The House met at 1330.
The Speaker: I have a number of items I would like to draw to the attention of the members before routine proceedings.
The Speaker: I first wish to inform the House that in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, His Honour the Lieutenant Governor assented to certain bills in his office on Thursday 21 June 1990.
Clerk of the House: The following are the titles of the bills to which His Honour has assented:
Bill 104, An Act to amend the Mining Tax Act.
Bill 106, An Act to amend certain Acts with respect to Easements and other matters.
Bill 108, An Act respecting Business Names.
Bill 167, An Act to amend the Ontario Food Terminal Act.
Bill 208, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Bill Pr41, An Act respecting Ottawa Arts Centre Foundation.
Bill Pr60, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.
Bin Pr66, An Act respecting the Town of Simcoe.
Bill Pr69, An Act respecting AXA Home Insurance Company.
Bill Pr73, An Act to revive Ontario Korean Businessmen’s Association.
Bill Pr79, An Act respecting the Township of Guilford.
REPORTS, INFORMATION AND PRIVACY COMMISSIONER
The Speaker: I also wish to inform the House that I have today laid upon the table the second annual report of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario for the year ending 31 December 1989 and the second report of the Summaries of Appeals for 1988-89.
The Speaker: Another item I am sure will be of interest of members. I wish to inform them that I have today laid upon the table the individual members’ expenditures for the fiscal year 1989-90. As usual, if the members look in their desks here in the chamber, they will find copies of this report.
Mr Farnan: The Minister of Health has singlehandedly managed to turn back the hands of time. I have recently been contacted by not one, not two, but half a dozen angry Cambridge residents demanding to know why the provincial ministry refuses to recognize the city of Cambridge.
These people have recently received their new Ontario health cards and were dismayed to find addresses listed as Galt, Preston and Hespeler. As members may or may not know, the city of Galt and the towns of Preston and Hespeler were amalgamated in 1973, some 17 years ago, to become the city of Cambridge. Residents have struggled long and hard to build a new identity for our community and, through the ministry’s carelessness, that has been shaken.
When I contacted ministry staff, I was told that an old computer data bank was used that still listed the old names. They suggested that everyone who received a health card correct the address on the form that came with the new card and send it back to the ministry.
What infuriates me is that we all filled in our correct addresses on the original application form. These forms are intimidating to begin with, but it is downright patronizing to ask for information ministry staff do not appear to read, let alone use.
I think the Minister of Health and her staff owe the people of Cambridge an apology for their blunder. We in Cambridge are proud of our community and expect to be treated with the respect Cambridge deserves. I do not need to remind the members that the new system was supposed to increase efficiency.
CANADIAN PARAPLEGIC ASSOCIATION
Mrs Marland: A few weeks ago, I asked the Minister of Community and Social Services to prevent the closing of four regional offices of the Canadian Paraplegic Association. The CPA was forced to close its Kingston, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Windsor offices because a Trillium grant to the association ended and the association fell short of its fund-raising target. At the time, Comsoc would not help the CPA make up the shortfall.
I am very pleased that, since then, funding arrangements have been reached and Comsoc has now allowed the CPA’s Thunder Bay and Sudbury offices to reopen. On behalf of persons with spinal cord injuries who reside in southeastern and southwestern Ontario, I plead with the Minister of Community and Social Services to extend funding so that the CPA’s Kingston and Windsor offices can also reopen. As well, I ask the minister to prevent the possible closing of the Barrie and Hamilton CPA offices this fall.
The Canadian Paraplegic Association has 45 years of history of helping people with spinal cord injuries. The association locates independent living and employment opportunities, funds research and promotes the prevention of spinal cord injury. If the government does not extend further funding to the CPA, spinal-cord-injured persons in some regions will not receive the same level of services as those who live in larger cities. I trust that the government has the wisdom to ensure that all of the CPA’s regional offices in Ontario remain open.
PRO-CON FORUM DEBATING LEAGUE
Mr McClelland: The Peel Board of Education has designed a pilot program to allow students with relatively limited experience in public speaking and debating to participate in a forum in which these valuable skills can be developed. The program also provides an opportunity for gifted students in various skills to meet one another and interact on both a social and intellectual level.
Over the past year, the Pro-Con Forum Debating League has been highly successful and will be expanded board-wide to include all senior public schools that wish to participate. Today, I am pleased to welcome to the Legislature 25 gifted students from Robert H. Lagerquist Senior Public School, all of whom have been successful participants in this debating league. One never knows, but perhaps one of them could very well exercise his or her considerable skills within these walls some day.
Earlier this afternoon, I had the opportunity of meeting with these students and found it to be a truly delightful experience. I have said before in this chamber, and I am happy to repeat again, that notwithstanding the bad news that confronts us from time to time in the press and so on about the state of our youth, we in Brampton, indeed in our province and across this country, are blessed with truly remarkable young people.
In light of that, I believe my colleagues will join in suggesting that our country is indeed in good hands with the future entrusted to these very capable young people. I welcome them here and wish them considerable success in the future.
Mr Philip: What percentage of the operating costs of education in Etobicoke was funded by the provincial government in 1975? The answer is 33.2%. What percentage of the operating costs of education in Etobicoke is funded by the province in 1990? The answer is 0%.
Last week, the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore and I met with the trustees and administrators of the Etobicoke Board of Education. One of their concerns was the effect of the cutbacks by both federal and provincial governments on English-as-a-second-language programs.
In 1988, the last year for which we have figures, 35% of immigrants to Canada settled in the Metropolitan Toronto area. This has necessitated an extensive ESL program in order to help these newcomers to Canada integrate into our society and become productive citizens. The additional cost to the Etobicoke taxpayers is $2,000 per student, to provide intensive language Instruction in ESL.
In April 1990, the federal government terminated its agreements for the subsidy of citizenship, language instruction and language textbooks. Surely the Peterson provincial government and the Mulroney federal government have some responsibility to pay for the cost of helping new immigrants integrate into our Canadian society. The burden should not fall entirely on a few municipalities, such as Metropolitan Toronto, to pick up the cost.
It is time for the provincial and federal governments to recognize that Metro Toronto taxpayers should not be bearing all the costs of these English-as-a-second-language programs, no matter how worthy these programs may be.
Mr Villeneuve: The Legislature will recess later this week, and to help members and Ontarians with their summer plans, I would like to invite everyone to visit the great riding of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry and East Grenville.
The Treasurer and the Minister of Education both know that my constituency office is located in downtown Moose Creek. Commencing this Thursday, Moose Creek will be celebrating Old Home Week, starting with a youth bicycle rally, a golf tournament and a kickoff bash. On Friday, we will have a dance, beach party, fashion show and volleyball tournament.
The official opening and parade will be on Saturday, featuring marching bands, antique cars and floats. We will also have the Glengarry Pipe Band and a continuous stage show, ending with a barbecue and dance. The show continues on Sunday, ending in a pig roast and beef barbecue. The organizing committee has agreed not to barbecue any Liberal ministers or members who attend this homecoming weekend.
Also this summer in the great riding of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry and East Grenville, numerous agricultural fairs will be held throughout the riding. They are the Avonmore, Williamstown, Vankleek Hill, Mountain, Chesterville and Newington fairs and the Merrickville Fair and Steam Show, ending with the Spencerville Fair on the weekend of 7 to 9 September.
Ontario’s biggest and best highland games, the Glengarry Highland Games, will be held on the August Civic Holiday weekend in Maxville. Anyone who has not yet been to the games should certainly make an effort to attend this year. There is plenty of room for camping. Onsite accommodation is available from Ottawa through Cornwall. All are welcome.
Mr Callahan: It is with great pleasure that I remind all members of the House that this afternoon between 5:30 and 7:30, the Minister of Citizenship has graciously agreed to host all of the members as well as many of the representatives from Carabram, one of the world’s finest multicultural festivals that is held in Brampton on 6, 7 and 8 July. It is an opportunity for members here and other people watching from the public, to (1) see the great city of Brampton and (2) to attend 16 multicultural events, savour the sights, tastes and sounds without in fact even leaving Brampton.
Transportation service between each of the pavilions in Brampton on 6, 7 and 8 July during Carabram will be carried out by Brampton Transit, so this allows you to enjoy yourself at the pavilions and it also makes certain that people travelling from one pavilion to the other, who perhaps have had something more than apple juice, will be safe.
I invite all members, first of all, this afternoon. Do not forget it -- 5:30 to 7:30 -- to see these people dressed in many of the traditional costumes that they wear at the pavilions. I invite members as well to come out on 6, 7 and 8 July and join with a whole host of us and enjoy travel virtually around the world.
Mrs Grier: It finally happened. A judge has sent a polluter to jail. George Crowe of Rednersville, near Picton, has been sentenced to six months for burying toxic chemical waste on his farm 15 years ago. Five points need to be made.
First, amendments to the Environmental Protection Act, setting high fines and jail terms as penalties for polluting, were adopted in 1986 as a result of the Liberal-New Democratic Party accord.
Second, the cost of cleaning up the Rednersville site has run to hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is much cheaper to prevent pollution than to clean it up.
Third, Rednersville residents are being supplied with bottled drinking water. Because we have no legislated drinking water standards, provision of clean drinking water is dependent on the goodwill of government. It is not a right that the citizens can demand or enforce.
Fourth, because we lack comprehensive epidemiological data, residents who believe they are suffering health problems are unable to prove that this is so.
Finally, there is the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co role in this nightmare. In 1974, Goodyear and Mr Crowe signed a contract in which Mr Crowe agreed to dispose of Goodyear’s waste. The contract was very explicit in letting Goodyear off the hook.
In May the Ministry of the Environment prosecutor said: “I too find it outrageous that the waste left (Goodyear’s) plant site under the circumstances it did. This case is not closed.”
Right on. We and the residents of Rednersville will be watching the ministry to make sure that the case is never closed until all the culprits join Mr Crowe in jail.
Mr Cousens: Markham leads the way again. A great place to live and work; a tremendous sense of commitment by our whole community; first in multiculturalism; first in the quality of life; first in every possible category, and now today we add another first to our set of ribbons.
Let me announce and share with the House what is happening with our drink cartons. They will be made into plastic Superwood, the world’s first drink carton recycling program. A pilot program has been started under Tetra Pak. The parent company is Tetra Pak Rausing SA of Switzerland. This is the largest world manufacturer of cartons, some 50 billion a year.
We are going to see in Markham the first pilot project where Superwood, a plastic byproduct of an otherwise useless waste, will be collected by the town of Markham in its recycling program. Then technology will bring these otherwise useless cartons together and they, collected along with all the other recyclables, will be put to very good use for the future.
It just takes this kind of initiative to make a community a place to be proud of, where the town and the citizens are all working together to contribute to make this a better place to live. I am proud to be part of that community and proud to see it moving ahead with another positive program in recycling and to protect our environment for the long term.
GOODS AND SERVICES TAX
Mr D. R. Cooke: Under the federal government’s proposed goods and services tax, courses taught in either of Canada’s two official languages will be exempt from taxation. Private tutoring, of course, is taught in all other languages, however; for example, heritage languages will be taxed. Language classes which are not taught through provincially funded schools will be subject to the goods and services tax if the teacher has an income of over $30,000 a year.
It is well known that language is the most explicit expression of culture. The taxation of heritage language courses is providing a negative message to the people of Canada who wish to continue to educate their children in the language of their culture. Let me reiterate that the taxation of heritage languages by private tutors is deplorable in a nation which prides itself on promoting a culture mosaic for all of its citizens.
Mr Breaugh: Mr Speaker, on a point of personal explanation, I think, I beg leave for unanimous consent to make a brief announcement that will make members on all sides very happy.
The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent for everyone to be happy?
RESIGNATION OF MEMBER FOR OSHAWA
Mr Breaugh: Mr Speaker, I have been here for a while. Members will know that I like this place. I respect the process that gets people in here. I believe very strongly in the process whereby people get here.
I am struck time and time again by the great common sense that people have. They do not always understand political issues the way we, as politicians, do. They do not always respect all the niceties of constitutional agreements and which level of government is responsible for doing what. But in their own way the people, the electorate, when they cast their ballots, have a basic commonsense understanding of the process.
When the time came for me, as it will come for all members here, to think about trying another challenge, the answer to that was yes, but the answer was to stay in politics. So I will be seeking a seat in the federal Parliament. We have a by-election in Oshawa on 13 August of this year and that will occupy my attention for the next little while.
I have enjoyed my time here. I like meeting the people who are here. One of the things that strikes you when you become a little familiar with the process here is that when the members respect one another, this process works very well; when the members do not, this process does not work at all. A Parliament is a funny place; it is not like the American Congress where, very simply, those who have the most votes win.
In a Parliament there are a number of things that have to go together to make the process work, but sometimes it is hard to explain to people on the outside why you keep referring to everybody as honourable members. That is your lifeline. That is your basic answer to that. Most days, they are all honourable people; they can have good days and bad days like you do but, in the end, they are all here for the same purpose, to try to do the best they can for the people they represent. If you believe or accept that tenet, a Parliament works just fine. If you reject that tenet or that principle, a Parliament cannot function. Basically, it means that people on all sides have a common interest, that they have a respect for one another, that they understand the rules and the traditions of this Legislature and any other Parliament, and that the place works.
I like all the old ghosts that float around this building. I like the notion that there have been literally, by now, thousands of people just like all the members in the chamber today who were elected to come here to try to do a job for the people they represent. On most days, that is the prime focus of their being here. That is why they attend question period, go to all the committee meetings and do all that work that people do not see.
I like this place because, as you come in, you meet people who are not elected, who look after the building, the parking lots, the food services in the building and the Hansard. We have probably some of the best-versed security officers in the country who sit here and listen to the debate when no one else is interested in it -- and that includes a whole lot of members -- but it is their job to be here. Sometimes I have been in this chamber when there were more security guards than there were members. There are lots of times you can be in this chamber when there are more security guards than there are others in the gallery.
It is a funny place. It does not work like any place I have ever experienced before in my life. It has its own little rituals, its own little rules. It is very difficult to explain to people how the place functions at all. It is tough to explain to people that the reason why everybody comes to question period is that it is good entertainment most days, although it is full of insiders’ jokes that the rest of the world does not understand. If you want to find cabinet ministers, and their staffs have been denying you access all week long, there is one hour in the day when you know where they will be and they cannot get away from you.
It is a good meeting place. In a sense, I guess, that is what a Parliament is supposed to be, a meeting place, not too fancy, not too spectacular, but a place where ordinary people gather, trade ideas and decide on how their society will function. It is not meant to be, and I do not think it ever will be, a place where the smartest, the most intelligent people in a society gather. If you look around this chamber today, that is certainly true. It is just a place where a good cross-section of any society gathers to discuss what its problems are and to try to find some solutions to those.
It is an imperfect place. I am reminded that on the first day I came into this chamber, a hot issue of the day was Sunday shopping, and on the last day that I leave this chamber, the same hot issue of the day is still here.
Hon Mr Peterson: You haven’t accomplished anything.
Mr Breaugh: Well, we have been spinning a few wheels.
There are a few things that have been accomplished while I have been a member. This place has changed a great deal in terms of the members, their activities, the support staff they have, the work that committees can do and the work of the House.
One of the things I am happiest about is that now I do not have to explain to people that there really is a government in Ontario, that there really is a place called Queen’s Park and there really is a Legislative Assembly of Ontario. We have raised the awareness just a little bit. I am taken aback sometimes by the amount of scrutiny we get by means of television by the general public. People may not follow the proceedings gavel to gavel, but they certainly have a much better idea of what the political process in Ontario is all about now than they did, say, 10 or 15 years ago.
As I leave this chamber, I do not leave with any regrets. I hardly ever do anything with any regrets. I liked the time that I spent here. I liked the people I had to work with during the course of that. I did not find everybody to be my cup of tea. I sometimes argued with people, occasionally; sometimes I agreed with people, occasionally; sometimes I said things that were not quite the politically popular thing to say. But for those members who have known me for a while, that is the onion they have to deal with. There is no other way to explain it, and I think most members, when they have been here for a while, will come to roughly the same point of view.
We get a little carried away with party politics in this country, I think, and a little bit more with party discipline than even the Mother of Parliaments. I have found, in all parties, people who are good, honest people trying to do a job, and that is the bottom line. There are no great wizards here. There never have been any fantastic people. Those are all created by others who observe the process here.
My experience has been that this House is constantly full of people who have good intentions and who work very hard. It is a process that you either love or leave. There is no question about that in my mind; if you do not love the political process, if you do not enjoy the partisan games that go on, if you cannot participate actively and comfortably in that process, you will not stay around very long.
I am reminded, as I look around the chamber this afternoon, that there are a number of members who have served here as long as I have or longer, who have decided that now is the time to try to put their mind to some other things. I know those members have worked hard while they have been here. I know that we share a lot of things in common.
I will conclude with this: It is sometimes difficult to explain to people how you can argue so long and so hard with somebody, disagree with them on almost every point that is up for discussion and still have them as a friend. That is one of the marvels of politics, I think. That is one that not many people can understand, how you have something akin to armed combat with somebody for an hour and then still remain people who can cool off, talk about things, talk about common problems.
This has been a great learning experience for me. I do not know whether I am going to win the by-election in Oshawa, but I am sure going to give it a try. I understand there are a lot of things wrong in Ottawa these days, and I am going to go down there and abuse some people down there for a little while. You will not have me kicking you around any more, but I am sure there will be somebody else from Oshawa, not as obnoxious as me, perhaps a little more polished and a little more polite, but that will soon wear off. It will not take the new person long to learn how to survive in here.
I have enjoyed all of the people I have met. I have enjoyed the process immensely. I have enjoyed being one person who did a little bit with a whole lot of other people to change this process in Ontario substantially. That, I think, is the second major lesson you have to learn when you come here: There is no member who does something all by himself or herself. The members here are powerless, just as people are powerless. What gives them an ability to accomplish things is their ability to work with other people in their own party and in other parties. That is really what the political process is all about.
I look forward to continuing that challenge in another forum. I have enjoyed that challenge here.
Mr Sterling: Mike Breaugh is a New Democratic member who I really like -- he is one who is retiring. At least, he is going to pasture, I suspect perhaps to greener pastures if he is more successful at the next by-election in which he is running, in August.
We know him because not only has he participated and has a great ability to communicate with people in this Legislature, but I do not think there is any other member who understands issues in a quicker way than Mike Breaugh. That is not saying his judgement is correct in all cases, but Mike Breaugh has been able to bring a sense of common sense to this Legislature, often uncharacteristic of many members speaking in this Legislature.
Shortly after 1977, when I first got to know Mike, when I was first elected to the Legislature, Mike ran for the leadership of his party. He did a tremendous job and received substantial support during that leadership convention. I think ever since that date he has been looked on in the New Democratic Party as a leader within that party.
I have had the opportunity to sit on several committees with Mike over the past 13 years and, in particular, I have sat with him on the standing committee on procedural affairs, which was the forerunner of the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly.
Mike has written, as you know, in the Canadian Parliamentary Review about our parliamentary process and has sought changes to our parliamentary process, particularly in the last three or four years, when he and I and the member for Middlesex sat on many occasions to try to draft new standing orders for this Legislative Assembly.
I believe that Mike brought to those discussions a practicality that was very necessary in order for this Legislative Assembly to evolve into a practical living place so that people would have a better opportunity to understand what we are doing here and relate what we are doing here more to their day-to-day lives. I think he has given a tremendous amount to that.
I might also add that Mike has been supported very strongly by his family and by his staff in his endeavours here and often talks of his children and their accomplishments. I always mark that as an excellent example of character in terms of a member of this Legislature, even in the midst of the most heated debates.
There is not usually very much that is hidden in terms of his opinions on various matters. He is forthright and straight in bringing them to the fore. I always have admired that in his character. He has brought to our Legislature a lot, and he will leave a lot in the improvements he has made to the process here in this Legislative Assembly.
I look forward to his going on to greater things perhaps, maybe or maybe not, in the political process. I do know this: Mike will always be interested in what he does, he will always believe strongly in what he does and he will always contribute to what he does.
Mr Ballinger: It is certainly my pleasure to rise on behalf of our party and pay tribute to the member of Oshawa, especially for the Durham members. As all members know, Oshawa is within the region of Durham and we have four or five sitting members here representing Durham region: the member for Durham Centre, the member for Durham West and the member for Durham East.
I was first elected in 1974 to Durham regional council, along with Mike Breaugh, who was representing the city of Oshawa. I am a little hesitant to pay very much tribute to Mike today for fear that Cathy O’Flynn, the Liberal candidate running in Oshawa, will phone me up this evening and give me heck.
Mr Breaugh: What was her name again?
Mr Ballinger: I wanted to get that on the record just in case he uses Hansard in his brochure.
As I said, I was first elected in 1974. Mike and I were just kids. Mike at the time was a principal in the school system in Durham region, and I was a teacher in my home town of Uxbridge.
I can recall back about early 1975, the then Treasurer of Ontario, the Honourable Darcy McKeough, visited the region of Durham to see how regional government was working. During the course of the discussion we had with our council, Mike really monopolized the discussion with the Treasurer. In fact, if the truth was known, he beat up Darcy McKeough pretty well that day. I recall at lunch there was a little discussion in the corner and I overheard the Treasurer say to somebody beside him, “Who was that son of a gun that asked all the questions today?” That is not really what he said, but I had to clean it up a bit.
Mike was always good with his facts. When I was first elected to the Legislature in 1987, the first member I spoke to was Mike, because this was new for me and I knew Mike from years gone by and I knew that if anybody knew how this system worked in here, it was certainly Mike Breaugh.
I think I can sum Mike up in three categories: frank, sometimes maybe too frank; bright -- and incidentally, he is much brighter now with his thinning hair -- and Mike has always had a good sense of humour. But whenever one wanted to debate with Mike -- and he has not lost that touch, because I know him from back at the municipal level -- you certainly wanted to be sure of your facts. Coming here, I have watched him very closely. I have watched him come into the House without any notes, discuss major pieces of legislation that our government has had before the Legislature. Mike would stand up without any notes whatsoever and would really give it to us, factually and from his perspective and the party’s perspective, where they were coming from. I have always admired that ability.
I do not think there is one member of this Legislature who has not appreciated the consistency that Mike has when he sits in the chair. He has a great sense of humour, as we all know. Some days in here -- in fact, some evenings in here -- the tolerance level has to be at the utmost by the person in the chair. Mike has always proven, when sitting in the chair, that he has an understanding and a feel for all three parties within here and where we are coming from, plus the respect for the institution and not forcing, but having each of us as members respect the role of the Chair.
I know that Mike has represented his constituency of Oshawa extremely well. I still have many friends on municipal council who were there when Mike and I were there and are still there. Mike is always in touch with the municipal councillors in the Oshawa area. He keeps them abreast of what is going on as it relates to provincial politics and provincial policies. I know that Mike concentrates very heavily with his staff in his constituency office and always puts his constituents first and foremost. From my perspective as a new member coming in here, I have always admired the way that Mike has worked. I have emulated him in many ways, believe it or not. We are about the same height. I have always appreciated that they did not send a tall guy from Oshawa.
I know that Oshawa has been served well provincially, and I know Mike has already indicated that when his name goes on the ballot in the upcoming by-election federally this summer he will give it his utmost. On behalf of all of us over here, we want to thank Mike Breaugh for his contribution to the provincial Legislature for the past 15 years and wish him every success on 13 August.
Mr B. Rae: I want to say a few words, if I might, on behalf of our caucus and very personally, on Mike’s decision to retire from this place and to seek election in Ottawa.
I think it would be fair to say that if anyone in the House has been on the receiving end of some of the frankness which has been described in talking about the member for Oshawa, it is the member for York South, and that is me. Ever since I got here, I have come to recognize that Mike Breaugh is the sort of colleague who, in one’s rational moments, one realizes one needs to have. He is always very blunt, very direct. If there was ever the slightest illusion that a leader might ever have that things were going really well and that there was nothing to worry about, the member for Oshawa was always there to remind one of some of the other political realities of life.
Within our caucus, I think it is fair to say, Mike’s advice has been consistent, it has been tough, it has been practical and it has been, in every best sense of the word, advice that has affected the views of caucus, always. In terms of policy and of issues that are facing us, he is someone who has been a leader and who has been a very valued colleague to all of us in this group.
Much has been said about Mike’s qualities in this place. I can assure the House that whatever qualities he has in this place in terms of speaking his mind, he has in spades when it comes to discussions that we have in that particular and peculiar parliamentary institution known as the caucus.
I also want to say that the citizens of Oshawa have been extraordinarily well served by Mike Breaugh. He has given them his very best. He has given them his very best in terms of his judgement, his time and his commitment. I must say I find it very hard to think of the constituency of Oshawa not being represented by Mike Breaugh. Like many others, I am delighted he is going to be the candidate in the federal election because I know that he has an extraordinary contribution to make, and to continue to make, to the political life of this country.
On behalf of all of our colleagues, I want to say to Mike, thank you. We wish you the very best in your next political endeavour. We are, believe it or not, going to miss you.
Hon Mr Ward: Before we move to statements by the ministry, I would like to seek unanimous consent so that representatives from all three parties could make statements with regard to the constitutional accord.
Hon Mr Peterson: Before I start, may I just add a wee personal note and say to the member for Oshawa that he is one of those members who has, I think, earned the respect of all his colleagues in this House. He has ennobled this process, as has the member for Brant-Haldimand. He is in that league. I want him to know that we will miss him and we will miss particularly that Cliff Pilkeyish voice that he brings to this Legislature. I always see this minor incarnation of Cliff Pilkey every time he stands up. I say that with great affection, and I just want him to know, personally, that we will miss him. We thank him for all he has done.
CONSTITUTIONAL ACCORD / ACCORD CONSTITUTIONNEL
Hon Mr Peterson: I want to take this opportunity to comment on the failure to secure the passage of the Meech Lake accord and to inform the members of the Legislature of the course of action that Ontario will proceed with in light of the current situation.
Today I believe all Ontarians, and indeed all Canadians, look back at the events of the past few weeks with a mixture of both sadness and frustration: sadness because we were unable to reach down and draw upon a spirit of accommodation and compromise in order to build something in which we could all take pride -- we had a historic opportunity to take a major step forward in building a stronger and more united Canada, but that step was not taken -- and frustration because we came so very close to doing just that.
Three years ago the first ministers unanimously endorsed a formula and framework for unity and co-operation. We did not at that time anticipate a need for further discussions but, when those discussions became necessary, we again secured the agreement of all first ministers to pass the Meech Lake accord as well as a companion resolution. Even as late as Friday afternoon, we had eight provinces and the federal government that had ratified the accord and a ninth province that had signalled an intention to do so.
II est important de comprendre qu’au cours des trois années de discussions, jamais la province de Québec n’a été isolée.
Adding to our frustration is the knowledge that the accord drifted into history in such an ignoble manner. It did not die on a matter of principle or substance or vote; it died as a result of misunderstandings, miscalculations and technical manoeuvring.
I will not attempt to minimize or trivialize what has happened. We are in for some difficult times in the days ahead. There is a challenge to which we must all rise. Accordingly, Ontario will be proceeding with the following course of action.
First, we will act to build a strong and united Canada. The people of Ontario want Canada to stay together. I want Canada to stay together and to grow strong. The Constitution is just one tie that binds our country together, but there are many, many other ties. We are bound together by more than 250 years of history, a history that predates our Confederation by more than a century. We are bound together by geography, by economic links and by emotional and personal ties that transcend political boundaries.
Ontario worked to strengthen those ties. It is extremely important that our province continue to build bridges of understanding and to keep the lines of communication open to all regions in this country. To this end, I will be meeting with Premier Bourassa tomorrow in Montreal.
Second, we all understand that a strong Canada requires a strong Ontario. As Canada’s largest and most industrialized province and the engine driving Canada’s growth, Ontario has a special role to play in ensuring the overall prosperity and standard of living in this country. Canada’s economic dynamism is very much dependent on Ontario’s economic dynamism. Ontario counts for 38% of Canada’s gross national product and the largest portion of federal government revenue. Ontario will continue to fulfil its economic responsibilities and obligations to Canada.
We will continue to move forward with an aggressive economic agenda of attracting new investment, modernizing our industries, creating new jobs, expanding opportunities for job training and improving our level of research and development. Today, for example, and throughout this week I am meeting here in Toronto with the leaders of the most industrially advanced areas in West Germany, France, Italy and Spain to establish new and close economic links and to pave the way for relations with Europe of 1992. It may not be politics as usual for Canada, but it will be business as usual for Ontario.
Faisant partie du processus visant à doter l’Ontario d’une économie forte, nous allons continuer à former de solides lignes économiques avec la province de Québec et les autres provinces aussi. Le Québec est une province que nous respectons et que nous reconnaissons en tant que société distincte.
II est important d’avoir un Québec fort et dynamique si nous voulons avoir un Canada fort et dynamique. Je ne laisserais rien de ce qui est arrivé au cours des dernières semaines diminuer d’aucune façon les liens historiques émotionnels, économiques et personnels qui se sont tissés entre nos deux provinces.
Third, we will continue to pursue joint actions with all of our fellow provinces in areas of common interest. When the discussions at Meech Lake first took place, each of the first ministers knew that it was not an end but the beginning of an ongoing process of building a stronger nation. We must now turn our attention to other acts of nation-building, such as building a more competitive economy in order to create jobs, expanding opportunities for job training, establishing a caring and tolerant society and protecting our environment for ourselves and our children. By pursuing these goals together, I hope we can build a new foundation of trust and respect among all the provinces, a foundation that could one day lead, perhaps, to the resumption of constitutional discussions.
Fourth, with the death of the Meech Lake accord it is obvious that the process of constitutional reform has for the foreseeable future come to an end. Unfortunately, we will not be able to proceed with initiatives in areas that we supported, such as Senate reform and aboriginal rights. There is no longer any reason for the select committee on constitutional reform to continue its hearings on the Senate reform issue. However, as the select committee indicated last week, there is universal agreement that whenever we do return to the constitutional table we will need a new, more open and consultative process.
Therefore, I want to indicate my continued support for the select committee’s recommendation that the committee proceed to hold hearings on the future process of constitutional reform so that improvements can be made in advance of any further discussions, should they take place. I hope to discuss this with the government House leader in the very near future.
The task ahead of us is not an easy one. There is a great feeling of disappointment and a recognition that the process of nation-building has been set back. We are embarking on times that will measure the breadth of our national soul and the depth of our commitment to Canada. I say to members and to all Ontarians that I, and I am sure I speak for all my colleagues, will never give up on Canada. We have in the course of our history been tested on many occasions. Had we succumbed, had we given in, we would not have been able to build one of the wealthiest, most dynamic and compassionate societies in the world. It would be a mistake of historic proportions to now let Canada drift into historical obscurity.
It is said that the last spirit to escape Pandora’s box was hope. We have in this country seen a number of spirits escape over the past couple of years, but I believe that the spirit of hope is still very much with us. More than hope, we still have the means and the will to build a stronger and more united Canada.
I know that I speak for each and every member of this House when I say that we share a great love for this country, that we are passionately committed to making it stronger and more united, and that we are determined to learn from and rise above the failure of the Meech Lake accord process.
May I also just say to my colleagues opposite that I apologize because I have been in meetings all day and will continue to be, so I will not be able to stay to hear my honourable colleagues’ responses, although I am very interested. I humbly apologize to them in advance. I will be attending their remarks and I will get an immediate report on them. I thank members for their forbearance.
Mr B. Rae: I want to say to the Premier that I did not mind his being held up by head winds in Newfoundland when he apparently was not able to be here for the debate in this House on Wednesday, but I find it quite fantastic that whatever meeting he is going to could not wait 15 minutes for him to listen to what I and the leader of the third party have to say on this occasion. I just think it is unbelievable.
When the Premier talks about consultation, his definition of consultation in this House is pathetic. His understanding of the need for consultation among the three parties with respect to Ontario’s position is pathetic, and if I may say so, very much symbolized by his statement today. What he said to the House was that he was going to have some consultation, that there were two people with whom he was going to be meeting, the Premier of Quebec and the government House leader. That seems to be the extent to which the Premier of the province is prepared to really consult, understand, listen and learn from the failure of a process in which he was intimately involved for three years. I think it is important for us now --
Mr B. Rae: I say to members opposite that I listened and we all listened very quietly to what the Premier had to say, and I think we are entitled to have our say as well and get an opportunity to say something because I think we are on this occasion, after this moment, entitled.
Meech is dead, and even before a decent burial, some are already talking about renewing efforts to amend the Constitution. But before we leap, before we even begin to do that -- I will have some words to say about what I think the focus of this government and of the political process in this province should be -- I think it is important that we learn something from the failure of what has taken place. It is never easy, but I think we have to look at the failure of the process and the failure of the politics of the Meech Lake accord.
There are seven reasons -- I understand that the Premier is doing a scrum outside. I do not intend to perpetuate this farce. If the Premier of this province has the time to do a scrum outside in front of reporters, surely he has the courtesy and the time to listen to what we have to say here, just as common decency.
Mr Harris: I think we are in a very unusual situation here. This is not a particularly happy time for Ontario. It is not a very happy time for Canada. As the leader of the New Democratic Party has indicated, we asked for unanimous consent to be in this process in the first place at this particular stage of our Legislature at the request of the government House leader and the Premier. Mr Speaker, I realize that the rules of the chamber say the Premier can ask for that, I guess, and make his comments and then run out and meet with the media, but I must tell you that I, as well as the leader of the New Democratic Party, find it very offensive. I do not know at this particular point how we deal with this, but I suggest that you cannot ask for unanimous consent for something for all three parties, take your party’s time and then walk out to meet with the media.
I would suggest -- I realize it is unusual and perhaps we need unanimous consent to do it -- that we adjourn this chamber until the Premier can come back and complete what he asked us to do.
The Speaker: We had unanimous consent for comments from all parties. I have recognized those members. Therefore we will continue with the business of the House.
Mr Harris: Mr Speaker, maybe I was not clear enough. I would ask unanimous consent to recess until such time as the Premier can allocate 15 minutes in his daily schedule to come back to what he asked us to do, which was to discuss Meech Lake and to offer our viewpoints. So I would make that request.
The Speaker: You have heard the request. Is there unanimous consent? No.
Mr B. Rae: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I just want you to know that it was the government House leader who asked that the speeches about the member for Oshawa retiring be made first. I want you to know this is all very much a setup of the government. The Premier has never been willing to be here to listen to the music with respect to the Meech Lake accord -- never, never, never.
The Speaker: Order. The next item of business will be statements by the ministry. The Minister of Labour.
Hon Mr Phillips: I am pleased to announce today an increase in the general minimum wage.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Harris: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I do not believe we have resolved this situation to where this House could proceed in any type of normal fashion. Either we recess or we continue this, or we set another time when we are going to do this. If you want to move on, that is fine, that is one thing; but I am not prepared to move on until we have a resolution as to when we are going to hear, with all three leaders in the House, from the Leader of the Opposition and from myself on the issue that this government asked for unanimous consent.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Harris: So I would ask that we adjourn this part of the proceedings and come back to hear from the Leader of the Opposition and myself on this important topic.
The Speaker: Order. The member made a request. I put it to the members of the House. I put it and there was not unanimous consent.
Hon Mr Ward: I would be happy to discuss with my colleagues in the other two parties to see if we can arrange another time, but not today. It is not possible.
The Speaker: Order. The next item I called for was ministerial statements.
The Speaker: Order. The Minister of Labour.
Hon Mr Phillips: I am pleased to announce today an increase in the general –
Mr R. F. Johnston: No. No statements.
The Speaker: Order. The Minister of Labour.
Hon Mr Phillips: I am pleased to announce today an increase in the general minimum wage to $5.40 an hour from the present level of $5 –
Mr R. F. Johnston: No. No statements.
Mr Cousens: Sit down. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Mr R. F. Johnston: Call an adjournment to see if the House leader can work out a deal.
The Speaker: Order. The Minister of Labour.
Hon Mr Phillips: I am pleased to announce today an increase in the general minimum wage to $5.40 an hour from the present level of $5. The change will take effect in the workweek in which 1 October occurs. The working poor are the main beneficiaries of the increase as this government continues its resolve to raise the purchasing power of the minimum wage –
Some hon members: No, no.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Laughren: We told you, we’re not interested.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr R. F. Johnston: We’re going to have to adjourn the House. This place is too unruly. You’ll have to adjourn the House.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Farnan: The Premier is abusing the House, Mr Speaker. How are you going to defend a Premier who is using the House?
The Speaker: Order. Statements by the ministry; the Minister of Labour.
Some hon members: No, no.
Hon Mr Phillips: Mr Speaker, I am advised by the House leader that we will make this statement tomorrow.
Some hon members: No, no.
Mr Farnan: You can’t defend this Premier. He’s abusing the House.
The Speaker: Order.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Pouliot: Nice day for a parade. Let’s adjourn, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: The Speaker has the right to recess the House if there is disorder.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Farnan: Wasted time. The Premier has ruined it for today. It’s the Premier’s fault. Everyone knows it’s the Premier’s fault.
The Speaker: Order. Minister of Labour.
Some hon members: No, no.
The Speaker: Order. I have no choice but to recess for five minutes.
The House recessed at 1432.
The Speaker: Statements by the ministry?
Some hon members: No, no.
Mr Reville: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: As the whip of the New Democratic Party, I think it might be appropriate at this time to have a further recess to see if the House leader for the government and the House leader for the third party can work out some kind of resolution to the situation in which we find ourselves. We believe our privileges have been very much abused by what is going on here. We did not have an opportunity to have any discussion whatsoever with the government House leader during the short recess, and I would ask for unanimous consent to have a 10-minute recess or a five-minute recess to see if we cannot figure out some way to allow this day’s work to go ahead.
The Speaker: Your request was for a 10-minute recess? Is there agreement?
The House recessed at 1439.
Mr R. F. Johnston: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I just want to lay on the table the fact that I believe this should be a point of privilege officially raised by members on this side, rather than just the voiced complaint it has been to this point.
What we have had is, I think, a real abuse of a rule, a habit and a procedure in this House over the last number of years, which is the requesting of all-party consent to deal with important matters. It is normally assumed that a person who is going to participate, even on a minor level, in that debate remembering some particular day or some particular group in our society will stay to listen to the responses of the members from the other two sides.
But what we have had today instead has been a very important matter, the matter of Meech being dealt with, being raised specifically by the government, which asked for a specific time at this stage even though some on this side had suggested that we might do it right at 1:30 in order to accommodate the needs of the government. Then the Premier gets up as the major spokesperson for the party and announces at the end of his statement, not at the beginning of his statement but at the end of his statement, that he must leave and cannot stay to listen to the leaders of the other two parties. He then proceeds to go outside, not having time for us in this House, to have an impromptu meeting with the press for several minutes before he goes on to the important meeting that he had scheduled.
Surely the thing to have done, again in the normal traditions of this House, would have been to have advised the two leaders of the opposition parties in advance about the constraints the Premier was under and to have suggested to the people who were waiting for him that he would be obliged to listen to short speeches by the two members of the opposition because that is the tradition of this place. Instead, now we have a furore in this House because of the fact that those traditions were not followed. All of us on this side feel that our privileges have been abused and that a unilateral statement has been coming forward from the government, not a three-party statement, on an important matter to do with this nation. That is why we are feeling so aggrieved; this is in fact an abuse of our privileges and a breaking of the kinds of precedents and procedures that this House normally uses.
Hon Mr Ward: We have had some discussions and I believe we have arrived at an agreeable solution. I just want to say this to all members of the House: It is true that earlier in the day the discussion did revolve around having unanimous consent as early as possible. Unfortunately, a call was received and the Premier was held up, I believe, at the island, could not get here on time and at that point it was suggested we go ahead with our tributes to the retiring member for Oshawa. I just want to put that on the record. That is what transpired. Unfortunately, we ran into a very serious time difficulty. I would suggest that we revert back to the unanimous consent on Wednesday when the Premier will be here following members’ statements. If that is understood, then I suggest we proceed with the business of the House today.
Mr Sterling: Unfortunately, my party cannot agree to that proposal. We find the absence of the Premier at this time absolutely unacceptable to our leader the response is necessary today when in fact it is in front of the Ontario public and we just see no purpose in carrying forward the discussion on Wednesday next when the time for the proposal will have passed.
I apologize to the government House leader in terms of the discussion which took all of about three seconds downstairs. I did not have an opportunity to consult with anyone following that proposal, which was new to me at that time. Therefore, we do not think that is a satisfactory proposal and we think that we should continue to adjourn the House until we can reach an agreement.
The Speaker: The member for Scarborough West got up on a point of privilege. I find it somewhat difficult to consider that a point of privilege because the Chair really has no jurisdiction in saying that any member has to be in this House. I do not think that is for the Chair to decide. It is my job to continue the business of the House in as orderly a fashion as possible. There was a request for unanimous consent for next Wednesday. I do not know whether that is a usual custom. That seems a little distant to make such a decision, but there would not be unanimous consent anyway, so I will call for statements by the ministry.
Some hon members: No.
The Speaker: I call for the Minister of Labour.
Some hon members: No.
The Speaker: There are no statements? The next order of business will be oral questions.
Mr R. F. Johnston: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I wonder when this House will provide the members of the opposition a time that they can speak on this important matter with the attendance of the Premier.
The Speaker: I really do not know whether that is a point of order.
Mr Kerrio: Good question.
The Speaker: It is a good question, so I will call for oral questions.
The Speaker: There is a request to stand down the two leadoff questions. Agreed?
Mr Brandt: On a point of personal privilege, Mr Speaker: Clearly the House is in a shambles right now as a result of absolutely no agreement among any of the parties on how we can proceed beyond this point. It is my view that the five- and 10-minute recesses that have been graciously offered by yourself in order to break the impasse have been insufficient for the parties to get together and to resolve what has become an extremely complicated and difficult problem.
There is annoyance on this side of the House over what has transpired, Mr Speaker, and as a member I would ask you, if we want to proceed in a somewhat reasonable fashion, that you give a reasonable period of time for a recess in order to determine how we take the next step. Otherwise we are going to be attempting to resolve this matter on the floor of this House and it is not the appropriate forum for that to be done.
I would recommend strongly that the advice of my colleague be accepted in this particular regard and that at the very least we have a minimum 30-minute recess at this point to see if we can find a way to break the impasse.
Hon Mr Ward: Mr Speaker, we just finished a 10-minute recess.
Mrs Cunningham: We couldn’t even meet.
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Ward: At the beginning of that recess, I suggested to my counterparts that we meet in the House leader’s office. They arrived with about a minute left in that recess.
Mr R. F. Johnston: They haven’t communicated.
Mrs Cunningham: We haven’t communicated with each other in the caucus.
Hon Mr Ward: I know they have trouble communicating with each other, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Ward: Mr Speaker, as I indicated, and as the Premier indicated in his statement, he will be meeting with Mr Bourassa tomorrow. He will be back on Wednesday. We have agreed to continue the unanimous consent for response on Wednesday with the Premier in attendance. If the suggestion is that we find other hours to sit, maybe we could discuss that. I think a 30-minute recess is far more than appropriate, considering the business that has to be done. I would be quite willing, if the House leaders of the other parties can find their way to sit down, to undertake another 10-minute recess. We can take it from there.
The Speaker: Order. Just to recap what has taken place here, I called for oral questions; two were stood down. Then, I believe, the member for Sarnia made a suggestion; it was responded to by the government House leader. I appreciate the suggestion made by the member for Sarnia. However, it is not my job as Speaker to decide whether or not there should be a five-, 10- or 30-minute recess until the House leaders make a decision. It is up to me to operate the House as efficiently as I can. If someone would like to make a suggestion –
Hon Mr Ward: Mr Speaker, I would seek unanimous consent for an adjournment and suggest that there be a two-minute bell prior to the House resuming. That way we can see how long it takes to sort this out.
The Speaker: I listened to the government House leader. He said an adjournment; I hope he means a recess.
Hon Mr Ward: Recess.
Mr R. F. Johnston: I heard adjournment.
Mrs Cunningham: He meant recess.
The Speaker: I would like to inform you that of course this must be within the regular sitting time. I hope it is understood that you will come back; otherwise I will miss my dinner.
The government House leader has suggested that there be a recess with a two-minute bell before returning. Is there unanimous consent?
The House recessed at 1501.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon Mr Ward: Before putting forward a motion to adjourn the House, which I believe has been agreed upon, I want to indicate some further changes in the business for the week, if I may do so before putting that motion.
Tomorrow in the afternoon following routine proceedings we will proceed with the first order, which is third reading of Bill 114, and the fourth order, third reading of Bill 177, then a government motion under standing order 9 and from there proceed with a New Democratic Party non-confidence motion, to be voted on at 5:55 pm.
On Wednesday, following a non-confidence motion by the Progressive Conservative Party, which will be voted on at 5:55, we will proceed with interim supply and assorted other orders -- the 58th, the 24th, and I will provide a further list tomorrow.
Mr Speaker, I would now like to move that the House adjourn until tomorrow afternoon.
Mr Pollock: Is it out of order to ask for unanimous consent of the House for a committee to meet? I have had delegations come in all the way from Hastings county. We would like that committee to meet just to hear their briefs. There are also people from the ministry there wanting to make a presentation, and they say they cannot come back again.
The Speaker: What committee is that?
Mr Pollock: The standing committee on resources development.
The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
The Speaker: I would also like to advise the House that our standing orders states that when a day is set aside for want-of-confidence motions that shall take the full day, so I would ask at this time if there is unanimous consent to have that other business before on those two days?
The Speaker: There is also a request for unanimous consent for the motion for the House to now adjourn. Is there unanimous consent?
The Speaker: Mr Ward has moved that the House do now adjourn. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
Motion agreed to.
The House adjourned at 1644.