made today was really related to the pressures we have on the adult male remand population in the general area.
We have special services and institutions for females throughout Ontario. In this particular region, the Vanier Centre for Women, which has 96 beds, has a 24-bed treatment unit which is very highly regarded. There are other services that we offer, for example, at Metropolitan Toronto West Detention Centre, where we have 120 beds for females. At the Northern Treatment Centre in Sault Ste Marie, where we had the opening of that facility on Monday, we also have a section for treatment of female offenders.
Mrs LeBourdais: In addition to the housing announcement, could the minister elaborate on the kinds of programs that he has available specifically geared to female offenders?
Hon Mr Patten: I would be delighted to respond by saying, first of all, that likewise for males who are offenders in our system and sentenced, 87% are in community programs. It is also true that, by and large, the vast majority of female offenders are in community programs as well. They are involved in such things as skill development, assertiveness training, budgeting, general counselling and a whole variety of areas that have to do with life skills and skill development.
We have a number of private agencies that help us out. The Elizabeth Fry Society, the Salvation Army and others provide services to our female offenders and do a great job. I would also point out that we have a number of residences that are especially for native women, some to do with addiction or with alcohol difficulties.
Mr Laughren: I have a question for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. The minister will know, or at least he should know, that in the speech from the throne of 1987 it was announced that the industrial restructuring commissioner was to be established to assist workers in industries facing major layoffs and plant closures, to help explore creative solutions to save jobs and to identify the restructuring and modernization requirements of industry.
Since that time there have been no annual reports produced. We understand that there is a report in the works for the food processing industry and another for the forestry industry, but nothing has been laid before this assembly or anybody else, as far as I can tell. Could the minister please tell me what in the world Malcolm Rowan is doing?
Hon Mr Kwinter: Malcolm Rowan is in fact the industrial restructuring commissioner. He has been working very diligently with both those two sectors that have been identified. He has met with them on many occasions. He has done interim reports, and his responsibilities are ongoing.
Mr Laughren: The commissioner has spent about $3 million since his office was established and there are no visible signs of its having done anything. Since it was established, there have been about 30,000 Ontario workers who have been laid off, including 2,000 workers at Rio Algom and Denison Mines who will be in the streets of Elliot Lake. Dofasco closed its mines down in Kirkland Lake and Temagami, losing 700 jobs. Thirteen plants have been closed in Windsor-Essex since December 1989. Could the minister tell us why it is that with all these layoffs going on, the industrial restructuring commissioner seems to have done absolutely nothing? When is the minister going to lay before this assembly something that commissioner has done?
Hon Mr Kwinter: I think the member is really confusing two separate issues. There is no question that there are problems with adjustment as a result of free trade, as a result of the global economy, as a result of high interest rates. The industrial restructuring commissioner is not the panacea for all those things.
Mr Laughren: I didn’t ask that.
Hon Mr Kwinter: The member did. He listed all of the things that he was critical of and said, “How come the industrial restructuring commissioner has done nothing about it?” I am saying that the industrial restructuring commissioner is looking at the present time at two major industrial sectors. One of them is the forestry industry and the other one is the food processing industry. He has been meeting on a regular basis, he has been doing studies, he has been meeting with the industry and his goal and his mandate is to look at its long-term viability. He is not there to deal with the day-to-day problems of plants that are closing down as a result of external pressures.
Hon Mr Scott: We have had some private reports from Robin Sears you might like to hear about.
Hon Mr Scott: No, we haven’t released them yet.
The Speaker: Order.
CASE OF TIMOTHY GARLAND
Mr Sterling: Since the Attorney General wants to answer other questions I will ask him a question himself. Timothy Garland is frightening many people in the Ottawa-Carleton area because he is going to be released in a month from now. He is paedophile who stalks young girls and brags about his potential for sexual violence, and there is no psychiatric hospital which is willing to treat his disorder.
Would the Attorney General have one of his staff, one of the crown attorneys, bring an application before the court to declare Garland a dangerous offender and therefore put him away where he deserves to be?
Hon Mr Scott: As the honourable member knows, the dangerous offender section of the Criminal Code to which he has referred requires that such an application be made before the conclusion of a trial of an offence, which is seen to be the last example of the dangerous offender’s demonstrated difficulties. As the senior judge in Ottawa illustrated when he expressed his opinion in this case, it would not therefore be possible under the Criminal Code to charge this young man with being a dangerous offender until he is charged again with a criminal offence.
That is not the honourable member’s fault; that is not my fault; that is the provision of the Criminal Code, and I will not be able to respond, therefore, in the way the honourable member suggests. He may want to take the matter up, however, with the Honourable Kim Campbell, who is the Attorney General of Canada and has charge of the provisions of the Criminal Code.
Mr Sterling: There are other problems, of course, associated with this particular individual. His lawyer claims that no psychiatric hospital will offer him assistance. The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group insists that he does not want treatment.
Can the Attorney General assure my constituents and the people of Ottawa-Carleton that the police will keep a full-time surveillance on this individual to ensure that he will not again abuse young children, that we will not need another significant crime in order to put away this person who has a permanent disorder, a permanent illness that cannot be cured and can only be treated but he seems to refuse treatment, and that there will be a full-time police surveillance on this individual from the minute he walks out of jail?
Hon Mr Scott: The honourable member knows that neither this minister nor the government controls or has any supervision with respect to the police in the Ottawa-Carleton area at all. His request had better be directed to the board of commissioners of police of the Ottawa district. I am quite certain that they will give it the most earnest and serious consideration.
Mr Hampton: My question is for the Minister of Labour. About a month ago I asked the Minister of Labour to look into the situation surrounding the layoff of employees at Hogarth Westmount Hospital. He will remember that a number of those employees had made an equal pay application under the Employment Standards Act and that while that application was being investigated by his staff, the hospital announced that it was going to lay off all of the employees in the bargaining unit concerned.
The minister’s assistant told me that the minister’s staff has looked into the situation and does not regard Hogarth Westmount Hospital as being in contravention of the act. I want to ask the minister whether his staff has gone into the hospital and looked at the hospital records to determine through those records if the hospital is trying to contravene the act and, if he has not done so, why he has not. It seems to me that is the only way that he can guarantee some element of justice to these employees.
Hon Mr Phillips: The member did raise the question with me several weeks ago and we did look into it. I have been assured through the work of our staff that the individuals concerned were entitled to payment and that the payment has been made. However, I have been told as well that it had been the plan of the institution for some considerable period of time before the applications were made to change the job structures in that organization.
So there are two things: First, the individuals were, as a result of their application, granted additional pay; second, based on our investigation, the employer had planned these changes well before any of the demands were made in terms of provisions under the Employment Standards Act.
I am satisfied that the institution has complied with the intent of the act.
REPORT BY COMMITTEE
STANDING COMMITTEE ON REGULATIONS AND PRIVATE BILLS
Ms Oddie Munro from the standing committee on regulations and private bills presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bills without amendment:
Bill Pr67, An Act to revive the Harewood Park Association;
Bill Pr76, An Act to revive Jabko Holdings Ltd.
Your committee begs to report the following bill as amended:
Bill Pr4, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
ONTARIO LOTTERY CORPORATION AMENDMENT ACT, 1990 (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 114, An Act to amend the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act.
Mrs Cunningham: Mr Speaker, you were not here yesterday to hear my remarks so I will just revamp where I was at and continue on with the new, just in case you missed those profound words.
We were talking yesterday about Bill 114 and I began by saying that indeed this is an act to amend the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act, and some time last fall we looked at another piece of legislation, Bill 119, that was presented by the government for the very same reasons.
At that time, in the fall of last year, there was a great deal of public reaction to that piece of legislation. Some of the remarks of the public before the committee reiterated our belief that almost 100% of the citizens of Ontario who appeared before that committee on behalf of groups that represented physical fitness, sports, recreation and cultural activities, along with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, were almost unanimously opposed to any changes in the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act that would include a further diffusion of the funds collected in lotteries or through the sale of lotteries in Ontario to health or anything else. They thought that both health and now the protection of the environment were much too important to rely in any way on funding from the sale of lottery tickets.
But, more important, as we go back to the very beginning, we know that when people purchase those tickets and when there was a great debate around whether in Ontario we would be supporting lotteries at all, the legislation was accepted in this House and ultimately by the people of Ontario. The many volunteer groups, the many non-profit agencies, the many community and municipal groups that focused on recreation and sport, on cultural activities, on dance, on support groups who established boards and institutions in their own municipalities, such as art galleries, library boards, recreation departments, all of these volunteers did somewhat reluctantly go along with the legislation as long as the money was not to be spent on operating dollars and as long as it was to be spent in support of activities for culture, recreation, sport, that would encourage good health and good recreation, certainly environmental activities at that point in time.
Thus we said in September and October this year, as did the presenters before the committee, that there was really no need to take away from these particular groups to give money to both health and now the protection of the environment by using funds that were earmarked for other activities.
Yesterday, the chairman of the committee at that time stated in this House that there was a great deal of support for Bill 119, and I stated that indeed there was not and that we could not expect the same groups that had come out against Bill 119 to now come and show the same kind of lack of support for Bill 114 because in fact the principle is somewhat the same.
If we take a look at the commentaries and the headlines at that time, I believe if this bill were to go out for public hearing we would see the same kind of headlines: “Plan for Lottery Funds Causing Concern,” “Englehart Council Opposes Change to Way Lottery Profits Are Spent,” “City Council Makes Pitch for Hospitals Lottery.”
At the same time as we took a look at the St Catharines city council, they were very much against any changes or any amounts of money that had normally gone to sports and recreation and cultural activities. What they were saying is that there ought to be a specific amount of money earmarked for those activities. At that time our party put forth an amendment to the bill and, of course, the majority government members on the committee opposed it.
The city of Windsor joined the list of Ontario cities opposing the transfer of an estimated $350 million in accumulated lottery profits to reduce hospital deficits. City council approved a Toronto resolution against a proposed change in legislation that would allow provincial lottery money to be used for hospitals.
Today as we stand in this House, the government would not begin to send this bill out for public hearings because probably no one would come before the committee, not because they support the legislation but because they have given up on this government with regard to its ability to listen.
I would like to read into the record one of the other concerns that certainly the Progressive Conservative caucus has. It has to do with one that was raised at the time, that is, the attitude of the government that the public should believe that there will be dollars spent, possibly more dollars spent, on the protection of the environment because the government will now, because of this legislation, have the right or the opportunity to spend lottery dollars on the protection of the environment.
I would ask the government this question: Does this mean new money for the protection of the environment? The answer to that question is “Probably not.” We do not know. There is nothing in the bill that states that any money will be spent. As a matter of fact, if one looks closely at the legislation, it says that it “may” be directed. If some lottery money is spent on the protection of the environment, does this now mean that any more money, more new money, will be spent on what I think is one of the greatest priorities in the world today, protecting our environment? No.
But of course if the government of Ontario feels that with this new way of promoting itself the public will think for one minute that this is a great government, with a great track record on protecting the environment, that is not true. This bill is just another little way of hiding the truth. It is called smoke and mirrors. As you buy your lottery tickets, you can be assured that this does not mean that any money will be spent on protecting the environment. More important, you can be assured that it certainly does not mean that any new money will be spent at all. We just do not know that.
I think it would have been much better if the government had taken the advice of many of the citizens and the groups that appeared before that committee and had specifically designated a proportion of the money to go towards sports and recreation. At the same time, they would have had the opportunity to designate a certain proportion of the money to go towards health care, since they insisted on it, although others did not agree to it. At this point in time, they could have come forth and specifically designated a portion of the money to go towards the protection of the environment.
They obviously have the majority here; they are not listening to the public. They would not pretend to send the bill out because the public would not come. They all know that now and have given up. The time is much too valuable spent out there working with young people in recreation and sports, in preventive health care, in cultural activities and art galleries. Why would those same citizens who were so ill received by members of the Liberal government on the committee come again just to be insulted once more?
I think, more important, we should be taking a look at the dedication of these Ontario lottery dollars. We would call it pseudo-dedication -- these are taxes -- smoke and mirrors in Liberal fiscal policy, which is of course a fiscal policy that is mismanaged. This is just another example of Liberal government mismanagement.
Mr Neumann: You talk about mismanagement. Look at Ottawa.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please, the member for Brantford.
Mrs Cunningham: Before the member for Brantford gets too excited, I think he should sit back and just listen for a little while.
Mr Neumann: This government is well managed.
Mrs Cunningham: The member for Brantford likes to tell me to be specific, so I will be specific: the tire tax, fishing licences, Bill 119 and Bill 114, which will also, of course, amend the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act. The gas guzzler tax and the employer health tax are a mixed bag, but all have one thing in common. Very carefully we should underline that this is what they have in common. This is it. They are all examples of how the Liberals use the implied dedication of revenues to justify tax grabs and other unpopular policy decisions. This lottery tax is a tax grab with the view that some of the money will be spent on protecting the environment. I have to tell you, Mr Speaker, we have no idea whether the Liberals will be spending any money, any of those dollars, on the environment.
Hon Mr Black: You are not making sense. There is no tax involved here. That is a ridiculous statement.
Mr Neumann: That is absolutely not true and you know it. The Treasurer gave his commitment.
Mrs Cunningham: Environment and health care have emerged --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. There are a lot of uncalled-for interjections. If members want to avail themselves of comments, they all know that they will have a chance after the member’s speech in the two-minute period, not during.
Mrs Cunningham: The government published a summary of recommendations. It was in response to the recommendations made by participants in the public hearings around An Act to amend the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act. This document was prepared for the standing committee on general government as a result of about 190 oral and written briefs submitted to the committee. If we take a look at the responses and the basic recommendations that went before that committee: “Ongoing profits should continue to be used for capital projects and other specific non-recurring purposes.”
Mr McLean: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I cannot believe what I see in this House this week. The disrespect for this place is unbelievable. Many days there have been six, seven or eight Liberal members in this Legislature.
The Deputy Speaker: I presume you are asking for a quorum call.
Mr McLean: I am asking for a quorum call.
Mr Neumann: Many times there was only one in your caucus here, sometimes none.
Mr McLean: You are to keep the quorum, not us, and you know it.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. Will the Clerk please count.
The Deputy Speaker ordered the bells rung.
The Deputy Speaker: A quorum is now present. The member for London North may resume.
Mrs Cunningham: I was speaking to a member of the Liberal government there, and what we were talking about his colleagues would be most interested in. We will share it afterwards; we will continue on.
I will get on with the speech and I will expect the government members to listen, because these are comments that were made by the public before a committee of this Legislature, and if in fact members of the public even gave a hoot about what this government does any more, they would be down here speaking to Bill 114. But we could not even ask them. The opposition parties would not begin to ask them to come and speak to this bill, because it is a waste of their time. The committee system just is not working. This committee system is not working.
“Ongoing profits should continue to be used for capital projects and other specific non-recurring purposes.” This was the Ontario Municipal Recreation Association, the Ontario Crafts Council and the Ontario Museum Association. It is such a list that I will just say “and others.” This is the government’s own document.
“The percentage of the profits for each sector should be prescribed in the legislation. For example. 50% should be designated for culture and 50% for recreation, sports and fitness.” This is the Kingston Regional Arts Council, Dance Ontario, and the list goes on so long that the government’s own researchers say “and others.”
Just think about what was stated before the committee that took a look at the previous attempt by this government to amend the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act. The fitness and amateur sport citizens out there, all people who are interested in good health care, who are interested in the protection of the environment, all of their activities in support of health and the environment and fitness and recreation and sport, came before the committee and said: “You don’t have to change this lottery corporation act to promote good health care and to promote recreation to promote environmental protection. Just spend the money that was meant to go towards these activities with volunteers out there doing the work. It is the most efficient way of doing it.” In some respects, it was meant to be just for that.
If the government is going to rely on lotteries to fund environment and health care, it ought to take a look at its own mismanagement practices, because in fact that is just what it is.
At the same time, the public came before the committee and said, “The accumulated profits of the dedicated Ontario lotteries should be treated as a trust fund and the interest thereon should be allocated annually for the support of culture, recreation, sports and fitness.” This was the Alliance to Protect Culture, Recreation, Sports and Fitness in Ontario. Again, the government’s own researchers say “and others,” because the list goes on.
Then they go on to say, “The interest should be split equally between the culture and recreation sectors and allocated for specific priority projects.” This is the Ontario Municipal Recreation Association from the city of Mississauga. “Interest payments should be used to supplement operating grants and subsidies” -- Ontario Crafts Council, Toronto Arts Council and others. And on and on.
All of the recommendations that came before that committee were most worth while, recommendations on behalf of members of the public who right now are working out there with young people. They are worried about having enough money for recreation, enough money for sport, cultural activities and facilities. Long, long lists of grants were read into the record of that committee by small community groups which are supporting people in prison, which are supporting senior citizens, which are supporting -- and the minister should be most interested in this -- tourism, which are supporting recreation right now.
When you have the Minister of Tourism and Recreation standing here to ask that even more money be allocated towards, I am sure, fitness, amateur sport and culture, surely he should be most concerned that first of all the lottery dollars go to where they were intended to begin with, and those are all the areas that he should be most concerned about. Why is it that he allowed his ministry to support this bill when in the past the last amendment was supported by the Treasurer of Ontario and Minister of Economics? I must say that the whole management of how things are done here at Queen’s Park is in question anyway. When you see two amendments to the same act presented by different ministers, you just wonder what the rationale is: you really do.
At the same time, I am just going to continue on here and read into the record that the Metropolitan Toronto library board said: “Bill 119 should be withdrawn” -- that was the other amendment – “and the allocation of provincial lottery profits to grant programs increased to utilize the full amount of the annual profits and at least some of the accumulated reserve.” What the library board in Metropolitan Toronto and other library boards were saying was, “We don’t have enough money for the projects now.”
Many of the projects which volunteers are supporting right across Ontario right now, environmental programs and health care programs that are sponsored by library boards, by art galleries -- all programs that encourage young people -- by fitness and recreation groups, all of them right now are saying, “We need more money and we think if the public has been willing in the past to dedicate its own dollars through the sale of lottery tickets, you ought to put them exactly where they were meant to go.”
All I can say right now is that this is just another example of the Liberal government looking for another way to tell the public how wonderful it is, how great it has been when it comes to the provision of health care. We all know that is not true. The waiting lists are longer than ever; 20% of people in hospital beds today should not be there. They should be in extended care facilities or in their own homes with community support care. Everybody wants to stay home as long as possible when they are ill.
If the government really wants to get money for health care, it should take a look at the way it is managing its own health care budget now. Twenty per cent of the people who are in hospitals today, in $600- to $800-a-day beds, should not be there. They could be in their own homes with community care givers, with front-line workers, with $50 a day supporting them. For anybody who is listening to this debate today, it is not more money we need in health care; it is a better-managed health care system.
To take a look at lotteries for health care in September and October of last year and now come to the public and say, “We’re going to spend money on the protection of the environment with your lottery dollars,” is just a copout, because prevention in health care and support of the environment could have already been supported without any changes to the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act. The government could have done those two things with the bill just the way it was. It chose not to do it because it wants to waste the time of the public to come down before the public hearings. Quite frankly, it wants to mislead them in many ways, because there is no way that this bill and its recommendations say that any money has to go into health care or any money has to go into the environment. It is just another way of wasting the Legislature’s time.
I am going to close now by saying that I have been most disappointed in the process. Our party is not interested in asking the public to come down here any more to speak to this piece of legislation because, as far as I am concerned, the government members on the committee have always been told what to do and the implications of Bill 119 are exactly the same as the implementation of Bill 114.
This is what the discussions produced as the Ontario Arenas Association travelled across the province of Ontario. With less money being spent –
Mr Campbell: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Could the Speaker remind us of the meaning of the word “mislead” in the context that the member has been using it and perhaps admonish her not to use those terms and to withdraw the term, please?
Mrs Cunningham: I did not think I said anything that was unparliamentary.
The Deputy Speaker: I was not --
Mrs Cunningham: I really did not, Mr Speaker; I do not think I was a bit unparliamentary.
The Deputy Speaker: Well, can I ask the member to make sure that she will not be unparliamentary and beyond --
Mrs Cunningham: I have not been unparliamentary so far since I have been here. I tell certain individuals in this House they can kiss their seats goodbye in the next election, but I do not even think that is unparliamentary.
The Deputy Speaker: Please proceed.
Mrs Cunningham: Mr Speaker, I am speaking to you. It is very difficult some days, but we will try our hardest.
The group that travelled the province to talk about The Future, Yours to Determine on 5 October 1989, the Ontario Arenas Association, was looking for input right across the province as to what effects it may in fact be looking at if the money that went into the lottery funds was not put into recreation and sport. This is what they told the committee.
They said that if they did not get additional dollars via the Ontario Lottery Corp, more closures of arenas or facilities might indeed take place. They said that increased taxes would occur, alienating potential low-income users. That meant in fact that the municipalities were going to have to raise more money to provide communities with arenas and with improvements to arenas and more recreational facilities. The money would have to be raised by municipalities. They said that if there was going to be a lessening of support, there would be a displacement of people actively using facilities. That is too bad, because we are talking about health care and prevention and we are talking about an aging society. These lottery dollars should have gone to support those recreational facilities.
We are talking about unemployment of youth. Many of these groups appeared before government agencies, before the Ontario Lottery Corp. to ask, through grants, to employ young people on summer jobs, to employ people in part-time work. I think probably the most meaningful kind of employment that goes on is working in recreational activities, sports, the environment and health care. All of those things could have happened with the other bill. Now we are taking a look at unemployment of youth --
Hon Mr Black: What does your party know about the environment? Your party never did anything about the environment. You should be ashamed of yourself. How dare you talk about the environment?
Mrs Cunningham: These are not my words. These are the words of the public. We asked them to come before the committee.
If there is not more money spent on arenas, we will have unsafe facilities.
Hampered lifestyle: This was their sixth point --
Hon Mr Black: How can you do that with a straight face?
Mrs Cunningham: Mr Speaker, as you can see, the interjections on behalf of the Liberal members -- that is exactly what they did in committee. They were not listening then. Therefore, the bill was passed. Therefore, the recreation groups, library boards, art galleries and people interested in dance and in helping others will remember the next time around. Many of these Liberals will have a very difficult time getting their seats back. They should be very careful about what they say.
Hampered lifestyle, no identifiable community core -- what that really means is that there are many communities across this province right now that do not have facilities to begin with. They do not have the same kind of programs that municipalities with large tax bases have. More important, they do not have the same kind of facilities because it is so much more expensive to construct new arenas and new buildings than it was in the past. In fact, if the government takes the same amount of dollars and gives them out year by year and now gives them out also for health and protection of the environment, it is definitely taking away from the support for these people who are interested in Ontario arenas. I could have used any one of the briefs to show the specific examples, because I have been told many times to be more specific.
I think the disintegration of the partnership between volunteers and professionals is the saddest thing of all because these were volunteer groups that were looking for these grants. As we talk daily in this House about staff training throughout the province, many of the grants that went to these volunteer groups were to encourage staff training either in the professional facilities or of volunteers. Members know that in these times we rely on volunteers more than ever to support the activities that are so important to our communities, young people, school systems, hospitals and environmental protection groups. We do that and we did that without ever amending the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act, and yet we see another amendment.
I will conclude by saying that we know the public has not been listened to when it comes to the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act. We struggled in the beginning, years ago, to get the public to buy into the sale of lottery tickets in Ontario. We used to look on those tickets and we knew when we bought a ticket for a hockey player, a swimmer or a hiker, that was where the money was going to go.
Right now I will close by saying to all of the public of Ontario, perhaps every dollar that you spend on lottery tickets under the Liberal government could in fact go into the consolidated revenue fund and never leave it. I will conclude my remarks on that point because this act, Bill 114, does not ensure that any money will be spent for the protection of the environment.
Mr Kerrio: I have just a brief comment or two. The member must obviously be aware that the people who would come to not support either Bill 119 or Bill 114 certainly would be people with a vested interest and naturally they would come to the committee to ask for continued support. I cannot believe that the people would not agree that when we take moneys from a lottery that keeps getting more money each year and develop such surplus funds, they should not go into hospitals and the environment, the two highest priorities the people of Ontario have struck as their concerns about this society of ours. With the threat of global warming and toxins in our waterways and such, I do believe that the majority of people would support the position of this government that, as we develop considerably more funds than we had first anticipated in the lotteries, we would make sure they go to very good causes, and I cannot think of two better causes than hospitals and the environment.
Mr Pouliot: Again, words of wisdom and a potpourri of what has happened to the lottery game, the purpose, the mandate, the intent and the spirit of revenues from the voluntary taxation through Wintario. The riding of Lake Nipigon exemplifies this, perhaps better than any, with its 114,000 square miles. We too from time to time, in terms of programming and infrastructure, were dependent for the purpose of recreation on the funds from Wintario. The lottery was originally designed to give the less fortunate a chance to be like the others.
This minister, the Minister of Tourism and Recreation, Blackjack Black, has turned the environment --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Standing orders call for referring to members by the name of their ridings or their portfolios, not anything else.
Mr Pouliot: I will withdraw the term “Blackjack Black.” A game of chance, a minister who favours Crowns and Anchors when we are talking about the subject matter of the environment, a game of luck, a casino attitude: What is happening to your mandate, Minister?
The Deputy Speaker: Address the Speaker, please.
Mr Pouliot: Through you, Mr Speaker, what is happening to the minister? You started with Wintario.
The Deputy Speaker: Address the Speaker, please.
Mr Pouliot: When Wintario was in disfavour, you changed the rules and went to Lotto 649, which was an awful lot more lucrative, and you started --
The Deputy Speaker: Address the Speaker, please.
Mr Pouliot: -- little by little to abandon your mandate. The small communities are reminding you, with high respect, Minister, again through you, Mr Speaker, that you shall be judged very harshly the next time around --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The member’s time is up. Thank you.
Mr McLean: I want to comment briefly on the member’s remarks. I congratulate her on a lot of the points she has brought out.
The member for Niagara Falls pointed out very clearly with regard to the committee hearings -- and I happen to be on that committee and I heard them and I knew the reason the people were coming. A lot of those people were not upset about money going into health care, but what they wanted to do was to keep their share of the money that they were used to getting.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr McLean: The indication was that the Treasurer said that he would give it, but do you know why they wanted it in writing? Do you remember back some time ago there was to be beer and wine in the corner stores? Do you remember that promise’?
The Deputy Speaker: Address the Speaker, please.
Mr McLean: Do you remember the automobile insurance promise that was made?
The Deputy Speaker: Address the Speaker, please.
Mr McLean: Do you remember the housing, 100 new units? Do you remember the Sunday shopping, a common pause day was promised? Do you remember the free trade, that there would be no deal?
An hon member: Hospital beds.
Mr McLean: Do you remember the hospital beds and the commitment that was made to Orillia for $30 million and 4,400 new beds? Where are they?
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr McLean: I can go on and talk about the only promise that was never made that was kept was all the increase in taxes. That was not a promise, that they would increase taxes, but they certainly did.
Education: Do you remember the promise they made to increase it to 60% funding? Whatever happened to that?
That is why those people came before that committee. They wanted a commitment in writing that they would still get the funds they have got over the period of terms of years, and they have not got that funding --
Mr Kerrio: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I would suggest that he is supposed to be responding to the speaker and not -- are you not going to call him to order on that? No? Well.
Mr McLean: I want to tell you, Mr Speaker, there is nobody who does not want a special lottery for environment and a special lottery for health care, but to amend the lottery bill to put it into the general consolidated revenue fund is not appropriate. They want a precise, separate lottery, and that is not happening.
Mr Sola: I wish that the member from London would let the critic of her party know the fact that she considers that it is not necessary to have more money allocated for health, because on a daily basis he gets up and keeps lambasting the minister for additional funds for all sorts of purposes. She says that there should be a different direction in health care, and then that same member of her party gets up in this House and lambastes the minister for going to community health centres and advocating that.
Mr Fleet: The leader doesn’t listen to her either.
Mr Sola: Speaking of her leader, he ran for the leadership of the party on a platform of balancing the budget. For the leader of a party to run on that is ludicrous when you consider the fact that this government has balanced the budget for the last two years. In other words, his policy is a fait accompli of this government. In other words, he is proving that his party is history, because we have been doing for the past two years what he promises to do in the future.
The Deputy Speaker: Is that based on Bill 114?
Mr Sola: As for the charge of mismanagement of the economy by our government, she speaks for a party that left the province with a $2.6-billion deficit the last year it was in power and this government has been balancing the budget for the last two years, so if anybody has been a proper manager, if anybody has shown capability in management of the economy, it has been the Treasurer of this province and the Liberal government of Ontario. For the third party to question that is ludicrous when you look at the record.
The Deputy Speaker: Will the member for London North please respond?
Mrs Marland: No more?
The Deputy Speaker: Eight minutes have gone by. The member for London North.
Mrs Marland: Oh. I guess I will have to wait until I get to speak, then.
Mrs Cunningham: First of all, to the member for Niagara Falls, whom I enjoy immensely, I think that he has missed the point.
“When we talk about surplus, who determines what surplus?” This is from Sport Ontario. “The problem, of course, is, who determines what is surplus? Over the past several years, the provincial government has refused to allocate in excess of $369 million of lottery profits.”
They have not even given it out. Our government was part of it, but so were they, and they were for the last five years. They do not even give it out.
“The government, without regard for the rising costs facing the sport community, withheld funds for legitimate programs and projects.”
This government would not even put into the bill that it would designate any money for sport and recreation. The Treasurer said -- and we are supposed to believe the Liberals? Huh. With all their promises, we do not believe them. In 1986-87, the grants made were about $120 million. That is all they are prepared to give. In the next few years --
Mrs Cunningham: Yes, it is. The Treasurer said $120 million for the next three years. They will not even designate the money for sport, recreation and culture. They do not have to spend anything on it. It says “may.”
With regard to my colleague from Mississauga East, in no way do we ever stand up here and say more money should be spent, we say money should be spent efficiently –
Mrs Cunningham: I am so sorry.
Money should be spent more efficiently on projects that matter. In fact, if they took a look at the 20% of people in hospital beds who should not be there, they would be saving money and they could build more hospitals. It is a matter of good management. So I am not going to stand here and say that this has been the position of our Health critic. It has not, and I will put it on the record, it is not the position of our party.
Mr Hampton: I am pleased to take part in this rather robust debate, because my part of the province gets to witness, probably more often than most, Liberal promises and then failure of Liberal promises, so I will no doubt mention many of those promises in my little diatribe as well.
Let me start out by saying that we are opposed to this legislation because, from our perspective, this is purely a public relations gesture. What I mean by that is simply this: If you read through the legislation, you will see that there is absolutely no provision for the Ministry of the Environment to consult regarding the rational allocation of the dollars that are involved in this bill. There is no provision in the bill whatsoever. In fact, the discretion as to how this funding is spent is almost strictly in the hands of the Treasurer.
Now, we all know what the Treasurer knows about the environment. It is well reputed that he is the person in cabinet who tells the Minister of the Environment to “quiet down there, boy, don’t raise too many environmental issues.”
So what a paradox: The funds from this so-called environmental lottery are essentially in the hands of the minister who has the least interest in environmental issues.
Mr Neumann: All the ministers are interested in the environment.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, the member for Brantford, please.
Mrs Cunningham: Throw him out, Mr Speaker. He did it all day yesterday too.
The Deputy Speaker: The member for London North also.
Mr Hampton: I find that Liberal members are always willing to talk from the side but never willing to stand up in this House and defend their position. I think the member for Brantford is exhibiting that quite adequately right now.
So here we have this paradox. The people of Ontario are supposed to believe this lottery is for the purposes of defending the environment, yet the funds that go from it are going to be under the control of the Treasurer -- a paradox indeed.
But it is purely a public relations gesture for more reasons than that. There is no statement in this bill as to the specific dedication of the funds. It would be a lot better if this legislation said in it perchance that the funds of the lottery “shall be allotted” to a special set of environmental projects. We might have a little easier time believing this if it said that, but it does not even say that.
What I can see from this legislation is essentially a lot of little jingles and ads on the television and the radio just before election time talking about this lottery and advertising this lottery. That is what I can see this being used to pay for. What I can envision is essentially a little slush fund that will allow the Liberal regime to raise the government’s public profile on the problem without doing anything about the problem. That is what I see here. That is what I really see involved, because let’s face it, the whole field of lotteries in Ontario has grown to such an extent that it is saturated. There have been all kinds of studies of legalized gambling done in Canada and outside Canada which illustrate time and time again that there is a saturation point in the lottery business, that one can only promote legalized gambling so far, that the market is only so large. We have probably reached that point and gone beyond it in Ontario.
This is not going to be a great revenue-maker for the government, it is not going to be a great revenue-maker for the environment, it is going to be a great public relations campaign and that is about it.
We oppose this as well for another reason. When I read the Brundtland report, when I read other, shall we say, serious papers that address the issue of the environment, they talk about the central concept of making the polluter pay, that if we want to have a rational environmental policy, there has to be some connection between those who pollute and those who pay and the money and how it is used for providing environment cleanup has to be there. This detracts from, if it is does not destroy, that concept. That is what is happening here.
It does not surprise me. I wanted to ask the Minister of the Environment a question today on the environment, but he did not show up. We have had very serious problems with kraft mill pollution across the northern part of this province. It has been known since at least 1985 that kraft mills pump all kinds of dioxins and furans into the environment. What has the Minister of the Environment done about it? He has consulted with the industry and talked to them a little bit. We have had six years now. The pulp and paper companies are making lots of money. They are very happy. Their mills are making $9 million and $10 million a month while they pump more dioxins and more furans into the rivers, lakes and drinking water of the province. Again, what has the Minister of the Environment done about it? He has consulted; that is it.
What is going on here is a charade. What is needed is environmental policy which gets tough with polluters, not something which seeks to wishy-wash the whole situation.
Nowhere is the record of this Minister of the Environment worse and more seriously bad than in the area of corporate polluters. Nowhere is it more serious than that.
Mr Neumann: You know that’s not the case.
Hon Mr Black: That’s absolute nonsense.
Mr Hampton: Read the opinion polls.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Just the speaker, please.
Mr Hampton: Here we have a public relations scheme that is going to do very little in terms of raising meaningful funding for the environment, but at the same time --
Mr Neumann: How do you know that? You have no faith in the people.
The Deputy Speaker: The member for Brantford, please.
Mr Hampton: As I said, the member for Brantford is very good at speaking when no one wants to hear from him, but when he has a chance to speak he sits down.
Mr Kerrio: I want to hear from him.
Mr Hampton: He had his opportunity to take part in this rotation and he missed it.
What has happened to the concept that the polluter should pay? What is happening to the concept the polluter should pay in Ontario is it is being diluted, just as this government’s environmental policy seems to amount to diluting the pollution that is there without really doing anything about it.
There is another reason why this legislation should be defeated. Again, studies of legalized gambling and studies of lotteries have shown time and time again that the people who pay for lotteries are by and large those people who are at the lower end of the economic profile in our province. By and large, the advertising that this province does for its lotteries, the ads which appear on the radios, on the televisions and in the newspapers of this province, are aimed at that audience, trying to get them to buy lottery tickets. All the studies indicate that is exactly where this province aims its advertising and that is exactly where it goes after its market.
In other words, its deliberate policy in terms of lotteries is to tax those people who can least afford to be taxed, only this time, instead of doing it through the front door, they are really going to do it by the back door. This way, they engage all sorts of lucrative advertising to convince people that it is in their interest to spend their money on these kinds of lotteries. They use all kinds of lucrative advertising trying to tell people:
“Here’s your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Spend another $10 this week and you might be the big winner.”
That is a very sad policy indeed. That is the saddest of policies. I think it indicates a government that is completely bankrupt in terms of its policy approach on issues of taxation and issues of funding important programs.
So here we have another lottery which is designed to milk money out of those people in Ontario who can probably least afford to be taxed.
Mr Neumann: You have no faith in the people. Let them choose.
Mr Hampton: I have faith in a lot of people; I have no faith in this government. This bill illustrates exactly why we are losing faith in this government, a bill that is designed to milk more money out of the people of the province who have the least ability to pay taxes.
What are those taxes going to be used for? A substitute for meaningful fines and meaningful attempts to get the polluter to pay.
In the final analysis, all that is going to come of this is more Liberal advertising just before the election, advertising the newest lottery for the newest sexy cause without doing anything at all of substance to deal with the problem.
There is a very serious problem out there, a very serious problem in terms of industrial pollution, a very serious problem in terms of too much packaging and a very serious problem in terms of not using and reusing goods but, as the Minister of the Environment has allowed, allowing to come on to the market more and more goods that cannot be reused and that go to the dump.
In a nutshell, that is where we are in this bill. That is why we oppose this bill. That is why we oppose the whole concept that is involved here. Quite frankly, this bill indicates how bankrupt this government is, but at the same time what lengths it will go through to disguise its bankruptcy.
Mr Neumann: I would like to comment briefly on the speech of the member for Rainy River.
He commented on the fact that I, as a member, do not rise in my place and give speeches. I have spoken in this Legislature on many occasions on many important subjects representing my area, and also on subjects of importance to the province of Ontario.
It seems to me that in presenting a very negative point of view on the bill before us, the member is ignoring the fact that the people of Ontario, indeed the people of our whole country, are anxious to get involved in the environmental issue.
It seems to me that the people in the official opposition also lacked faith in the blue box program; they did not think it would work. It has worked. There has been a tremendous response from the people in Ontario to the United-Nations-award-winning blue box program.
I have ordinary citizens calling me up and visiting my constituency office supporting this particular kind of lottery in support of the environment. I think people will respond very positively to it. The funds will be used in a creative and energetic manner. I am just disappointed -- not surprised, but disappointed -- that we do not have a more imaginative and creative response from the official opposition. It is fine to be critical, it is fine to be opposing something, but what is the alternative? Come up with a positive alternative.
I hope the member is not suggesting that when the funds do come forward there will not be people in his riding coming up with creative proposals to take advantage of these funds.
Mr Hampton: In line with Liberal policy, I am sure that the paper mills and some of the greater polluters of the province would be only too happy to accept some of this money. I am sure that on the record of this government they would be only too happy to hand it out.
I do not think I need to again recite chapter and verse of all the things we have said about environmental policy in this province. We have said we believed in a superfund. We have said we believe that the executives of corporations who pollute should spend a little time in jail. They might realize then that the province is serious about environmental policy. None of those things has happened.
If this lottery fund is this government’s excuse for an environmental superfund, I repeat my statement: it is bankrupt. If this is this province’s excuse for an environmental superfund, that just shows how empty the think tanks over there are.
I just want to say in my remaining time that I think we need only look around this Legislature to see how seriously this government takes this legislation. The government just missed its speaking opportunity in this debate. The speaking order has passed from the Conservatives to our party and no Liberal got up to take part in this debate whatsoever. I think that indicates --
Mr Kerrio: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I spoke to this issue last night. What is the member talking about?
An hon member: You were not here.
Mr Hampton: We were not sitting last night, so the member does not know; late afternoon. So he does not even know and he is making comments, and that is not appropriate.
For the member for Niagara Falls, let me point out that there is a difference between last night and yesterday afternoon. This House sits in the afternoon and not at night, just to help his confusion. But to help his confusion again, let me remind him that again the rotation has moved and no Liberal has taken part.
Finally I want to point out that once again on an important issue the Liberal government cannot keep a quorum in this House for a very important policy issue.
The Acting Speaker (Mr Cureatz) ordered the bells rung.
Mrs Marland: As I rise to speak to the second reading of Bill 114, An Act to amend the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act, I certainly appreciate the applause from the member for Brantford and also my friend the member for Niagara Falls. It is really encouraging to rise to speak to a government bill and receive applause from the government members. However, I would be surprised if the government members did not realize that I am going to speak in opposition to this bill.
It is probably singularly significant that I am speaking in opposition to this bill because I am the spokesperson for the environment for our caucus, as is well known in this House. But it is because I am the spokesperson for the environment that I have a very genuine concern about this bill and what it purports to do for the environment. For that reason, I want to read the explanatory note of the bill.
It simply says: “Section 9 of the act now provides that the net profits of the Ontario Lottery Corp are available to be appropriated by the Legislature for the promotion and development of physical fitness, sports, recreational and cultural activities and facilities therefor, as well as for the activities of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The bill amends section 9 to provide that the net profits of the Ontario Lottery Corp are also available to be appropriated by the Legislature for the protection of the environment.
“The bill does not amend the existing scheme, set out in section 9 of the act, for dealing with net profits of the corporation that are not specifically appropriated by the Legislature. Under this scheme, any part of the net profits of the corporation in a fiscal year of Ontario that is not appropriated by the Legislature in the fiscal year for the abovementioned purposes is to be treated as part of the appropriation made by the Legislature in the fiscal year for the operation of hospitals.”
I want to start by dealing with comments to this bill made this afternoon by the member for Mississauga East, who stood in this House and congratulated and lauded his government for balancing the budget. I think it has to be the most absurd statement the member for Mississauga East could make. Unfortunately, he lives in a municipality which has been sorely hurt by the taxation of this Liberal government in the past five years in Ontario.
The member for Mississauga East, in speaking in this House this afternoon, referred to the fact that his government has balanced the budget the last two years. He is doing that at the same time as he is receiving telephone calls and letters -- unless his office is treated differently from mine, which is another Mississauga riding, but I know he has had meetings with the representatives of both school boards and he certainly must have received letters and telephone calls, as my office has -- expressing tremendous concern about the funding for education through both the Dufferin-Peel Roman Catholic Separate School Board and through the Peel Board of Education, and also from the hospitals.
The fact is that those of us who live in Mississauga have special privileges because we live in what is now designated by the Liberal government as an area called the greater Toronto area. Even though we are a city of 400,000 people we are now part of the greater Toronto area. For that privilege under this Liberal government we have different sets of rules and different prices for different privileges than do people who live outside that area. We have talked before in this House about the commercial concentration tax, which is a penalty for living in the greater Toronto area. We have talked about the increase which is now in effect for our motor vehicle licences and our drivers’ licences. Yet, this member for Mississauga East stands up and says, “This government has balanced its budget.” Anyone who pays property taxes in the city of Mississauga knows that this budget has been balanced on the backs of property --
Mr Neumann: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: the member is not speaking to the subject matter before us. She has wandered considerably from the topic.
The Acting Speaker (Mr Cureatz): We allow some latitude from time to time.
Mrs Marland: How is it that the honourable member for Brantford did not rise and correct the member for Mississauga East when he was talking about the same subjects which I am now addressing? So we obviously have a different set of rules. I would ask the member for Brantford at least to be fair among the colleagues in this House and allow me the same privilege of addressing the subject of balancing the budget as he allowed his own colleague to talk about balancing the budget.
I am not going to spend very much more time on it, simply to say, however, that the constituents of the member for Mississauga East are facing horrific property tax increases this year because the Liberal government has balanced its budget on the backs of property taxpayers throughout the municipalities in this province by a reduction in transfer payments to the school boards, by a reduction in subsidies to municipalities for hard services, by a reduction in transfer payments for the other obligations that are totally a provincial government responsibility but which are now put on the local municipalities. We may even talk about courtroom security and the added cost to the police budget in Peel, which I am sure the member for Mississauga East has had telephone calls on.
But if the member for Mississauga East chooses to defend the balancing of a provincial budget on the backs of his local property taxpayers in Mississauga, that may be his choice. It may also be his death as a member and a representative of that area, because people who understand what is going on in this province today have no doubt about what is going on. They know very clearly that we have a current Liberal government in Ontario that does not meet its obligations to those people in Ontario who expect provincial programs to be provincially funded.
All we have in Ontario today are provincial programs that are provincially mandated, but who pays for them but the local taxpayers? Even the small-business person who has to rent space in buildings that are bigger than 200 square feet now has to pay a commercial concentration tax. We have, of course, the tremendous cash cow for this Liberal government, the employer health tax. I feel sorry for any members in this House who have the audacity to stand up and congratulate their government for balancing its budget when in fact all it has done is offload the cost.
Mr Fleet: Are you against having a balanced budget?
Mrs Marland: I would ask any members in this House who are presently interjecting, if they do not believe what I am saying and they think what I am saying is partisan, to read a very thorough, comprehensive report that was written by the Treasurer and commissioner of finance for the region of Peel. His name is Bob Richards. He is a highly competent, highly talented, brilliant young man, and he and his staff have written a report which covers pages of evidence about what has gone on in financing the region of Peel as it relates to senior levels of government.
I would ask the member for Mississauga East to take the time to read this report. Then he would understand very accurately what the term “offloading” means. It means offloading the responsibility for funding provincial programs on to the local municipalities. For this government to claim it has balanced the budget, as far as I am concerned, is a perfect example of a shell game. Yes, it may have balanced the budget, but only because it does not pay for anything any more; it makes the municipalities pay for it. We, as property owners or even if we do not own property, if we are renting, are paying the cost of provincial government today through our property taxes, and that is totally irresponsible. It is marginally misrepresenting what the true financial picture is in Ontario today when they say they have balanced the budget.
This Bill 114 is another example of where this government is setting its priorities. It is saying to the people of this province:
“Yes, I suppose we should say something about the environment. We should get a bill out. We should get a bill tabled in the Legislature that proves we’re responsible in terms of the environment.”
I want to tell members how responsible this government is in terms of the environment. It is so responsible that it has taken from the Ministry of the Environment $341 million this year -- and for what? To set up another government agency. It has taken away this money to establish an agency to deal with water and sewers.
Hon Mr Black: Are you suggesting water and sewers have nothing to do with the environment?
Mrs Marland: Mr Speaker, I can hardly hear myself speak for the interjections. I would ask that you ask these members to adhere to the House rules.
The Acting Speaker: The honourable member for Mississauga South has brought to my attention that there are numerous interjections. Of course, being the most patient of all members here possible -- I like to think I am most patient -- I have been neglectful of reminding all members that they should allow the honourable member for Mississauga South the quiet opportunity of making her discussions and concerns heard about the subject matter before the House.
Mrs Marland: There are even members in this House who are interjecting and I notice they are not even in their own seats. I suppose I should be flattered that there are at this point more members in this House than there were earlier this afternoon. It may be that they have been sent in to defend their government because finally they are hearing some home truths. I see that the government whip is sitting here. She has probably said: “We’d better get in there. We’d better get Marland. We had better drown her out, because what she’s telling the people of Ontario is the truth.”
That is probably a great deal of concern for this government because the people of Ontario are learning the truth about Liberal government and what it means very quickly.
Mrs E. J. Smith: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I just want to assure the member that I am not out to get the poor soul at all.
The Acting Speaker: I can only bring to the attention of the member for Mississauga South, as she is quickly counting whether there is a quorum or not, that she sometimes does not help herself by being so provocative. If you were less provocative, maybe you would not have the difficulty you are having.
Mrs Marland: I apologize if my remarks are being interpreted as being provocative, but I must say I am complimented that at the moment we have something like 14 Liberal members in the House. Barely more than an hour ago we had seven. At one point this afternoon we had six Liberal members. That has to indicate that the Liberal government members do not think any more highly of Bill 114 than do I.
The Acting Speaker: Was that a quorum call?
Mrs Marland: Yes, I think it is, Mr Speaker.
Mr Grandmaître: There is only one Tory in the House.
Mrs Marland: That is fine, but she is worth about 10 others.
Clerk Assistant and Clerk of Committees: A quorum is present, Mr Speaker.
Mrs Marland: The attendance in this House is increasing by the moment, and that is really encouraging. I just hope that the members will serve me the same courtesy that I serve them -- we now have another minister in the House also -- where they would not interrupt and make interjections. I do not interject when they are speaking; I wait until the two-minute opportunity.
Hon Mr Elston: Oh Margaret, your nose is growing.
Mrs Marland: Any member of this House, if he can control himself, can wait until I have finished and use the two-minute rebuttal time, and I welcome that input, as a matter of fact.
To get back to Bill 114, the purpose of the bill, on the surface, is for this Liberal government to say, “We want to do something about protecting the environment.” But the priority of this Liberal government, as I was saying, in terms of protecting the environment is to remove $341 million from the ministry, establish this water and sewer government agency, an arm’s-length agency similar to Ontario Hydro, and I think even that in itself would have to tell us how removed from the government this agency will be.
If the $341 million was needed to establish this separate government corporation to deal with water and sewers, then that money should have been allocated by the Treasurer, not taken away from, as far as I am concerned, one of the most important ministries in this province today, the Ministry of the Environment.
What kind of priority does this government place on the Ministry of the Environment when it reduces that budget by $341 million? What kind of priority do they place on the emplacement of sewer and water line systems across this province when that is no longer going to be dealt with by the Ministry of the Environment? What can put the environment at more risk than water and sewage treatment? Yet we are now saying, according to the current government, we do not need to have it under the Ministry of the Environment any longer.
However, they probably have realized that, obviously, after their five years in government --
Mr Neumann: I thought she was the critic. You haven’t studied the proposal.
Mrs Marland: Mr Speaker, the member for Brantford is being obnoxious. He has not stopped his prattle since he came in this afternoon. I wish he would get up and use his turn and speak. As the previous speaker for the New Democratic Party said, the government members are not speaking to this bill. If the member for Brantford wants to speak, he can get up and speak in rotation. He is not picking up that opportunity. The government members are not speaking in rotation. They are simply leaving this debate to the opposition parties, which, as I said, says a lot about the bill. In any case, I would appreciate it if the member for Brantford would stop his prattling and try to behave.
The priority of the environment for this government is well stated, and it is well stated by the fact that it has cut back the Ministry of the Environment’s budget. Now, they are looking at all the things they have not done, and among those is a very long list. In that long list of things they have not done, most important -- and I know, Mr Speaker, that you are very aware of this in your own riding -- they have not managed or attempted to manage the garbage crisis in Ontario today. The longer they procrastinate in dealing with that issue, the more serious and the more severe it becomes.
I suppose there really is not a stronger word than “crisis.” However, that is the word that describes today the fact that we have over 100 municipalities in Ontario which, within 12 months, will have nowhere to put their garbage. That is an environmental issue.
However, at the same time, we have a Ministry of the Environment being diminished. That is all you can say; if a ministry loses that kind of money out of its budget, that ministry is being diminished. You cannot cut a ministry budget by $341 million and not accept that the budget is being diminished.
Also, we have a Ministry of the Environment which thinks it is fine to exempt landfill sites from the Environmental Assessment Act. Last August, the Premier made an announcement -- and this is significant, that it was the Premier who made this announcement, not the Minister of the Environment -- that all interim landfill sites would be exempt from the Environmental Assessment Act.
Under questioning, both in the standing committee on estimates and in this House, we have not been able, through my questions to the Minister of the Environment, to establish what is considered to be an interim site. We do not know whether an interim site has to be a maximum number of years or a minimum number of years. There is no definition today in Ontario of what an interim landfill site is. It could be 4 years, 6 years, 8 years, 10 years or 12 years; we can just pick it out of the hat. If a municipality has an interim site approved without a time limit on it and it is not even subjected to an environmental assessment under the Environmental Assessment Act, then that speaks louder than anything else about what this government’s commitment is to protecting the environment.
How a landfill site can be approved without an environmental assessment is the question that hundreds of environmental groups in this province are asking today. Unfortunately, that is another issue of concern for the people of Ontario as it pertains to the environment.
We have been waiting for a new air emissions standard, regulation 308, to be issued by the Ministry of the Environment. That has not come forth either. We have a tremendous void, unfortunately, from this Minister of the Environment. Every time in the last nine months that there has been a major announcement to do with the environment, including, I may add, the confirmation of my own resolution in this House to preserve the Rouge Valley -- when I placed a motion in this House to preserve the Rouge Valley and tablelands as a park, which was, I am proud to say, unanimously supported by all parties in this House, I wondered how long it might take the government to act upon it. Of course, I was overjoyed when the Premier made that announcement at the Rouge Valley earlier this year.
What was significant is that I understand, although I was not there, that there were something like 12 cabinet ministers at that large announcement, and a number of the local members were there. Certainly, I know the member for Scarborough East was there.
When they made the announcement to preserve the Rouge Valley, what did they do? They went to the Rouge Valley and they set up a huge marquee. Anyone who has looked into the cost of renting marquees knows that they cost about $8,000 to $10,000 to rent. Here these Liberal cabinet ministers go to the Rouge Valley, which is being preserved so that everybody can enjoy the all outdoors, and what do they do?
Mr Faubert: It was supposed to rain that day.
Mrs Marland: They are worried that it might rain. Is it not somewhat ironic that here we have this magnificent piece of property which, I can tell members through personal experience, is beautiful in the rain, beautiful in the snow and beautiful in good weather.
Mr Faubert: How many times were you out there? Once?
Mrs Marland: I have been to that Rouge Valley property far more times, I would suggest, than the member who is interjecting, who is out of his seat.
Mr Faubert: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.
Mrs Marland: He cannot raise a point of order. I would have thought that by the time the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere had been in the House two and a half years, he would know the rules of order of this House. He does not even have the courtesy to be in his own seat to interject. He is interjecting out of his own seat and asking me how many times I have been to the Rouge Valley. I would like to tell him that when this government was deciding to protect the environment --
The Acting Speaker: I am just having such a difficult time this afternoon. I say to the member for Mississauga South, there is just something about your manner that is causing such disruption. However, I could mention to other members who are not in their seats and who are prattling on, as the member for Mississauga South has indicated, that we should all try to keep it to a minimum.
The member for London South has a point of order? The only one who is in her seat stands up and she does not have a point of order.
Mrs Marland: The reason, as I said earlier, that I am being interpreted as being provocative is that I am speaking the truth. Some of these points are hitting home and people do not want to hear them.
I want to tell members that this Liberal government’s commitment to the environment, which Bill 114 is supposed to reinforce, is a farce. I want to tell members, as I was saying before I was interrupted, that when they announced the preservation of the Rouge, they rented an $8,000 or $10,000 marquee and they all went out and huddled under the marquee. As they were huddling under the marquee with a number of local members and cabinet ministers, who was not there? Who was absent? I would like to tell members the person who was absent was the Minister of the Environment. The announcement was made by the Premier and by the Minister of Natural Resources, and somewhere, arriving late but not on the platform and under the marquee --
Mr Faubert: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The Minister of the Environment was there.
The Acting Speaker: That is absolutely not a point of order, but I am being gracious and allowing you the opportunity to have your remarks heard.
Mrs Marland: The Minister of the Environment was not under the marquee where the announcement was being made by the Premier and the Minister of Natural Resources, so I do not stand corrected. However, for those of us who cherish the kind of property that the Rouge Valley and the Rouge tablelands provide to this province, we would have been very happy to have been there standing in any kind of weather and being in the all-outdoors; but not this -- I will not say what I was going to say -- rather perishable Liberal government that has to be protected from inclement weather. The fact is that the Rouge Valley lands are a prize, they are to be cherished and the weather has no relationship.
The fact that the Minister of the Environment no longer makes these big announcements is very significant because we keep asking, where is this Minister of the Environment? Where was the Minister of the Environment for one whole week during the Hagersville tire fire? Where was he? Members can ask anyone who was there, who lived in that community or anyone in the media. I do not believe it is his choice, by the way. I think the Minister of the Environment has been an individual sincerely committed to his portfolio, but for some reason, because he does not set his own program entirely, when he sits at the cabinet table and the cabinet sweepstakes start and the money starts getting doled out, I think that the Minister of the Environment is having an increasingly tough time. Since we have Project X, whereby it is being decided by an internal government document that some of the priorities for the environment in terms of housing and development in this province will be surpassed, then we really have to know what is going on. What is really going on is that in spite of Bill 114, on the one hand, we do not have a sincere commitment to the environment, on the other hand, by this government.
We believe that for this government to try to put on a big show -- now, we do not know when the election will be, but whenever it is, the government wants to be able to say: “Look, we’ve got Bill 114. We now have Clean Sweep. We now have a commitment to the environment.” Well, Mr Speaker, I want to tell you that a commitment to the environment is not by saying we will take some more money from the lottery funds. The environment is too important to be dependent on the will of lottery profits. If there was a sincere commitment to the environment by this government, it would not be dependent on Bill 114 to decide that this is how it is going to protect the environment. What is even worse is there is no commitment in Bill 114 as to how many dollars or what percentage of dollars. As I read at the very beginning, it simply says they may be available. “May be available to be appropriated” is the wording. Well, there is no commitment there.
There are some very serious implications in discussing Bill 114 this afternoon. I want to say that last October, when Bill 119 was discussed in committee, the Treasurer tried to justify diverting lottery funds from fitness, sports, recreation, culture and the arts to hospital operations in the Ontario Trillium Foundation. At that time he promised about $120 million per year for the next three years to sports, culture and other section-9 activities. However, when you consider that the total lottery profits for 1990-1991 are estimated to be $493 million, $120 million is nothing to boast about. If $120 million is the amount to be spent on fitness, recreation and culture this year -- and it is impossible to determine from the estimates whether that promise is being fulfilled -- that means $356 million is being spent on hospitals, since $17 million is going to the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
So we have to say: “Where is the commitment? How is it going to be fulfilled?” There is no confirmation of this in the estimates, and I think that speaks louder than anything else. Given that physical fitness, recreation and cultural activities are essential to maintaining our health, to fulfilling the goal this government supposedly adopts of shifting the emphasis of our health care system to health promotion and disease prevention, why is the Liberal government not giving these activities a bigger share of the lottery revenues?
Now the lottery pie is going to be cut into even more pieces. I do not think anyone in this chamber can deny that. The government is telling recreation and cultural groups not to worry. They have their $120 million promised and, anyway, the Clean Sweep lottery will be a separate game from the other Ontario lottery games.
Now, I would like us to look at some figures. The Treasury estimates that the Clean Sweep lottery will generate $20 million this fiscal year and $30 million per year after that, but it also estimates that the total lottery revenues will grow by only $2 million this year. That means that $18 million, which would have been spent on the other lottery games, those games that are supposed to support sports, recreation and cultural activities, will now be spent on environmental protection. No matter how you look at it, because of Bill 114, sports, fitness, recreation, culture and the arts are going to get less money than would have otherwise been possible.
Then there is the matter of the supposed dedication of revenues to environmental protection. There is no guarantee in Bill 114 that the money raised by the Clean Sweep lottery will indeed be spent on environmental protection. Our party will be introducing an amendment that, if supported by the government, will ensure the dedication of revenues. We have good reason to doubt the government’s intentions as to how the money will be spent.
Just look at the tire tax fiasco. The Treasurer started collecting that tax on 1 June last year, and I should say at this point that before that tire tax bill was passed, I moved three or four amendments to commit the income from the tire tax to be spent on environmental programs. I did not ask that it be spent on any specific environmental program. I asked that it be spent on environmental programs, plural, and that left the full autonomy up to the government.
Now what has happened -- and by the way, all my amendments were voted down by the government, so here the government said, “We are going to collect $5 off every new tire in this province and we are going to spend the money on the environment.”
Mr Faubert: That’s what they are doing.
Mrs Marland: What is significant -- and I think it is rather sad that the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere says that is what they are doing. We now have the figures as to what this Liberal government is doing, and as a member of the Liberal government he should know what they are doing and I am going to tell him what they are doing.
Mr Faubert: I know what they are doing. You are going to tell us what you think they are doing.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mrs Marland: They are collecting $45 million per year, and that tax money that they collected was “supposed to help fund efforts to support recycling and environmentally sound disposal,” and the Treasurer later clarified that the tax would help prevent environmental time bombs like the Tyre King dump in Hagersville, which later caught fire.
Mr Faubert: Exactly.
Mrs Marland: But before the Hagersville tire fire, the government had spent -- Mr Speaker, I recognize I can only speak to you, but this is a question I really wish the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere could answer, because I wonder whether he knows how much of the money that was collected between 1 June and the Hagersville tire fire was spent on these programs. Perhaps he does not even have any idea of how much money was collected, but I can tell him how much money was collected in that time.
Mr Faubert: How much?
Mrs Marland: At that point, it was over $20 million, and what was spent was $1 million. Mr Speaker, $1 million was spent before we had the tire fire, and yet the money had been collected at that point for about eight months.
I think that is really misrepresenting to the people of Ontario where the money was going, and the fact that $1 million had been spent on tire recycling until we had the fire is a terrible sham. Then finally, after the fire, which was the worst environmental disaster in Ontario’s history, the government set up a tire recycling program, so I guess we should be thankful for some things that got this government off its seat.
In any case, even after the fire and even though this government raises $45 million through this tire tax, it still plans to spend only $16 million. So our question is, if the government raises $45 million a year from the tire tax, what is it spending the other $29 million on?
Mr Faubert: On the environment.
Mrs Marland: This government is not committed to the protection of the environment. Otherwise, they would fulfil their commitment. When they introduced a tire tax -- and I may say the people of Ontario balked at the $5-per-tire tax when it came in. But like all sound, environmentally conscious people, which, fortunately for us, the people of Ontario are -- that is why the people of Ontario will reject this government at the next election. They are not fooled. The people of Ontario are very intelligent and they can add and they can read.
If they know that $45 million has been collected from them on the purchase of their new tires, yet only $16 million has been spent on the environmental programs dealing with the disposal of used tires, they are going to see very clearly that they have had $29 million taken from them that has not been allocated to the program that this government promised.
That is not acceptable to anyone in this province. If they accept taxes and they say it is for a purpose and they do not allocate it for that purpose, I am sorry, that will not wash, and the next election will prove it. Based on the experience with the tire tax and the promises for that money to go to environmental programs, members can understand why I am so sceptical about Bill 114 with the Clean Sweep revenues.
Environmental protection is a terribly important cause. It is one that I spend a great deal of time fighting for in my role as Progressive Conservative spokesperson for the environment. But I do not accept that it is necessary to take money away from cultural and recreational groups, from the arts and sports, in order to protect the environment. The environment rates high enough in terms of priorities for all of us as legislators, high enough that we do not depend on lottery profits and the whim of lotteries to fund that protection.
A loss of $18 million this year is a lot of money for the cash-starved cultural and recreational groups of this province, some of whom, I may add, are in my own city of Mississauga. That is why it disappoints me to hear the member for Mississauga East rise and defend this bill when there are many, many groups within his own city that are crying out for funding through the lottery profits and their applications are being turned down.
If the member is questioning that, I can refer him to any number of groups that have called my office when their applications have been turned down in the past few years. Surely this money should be left to them. A reassessment of other government spending, including the reduction of government inefficiency and waste, could easily make up that shortfall.
As usual, the government is demonstrating that it does not know how to prioritize its spending and manage its own house. We know that there is not a money tree here at Queen’s Park. We know that this government is dependent on the people of Ontario for money. We are not asking them to be miracle workers; we are simply asking them to be honest with the people of Ontario and say to them, “I am sorry, we can’t be all things to all people, but what we promise, we will fulfil.” Unfortunately, this government does not fulfil its promises. I think the tire tax is an example, where they promised programs and had spent $1 million before the tire fire. Obviously, they do not plan to fulfil the obligations of their promises.
As usual, in addition to leading taxpayers to buy the Clean Sweep lottery tickets and to believe that they are helping the environment as Bill 114 stands, without any guaranteed dedication of revenues -- this is a questionable conclusion. The people of Ontario are not going to be misled.
For the benefit of those members in the House this afternoon -- and I see two members in the House from the city of Mississauga; the member for Mississauga West has just come into the House. I would like him and the member for Mississauga East to listen to a letter from the Mississauga Symphonic Association women’s committee. It is over the signature of the secretary, Mrs Jo Nunan, and it says:
“Dear Mrs Marland:
“Thank you for your letter and information regarding Bill 114.
“The women’s committee of the Mississauga Symphonic Association most certainly opposes Bill 114, in which equitable funding for recreational groups and cultural groups such as the Mississauga Symphony is not mentioned. In our opinion, the cultural wellbeing of our community will be totally ignored by our legislators if Bill 114 is passed.”
The Minister of Tourism and Recreation is copied on this letter, as are the Premier, the Treasurer and the Minister of Culture and Communications, as of yesterday I guess.
Mr Mahoney: Read us the letter you sent them, Margaret.
Mrs Marland: The date on that letter is 8 May 1990, and the member for Mississauga West is interjecting and he is saying, “Read us the letter that you sent them.” The member for Mississauga West insults the Mississauga Symphonic Association if he thinks that anything that I wrote would have mislead them. He does not give them enough credit to understand what Bill 114 is about. If I had not sent them a letter at all and I had simply sent them the bill, the members of that association can read the bill for themselves.
The members of that association understand what Bill 114 says. They know and understand that it takes away more of the lottery profits from their groups. That is all they need to understand, regardless of what my letter says. I would be happy to table in this House a copy of my letter. I happen to have it here. Perhaps if there is time I will read it to the members so that they know that I do not mislead my constituents.
The next letter I want to read for the benefit of the House is from Gymnastics Mississauga, the Mississauga Gym Club, which I believe is in the riding of the honourable member for Mississauga East. This letter is over the signature of Barbara Dring, who is the president:
“Dear Mrs Marland:
“We are in receipt of your letter of 23 April regarding Bill 114.
“We are in agreement with you regarding the designation of funds from the lottery corporation.
“We feel the government should certainly take some action over the protection of the environment but not at the expense of cultural and recreational groups.
“We have many dedicated volunteers helping us to provide first-class gymnastics to the community but we also need some support in some form from the government. The dilution of the moneys supplied by the lottery corporation will have a far-reaching impact on all cultural and sports groups and we must voice our strong disapproval of Bill 114.”
As I said, it is signed by Barbara Dring, and that letter was received 17 May, although it is undated. I should say that the letter from the Mississauga Symphonic Association was dated 8 May 1990.
Finally, I have a letter from a lady called Marilyn McCool, and she is president of the Tecumseh Tennis Club and she resides at 1427 Woodeden Drive North, which is in my riding. I have not spoken to Mrs McCool and do not know her, but I think that she has written an excellent letter from the standpoint that here is a citizen who well understands what Bill 114 is about.
I think also that for the benefit of the members in the House today who are questioning my letter to my cultural, sports and recreational groups -- and I would actually challenge those members, especially the members for Mississauga East and Mississauga West, who are saying, “Tell us what your letter said.”
I challenge them: Did they send out a copy of Bill 114? Have they had any communication with these groups to tell them what Bill 114 was about? Did they do a mailing to tell the members of these organizations who live within the city of Mississauga what was coming down from this Liberal government? If they did, they will have an opportunity to tell me at the end of my presentation this afternoon, and I would be very interested to know whether they had letters from groups that support Bill 114.
Actually, this letter I am going to read, I am copied on it but it is addressed to the minister.
Hon Mr Black: What’s the date?
Mrs Marland: It is dated 25 May, so it may be possible that the minister has not had time to read this letter yet.
Hon Mr Black: I haven’t received it.
Mrs Marland: With the thousands of letters that he is receiving from all over the province in opposition to Bill 114, I would not expect that he would have had time or will have the opportunity to read them, but I hope that his staff at least collates them and tells him the kind of concern there is in this province about this bill.
“Dear Honourable Ken Black:
“I am strongly opposed to Bill 114. It is time that our provincial government and health care professionals realized the importance of recreation and cultural programs as a valuable contribution to our society’s mental and physical health. With today’s added stresses (long working hours, increased taxes, traffic problems, etc) it is not surprising that we are seeing alarming increases in mental breakdowns, job burnout, teen violence, drug abuse and marriage breakdowns. Recreation and cultural activities provide a much-needed outlet for relieving these many stresses. Exercise and elimination of stress have been proven to build up one’s immune system, making him/her better able to ward off infections and improving control of certain diseases. Instead of promoting exercise, we are using our health care system to treat a myriad of symptoms that could be prevented.
“We have a health care system that is out of control. Rather than correcting the mismanagement and abuses within this system, the Ontario Lottery Corp is supplying it with still more finances to continue operating in this pattern. Our health care system needs to be held more accountable. The many disease states that do require medication, surgery, etc could be funded by the ever-increasing taxes we pay if such abuse did not exist. User fees would discourage needless visits to physicians and put some financial responsibility on those individuals who benefit from such. It may even encourage individuals to change their lifestyle to ensure that they do enjoy a healthier status. In addition to the taxes we pay to support our health care system, many individuals and corporations contribute generously to such worthwhile causes as the Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario and hospitals to mention only a few. Research and development is being carried out and financed by the large multinational drug companies that have committed themselves to provide even more funding over the coming years.
“The Ontario Lottery Corp was founded with the sole purpose of promoting recreation and culture. Bills 119 and 114 ensure the erosion and perhaps the demise of funding recreational sports, cultural programs, and fitness programs in Ontario. Environmental issues can only be rectified and discouraged from happening by ensuring that those individuals or industries that cause them are financially responsible to remedy the problem.
“Government raises the taxes on cigarettes and alcohol from time to time until costs of these items are almost or more than double what they should be. This is done because they pose a health risk. Why aren’t items that create environmental problems such as disposable diapers, for example, hit with a similar tax like gasoline? The revenue created from this could then be directed back to the municipalities that have to pay for the garbage this creates. It should be the individuals and industries that cause the problem who are held accountable. Why penalize recreation and culture? They serve to get our youth involved in worthwhile activities. I would much prefer to see my children and others involved in tennis, rowing clubs, baseball, skating, swimming, etc as opposed to idling their time away hanging around shopping malls and video arcades. It’s commendable that government is running slick, expensive campaigns to warn youth of the dangers of drug abuse and the importance of safe sex. It is not commendable that they are neglecting the importance of providing other alternatives. The youths are our future; yet, they are taking a back seat to every other issue. Perhaps it may be wise to invest in their future (and consequently ours) as well.
“Recreational and cultural activities in their own way already do much to promote the health and wellbeing of our citizens. Through such activities, individuals become more aware of their community and more conscious of their environment. If the government wants to ensure that individuals take more responsibility for their own health and the environment, they had better be certain that some incentives are in place to do so. Otherwise, we become an apathetic society concerned only with what happens within our own four walls. Recreation and cultural activities are a most vital part of all communities. Of what avail is all the extra moneys being pumped into the health care system and the environment if individuals are not looked after first and foremost? Bill 119 has already greatly diminished the funds allotted to recreation and culture; Bill 114 will only further this reality! I strongly urge you to say ‘No’ to Bill 114.”
“President of the Tecumseh Tennis Club.”
Mr Furlong: Read your letter, Margaret, the one you sent.
Mrs Marland: That lady, for the benefit of the member for Durham Centre, had not received my letter. In fact, I feel it is very significant that that lady, Mrs McCool, went to that much trouble to write to the minister and express her very real concerns about the implications.
In case anyone in this House would dare stand up and suggest that if people are opposed to Bill 114, they are opposed to the protection of the environment, they had better look very carefully at what kind of priority we in the Progressive Conservative Party place on the environment. What we are saying very loudly is we believe that the environment is a far greater priority in terms of preservation than to be funded out of the profits of an already beleaguered lottery fund corporation.
It just seems that every time this government looks for some money -- and Lord knows why it has to keep looking for more locations for money, because with a 131% tax increase in the last three years in this province and 34 individual tax increases it has buckets of money. We just do not know where they are spending it. They are certainly not spending it on new environmental programs. That is confirmed by the fact that the most recent one, as I referred to earlier, the tire tax, is $29 million, and we do not even know where it is being spent.
Bill 114 simply says: “Oh yes, of course, we’ve got this cash cow. It’s called lottery profits. Why don’t we announce a new lottery and give people the opportunity to believe that they’re going to spend money on the environment by supporting the new lottery called Clean Sweep.” Nowhere in this bill are the revenues from the new lottery called Clean Sweep guaranteed to be spent on the environment. That is why I am opposed to this bill, because it misrepresents the facts. It does not say that the money will be appropriated to the protection of the environment. Unless it says that, what it is saying is that we will have another form of taxation on those people who can least afford it.
We know, through many studies, that the people who buy lottery tickets are the people, in the majority, who can least afford it. If this government thinks the solution to protecting the environment is to add another opportunity for people to be taxed through the purchase of lottery tickets and then turn around and say, “But you’re supporting the protection of the environment,” I say to this government, “Show those people who have paid $5 on their new tires in the past almost 12 months where their money has gone to protect the environment.”
Mr Sola: I would like to thank the member for the free publicity, but I note there is a tone of envy in her voice when she mentions “balanced budget,” which she did about a dozen times in her speech. I can understand the tone of envy, seeing as how her government left us with a $2.6-billion deficit the last year it was in power.
Second, she asks whether I have had calls from school boards. Yes, I have. They are saying, “Thank you for the $95 million in 1987, the $157 million in 1988, the $92 million in 1989.” They are saying, “Thank you, but we need more because Mississauga is growing at such a fast rate that we cannot build the schools fast enough to accommodate the kids.”
I would like to point out the reason we are getting thanks from the school boards is they have to compare this to $75 million allocated for capital construction to the whole province the last year that the Tories were in power. The region of Peel is getting more than the whole province used to get.
When she mentions cuts to municipalities, I find that a little bit strange. An 11% increase in transfer funds to municipalities is called a cut? She says we are ignoring the needs of municipalities; $5 billion is ignoring needs? I have heard of “What’s a million?” but now she is saying, “What’s $5 billion?” That is getting a little bit ridiculous.
Then she says the budget of the Ministry of the Environment was cut by $341 million, or something along those lines. I would like to point out that an agency was established, which is still under the Ministry of the Environment, to handle that.
Mr Neumann: I want to thank the member for the fine speech she gave and for mentioning me several times during her comments. I would like to point out, however, that she neglected to inform herself about the economic and environmental policies of this government. She kept talking about the spending within the Ministry of the Environment as if that is the only area of involvement this government has with respect to the environment.
I would remind her that the concept of sustainable development, which she should be aware of, implies that every ministry of the government is interested in the environment and that the environment should be taken into consideration in all decision-making within government. We recently had an announcement by the Ministry of Government Services applying this concept to purchasing throughout the province by this government, and that is an environmental decision. As a critic in the environmental area, she seems to have a very narrow concept of what it means to be interested in the environment.
Hopefully, I have helped to edify her in this regard. I think she is really barking up the wrong tree when she is looking around the room and asking for quorum calls when there really was a quorum, when in fact there has been no one from her caucus supporting her on this fine speech that she gave here, not one person in her caucus other than herself her supporting her, and she has the nerve to criticize us for not having people in the House.
I see a fine Tory has joined the member there. Hopefully, with his wisdom, he can give her some advice on how to handle these matters. Anyway, I was very much taken aback when she called my interjections obnoxious because I only interjected when she got off track.
Mr Farnan: I thought I should add a view other than the government view in terms of a critique of my colleague who has spoken so eloquently. It is very unfortunate in debating an issue like this that we find people who simply want to be negative. We have to look at the bill, and if there are positive things about it, we have to look at those. If there are criticisms, then we can make amendments.
In looking at the statement of the previous speaker, I think my colleague made some good points. The point that I think is essential is the reality that this bill really does not do very much.
The present situation is that the profits from lotteries may be directed to sports, culture, recreation, etc, or to the Trillium Foundation, or to hospitals, for that matter. However, the reality of the matter is that it goes into a slush fund and the government has the option of where it is directed. The reality of the matter is that no one knows whether it is tax dollars or lottery dollars that are going to pay for education or the environment or anything else.
The only thing that this bill does, I suggest, is allow the government to market more aggressively lottery tickets by allowing them, instead of having a javelin thrower or an orchestra on the ticket, to put on the ticket a crippled child or a forest or a lake and in that way to more aggressively market lottery tickets. I think the government will sell more lottery tickets because it will aggressively market them under those headings. Whether or not that is a good thing I do not know.
Mr Mahoney: I would just like to make a couple of comments. First of all, I, and I am sure many of the folks in Mississauga South, have always felt that the member for Mississauga South was quite capable of leading her entire caucus, and she has proven today that she indeed has done that, so I do not see the fact that they are not here as a negative thing. I think they have complete confidence in her ability to lead the caucus. Had she stood for the leadership in the recent -- there was a campaign recently. I think, was there not? There was something I saw in the news about somebody running for leader, and we in Mississauga thought it should have been the member for Mississauga South and I just want her to know that.
With regard to the letters that the member for Mississauga South was reading, I received a couple of calls from people who said they had gotten a letter from the member for Mississauga South. They were absolutely astounded when they read this letter --
An hon member: Read the letter.
Mr Mahoney: I do not have it here, unfortunately. If the member would bring it here, I would be delighted to read it.
-- at the one-sided approach.
In fact, the reason they were calling me -- and members must understand, I think even a couple of them were Tories at one time in their lives -- was that they could not believe that any piece of legislation could be as dastardly as the member for Mississauga South portrayed this bill to be in her letter. They said, “Can this possibly be true?” On the other side of the coin, they were saying, “Can we possibly believe that the honourable member for Mississauga South would mislead us?” They found that to be absolutely astounding, and so they called me to get an opinion. I assumed --
Mrs Marland: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I take exception to the member for Mississauga West suggesting that I would mislead.
The Deputy Speaker: That is not a point of order.
Mr Mahoney: She did not let me finish. I assured the people who called me that the member would not mislead them, but she simply did not understand the bill and was incapable of putting it forward in a way that they could understand it.
The Deputy Speaker: Does the member for Mississauga South wish to respond?
Mrs Marland: Yes, I do, just briefly. In response to the member for Mississauga West, I have to say that I wish someone would give him a new speech. Every time I speak, for two and a half years now, he has used the same rebuttal. I do think it is time that somebody gave him some new lines.
When he says that the school boards say “Thank you” to him, I really think that he attends the same meetings I do with those school boards, and his own school board -- I think it is his own school board -- the Dufferin-Peel Roman Catholic Separate School Board, had an announcement this year, I think, of around $60 million. However, when you look very closely at it, this year they get $6 million, next year they get $7 million and in 1993 they get $48 million.
So here we have this marvellous shell game of multi-year announcements. What I cannot find out from the Treasury is -- every year we get multi-year announcements: last year all the school boards got multi-year announcements. The Treasury will not tell me whether the funds that were announced last year for this year are included in this year’s, again, multi-year announcements.
Anyway, it is safe to say I simply do not envy the member for Mississauga East, and I think the member for Brantford should inform his residents about where the $29 million of the tire tax has gone.
I simply say to the member for Mississauga West that I appreciate his support for my leadership campaign. I did, however, decide not to run for the leadership, but I am more than capable of explaining to the people of Mississauga the facts of Bill 114. I challenge the member for Mississauga West to explain where in this bill there are any funds guaranteed specifically for the protection of the environment. Where in here does it say how much money will be appropriated?
Mr Farnan: I will be supporting this bill, provided that certain amendments that I will be putting forward are accepted by the government. I think it behooves all of us to look at the legislation and examine the legislation and see how we can improve that legislation in order to make it better and more acceptable to the people of the province.
I am going to be speaking to each of these amendments. I will inform the House what the amendments are that I will be presenting and in turn I will speak to each of those. I beg for the indulgence of the House, because it concerns an area that I am critically concerned about and that must be addressed in the province of Ontario.
The first amendment I am going to be putting forward is that we amend the legislation so that 0.5% of all lottery profits are designated for gambling rehabilitation treatment clinics. Gambling is a serious addiction in the province of Ontario. It is a health issue and it is a social issue. I will be putting forward to my honourable colleagues in all parties this afternoon several questions which I will attempt to answer.
How has the province responded to the need? What is being done in the province of Ontario to help and provide treatment for those with gambling addictions?
I will look briefly at what is occurring in other jurisdictions. I will ask the question very directly, and I ask all the members of the House to seriously consider this question. Are we, as a government, and I mean not just the Liberal members of the House, I mean all members of the House, all 130 of us, New Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals as a collective group, part of the problem or part of the solution for those with gambling addictions? I will further ask the question of what needs to be done.
There is no question that lotteries produce revenues. Obviously, with the great demands that are put upon governments for services, governments are always interested in ways of generating revenues. The source of revenues from lotteries has increased phenomenally, beyond the wildest dreams, from when they were first introduced. Just in this past year -- I think the minister responsible will bear me out when I say this -- additional staff have been hired in the marketing of lotteries. There is a much greater determination, much more aggressive marketing in order to capitalize on the profits that can accrue from lotteries and the revenues that can be generated.
I do not think any member of any party is going to object to the fact that a government has to generate funds in order to pay for services. New Democrats certainly have never denied this fact, but as we aggressively market lotteries to increase revenues for services. I think there is a question we have to ask ourselves: Is this the way we want to go?
One of the most overworked phrases in the English language involves just three little words: “Want to bet?” It seems everyone wants to get in on the action and gamble on something: hockey, baseball, football games, horse races, the stock market, cards, bingo, and of course the latest craze, lotteries. When members come right down to it, gambling in one form or another plays a major role in the lives of most people today.
But let’s get one thing straight at the outset. I am not here, and neither are my colleagues in the New Democratic Party, to lobby for the curtailment or the abolition of gambling through legislation or any other means. I am not here, and neither is the New Democratic Party, to condemn anybody who gambles. After all, gambling has fascinated mankind down through the ages. The ancient Chinese. Persians. Greeks and Romans gambled. So did every other recorded civilization.
Gambling produces some benefits. I think we can all admit that. It provides employment for many, it serves as a recreational outlet for others, and it certainly creates vast amounts of profits and revenues for individuals and of course for governments.
However, there is also a dark side to gambling, because one of its most insidious byproducts is the creation of compulsive or, as they are known to the medical profession, pathological gamblers.
Initially, it is important to realize that pathological gambling is an illness. It was first recognized as such by the World Health Organization in 1978 and subsequently by the American Psychiatric Association, whose classification of pathological gambling as a mental disease is accepted on a worldwide basis.
Pathological gambling is a mental disorder of impulse control and is widely accepted as the purest form of addiction. However, because it is emotional in nature, its victims do not carry their scars where you can see them. Pathological gamblers therefore are not as easy to identify as alcoholics or addicts. Pathological gamblers do not stagger when they walk. Their speech is not impaired. They do not display unsociable tendencies in public. In fact, they look and act like very average citizens -- externally, that is -- but inwardly they are consumed by a gambling urge that grows stronger while its victims grow correspondingly weaker to resist. Pathological gambling is progressive in nature and can result in total financial and emotional bankruptcy, sometimes even leading to physical destruction, to suicide.
Pathological gambling is a health issue. More specifically, it is a mental health issue as well as a serious social issue. It costs our economy billions of dollars in terms of lost working hours, loss of creativity and productivity, criminal activities and a great deal of welfare money.
It creates dysfunctional family units and its victims have a far-reaching effect on other members of family, particularly children, and on society as a whole. Today, one pathological gambler’s actions will affect approximately seven people he is associated with. Usually they are the people closest to him and the people whom he loves the most. It is ironic that the people whom we love the most are the people who are hurt the most by our actions.
All right. Now we have outlined the general problem. Let’s get down to the specifics about pathological gambling in Ontario. I ask the members of the House, how many pathological gamblers do they think there are in this province? A few hundred? A few thousand? How about 100,000? That is right. The best estimates available place the number of pathological gamblers in Ontario at between 100,000 and 150,000 persons. This figure has to be estimated, because there just is not any accurate documentation available here; but based on research done in the United States, where they are far ahead of us in this respect, two to three per cent of the adult population are or will be pathological gamblers.
The United States is well ahead of us in acknowledgement of the seriousness of the pathological gambling problem. The Americans have a well established National Council on Compulsive Gambling, many state councils, research foundations, gamblers’ assistance programs operated by the states’ departments of human services and more than 60 specialized medical treatment centres simply for those who are addicted to gambling. Would you believe, Mr Speaker, that the tiny, rural state of Iowa operates more than 10 such treatment clinics for pathological gamblers? Iowa and the state of Minnesota are the latest states which recently passed legislation that will provide a percentage of the government’s lottery profits for the operation of treatment centres.
Now, while the government of a relatively small farm state like Iowa has adopted such a far-sighted approach to the problem of pathological gambling, what is being done here in affluent Ontario? We do not have any research facilities, not a single treatment clinic and nary a professional training program. It is ironic that the Ontario Ministry of Health consistently denies pathological gambling is a problem, yet OHIP will pay 75% of the medical and hospital costs of treating pathological gamblers from Ontario in the United States. At the moment, pathological gamblers in Ontario do not have a whole lot going for them. Of course, there is the widely respected self-help group known as Gamblers Anonymous, which operates a number of chapters, but most of these are confined to the Toronto area, leaving vast areas of the province unattended.
Then there is the Canadian Foundation on Compulsive Gambling which was created by a group of prominent concerned citizens in 1983. The foundation subsequently applied for and was granted charitable status. Over the past seven years, the foundation has attempted to awaken an apathetic government and public to the dangers of the issues, which could well result in a social epidemic in the coming decade, but the foundation’s single full-time employee can hardly do justice to help even those limited numbers of people fortunate enough to stumble upon the only available aid. Nevertheless, the foundation last year processed some 2,000 appeals for help. This was accomplished with little or no advertising.
Imagine how this number would swell if the foundation had the necessary funds to properly proclaim its program. But years of lobbying and extensive negotiations with various government agencies have yielded little of a concrete nature. Only the Ministry of Community and Social Services provides a small annual contribution of $55,000 in the form of a service contract. That is $55,000 to service 2% to 3% of the population. The foundation, however, has a minimum operating budget of between $100,000 and $200,000 and thus must depend on the private sector for enough funds merely to keep its doors open.
A one-man operation servicing the entire province -- indeed servicing the entire country -- is being granted $55,000, and we are making lottery profits this year that will perhaps exceed $500 million. It is time the government admits it has a responsibility in this matter and helps the foundation fulfil its objectives of heightening awareness through education, conducting research into pathological gambling and providing medical treatment facilities for victims and their families.
Just as it is every bit as much our responsibility to deal with related problems such as alcoholism and drug abuse, we must seriously address the issue of pathological gambling in the l990s. The government must lead the way in this respect since it has helped introduce a new element which can but lead to the proliferation of the excessive gambling problem. That, of course, is the creation of numerous lotteries, which in effect has set the government up in the gambling business. The government of Ontario, let us all recognize the fact, is in the gambling business and generates a profit of $500 million per annum. We are part of the process by which people gamble.
This action has served to introduce gambling to millions of people in the province who never gambled before, because you cannot buy a bag of milk or you cannot buy a loaf of bread without having lottery tickets placed in front of you. My friends, when you are inundated with aggressive marketing techniques that night after night after night present to you the dream of winning $1 million and changing your lifestyle, we all know it is in our human nature to be affected by that kind of aggressive marketing and particularly if you are poor and your life is tough. It is not just the poor who dream of the good life but certainly if you are under a lot of pressure financially, the thought of winning the million is a golden ray of opportunity.
Every time a parent or a single mom or anybody goes into the corner store they are presented with the opportunity of the dream which is being shown to them on television and newspaper ads in every conceivable manner possible. Of course they put their hand out for that dream and in the process they hand across the $2. If this is a social flutter it is not a problem, but we know that for some individuals it is going to become more than a social flutter.
Some individuals are going to become addicted and instead of $2 it is going to be $10, and instead of $10 it is going to be $20. Believe me, if you are on a fixed income and have $370 coming in and you are spending $20 of that per week in order to grab the dream of riches, wealth and the good life that we as a government are presenting to the people of Ontario, I say to my colleagues in all parties, let’s recognize the fact that for a lot of people, to put out $20 a week may be an insignificant amount of their budget, but for some people it has affected the bread on the table. It has affected their children. There are very serious consequences.
I am so pleased that the minister is here today to listen to this debate and I know that in private conversations he has expressed to me his own genuine concern about this issue. That is why I am optimistic that something is going to be done because I trust the minister when he says to me, “Mike, I am concerned about this too.” I do not believe for one minute they are mere words. I believe that in those words is a commitment.
So we, because we generate our revenues through lotteries, are in fact introducing millions of people by our marketing strategy to gambling, people in smaller communities who previously had no access to gambling save for the occasional poker game or church bingo, people in larger urban centres who previously never saw fit to go out to the racetrack or make a bet with a bookie. These people occasionally went to the racetrack or went to the bookie or maybe never did, but now if they buy a package of cigarettes, if they go and get a bottle of Coke for the kids, there it is. It is right there on every counter of exchange in Ontario. I cannot think of a corner store in my community where you do not have the opportunity to buy lottery tickets.
I am not saying that is wrong, but what I am saying is, some people who never gambled before are being introduced to gambling. I am saying that, for some people, it is going to affect their lives and it is going to affect the lives of their children. My God, this is a very serious social problem. There are children who will not eat properly because of an addiction of their mom or dad. A sickness of their parents is taking away shoes or food from some children in this province.
We do not show that on television. We show the flashy car, we show the boat, we show the dream girls, we show the good life, we show the dream. “This is the dream; buy a ticket.” It is as simple as that. “Pay $2 down and, my goodness, you are going to be magically moved into a whole new way of life.” We are all moved by that.
I buy the odd ticket. I do not buy many tickets; I suppose once every couple of months when I am in the store. I do not know whether I do it even subconsciously. I do not know whether it is just that I have been watching baseball and the advertisements have come on, it has gotten into my subconscious and so I buy a ticket. But it is not so bad, because the ticket I buy represents a very small amount of my income and I do not have a compulsion to buy more or to buy them every time I see them.
This is a truly important issue that we address. I think it is an issue almost of conscience. I would hate to think that because of my actions as a legislator and because of my combined actions with my friends, my colleagues in the New Democratic Party, the members elected as Conservatives and the members elected as Liberals -- because in the end all 130 of us have the power to do something -- there are going to be casualties. The reality of the matter is we have to do something about treatment.
In a relatively short period of time we have gone from the point where it was a crime to buy lottery tickets to the stage where the government openly encourages their sale. That is true. In a relatively short period of time we have moved from when it was illegal to now, where the government is bringing in the smartest brains, the most creative advertising experts, because we look at these and they are brilliant. I look at those ads and I say the creators of those ads are brilliant.
I suspect, and I am couching it in these terms, the reason for Bill 114 and Bill 119 is simply this: Bill 119 allowed the creative geniuses who advertise lotteries to say: “Hey, let’s put hospitals on the ticket. Let’s put the crippled children on the ticket. Let’s put the cancer treatment centre on the ticket. Hey, isn’t that powerful?” On the one hand, they create an image that if you buy a ticket, you are going to have this wonderful dream life where you are going to win the $1 million and, on the other hand, there is this little crippled child. We all want to help the little crippled child. We all want cancer treatment in the province.
I think the creative geniuses within the ministry said:
“Look, we can sell more lottery tickets if we can use the environment. We all know that the polls are saying to us that the hottest item right now is the environment. Well, let’s cash in on it, for goodness’ sake. Let’s have trees. Let’s have lakes. Let’s have pure rivers.” Of course, it makes sense, if all you want to do is sell more lottery tickets.
As I said, New Democrats, Conservatives, Liberals, I do not think any party can say that government must not raise revenue; it has to raise revenue. But let’s think of what we are doing. Let’s think of the manner in which we are raising the revenue. Let’s examine our modus operandi and let’s say to ourselves:
“The result of Bill 114 and the result of Bill 119 are simply that we will sell more tickets and all of the money will go into a general slush fund anyway. The department of parks and recreation will get some, hospitals will get some and the environment will get some.
But I know, the minister knows and all the members of this House know that when you take the consolidated revenue, no one knows whether it is lottery dollars or tax dollars, whether it is a direct tax dollar from an individual or a company or a licence fee or a fishing or hunting licence. It is all in there and we can spend it on anything.
We could take this legislation and we could add education and roads. We could add all the different things, if we thought it would sell extra lottery tickets, but a hole in the road does not sell as many lottery tickets as a crippled child. A hole in the road does not sell as many lottery tickets as clean lakes and rivers. We have to think -- we have to really think -- about what we are doing.
This tremendous increase in legalized gambling now nets the Ontario Lottery Corp more than $500 million per year. Surely the corporation should be prepared and willing to return a small portion of this mind-boggling amount of money to the victims of pathological gambling.
I am asking for 0.5% of all profits; not 1%, 0.5%. I am asking for less than $2.5 million to be returned to help the victims of gambling, who will be the inevitable casualties of our expanded lottery program.
Surely the corporation should be prepared and willing to return this money. Pathological gambling creates a growing problem within a certain section of this province’s population. It is this government’s duty to address the problem of who is responsible for its creation, because it is a health and a social issue.
Acting responsibly would foster education, research, treatment and prevention of pathological gambling. Denying, closing our eyes to the fact that such a problem exists simply is not good enough any more. If this government persists in that attitude, we can easily have a major social crisis on our hands in a short period of time. That is something you can bet on.
I have several case studies of pathological gamblers, individuals involved with lottery tickets. I want to read these into the record and I will do that when the debate recommences tomorrow.
In closing my remarks for this evening, I am again encouraged by the words the minister spoke to me, admittedly privately, but as I said, I trust the minister. The minister has said he shares my concern. When the minister says that to me, it says two things. He recognizes that pathological gambling is a problem. That is number one. Number two, the minister is going to do something about it.
In this amendment, I am putting forward a very constructive and fairly moderate request: that we amend the legislation so that 0.5% of lottery profits be returned for the treatment of those who suffer from the disease of pathological gambling.
That is a good first step. If the government accepts that first amendment, I will then support the bill. I will be talking about the other amendments I would like the government to support tomorrow.
It being 6 o’clock, I move adjournment of the debate.
On motion by Mr Farnan, the debate was adjourned.
The House adjourned at 1801.