The House met at 1330.
LANDLORDS' RESTRICTIONS ON PETS
Ms Bryden: With the legislative session running down this week, I urge the Attorney General to make it a top legislative priority to pass his belated amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act relating to eviction of responsible pet owners.
The New Democratic Party House leader asked all three House leaders to agree to this last week. I am told that some of the persons answering the Attorney General's phones are blaming the New Democratic Party for opposing quick passage, which we categorically deny. We urge the Progressive Conservative Party to join us in urging quick passage this week.
I would also suggest that the Attorney General amend his Bill 225 to remove the serious flaw in the amendments which the onus on pet owners to prove that their pets are not a nuisance or a cause of problems to other tenants. The onus should be put on the landlords.
The huge number of phone calls from pet owners coming into all of our offices as a result of a humane society mailing on the issue indicates that thousands fear they will be forced to get rid of their pets or move if the amendments are not passed this week.
It is time the Attorney General introduced a standard lease which would outlaw no-pets clauses and prevent landlords from using such to intimidate and harass tenants whom they seek to evict for economic reasons. Other provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act can deal with problems caused by irresponsible pet owners.
Mr Jackson: Today marks a very special anniversary in our province, the 14th anniversary of the CN Tower. Coincidentally, today is also the fifth anniversary of the Ontario Liberal government. So today, we pause to remember two great shafts, one a monument to engineering excellence, the other to untrammelled expediency.
We pause to remember the Premier in his first appearance as Captain Canada, when he took on the free trade deal. And when the fight broke out, he took a dive.
We pause to remember Ontario's Attorney General, a man as energetic as he is inept, with his relentless talent for being wrong before the Supreme Court of Ontario, wrong about Sunday shopping and wrong about the Patti Starr inquiry.
We pause to reflect on the accomplishments of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, whose major achievement has been to accumulate more Aeroplan points in a shorter time than any other minister in the cabinet.
We take a moment to recall the long list of scandals, forced resignations and broken promises.
But for me, nothing sums up better the Liberal legacy than this morning's report of the Treasurer's prediction that in the future it could cost home owners up to $40 to water their lawns. No surprise there, because as we have seen time and again during the past five years, under a Liberal government only the taxpayers get soaked.
It was Pierre Trudeau who taught us that Liberal governments fall when they run out of promises and run out of money. The David Peterson Liberal government will ultimately fall because of its broken promises and for breaking the backs of Ontario taxpayers.
Mr Owen: The area of Simcoe county that my riding covers has a long and interesting history. In order to promote an awareness of this history among young people in my riding, I sponsor an annual history essay contest for students in grades 7 and 8. The theme for the essay contest was to be a person, place or occurrence of local historical significance. Invitations were sent to all the public and separate schools in the riding encouraging their participation. More than 70 essays were received from schools throughout the riding for this, the third annual contest. The essays were marked by an independent panel of judges.
This year's winner is Lori Gibson, who has just graduated from the eighth grade of Innisfil Central Public School. Lori's essay was about Bethesda Methodist United Church, a most interesting and enlightening look at a part of our local past in Innisfil township.
Lori is to be congratulated on a job well done. Lori is the top athlete, top academic student, top public speaker and top all-round student from her school. Lori is here today with her teacher-mother, Shirley Gibson, and her class teacher, Judy Kennedy. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome them to the Legislature. I would present to the House today, Lori Gibson.
Mr Farnan: Ontario's Solicitor General wants the federal government to tighten gun control laws in the wake of the shooting of a Metropolitan Toronto Police officer. However, the Solicitor General refuses to bring forward my private member's bill, Bill 145, which would ban the sale of replica guns in the province. Bill 145 has received first and second reading, and the standing committee on administration of justice, after public hearings, overwhelmingly endorsed the bill.
We know that replica guns constitute a growing menace in our society, and police commissions and police officers across the province have indicated their support for Bill 145. We know that this government has much to answer for in the eyes of police officers. For over a year the government refused to review the Police Act and only initiated the review in a climate of crisis. Provincial underfunding also caused police enforcement to be stretched to the limit.
With Bill 145, the Ontario government has the opportunity to demonstrate that it is sensitive to the opinions and concerns of police officers. The steadfast refusal of the Solicitor General to have Bill 145 brought forward for third reading is clearly an expression of the indifference of this government to the work of our police officers. Members should look at these guns. How do they think an officer will react if faced by an individual yielding such a gun? Surely it makes sense to ban such guns in the province of Ontario.
Mr Farnan: On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: I believe my privileges have been usurped. The replica guns that I brought into the House have been taken by the Sergeant at Arms. People have brought other props into this House, whether it was a garbage bag or a seagull. If these guns are harmless, surely they equate in the same manner to other props that have been used in the House. You, Mr Speaker, have not confiscated or had calls to be confiscated other props that have been used in the House, yet these replica guns were confiscated by the Sergeant at Arms, I believe, with your permission. I believe that I am not getting the same treatment from the Chair as other members of this House.
The Speaker: I listened very carefully to the member's point. I certainly will get back to him in due course. I am glad he informed me of what has taken place. I thank him for the point of information.
Mrs Marland: I was intrigued to read in today's Toronto Star that the Minister of the Environment will attend a dinner being held tonight by environmentalists. We are all happy to hear that the minister has recovered sufficiently from his eye surgery to attend the gala dinner. I trust this means he is well enough to be present in the House tomorrow. With Bill 220 on the list of weekly business and many outstanding issues, we would welcome him back.
Let me remind members of a few of this government's broken or unfulfilled promises on the environment. In 1987 the Environment minister promised to replace the badly outdated air pollution regulation 308. Three years later, nothing has been done. In 1986 the minister brought in the municipal-industrial strategy for abatement, promising abatement of water pollution. Four years later we only have monitoring regulations. There has been no abatement, and this year Toronto-area beaches are having to close earlier than ever.
We have a province-wide garbage crisis. In 1988 the minister said 160 municipalities would run out of landfill space by 1990. But what has he done to solve the problem? His ministry has approved only five new landfill sites under the Environmental Assessment Act since 1985. Now he is giving emergency exemptions to municipalities needing to expand their landfill sites. Promises, promises. When will we see action on air pollution, water pollution and waste management?
Mr Faubert: Here in Ontario, parks play a very important role in our lives. Parks preserve our natural heritage. Parks offer us a place to go to take it easy or to partake of a wide variety of activities, from swimming to hiking or simply relaxing.
Members of this House will recall that the government of Ontario announced this spring the protection of the Rouge River valley in Scarborough. The Rouge Valley is the most ambitious park project in Canada's history. Planning the management of its unique natural, historical and recreational features is an important and challenging task.
I am pleased to inform the House that the government of Ontario announced today that Jim French has been chosen to chair the committee. Mr French has a long history of community involvement. He has served as a trustee in the Scarborough Board of Education, including four years as chair, and was also the founding president of the Canadian Wildflower Society.
The committee, representing 14 government and non-government agencies and interest groups, will recommend a comprehensive plan for the first phase of the park within one year. That plan will cover the initial 17.5-square-kilometre area of the park, which is most of the Rouge Valley lands between Steeles Avenue and Lake Ontario.
The recommendations are to include what type of park should be established, which agency or combination of agencies should manage the area and what private lands should be acquired. The committee will report its recommendations to the Minister of Natural Resources.
Above all, the committee will ensure that there are numerous opportunities for groups and individuals with an interest in the area to get involved in the planning process to determine the future uses of this very special part of Scarborough and Ontario.
Mr Mackenzie: When it comes to those in need, it is clear whose side the Liberals are on. The Liberals are more interested in helping their big business friends than making life better for poor people. The gap between the rich and the poor in Ontario grows every day. The Liberals have done nothing to close it. Liberals say they are listening to the poor and want to help them, but time and time again the Liberal government has sold out those in need.
In Ontario, 10,000 children a month under two years old are fed through Ontario food banks. The only child of a support parent working for minimum wage will be living on 54% of the Canadian poverty line, and the Liberal Treasurer has said that the inflation rate for 1990 will be 4.9%, with the goods and services tax expected to add an additional 3.2% increase in January 1991; that works out to 8.1%.
Yet in the face of this, yesterday -- probably it will be moved again -- or, officially, today -- we have a minimum wage increase in Ontario of 8%, or from $5 to $5.40. It is a disgrace. Even Transitions, the Thomson report in this province, said there was a need for a substantial increase in the minimum wage in Ontario, and figures anywhere from $6 up for minimum wage were mentioned.
To bring in a minimum wage that does not take effect until 1 October and will be eaten up within two months is a disgrace to this government.
Mr Eves: Late this morning I received a memorandum from Carol Speare, the economic development officer in Parry Sound, who indicates that she has been told by the people in the NODC/ODC division of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology that later this year, all of the NODC applications that are now being processed through the Sudbury office of the Northern Ontario Development Corp will be moved to a southern Ontario location in Bracebridge to a new Ontario Development Corp office.
The Premier rose in this House, as did the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, some two years ago to make a commitment to the people of Parry Sound that they would be in northern Ontario effective 1 April 1989. We have already seen this government renege on that commitment with respect to northern health travel grants, which the Minister of Health says are not northern grants. We have also seen the Ministry of Education renege by totally changing the system by which it provides educational funding to local rural school boards in northern Ontario to effectively wipe out the advantage that the district of Parry Sound and Nipissing received under that com mitment.
Now we see the ultimate blow, where they are going to take the Northern Ontario Development Corp office out of northern Ontario. Parry Sound will now be dealt with as if it was part of southern Ontario through a new office in Bracebridge. I do not know what the rationale could possibly be, but hopefully it is not too late for this government to reconsider its commitment to Parry Sound riding.
ELLIOT LAKE URANIUM FESTIVAL
Mr Brown: Every year, Elliot Lake has the distinct honour of hosting northern Ontario's largest community gala. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Elliot Lake Uranium Festival has long been the envy of other northern Ontario communities. The festival, although on a smaller scale, is Elliot Lake's answer to Quebec's Winter Carnival, the Calgary Stampede or Vancouver's Pacific National Exhibition. The annual celebration begins 21 June and runs through until 1 July, Canada Day.
Because Elliot Lake has been famed for its mining capabilities, many of the festival's events focus upon elements of this industry. Drilling and ore mucking competitions draw highly respected people from all areas of the profession. Also featured is a Miss Elliot Lake contest, and many of our festival queens have competed in Toronto for the crown of Miss CNE. Numerous sporting activities are offered, as well as the presentation of the town's junior and civic awards, given to citizens for various accomplishments. Other activities such as pet shows, bike races, carnivals and midways help to entertain both the residents and the large number of visitors the festival attracts. Topping it all off is a colourful parade, followed by an outdoor barbecue, dancing and a gigantic fireworks display.
I would like to close by wishing the town of Elliot Lake every success this year.
Hon Mr Elston: Members will be pleased to know and relieved to hear that I have a message from His Honour the Lieutenant Governor, signed by his own hand.
The Speaker: The Lieutenant Governor transmits estimates of certain sums required for the services of the province for the year ending 31 March 1991 and recommends them to the Legislative Assembly. Signed by His Honour Lincoln Alexander.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
RETAIL STORE HOURS
Hon Mr Scott: On Friday last, a judge of the High Court of Justice issued a declaration that in his view the Retail Business Holidays Act violates freedom of religion as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that the act is thus unconstitutional. I have instructed counsel to appeal against this finding to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. It is the opinion of the law officers of the crown that the prospects for success on appeal are good. It is not presently certain when the appeal can be heard.
In the present circumstances, the issue for the law officers of the crown is whether charges should continue to be laid for breaches of the act in anticipation that the result will be reversed upon appeal or, alternatively, whether no charges should be laid so that the law becomes a dead letter only to spring to life again if the appeal succeeds.
Mr B. Rae: God forbid anything should spring to life.
Hon Mr Scott: The honourable member would not know anything about that.
It is an issue that did not frequently arise until the enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms significantly expanded the grounds upon which unconstitutionality could be determined. It is none the less an important and complex issue, bearing in mind the capacity of our courts, supported by the charter, to make declarations of unconstitutionality with respect not only to provisions of the Criminal Code but to a wide range of licensing and regulatory enactments as well.
In most civil cases, and a request for a declaration of unconstitutionality is a civil case, the law provides for the possibility of a stay of the judgement under appeal pending the outcome of the appeal. In the event of a stay, the law would continue to be enforced in the interim. This recognizes the possibility that decisions may be reversed, possibly more than once, as the case proceeds and that such reversals may create intolerable confusion as to the state of the law. As a result, the stay preserves the status quo pending appeal and permits the law to be applied in a predictable way, although final determinations of guilt may await the ultimate court determination.
I have instructed counsel to seek such a stay in the present case. If granted, the effect of the stay will be to hold in abeyance the declaration of unconstitutionality and to preserve the Retail Business Holidays Act pending a final determination on appeal. As well, this would mean that the police would continue to investigate infractions of the act and to lay charges as appropriate.
If the declaration that the Retail Business Holidays Act infringes upon freedom of religion is upheld on ultimate appeal, then the Retail Business Holidays Act will be of no force and effect, and any charges that may have been laid in the interim will be unenforceable. On the other hand, if higher courts reverse the declaration that the act infringes on freedom of religion and thereby uphold its constitutionality, the effect will be that the Retail Business Holidays Act will be confirmed as having been fully valid, not only from the date of the Court of Appeal's decision but at all times including the period leading up to the appeal.
It is hoped that the application for a stay will be heard in the next few days.
I propose to leave legal argument about the constitutionality of the Retail Business Holidays Act to a different forum. I can say, however, that this government continues to believe that the act is a fair and balanced law that responds appropriately to the social, economic and cultural reality of Ontario in the 1990s. The act establishes a framework that ensures a pause day for Ontarians can exist. At the same time, it recognizes that the diversity of Ontario makes it wrong to impose on all communities, regardless of their circumstances, an inflexible straitjacket with regard to openings and closings.
The act recognizes that economic circumstances such as proximity to the United States border or social circumstances such as the cultural diversity of large urban centres may make appropriate choices other than a blanket prohibition on retail activity. Absolute uniformity may be neater, but it is neither fairer nor more respectful of rights and freedoms than is a sensitivity to the varying needs of particular communities.
This government did not and still does not believe that inflexible application throughout the province is necessary either to achieve the goal of a pause day for Ontarians or to guarantee respect for the rights and freedoms protected by the charter.
It is my hope that higher courts will validate this position and I call on Ontarians to respect the current law until the matter has been settled on appeal.
Mr Rae: Good work, good work.
Mr Cousens: You couldn't even get a job in your own ministry.
Hon Mr Scott: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I would like to record for the television audience that the position we have taken today is supported by both opposition parties.
The Speaker: Order. I listened carefully. I do not feel that is a point of order. It is a point of information.
Hon Mr Phillips: I am pleased to announce again today an increase in the general minimum wage to $5.40 an hour from the prevent 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, while maintaining the competitive position of Ontario.
This is the fifth annual increase since this government undertook to review the minimum wage rates each year. During the period 1985-90, the general minimum wage will have increased by eight percentage points above the increase in the consumer price index over a corresponding period.
In addition, this increase reflects the government's continuing resolve to raise the minimum wage, recognizing the increasing cost of living and the loss of purchasing power. This increase complements the other initiatives this government has taken in response to the 1988 report of the Social Assistance Review Committee.
I am also announcing that the special minimum wage for students under 18 will rise to $4.55 an hour from $4.15. I am aware of a constitutional challenge that has been raised by some people who are opposed to the practice of having a special minimum wage for students.
Not wishing to prejudge the outcome of that challenge, I want to continue protecting in the meantime the interests of those younger persons who have succeeded in finding employment because of the special student minimum wage.
I am also announcing changes to the minimum wages of agricultural harvesters, hunting and fishing guides and liquor servers, as well as related increases in room, meal and housing allowances. These changes are appended to the statement.
Hon Mr Sweeney: This afternoon I intend to introduce several amendments to the Municipal Elections Act. These amendments are being brought forward following extensive consultation with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario.
The most important change has to do with the way election campaigns are financed. As members may recall, following the last municipal election there was criticism about how some candidates used their leftover campaign funds. The legislation I will introduce this afternoon will require that surplus campaign funds be held in trust by the municipal clerk for use during the next election campaign. They can also be applied against past election debts. This will ensure that campaign funds are used only for election purposes.
Furthermore, in addition to the existing limit of $750 that a contributor can give to any one candidate, the legislation places a limit of $5,000 on the total amount a single contributor can give to all candidates running for the same municipal council or school board.
Concerns were also expressed about the way the laws on campaign financing and reporting are enforced. Current rules require individual electors to take legal action if they believe the law has been broken. Under the new system, the municipality or school board will be responsible for acting on a complaint from an elector. If the municipality or school board fails to take appropriate action, the provincial Commission on Election Finances can intervene.
The legislation contains several other amendments. Among them are changes to allow municipalities to provide election information in languages other than English or French and to provide an alternative form of ballot for the benefit of the visually impaired. It also changes the rules on proxy voting to help prevent abuse of that system.
The election process is at the very heart of our democratic system and it is therefore extremely important for people to have faith in it. The changes I am introducing today are intended to reassure people that their representatives are acting in their best interests at all times.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR / BÉNÉVOLE DE L'ANNÉE
Hon Mr Beer: For the past four years my ministry, with the assistance of Volunteer Ontario, has recognized volunteers, who are the backbone of local social services, with the Community Service Award. Each year one person is selected from the list of 40 Community Service Award recipients to receive the minister's award as Volunteer of the Year.
I am delighted to be able to introduce my ministry's outstanding volunteer for 1989, Edna Simmons of Exeter. Today, Edna, her daughter Kathy Pryde, and Suzanne Symes, president of the Family and Children's Services of Huron County, are seated in the gallery and we welcome them here to Queen's Park.
Edna is truly a remarkable person, a representative of all those wonderful volunteers, young and old, who give of themselves in order to improve the quality of life in their communities.
Je suis donc ravi de pouvoir vous présenter aujourd'hui la bénévole extraordinaire de mon Ministère, pour 1989, Mme Edna Simmons de Exeter. Mme Simmons, sa fille, Mme Kathy Pryde, ainsi que Mme Suzanne Symes, présidente de la Société d'aide à l'enfance du comté Huron, sont présentes parmi nous dans la galerie.
Edna est une personne vraiment remarquable. Elle représente l'esprit admirable de toutes ces bénévoles, jeunes et âgées, qui se dévouent dans les nombreux secteurs de nos collectivités pour qu'une personne au moins connaisse de meilleurs jours.
For the past 10 years Edna has been actively working with the children's aid society of Huron county. Last year she contributed over 250 hours of her time supervising visits between children who were temporary wards of the crown and their parents. It is a role which requires extreme tact and patience. Edna acts on behalf of the child, but she must not alienate the parent, since these visits are crucial if reconciliation is to take place.
She is also involved in the prevention of child abuse by teaching parenting and homemaking skills to young mothers who have rarely, if ever, had the opportunity to learn from a patient and caring person. Edna has protected children as a foster parent and she has sheltered and befriended women who have been physically and emotionally abused.
Our agencies have many caring professionals, but it takes time, a lot of time, for abused women who are afraid or who lack self-esteem to learn to trust someone. Edna and volunteers like her are able to take the time to listen to people who are troubled. Through their understanding, care and daily modelling these volunteers are able to earn the trust and respect of those they help.
But that is not all Edna has done as a person who loves her community. Since moving to Exeter in 1945 she has been actively involved with every aspect of her church, from helping out at rummage sales and teaching Sunday school to being president of the women's group. She has canvassed for the Ontario March of Dimes, Flowers of Hope and the Canadian Bible Society, and she has sold Remembrance Day poppies with her comrades at the Royal Canadian Legion.
A widow these past 17 years, Edna has three children, five grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
Edna is a modest, humble person, and when I presented her with the award in April she said, "There are many other people who do more than I do." Perhaps there are, Edna, but you are an outstanding representative of all those volunteers who do what they can to improve the quality of life in communities across the province. We thank you very much.
RETAIL STORE HOURS
Mr B. Rae: I am not aware of any scientific studies that tell us what the impact of a steady diet of crow is on the human body, but I think we are about to discover in the person of the Attorney General.
Hon Mr Scott: Can I get out now or do I have to stay for this?
Mrs Cunningham: Yes.
Hon Mr Scott: Is there some rule that requires it?
Mr B. Rae: I know the Attorney General is going to find it very difficult to sit quietly.
Mrs Cunningham: If the shoe fits, wear it.
Mr Jackson: You're not looking forward to your serum.
Mr B. Rae: I do not want to interrupt the Attorney General as he squirms. He is the only person who squirms out loud as loudly as he does.
If I may say this quite simply to the Attorney General, the last time this House debated this issue he said he was creating certainty and we told him he was creating chaos. He told us he was creating fairness and we told him he was creating unfairness. He told us he was creating a law that was enforceable and we told him he was creating a law that was unenforceable.
I want to say to the Attorney General that the law he has created has been declared by the Supreme Court of Ontario to be constitutionally invalid and to be of no force or effect.
The previous law that was passed by this House, which provided for a common pause day, was tested all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada in the Edwards Books and Art case and it was found by the Supreme Court of Canada to be fair and enforceable to provide for a common pause day. It was precisely because it provided for a common pause day, and that notion of providing a day of rest for people was found to be fair and found to be right, that it was said that it should be enforced by the law.
What we have in this law and in this Attorney General is a situation that is truly chaotic. What we have is a decision from the judge of the High Court. The judge states very clearly and categorically that in his opinion the municipal option, which has been so loudly trumpeted by the Attorney General, takes away from any notion of protecting a common day of rest across the province.
That is what the judge has said. That is what we said in this House in a debate which lasted over a year. One would have thought that the Attorney General, in an uncharacteristic display of humility, might have admitted that precisely what opposition critics well warned him would happen has in fact taken place.
Mr Mackenzie: In 1975 a person had to work 50 hours a week at the minimum wage to earn a poverty-line income for two adults and a child. By 1986, 87 hours of work a week were needed. The minister is also aware that within a couple of months of the new minimum wage coming into effect, inflation plus the goods and services tax will have overcome it and passed the 8% the minister has given us.
The minister knows that what he has done is give us a Scrooge-like increase in the minimum wage. It does not come anywhere near what Thomson and the Transitions report said was necessary in Ontario to help those on very low incomes. I wonder if the Minister of Labour really appreciates being classed as a Scrooge with that kind of increase. I wonder also why he did not recognize the constitutional challenge, by the NDP youth, of the difference in wages for students in Ontario.
I think what we have is a disgrace as a minimum wage increase in the province.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Mr Allen: I want to join the Minister of Community and Social Services in congratulating Edna Simmons of Exeter and her nominees, the Huron county children's aid society, for the award she has just received as Volunteer of the Year. Many of our community services rely for the enrichment of their services upon volunteers like Edna who spread their time across a phenomenal number of agencies and services in the community and give unstintingly of their time and energy to make life better in all of our communities.
At the same time, I am sure that all of those volunteers who work closely with those agencies are aware of the tremendous pressure those agencies are under at this point in time in terms of problems of funding -- 10,000 children who are lined up for services at children's mental health centres tell the story very dramatically. I think today's volunteers would want to tell the minister that it is not sufficient to have those services staffed often by people working on salary schedules that begin within the reaches of the poverty line.
While we extend congratulations, we are concerned about all those services and the way they are delivered in our communities and thankful for the volunteers who are among us.
RETAIL STORE HOURS
Mr Harris: I note that the Attorney General cannot even look at me.
Hon Mr Scott: Okay, Mike, let's get there.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Harris: Let me echo the comments that were made by the leader of the New Democratic Party, but let me also say a few other things in addition to that.
We have consistently said not only that this law was unworkable but that it was unfair, that it was very, very unfair. We now have a ruling by the court that agrees it is unfair.
I also find it ironic that the Attorney General is appealing this decision to the Court of Appeal when he already knows there appears to be little support for this law in that court. I refer to former Chief Justice William Howland's remarks on the opening of our courts this year, where he stated that legislatures should not be making laws that will not be followed by their people. I think we all know which laws Chief Justice Howland was referring to, because it was at the time the Sunday shopping violations were there.
I would suggest that this appeal being proposed by the Attorney General is far more like an election appeal than it is like a court appeal.
The former Solicitor General, the member for London South, said that passing the responsibility on to the municipalities would be "the chicken way out." The government has taken the chicken way out and it has obviously now laid an egg. The Attorney General and the Premier, in that approach, have laid an egg.
This law, even without the ruling that it is unconstitutional, is clearly causing chaos and is not working. Now we are adding to that chaos. We have drugstores that are now in the food business, the hardware business, the clothing business. We have corner stores that are now full-blown supermarkets. We have all kinds of video stores that are now selling TVs and other video equipment. There is no fairness from one neighbourhood or community to the next.
I am astounded that, instead of admitting that finally, the Attorney General is going to go through with these silly appeals on a law that clearly is causing chaos in the system today.
Hon Mr Scott: Want a little side bet on the appeal, Mike? How much money will you put on it? I'll give you odds; three to one, four to one, five to one.
The Speaker: Order.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Mrs Cunningham: It gives me a great deal of pleasure and it is a distinct honour today to be adding our congratulations to the volunteer for 1989, Edna Simmons. The Progressive Conservative caucus would like to thank you, on behalf of the citizens whom we represent across Ontario, for the work that you do in the prevention of child abuse, for the work that you do with parenting skills and for the supervision of all those special children as they visit their parents.
We would also like to say that we think you work for a children's aid society that is outstanding in the province. We hope that together you will continue with your good work in your part of Ontario and that everyone will know what it is like to see great people like you, the outstanding volunteer for 1989, a person we need more than ever before. You are a great model. Congratulations.
Mr Brandt: In brief response to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, I am pleased to see that the minister is in fact bringing forward some changes to the Municipal Elections Act which will make the act fairer and more applicable to local situations. I speak specifically with respect to the maximum allowable contribution of $5,000 to the election in total, which I think will remove any suggestion of anyone being able to buy an election by way of financing at the local level.
I find it strange, however, that while the government is improving on municipal elections, it is enlarging the size of polling areas for provincial elections, which is going to make it much more difficult for people to vote in provincial elections. I think he should look at that one as well.
RETAIL STORE HOURS
Mr B. Rae: I have some questions again for the Attorney General on his statement today on the absolutely chaotic situation which exists now with respect to the question of Sunday shopping.
The High Court of Ontario has made it very clear that, in the opinion of Judge Southey at least, you cannot protect the worker's right to refuse, nor can you protect the notion of a common pause day, when you have legislation decentralizing all this power to municipalities. The judge did not accept the evidence of the former Minister of Labour, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I have got it right here in front of me. He says, "The procedure under the Employment Standards Act may be as unreal in its expectation of effective protection as the suggestions rejected by the law reform commission in passages approved by Dickson." It describes the whole premise of the government as being unreal.
I want to ask the Attorney General: Instead of appealing this judgement, why not go back to the premise which underlies all the approach to legislation in this House going back to the mid-1970s, that being that we have a provincial law which provides for a common day of rest across the province?
Hon Mr Scott: I would like to thank the two opposition parties for their bipartisan approach to this issue, as their standing ovation when I read the statement indicates. I am very grateful for that and I am sure the public of Ontario will be respectful of the role they have played.
I think it is important to emphasize, particularly in light of the statements in response, that it was a previous Attorney General, the Honourable Roy McMurtry, who said first that the old law was unenforceable. I agree with him. That is why the government moved to pass the new law.
The honourable Leader of the Opposition is always very quick to put his eggs in one basket, hopefully a basket close at hand. He is now determining that this
is going to be the only judgement ever given in this case and he is taking great support from it. What is he going to say if the Court of Appeal comes to
a different conclusion? For him it does not matter, because nobody remembers what he says that long.
The point is that an important judge of our court has concluded that this law is unconstitutional. We seek to have that judgement reviewed, before we act with finality one way or the other, by the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
The honourable member will remember that he heaped scorn on us when we went into the Blainey case and when we went into the separate school case, where we had some reverses initially. He will recall that he mocked us when Mr Justice Potts made his decision about municipal enforcement not long ago. We were sustained in all those cases. All we are saying -- I am not going to predict with assurance the result of a court case -- is that a single judgement has been made, with an important decision; we intend to appeal it. That is the proper way.
Mr B. Rae: I am not surprised that the Attorney General has the very clearest memory of all the cases he has won. The list is so short it is hardly surprising they spring immediately to the Attorney General's still-nimble mind.
The judge makes it extremely clear in his judgement that a critical error was made by the government of Ontario in changing the premise of the previous law. The previous law was tested, not once but several times, and it was tested all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. Mr Justice Dickson said it was perfectly fair and reasonable for a Legislature such as the Legislature of Ontario to decide that having parents with a day off on the same day as their children, who are off school on the weekends, is fair and reasonable. The premise of that law has been totally undermined by the municipal option. That is the judgement of Mr Justice Southey.
Can the Attorney General explain why it is that the government decided to move away from the notion of a common day of rest, giving parents a chance to be with their children on the weekend, and get us into this legal mess which we are clearly in right now?
Hon Mr Scott: The honourable leader makes reference to the fact that I may not have won many cases. He has not argued very many, of course, because he entered politics almost incredibly young. The brief he has been given by the NDP to argue is virtually hopeless, and the prospect that he could win the case he is now forced by circumstance to argue is quite unlikely. He can be forgiven for that.
The point of the matter is, whatever the honourable leader's views be, the majority of the Legislature, as represented by the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party, accept the conclusion drawn, not only by judges but by a previous Attorney General, that the old law was virtually unenforceable. We moved to a new law. A judgement has been given by one judge. We respectfully acknowledge his right to judge and the seriousness of purpose with which he came to the task, but we are exercising our right to appeal.
I just caution the honourable leader: This is great today but, if we should win the appeal, what is he going to be able to say then?
The Speaker: Order.
Mr B. Rae: If this case drags on long enough and if stores are able to be open, if the stay is either not granted or not respected for a variety of reasons or if the decision to grant a stay is appealed and then that decision is appealed again, the Attorney General knows as well as I do that by insisting on this law as his solution to this problem, he has created chaos with respect to the issue of Sunday shopping. He has to recognize that he has created it.
He told us the old law was unenforceable, and the fact of the matter is that law was ultimately sustained by the highest court of the land because it found it was reasonable to allow children and parents to be together on the weekend instead of forcing parents to work.
The Speaker: The question?
Mr B. Rae: Why not change this law so that it reflects the earlier consensus in this Legislature in 1985-86, that there should be a common pause day across the province?
Hon Mr Scott: The new law, as the honourable leader calls it, has not created chaos. In the year in which the law has been in effect, it has been applied fairly and consistently across the province and is working reasonably well. Most of the major municipalities have begun to apply its terms, and the vaunted domino effect and the failure of family values that the opposition referred to at the time of its passage have not occurred. The law has worked well.
The uncertainty now, and clearly there is uncertainty, is created by virtue of a decision of a single judge of the court, of unquestioned authority, who has concluded it is unconstitutional. If he is supported by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, it will be understood that the law will require amendment; but if he is not, the law will not require amendment and it will continue to work effectively across the province as it has in the last year.
Mr Brandt: What odds are you giving?
Hon Mr Scott: I offered four to one.
The Speaker: New question, the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr B. Rae: Let the record show that the Attorney General was not smiling when he gave that last answer.
The Speaker: And the question is to which minister?
Mr B. Rae: My question is to the Minister of Financial Institutions, in the absence of the Treasurer. The Premier talked proudly yesterday about how in Ontario from now on it was going to be business as usual, and I think the Minister of Financial Institutions gave us a full flavour for that when he introduced some changes in Ontario's pension regulations which give a windfall to employers that potentially is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
I would like to ask the Minister of Financial Institutions if he could justify why it is that the only change he has made with respect to pensions since the law was passed has been to benefit employers in two ways, by reducing the solvency requirements for plans and by specifically allowing for premium holidays, when he knows perfectly well that this is, as the Ontario Court of Appeal has said, allowing employers to do by the back door what they cannot do by the front. I would like to ask the Minister of Financial Institutions why he has given this $80-billion industry, involving the savings of hundreds of thousands of Ontario workers, such a good break.
Hon Mr Elston: Again, the honourable gentleman puts his questions craftily, in a manner which is designed to leave an impression that the world of pensions is falling apart. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, if he examined what really was announced, he would indicate to the people of the province that more is being done at this time to ensure that pensions in place for employees are more effectively viewed by the Pension Commission of Ontario; that the only steps that were taken by announcing the change in the regulations during my speech were to the effect that we will be giving people a little bit longer to fund their obligations which were put in place prior to the bill coming into effect on 1 January 1988, and that there has been no change whatsoever with respect to the funding requirements of obligations contracted after 1 January 1988 in compliance with the act.
He also knows that we have taken further steps to ensure that the people who are not finding their pensions funded up to the level that they should be will not have to wait for three years to have a reporting but in fact there will be yearly reporting of those pensions so that the individual people can follow very carefully and clearly the progress of the funding and stability of those pension plans. He should --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Mr B. Rae: Ontario is now going through an unparalleled period of economic change. We are going through a period when plants are closing down, when plans are being wound up, when workers who have been working in plants for 30 and 35 years are facing unemployment at age 50 or 55.
As of now, the pensions which exist in the private sector for 40% of the workers in this province have no guarantees with respect to indexing, no guarantees with respect to the effect of inflation, no requirements with respect to early retirement, nothing which gives them any control at all over the pension plan, $80 billion of their money over which they have no effective control.
The only change the government has made is to allow premium holidays for employers and to extend the period in which employers can meet the solvency requirements of a plan. They have given benefits to employers at this time of change and none to employees. Can the minister explain to us why he has chosen to back business and not give anything to the employees of this province?
Hon Mr Elston: The gentleman has made some allegations which are clearly not correct. He knows that the huge plans he would be referring to and were referred to in the context of the speech I made have contractual obligations between employee and employer to make certain things come about. In some cases, particularly in Canadian Auto Workers plans, as people have well heard in the press announcements, there are indexing agreements and arrangements which by contract are obligations. They are obligations on the company. They have part of the contractual effect of the collective bargaining that those people have gone through. So he is very clearly not correct.
He knows that when it comes down to funding and some of the issues around the solvency issues, the announcement I made a week ago Friday --
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Elston: -- was to the effect that we would not require those items which were remote, so remote in fact to be unrealistic about ever taking place --
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Elston: -- that there would be no need to fund those --
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Pouliot: Getting deeper and deeper.
The Speaker: I must remind the members, we are now at 15 minutes and we have not finished two questions; so please, if possible --
The Speaker: Order. I have kept track of the time --
Mr Pouliot: -- takes a long time.
The Speaker: Order.
An hon member: Gilles, cool it.
The Speaker: Really.
Mr B. Rae: The minister mentions the CAW. He will have received by now a letter from the secretary-treasurer of the CAW, Mr Nickerson, who states this explicitly about the changes that the minister has made to the law:
"The effect of this exclusion is to potentially transfer future costs of adjustment from corporations on to the backs of workers by leaving them vulnerable to the financial state of the pension plan at the time of closure."
To govern is to choose. It is perfectly obvious that this minister has chosen not to provide any guarantees with respect to indexing -- none at all. At the same time he has given two concessions to corporations that contribute to plans which are worth hundreds of millions of dollars to those corporations. So employees get no protection on inflation and corporations get a windfall. Why has the minister made this choice on behalf of corporations instead of choosing employees at a time of unprecedented economic change?
Hon Mr Elston: Again, of course, the honourable gentleman is not quite correct, because if he read the collective agreements CAW has entered into, he would know they have the inflation protection; only he will not admit that to the people of the province because it does not fit into his grand scheme of looking like he is standing up for something real.
In this situation it is quite clear. We are not going to require the funding of every event, even though it is so remote as to be unrealistic, in the pension plans. There is a provision currently which would have required a company to fund its pension as though every plant in the province was closed down simultaneously. Now that is not going to happen. We have made the decision that in cases of the very remotest type of activity, we will not require the funding to go to that extent, but we require a reasonable extension of the funding and we require the --
The Speaker: Thank you. Order.
Mr D. S. Cooke: You were going to bring in mandatory indexation.
Hon Mr Elston: It's coming.
Mr Hampton: In the year 2000.
Mrs Cunningham: In the next election.
The Speaker: Thank you.
RETAIL STORE HOURS
Mr Harris: My question is for the Attorney General. The Retail Business Holidays Act has been ruled unconstitutional, I believe, and I think most Ontarians believe, because it is unfair. This decision has added to the chaos in this province on the Sunday shopping issue. Will the Attorney General today finally admit that Sunday shopping is a provincial issue, not a municipal issue?
Hon Mr Scott: The honourable member will want to recall that Mr Justice Southey did not say anything about the unfairness of the legislation and would do well not to put words into his mouth. He expressed that it was unconstitutional and he gave the reasons for it. He is a single judge of the Supreme Court of Ontario, which after merger will have some 200 judges. He is highly respected, and I regard him as a significant authority, but we propose to appeal from his decision.
I would draw to the honourable member's attention that the concern about the previous law was first expressed by my predecessor, the Honourable Roy McMurtry, who said it was unworkable. It was a view that most sensible people agreed with. Now I do not know that there is any point in referring that authority to the present Conservative Party, because since the convention of 1985 it has taken such a radical turn to the right that people like Roy McMurtry would have some difficulty finding a home there, though the honourable member for Sarnia, who is a moderate man, has been able to do so, so there must be some space.
The reality is, we believe this is a good law. We believe it responds to the times, we believe it contains an appropriate level of local option to reflect local conditions and we believe the appropriate course at present is to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Harris: I hope the Attorney General's arguments before the appeal court are a little more cogent than the answer to my question. I asked the Attorney General, would he not admit that this is not a municipal responsibility and in fact is a provincial responsibility?
The government has taken the chicken's way out. It has now laid an egg. We know that. The Attorney General has had more than enough time and opportunity to tinker with the issue. The more he tinkers, the more unfairness there is for both employees and retailers across the province. Perhaps the government needs to finally admit that the people of this province are adults and that when it comes to this issue they are capable, far more so than the supposed smartest lawyer in the land, of making their own decisions. Instead of insisting that the people of Ontario are not capable of making fundamental decisions, will the government consider putting the issue of Sunday shopping to the people with a province-wide referendum on this issue at the next provincial election?
Hon Mr Scott: Notwithstanding the universal standing ovation, obviously the Conservatives and the New Democratic Party do not agree. The Conservatives say I am taking the chicken's way out. The NDP say I am behaving like a bull in the china shop.
The reality is this: My honourable friend suggests, and I know he believes this, that there should be universal Sunday shopping all across Ontario. He said that in the last election campaign. But I say to the honourable leader, before he advances that as his party's policy, he should take a poll in his party. While he is doing it, why does he not ask them what they think about pay equity, what they think about user fees, what they think about rent review, before he just gets up there and says the view that he has is the view of all Tories in Ontario? I do not believe it for a minute.
Mr Harris: The Attorney General insists on refusing to answer any of the questions. Instead, he is more interested in my party politics. I have taken a poll of my party over the last month and I would suggest that the people of my party voted for giving more decision-making to and more sharing of priority-setting with the people of this province instead of unilaterally being in the hands obviously of the supposed smartest lawyer in the land.
Why will the Attorney General not come right out and admit that all the concern is not the result of worries over Sunday shopping? It is the unfairness of both the existing law, the former law and what he is proposing in the future. The main concern is over Sunday working, and regardless of the outcome of the appeal or a referendum, Sunday working, which is the real issue, is a labour issue and can be addressed in labour legislation.
We are faced with a situation today where, whether or not the government wins the appeal, there is more and more Sunday working going on in this province. Why will the government not deal with this issue up front and look at labour legislation, to give all employees in Ontario the right to choose their own common pause day, which suits their own religion and their own --
The Speaker: Order. The member has already asked that question.
Hon Mr Scott: If the honourable leader refers to the poll that was taken at the Conservative leadership convention, everybody will understand that was based on a most narrow and inadequate sample. There are fewer people from my riding who voted in that poll than phone me on a normal workday. If that is the poll which has led the Conservative Party all across Ontario to stand for a wide-open commercial Sunday, to stand for user fees in all social services, to stand against equal pay, to stand against rent review, I believe a new poll should and probably will be taken shortly when those issues will be thoroughly canvassed.
Mrs Cunningham: My question is to the Minister of Community and Social Services. Thousands of social workers, the public and a coalition of 50 province-wide social service providers have been asking for self-regulation of social workers for the past five years. More recently, in March, the community colleges added their support to this request.
It is unbelievable that this government has not come to realize the need for public protection. I would like to ask the minister if he is prepared right now to indicate clearly and unequivocally if the government is going to introduce an inclusive social work act to regulate social workers and, if so, when.
Hon Mr Beer: As the honourable member is aware, the Ministry of Community and Social Services put out a discussion paper, last year. That was looked at by a number of organizations through until December. Following that, I met with a number of organizations in the area of social work to discuss what we ought to be doing in this particular field and to look at particular issues and problems that had been raised during that consultation period.
Since that time, I have met again with all of the major players in this area and in the last couple of weeks I have indicated to them that I am now prepared to move with them in developing legislation. But I have indicated to them, as they have to me, that it is very important that this be inclusive and that we look to developing a particular framework which will ensure not only that the public and those individuals who are being helped by social workers are protected but that all those who are active in this field will be able to be part of a very fair and representative system. We are now moving towards that.
Mrs Cunningham: Dan Andreae, director of a province-wide campaign to get the minister to act for the past five years, claims social workers and the public across the province have been frustrated and angry that the government has not yet brought forward legislation to protect the public. I should say I am happy to hear that minister say he is prepared to move with them in developing legislation. My question would be, what does that mean?
Hon Mr Beer: It means precisely what I said it means, that we are going to move together with them in developing legislation. I should point out to the honourable member that we have a number of acts which indeed provide for protection from a whole series of problems that can arise in this area, so it is not as though the absence of a particular piece of legislation has meant that the public is unprotected.
In concert with those active in the field, we have looked at a number of issues. The key one has really been to say that we want to make this inclusive, that we want to ensure that those, for example, who are working with multicultural groups and with immigrant organizations will be embraced by this as well as those who have perhaps come from community colleges or universities.
I want to commend those in the different organizations who have been working very closely together to try to find common ground. There are still some issues which some groups have set forward, and that is why I have said that we are going to work together, but we are working with a focus, which is to bring forward legislation.
Mrs Cunningham: It is the last week of the session and we have been listening over a period of time to promises by this government for a child care act, for rest home legislation, for the receipt of the Maloney report, for extended services for integrated homemakers, for advocacy legislation. All of these were stated in 1987 and some in 1985.
We have heard the minister today. As far as I am concerned, what he has stated fits right in with the other kinds of promises. I need to know today if he is saying unequivocally that we are going to look at the introduction in the fall of an inclusive social work act for the province. Will it be in the fall, yes or no?
Hon Mr Beer: I will be very happy to share with the honourable member a copy of the letter that I will be sending shortly to the Ontario Association of Professional Social Workers, to the community colleges and to the Social Work Reform Group. We are going to proceed now. As I have set out, it is my hope that we will be able to resolve these issues in the fall and to move as quickly as we can thereafter with legislation. Clearly we have to look at the issues, but in my discussions with the individuals involved I am convinced that there is
a clear direction and that we can resolve the issues and see that move as quickly as possible.
It is very important that we bring together all those who are involved and interested. I want to make sure that the points are set out and that it is inclusive. I share with the honourable member the sense that it must be inclusive. I want myself, as minister, to make sure there are no groups that feel they should be involved but have been left out. I think we all share that view. If that continues, we can see that legislation.
Mr Laughren: I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources. The minister will know that during the class environmental assessment hearings on forest timber management on crown lands there has been a lot of concern expressed about the size of clear-cuts in northern Ontario. In view of the fact that large clear-cuts make regeneration more difficult, could the minister tell us what she thinks should be the maximum size of a clear-cut?
Hon Mrs McLeod: As a layperson in the field of forestry, I would not presume to make specific comments on the size of clear-cut, nor would I pre-empt the discussion of terms and conditions which is going to take place before the class environmental assessment board.
Quite clearly, the issue of the nature of our harvesting practices and their environmental impact is one of the key questions that is being discussed in the class environmental assessment, and the question of clear-cuts and the role of clear-cuts in forest management will be one of the issues that is addressed.
I would recognize, however, even as a layperson in the field, that the question could not be asked without being much more specific to particular species, and to particular site areas as well, because there are differences in practice which are most suitable to regeneration and to good forest management.
Mr Laughren: The minister is prepared to be as specific as the minister would care to be, but I think the point is that at the present time there are absolutely no legal restrictions on the sizes of clear-cuts. There are some sizes of clear-cuts that are rumoured to be in thousands of hectares.
I want to ask the minister, in view of the fact that there is no apparent end to those hearings on environmental assessment, why she cannot bring in interim regulations dealing with the maximum size of clear-cuts, by species if she wishes to do so. Will she make a commitment to do that?
Hon Mrs McLeod: I think that if I were to undertake a commitment to bring a regulation of that nature at this stage in the class environmental assessment hearings, it would be perceived to be, and in fact quite well could be, a pre-empting of the recommendations that are to be made by the class environmental assessment hearings.
I would argue with the honourable member that there is no end in sight to the class environmental assessment hearings. In fact, we are very much looking forward to the conclusions that the environmental assessment panel will bring forward and are actively discussing terms and conditions which would affect the major issues in reviewing those questions in front of the environmental assessment panel.
I would also assure the honourable member and all other members of this House that in the interim period, prior to receiving recommendations from the environmental assessment panel, we do deal with the kind of issue that he is addressing with the question about clear-cutting. In every timber management plan that is prepared by the Ministry of Natural Resources, our concern is to look at the specific requirements of the area to be harvested, the environmental concerns that should be considered in dealing with that area and how we can best provide for regeneration.
Mr Cousens: I have a question for the Minister of Housing dealing with the controversy over affordable housing plans by Ronto Development in the town of Vaughan. On 10 April 1989, the Deputy Minister of Housing, Mr Davies, wrote Vaughan council recommending the plan. The land sold twice and increased in value by almost $7 million. Why would the Ministry of Housing endorse this project well before the application was made by Ronto to the town of Vaughan, and why would the ministry jump the gun and give advance support to a project when it was not even endorsed by Vaughan council?
Hon Mr Sweeney: Immediately prior to the deputy minister having written that letter in 1989, there was a joint meeting in York region with the regional chairman, the mayors of all the municipalities and representatives from the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
The concern was that there was a significant lack of affordable housing and non-profit housing in York region. There was an agreement at that time that all parties would work together to try to facilitate more affordable housing and more non-profit housing. Someone indicated to me that the total number they were looking at was in the neighbourhood of about 2,000 units.
Shortly after that, Calabro Canadian Homes approached the Ministry of Housing and indicated that it had spotted a piece of land that would be suitable for between 160 and 200 units; if all the necessary zoning could be achieved, would the Ministry of Housing be prepared to support it? The Ministry of Housing said it would. The deputy minister wrote a letter to the mayor of Vaughan and indicated that very thing. That is the basis of the letter.
Mr Cousens: I accept what the minister has said. A fascinating process develops around new development. I am really supportive of so many of the things that are done by the developers in helping our area grow. I think there are many good decisions made by municipal politicians.
I get very worried, however. Yesterday the minister made a very significant announcement about new things for the future:
"We've got new planning models for Metropolitan Toronto." But we still have not cleared the air on some of the other things that have gone on, a $7-million increase there and the concerns about developers in York region, Peel and other areas.
Why has his ministry not gone down and made one other announcement, and that is about there being some kind of inquiry into the development processes and the Planning Act as it pertains to fast-growing areas in the province? He has made many other announcements. Many other things are going on, and some things are going wrong. Let's see what he can do in announcing something for the future to clear the air on this thing.
The Speaker: I believe the question was asked before you explained why you asked the question.
Hon Mr Sweeney: As a matter of fact, there is a joint cabinet committee representing five or six ministries of government, including my own two, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Natural Resources, which is doing that very thing. It has been working for the last seven or eight months to make significant changes in the Planning Act in relation to approvals at the municipal level and at the provincial level.
As soon as all of that is put together, and it is very close, this fall, then we will be meeting with the various regional heads so they can incorporate that change in the Planning Act into their official plans at the regional level. That is what is going to be able to come to grips with the particular issue that the member spoke about.
DISTRICT HEALTH COUNCILS
Mr Owen: I have a question for the Minister of Health. In Simcoe county we have had a regional health council functioning very well for some time now. We have had excellent leadership from it. The personnel involved have been outstanding.
I understand York region is now looking at establishing a regional health council as well. I wonder if the minister could update us as to the status of that process.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I want to thank the member for Simcoe Centre for his interest in this matter and also for his support of the district health council in his region.
The steering committee in York region passed a motion on 14 May to create a district health council in York region. At that time they set a deadline of 30 June 1990 to have a report prepared to be submitted to my ministry. Shortly thereafter, we will be meeting with the steering committee to receive its report and consider the establishment of a district health council for York region.
Mr Owen: I would like to spell out to the minister a problem that is possibly going to develop. The Bradford-West Gwillimbury area, which is in Simcoe county and in my riding, has doctors who have hospital privileges with the hospital at Newmarket.
They are expressing considerable concern that should the regional health council progress in York region, and they are now part of the Simcoe regional health council, where do they go? What is going to protect them? Do they have any input into what is going to happen with the Newmarket hospital and that regional health council when they are already possibly locked into the Simcoe one? Where do they go?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I would like to acknowledge the member for Simcoe Centre's efforts on behalf of his constituents in his riding. The people of Simcoe, as he knows, are very well served by the Simcoe county district health council on the matter of health services planning in that region.
District health councils co-ordinate planning for health services in various regions throughout the province and we rely on the DHCs to advise us on local needs as well as to assist the ministry with planning on a regional basis. Appointments to the district health councils are ongoing. Membership changes from time to time. It is difficult to predict where future membership might come from. People are always encouraged to apply for participation in DHCs.
I am confident that the Simcoe county DHC will work with the proposed York region district health council to ensure that health service delivery in the region is assured. I am also confident that this process will allow us to meet the needs of the member's constituents in Simcoe county and in York region as well. I know they will work together to achieve this objective.
NORTHERN HEALTH SERVICES
Mr Hampton: My question is for the Minister of Health as well. It is interesting to note that the Minister of Health said in the answer to the question just asked by the member for Simcoe Centre that the ministry relies upon district health councils to do local and regional planning.
In northwestern Ontario the Kenora-Rainy River district health council has, for three years running, recognized that there is a need for greater funding for nurses and for accommodation at the La Verendrye General Hospital in Fort Frances. The district health council has recommended that as the number one priority each of the last three years. The ministry has not funded it. Instead, it has funded other projects.
Further, the minister's colleague the Minister of Northern Development said to her two years ago in a letter that the need for an intensive care unit in the Fort Frances-Rainy River area is indisputable, and he goes on to cite all of the evidence why it should be funded.
When the district health council has told the minister three years in a row and the Minister of Northern Development has told her that it is a necessary item to be funded, why has she not funded it and funded other --
The Speaker: Thank you. Order.
Hon Mrs Caplan: We have had this discussion on a number of occasions in this House. The district health councils are important partners in planning. Over the course of the last couple of years, they have had a renewed mandate, a mandate which allows them to look at the bigger picture. I can tell the member that we have been working co-operatively with district health councils in light of our framework of speciality care as well as our capital planning framework and we take their advice very seriously.
Mr Hampton: It just so happens that the hospital in Fort Frances is not the only example. The Dryden hospital was recommended and has been recommended by the district health council for improvements in funding and in programs. They have put before this minister a number of innovative proposals and they have been literally stalled for the last five years. What is unbelievable about this is that Dryden is perhaps the fastest-growing community west of Thunder Bay and has a greater and greater population to serve each year, yet again this minister has ignored their pleas.
The minister's officials have a meeting planned with the hospital board on 23 July. Is she prepared to do something? Again, they have been recommended by the district health council. Is she prepared to follow the recommendations of the district health council, or is this going to be another stall with them too?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I am pleased the member opposite acknowledged the fact that the ministry is meeting on an ongoing basis and has a meeting established for July. I point out to him that my colleague from Kenora has been an important advocate on behalf of his community in ensuring that I am well aware of the situation and in ensuring that we respond appropriately to meeting the needs of Dryden, Kenora and elsewhere in northern Ontario within his constituency.
I will say to the member, as I have said to my colleague, that the meetings we have are very, very important. We take the advice of the district health councils and we have also been involving others in ensuring that we are as responsive as we can be to meeting the challenges of northern Ontario and the challenges of meeting the health needs of the people of the province.
SUPPORT AND CUSTODY ORDERS ENFORCEMENT
Mr Villeneuve: I have a question to the Attorney General. He is probably aware of the problems that a lot of people are having and the difficulty they have in contacting his support and custody orders enforcement branch. I have had problems particularly with the Ottawa office. Several of my constituents have found themselves unable to contact the ministry's Ottawa office through the toll-free line that used to exist.
The Attorney General created this particular branch, mostly to assist women, and now they have a hard time reaching those people who are supposed to be there to help them. What has he been doing to try to correct this situation?
Hon Mr Scott: As the honourable member knows, the support and custody orders enforcement program vastly exceeded all reasonable estimates in terms of its uptake. I think we are now very close to having 100,000 clients in about two and a half years of operation. Each of these clients, naturally and appropriately, regards his or her case as one to which the utmost priority should be given and, with limited resources, it is very hard to discharge that mandate.
The honourable member will want to know that about one in five people call the office every single working day of the year, which means that we have many, many thousands of calls coming in every day, many of them simply asking whether anything has been happening on the file.
In an effort to respond to this question, we looked at putting more people on telephone answering. We were reluctant to do that because to put people on telephone answering means you have to take them off collecting judgements, which is what we really want them to be doing. We therefore put in an automated telephone system which, while not a perfect solution by any means, has radically increased our capacity to answer the telephones and to provide information.
I would be grateful for any advice that the honourable member or other members can give us as to how we can make this really important service, which serves a clientele in which 90% are children, work more effectively.
Mr Villeneuve: There is no doubt that it is a most important service and very much needed. I have statistics here for the Ottawa office, which has gone from handling some 4,700 cases in 1987 to over 10,000 last January. The staff in the Ottawa office was cut, according to the minister's own figures, and actually is handling more files than the Toronto office with about 60% less staff.
Can the Attorney General justify this? This is the only office in all of eastern Ontario serving the people who need custody enforcement. Could he please explain what is happening there and what he intends doing to alleviate it?
Hon Mr Scott: As the honourable member knows, the staffing decisions of the support and custody orders enforcement program have to be made with regard to the needs of the eight regional offices across the province.
I would counsel the honourable member against judging that a volume of cases necessarily predicts one staffing requirement whereas a lesser or greater volume may stipulate a different staffing requirement. Everything is dependent on the mix of cases that a particular office has. Particularly in considering the mix, a critical feature is the extent to which a significant percentage of the cases have arrears, and arrears over what period of time. Staffing determinations are made across the service in the eight regional offices.
The honourable member will want to know, and I wish I could say it in his presence, that the Treasurer has made significant new funds available to make this program work effectively in the current estimates. We recognize the important service it provides. We want to remind people that this service is new; it never existed before. People used to have to do this on their own. We want to make it as effective and sound as we possibly can. We are proud to have done this and disappointed --
The Speaker: Thank you. Order.
ALCOHOL AND DRUG TREATMENT
Mr Ruprecht: I have a question for the minister responsible for the provincial anti-drug strategy. Ontario spends almost $20 million in the United States on treatment of drugs and alcohol. The reason is simple. Many of the --
Mr Ruprecht: If you can quiet the Attorney General down, that would be a great idea, Mr Speaker.
Ontario spends almost $20 million on drug and alcoholism treatment in the United States. The reason for that is very simple, namely, many of the services are not available in Canada. Can the minister outline for us, please, if there are any rehabilitation programs or other kinds of programs which will make it possible for most of these Ontario citizens to remain here for treatment?
Hon Mr Black: The member will be aware of the fact that in 1987 the Minister of Health made a commitment to double the funding and the number of programs available to treat addiction problems. Since that time, that goal has been achieved. The number of programs has increased from 92 to 150. That is a spending increase of 126%. The total spending by the Ministry of Health for addiction treatment now is in excess of $43 million annually.
In addition to that, I should point out that there are also treatment programs financed by the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Correctional Services, and the total for the province is in excess of $60 million annually. That includes a $4-million initiative that we announced just in the past two months specifically aimed at youth.
Mr Ruprecht: I am absolutely delighted to hear that funding for rehabilitation and treatment programs has doubled since 1987. Is the minister also prepared to tell us whether in the future the gap between the $20 million being spent in the United States will be somewhat closed, perhaps in the next few years, after providing us with this tremendously great news that treatment for rehabilitation of drug and alcohol abuse will be doubled?
Hon Mr Black: Just a little over a month ago, we announced the appointment of an advisory committee on treatment for addiction problems. That committee has been meeting regularly during that period of time. I met with them just yesterday. They are in the process of preparing their first report, which we expect to receive early next fall.
One of the questions they are addressing is how we can more effectively use the resources we currently are spending for treatment programs. That includes the money that is leaving
Ontario and flowing into US treatment programs. I should tell members that the flow of those dollars to the United States is a matter of great concern, not just because the money is leaving Ontario but also because we are not sure how effective the treatment programs in the US are. We know that in many cases it is difficult for them to offer the appropriate aftercare programs that make addiction treatment programs successful. We are looking at ways to keep as many of those dollars at home as we can.
EMPLOYMENT IN NORTHERN ONTARIO
Mr Morin-Strom: I have a question for the Minister of Northern Development with respect to the economy of northern Ontario. The minister will be aware that the unemployment rate across the north is quite a bit higher than it is in southern Ontario and that in comparison with Toronto, which has an unemployment rate of 5% or less, communities like Sudbury and Thunder Bay are registering unemployment of 7%, Sault Ste Marie is showing an unemployment rate of 11% and other smaller communities have unemployment rates which go up from there.
Can the minister tell us why his government, this majority government in particular, has not done anything over the last three years to eliminate the boom-and-bust economy cycles in northern Ontario?
Hon Mr Fontaine: To answer the question of the member for Sault Ste Marie, I have an article here where he is quoted as saying that in the Sault everything is okay. It is titled "Sault's Future Looks Bright, MPP Says." So I do not know what he is talking about.
He said: "Many firms looked northward to escape the high costs of land and housing and the shortage of manpower in southern Ontario. The opportunities for growth in northern Ontario are better than they ever have been in my memory."
Hon Mr Elston: How optimistic are you?
Mr Morin-Strom: The minister knows that I am always optimistic about the future. Unfortunately, there are those who could be contributing to ensure that this optimism comes to pass. That article is an old one. The most recent headline, in Saturday's paper, says, "Tough Times On Sault's Horizon, Says Federal Economist." I do not necessarily agree with everything they say, but I do have particular concerns about the fact that the unemployment rate in our community is currently registering 11% and has gone up considerably over the last 12 months.
This is a similar situation to what is facing many communities across northern Ontario. Mines are being closed across the north. We are still facing the 15% lumber duty that this government agreed to and did nothing about. The steel industry is facing difficult times, while Dofasco remains one of the largest contributors to the Liberal Party of Ontario.
Can the minister tell us when he is going to return some of those tremendous tax revenues that northerners have provided to the south back to the north to ensure some stability in the northern economy?
Mr Pouliot: You're losing control. You're out of control.
Hon Mr Fontaine: I am not losing my control. I want to tell my honourable friend the member for Sault Ste Marie that what is going on in northern Ontario is not only the -- he mentioned a few things, the 15 %, the high dollar and the interest rates. I think this afternoon we, as a government, will have lots of time to discuss this. I do not want to answer that because I could talk for an hour about the money that is coming back to northern Ontario. We will do that later this afternoon.
I want to assure the member that I am not scared of the record of my government over the last five years, and I want to remind him that we are doing things that never happened before in northern Ontario. I will touch on that later this afternoon because I want to go into it in detail with my honourable friend the member for Sault Ste Marie, what we have been doing together in the ridings of Sault Ste Marie, Lake Nipigon, Algoma, Nickel Belt and Sudbury East.
Last night I was in Sudbury East, and it is booming, from what I saw in Sudbury. I know there is a problem of unemployment. I have always said we cannot do that alone as a province. The feds have to help us in the regions like northern Ontario.
Mr Wildman: Good representation there.
L'hon M. Fontaine : Que les députés se taisent et m'écoutent one minute, là.
The municipal leaders, and the people of northern Ontario, with the federal government -- if we all work together, we are going to have good days ahead of us. I am not worried about northern Ontario, because that is the place in which to live.
Mr Sterling: I have a question for the Attorney General. It is clear that in Ontario a person has the right to refuse medical treatment even if the lack of that medical treatment would result in the death of that person, and our courts have held that in the case of Malette and Shulman.
Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Missouri v Cruzan, found that there is a right to die if a comatose patient has made clear his or her intentions that he or she would like medical support withdrawn. Therefore, the US Supreme Court suggested that people in the United States draw up living wills.
This is interesting because amendment 14 of the US Constitution is very similar to section 7 of our Charter of Rights in that they both contain the right of individuals to liberty, and that is the basis of its decision.
The Speaker: Does that bring a question to your mind?
Mr Sterling: My question to the Attorney General is, will he permit the private members' bills which I have brought forward to be debated by this House so that in fact the people of Ontario will have a legal basis on which to draw a living will? We could have also these kinds of bills sent to committee in order for there to be a full and proper --
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Scott: As the honourable member knows, thanks to his intervention, I have had the opportunity to read his bill and to read some of the literature that supports the concept of a living will. He will not be surprised to hear that while his bill has very great support and has my support, there are some real questions about the circumstances in which and the protections under which it can be operative.
I want to tell the honourable member, as I have told many people who have written to me, that I think the concept is an important and progressive one and the time is very ripe for it. I know he will want to address questions about timing in the House to the House leader.
CONSIDERATION OF CERTAIN PRIVATE BILLS
Mr Ward moved that standing order 85 respecting notice of committee hearings be suspended for the consideration of Bills Pr59, Pr87, Pr90, Pr92, Pr93 and Pr97 by the standing committee on regulations and private bills on Wednesday 27 June 1990.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Cousens: On behalf of the people from the riding of Timiskaming, who have asked me to do this, I present this petition:
"To the Honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
"Whereas it is the duty of free people to constantly guard and, if necessary, defend these freedoms; and
"Whereas the French Language Services Act elevates one linguistic group to lawful but unjust privilege over 95% of Ontarians; and
"Whereas the French Language Services Act has since 18 November 1986 been implemented in secret without the public being made aware of its implementation and whose access has been denied to the public and even to the elected members of this assembly; and
"Whereas such implementation is plunging forward at enormous cost, while health care, police and fire protection, municipal grants, education and the environment are experiencing cutbacks in funding; and
"Whereas no minority can expect for long to enjoy the advantages of a law that shows such reckless disregard for the majority's sensitivities; and
"Whereas the views of the majority of the citizens of Ontario were not represented on 18 November 1986, as only 55 of the 125 of the members of the Legislature were present to vote;
"Therefore, to preserve patience and goodwill in the name of justice, for the love of harmony, we implore the House to refrain from further implementation of the French Language Services Act."
It is signed by myself.
The Speaker: Before I recognize another member, I might suggest that the member may look at his leisure at the standing order pertaining to how to present petitions.
ANIMALS FOR RESEARCH
Mr Wildman: In line with your directive, I will introduce a petition. It is addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It has approximately 1,680 signatures of residents of Ontario. It is requesting that the bill prohibiting the use of animals in cosmetic and product testing be brought forward; that is, Bill 190.
Mr Laughren: Whose bill was that?
Mr Wildman: That is my bill. Obviously I have affixed my name to this petition. The total number of people who have now signed this petition from across Ontario is over 77,000. I would hope that this would encourage the government to proceed with the bill.
Mr Ballinger: I have a petition on behalf of the member for York North.
"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
"We, the undersigned, hereby register our deep concern and outrage over the provisions of the new Ontario motorist protection plan."
It has 52 signatures.
Miss Roberts: I have a petition from the constituents in my riding:
"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:
"Request the government of Ontario to provide time for opt-in classes in our public schools for the teaching of religious education and moral ethics to all those students whose parents request it."
If this cannot be provided, they request publicly funded Christian schools on the same basis as the Roman Catholic schools.
I have affixed my signature pursuant to the standing orders.
REPORTS BY COMMITTEES
STANDING COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
Mr Laughren from the standing committee on resources development presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:
Bill 67, East/Central Ontario Recreational Trails Commission Act, 1989.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for third reading.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ESTIMATES
Mr Cousens from the standing committee on estimates presented a report on the estimates selected in the second round and the estimates not selected by the standing committee for consideration.
The Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 58(b), the report of the committee is deemed to be received and the estimates of the ministries and offices named therein as not being selected for consideration by the committee are deemed to be concurred in.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
MUNICIPAL STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 1990
Mr Sweeney moved first reading of Bill 229, An Act to amend certain Acts related to Municipalities.
Motion agreed to.
The Speaker: I believe the minister gave an earlier explanation.
Hon Mr Sweeney: This is for another bill. This bill makes several changes to municipal law. A number of the changes are intended to make the county system easier to understand and more accountable, and these changes have been endorsed by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. Other amendments dealing with municipal borrowing and investing were developed in consultation with AMO. Among other changes, the bill allows municipalities and school boards to exempt nonprofit groups from property taxation.
MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 1990
Mr Sweeney moved first reading of Bill 230, An Act to amend the Municipal Elections Act and certain other Acts related to Municipal Elections.
Motion agreed to.
ENVIRONMENTAL HARM ACT
Mrs Marland moved first reading of Bill 231, An Act respecting Environmental Harm.
Motion agreed to.
Mrs Marland: The purpose of the bill is to establish a new civil remedy for the protection of the environment. The bill would permit any person to bring an action against any person whose activity is causing or is likely to cause harm to the environment. A court could order a defendant to pay damages to compensate the public for harm to the environment caused by the defendant's activity.
The bill would also permit a court to order other types of remedies, including granting an injunction. Any damages awarded against a defendant would be payable to the Environmental Compensation Corp. A court could recommend that funds paid as damages would be used to remedy harm to the environment caused by the defendant's activity and to restore, replace and rehabilitate the environment.
I also wish to acknowledge the Ontario Law Reform Commission's report, which was the suggestion of this bill.
444610 ONTARIO INC ACT, 1990
Mr Miller, on behalf of Mr Ruprecht, moved first reading of Bill Pr34, An Act to revive 444610 Ontario Inc.
The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye"
All those opposed will please say "no."
In my opinion the ayes certainly have it.
Motion agreed to.
ENDANGERED, THREATENED AND VULNERABLE SPECIES ACT, 1990
Mr Wildman moved first reading of Bill 232, An Act to revise the Endangered Species Act and amend the Law relating to Endangered Species.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Wildman: The purpose of the bill is to replace the Endangered Species Act. The act currently provides protection to endangered species of animals and plants. The bill extends this protection to threatened and vulnerable species. In addition, a minimum fine is provided for violations of the act. The bill also amends the Environmental Assessment Act to provide that the provisions of that act apply to any project that might affect the habitat of an endangered, threatened or vulnerable species.
CITY OF TORONTO ACT, 1990
Ms Poole moved first reading of Bill Pr77, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.
Motion agreed to.
BOROUGH OF EAST YORK ACT, 1990
Mr Flesh moved first reading of Bill Pr96, An Act respecting the Borough of East York.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
ONTARIO LOTTERY CORPORATION AMENDMENT ACT, 1990
Mr Black moved third reading of Bill 114, An Act to amend the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act.
Mr Farnan: I do want to take this opportunity to make some comments. The minister will appreciate that the procedures we have in this House do not allow for members of the opposition to respond to the minister's final statement during second reading. The minister did make some comments in his final statement on second reading that I think are worth highlighting in this debate at third reading.
The issue at stake here is that, in designating lottery funds or lottery profits, from now on they be designated not only for culture, sports, fitness and recreation, but by Bill 119 they would be designated also for hospitals, and this particular legislation, Bill 114, suggests that they may be designated to be used for the environment.
I have argued at length that with the funds from lotteries going into the general consolidated revenue, we really do not know what dollar is being spent for what purpose. I have argued that the government is marketing lotteries very aggressively. In marketing lotteries aggressively the government is generating increased funds, and obviously the government will sell more lottery tickets if it has a sick child or a crippled child or a cancer treatment clinic on the lottery ticket than if it has a javelin thrower or a symphony orchestra.
The New Democratic Party, we have said, is not opposed to the fact that gambling is a reality of our present society. We can see many of the positive aspects -- it creates jobs and for many people it is a social interaction -- but we do want to say to the minister and we do want to say to the government that there is a dark side to gambling. If the government is aggressively marketing lotteries and generating in excess of $500 million per annum, the government must realize that many lives will be damaged as a result.
During the course of the debate we established that there was not one gambling rehabilitation clinic, not only in Ontario but in all of Canada -- not one clinic. We have a government that is actively promoting the sale of lottery tickets with not one clinic in the province. At the same time we are actively promoting gambling, we are sending Ontarians south of the border for treatment.
The point I want to make is this: It is fine that we are sending people for treatment south of the border. However, we only pay 75% of OHIP and the individual who needs treatment at that particular moment of time has to come up with 25% of the cost of the treatment. If you happen to suffer from the disease of alcoholism, if you happen to suffer from the disease of pathological gambling or if you happen to suffer from an addiction to drugs, at the moment in which you are broken in body and in spirit it is very likely that your financial situation is also in total ruin. I would suggest not only is your financial situation in total ruin, but your relationship with those who are close and dear to you may have been severed. The individual himself cannot come up with that kind of money and those individuals who perhaps had relationships with him are in a situation where he or she cannot appeal to them for support.
We are saying that you can have treatment, but the treatment is south of the border and it costs 25% of the cost and the individual at that particular moment of time is not able to pay for that cost.
The minister was very generous in his comments as to my contribution to the debate and I appreciate very much his comments in his summation. I will just take from a couple of notes here what he said: "We listened intently and we listened carefully, because it was well-considered, it was thoughtful and it provided all of us with the opportunity to consider very carefully some recommendations which are being made by the member for Cambridge and which, I am sure, most of us in this House will consider and consider carefully."
I want to remind the House what my recommendations were. My recommendations were that we would take all the profits from lotteries and out of the $500 million, the half a billion dollars generated, we would designate 0.5% of the profits, half a cent out of every dollar, for gambling rehabilitation programs.
This is not something new. We look to other jurisdictions. In the rural state of Iowa in the United States and in the state of New York a percentage of lottery profits is used, not simply for gambling rehabilitation but also for rehabilitation for those who are addicted to drugs and for those who suffer from the disease of alcoholism.
Some of the jurisdictions south of the border have said, 'if a government is generating huge amounts of revenue through the sale of alcohol or through the promotion of lottery tickets, it is reasonable that a percentage of those funds be designated for the dark side of the issue." And there is a dark side.
I put forward in committee the proposal that 0.5% of lottery profits be designated for such a purpose and it was ruled out of order by the committee. I have not gone through the process of committee of the whole on the basis that the presumption, obviously, is that it will be ruled out of order in the assembly also. However, I remain convinced that it is possible to allocate or designate a specific percentage of profits from these areas to help try to rebuild lives that have been broken, either through alcoholism, through drug addiction or through pathological gambling. That is a reasonable request. The minister himself has said it is reasonable and that we will consider it and consider it carefully.
The minister did not have the opportunity when the committee was sitting, but his parliamentary assistant did, to listen to the people who came forward and gave testimony at that committee, individuals who suffered from the disease of pathological gambling, whose lives had been broken.
One of the remarks made by the minister in the concluding debate for second reading went as follows: "I have to say to the member for Cambridge, although I sympathize with his views, although I recognize the validity of the points he has made, there is one link that is missing." Here is the link: "There is not at this point, to the best of my knowledge, research which clearly indicates the link between lotteries and compulsive gambling. There has been, as many members have pointed out, very limited research done, so we are not in a position where we can draw conclusive conclusions."
In a very technical sense the minister is right. If he is looking for a large study drawing a correlation between gambling on lotteries and pathological gambling, there is not that large study. It has not taken place in Canada.
But we had men and women in the flesh who came before the committee and said: "Look, my life has been destroyed. I have been buying up to $1,000 a week of lottery tickets." These individuals started off buying $5 or $10 worth of lottery tickets. When an individual is compulsively drawn to spend $1,000 a week on lottery tickets, that person is indeed sick. They have lost control. The urge is so great that they cannot control their urge. That individual is sick.
We saw, as a committee --
Mr Ballinger: Oh, get serious. Come on.
Mr Farnan: "Get lost," says the member opposite.
Mr Ballinger: I did not say that at all
Mr Farnan: We had a woman come before the committee. She was in tears. She had lost her family and she had lost her house, and why had she lost this? Because she had this absolute, uncontrollable urge to buy lottery tickets. There were other individuals who came forward and gave testimony, and the testimony underlines the dark side of gambling.
If the minister wants to delay, if the minister wants to stall, if the government wants to delay and wants to stall, it will say, "We can't do anything about this at the moment, until we have a study." While they are making their study, other lives will be broken. As those lives are broken, innocent children will suffer because an individual who is spending an exorbitant amount of funds to feed his gambling addiction or his alcohol addiction or his drug addiction may indeed be taking food off the table, may indeed be taking away the opportunity of a pair of shoes for the kids.
This government says, "We realize there is no clinic." Members have heard the evidence. People have come forward and said, "Lotteries are ruining our lives," and the government is saying, "We'll consider it." That is not good enough.
As far as the minister's argument goes that there must be a correlation between lotteries and pathological gambling, that is not good enough either. In the other jurisdictions in the United States where they have taken a percentage of lottery funds, they do not say it can only be used for pathological gamblers who have been addicted as a result of lotteries. They allow those funds to be used for pathological gambling whether it is on horse races or football or anything else. They allow those funds to be used for alcohol rehabilitation. They allow those funds to be used for drug addiction rehabilitation. In the rural state of Iowa, using 0.5% of lottery funds, they have been able to establish 13 rehabilitation clinics, 13 in a small, rural state. I have to believe this is a problem that must be addressed.
"I say to the member for Cambridge," commented the minister, "that I am supportive of the positions he has made and that I recognize the validity of the concerns he has expressed. I want him to know I am prepared to work within cabinet and to work within government to try and address that problem, and to work with him to address that problem."
I want to thank the minister for that commitment and I want to assure him that I and the New Democratic Party will give him our total and absolute support in bringing assistance to those who suffer from all of the addictions I have mentioned.
The minister is also responsible for the government's war against drugs. As the leader in that war I have to say to him that he cannot be a leader if there are no facilities to serve those who are in distress. So he has our support when he goes to cabinet. I do hope the minister will comment on this fact.
Again, I am quoting from his second reading debate. "I remain unconvinced that taking lottery funds, which could suggest a link between lotteries and compulsive gambling, is the most appropriate way to address that need." The individual who is suffering from pathological gambling does not care where the money comes from. It really makes no difference to him where the money comes from as long as there is a clinic. It is a fact that if you suffer from the disease of alcoholism you could be on the waiting list for months. All members of this House should be concerned.
I want to make one further point. I moved an amendment. I moved the amendment when Bill 119 was being discussed, which was designating lottery funds towards hospitals, and I moved the amendment again in committee on Bill 114, suggesting that one third of all lottery profits should be directed to sports, culture, fitness and recreation. That was the original designation of all lottery profits.
The sports and cultural groups of this province have been saying to the government: "Give us the guarantee. Not your word, mind you, because the government will come back and say, 'Well, the Treasurer gave you his word you would get $120 million per annum over the next three years.' Well, $120 million per annum is not one third of lotteries." So the sports and cultural groups want a guarantee of a minimum of one third of all lottery profits and that is a reasonable expectation.
Mr Ballinger: There is no guarantee to life.
Mr Farnan: The former mayor of Uxbridge continues to interject during this important debate and to interject rather rudely, I might say.
Mr Ballinger: As if you don't do that.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr Farnan: It is unfortunate that the former mayor of Uxbridge does not take seriously this issue to the degree that he is prepared to listen to the arguments that are coming forward from the opposition benches. When I appeal on behalf of those who suffer from the diseases of alcoholism, pathological gambling and drug addiction and the former mayor of Uxbridge has nothing but abuse to shout across the floor, that is certainly demeaning of the process of this assembly.
They were the two amendments I called for. We will be looking for action on the part of the government in the future. There are people out there who are hurting. The minister has made a commitment. I sincerely hope that he is successful at cabinet. We will be watching carefully, as will many people across the province who are suffering from these diseases.
Mrs Marland: My comments on Bill 114 will be very brief because the concerns I have previously expressed about this Liberal government's continuing policy of using the lottery profits for more and more needs in the province are well recorded in Hansard. Certainly we in the Progressive Conservative caucus recognize, if the government does not, that if the government were being fiscally responsible in its planning in the protection of the environment, as is addressed in Bill 114, or as was previously addressed in terms of the operation of hospitals in Bill 119, it would recognize that both of those areas of responsibility in Ontario today are paramount and cannot be left at the whim of lottery profits.
Frankly, the risk to the original organizations for whom the lottery corporation was established is very real. The recreation, physical fitness, culture and sports groups already have experienced an increase in rejections of their applications for Wintario grants. Just talk to any of those organizations and you will find that their Wintario grant applications are increasingly being rejected. Frankly, we think that for any government to keep going back to the lottery trough to use it as a cash cow to fund the problems that have been created by underfunding by this Liberal government of the protection of the environment and the operation of hospitals is simply unacceptable.
Mr Ballinger: Oh, come on, Margaret.
Mr Laughren: Spend, spend, spend.
Mr Ballinger: That's right.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mrs Marland: It is very significant and rather disappointing that the member for Durham-York is prattling away about how my comments are incorrect, because the truth is that some of the areas that we have already addressed in the debate of Bill 114 are becoming so crucial to the people of this province that this Liberal government will sooner or later have to open its ears, its eyes and its hearts and listen to the people of this province. They may find that the time for them to do that may be sooner than they have planned, because it may well be at election time when they find out the real truth about how the people of this province feel about priorities.
There are no greater priorities in this province, in this nation or in the world today than the preservation of the environment and the preservation of human health. If this government fails to recognize that the funding of recreation, physical fitness, culture and sports and all the programs that those areas encompass are in fact the practice of preventive medicine in keeping our people healthy, then this only goes to reconfirm the myopic vision that this Liberal government has for the people of Ontario.
With respect to the debate that is to follow the passage of this bill today in third reading I am going to restrict my comments, but only to say again that if indeed in Ontario today we had a responsible, caring, listening government with an administration that had any kind of clue at all about what was going on in Ontario, it would not turn to a lottery to fund the protection of the environment. That is what Bill 114 is doing. Frankly, it is just like everything else that we know about the Liberal government. If they do not have an instant answer, they pull something else out of the hat.
Mr Ballinger: Even your mother wouldn't believe that.
Mrs Marland: This Bill 114, I say to my friend opposite, will surely come back to roost in the archives of the history as to what the Liberals are doing in terms of priority for the government.
It becomes even more ludicrous when you read the bill itself. It just adds the words "the protection of the environment" to the long list which this government now has for the use of lottery profits. It does not guarantee any money. It has no dollar amount for anybody any more. It just says that the money will go through to the consolidated revenue fund to be disbursed at the direction and decision of the government. So we have no control. When the lottery funds go into the big, black hole of the bottomless pit of the consolidated revenue fund, we have to sit and wait with bated breath to hear where these little pennies will be dropped out around the province to their favourite groups and organizations. Is that the way to fund the protection of the environment?
Mr Ballinger: That's the way the Tories did it. We aren't Tories.
Mrs Marland: When the member for Durham-York interjects, what he is saying is that this is the way it has always been done. Well, that in fact is not true. Bill 114 stands as a bill in this House today, I say to the member for Durham-York, Bill 114 stands as a bill in this Legislature today adding environment to the appropriation of money from the lottery profits. I am standing in this House today simply to say on behalf of the Progressive Conservatives that our priority is that we believe the environment is far too important and far too major, a number one priority for all of us, to be funded by lottery profits which are already now depleted and have become far too thin a source of funding because of the heavy load that has been put on those profits through the previous bills of this government.
Ms Bryden: I am speaking on third reading of Bill 114 because I feel it is very important to report to the House on the results of the one day of public hearings which were held on the bill by the standing committee on general government on 14 June. Those hearings were held at the insistence of the New Democratic Party members on the committee to find out how the 200 groups in the cultural, recreational, fitness and sports fields that appeared at the 1989 public hearings on the Treasurer's lottery grab had fared under Bill 119 since that bill was passed in December 1989.
At the insistence of the New Democratic members of the committee, all of the groups, which amounted to over 200, received an invitation from the clerk of the committee to send in written comments or to request a time slot to appear. Since the notice was very short and the time allotted was very limited, only a few were able to attend in person, but a considerable number wrote to the committee.
They told us that they had seen no evidence of increased funding as a result of the Treasurer's commitment on the last day of the 1989 hearings to guarantee $120 million in 1990-91. Any grants they had received under previous grant programs were flat-lined and no additional funds were made available, either for inflation or for new programs or new groups.
The Alliance to Protect Culture, Recreation, Sports and Fitness in Ontario, which is an umbrella group covering a great many of those 200 groups that appeared, wrote to us. They had asked for a commitment of one third of the lottery funds, but they got no such commitment in either 1989 or now. They write:
"Bill 114 adds environment to the lineup for lottery funds. This being the case, we would like some further assurance that culture and recreation will continue to have priority in the use of lottery funds for growing needs.
"As you know, the Treasurer has committed a minimum of $120 million of lottery funds for each of the three fiscal years ending in 1991, 1992 and 1993. It would be comforting and important for us to have the details of proposed lottery expenditures on culture and recreation in the current fiscal year, now that the budget has been finalized. In this connection, we would all like to be assured that none of these funds are being used for activities previously financed by non-lottery funds."
Many of the groups that wrote mentioned that adding the fourth category under Bill 114 to the groups eligible to receive lottery funds put them at a further disadvantage in qualifying for any grants of lottery funds. The term "for the protection of the environment," which Bill 114 adds to the list of groups eligible to receive lottery funds, simply created a huge threat to any group that might think that if it had to compete with the environment, it would come fourth rather than first.
Let me read the Toronto Arts Council letter which it sent in response to our letters that went out to the previous groups:
"The Treasurer, in response to the Toronto Arts Council's concerns and those of the 100-plus deputants who appeared before the committee, assured the arts community that culture will remain a high priority and that the community can 'plan on $120 million a year minimum,' which would represent a higher expenditure than in past years. We were told that Bill 119 did not threaten the government's funding commitment to arts and culture.
"However, the Treasurer's recent budget suggests a very different reality. Although the average increase in the budget was 6.8%, the Ministry of Culture and Communications received a 1.8% increase. The result of this increase, after allowance for current inflation, is a reduction of 2.8%. In addition to the decrease, the Treasurer has introduced Bill 114...which will allow environment spending to be added to that for arts, recreation, sports, fitness and the operation of hospitals" -- and the Trillium Foundation -- "from 'dedicated' lottery proceeds.
"For the past five years, the city of Toronto has increased support to the arts by 264%.... The Treasurer's 'gesture' will have a critical cumulative effect on the already fragile health of the arts community. The municipal politicians will be receiving a clear message from the Treasurer of Ontario that arts and culture are not a priority in the government of Ontario's agenda. The city of Toronto does not have the means to make up the shortfall to the arts community which will occur as a result of the 1990-91 appropriation to the Ministry of Culture and Communications, nor does it have the political desire.
"Given this most recent amendment to the Lottery Corporation Act, again we pose the question to the committee on general government, the Treasurer and the government of Ontario: What assurances does Ontario's arts community have that culture will continue to have priority in the use of lottery funds? In this regard, the Toronto Arts Council requests details of the proposed lottery expenditures on culture in the current fiscal year, now that the budget has been finalized."
I would hope the minister will provide this information to the committee.
Another group that wrote to us is Dance Ontario. We all know that dance is a new and growing cultural field attracting a great many artists, musicians and performers in the province and adding a great deal to our culture. I quote from their brief:
"Dance Ontario is appalled to hear that the government is proposing to expand further the number of beneficiaries of lottery moneys....
"The lottery monies have already been wrested away from the original beneficiaries of the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act -- culture, recreation, sports and fitness -- and spread to include Ontario hospitals and the Trillium Foundation. This was done despite strong opposition from proponents of culture and recreation.
"The Ontario government has recently presented a budget which puts the Ministry of Culture and Communications at the bottom of the heap -- 25th out of 27 ministries in terms of increases received -- with a budget allocation far below the rate of inflation.
"There has been no sign of the $120 million the Honourable Robert Nixon promised would go to culture, recreation, sports and fitness in his summing up of the hearings on Bill 119.
"If you want any arts in this province or wish to have an indigenous culture, it is time to put a stop to this constant erosion of funding to the arts and culture. We cannot survive without government support. The decline in government funding in Ontario has already caused the death of three dance companies in Toronto alone.
"While many dancers in Ontario are strong supporters of any efforts to protect their environment, we do not feel such action should be dependent upon lottery funds. This action should be included as part of the province's overall budget and should be tax-based to ensure that those companies who have damaged the environment are helping to pay for cleanup and future protection."
Another group that wrote in was the Writers' Union of Canada, which said:
"The protection of our environment should be an absolute priority for all sectors of our society and be on the agenda of each and every government ministry. It should be fundamental to everything we do, not another excuse to plunder an inequitable tax of choice."
The Kingston Symphony Association writes:
"Protection of the environment is a very big task to share your salary with.... While all of us are pleased that the government of Ontario is concerned about the environment, it is discouraging to note that arts funding is regularly cut in order to support each new cause."
The Mariposa Folk Foundation points out that:
"There are still many cultural organizations that show evidence of underfunding, even today, long after the lottery act was struck.... The government should not consider amending the act until the original mandate is met.... By providing money for environmental protection that is not raised directly from activities that cause environmental damage, the government is in effect subsidizing these activities."
Another group that came before us with a very impressive brief was the Parks and Recreation Federation of Ontario, which is an umbrella group for a great many municipalities and recreational groups across the province. They point out that recreation has a role in preventive medicine and even preventive social services. It pledges support for Bill 114 if it is given assurance that environmental projects supported by lottery funds would be preventive rather than remedial. It seeks assurance that lottery money would be used, for example, to conserve existing environmentally sensitive areas, rather than to pay for sewer separations or other cleanup measures. The government has given no such assurances.
Those are just some samples of the many groups that wrote in to us saying this bill is definitely an abuse of the Treasurer's power to take lottery funds and use them as he wishes and to put a fourth competing group in the lineup for lottery funds.
I think it really should be withdrawn in order that we can return to the original purpose of the lottery act, which was sports, fitness, culture and recreation. This sort of bill is not a contribution to the needs of this province; it is simply a further tax grab by the Treasurer, with no guarantees to any group. I feel that, we have now seen what has happened to all these groups and how badly they are faring with no prospects for future increases in the current fiscal year, and probably not in the next two, even though the Treasurer has said he is going to grant them the same amount, we must review our support of the cultural and recreational activities and stop raiding the lottery funds for that purpose.
The Deputy Speaker: Minister, do you wish to wind up?
Hon Mr Black: I will be brief. Bill 114 allows the establishment of a new lottery fund, a fund which was committed in the 1989 speech from the throne. The lottery fund will provide funds for a new purpose which is a priority for the people of Ontario and a priority for this government, the protection of the environment.
I want to make it very clear that the addition of environmental protection to the list of government programs which can now benefit from lottery profits will not in any way affect funding for culture, recreation, sports and fitness, and I am surprised that two members of the opposition parties have dared to even suggest such a thing. On the record is the word of the Treasurer of this province. The level of funding for culture, recreation, sports and fitness is higher today in Ontario than it has ever been in the history of this province. How anyone could suggest otherwise in view of those facts is just a mystery to me.
I should also say that we had public hearings on Bill 114. There were some concerns expressed and two issues were raised. One was the belief that by adding another beneficiary the lottery pie will simply be divided into smaller pieces. That assumption, in my view, is not correct. The research done by the Ontario Lottery Corp suggests that by introducing an environmental lottery we will be bringing in new lottery players and new dollars to the lottery games.
I would like to take this opportunity to note two resolutions that were agreed to by the standing committee. I would like to assure the member for Hamilton Mountain that the government will consult with the Parks and Recreation Federation of Ontario regarding the use of moneys raised for the protection of the environment as a result of this bill.
I would also like to assure the member for Cambridge that the Minister of Health will receive a copy of the submission by the Canadian Foundation on Compulsive Gambling for her attention and consideration. I repeat once again my support for the will of the member for Cambridge.
Finally, this is sound legislation which addresses needs in the province, which addresses priorities both of the people of Ontario and this government, and I am pleased to move third reading.
The Deputy Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
Some hon members: No.
The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
COUNTY OF SIMCOE ACT, 1990
Mr Ballinger, on behalf of Mr Sweeney, moved third reading of Bill 177, An Act respecting the Amalgamation of certain Municipalities in the County of Simcoe.
Mr Ballinger: Very briefly, we had a very healthy discussion the other day at second reading. Unfortunately some of the members are not here, but I would like to pay tribute to the member for Simcoe West and the member for Simcoe Centre who worked very closely with the municipalities and with our ministry to bring to fruition this particular bill on the amalgamation, which is being supported at home in a very great way. On behalf of the minister, we are very pleased about that.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Ward moved that, notwithstanding standing orders 6 and 9, the House shall continue to meet from 6 pm to 10 pm on Wednesday 27 June 1990 to consider government business.
Mr Laughren: I just want it on the record that the reason this Legislature must sit tomorrow evening rather than the normal hours of this place is because of the inconsiderate behaviour of the Premier yesterday afternoon when he walked out of the House and would not stay for the debate on the failure of the Meech Lake constitutional accord.
Mr Pouliot: Perhaps at the risk of sounding repetitious, with high respect, indeed at a time when perhaps our country is facing its worst constitutional crisis, the Premier, the captain of this ship, chose to let the temptation of egocentricity, vanity and a close focus towards the next election get ahead of decorum and in fact -- and the words are not too strong -- good manners and what needs to be done. We have been betrayed in believing that due process would be followed, that courtesies would be extended to the leaders of both the official opposition and the third party in this House on such an important matter. Regrettably, this was not done.
Hon Mr Ward: Just to sum up, having listened to the comments of my colleagues, I want to say that this place always revolves around issues of perception. From my perception, the reason for this motion is because some members of the opposition were rather petulant and unruly yesterday. As a result, we have to take a little extra time to finish the bills.
Motion agreed to.
NORTHERN ONTARIO / NORD DE L'ONTARIO
Mr Laughren moved motion 3 under standing order 42(a):
That this House condemns the government of Ontario for its failure to recognize:
that northern Ontario has been a source of enormous wealth for the private sector;
that northern Ontario has been a source of enormous revenues for the provincial government;
that the provincial government puts very little revenue back into the north;
that the roads in northern Ontario are in terrible shape;
that the Liberal government has not proceeded with serious four-laning of highways in the north;
that the delivery of health care services in the north is still inferior;
that northern municipalities have particular problems of boom and bust while the Liberal government freezes unconditional grants;
that forestry jobs are threatened because of this government's failure to live up to its commitment to provide seedlings and because of the continuing practice of clear-cutting;
that almost no attempts have been made to diversify the economy to create jobs nor to work with the private sector and create meaningful jobs when serious layoffs occur;
that the Ontario government continues to treat northern Ontario citizens like second-class citizens;
therefore this government has lost the confidence of this House.
Hon Mr Ward: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I neglected to mention before the order was called that there was an agreement, I believe, among the parties to divide the time equally. I would seek unanimous consent.
The Deputy Speaker: The government House leader seeks unanimous consent to divide the time equally up until 5:45. Is there agreement?
Mr Laughren: I wish to express my gratitude to my colleagues who have allowed us a few minutes this afternoon to discuss this motion of non-confidence in the government on its treatment of northern Ontario.
I must say there are some very specific reasons as to why we moved this motion of non-confidence in the government. Just because the government has a huge majority does not mean that it is treating people in all parts of Ontario fairly. It is our view that it is not treating people in northern Ontario fairly.
There are a large number of issues, and I realize there is not a lot of time for any one member to get on the record this afternoon, but for me, I can tell members that the way this government continues to treat our forests is a major concern and one that I resent very much.
Second, the way in which transportation is handled in northern Ontario is grossly inadequate and inferior relative to the way transportation needs are delivered in southern Ontario.
On health care, this party had a task force on health care that travelled the north. I can tell members that is a major shortcoming of government policy, the delivery of health care services in the north.
Finally, there is the failure to put in place any serious community adjustment programs in communities that either desperately need them now or will desperately need them a few years down the road.
When the government changed, we assumed that some of the policies and attitudes about northern Ontario would change as well. Unfortunately, that simply has not happened. I expect the members from the Liberal caucus to stand on their hind legs this afternoon, defend their government's record and say things that would lead people to believe that they are indeed pouring money back into the north.
The fact remains that if you were go into northern Ontario and ask people all across the north what they think of the way this government is treating them in the north, you would get an overwhelming response; namely, it is not treating them any differently than the previous Conservative government treated northern Ontario.
To be fair, I would make one exception to that. I happen to believe the transfer of public sector jobs to northern Ontario was a good thing. I believe that the government did a good thing when it implemented that program. There is still a long way to go, we understand that, but I do believe the government is on the right track in that regard.
If you go beyond that, you really have to look hard for anything meaningful, anything substantial that this government has done for northern Ontario. You really do have to scrounge. With forestry, we are still falling behind by 100,000 hectares a year of serious reforestation in northern Ontario. That is surely outrageous given how much we know about forestry now. We know, for example, that 90% of the cutting that goes on in northern Ontario is still clear-cutting. I asked the Minister of Natural Resources this afternoon what she thought was an appropriate size for clear-cutting. She said she did not know and would not express an opinion. The fact is that there is no limit on clear-cutting in northern Ontario, no legal limit.
Mr Laughren: There are in other jurisdictions, as my colleague the member for Algoma says, but not in northern Ontario, no legal limit on clear-cutting. They can cut as big an area as they want, and indeed they often do. Surely that is outrageous.
Ninety per cent of the tending that goes on now once these seedlings are planted is done by spraying of herbicides. That we have to change as well. We know that the amount of cutting that goes on in the last 10 years has gone up by 39% and the volume of roundwood that has been taken out has gone up by 64%, so the harvesting that is going on of our forests is increasing dramatically, truly dramatically.
I know there is still a lot of public subsidy going into reforestation. A great deal of money is going into it, but that is all the more reason why we should have more say over what goes on in those forests. They are highly subsidized, whether it is the provision of seedlings or the building of the forest roads. For this government simply to turn that over to the private sector is inappropriate. To let them decide what the clear-cut will be and let them decide what kind of spraying goes on is not appropriate for the public forests of this province.
I would like to say a couple of words about transportation. If there is one area where this government has fallen flat on its collective faces, it is in the whole provision of transportation in northern Ontario. You have to look long and hard to find out any improvement in the highways in northern Ontario -- almost none. Where is the four-laning in northern Ontario that this government talks about but never delivers? I could take members to paved roads in northern Ontario where the potholes are so bad that people are afraid to drive on the road. There have been serious accidents because of those potholes.
When you talk about air transportation, we now have a discussion going on that flights to northern Ontario will be diverted to Buttonville or Hamilton. Is that not beautiful? No word at all from the Minister of Northern Development, no sense at all that he will protect the interests of northerners when it comes to the diversion of flights from northern Ontario to Toronto. Never a word.
Hon Mr Fontaine: Are you going to Chapleau? Three flights a day from Chapleau.
Mr Laughren: When those flights get diverted to Mount Hope and to Buttonville, where is the minister going to be? He will be where he has always been; nowhere is where he has been.
On the provision of rail service, we have asked this minister to take over the Budd car and the VIA Rail service in northeastern Ontario because the members and I know that the federal government does not give a sweet damn about rail transportation anywhere in the country, including northern Ontario. Therefore, it seems to me it is up to this minister, the Minister of Northern Development, and the Minister of Transportation to provide some of that service, to take up some of that slack, because it is inappropriate the way northerners are being treated concerning rail, air and road transportation. It is simply not appropriate.
When it comes time to talk about health care in the north, as I said earlier, this party had a task force that travelled all over northern Ontario soliciting opinions about how to improve the health care in northern Ontario. I can tell members that if there is one clear message that came through it was that, first of all, the present delivery of health care system is inadequate. Second, we have made what I think is a very reasonable and a very positive proposal to this government; namely, let's put in place a different model of health care for northern Ontario. Let's make it community based, let's make it preventive in nature and let's start by having a medical school in northern Ontario. That would build that different model. We are not asking for a carbon copy of the health care system we have in southern Ontario.
I wish there was more time but the time has been eaten up by other matters this afternoon, so I will not speak longer other than to ask especially the government members to think seriously about how northern Ontario residents feel about the way they are being treated by this government. It is inappropriate.
Mr Harris: I am pleased to have the opportunity today to talk about northern Ontario and to talk about the concerns that northerners have been expressing now for a considerable period of time, concerns that this government does not even begin to understand the needs, the aspirations and the desires of northerners to make the decisions for themselves as to the direction they would like to see northern Ontario develop in.
Let me acknowledge up front that there is one thing this government has done. It has continued the move to relocate some civil servants into northern Ontario, a move that of course we applaud because we think it does provide some stability in the way of those jobs to northern Ontario. However, the 1,500 or 1,600 or so who are being moved are about northern Ontario's share of the 10,000 new civil servants that this government has hired since it took office.
Some people said to me in the north, "Is southern Ontario concerned that 1,600 civil servants are going to be relocated from southern Ontario to northern Ontario?" I said: "No. There are 10,000 new ones being hired by this administration across the province, so there are still 8,400 new civil servants being added across southern Ontario. Northern Ontario is simply getting its fair share of the growth of the bloated bureaucracy that this government has been responsible for."
I wanted to mention that up front and give a little credit where credit is due, that at least northern Ontario is getting its share of the new civil servants whom this government is employing.
When it comes to economic development, when it comes to the areas that northerners are concerned about, there has not been a single move to address, in any sense, in a comprehensive way the problems we are facing in northern Ontario. I point out a number of very irritating examples that indicate a lack of understanding of northern Ontario.
Regarding municipalities in the unorganized areas of my riding, when this government announced some of its Sunday shopping moves, it completely left out the unorganized areas of northern Ontario, indicating either that (a) nobody in the cabinet was speaking up for northern Ontario or that (b) those making the decisions in southern Ontario failed to understand that there are many vast, remote regions in northern Ontario that do not have organized governments representing them and that in fact for them the government is the province of Ontario.
We have other examples in my riding where the government now is trying to force its way through to amalgamate smaller communities into larger ones. In West Nipissing, there is a move afoot to put in, if members can believe this, regional government for a total population of about 20,000 people, many of whom have no form of organized government now. They have their local roads boards to provide those needs. They do not wish to get involved in a formalized government. They have their fire protection, they have their local roads boards and they are not asking for any other services.
This government has now embarked upon a program not only to have them forced into becoming organized and having to have offices and hire staff for 300, 400 people in some cases in these townships -- in some cases fewer than that number of people in the townships -- but also to have a regional tier of government. Who is speaking up for the unorganized areas? The government there versus some of the larger municipalities that are organized is the provincial government. So we have, on the one hand, the provincial government forcing this on the people and, on the other hand, it is the only organized body of government to represent those people. It is a totally wrong approach.
I have never seen where bigger is better. I have heard municipality after municipality tell me, "Boy, if we could just grow and if we could get this industry here in our town." I am not opposed to that, but they say, "If we could get that, that would reduce the property taxes for the home owner." I have never, never, never seen a case where that is the case. There is a demand for services, and then the second layer of government adds to it. You destroy by taking away in many cases the names of these communities. You destroy the volunteerism, you destroy the initiative, you destroy the pride that these people put into their very own communities when you try to lump them into one larger community.
I suggest to the government that while it is pursuing options to look at cost-sharing of services, which I am all in favour of and which many of the smaller communities are in favour of, it draw the line there. It is not necessary to destroy complete identities of smaller communities, particularly those in northern Ontario, to enter into cost-sharing arrangements for some services that should be cost-shared on a larger basis.
Let me point out a few other examples. Since I was elected in 1981, we have been calling for a significant improvement in our infrastructure of northern Ontario: four-laning Highway 11, four-laning Highway 17, four-laning Highway 69. The last piece of four-laning that was done on Highway 11 was brought in by the former government during the recessionary period of the early 1980s. That last piece was brought in and it opened from North Bay south, to south of Callander. Not one single scrap or bit of four-lane highway on Highway 11 has been added since that time.
This government has run its budget up from $25 billion in 1985 to $44 billion. The Minister of Transportation ran around. His parliamentary assistant promised: "Yes, we're going to four-lane. Yes, we're going to do this. We're going to study it. We're going to do all that." Time after time and budget after budget, all we see is: "Yes, it's a priority. Yes, we're going to do it."
Not one single kilometre has been added to Highway 11 by four-laning. Now, in this last budget, in the allocation that we saw just this week, again it says: "Four-laning in northern Ontario will be a priority. We plan to accelerate." What do they plan to do, accelerate the rhetoric? We are tired of rhetoric in northern Ontario. We have been fighting for this, we are united in it, community after community. It is not good enough.
We have talked about gasoline prices, we have talked about investing money in the infrastructure, instead of the government trying to pick the winners and the losers. The winners and the losers are very difficult for a government to pick, so I have been critical. I have been critical of programs by the former government and by this government that suggest that we should continue to solve northern Ontario's problems by giving grants to companies.
We are tired of having to give grants to companies. Does the government know what happens when it gives a grant to a company? Does it know the fundamental question it has to ask itself? What is wrong with Ontario that it has to bribe a company to do business in this province? That is what is wrong when it gives grants.
Surely, if the government is going to assist industries in the short term -- and I admit, in the short term, until the government gets its act together, it should build us the four-lane highways, improve our airports, look at our gasoline prices, help us to be more competitive -- until it does that, it has no long-term solution.
If the government is going to help industries directly in the short term, it should let northerners pick which industries should be supported. Second, the government should not give grants. They can give loans if they are going to help them that way, but not grants to companies so that those liabilities go with the companies. The government is throwing money away with a lot of the grants it is handing out all across this province and including some of the businesses in northern Ontario.
I was astounded when the Deputy Minister of Northern Development came out with the report. This was a secret memo from the Deputy Minister of Northern Development to the cabinet secretary, Peter Barnes, 18 April 1990. This secret memo from the deputy minister to the cabinet secretary revealed that the north was in a poor economic position and that it was deteriorating rapidly and that something had to be done. When that was brought to the attention of the Premier, what did the Premier say? The Premier said: "No, the north's not in a poor economic position. The government has gone out of its way to bring prosperity to the north."
Unless the government admits there is a problem, unless the Premier is prepared to admit that and the cabinet is prepared to admit that, then it is difficult to expect that they are going to address it in a meaningful way. To date, they have not even admitted that there is a problem.
The other program the government talks about is the northern Ontario heritage fund. What has the northern heritage fund done? The first year it was supposed to be $30 million. The first year it showed that it spent $667,000 to promote and stimulate economic growth and diversification in northern Ontario. Temagami, an area in desperate need of financial assistance, received less than $45,000. Some of the large companies, MacMillan Bloedel, Normick Perron and Westinghouse Canada, received $100,000 as a small business incentive.
The other absurdity is that the $100,000 incentives they got -- maybe it is legitimate, I do not know -- were all available under existing programs that had been in place for the last 20 years. The government has brought in the heritage fund and it is taking money out of there that used to be in the northern development fund. It is not a new program. There is nothing new and imaginative being brought to bear.
I do not want to take too much of the time. We have a limited time today and I know my colleague the member for Parry Sound -- which we think is in northern Ontario, but which this government, in spite of promises, still has not lived up to all its commitment on -- has a few remarks that he wants to make as well.
Hon Mr Fontaine: What about Robarts and Davis? Did they live up to their promises to them?
Mr Harris: The Minister of Northern Development yippety-yaps. I cannot understand what he says. I cannot understand him in English and I cannot understand him in French. All I understand is that he is not living up to his commitment to support northern Ontario.
What about our municipalities? Here is the city of North Bay, unconditional grant from the province in 1989, $11,342,000; in 1990, $11,342,000. The government flat-lined the municipality of North Bay for the unconditional grant again this year. Is it any wonder our property taxes are going up in northern Ontario?
Northerners bring direct concerns such as Laurentian University of Sudbury, which has been lobbying extensively for a college of pharmacy on the university campus in Sudbury and related health care needs at a time when we know we are short of health care professionals in northern Ontario. We are having difficulty attracting them. There was a recommendation made by the Lowy commission that suggested there be another school of pharmacy. Nothing over the past year has been moved. This came from northerners themselves, willing to participate, willing to help them solve the problem. Yet the government sits on it and does nothing about it.
My colleague from the New Democratic Party the member for Nickel Belt mentioned Temagami region and the parks policy. If ever there was an absolute sellout and disgrace of northern Ontarians, it has been in the parks policy of this government and this administration. Nobody knows what it is. There is so much uncertainty in there. They go in and tell one mill, "Yes, you can cut here and the next year you can't." They go ahead and make investment decisions. They go ahead and plan. Then the government comes along and says, "No, you can't cut. We've changed our mind. We're not going to have any harvesting here." They take an area of the province and say:
"You can't do anything here. You can't cut trees. You can't trap. You can't hunt. There will be no forest management here." Then, right beside it, "Go ahead and clear-cut the bejabers out of that." What sense does that make?
Until we get to a policy of multiple use for our resources in this province, we are going to be having environmental disasters brought on by this government. Until they get to the attitude that every square inch of Ontario land should be treated as park land and should be managed in an environmentally sensitive way, until they get into the multiple use philosophy of our areas, they are selling out northerners. They are selling them right down the tubes.
I was intrigued when the current Minister of Natural Resources made a statement to the Hamilton Spectator on 24 February. The minister said: "We have to strike a balance between who uses the land for what purposes. There are a multitude of interest groups, and we can't favour one over the other." If ever I have heard people talk out of both sides of their mouth, it is this government and this administration.
They have done exactly the opposite of that. They have pitted interest group against interest group. They have taken a piece of land and said, "It will be exclusively this here, exclusively this there, exclusively that there." There has been no consultation with northerners on these vast areas of northern Ontario land. They are wiping out community after community. Elk Lake is a community that will disappear right off the map, probably to the satisfaction of this government. Then they will have no organized government from Temagami right through to Timmins, all the way up through that area.
Unless the government starts listening to northern Ontarians about land use planning, about multiple use, unless it starts giving them some say in this priority setting and the sharing of decision-making and unless it at least admits there is a problem and recognizes that the north must be treated differently if it is to share in the prosperity and the booming times that have come across this province over the last four or five years -- and they look like they are coming to an end now -- surely the government must accept that there is a problem to begin with and then it must sit down with northerners to begin to address that problem.
I will pass to others who wish to speak. I could go on all day about the lack of sensitivity, the lack of understanding this government has shown for northern Ontario and, quite frankly, by extension, for all other regions of this province. I can understand how eastern Ontario feels. I can understand how rural Ontario feels. They have been shut out by this government, and I think it is disgraceful.
Suffice to say we will be supporting this motion. We on this side of the House have absolutely no confidence whatsoever that this government, this Premier, this administration understand what is needed in northern Ontario.
Hon Mr Ramsay: I am very proud to stand in my place today as the member for Timiskaming to speak to this motion that has been placed on the floor by the official opposition.
I must say that dollars and cents, as has been criticized here by my Tory colleague, have a lot to do with this. But basically the vision of this government, the leadership of the Peterson government, has to do with the people of northern Ontario. I must tell my colleagues a little bit about what has happened in my riding, the tremendous challenges that have occurred. We have had some problems in Timiskaming. We have had mine closures.
I think what is very important, as has been pointed out by the leader of the third party, is that you cannot necessarily control the economy. You cannot necessarily control the closures of mines. We all know, as northerners, that mines are beginning to close on the day that they open. I think what is important is how government responds to the economic challenges that do face northern Ontario, whether it be my area or the full north that we have above the French River.
I think what is very important, and I want to tell members what has happened in my area, is how this minister, the member for Cochrane North, our Minister of Northern Development, has responded to the challenges there. The Minister of Northern Development was in my riding the day after Dofasco had announced the closure of those mines. He was there to talk to the people, to say, "We are here to help you rebuild the economy of this area."
There is no point sugar-coating what is happening up there. We have a lot of problems in our mining sector. We have to rebuild them. What this minister said was: "We're not going to come in here and do it all for you. What we're going to do is to come into the area and help you rebuild the economy."
One of the most important aspects of that was, he said: "We in the north have got to work together. We're going to have to put away the parochialism that maybe we've suffered a bit too much up in northern Ontario. We will have to work together and that is my challenge to you, to start to work together to respond to the hand that we are putting out today to you in northern Ontario to help rebuild this economy."
That is what this minister has done and that is what this government has done. I would rather defer the rest of my time so that all of the other northern members who are here today can speak to that issue and talk about the tremendous response that this government and this minister have come forward to northern Ontario with, to help us all rebuild that economy.
Mr Pouliot: I certainly enjoy taking part in this debate. Yet there is so little time, with respect, to address a litany of sins, and mostly sins of omission. As we say in French, Mr Speaker, and I want to share this with you, plus ça change, eh bien, plus c'est la même chose : the more things change, the more they remain the same.
We have had 42 years of neglect for the north from the previous government, where the previous administration chose to deal on a piecemeal basis. Now the government adds to it another five and a half years, and there is an analogy or the following parallel of people who on account of a lack of planning are destined to failure. It reminds me of the two people who are changing deckchairs on the Titanic. It is not a matter of the rigmarole, it is not the change, but more important is that destiny is inevitable in this case.
Why the motion of non-confidence? Simply because, if I may be so bold, people are fed up. Fed up of being second-class citizens in the context of the less fortunate in our society, and yes, the people, in terms of natural resources, who contribute the most, people who are wishing the government to acquiesce at reciprocity in this kind of economic endeavour, so that we northerners will have our place under the sun.
When someone says: "I'm proud to be a Canadian. I love the north. I talk to the people of the north and I say, 'We'll do it together,"' I want to hear this. But what I want to hear too is that the provincial tax, which exceeds 11 cents a litre -- that the government, and it can do so by the stroke of a pen, will over the next five years, for instance, cut two cents off to provide an incentive for people who are living in the north, to provide an incentive to people who are ready to locate and can do business on a level playing field; that the government will say, for goods that are produced or assembled in the north, the provincial sales tax, which is now some 8%. will be reduced by 1% or 2%. The government should mean what it says and come up with specifics, come up with planning, with a timetable, a program that would be addressed.
We know very much on a daily basis the importance of having an improved and extended road system in our province, and the government comes to us and says, "We will give you $30 million." Well, the hand that takes from our resources, from our future, and the eyes that watch ourselves, our sons and daughters first, have to leave the north because of the lack of opportunity but, more important, because in terms of priorities the government has refused to say, "Yes, we shall collectively do what needs to be done"; the difficulties in competing with the Barries of this world and other jurisdictions. It is very difficult, for we do not have the same level playing field.
Our circumstances are different. Our reason for being is different. What we are asking for, whether we are talking about health, whether we are talking about opportunities for the present survival or whether we look to the future and we say, "Yes, we shall do so with confidence," is again our place under the sun. We cannot do it alone, although the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. People put their best foot forward, they go with their forte, try to satisfy the environment, but they need an integration. They need a government that would be innovative and imaginative. The old system has not worked. The government needs to be bold. It needs to take a chance with people. It needs to have élan. It has to have a flame. It has to mean it, and bring the dossier of people who supply the other part of Ontario, the second Ontario, the other Ontario with its resources.
Again, I will be supporting the motion of non-confidence. I have no illusion that it will not pass, but it will serve to highlight the legitimate grievances, the need and the right of the opposition to offer positive and workable alternatives so that the north will finally have the same standards in terms of goods and services and look to the future with the same degree of confidence, more importantly, for our sons and daughters.
Mr Eves: It is a pleasure for me to partake in this debate this afternoon. I know that it will come as no surprise to anybody in the Legislature to learn that members on the opposition side of the House, especially those of us who are northern members, will be speaking in favour of the motion of the member for Nickel Belt, and I am sure that all northern members from the government side of the House will be speaking against the motion of the member for Nickel Belt.
I do not have any doubt about the sincerity of commitment on the part of the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, and never have had. I think the Minister of Northern Development and Mines is indeed a very sincere person, dedicated to the interests of northern Ontario, but I do not think that the Premier and his cabinet colleagues necessarily listen to the things which he feels and we feel, those of us who live in northern Ontario, are needed for the people of northern Ontario.
I want to be a little bit parochial today because I do not have that much time left and I want to speak specifically about the issue of northern status for the Parry Sound riding. We have gone through this on numerous occasions in the past. Parry Sound riding is much more than just the Parry Sound area of the province of Ontario. Geographically, it is the fifth largest riding in the province. It includes the entire district of Parry Sound, everything in Nipissing district east of the city of North Bay, which goes up the Ottawa River a way. It also includes, I believe, a small portion of Renfrew, and it includes all of Algonquin Park.
For many years, various ministries of the government, one at a time, recognized Parry Sound as being part of northern Ontario. To the current minister's credit and after much persistence on behalf of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities, other municipalities throughout northern Ontario, as well as those in the riding of Parry Sound, and two private members' resolutions which I introduced in 1987 and 1988 -- and which passed unanimously, I might add, in this Legislature -- finally, on 9 June 1988, he rose in his place and announced that effective 1 April 1989, Parry Sound riding -- that is, all of the district of Parry Sound and all of the district of Nipissing -- would be included in northern Ontario for the purposes of all government ministries, all government agencies and all government programs related to northern Ontario.
I had thought that had put the matter at an end. I am reading from the minister's own words: "We acknowledge that the people of Parry Sound and Nipissing indeed share those special needs and that they deserve access to the special government programs established to address them.
"Official inclusion in northern Ontario will give individuals, institutions and organizations access to specific programs oriented to northern needs. For the people of Parry Sound and Nipissing, particularly those lying south of Algonquin Park and the French River, this means being treated in a consistent fashion with other northern districts by all government ministries."
There are no outs in those words -- for all programs offered for northern Ontario.
We still are not recognized in Parry Sound riding as being able to participate in the northern health travel grant program. The response I have been getting from the Minister of Health for a couple of years now as to why we are not included is that it is not a northern program. It is called the northern health travel grant program. The regulations under the act define what northern Ontario is. If that is not a northern Ontario program, there will never be one. That is the most stupid explanation I have ever heard in my life.
If she just does not have the money and does not want to spent it, why does she not just fess up and say that, except that the Premier and the Minister of Northern Development and Mines have already committed her to that program. I presume the Ministry of Health, being the largest in the government, is one of the ministries to which there are no exclusions or exceptions and to which the Premier and the minister were referring.
Education: For many years, boards of education in Parry Sound riding looked for the day when they could participate in northern rural Ontario factoring into their educational grants. They had access to that for exactly one year. Then the Minister of Education, this year, changed the entire factoring system, so that it will cost east Parry Sound residents $500,000 more this year alone on their local tax bills because of what the Minister of Education has done to the commitment that the Minister of Northern Development and Mines made on 9 June 1988.
It will cost the west Parry Sound Board of Education taxpayers over $300,000 this year alone because of the copout by the current Minister of Education from the commitment that was made by the Premier and the Minister of Northern Development and Mines in June 1988.
The Ontario Development Corp: I raised this issue in a member's statement here this afternoon because this morning I was faxed a memorandum from the economic development officer in Parry Sound. This is a very non-political person. She is employed by the various municipalities in the west Parry Sound area.
She has been informed by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology that later this year Parry Sound applications for the Northern Ontario Development Corp no longer will be processed in northern Ontario, in Sudbury, as they are now, but they will have to be sent to a newly created southern Ontario Development Corp office that is going to be placed in Bracebridge, just by coincidence, I presume it happens to be, in the riding of the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay. I would not want to say that the only rationale that I can possibly think of is to help justify the existence of that office in Bracebridge. It probably makes more sense to put it in some place like Orillia or Barrie if it is supposed to service central Ontario. However, there has to be a rationale as to why it is going into Bracebridge, I suppose. And who is going to pay? The people in Parry Sound district and Nipissing district, which are in Parry Sound riding, are going to pay.
They have developed over the years a very good rapport with NODC, Norfund, the Northern Ontario Development Advisory Board, the northern Ontario heritage fund, among others. These people worked very hard at coming to Parry Sound, helping the people in Parry Sound riding solve their problems. That consultation is done either through Sudbury or North Bay. Now we are going to have the situation where these people are going to have to go to a place in southern Ontario that does not really know anything about the problems of northern Ontario, let alone the programs that are specific to northern Ontario, to justify the existence of an office in Bracebridge. I do not have anything against the people in Bracebridge. I am just saying the government should not renege on a commitment to the people of the Parry Sound riding because it wants to justify the rationale for an office existing in Bracebridge by the southern Ontario Development Corp.
I want to speak a little bit in the few moments I have about health care, besides northern health travel grants. Northern health travel grants are probably the most important issue in my particular constituency because they affect very directly individuals who can least afford to pay. There are a few other examples that we have had recently with respect to health care. We all know the problems that Laurentian Hospital and the cancer treatment centre in Sudbury have gone through. They have a commitment for bricks and mortar, but they cannot get a commitment to get somebody to head up the research department. Despite many pleas on behalf of opposition members, the Minister of Health has refused to budge.
There are six psychiatrists right now to deal with the entire population of Ontario from Sudbury to the Manitoba border, a population in excess of 250,000 people. For comparison, in the city of Ottawa, which has 500,000 people, there are over 200 psychiatrists.
Mr Haggerty: They need them over there.
Mr Miclash: They need them.
Mr Eves: Some members on the government benches think the answer to that is that they need them in Ottawa. I do not think that is the appropriate answer to a very serious health care concern.
I have cancer patients who have to travel from Mattawa to Thunder Bay for treatment. I have a lithotripsy patient with kidney stones right now, whom I have contacted the ministry and the minister about on several occasions, who has been waiting for treatment since April 1989. I currently have a heart patient who has had his surgery at Sunnybrook Medical Centre postponed some three times. I have had others who have not been so lucky and who have died after having surgery postponed, in one case, five or six times. I have had children who need heart surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children have to go elsewhere or have their surgery postponed five or six times -- six-month-old children. These are some of the problems that we have with respect to health care in northern Ontario.
Recently we even had a couple of officials from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs appear in Parry Sound at municipal meetings and suggest that what we need in our area of the province is regional government. "Regional government" is not the term they chose. They said, "Merging together of various municipalities" -- this coming from the same government, the same party that fought regional government for years and years and is now suggesting it as a solution to the people of the Parry Sound riding for some of their problems. It is absolutely ludicrous.
Because of the problems that I have found, which I thought were resolved in large part on 9 June 1988, I will certainly be supporting the resolution by the member for Nickel Belt here this afternoon.
Mr Kozyra: I am happy to join in this debate because I am filled with pride when I stop to think of the measures that this government has taken with respect to northern Ontario over the past five years. Our commitment to improving the northern highway network has been well demonstrated. The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines funding for highways is $115 million for 1990, almost 60% higher than the 1986-87 allocation. This increased funding will enable us to continue to improve the highway, access road and municipal road systems in the north on an ongoing basis.
We are dedicating almost $125 million between 1989 and 1993 through the transportation capital program to fund a number of improvements to our major northern highways. These projects include the accelerated planning and design of four-lane projects on Highway 11 and Highway 69; the construction of the Parry Sound and southeast bypasses; the planning, design and initial construction of four-laning on Highway 17 from Thunder Bay to Nipigon, as well as a new Highway 17 alignment from Thunder Bay to Shabaqua, and accelerated completion of other improvements to Highways 11, 69 and 17, such as resurfacing, construction and new passing lanes.
Upgrading our secondary highway system remains a high priority. Between 1987 and 1989 the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines helped rehabilitate a total of more than 1,000 kilometres of roadway, and further funded more than 170 kilometres worth of expansion work. Hundreds of kilometres of resource access roads and municipal roads were also rehabilitated.
Last fall the Minister of Northern Development opened four new remote airports to provide service to remote native communities. These airports represent a provincial investment of nearly $11 million and are providing improved access to medical care, fresh food and opportunities for business development. The scope of the community airport program will be expanded this year. To date the focus had been on funding improvements to attract new or expanded commercial passenger aviation service. In the coming year runways will be lengthened in key communities to provide for provincial firefighting aircraft. One such project that was recently opened is in Chapleau. We provided funding of $250,000 to extend the airport runway by 300 metres to bring it up to the standard for forest fire operations.
In conclusion -- there are many other examples I could list, but I want to give my colleagues further time -- our successful policies are due in great part to the efforts of one truly special northerner. As Minister of Northern Development, the member for Cochrane North has spearheaded many of the initiatives that are now in place. He has worked tirelessly to represent northern Ontario and has achieved a great deal of success. These examples should suffice to prove that this government is the best partner and that this minister is the best minister the north could have.
Mr Wildman: I will just speak briefly in this debate because of the time allocated. I want to say that I recognize that the Minister of Northern Development is sincere in his attempts to improve the situation in northern Ontario, but I would like to put on the record some figures.
In my view the 800,000 people who live in the north continue to be shortchanged. Hundreds of millions of dollars in government taxes and company profits go south each year, much more than ever return to the north. Since 1986 the provincial resource revenues have amounted to $830 million. The mining tax profits have provided the government with $521 million. Revenues from forestry operations brought in $309 million.
These amounts pale, though, when you consider the enormous corporate profits that flow southward. Thirteen of the largest resource companies active in northern Ontario made $10 billion clear profit in the last half of the 1980s. Typically these companies use these profits from their northern operations to finance development, takeovers and real estate ventures in the greater Toronto region or in the United States, instead of returning investment to northern Ontario communities. This government has done nothing to change that situation. It is similar to the situation we endured for so long under the previous administration.
Meanwhile northern unemployment is high and thousands of young people must leave to find work in southern Ontario communities where they cannot afford to live because of the high cost of living. The government has done little to diversify the economy in the north or to end the boom-bust cycle. Mining jobs are being lost in places like Elliot Lake, and forestry jobs are being threatened because of the disregard for the future of our forests both by the public and private sectors.
We know that the government has transferred jobs to the north. It talks about the 1,600 total jobs that have gone to the north. We support that program. I was part of a committee that recommended a similar program to that. However, let's put it in perspective: 1,600 total jobs moved to the north, but 2,000 jobs are being lost in one community, in Elliot Lake, a community of 18,000 people.
Time and again the voices of the people of the north have been ignored. I think it is time that the people of the north decided what should be done in terms of investment in the north, and that is why I support this resolution.
I do not have confidence that the situation in northern Ontario is going to change. Sure, we may get a little more money for some secondary highways. We may get some money for certain developments and small businesses in some communities. We may get some assistance for some municipalities. They may throw a few grants here and there. But the overall problem of boom-bust, resource-based, single-industry towns will not change.
We are not going to see a diversification of the economy in northern Ontario unless the whole philosophy about the development of the north changes. Instead of allowing the private sector to determine investment in the north, or lack of investment in the north, that investment must be directed by the public sector. The government must have a commitment to producing jobs in northern Ontario on a sustainable basis and so far we have not seen that, so I support the resolution.
Mr Miclash: I must say today that I am very pleased to join in this debate and to share with my colleagues the sense of pride and the satisfaction I personally have derived from this government, and in particular derived from representing the people of the Kenora riding.
Mr Laughren: Self-satisfied, that's what he is.
Mr Miclash: My friend the member for Nickel Belt earlier spoke about the forestry industry, something that he will know is of great importance in my riding. But before I get on to that and tell members a little more about what we have done as a government for the forestry industry, I just want to let members know that we have a partnership developed, a partnership that I see very clearly in my riding, with the government that we presently have in power in the province.
All I have to do is refer to the number of times that the partners -- the partners in the government, the ministers and the Premier -- have been in my riding to learn a little more about the problems, the things that are affecting us in Kenora riding. I see that as a very important partnership, one that has developed between the people within my riding, the people who tell the government what is needed in the north, and the government itself.
Getting back to the forestry issue, I would just like to tell members a little about the sustained use of our natural resources that we have grown to see through this government and how this has been put forth in the forestry industry.
We have developed what we call a balanced forest management program, which includes good harvest planning, the choice of appropriate regeneration techniques and a very firm commitment to the proper tending of the forests of northern Ontario.
Let me tell members a little about what the Minister of Natural Resources is doing for our forests, again a very important issue in my riding. This year alone the ministry has spent $231 million on forest management and of course that includes $150 million on the renewal activities alone. So we can see a good commitment, where we are seeing a government today that is planting two trees for every one cut in the north.
We in the north know the importance of the resources to us and I must say that I think we are doing a very good job of ensuring that the forestry industry is going to be retained throughout the north.
In concluding, I would just like to say that I have been a representative of this government, which I have seen will listen to those concerns of my constituents in Kenora riding.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Could we keep interjections to a minimum, before we proceed with the member for Sudbury East.
Miss Martel: I am pleased to participate in the debate and I agree entirely with the resolution that has been placed by my colleague the member for Nickel Belt. I want to touch on a few matters in the short time I have.
First of all, concerning highways, on 5 April this government made a major announcement on transportation in southern Ontario, in the greater Toronto area in particular -- $5 billion committed over the next five years to transportation routes in southern Ontario.
I would have expected that when the minister opened the goody bag for Christmas, he would have at least given northern Ontario some share of that money. Not a penny, not a dime, not one cent was contributed to northern Ontario or promised to northern Ontario in that announcement.
The worst thing was that the least he could have done was to say that the government was committed to four-laning of Highway 69 and other highways in northern Ontario, and set out a timetable for that. The Minister of Transportation did not even have the decency to do that. I think it is high time that this government got around to committing to the good people of northern Ontario that there will be four-laning, and provide a timetable and guarantee the funding over the next number of years so we can have adequate transportation routes as well.
Second, let me talk about unconditional grants. Single-industry towns in our special part of the world have really taken a beating with the ups and downs of resource prices, and with the fluctuation in the interest rates as well. For those towns in northern Ontario, this government's commitment through unconditional grants is absolutely crucial if they are going to provide badly needed services in their own communities.
In many cases the government is providing the lion's share of some of the money that those communities need to put those services in place. I do not think this government has any idea of the kind of grief it has caused municipalities in northern Ontario, in the last two years in particular, because it has frozen or flat-lined unconditional grants. For services that southerners take for granted, northern Ontario communities do not even have enough money to get those projects off the ground.
I agree with the regional municipality of Sudbury, which writes to the minister and says that in this review of unconditional grants the Ministry of Municipal Affairs is undertaking, it really has to look at northern communities and the needs northern communities have around unconditional grants, especially in light of the boom and bust economy.
Let me talk about health care in the short time I have. There is a lot to be said about health care, but many members have heard what my northern colleagues and myself have said regarding our report and the work we did on our health care tours in northern Ontario. I want to focus on two points in particular.
Number one, the travel grant: The travel grant in this province is woefully and totally inadequate. This Minister of Health and this government have done absolutely nothing to change that, in spite of the cases we have raised in this House, in spite of what her own members have gotten up to say in terms of the changes that are required.
There is no companion grant covered. Young people can go with their parents and receive medical treatment and the parents would be covered. In the case of senior citizens, if they need someone to accompany them, in the case of blind people, people who are too sick to travel alone, none of those people get covered for companions, and that is absolutely unacceptable. None of the total cost for accommodation, for air fare, for wages lost when people have to take time and go with relatives in search of medical treatment in southern Ontario is covered. It is time this government addressed the inadequacies in the northern health travel grant in this province.
It is totally unacceptable that northern Ontarians must pay out of their own pockets when they have to travel to southern Ontario to access medical care. Medical care in this province is a right, not a privilege, and it is about time this government got its act together and made the changes that are necessary to ensure that all of us will have equal access to medical care in this province.
In the long term, this government has to realize that the only fundamental way we are going to attract and retain health care professionals in northern Ontario is to have a medical school in northern Ontario. It is not enough to have an initiative that allows for some residencies in northern Ontario in the hope that people are going to remain. That will never be enough, and we are only looking at doctors in this latest government initiative. We have said time and again that we have to be training all kinds of health care providers in northern Ontario, using our universities, using our college system. Until we establish a medical school in northern Ontario to respond to northern needs we are never, ever going to be able to attract and retain the health care providers that are essential in northern Ontario.
Finally, in terms of the economy, the north has always had higher rates of unemployment than southern Ontario. A lot of that discrepancy goes back to the fact that so many of our communities are single-industry towns. There are approximately 162 municipalities in the north with less than 3,000 population. Some 50 of those communities rely on a single industry. Some 30 of those alone depend totally on forestry revenues. In spite of this fragile economy, we have always given much, much more to southern Ontario in terms of profits.
My colleague the member for Algoma mentioned what the public sector took out in terms of forestry revenue, $100 million in 1988-89; in terms of mining profit tax, $197 million in 1988-89 alone. The private sector, Inco for example, took over $1.7 billion out of the north in the last five-year period. Falconbridge took over three quarters of a billion dollars.
What do we get back in return? We get back a mealymouthed, Mickey Mouse kind of northern Ontario heritage fund that gives us $30 million in one year over the next 12. That is not enough to respond to the terrible economic problems we see with the closure of Sherman Mine, Adams Mine and now in Elliot Lake. It is about time we started getting something back for all the money that is taken out of northern Ontario. It is about time this government got serious about diversifying our economy. I agree entirely with what my colleague has said. Myself and northerners have no confidence in this government.
Mr Brown: I rise today, proud to be a northerner and proud to be part of this government. I represent a riding that is going through some difficult times. In one part of my riding, actually, we are seeing growth and development, but in Elliot Lake, our major city, we are seeing a major downturn due to market forces. We are losing in Elliot Lake in excess of 2,000 jobs. That is making for very, very difficult times. Our people are insecure. Our people have to consider their options. It is not an easy time for the community.
But I am heartened and I am happy that when the announcements came that the community would be losing these jobs, the first thing that happened was the Minister of Northern Development was on the phone saying, "Mike, tell the community I am with them." The minister and I went to the community and met with the major groups in the community, the companies, the unions, the council of the community, and we pledged to that community that we would work together to diversify and rebuild Elliot Lake's economy. The Premier said to me, "I will come to Elliot Lake and I will talk to them." The Treasurer came to Elliot Lake and we talked to him, and we are seeing in Elliot Lake --
Mr Laughren: Do you know what he said? He said, "I've got nothing for you."
Mr Brown: That is not what he said.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The member for Algoma-Manitoulin will address the Speaker.
Mr Brown: The Premier has committed that this community will rise out of this catastrophe, and no other word will describe it, to be diversified, to be strong, because it has strong community leadership. All segments of the community are pulling hard.
Over the last few months we have seen some major announcements, and we are about to see some more major announcements for this community, as we intend to rebuild a diversified, strong future for Elliot Lake. I think in a few years we will look at Elliot Lake as a model of how to diversify the north. I am sure that all members of this House will appreciate the strong direction that comes from the Minister of Northern Development and the Premier of this province, and the proof will be in the pudding.
Mr Hampton: I am pleased to support the member for Nickel Belt in this resolution, because from my part of Ontario I see every day that what has happened with the change of government has been perhaps a change in the level of some of the grants, perhaps a change in the timing and perhaps a change in the direction, but other than that, very little has happened.
Northern Ontario has traditionally suffered from years of neglect at the hands of a Conservative government that was focused almost entirely on southern Ontario. When the regime of the Peterson Liberals took over, a lot of rather grandiose promises were made to people from across northern Ontario, grandiose promises about health care, about highways, about economic development, diversification and so on.
The sad fact is that all that has happened is that this government is a little better at fine-tuning its funding and its grants so that they arrive just before an election, a little bit better at doing that than the previous government.
Let me give an example. I see the Minister of Health shaking her head. For the last five years, representatives of the Ontario Medical Association and municipal representatives have been here to Queen's Park advocating that more training of physicians be conducted in northern Ontario. In fact, I can show members the report we issued in November 1984 called Miles to Go, which advocated more training of health care professionals in northern Ontario. That was followed by another report, Operation Critical, which outlined again the need to train more medical profeicionals in northern Ontario.
After five years, just in time for the next election campaign, this government finally announces a pittance, and I say a pittance because the program will not be in place so that we can evaluate if it has even been effective until 1994. As I said, the timing of the grants has changed so they arrive just before the election campaign now, but little else has changed.
Mr Morin-Strom: I appreciate the opportunity to have about two minutes to give some concluding remarks with respect to the resolution that has been put forward condemning this government with respect to its actions on northern Ontario.
Over the five years that I have served in this assembly, I have seen my colleagues and myself raise issues of serious concern right across northern Ontario, but we have seen very little in terms of action from this Liberal government. We did get several commitments from this government during the minority government days, the accord agreement, but since this government has achieved its majority government, the only significant initiative that this government continues to hark back to is the moving of jobs to northern Ontario, some 1,600 jobs which were announced some four years ago, and that is still its only major initiative for the north.
Surely it is time this government recognized that the problems of the north are far more profound than the moving of some government jobs from the city of Toronto. The north has to have an economy that is diversified, that can accommodate the kind of boom and bust cycles that are prevalent in the forestry and in the mineral industries that are the mainstays for northern Ontario. Until the government addresses the real economy of the north and recognizes what the real needs are for northerners so that the northerners can be full participants in this province of ours, northerners will continue to be second-class citizens. The people of the province understand that; we understand it in the north; I wish the government understood that.
L'hon M. Fontaine : Il me fait plaisir cet après-midi de participer à ces débats. Lorsque j'ai visité la circonscription de Nickel Belt, il y a deux semaines -- j'étais a Gaugama, et j'ai appelé à mon bureau et on m'a dit qu'il y avait une motion. La ligne de communication était très difficile, alors je croyais que mon ami le député de Nickel Belt avait une motion de confiance envers le gouvernement pour ce qu'il faisait pour le nord. À un moment donné, lorsque j'ai rappelé, on m'a expliqué que c'était une motion de censure. Alors, j'étais tout seul dans mon automobile avec un de mes employés et j'ai dit : «Floyd, écoute une minute. Tu peux pousser.»
First of all, I would like to say a few things about the money that was -- they were saying on the first motion or the first resolution -- I do not know if it is a resolution or not, but still -- they were talking about the money that is being transferred to the north, that the moneys are coming back..
It is funny. A few months ago or a year ago, I asked a question to the people who are involved in studying all this and I was told that the money is coming back, and I am going to give you a few examples of this.
First of all, I want to remind my friend from the opposition that we have got a minister in northern Ontario. You can go around the other provinces in this country and see if they have got a ministry for northern affairs and what the budgets are.
Hon Mr Fontaine: I am going to give a few figures to the member for Lake Nipigon.
Tout à l'heure je vous ai fait parler, j'espère. Vous allez écouter un peu ce que j'ai à dire.
First of all, I would like to remind him that the budget of this Ministry of Northern Development and Mines is $345 million. He should put that in his mind a little bit. Then on top of that we have got other programs, like the heritage fund that is $30 million, and we go on with another program that we had in place a few years ago. It was a transfer of money of $100 million, and this was put in place to help the people for northern Ontario.
First of all, we are talking about money that was transferred. I want to remind the people from the opposition that this is a ministry with this budget, but there are other ministries in northern Ontario that are helping the north.
First of all, I want to remind members about the road situation, and I heard that from many members on the other side. I want to tell them something. When we took over the government the budget was about $65 million, today we are over $131 million, and for the people who think there will be no fourlaning, do not worry, there will be some four-laning in northern Ontario. This is a commitment that we made --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Please sit down. Assoyez-vous. The Minister of Health, please; the member for Nickel Belt; all members, please; one member at a time, according to the standing order.
Mr Laughren: Now talk sense.
Hon Mr Fontaine: I will talk sense, as much sense as anybody else can talk over here.
Une chance qu'on peut dire que dans la construction de chemins, il y avait un budget, les cinq ans passés, qui était de 65 millions de dollars. Aujourd'hui on est rendus à 131 millions de dollars et puis on a fait des annonces à Sudbury, à North Bay et à Thunder Bay qu'on était prêts à prendre les quatre voies, qu'on allait le faire, que ça commençait déjà. Lorsqu'on a pris le pouvoir, j'avais demandé aux ingénieurs s'il y avaient d'autres plans, parce qu'il y avait eu un commencement des quatre voies entre Huntsville et North Bay, mais les ingénieurs du gouvernement m'ont dit à ce moment-là qu'il n'y avait aucun plan. Nous autres, on était prêts à mettre des plans ensemble. On va partir des quatre voies entre Nipigon et Thunder Bay, entre North Bay et Huntsville, entre Sudbury et Waubaushene –
Deuxièmement, on a dit qu'on n'a jamais -- bon, il faut vous rappeler quelque chose, M. le Président.
I want to repeat in English that we have the Rosehart report, which some members from the opposition sat on, but I want to tell members that, as of today, we have about 95% of the commitments that have been done or resolutions in place.
Another thing: They forget everything, that Mr Rosehart, when he presented his report, said that to change the economy of northern Ontario would take 13 to 20 years. This was repeated by other members of this committee, because they base themselves on Sweden -- and I was there this winter for four days. What I saw of northern Sweden was okay, but I can tell members today that we are far ahead of them too on many points. They told me there were universities. I visited those universities, and I think --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Hon Mr Fontaine: -- I can compare any municipalities and areas in the north with their health system, because I can tell members, we are spending on cancer over $100 million in Sudbury and Thunder Bay. I was told by the member for Parry Sound there was nothing being done for cancer in Sudbury. I do not know which area he lives in, but I can tell members that my ministry gives money towards the research --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Hon Mr Fontaine: -- and we give millions and millions of dollars in Sudbury for cancer, and the heritage board will come in for another $3 million for the beds because there is a shortage of money from fund-raising. We will come in, and people forget that. They forget about what we are doing for the smaller communities. I want to repeat something: Il faut attendre un peu.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. All members had a chance to speak one at a time. No interjections, please. Could we have peace and quiet, please, in respect of the standing orders?
Mr Lupusella: This motion is a complete lie.
The Deputy Speaker: The member for Dovercourt, please.
Hon Mr Fontaine: Part of the Rosehart report was relocation, and we did that at the cost of over $200 million for buildings. On top of that, we are doing more than that. There was another thing. Rosehart said that we should have a fund, and the fund is in place. Another thing that Rosehart said was about medical schools.
Mr Hampton: It's an empty --
Hon Mr Fontaine: I do not know what the member for Rainy River is talking about. This is not a political issue. We were working on this clinical residency for the last two years. Now it is in place and the heritage fund will come in with $9 million to build those buildings starting this year, not in 20 years from now.
The chairman of the Rosehart committee told me and he told everybody that he agrees with what we are doing with this medical residency.
Miss Martel: No, what did he say --
Le Vice-Président : Le député de Sudbury-Est, s'il vous plaît.
L'hon M. Fontaine : En réponse au chef du troisième parti, ici il y a un article d'un journal conservateur de M. Piché. Tout le monde connaît M. Piché. Alors, ce qu'il dit –
"However, there is something I wish you to know about Fontaine and northerners. We are far better off with our current minister than we were with Leo Bernier while he was minister of a large, superfluous Ministry of Northern Affairs during the years when the Tories were reaping the benefit of the booming economy. It's a good thing that politicians have such short memories; they could not otherwise live with themselves."
I did not write that. That is Piché's paper.
Mr Pouliot: Read the headline.
Le Vice-Président: Du calme, s'il vous plaît.
Mr Pouliot: Read the headline. Read the whole thing.
Hon Mr Fontaine: "René Beats Leo Any Day."
There were some announcements lately in Thunder Bay and some friends of mine said: "Today is not a day of criticism. It's a day to say we're beginning to penetrate the Premier, a job well done." I read another article over here from the member for Sudbury East. They said that they have seen some tremendous changes over the years since I was going to school. And then I go back to the Sault Ste Marie paper. One thing I am going to tell members: People forget about diversification.
Mr Hampton: We want a medical school; the medical school, René.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please, the member for Rainy River.
Hon Mr Fontaine: We got the medical residency. He is going to be surprised about what is going to happen.
I was told by the Rosehart committee that we should start at the base, and I think I did that and my government did that. First of all, we started with the northern development council.
Hon Mr Fontaine: Do not laugh. In this NDC today, we are looking at the youth and immigration.
Mr Hampton: You'll never get out of the swamp, René.
Hon Mr Fontaine: I will get out of the swamp. The member need not worry about that.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. We have a fine example of members having a short memory of the standing orders. The member for Rainy River, order. Would the members respect the standing orders?
Hon Mr Fontaine: Everything that I was told by this committee -- to affirm some economic development corporations in municipalities. Today, I am glad to announce that 37 municipalities in the north are using some grant money to start their own economic development corporations, and that is the base. I am going to tell members that a government cannot do that alone. It is the people of northern Ontario with the government -- the municipal government, the federal government and the province -- that are going to shape up this province.
I never said to anybody since the last five years that I will change that in five years. I said it could take 15 years, it could take 20 years. It is not my fault if after the war there was no decentralization of industry in Ontario, but since the last five years if you go to North Bay, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste Marie and other towns, you will see --
Miss Martel: What about Elliot Lake?
Hon Mr Fontaine: Elliot Lake? Oh, I am going to talk about Elliot Lake, yes.
There are all kinds of things we can do for Elliot Lake, but one thing the union is asking is that this government at some time -- I do not know when -- build a nuclear plant over there. I will have to ask the opposition what it thinks about that, because we cannot save the miners who are mining uranium if there are no more nuclear plants.
Hon Mr Fontaine: Members should not talk out of both sides of their mouths. That is what the union is asking for, a nuclear plant in Elliot Lake.
Mr Pouliot: Who did you support?
Hon Mr Fontaine: I will support a nuclear plant because the next one will be in the north.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr Pouliot: Watch your blood pressure.
Le Vice-Président : Le député de Lac Nipigon, s'il vous plaît.
Mr Hampton: No medical school, but a nuclear plant.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, the member for Rainy River.
Mr Laughren: You would put a nuclear plant on every corner.
The Deputy Speaker: The member for Nickel Belt. Order, please. Vous addressez le Président et uniquement le Président, et tous les députés respectent les règlements.
Hon Mr Fontaine: I am going to talk about Ontario Hydro. My Premier, a few years ago, said that Hydro should be used as a development tool in the north, but when it comes time to look at certain areas for rivers we have got problems and when it comes time to look at nuclear plants we have got problems. But one of these days, northerners the opposition and everybody will have to decide, because there are all kinds of opportunities.
We changed the rule with Hydro, to buy from private enterprise. There are over 20 new co-generation plants with natural gas. This was not before. The Conservatives did nothing on this. We are trying to use Hydro as a development tool and I am sure this year or next year there will be some announcement for Elliot Lake. But we will have to have the co-operation of everybody, because every time you want to do something you have got to go through an environmental assessment, and if everybody is against that, it will not happen. But at that time I would like to see the opposition and everybody work together so that northerners get our share in the future plans of Hydro.
I will talk about what my government and my ministry are doing for the small communities. When I came over here as a minister, I was told to try to change the face of this ministry. I think that, by this article from Mr Piché's paper, I did that a little bit. I changed the face of this ministry. I went to the grass roots. I can walk anyplace in northern Ontario, and nobody is shooting me, nobody is throwing me out of town. I was in Chapleau with my honourable friend. I am going to go to Nipigon. Nobody is going to say, "Fontaine, you're out of this town because you didn't work for us," or "Your government didn't work for you."
I tried to split the money equally. I treated everybody across here the same way. I did give money to the ones who criticized. And not only me. Look what happened with the hospitals. In which ridings are they? There are some in the riding of my friend the member for Algoma, there are some in the riding of my friend the member for Nipigon, there are some in the riding of the member for Kenora. But nobody talks about that. Nobody talks about what is happening in his own town. When the members go back home tonight or this weekend, they should look at what is happening in their own place. They should not come over here and try to say that we are doing nothing for northern Ontario.
Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait pour nos amis les autochtones?
I would like to touch a little bit on what we are doing with our native people. We are building airports all over the north. We work with the natives to get Hydro to charge the same price for hydro as it charges in the rural areas in the south. We want that.
On top of that, we are helping them in health, with new ambulance services; on top of that, helicopters. Second, my ministry built two apartment buildings for nurses and doctors, in Attawapiskat and Fort Albany. People forget that. They say we are doing nothing for northern Ontario.
I know we are going through hard times. That we all know. We know there is a 15% tax on the lumber industry. We know the interest is high. But northern Ontario went through bust and boom and we survived. Sudbury survived, Sault Ste Marie survived, Marathon survived and Kenora survived, and Fort Frances, Red Lake and Pickle Lake. We all survived because we are working together.
Le nord de l'Ontario, c'est la plus belle place où on peut vivre.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. This completes the debate on Mr Laughren's resolution.
Mr Laughren: Where's the medical school?
Hon Mr Fontaine: You're going to be surprised, sir.
Mr Hampton: No medical school, but we will get the nuclear plant?
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please, the member for Rainy River. Are members through?
Mrs Marland: Yes.
The Deputy Speaker: Thank you.
The House divided on Mr Laughren's motion, which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes -- 21
Allen, Bryden, Charlton, Cunningham, Eves, Farnan, Grier, Hampton, Harris, Laughren, Mackenzie, Marland, Mantel, Mona-Strom, Philip, E., Pollock, Pouliot, Rae, B., Villeneuve, Wildman, Wiseman.
Nays -- 56
Ballinger, Beer, Bossy, Brown, Callahan, Campbell, Caplan, Chiarelli, Cleary, Cordiano, Daigeler, Dietsch, Elliot, Elston, Epp, Faubert, Ferraro, Fleet, Fontaine, Fulton, Grandmaitne, Haggerty, Hart, Henderson, Kernio, Keyes, Kozyra, Lupusella, MacDonald, Mahoney, Mancini, Matrundola, McClelland, McLeod, Miclash, Miller, Neumann, Nicholas; Offer, O'Neil, H., O'Neill, Y., Owen, Phillips, G., Poole, Ramsay, Reycraft, Roberts, Smith, D. W., Smith, E. J., Sola, Sorbara, Stoner, Sweeney, Tatham, Wilson, Wrye.
The House adjourned at 1757.