37e législature, 3e session



Wednesday 26 June 2002 Mercredi 26 juin 2002



LOI DE 2002

Wednesday 26 June 2002 Mercredi 26 juin 2002

The House met at 1845.



Hon Brian Coburn (Associate Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): I move that the Minister of Finance be authorized to pay the salaries of the civil servants and other necessary payments pending the voting of supply for the period commencing May 1, 2002, and ending October 31, 2002, such payments to be charged to the proper appropriation following the voting of supply.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Debate?

Hon John R. Baird (Associate Minister of Francophone Affairs): Could I ask for unanimous consent that the first speaker be the hard-working member for Northumberland?

The Acting Speaker: Is there unanimous consent that the first speaker will be the member from Northumberland? Agreed? It is agreed.

Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): I appreciate the unanimous agreement here in the House. Interim supply is one of the most important motions passed in the Legislature. I certainly appreciate being able to initiate the debate on this.

This is a motion that gives authority to the government to continue its programs and to operate the daily business of government. It gives permission to the government to send money to municipalities, hospitals and school boards around the province. Sometimes this sector is referred to as the MUSH sector. It gives permission to pay social assistance benefits to those who are in need. It also appropriates payment of salaries to the dedicated members of the Ontario civil service.

The motion for interim supply does not specify a dollar amount, but rather it provides the spending authority for a specified period of time. The proposed motion for interim supply would cover the six-month period from July 1, 2002, to December 31, 2002. The motion provides global and individual ministries spending authority for health care, quality education, environmental initiatives and other priorities of government so we can continue the job we were elected to do.

We've had enormous growth since we took office in terms of job creation, with Ontario leading Canada -- leading very significantly, most of the time -- with 50% of the net new jobs being created. Since September 1995, we've created a net 893,000 jobs.

When you look at the population of Ontario -- a little over 11 million people -- and you look at almost 1 million jobs, there's roughly 50% of the population that are actively employed. In the neighbourhood of 20% would be an estimate of the number of new jobs that have been created.

When we were first elected, certainly there were no such things as traffic jams around Toronto. There weren't that many people going to work, but with that almost a million people out there working, yes it's understandable why we do have traffic jams in the morning going to work and in the evening coming home.


Also, since 1995 there are 600,000 fewer people in Ontario who now depend on welfare. Most, according to surveys taken, are gainfully employed.

For three consecutive years -- 1999, 2000 and 2001 -- we have balanced the provincial budget. We've also put forward a plan to balance the budget for the fourth consecutive year in 2002. I'm very proud of the budget that was tabled a little over a week ago, Growth and Prosperity: Keeping the Promise, brought forward by the Eves government, by the Honourable Janet Ecker.

The unemployment rate is down to 7%. From the end of 1995 to the first quarter of 2002, consumer confidence was up 52%. Housing starts are up 17.2%. Real disposable income has increased by 18.5% since we began cutting taxes. Tax revenues to pay for programs and services have risen by nearly $14 billion since we began cutting taxes. The provincial economy has grown by almost 27% since 1995, compared to 20% in the rest of Canada -- a significant difference.

Ontario got to this enviable position thanks to our government's prudent fiscal management and sound economic policies. Over the years, we did not shrink from making tough decisions and responsible choices. We focused on creating the conditions to increase growth and achieve the highest quality of life for the people of Ontario. I'm pleased and proud that we stuck to our plan.

Economic growth has been spurred by tax cuts. It has enabled our government to invest in priority programs and services such as health care, education and the environment. You may recall that earlier this afternoon we heard the member for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex commenting about the kind of care his son received. I hear so many people speaking so highly of our health system, particularly after they have left the hospital. Well over 90% speak very highly of it. Of course there's a percentage that would criticize even if they won a million dollars. Those who fall in the cracks are very few. It's a health care system we should be very proud of.

The ability to set priorities is perhaps the most important aspect of effective, efficient and accountable government planning. In Ontario, the government has set investment priorities based on the values of everyday Ontario taxpayers. We know these taxpayers are not wasteful spenders. We know they believe in balancing their books and spending wisely. We know they want the same from their government. Our government agrees.

Interim supply provides the authority to spend, but we must make responsible choices to ensure we stay the course for prosperity. We've been hearing a lot about prosperity since the 2002 budget, tabled last week, in particular with its title, Growth and Prosperity: Keeping the Promise.

We believe that a government can make important contributions to prosperity by exercising prudence and frugality in its own operations. That's why we've pursued a consistent course of tight fiscal discipline, balanced budgets and debt reduction in order to provide more resources in priority areas. The focus has been on the efficient and effective delivery of government programs and services.

Taxpayers, citizens and users of government services expect the government to deliver quality services in the most efficient and effective manner possible. That is why in the 2002 budget we announced a number of initiatives that would maintain and improve government accountability and the delivery of services to the people of Ontario.

My colleagues outlined these initiatives earlier during debate on the budget bill. I'll just touch on some of the highlights, because it is indeed important to keep our government's plan in mind when debating interim supply.

Some highlights of the budget to improve government accountability and the delivery of services include things such as incorporating zero-based budgeting principles into our business planning process; requiring that every ministry review all of its program spending over a four-year cycle to determine program effectiveness, efficiency and value for money; establishing a parliamentary assistants' committee on program evaluation to identify resources for redirection into priority areas; committing to developing more effective ways of preparing and presenting the provincial budget; providing our public sector partners with more stability and certainty through the development of a multi-year base funding model, including the introduction of three-year base funding for hospitals and school boards. That has been a big issue in my riding, both from hospital boards as well as school boards: to know and to be able to plan ahead as to what kind of funding they can expect so that they can work toward that. I certainly look forward to the budget next March, when that kind of funding is laid out.

There's also a commitment from our Minister of Finance that the budget will come out ahead of the fiscal year. As long as I've been around here, and as long as I can remember, budgets have been in May. I've often wondered why they weren't in March, prior to the fiscal year starting. Aiming to table the next provincial budget before the start of the fiscal year, as I've mentioned, is certainly a pledge to be complimented.

There is a pledge to work toward publishing a multi-year fiscal framework in the Ontario budget outlining revenue, expenditures and economic projections, to be developed in accordance with sound fiscal management principles, including responsibility and transparency.

Our government will also move to a more businesslike way of managing and accounting for tangible capital assets. As of this year, the government will depreciate assets in the same way that a business does, which will enable the government to determine the true cost of delivering government services and improve resource allocations.

We will also introduce amendments to legislation that would convert legislative spending authority and appropriation control to the accrual basis of accounting effective April 1, 2003. This move is consistent with recommendations of the Ontario Financial Review Commission and the Provincial Auditor.

I believe these measures demonstrate our government's profound respect for transparency and the taxpayers' dollars.

This is further demonstrated by our continued commitment to a balanced budget. We're proud to have presented a balanced budget for 2002-03, the fourth year in a row. Total expenditures in 2002-03 are projected at $65.5 billion, up almost $2.2 billion from 2001-02. This is mainly due to increased health care and education spending. A reserve of $1 billion has been included in the 2002-03 fiscal plan to protect the balanced budget against unexpected and adverse changes in the economic and fiscal outlook. The reserve will be available for debt reduction if not needed.

Our commitment to managing with prudence and frugality, our plans to ensure government accountability and the efficient and effective delivery of government services, our balanced budgets: these are indeed the hallmarks of our government's fiscally responsible management. To continue this government's fiscally responsible management, we hope all members will be supportive in ensuring the motion for interim supply will be passed as soon as possible.


The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex): I want to take a few minutes this evening in this debate on interim supply to cover a couple of areas that are of particular importance to me and, more importantly, to my constituents.

It was just a day or two ago that my colleague from Windsor West made a statement in this Legislature on the issue of special-needs students and the lack of funding that is all across the province but is very acute in the Windsor-Essex county area with both the public and separate school boards. For example, the Catholic school board in Windsor will lose their librarians next year because they have to take this funding and put it in other areas where it's more needed, and that is with children with special needs.

In the public school board, children are just simply not getting the services they need. They've been assessed according to the government's own regulations and assessment guidelines. Notwithstanding the fact it's been almost an insurmountable amount of paperwork, these children's needs have been assessed. But the school board is getting the same amount of money it got in 1998. The needs of the children have grown, the number of children who need special attention has grown, and yet the funding stays at the level it was at in 1998.

Since that time, the board has registered 200 new special-ed students who qualify for supports under the ministry's own guidelines, but the funding is just simply not there. Our public board now has 100 students waiting for psychological assessments. Goodness knows what their needs may really be once those assessments are made. The wait is an unacceptable one to two years.

I see the member for Windsor West has just come in. I was saying to the Speaker and the Legislature how you raised this issue just this week. I'm sure the member for Windsor West will have more to say about it perhaps later this evening.

We constantly hear from parents who are concerned about their children's needs, and these needs aren't being met. It was just last week, in a question to the education minister, that I pointed out that the Greater Essex County District School Board has in fact passed a budget that avoids a deficit this year, but in order to do this, deep cuts had to be made. The board is taking nearly a million dollars from its $2-million reserve to avoid a deficit. The board is spending $4.5 million less on special education than it should be, and this is a cause for alarm.

The system has been systematically underfunded and it's left school boards across the province, and I think most acutely boards in the Essex-Windsor area, between the proverbial rock and a hard place. School boards don't have the money to carry out their mandates to provide a quality learning experience to students under all circumstances and of all abilities, and our kids are suffering. We hear almost daily of school boards wrestling with this question -- the Ottawa school board and the Toronto school board. We have boards on one hand that are legislated to provide a certain quality of education. They're mandated to provide a certain amount of support for special-needs kids. But then the government just comes along and says, "I'm sorry, there isn't the money there for it."

I liken it to being diagnosed for some kind of health procedure, and the doctor says, "Yes, you need your appendix out. There's absolutely no question. Your appendix has ruptured. The diagnosis is there. But you know what? We don't have any money for the operation." Thankfully that kind of thing doesn't happen in health care, although it's got so many other concerns that they are almost too numerous to mention. But it's happening in education. There's a diagnosis of an acute problem, but then the government just says, "There isn't enough money to take care of it."

We're told by the minister -- and in fact it may be the case, and we can see it in the budget -- that there is more money being spent and I don't argue with that. What I do have a problem with is that there isn't enough money to carry out the needs that are in the system. That's what we all should be concerned about. I hear about it in my riding because we have a shared school board between the county and the city. I'm sure my colleagues from Windsor-St Clair and Windsor West hear these stories. In fact, I'm sure that there are members all across this province who hear these concerns. Surely the governent members must be taking those issues to the minister. The kids and the parents out there are saying, "Listen to us. Help us." Frankly, if we don't help these kids now, either in the regular stream of education or in the special-needs area, we're going to pay for it later, and the expense will probably be greater.

One other area that I'd like to speak about tonight, outside of education, is one of a specific need in my riding. As part of these estimates, I'm trying to convince the Minister of Transportation that money should be spent on Highway 77, which runs partly through my riding and partly through the riding of the member for Chatham-Kent Essex. That highway is in absolutely deplorable shape. I've brought this to the attention of the minister. In fact, the engineering has been done. As a matter of fact, there's been a meeting held about one of the detours that may be taken when the highway's reconstructed.

When you go along a highway in Ontario in the year 2002 and you absolutely have to go around potholes and areas of the highway that are broken away, that's just not acceptable. We all talk about wanting to have an atmosphere in which business can flourish, in which the economy can flourish, and I agree with that, but here's one of the most heavily travelled provincial highways in my riding and it's literally falling apart.

Just as an aside, I understand that there aren't many kilometres of provincial highway left in my riding, in that so many parts of our highway system have been downloaded to municipalities, but this is one that is still the responsibility of the province of Ontario. It's a case of where, again, if you don't fix it today, it's probably going to cost more to repair in the future. So I would encourage the Minister of Transportation to acknowledge my appeal for the repair of Highway 77.

I've written to the minister and asked that he come down and we'll take a drive on Highway 77. In fact, a trucker offered the other day, after seeing my offer to the minister -- he said, "What I'll do is take him along in my truck, only we'll take the air out of the passenger seat. It will be a bumpy ride." I've offered to buy the minister lunch if he'll come down, right out of my own pocket.

Mr Jean-Marc Lalonde (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell): Can you do that?

Mr Crozier: Yes, you can do that. It won't be one of those gifts that he would have to be concerned about.

While I'm speaking about it, I might mention -- in fact, I did; I spoke to the minister this afternoon. He's fully aware of the problems we're having with the Pelee Island ferry, the Jiimaan. The main mode of transportation to Pelee Island blew an engine on Saturday -- just another event in a long series of events with a ship that just doesn't want to work the way it's supposed to. So I suggested to the minister that when we're finished our ride down Highway 77, right at the very south end of it we'll go right out on the Leamington dock, jump on the Jiimaan, if it's running by then, go to Pelee Island and address some of the issues with the islanders.


It may seem that I'm making light of this, but it's a serious economic problem on Pelee Island. They're entering the peak of their tourist season; they're entering the peak of the agricultural season. We have grapes on the island for the winery and there are other crops that will be taken off come July, and the main mode of transportation to the island is now laid up at dockside. I want to say there's a lot of frustration and some anger on the island, but a great deal of concern.

Ontario Northland and, through it, Owen Sound Transportation are doing the best they can. The engine is being removed from the vessel. It's hopefully going to be replaced by another engine soon, and they're seeking temporary transportation. But we've got an island economy that is really suffering. So I wouldn't mind at all if the minister would come along with me on that.


Mr Crozier: What's that, member for Windsor West?

Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor West): The Hydro One yacht.

Mr Crozier: The Hydro One yacht. Well, it might be good for moving people on and off the island, but the need is really much more serious than that.

So there are two issues tonight that are constantly on my mind that, as the House rises tomorrow, I'll take home with me and be working on in the riding: the concerns about Highway 77 and the concerns we have about transportation on Pelee Island, and certainly the concerns about those children who will be leaving school this week for their summer break but will be coming back to a situation next fall that won't be much better than when they left, and that's something we absolutely have to address.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I appreciate the opportunity this evening to speak on supply, which really is an opportunity for us to focus on things that are close to either our areas as critics, that perhaps impact our own constituencies or that are just issues of interest or concern, or some thoughts we want to put on the record. There's no real limit to the kinds of things we can talk about.

Tonight I particularly want to talk about a couple of things. One is to describe what I see as signs of the system in place today, the agenda of this government, the evolution of the province beginning to fall apart, come apart at the seams or, as others would say, begin to fray at the edges. There are certainly signs of that.

I'll start by sharing with the House some comments I found last week in the Toronto Sun, a newspaper that's not known to support a Liberal or New Democratic approach to public business in the province but that certainly is supportive of the Tory agenda, the tax-cut agenda, the shrink-government agenda, the privatize-everything-that-moves agenda. It's interesting that in an article on Tuesday, June 18, Sue-Ann Levy refers to a piece in the New York Times recently where a reporter obviously visited Toronto.

Many will say that Toronto is the industrial heartland of this province, and indeed of this country. For the longest time under this government, it didn't feel in the same way other towns and cities across this province did the deterioration, the shift in the economy that affected those particular communities. But this reporter speaks to an issue I've put on the floor here on a number of occasions over the last seven years, which is, if you don't pay attention to the signs, you will live to regret it. If a system, a body, begins to fray at the edges and you don't deal with it, you don't take proper precautions, you don't listen to what's being said by way of the deterioration at those edges, the whole body then begins to get sick and it's very difficult to recover. The further down the road you get, the more difficult it is to recover.

This reporter with the New York Times claims, in a June 16 article headlined "Amid Prosperity, Toronto Shows Signs of Fraying," that Hogtown is portrayed as Canada's premier city for business and finance, and that it has started to deteriorate around the edges. The reporter points to the number of homeless people we find on the streets of Toronto, the number of panhandlers. It is a very legitimate and obvious point.

When I came to Queen's Park almost 12 years ago now, you didn't see anywhere near the level of homelessness, nor the definition of homelessness that you see on the streets of Toronto now. You used to see the odd individual here and there, mostly not well, victims of a decision by government over a number of years to move people out, in many instances, from some of the mental health institutions that were closed down in the 1970s and 1980s, who weren't looked after by way of government programs. There wasn't enough money put into services to support those folks and, yes, there were a number of those people out there. But government in those days was actively involved in building social housing, in funding programs.

I remember that in work I did before I came to this place, many of the mainline church groups in the province were actively involved in very creative and innovative and exciting programs to reach out and help people in their neighbourhoods who found themselves out of pocket, out of the resources they needed to house themselves or to feed themselves. They were doing some very exciting things.

As a matter of fact, it was in the 1980s, doing my work with the Social Planning Council of Sault Ste Marie, that I participated with a whole host of other folks from various sectors of the community to look at the question of poverty and homelessness and how we might improve our system of social service delivery etc in towns and cities across the province. We came up with a massive document together, a massive report that people across the province of various levels of influence, from as high and mighty as Conrad Black to the actual people themselves on the street who needed the service -- fingerprints all over this document. It's called the Thompson report, the social assistance review report that came out in the late 1980s that was the blueprint to resolving a whole lot of these issues. But alas, governments of various ilk, and in particular this government, decided to not take the bull by the horns, not to make that very significant investment up front that was needed if we were going to resolve some of those issues so that reporters today wouldn't be coming to Toronto from New York and writing in the New York Times, which is probably read by literally millions of people across the world, that Toronto the Good, that place that so many people over the years looked up to and still look up to and see as the epitome of everything good and right, is beginning to, as this reporter says, fray at the edges.

It's a sign that we have some problems, that the system isn't working, that the almost religious obsession and preoccupation of this government with tax breaks, with shrinking government, with privatizing anything that the private sector might be interested in is not delivering the goods, is not providing the kind of fundamental stability that a community -- Ontario -- needs to have if it's going to take advantage of some of the economic possibilities that are out there and if it's going to include everybody both at the front end and the back end as it moves forward.

It also says that another sign that Toronto isn't doing well, that it's beginning to fray at the edges -- and I say, as I've said before, that it's not just Toronto, but Toronto is probably the last of the big centres in the province to begin to really feel this in a major and significant way. But it says here that, as if recognizing the homelessness and the poverty that exists in Toronto isn't enough, "the Times story also touches on our other Achilles heel -- namely that Toronto the Good is good and dirty." It's a dirty city and it's gotten increasingly dirty over the last seven years.


I remember going to estimates on a couple of occasions with the Minister of Health from this government and talking to him about the growing concern that I and others have about TB on the streets, and now TB in some of our public institutions, in our corrections system. TB is becoming more and more of a problem. It is a sign, a symptom, of dirtiness, of our not paying attention to public health and to the effect that having dirty streets and dirty water, as in Walkerton, ultimately has on the lives of our citizens and our communities.

There are other signs. I talked earlier today, and I've talked particularly in my own part of the province, in northern Ontario, about the fact that in the north, and I would suggest probably in most of rural Ontario, the population is shrinking. People are leaving. They are moving to the bigger centres. What are they finding in the bigger centres? They're finding poverty, homelessness and a deteriorating public health circumstance.

They are leaving places like Sault Ste Marie, North Bay, Thunder Bay, Sudbury and Timmins in large numbers. It's not insignificant. Between 1996 and 2001 the latest census tells us that, on average, there has been a reduction in population of between 6% and 8% across the board in northern Ontario. Every single community, and I would suggest probably in rural Ontario too, has lost significant numbers of people over the last seven years. That reflects very clearly that the economy in those areas isn't working.

So for all the talk about tax breaks stimulating the economy and creating an economy that's going to be good for everybody, and everybody is going to benefit and be better off, the signs are beginning to say the exact opposite, that in fact that's not the case. In northern Ontario, a shrinking population, a decline in the economy; in Toronto, more homelessness, more poverty, an unclean city. That's a road I don't think we want to be on.

We need a government here that is willing to take responsibility for those things they have been put in charge of, to give leadership and to be willing to spend the time, energy and resources that are necessary to make sure Ontario continues to be one of those places that leads, as some across the way on the government benches will say, the G8.

We have dropping population. We have big-time turmoil in our health care system. I don't think anybody who has tried to access or who has anybody who has tried to access or who has read the papers or been in tune at all with what's going on out there in the public policy of this province will disagree that we have turmoil in our health care system. We don't have enough nurses. We don't have enough doctors. The doctors we do have aren't distributed properly because we don't have a system in place to encourage that. We have waiting lists a mile long for whatever malady happens to be challenging you at the moment. We have increasing costs to people by way of user fees, and on and on.

We have major turmoil in our health care system, not to speak of the education system, where again the government said, "If there isn't a crisis, you create one." Well, they certainly were successful at that. If they were successful at one thing in their seven years as government here, it has been in creating that crisis in education, because we have nobody now in the system, whether it be teachers, administrators, the boards -- several boards now have gone on record as being willing to actually break the law of the land and approve budgets that aren't balanced, because they know that to approve a balanced budget would not deliver the kind of programming students need if they are going to maximize their potential to move on, to participate and to take advantage of the potential they have.

Now we find, by way of questions to the Minister of Education -- we ask her every day at least one or two questions on what's going on -- that it's blame the boards, blame the trustees, but certainly no blame back on the government. They won't take any responsibility at all. They won't be held accountable.

But they will be held accountable. Ultimately and eventually, they will have to go to the people, there will have to be an election and the people will be looking, I believe, at that time for a government that's willing to commit itself to strong leadership. They're going to be looking for a government that's got some bright ideas, that knows what it wants to do and is willing to do it, a government that's willing to spend some of the public money we have access to to make sure those systems are improved. That'll be an opportunity for all of us to put on the table at that time what it is we're committed to, what it is we believe in, and what it is we think we can do.

I certainly have no hesitation in saying to the House tonight that our leader, Howard Hampton, has shown over the last couple of years at least, and over the last three or four years, as long as he's been leader with us, but certainly over the last couple of years, that he has the energy, the stamina and the vision. Together we have the team that could offer this province an alternative, a very exciting opportunity to make change and to make that change for the better for all the citizens of the province.

I want to talk for a couple of more minutes -- because I don't want to take up all of the time tonight; I have a number of caucus colleagues who are coming back to speak to this motion -- to share with the House that I've been back and forth to Ireland for the last couple of years, taking a look at the really exciting economy that's happening over there, trying to get some business happening between my own community, Sault Ste Marie, where our economy has shrunk and our community is losing population, so that we might stimulate perhaps some partnerships and some business. We went to Ireland with a group of 12 business folks in the year 2000.

Mr Dave Levac (Brant): Good stuff happening.

Mr Martin: Yes, really good stuff happening.

They came back to see us with 23 people in 2001, and then we went back just a couple of weeks ago with 84 people, so the thing is growing. There's an interest from the Irish in what's happening in Sault Ste Marie and the potential we have to be a window on the North American market for them. We're certainly interested in the opportunity for Ireland to be an entrance or a window for us into the European economy.

The interesting thing about all that is that I went there first simply to try and make the matches, put people together and see if something could happen. I know that I'm not the business person who's going to have the bright idea and make that partnership and investment, but we have people both in Sault Ste Marie and in the part of Ireland we're going to who do have those skills and who do have the resources and are looking at this.

The interesting thing I discovered, almost as a by-product of going over there, was some of the underpinning, some of the fundamental investments and commitments that the Irish -- not only the Irish, because I was in Finland a couple of weeks ago as well, invited by the Finnish ambassador to meet with the ministers of foreign affairs and foreign trade, and to meet with some business people in Finland with the honorary consuls from Canada who are invited back from time to time, usually every eight or nine years, to see what's new, to see what's going on, to meet the officials and the people and get brought up to date, get some in-service so that when they're representing Finland and working on behalf of Finland and the Finnish people all around the world, and particularly in Canada, they will be current. So they invited me to come along and I went.

Here are two jurisdictions that 10 or 15 years ago were lagging way behind where the European Community was concerned and they have leapfrogged right over the top. I was listening intently, first in Ireland and then in Finland. What was it? If you listen to the Conservatives and you read some of the very right-wing magazines and newspapers out there, where the Irish economy is concerned particularly, they'll tell you it was very simply a very competitive corporate tax structure. I don't deny for a second that it's there; there is a corporate tax structure that on first blush looks like it's pretty generous if you're looking to invest. But when you consider the investment that is made in Ireland by the European Union and the Irish government itself, that more than overtakes the money that is given by way of incentives to business, and you begin to understand why it is and how it is that the Irish economy has been able to right itself in such a dramatic and exciting way.

They've done a number of things. One of them is long-term planning that is centred on a partnership. They've brought together business, big and small, with organized labour, with community groups, with local government and federal government to assess, "OK, what's the challenge? What is it that each of the partners needs to get out of this, and what is it that they are willing to contribute?"

Mr Levac: What's their priority?


Mr Martin: They put five-year plans together, and the priority that has come out of that has been education, front and centre. They decided to spend whatever it would take; it didn't matter. They got money from the European government, they got money through the collection of their own taxes, and they invested in education. They invested in capital, in buildings, in making sure there were resources, teachers and libraries there for the students. And they invested in the students themselves.

I discovered that in Ireland, out of this partnership decision that was made, driven by government and supported by government, they decided it was so important that their young people maximize their capability to develop their intellectual capacity and that post-secondary education is so important -- where we think secondary education is sort of as far as we should go, they've decided that any young person who wants to participate in the new economy, over there a lot of IT, needs post-secondary education, so there are no tuition fees. As long as you qualify, as long as you're willing to do the work and you get the marks, you can go to college or university in Ireland.

You know, it's an interesting thing: it's the same thing in Finland. That's what they've done. In Finland, because they know the most valuable resource they have is not their forests, not their metals, but their people, they've invested heavily in their people.

How did they do that? Well, education: they decided they were going to take every single individual who called Ireland or Finland home, no matter their capacity, no matter their challenge, no matter their disability, and they were going to give them the opportunity to grow to their maximum in terms of education, to learn a skill and grow their intellectual capacity so they could be involved in the new technological changes that need to happen and begin to work in those new industries that are evolving.

As a matter of fact, those two countries have become so convinced that people are their greatest resource that they are now beginning to change their laws so they can encourage people coming back: inward immigration to those countries. They've decided that anybody who has had a parent or a grandparent who had Irish citizenship at one point can get their citizenship, can have dual citizenship, so they can come back and work.

Mr Bartolucci and I are going to do that for our kids so they can do that. It's probably too late for me, but you never know. I might be out of here in a couple of years and I'll be looking for some opportunity. I'll probably stay in the Soo because I love the Soo and I love that part of Ontario, but if I wanted to, I could get my Irish citizenship -- it's not difficult -- and I could end up, as my kids could, going to school or working in Europe now, because they know that 10 or 15 years down the road, the biggest competition is going to be for people. It's going to be for workers. It's going to be for folks who have the capacity to participate in whatever the economy is doing at that particular point in time. So they're investing. They're investing in education. They're interested in bringing people in.

They are not only interested in bringing people in, to speak to the concern of Mr Ruprecht earlier today; they want to educate those people. They don't just want to bring them in and put them in an enclave someplace or arrogantly sort of say, "We're better than you. Yes, you can work in Ireland or Finland, but you're going to be a second-class citizen." No, they bring them in and they say, "OK, how can we help you better yourself? How can we educate you so you can participate to your fullest capacity in the economy that now operates in our country?" What a difference. What a juxtaposition to what's happening here in Ontario today, where some might say we're actually discouraging people. We're setting up an education system that caters to the elite, to those who can afford to go to university or college. What a backward-thinking way of going about building our capacity where education is concerned.

These countries as well, believing in partnership and the need to bring people together around the table to formulate plans so they all know where they're going and are on the same page and moving in tandem into the future, these countries which believe that education is the most important foundation block you could have in place, are doing all kinds of other neat and interesting things too around the building and maintenance of community.

The last five-year plan that the Irish government put out happened when I was there in the year 2000. It was called a Program for Prosperity and Fairness. The most overwhelming thread running through that plan was this notion of inclusion, of including people. This plan that talked about all the things that could happen and that the government and the partnership wanted to see happen challenged communities that would apply to government for support or leadership to first of all identify every single individual who lived in their jurisdiction and how they were going to participate in the program or be affected by the program and, in the end, benefit from that program -- the notion of inclusion.

This government has made a science out of exclusion. They've targeted organized labour. They've targeted teachers. Now, right at this point in time, they're targeting school boards. Group after group after group feels like they're the problem. This government has a way of identifying who is the problem, as opposed to who can contribute and participate and be a partner in the developing of a jurisdiction or a plan.

That's what Finland is doing as well. The thing in Finland that really amazed me probably the most -- and I heard it from business leaders, government leaders, leaders in the social sector -- is the commitment they have to what they refer to as social security, the welfare state. By that, they don't mean simply and narrowly the delivery of social services -- but that's all part of it. What they mean is a sense of people's belonging, a sense of stability, creating a sense of community where everybody feels like they belong and they have something they can do and they can participate, and that when they do that, no matter what the contribution, whether it be looking after elderly people, working in the health care system, education, farming, no matter what it is, if you're contributing, you should be compensated in a way that reflects the level of dignity you inherently have because of your citizenship in that particular country. Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing in Ontario?

I suggest that we need to go there. We need to start taking the responsibility of government more seriously. We need to start challenging each other to lead, to be willing to put the resources in, to be willing to put the effort and the energy into making sure that we're working together for the benefit of everybody involved. Because if we don't, in the long run, we'll cut off our nose to spite our face.

I suggest, as I always do when I get a chance in this House to say a few things, that the first and most important place to start is in looking at how everything, absolutely everything, we do as government affects those in our communities who are most vulnerable, at risk and marginalized, because I think that's where we get our best ideas. I think that's where we get most of our inspiration. I think that's the bedrock upon which we grow a civilized, intelligent and caring society.

So I call on all of us here tonight -- and I certainly commit our party with our bold, bright ideas and strong leadership to do that -- instead of constantly checking to see what Bay Street is saying or how Bay Street is going to be affected or what they think, to look more and more at our communities and ask those who are most at risk, most vulnerable and most marginalized how what we're doing may affect or support or in some way impact on their lives.

I have others in my caucus who want to speak. I've taken up a lot of time here. I just want to thank everybody for their attention.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate? The Chair recognizes the member for Windsor West.


Mrs Pupatello: Thank you. You won't see ministers giving me applause very often. Thanks, minister.

Interjection: Don't get used to it.


Mrs Pupatello: Yes, don't get used to it. Exactly.

I'm very pleased to address the interim supply bill. There are a number of issues that I'd like to get on record, things I have brought before the House in the past and which have everything to do with the riding of Windsor West.

Primarily I wish to talk about health care and what my community is lacking in health care. Over the last seven years there have been a number of solutions that we have proposed to the government that can deal with a number of our problems, but the overriding theme in my community is that we do not have enough physicians. We don't have enough family doctors and we don't have enough specialists. Practically without fail, every member in the House today is coming from an area that is underserviced in physicians. Of these, Windsor's is the most acute.

In 1997, my office filled out the application form for Windsor to become the first southern urban centre to be designated as underserviced. We had to apply to a northern rural program for such designation. That's how acute our problems were. Even though we got this designation, it meant absolutely nothing in terms of bringing more doctors to our community. Even today, as they trickle in here and there, it nowhere near makes up the number of doctors we lose, either to south of the border to lucrative contracts with American HMOs, to other places in Ontario or Canada, or doctors who retire.

Most of our physicians are of an average age that is older than the general average age of physicians across Ontario. Most of our physicians, when they're hitting their 70s, would like to wind down their business and start working part-time. Unfortunately, their practice and the demands on their practice don't allow these people to do so.

Over the years we've asked the government to consider a whole variety of solutions. Many of these solutions would be considered short-term measures for some immediate relief for this problem. Solutions that we have proposed have also included long-term measures. I know this House has heard from me, the member from Essex, Bruce Crozier, and the member from Windsor-St Clair, Dwight Duncan. All of us have talked about the need for a medical school, the need to increase the number of spaces in the medical schools that exist in Ontario. We are not turning out enough physicians to deal with the acute attrition rate of our physicians.

In addition to having to get more physicians trained, we know there are stop-gap measures they could implement immediately. One we addressed in the House today. I asked the Premier today in the House if he was prepared, rather than being frustrated by inactivity through the various levels of bureaucracy that could bring in foreign-trained physicians into Ontario to actually practise -- we suggested that Premier Eves holds the key, because this government writes the mandate for the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Tomorrow, by a mere stroke of the pen, without a bill coming into this House or for debate, this House, this government, can change the mandate of this college. The Minister of Health is also aware of the ability of the government to change this.

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Transportation): That's just balderdash.

Mrs Pupatello: There's a minister sitting in the front benches who is suggesting that that's some kind of interference with the current law of Ontario. This government had absolutely no trouble not only breaking its own law with the Taxpayer Protection Act but rewriting it. You brought in an amendment during the budget because your law apparently wasn't good enough for this government. Apparently the law was fine and it could introduce its own amendment when it wasn't satisfactory.

Hon Mr Sterling: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: The College of Physicians and Surgeons is a very important group in Ontario, and we give to them the right to license physicians and protect the public. She is suggesting we --

The Acting Speaker: That's all very good information but it's not a point of order.

Mrs Pupatello: Whenever government members don't want to hear this message, they suggest points of order that aren't even points of order. A former House leader clearly would know the rules of the House. You just sit there, because your region of Ottawa, Minister, is having just as many troubles in the health system as my riding of Windsor West. This member from Ottawa had better have a look at his own backyard, at hospital services like CHEO for children, and wonder why people in your own Carleton riding are up in arms at the health services that are lacking in Ottawa. So don't be standing up and making smart commentary during my debate tonight.

Here is the point: what this Premier Ernie Eves could do with the stroke of a pen is include in the mandate of the college that it be required to streamline processes for foreign-trained physicians.

Hon Mr Sterling: That is so much bunk.

Mrs Pupatello: This minister has the gall to stand up and suggest that it's bunk. This is a government that can change the law on a whim, that can decide in a minute that the Taxpayer Protection Act just isn't good enough any more, so they bring in an amendment so that we don't have any more taxpayer protection. The very thing this government was elected on, it broke its promise to the people.


The Acting Speaker: Order. For whatever reason, there is talking back and forth. It can't happen, it doesn't happen, it won't happen. If you want to go voluntarily, fine. If not, we'll have to move you out. But we can't have this back and forth.

The Chair recognizes the member for Windsor West.

Mrs Pupatello: Thank you, Speaker. Clearly, this minister doesn't want to hear some very harsh realities in his own province when he's at the switch and can make a change.

We have suggested over the years a number of short-term solutions to have some ease for the health system in my community, for our constituents. We've suggested special protocols so that our Windsorites and people of Essex county can access out-of-country OHIP so that we can get our patients into the US literally tomorrow, so they can get care that they need immediately.

We brought cases into this House of people who were put on a list. I recall one woman who went with her daughter to her neurosurgeon appointment. When she arrived at the desk for that appointment, the people there said, "I'm sorry, but you're here on the wrong date." They said, "No, we've waited a year for this appointment and in fact, we're here and this is the card." They were then informed that they were there in the wrong year, because that's how long it takes in my community to get a consultation with a neurosurgeon. Unless you're coming into the emergency room feet first, and unless you arrive at a family doctor where they think you are in absolutely grave peril in terms of your health condition, you are going nowhere in our system because we have a shortage, virtually across the board, of family doctors, virtually across the board of specialists, and you wait and wait and wait. That's what happens.

We've requested special protocols. My office has become the expert office at getting out-of-country OHIP, so we get calls from all over and know the people out of the Kingston OHIP office literally by their first names because we talk to them on an ongoing basis for a whole variety of issues, mainly getting people access to timely care, however we can get it for these people.

We insist on having a streamlined process for our area because we are so acutely underserviced. We've requested of this government incentives for family doctors to include people who aren't ordinarily their patients so that on an ongoing basis, people who are stuck in the system, either the social services system or the WSIB workers' comp, whose files can't move forward because there is a health condition for which they need a doctor's note or a doctor's investigation -- they don't have a family doctor and the file goes absolutely nowhere.

These are people who should rightly be on the Ontario disability program, for example. These are individuals who should rightly be receiving some kind of compensation through workers' comp, but their files are stopped dead. Why? Back to the problem at large: we don't have enough physicians. We've asked that special incentives be created so these people can get that kind of medical information needed to move their files forward.

We've requested a review of how we are giving billings for physicians who work in clinics. We specifically asked for a review of codes A001 and A007. This is specifically because those physicians who work in clinics don't have to keep files on these patients. It's meant to be one of those stop-gap emergency-type stops. But what's happened in my community, with such a huge and acute shortage of physicians, is that these clinics become the basis for literally family care. It's gone overboard because we don't have enough family physicians.

The way that we pay our physicians in clinics allows these individuals absolutely no incentive to open a family practice so they can get that kind of wholesome care that they would get if they actually had a family physician. We've asked for a special SWAT team that will study and implement immediately an exemption to the current process for foreign-trained physicians. We've asked for that kind of amnesty for some period of time for, a minimum, the 1,500 foreign-trained physicians who live in Ontario and who've been trained at facilities around the world that are seen and known to be equal or higher status than our Canadian schools and our Ontario schools specifically.

The Minister of Health's own numbers say there are at least 1,500 of these people. Those people can immediately be integrated into our Windsor system, into the Ontario system. This SWAT team's job would be exactly that. We've asked for this repeatedly. It's gone absolutely nowhere.

We have asked for funding of community health centres. The government is sitting on applications for community health centres across Ontario, including the city of Windsor. We have an application in. We've heard virtually nothing anywhere in Ontario that this kind of service would be expanded, at least as an interim measure.


When the Guelph community went forward with applications to be received for family doctors to be housed in their community health centre, they had one spot and 14 physicians who wanted to work in that kind of environment. There are people who will work out of community health centres. If only they would fund those centres, there would be some immediate relief to my community.

We've asked for a number of programs to be funded in my community. One example is angioplasty in my city. When the leadership candidates for the Conservative Party were on the road, I recall the day that Minister Clement went to Scarborough and announced angioplasty in a community hospital, because he knew it could happen there and the numbers warranted it.

For at least the last two to three years, the Windsor numbers of patients who need angioplasty warrant that program being available in my community. We've asked for that, and the minister's excuse, repeatedly, has been that he's fighting his own bureaucracy to allow this program to be in my community. We have every part: the cardiologist who can perform the surgery, and the equipment. What is required is permission of the government and the operating funds to operate that operating room that is going to be required to do that. Almost every piece of the puzzle but one -- and the government has to step in to provide that.

We have a higher than average rate of heart disease incidence and a higher mortality rate in my community, mostly because of the wait. The people of Windsor-Essex are now shoved on to a southwestern list because they go as far as London to receive this procedure, when our own numbers warrant that they will do enough procedures in my community that a surgeon can perform the procedure effectively. Again, this program has gone nowhere.

The effect of having such a program in my community means that they are then in a position to attract cardiologists, which we are short of. If we don't have programs that can attract these specialists, how can we go about searching for cardiologists who may want to come, when we don't have those programs that they can work in? When they just graduated at that highly skilled level, of course they'll want to operate and use the skills that they've learned. Having the program is absolutely the magnet required to bring the cardiologists to Windsor.

We've asked for special locums to be used, even in the Windsor community, much as they've been used for years in the north. That's so that at least as an interim measure, when we don't have a Hep C doctor in my community but we have many hepatitis patients who are now forced to travel as far as London just to get some ongoing continuum of care for Hep C -- we don't have this available to us. So we spoke to the ministry about, "Can we bring in a hepatitis doctor who's prepared to travel on a regular basis?" Maybe that's monthly, or every two weeks -- and spend a weekend in my community. We would find offices available for them to do that practice in that weekend, maybe once a month, and see patients on a regular basis.

This program's gone nowhere, even though we've asked for it repeatedly. The latest, I'm told, is that perhaps we'll get some kind of study done by the end of the summer. We have patients who need this service now. We've lost our doctors. We have patients who wait for a year to get an appointment with those that remain. This isn't acceptable.

So when I have to sit and listen to the debate across the way about how swimmingly we seem to be doing in Ontario, I look for some of the most basic health services that are to be delivered by the provincial government, and the provincial government fails at practically every turn.

I'll finish this portion of the debate from me this evening, just to show you the 1998 Essex County Health Service Restructuring Report. There were many people who had many complaints about this report, which came on the heels of the win-win that was developed by Windsorites themselves back in 1994. Even though there were measures in this final report of restructuring, woefully inadequate in terms of capital, operating, investments in home care etc, even if we could see that this level of support was there, we would have to step back and say, "At least we're going in the right direction." Instead, since this government came into power, my own community has moved from four hospitals to two hospitals. We've had cuts across the board in our hospitals and we have not had the necessary investments in home care.

Overriding all of this is the lack of the necessary medical personnel. Tonight I spoke specifically of physicians, but we have personnel issues across the board, including lab technicians, technicians that operate our diagnostic equipment. We have a tremendous drain in our Windsor community of people who choose to go to the US, whose hospitals and HMOs bring the shuttle bus over the bridge or the tunnel to pick up our Windsorites and bring them back to the US to work for the day. These are the kinds of jobs they have that entice them by, "Bring your friend to work at a Detroit hospital and you'll get $5,000." These are the conditions in the Windsor area that our personnel work in. Because we have such a crisis, it means I expect the government is going to respond in kind and come up with very dramatic measures, some of which I've mentioned tonight, so we can find real solutions in a timely fashion for Windsor people.

Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): It's a pleasure for me to participate in the debate on supply this evening. I think what I'm going to do is focus on some health issues that are particularly important to me. I had an opportunity last week during the budget debate to speak about a number of issues and I touched on health as well. But there are three I would like to focus on this evening, and all three are ones I've been dealing with for some time now, that I have a particular interest in, that I have been raising with this government to try to convince it of the need to move forward on these issues.

The first issue has to do with meningitis. On June 13 I introduced a bill called the Michael Maxwell bill, which in essence would provide a province-wide immunization program against meningitis C. In the gallery that day were two people, Gregg and Bernadette Maxwell, father and mother of Michael Maxwell, age 17, who died on March 14 from meningitis C. These two wonderful people have enormous courage, because from that point on they have made it their goal to try to convince this government to have a province-wide immunization program so no other Ontario family ever again would suffer the tragedy this family has.

Michael developed flu-like symptoms on March 14. He stayed home from school. His flu-like symptoms got worse and worse. His parents didn't know what to do. They admitted him to hospital. He was transferred to ICU later that night, and 24 hours after he was admitted to hospital, he died of meningitis.

There was no reason for Michael to have died. There is a vaccine in this province against meningitis C. The Maxwell family didn't know anything about the vaccination for meningitis C. I submit to you that the Maxwell family is not alone. If you go into your doctor's office and look at the pamphlets that are available, as I did in our family doctor's office, there isn't anything available about meningitis C. There is no public information or information to families to say there is a vaccine available. There is nothing to warn parents about the terrible consequences of meningitis C, the most terrible of which, in this case, was the death of this young man.

The other serious problem is that the vaccine is not covered. Some private insurance plans would cover it; most do not. Our plan, for example, does not, as I found out when I made arrangements to have our children vaccinated. The cost was $113 apiece, which, granted, I can well afford; that's not the issue. I think there are many families for whom $113 would be cost-prohibitive, especially if they have more than one child who needs to be vaccinated. While many people say, "What is the price you put on a life?" I remind you that the problem, and the problem was very clearly seen in the Maxwell case, is that this family had no idea a vaccination existed. They had no idea of the serious potential consequences of meningitis C. They had no friends, acquaintances or other people in the community who had ever come in contact with it and they didn't appreciate how serious it was. Hence, they never moved forward to even search out a vaccine before this could happen and to pay for it and to have it done.

It was actually last July, though, that our party began raising this issue. At that time, early in July, my colleague Marilyn Churley came forward and called on the Conservative government to roll out a province-wide vaccination program. We did that because our neighbouring jurisdiction of Quebec had just made some very public announcements about their province-wide meningitis campaign, which effectively offers free vaccinations to children from as young as age two up to age 20. That program, according to their own government, which started in the fall last year, would prevent about 180 cases of meningitis and save at least 25. The important point is that Quebec recognized that meningitis is growing in that province, it's not declining. They had 65 people who were infected last year. Recognizing that this is a serious public health issue, they moved to a province-wide campaign.


Not long after that, the province of Alberta did the same thing, and their program deals with people under age 24. They targeted first that teenage and young adolescent population, and when they started to do those vaccines for students, who obviously had never been vaccinated, they did that part of the project first and are now working on the younger-aged children. They will make this vaccination program a routine part of infant vaccinations.

Last year we wrote an open letter to the then Premier, Mike Harris. We talked about Alberta and Quebec and encouraged Ontario to consider this, and in September we held a press conference here with a doctor who is renowned in terms of his work with meningitis. My leader, Howard Hampton, was pleased to participate in a press conference calling on the government to adopt a province-wide immunization program with Dr Ron Gold. He is professor emeritus of paediatrics at the faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto. He is the former head of the division of infectious diseases at the Hospital for Sick Children. He is the medical adviser to the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada. He is not someone whose credentials can be ignored. He is an expert in his field. We were thrilled, frankly, that he came to a press conference. He was very supportive. He spoke about the need to have this program to protect infants and young people and young adolescents in Ontario.

Last fall I raised this issue in the estimates with the Minister of Health. I asked him when the government would move forward on this issue. On October 23 we raised a question in this Legislature, because on that very same day a federal panel of experts publicly stated that there is a vaccination that is safe, safe even for infants who are two months old, and that governments across the country should move forward to have vaccination programs with this very safe vaccine. Again, the minister said he recognized our concern and he would look into it and, again, nothing was done.

Again, in January of this year, another open letter to the Premier and to the Minister of Health reminding the minister of what he had said in October, that he would look into this, reminding him that the National Advisory Council on Immunization had stated clearly there was a safe vaccine and encouraging him again to consider a province-wide program. We got another reply in February saying the government was still considering it at this point. I would just quote from the letter.

It says, "The implementation of a meningococcal vaccination program in which all children in Ontario would have access to this new vaccine free of charge is currently under review by the ministry. However, no decision has been made at this time and your support of this initiative is recognized and appreciated."

We had the Maxwell family at Queen's Park on April 5, before the House had even resumed, not long after Michael's death. They very vividly described publicly why a province-wide immunization program is needed, and they have certainly made it their goal. I said at that time, on April 5, that if the government didn't bring in a program, I would move a private member's bill to encourage the government to do that. That is exactly what I did on June 13, with the Maxwells in the gallery. It's a one-page bill. It's very simple. It just says that this government will move to fund a province-wide immunization program for children aged 2 to 20 so that we can protect our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

The minister's and this government's responses to date, regrettably, have been that this government doesn't want to unilaterally offer an immunization program. I challenge the government again tonight on this reasoning. This government was perfectly prepared to, and in fact did, move forward on a province-wide flu shot program without federal government funding. The government was quite happy to do that, and that has operated for a second year in a row. It seems to me that the government recognized the flu was a very serious public health issue. People get sick, people die. The same principle applies to meningitis. There is no reason in the world for this government to delay any longer. There is a safe vaccine. It is easily produced. The results are very clear and positive. Two other provincial jurisdictions have gone forward, independent of federal funding, to establish a province-wide immunization program, and Ontario should do the same.

I notice that this government has now written to the federal government describing the benefits of an immunization campaign and asking Ottawa to cost-share. I appreciate that this government has done that, but I am imploring this government to move forward on this issue. Sixty-five people in Ontario were affected with meningitis last year; eight died last year and one has died this year. His name was Michael Maxwell, in whose name my bill stands. There is a way to deal with this. There is a way to protect our youngest citizens. I say to the government, do as you have done with respect to your campaign on the flu shot: fund a province-wide program now, make meningitis immunization a part of regular vaccination programs for infants through to young adulthood, and let us do what we can and what we must do to protect young people.

The second issue I want to raise tonight has to do with a patients' bill of rights. I was frankly astonished that in the budget it appeared that the government had spent $4 million to develop a patients' bill of rights. I have to ask, where is it? Who does it exist for? I've never seen it. I've never heard this government talk about it, but the budget clearly shows the government spent $4 million last year to develop it. Well, bring it forward. As far as I'm aware, as far as I'm concerned, there isn't a patients' bill of rights that exists in this province, which was why I brought forward a private member's bill, the Tommy Douglas Act (Patients' Bill of Rights), which was debated in this House earlier this spring, to try and get the government to live up to a commitment it made not just last year but that was made by the former Minister of Health as early as 1997.

I know the former Minister of Health, Ms Witmer, was at a conference sponsored by the Ontario Nurses' Association and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, and at that time she told all of the delegates she intended to present a patients' bill of rights. That promise was repeated in 1998 just after my colleague Marion Boyd introduced Bill 50, which was the patients' bill of rights, almost identical to the patients' bill of rights that I introduced this year. That promise was repeated again by the government in its 1999 election platform, repeated again in the 1999 throne speech and budget, repeated one more time -- well, two more times actually, in the 2000 throne speech and the 2000 budget. In fact, in the 2000 budget the government announced it would spend $10 million that year to implement a patients' bill of rights. We don't have a patients' bill of rights. The government may have spent $4 million. I have no idea what they spent it on, but it certainly wasn't on a patients' bill of rights, because none exists in Ontario, which is why I brought forward the Tommy Douglas Act (Patients' Bill of Rights).

I think that in the heat of the debate that goes on right now with respect to medicare, a debate that continues to grow, especially in light of the work Mr Romanow is doing, our idea, which is to bring forward a patients' bill of rights, is one that is gaining currency. We need to refocus the health care system on to patients and their families. That's where the focus belongs. As a result, the patients' bill of rights would do a number of things, and I want to take just a moment to give people who are watching some of the ideas of the provisions of the bill.

First of all, the bill makes it clear that the Canada Health Act, which currently now really only extends to cover hospitals and doctors' offices, would cover the long-term-care sector and community health. When I talk about the long-term-care sector, I mean community-based care and also institutional or facility care. The extension of the Canada Health Act would then recognize the objectives of health care policy and that they apply to every stage of life and across every sector of the health care system.

Secondly, the bill codifies in law what Ontarians should and could expect from their health care system. The most important of those provisions -- and there are a large number of them, probably 10 -- is the right of patients to receive all necessary health care services in a system that is accessible, universal, comprehensive, publicly funded and publicly administered, one that ensures timely treatment, one that ensures choice of treatments, and one that recognizes that every provider of a health care service is a valued member of an interdisciplinary team, and, finally, one that does not permit income to determine people's access to health care services.


There is a broad range of other rights that are provided in the patients' bill of rights section of that bill, but those are the ones that are key, especially that services will be publicly funded and publicly administered. Because I firmly believe that people support medicare in this province; they support it overwhelmingly. They want more services covered by medicare, and they are not interested in the private sector offering health care services, because they know that those dollars that should go into patient care will then be diverted into profits for the for-profit deliverers of that care.

Second, there is a provision for a health care standards commissioner to be established in the same way as this assembly establishes other officers, like the Provincial Auditor and the Ombudsman, and it would be the responsibility of that commissioner to develop health care standards and best practices right across the health care system. It would also be the responsibility of that commissioner to establish a complaints process so that people who believe their patients' bill of rights has been violated or the standards of care have not been met can have an independent process to have their grievances aired and dealt with. That commissioner would have the responsibility to report every year to this assembly with a report that outlines what the grievances were that he or she has heard and make recommendations as well for changes both in health care law and health care policy.

The final section was one that referred to whistle-blowing, and that is aimed at allowing health care providers to come forward when they know the system is failing both patients and their families, and to be able to come forward without a fear of reprisal from their employer, be it that they fear being suspended or, frankly, fear being terminated. It would be the responsibility of the health care commissioner to establish that whistle-blower protection to ensure that there was a mechanism for those providers to come forward to talk about abuses and to make sure that in doing so they are not intimidated or lose their job as a consequence.

Speaker, the government voted in favour of the bill in principle and then defeated it going to committee. I regret that the government did that because if the government had something better to offer then I might understand the situation. But we have been waiting since 1997 for this government to come forward with a patients' bill of rights, and the government has done nothing, absolutely nothing, despite promises year in, year out and despite some announcement in the budget that $4 million had been spent on a patients' bill of rights, one that doesn't exist.

I would have been very happy, in the absence of a government bill over at least five years, for the government to have referred this to committee and to work with the bill that I had brought forward. I'm sure there could be changes. I would have welcomed public hearings so that any number of stakeholders would have had an opportunity to come forward and have their say, to talk about what should be added, what should be amended. But despite agreement in principle, the government then voted in a majority to block it from going any further. I think that speaks volumes to the government's lack of commitment to a patients' bill of rights. The government itself has done nothing on this issue since 1997, when Ms Witmer first promised something, and the government then secondly refused to work with a bill that I brought forward that could have formed the basis for a protection that I think all Ontarians need and that all Ontarians are looking for right now.

I say to the government, I will watch with interest, trying to determine from the Minister of Health where the $4 million for the patients' bill of rights was actually spent, because the bill of rights doesn't exist. I would say to the government, since you haven't done anything, you should move forward on my bill and hopefully we will have something that all of us can be proud of.

Finally, I just want to deal briefly with an issue I raised in this Legislature this week, and that has to do with autism and treatment for families who are on huge waiting lists across this province for intervention that will help their children.

The fact is that we now have a proven treatment for what is a neurological illness. It is a most recent treatment and there is a great deal of work that has been done to demonstrate that it is proven, should be implemented and should be effective for children. That treatment is called intensive behavioural intervention.

The problem is that this province has set up a program which stops offering that treatment after the age of six. This province has set up a program that does not meet the needs of children who have autism. A most recent OHIP study has shown that one in 500 Ontario children has autism. That's a huge number and it's a number that's growing. That is a number that we should all be extremely concerned about, because the fact of the matter is that if we don't deal proactively and effectively with children who have autism, those kids will never make it. If they even end up in the school system, they will end up dropping out because they don't have the special aides needed to help them. Most of them will never make it to school. Many of them will end up in a group home or institutionalized. But this treatment, which is effective, is really turning around the lives of those children.

There were dozens and dozens of families who came here on Monday, most of whose children are sitting on a waiting list -- a number of parents who have been sitting on a waiting list for over two years now, and many of those children at age five, knowing full well they might get a bit of treatment before the child turns six and they will lose that treatment altogether.

The minister said the experts have told this government that the most effective treatment is before six, and that seems to be the reason why the government cuts off treatment at six. I'm sure the experts did say that the most effective treatment starts before age six. I highly doubt that any single one of those experts said that after six there is no reason to have that service at all. It's like cancer treatment. If you intervene early enough, obviously you are going to have much better results. It's the same with IBI. Many of those children, even starting IBI at age five, if they could continue that to seven or eight, would have a normal life, would be able to operate normally and independently in the community and would not be a burden on society, which is what their parents are most concerned with.

I urge the government to recognize that the numbers of autistic children are growing phenomenally, by leaps and bounds. We need to deal with that. But I also say to the government that this is a neurological illness. It should not receive program funding from the Ministry of Community, Family and Children's Services. We should recognize it as a medical issue. We should treat it as medically necessary treatment and we should cover the costs of this treatment through OHIP, because for these families, if they don't get government support, it is cost-prohibitive for them to pay for treatment. For many families the intensive treatment costs over $50,000 a year, and they don't have that kind of money. If we want to deal with an illness that is growing, that is very serious, this government has to recognize this as a medical issue and fund treatment through OHIP.

Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough-Rouge River): I want to say how appreciative I am to have this opportunity to speak on this interim supply bill. But before I do, it's good to give some background on Scarborough-Rouge River, that wonderful riding I represent, those people who feel so denied of the process and who feel so neglected of some of the things that have not been coming to them after we have had such a great boom in our economy. Sometimes you hear this government praise the fact that the economic boom has been all due to them, and then when they bring forward this budget they complain that there is a downgrading or there is not as much revenue coming in as they thought. My riding is hearing that the fault of this is because of September 11 and the federal government. They are utterly confused. They see an enormous amount of money going, tax cuts given to Tory friends on Bay Street, and yet the need of Scarborough-Rouge River is not addressed. So they are pretty concerned.

The individuals I represent are wonderful people. They have great confidence in the democratic process. Even though many times we are here in this House and they would like me to stand up on many occasions, Mr Speaker -- and I know many times your frustration is reflected in your face as you see that I'm not able to speak for an hour or so here because of all these rules, regulations and closure motions that are stifling the democratic process, stifling the fact that they have elected someone to bring forward their concern, and that the free and easy expression of what their needs are is being snuffed by this Conservative government that's supposed to represent the democratic process.


It's rather interesting that they said to me, "Isn't this the same government that Mike Harris had?" Because they're hearing some different noises going on. What they're hearing is that there's a fellow called Ernie Eves who's the new Premier. They asked me if that is the same Ernie Eves who had the knife of cuts to them, who was then the Treasurer. They said, "Is it that he changed his title but will proceed in the same manner as this very heartless government who looked on welfare recipients and cut their income, who looked at affordable housing and did not see it as a priority for them when there is a great need? Is this the same Conservative government?" I said to them, "It is the same Conservative government. They have changed the leader, shuffled the deck around a bit and put in Ernie Eves, who's now the Premier, with the same Common Sense Revolution they had."

The fact is that this Common Sense Revolution has caused a lot of bleeding of the poor people and those who are in need, the people who need the protection of the government and who need to feel that, when things are good, they will look after those who are most in need. But a Conservative government like this, the needs they see are those on Bay Street. They felt, "These individuals should not be paying any more money in taxes, so we'll give them a break."

They also asked me, "Is this the same government that got $2 billion from the federal government and didn't know they were getting it, and they are fiscally responsible people?" I myself was rather shocked to know each day, as they complain as to the cause why they're not progressing and looking after those most in need in our country and our province, the fact is that the federal government was giving $2 billion to this fiscally responsible government and it didn't even know it. My feeling was that no, this couldn't be so, but they also admitted to the fact that they were completely irresponsible.

They asked me if this is the same government who, when they found out that some welfare recipients had got some money erroneously, were being charged and sent to jail, some of them, for getting this money -- maybe $200 or $5,000 extra. They had to be accountable. "Is this the same government that got $2 billion and is saying, `We won't pay it back'?" I said, "Yes, it is the same government, the same Conservative government led by the same individual with a knife who now is handing the knife over to Janet Ecker, the Treasurer, telling her what to do and then saying, `My hands are clean.'"

"Is that the same government that is carrying out some of the proposals of which Dalton McGuinty of the Liberal Party said, `This is the way to go'?" He said, "You know, I could call an election right away, and then maybe -- but I can't risk that, because if I do that, I may lose."

"Is this the same government," they're saying, "that in fact has done such harm to this country and is now saying, `We have one more year to go. Well, do you know what? I will delay this and I will implement many of the things the Liberals were saying, because by the time it comes around for next year, the people may think we're Liberals and elect us.'" They said to me, "Tell them we know what they're doing and they will not be elected because they are not being responsible for those who need it most in our province, for those who are concerned and are looking for a government that should be supporting them." They asked me to tell you that, Mr Speaker. I know you'll relay it all to the Conservative government, Ernie Eves and Janet Ecker, who is the Treasurer today.

Mr Lalonde: Let me say that I'm delighted to speak in the interim supply debate tonight. I was listening to the member for Northumberland a little while ago. He was saying that we in Ontario have created over 50% of the 893,000 jobs that were created, definitely at a low or minimum salary. If you look at the average revenue per family in 2002 compared to 1999, you would see a big difference. The revenue is quite a bit lower.

This interim supply bill covers only six months. I just hope we will be back before the six months end on December 31, because the last time we adjourned, we were away for five months and nothing was done in this chamber.

Let me speak a little bit about the budget that was presented last week. I was looking at the francophone affairs budget, and the former chief of cabinet, the former minister, wrote a letter in the Ottawa paper this morning saying that I should look at my figures and get the information before I make a statement. But let me tell you, I have them for 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2002-03. There are figures in there showing that there is money available for French services.

I had a meeting this morning. I was saying that, yes, it's probably true that you had money in there for the Francophonie games in Ottawa last year.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands): Franco-Ontarian Games.

Mr Lalonde: No, they were not the Franco-Ontarian Games. They were the games for francophones from all the countries on this planet.

M. Sean G. Conway (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): Les Jeux de la Francophonie.

M. Lalonde: Les Jeux de la Francophonie. C'est bien ça. The francophone games; exactly.

There was apparently $3 million: $1 million from two years ago and $1.9 million from last year. We could have kept the same budget. I was telling the minister this morning that people from outside the province come to Ontario and they don't know that right here in Toronto they could be greeted in French. There are 110,000 francophones right here in the GTA. So we could turn around and publicize that we could give them the services, and this would attract additional visitors and tourism to the city of Toronto. There are over two million francophones who come from France every year to Ontario but very few stop in Toronto. They go directly to Niagara Falls because they think they won't be served in French here.

Also, I wish we could have money in there. I fully agree that those employees have to be paid. We're getting super services from the employees we have, so we have to continue paying them. But I thought we would also get money for some special programs.

At the present time there is no money in the budget for cleaning up the mess we have in Hawkesbury, this lagoon that was left by the CRP and then after that was purchased by MNR. The cost to clean up this mess is going to be $65 million and there is no money in the budget for that.

I wish I could speak longer on this but I have to give a chance to my friend the member from Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Conway: Well, such as we have. We sit about six weeks of the year now but we sit 24 hours a day, so this is a very interesting opportunity. We all get three and a half minutes to talk about a variety of things, but I guess that's the new --


Mr Conway: I'm sorry. But there is an old maxim in parliamentary government that there will be no grant of supply without a redress of grievance. I want to take the brief time allowed me tonight in the supply debate to raise a couple of issues and I'm pleased that my colleagues and neighbours -- the Minister of Transportation, Mr Sterling, is with us this evening, as is the Associate Minister of Municipal Affairs, as we would say in rural Ontario, Mr Coburn -- are here as well.

I represent a community that is largely rural, small town and small city. There are two particular issues that my communities in the Ottawa Valley are expressing more and more concern about.

Let me talk first about the transportation issue. We were all pleased to see about four weeks ago the silver jubilarian, Mr Sterling, on some kind of construction equipment, announcing the next phase of the four-laning of Highway 17 in the Ottawa-Arnprior area.


Let me say to the minister that this was good news. We want to encourage our friend the minister, the member for Lanark-Carleton, to bring as much pressure as he can to bear on his caucus colleagues to see that the provincial highway system in eastern Ontario attracts as much of the available capital dollars that we possibly can manage, not only to continue the four-laning of Highway 17 west of its current projected terminus, which is Arnprior, by the year 2005, I gather. Minister, is that the latest number?

Hon Mr Sterling: Sorry?

Mr Conway: The point I want to make is that it was in the famous provincial election campaign of June 1999 -- I well remember the day -- that his predecessor, Mr Clement, appeared at Arnprior in a torrential downpour a day or so before ballots began to be cast. Mr Clement, in fine style, with our good friend Leo Jordan at his elbow, said, "Now, listen, you re-elect the Harris government and we're going to have this Highway 17 four-laned to Arnprior by not later than late 2003, early 2004."

Hon Mr Sterling: I don't remember the exact date.

Mr Conway: He doesn't remember the exact date, and I understand that perhaps as time moves on, Mr Sterling's memory may be, like mine, not quite as acute.

Mr Garry J. Guzzo (Ottawa West-Nepean): Who knew September 11 was going to happen?

Mr Conway: I will talk a little bit about September 11 in a moment. But the fact of the matter is, there are few things that are as important to my constituents and my business community in the upper Ottawa Valley than improving and four-laning Highway 17 through the upper Ottawa Valley. We appreciate what's been done to date, but we do note that the completion of the four-laning to Arnprior seems to have slipped a bit.

I just want to say to the minister, keep up the pressure and we want to see that four-laning not just to Arnprior but westward to Renfrew and beyond. We know it can't happen overnight.

Hon Mr Coburn: And we need it to Navan.

Mr Conway: My friend from Orléans says, "And we need it to Navan."

I noticed in the most recent budget that again this coming year we plan to take from the motoring public, including business, about $3.85 billion worth of road-related revenues, taxes -- $2.2 billion in the gas tax, about $600 million in the fuel tax and about $900 million in motor vehicle registration fees. That adds up, I think, to about $3.8 billion, a few hundred million short of $4 billion. I'm one of those people who believes that a very large portion, particularly the gas tax, should be applied to the purposes intended, which were namely and principally the maintenance and the expansion of our provincial highway system.

In Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke it's not just about Highway 17 and four-laning it to and beyond Arnprior. It's also about the obviously deteriorating condition of Highway 60 from Renfrew to Whitney, some of which has been rebuilt in recent times in the Whitney area, but we certainly have to do more and do it sooner than later. Highway 41 in the Dacre, Griffith and Denbigh corridor is in very serious condition, and I understand the minister may have some good news on that subject at some early point. My residential constituents, the farmers and certainly business people, drive those highways in areas like the Dacre-Denbigh corridor. And certainly in the Highway 60 corridor, which is the Algonquin Park highway, it is obvious that those provincial highways need some attention and need some upgrading and some refurbishment. We want our share of the provincial dollars for that.

I point out that in the first mandate of the Harris government, in southeastern Ontario fully 50% of the old provincial highway system was downloaded to local government, an astonishing percentage actually. Almost 50% of the old provincial highway system in eastern Ontario was transferred from the province to local government. That means that the remaining provincial network is much smaller in terms of kilometrage. Presumably we have, then, more money to spend on fewer highways. I know the cost of construction is escalating, but I just want to say to my friend Mr Sterling that we appreciate what you announced a month ago. We know you are the senior member of the government caucus. We know you reside in the Kanata area. We know you have a keen interest in matters of eastern Ontario economic activity and public safety. Highways 17, 60 and 41 are extremely important priorities for my constituents, as I know they are for many of his. We want to see as much money spent on those provincial highways as is reasonably possible in the next little while.

The second part of this matter of interest to my municipalities is, boy, did we end up with a lot of downloaded services. Mr Beaubien is here. I'm happy he's listening to Mr Coburn. In Renfrew county approximately 40% of the land base is owned by Her Majesty in right of the government of Ontario. There is a huge percentage of crown land, particularly in southwestern and southern Renfrew county, along that Highway 60 corridor. I've got townships and municipalities where 50%, 60% or 70% of the land base is provincially owned. In fact, in much of that area in south-central, southwestern and southern Renfrew county, as is the case in North Addington, North Hastings and part of Haliburton, we have a very substantial system of what had previously been the 500 series of provincial highways that were downloaded to the counties of Renfrew, Hastings, Lennox and Addington.

There is little tax base in counties like Renfrew to sustain and maintain over time what we were given, which was about 250 kilometres of what had previously been provincial highways, along with 50 or 60 bridges and bridge-like structures. Yes, it is true that when that transfer was made, we got something like $7 million or $8 million as a one-time cash payment to assist with that. But that is, as you will know, Mr Speaker, from your experience in Perth county, not a great deal of money when to replace a bridge today over a modest river or waterway can cost at least $1 million and in some cases substantially more than that.

Mr Sterling, Mr Coburn and Mr Beaubien, I say to you, on behalf of the municipal communities in Renfrew county, we have to find a way to provide more meaningful and significant support to municipal government in areas like Renfrew county to pay over time for very expensive downloaded highways and bridges, particularly in those areas of Renfrew county where the land base is substantially owned by the Ontario government. It's not an issue to the same degree in those parts of my county where the land tenure is much more traditional southern Ontario. But I repeat, along that Highway 60 corridor and westward the county has all kinds of what had previously been provincial highways -- and bridges -- most of it running through crown land. The provincial government understandably is actively developing its timber resources on that land, over highways that local folks are supposed to pay for. Whether the reeve's name is Conway, Beaubien or Duncan, he or she is sitting there saying, "How the hell am I going to do this?"

We had a case not too long ago where the crown is actively developing timber resources down in the municipality of Greater Madawaska. I'm told by area residents that several kilometres of the Matawatchan Road has been pounded into a terrible condition by log trucks that are hauling crown timber resources off publicly owned lands to sawmills outside the immediate municipal region; and the bill for the road repair doesn't go to the Ministry of Natural Resources or the Ontario government, it goes to local property taxpayers -- farmers and other homeowners in that part of the old Griffith and Matawatchan townships. It's simply not fair. In conclusion, we have to find a way to assist these rural municipalities in areas like the Ottawa Valley -- Renfrew county -- where the downloaded services, particularly things like provincial highways and bridges, have brought a very real, and quite frankly unsustainable, pressure on property taxes in a way that's simply not fair. I yield the floor, Mr Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Is it the pleasure of the House the motion carry?

All those in favour, say "aye."

All those opposed, say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 10-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 2041 to 2051.

The Acting Speaker: All those in favour will please rise one at a time and be counted by the Clerk.


Arnott, Ted

Baird, John R.

Barrett, Toby

Bartolucci, Rick

Beaubien, Marcel

Chudleigh, Ted

Clark, Brad

Clement, Tony

Coburn, Brian

Conway, Sean G.

Cordiano, Joseph

Cunningham, Dianne

Curling, Alvin

DeFaria, Carl

Duncan, Dwight

Dunlop, Garfield

Ecker, Janet

Elliott, Brenda

Eves, Ernie

Flaherty, Jim

Galt, Doug

Gerretsen, John

Gilchrist, Steve

Gill, Raminder

Gravelle, Michael

Guzzo, Garry J.

Hardeman, Ernie

Hastings, John

Hudak, Tim

Jackson, Cameron

Klees, Frank

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Levac, David

Marland, Margaret

Martiniuk, Gerry

Mazzilli, Frank

McDonald, AL

Miller, Norm

Molinari, Tina R.

Munro, Julia

Murdoch, Bill

Mushinski, Marilyn

Newman, Dan

O'Toole, John

Runciman, Robert W.

Sampson, Rob

Spina, Joseph

Sterling, Norman W.

Stockwell, Chris

Tascona, Joseph N.

Turnbull, David

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Wilson, Jim

Witmer, Elizabeth

Wood, Bob

Young, David

The Acting Speaker: All those opposed will please rise one at a time and be counted by the Clerk.


Bisson, Gilles

Hampton, Howard

Marchese, Rosario

Martel, Shelley

Martin, Tony

Clerk Assistant (Ms Deborah Deller): The ayes are 56; the nays are 5.

The Acting Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

LOI DE 2002

Mr Runciman moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 148, An Act to provide for declarations of death in certain circumstances and to amend the Emergency Plans Act / Projet de loi 148, Loi prévoyant la déclaration de décès dans certaines circonstances et modifiant la Loi sur les mesures d'urgence.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): The Chair recognizes the Minister of Public Safety and Security.


Hon Robert W. Runciman (Minister of Public Safety and Security): I'm only moving the bill at this point. Wait for my speech later.

The Acting Speaker: The Chair recognizes the government House leader and Minister of Energy and the Minister of Environment on a point of order.

Hon Chris Stockwell (Minister of Environment and Energy, Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, may I seek unanimous consent of the House to pass second and third readings of Bill 148 tonight?

Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-St Clair): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: In an effort to assist the member from Durham, I seek unanimous consent to pass government Bill 68, dealing with Durham College.

The Acting Speaker: Mr Duncan has requested unanimous consent. Is there consent? I'm afraid there is not consent.


The Acting Speaker: No, there was no consent.

Mr Runciman has moved second reading of Bill 148, and we are ready for debate. The Chair recognizes the Minister of Public Safety and Security.

Hon Mr Runciman: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I won't take the departure of so many of my friends and colleagues personally.

I do appreciate this opportunity to speak to this important piece of legislation. It's important in retrospect, in the wake of the terrible events of September 11. I think everyone, people throughout the world, questioned whether their governments had the ability to deal with emergencies when we looked at what happened in New York City and Washington -- the Pentagon in Washington and the World Trade Center in New York City.

I have to say, in terms of first reactions to these enormous tragedies, these attacks on the free world, that our government, the province of Ontario, at the time led by Premier Michael Harris, waited for a number of days -- I think it was two days -- for a response or reaction from the federal Liberal government. What was Canada's reaction going to be to this terrible attack on the free peoples of the world?

There was no response forthcoming. We waited and waited and waited. The first government in the country of Canada to react to this terrible attack on the free world was the government of the province of Ontario, led by Premier Michael Harris. We are very, very proud of that response, that reaction by our government. This is an accurate --



Hon Mr Runciman: The member from Windsor is questioning the validity of my response, but I'll ask him to check the record. Check when Prime Minister Chrétien actually did respond to these attacks. I think that's been one of the criticisms of the Paul Martin supporters in the Liberal Party: the reluctance to respond in a timely way to an attack on not just what the United States believes in but what all free peoples of the world believe in.

As I indicated, our government took immediate and concrete action to ensure that this province and all its communities are prepared for emergencies, whether they're of a natural or human cause. We made an ongoing commitment to improve Ontario's counterterrorism and emergency management capabilities. We added both human and financial resources to improve our emergency preparedness.

I want to run over a few of the things that happened in the wake of September 11: we doubled our emergency management budget, we provided better training for firefighters and others who are first on the scene at emergencies, we worked with the owners and operators of large buildings to develop evacuation procedures, we are developing more specialized forensic capacity at the Centre for Forensic Sciences and the Office of the Chief Coroner, we are establishing a new alternative backup provincial operations centre for Emergency Measures Ontario and we are developing volunteer civilian emergency response teams.

If this legislation is passed -- and given my conversations with both opposition parties, I'm optimistic that it will pass -- the new Emergency Readiness Act will build on that solid foundation. It will increase the ability of the province and its municipalities to deal with emergencies. The new Emergency Readiness Act is an important step in our government's ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and security of all Ontarians.

To begin with, the act changes the name of Emergency Measures Ontario to Emergency Management Ontario. This will better reflect the decisive role the organization plays. The director of Emergency Measures of Ontario will become the chief of Emergency Management Ontario.

We cannot afford to handle emergency planning in a piecemeal manner. It's critical to have one individual with expert credentials overseeing all the work we're doing in this area. The new chief will be responsible for monitoring, coordinating and assisting in the formulation of emergency plans. Those plans will then be submitted to the chief of EMO for safekeeping. Under the new act, all municipalities will be required to develop and implement emergency management programs. Municipal workers will be required to receive training and participate in mock exercises to prepare for actual emergencies.

As we learn from watching our neighbours to the south, the impact of efficient front-line response is absolutely crucial in times of disaster. We're setting a new bar in Ontario to ensure our front-line police officers, firefighters, ambulance workers and other emergency workers are better prepared for the new realities they face.

At the same time, we must set higher standards to ensure the public is informed about what we do during a crisis. That's why this bill requires municipalities to conduct public education campaigns. We want to make sure that citizens across Ontario are aware of risks to public safety and are prepared for emergencies. Our government believes all Ontarians have a right to feel safe and a right to know what their government is doing to protect them.

Having a well-constructed plan, knowledgeable and trained responders and an educated and prepared public is only part of our strategy. Under our act, municipalities will be required to look within their borders to assess hazards and risks to public safety, and identify those that could be vulnerable to attack or other risks.

We have consulted with our municipal partners in developing this bill, and I'm pleased to say they are onside and ready to co-operate in the interests of public safety. When this bill was introduced on December 6 last year, Ann Mulvale, president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario said, "Municipal leaders are committed to ensuring that their emergency plans work and that emergency services are ready to respond. We will continue to work with the province to enhance community safety for all Ontarians."

That's the kind of commitment and dedication this government is looking for. With matching endorsements from the members opposite, we can make the Emergency Readiness Act a reality.

Although I have only spoken of what the government is requiring of municipalities, let me assure the House that we are placing the same obligations on the province as well. We will require key ministries with responsibilities in these areas and every designated agency, board and commission to develop an emergency management plan, train crown employees, conduct exercises, educate workers and assess risks.

We learned many lessons from the events of September 11, and one of the most important was the need, first and foremost, to get help to victims as quickly as possible: physical, emotional and financial help. That's why this bill empowers the Lieutenant Governor, on the recommendation of the Attorney General, to temporarily suspend legislation during an emergency, whether or not an emergency has been formally declared. I want to assure the House that this step would only be taken if, in the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the temporary suspension of legislation would facilitate the delivery of assistance to victims or help victims and the public deal with the emergency and its aftermath.

This legislation also amends the Declarations of Death Act. If passed, the act will streamline the process for obtaining a court order declaring a person to be deceased. It can be used in circumstances where a person is presumed to be dead but no physical evidence of death can be located. The Declarations of Death Act allows a single application to be brought for all legal purposes. It replaces the requirement for separate court proceedings for each specific legal purpose, such as probating a will, claiming life insurance or remarrying. This will significantly ease the burden on those who have lost loved ones in a tragedy.

Let me say that this government is working hard to make sure our citizens are safe, but we can't do it alone. This legislation will help municipalities fulfill their role in safeguarding public safety more effectively. By working together, we can and are making Ontario a safer place to live, work and raise a family.

Finally, in conclusion, I want to encourage the members opposite to give serious consideration to giving not only second but third reading to this legislation. The anniversary of September 11 is fast approaching. I think it would be a real tragedy if this government, this province, this Legislature, this assembly had not dealt with this legislation prior to the anniversary date of that enormous attack on the United States of America, on the free world.

I have spoken to the critics of both parties. The Liberal Party has indicated their willingness to pass this legislation. Regrettably, the third party, the NDP, has indicated that at this stage, at this point, they are not willing to allow this bill to receive third reading.

I want to indicate this evening, in the strongest possible terms, that we do not play politics with this kind of issue. We're talking about having the ability to respond not only to the potential of an attack on this country, an attack on this continent, but any other tragedy that may occur, any other man-made or non-man-made disaster that may occur.

I want to encourage, I want to implore the third party to give this very serious consideration. If we do not give this bill third reading either tonight or tomorrow evening, we will reach the anniversary date of September 11 without dealing in an effective manner with our way to cope with emergencies in the province of Ontario. I'm placing this on the conscience, I guess, of the members of the third party to ensure that we can have passage of this bill before we adjourn for the summer.


The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Mushinski): Questions and comments? The member for Sudbury.

Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): Thank you, Madam Speaker. It's good to see you in the chair this evening.

I'd like to respond to the comments made by the Minister of Public Safety. We all have our tragic September 11 stories. I think of my wife's cousin, who is a fire captain in New York City. He lost 52 of his best friends. In the first two weeks, he was a pallbearer 13 times. In speaking to him, the tragedy was so vivid in his speech, one can only imagine the horror and the pain that he suffered as a fire captain in New York City. So certainly we will be supporting the legislation. In fact, our leader, Dalton McGuinty, as we all know, called for this type of legislation the first day the Legislature met after September 11.

We understand that emergency measures are going to cost money and we would hope that the government would commit those adequate resources to ensure that there is proper emergency preparedness in place. After the downloading on to municipalities, the government has to realize that there has to be a fund set up so that we will be able to implement this plan. That's why Dalton McGuinty called for the creation of the Ontario security fund.

Listen, I agree with the Minister of Public Safety. This is one of these issues where at the end of the day we all support it. With regard to the quick passage, I could only have wished that he had introduced this for second reading two weeks ago and then we would have ensured that everyone would be onside with its passage.

Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): I'm going to begin by saying to the minister, if you thought you were going to get this debated in a non-partisan way, you blew it by the last minute of your statement.

I remind you, sir, because you said it would be a tragedy if this assembly didn't deal with this legislation before the anniversary of September 11, that your government had all last fall to bring forward this legislation. This House returned on September 24 and we sat until December 12 and for most of that time we sat Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights as well. This was such a priority for your government that you didn't bring it forward in that time.

This House has been sitting since May 9. It is now June 26, and the first time we see this legislation is tonight at a quarter after 9. I say to you, with all due respect, if that is an example of the priority that your government places on this legislation, shame on you.

Do not point your finger at this party and say that we should pass this bill, second and third reading, tonight. We will not do that and I know my House leader has communicated that to you. We will not do that because we have serious concerns with this bill, the most important of which is: how are municipalities going to fund all the new requirements that you will force upon them? We know that municipalities are already cash-strapped with the many responsibilities you have downloaded without funding.

So I say to the minister, we think this issue is important and we wish that your government would have seen it to be so important that you would have brought it forward in the fall session so it could have been dealt with, not the night before we are due to rise, if it was that important to you to get it through.

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): I would like to take a moment to commend the minister for security in this province for his foresight in bringing forth a bill whose drafting has had deliberation and thought. Believe me, if we had it brought it in right after September 11, I'm quite sure the New Democratic Party would have been the first party on their feet to say, "How do you know what's needed? How have you got all the answers? You haven't done your homework." The thing is, no matter what you do, some opposition parties are going to oppose it in principle anyway. It's beyond my wildest imagination to understand for a single, solitary second how any member in this House wouldn't want to give this important legislation second and third readings right away. The bill has been well prepared, well drafted and it should pass. I agree totally that it should pass at least by tomorrow evening, if it's not possible to pass it tonight.

The criticism of priorities is always an interesting point. When the criticism is that municipalities won't have the money, who would ever have thought for a minute how the city of New York, which was so devastated and totally destroyed by this terrible, terrible act of terrorism, could have afforded the enormity of the cost that's only just beginning? They've just completed the cleanup, but it's only the beginning of the rebuilding of that city.

I simply say to all members in this House, please vote your conscience and vote as quickly as we can for second and third readings of this terribly important piece of legislation.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): I have just two observations about Bill 148 -- as my colleague Mr Bartolucci has observed, we intend to support the legislation. I would make two observations for my friend the minister.

First, I think it's timely legislation. I hope it is reviewed in some way that is satisfactory to all concerned. I am reminded, as I know the minister will be, that over four years ago we had a genuine emergency in southeastern Ontario with the famous ice storm. I remember an old friend of mine, Professor Stewart Fyfe at Queen's University, got some money, I think from the federal government, to look at how various and several organizations performed during that ice storm.

My memory of his analysis is that in his view there were some very worrisome deficiencies at that time with the operation of the old Emergency Measures Organization. It's been a while since I've talked to Stewart Fyfe about that, but I was quite struck by what his analysis found. So if for no other reason than that you lived through the ice storm in southeastern Ontario -- and I accept entirely the importance of September 11 -- let me tell you, that was an emergency situation that would make you want to look at the relevant legislation in Ontario for this kind of situation.

Secondly, I say to the minister that in following the American political debate in the last few months, I have observed quite an interesting debate in Congress about what happened around the agencies involved with security in the United States, particularly how the FBI and the CIA behaved. What we now appear to know is that notwithstanding massive appropriations made annually by Congress, those two very well-resourced, highly regarded agencies apparently did not talk to one another. The question I have is: is the culture going to change so that does not continue to happen and frustrate effective emergency measures?


The Acting Speaker: Response?

Hon Mr Runciman: I want to thank the members who contributed, especially the member for Sudbury, Mr Bartolucci. I know his interest in these kinds of issues. His comments with respect to resourcing -- at this stage I can only encourage him to stay tuned. We are still working on a number of initiatives in regard to security for this province and how we can respond with our partners to any emergency that might occur in the future. But I do very much appreciate his support and his party's support.

I want to say to the member for Nickel Belt, who is seemingly offended by my comments, that I wasn't attempting to be political. I was attempting to impress upon my friends opposite that this is an extremely important piece of legislation. I know she questions the priorities with respect to when it was called. That is, I would suggest, perhaps a legitimate point to raise but not a reason for not moving ahead with this important piece of legislation.

I feel very strongly about this, and I think you should, I think the members of the Liberal Party should, we all should. I think it would be compounding a disaster not to be in a position where this province has passed legislation so we can cope with emergencies in a more capable fashion in the future. So I would encourage you to consider it in that light, in a non-partisan vein. It is certainly not my intent to be attacking in any political vein.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Dave Levac (Brant): It's a pleasure and an honour, on behalf of Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal Party, to take the lead on second reading of Bill 148, the Emergency Readiness Act, 2002.

I would like to indicate to those who are interested in this debate that I'm going to try to do something rather different and unique. I'm going to outline exactly what I plan to talk about, talk about those things and do a wrap-up that explains why I'm talking about those things.

I want to talk specifically about the act, what it does and what it doesn't do. I want to talk about the changes to various acts in order that this bill will be effective, because by implementing this bill we are going to be affecting several other acts that need amendment.

I will talk about the compendium that was offered to us about the bill. There are some issues inside of that that I would like to bring to the attention of people who are listening to this debate.

I would also like to comment on previous comments made by then-Minister Turnbull on December 6, 2001, on which I myself commented to him in person.

I would also like to indicate clearly that I would like to make some proposals that need action with the introduction of this particular bill. I believe this bill is the great start we did hope for, that we are expecting and did demand from this government, as we did with every other government after the tragic events of September 11.

I would also like to talk about Bill 141, An Act to amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997. It's actually my bill, and I provided it to the government on November 28, 2001.

I would also like to talk for a few moments on the Ontario security fund proposed by my leader, Dalton McGuinty.

I would also like to talk a little bit about the budget and its relationship to this particular bill. I want to talk to the House about costs that are involved for all levels of government in our protection and our security and in making the people of Ontario feel there is a plan in place.

I would also like to talk a little bit about what the present minister indicated to us about September 11, in particular the anniversary of September 11 coming up. We have had conversations about how our party would be willing to negotiate and discuss some of the issues we hope we would make in proposal that could be covered off in regulation and not be obstructionist in terms of the validity of this particular bill.

Indeed, we have made it clear that we will be supporting the bill, but there are issues that do need to be brought to the front. I'm sure the minister opposite would be more than willing, and has been willing, to listen to the concerns I've brought on behalf of the party regarding Bill 148.

The bill itself is called the Emergency Readiness Act, 2002. It enacts an act that's already on the table called the Declarations of Death Act and amendments to the Emergency Plans Act. I want people to understand that there are already bills on the table. There's a law on the books that covers off declarations of death, that covers off the emergency plans that are supposed to be in place.

I will be speaking a little bit later about some of the things that are being done and not being done presently that September 11 has taught us that we must be cognizant of.

It starts off by indicating and understanding that life teaches us many lessons and it's our responsibility as individuals with some authority, and those who don't even have authority, to do the learning and what to do with those lessons that are taught to us by life itself. Let's move to the amendments to the act.

"It requires municipalities, ministers of the crown and designated agencies, boards, commissions and other branches of government to develop and implement emergency management programs consisting of emergency plans, training programs and exercises, public education and any other element prescribed by regulation" that will be introduced after the bill has final reading. "The development of emergency management programs must involve the identification and assessment of the various risks and hazards to public safety that could give rise to emergencies and identification of facilities and other elements of the infrastructure at risk from emergencies.

"The current act permits municipalities to formulate emergency plans. The amendments to the act make it mandatory..." so up until this point, before this act becomes declared, it's optional. Again, we find that "optional" word many times in a lot of legislation in this House making things optional. I introduced a bill earlier that basically says that we're not going to have optional helmet-wearing when we're riding bikes and skateboards. It shouldn't be optional.

I've also introduced a bill that makes it no longer optional but mandatory to have safety zones around schools. These individual community plans that are going to be put in place are no longer going to be optional, and we laud that. We think that's a very wise thing to do. We will be asking the minister to set out a plan that shows that funding is going to be in place to ensure that our municipalities across Ontario have the opportunity to provide a real sense of that emergency preparedness. The fact that funds are not available for whatever means by the municipality because of size, location, geography, topography -- the reasons why are many -- I would hope the government, and that's part of the proposal process, would be in concert with them to ensure that the particular municipality has an opportunity to make sure its public is safe.

Having done that, then that's easily supportable by everybody on all sides to ensure there's a minimum standard that's established and that those funds are available with given audits, which are very doable, to show that the municipality may or may not be able to do so, that the government of the day would step in and say, "We can assist you because that's what our priority is," to ensure safety and security, which has been said, over and over again and fully supported, is the priority. I would hope that would be very negotiable with this government and the municipalities across the province.

AMO basically said it's a good start, but what it's also saying is, "Let's make sure we continue the dialogue and ensure that you are aware there are problems in this province with some of our municipalities."

That takes care of the act itself in terms of what we're doing. I will go into some other specific details now by telling you about the changes to the various acts that are going to be required in the introduction of this bill.


The present Emergency Plans Act is going to take some changes. It needs to be redefined in some areas. So that act itself is going to be changed by Bill 148. The other act that needs to be changed is the Courts of Justice Act. Inside of that is the process in which the other part of the bill that doesn't seem to get a lot of attention, but is important legally and in terms of an emergency. In New York we learned very sadly what was necessary.

The proposed Declarations of Death Act "provides a new process for obtaining a court order declaring that a person is dead, in circumstances where no physical evidence is available but it is reasonable to presume death. The proposed act will allow a single application to be brought for all legal purposes." Hence the five bills need to be modified in order for Bill 148 to be applicable and used in these cases and incidents. "Currently it is necessary to bring separate court proceedings for different purposes such as probating a will, claiming life insurance proceeds or permitting the surviving spouse to remarry."

These are the bills that need to be modified with the introduction of Bill 148. Having looked to legal counsel from this side, legal advice indicated there was nothing undue happening here, that we're basically making a process a lot faster. We can expedite the process that bereaved people have to go through when they deal with and have to face emergency circumstances that involve death where, quite frankly, it's unfortunate but unidentifiable. We have to have this process in place. What we're dealing with is the Courts of Justice Act, which requires that "where the Family Court has jurisdiction, proceedings referred to the schedule to this section, except appeals and prosecutions, shall be commenced, heard and determined in the Family Court.

"A motion for interim or other interlocutory relief in a proceeding referred to in the schedule that is required or permitted by the rules or an order of a court to be heard and determined in a part of Ontario where the Family Court has jurisdiction shall be heard and determined in the Family Court."

Basically what this all does is, proceedings under the following statutes' provisions -- the Change of Name Act, the Child and Family Services Act, the Children's Law Reform Act, the Divorce Act, the Family Law Act, the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act, the Marriage Act, the Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Orders Act and the Domestic Violence Protection Act -- quite frankly, you can see that the introduction of Bill 148 to expedite all of that that has to take place during all of those pieces of legislation is a very wise and supportable thing that the government has done here for the sake of the bereaved who have to suffer through that particular situation when an emergency or an act of terrorism takes place.

The Insurance Act will be modified such that:

"Where an insurer receives sufficient evidence of,

"(a) the happening of the event upon which insurance money becomes payable;

"(b) the age of the person whose life is insured;

"(c) the right of the claimant to receive payment; and

"(d) the name and age of the beneficiary, if there is a beneficiary,

"it shall, within 30 days after receiving the evidence, pay the insurance money to the person entitled thereto."

Quite frankly, that's again another piece of legislation wisely changed to provide for Bill 148.

The Marriage Act:

"A married person whose spouse is missing and who alleges,

"(a) that his or her spouse has been continuously absent for at least seven years immediately preceding the application;" -- which is already in place --

"(b) that his or her spouse has not been heard from or heard of during such period by the applicant or to the knowledge of the applicant by any other person; and

"(c) that the applicant has made reasonable inquiries and has no reason to believe that his or her spouse is living,

"may apply to a judge of the Superior Court of Justice for an order under this section."

Again, in a case of terrorism or a catastrophe, a natural one or one caused by man, it basically says, "Please go ahead. We understand. We can't find the evidence of that particular person, that body, but we know he was in that vicinity," such as the horrendous lessons that September 11 has taught us.

We also have remarriage authorized and in effect of the order. Instead of reading the bill specifically, it's very important to point out that in the sidelines there's an awful lot of this legislation that was gone through by the government that we commend them for, having the recognition in their consultations, that the people who went through the September 11 tragedy went through, I would say respectfully, needless red tape. In this case we knew where the bodies were, we knew where the bodies were supposed to be and that declaration needed to be fast-tracked. I commend the government on that process.

The Registry Act goes through the same process and it allows for the registration and the settlement of any subscriptions during that particular time, once those declarations are made, to proceed.

It sounds boring, but I'm going through the issues that I said I would and trying to go over those concerns. I will bring shortly the proposals that the minister would be welcome to hear in terms of process -- not in terms of changing the bill but basically adding to it and maybe doing some things a little differently than we have in the past in this province, not by any one party but by all parties. We need to reinvent some of the things we do in terms of our security, in terms of the people of Ontario, how we perform those functions and what comes of it next, so the things that have been done in this bill are complementary.

The compendium makes reference to the Emergency Measures Act requiring that municipalities and designated ministers undertake a risk assessment and critical infrastructure identification process in developing their emergency management programs. I would like to point out that Michael Bryant, the member from St Paul's, brought to the attention of the House immediately upon sitting after September 11 the concern about water -- the containment of water and water purification plants -- particularly in his riding, because unfortunately there were some sick minds out there who did some copycat things, left some undesignated bags there to imply there was a bomb present, and he brought that concern. So in essence we were on the same wavelength in terms of what we needed to do to protect those particular facilities that were very key to our safety and our survival in the aftermath. I know the minister knows that and was appreciative of those particular comments.

Later in the debate, shortly after that, my leader, Dalton McGuinty, brought to the government the concern about nuclear power plants. It was dealt with, and hopefully we've now got it nailed down. We actually found out that somebody only had to ring a bell and walk over a fence and they were able to get inside the facilities. I do know that the minister is now quite aware of that, and steps were taken during that time where the minister fixed that problem and made sure it was improved upon.

So again, that co-operation where we bring things to the table and they get dealt with is very refreshing. I must say it is refreshing to know that some recommendations can be made and acted upon by this government and, I hope, any other government to come. The important point we're talking about is safety and security and the measures we need to take in order to make that improvement.

The responsibility of the Lieutenant Governor in Council to formulate a nuclear emergency plan remains unchanged. That in itself, when I looked at it -- I have a proposal, a suggestion that it might be expanded upon to the degree that we ensure that experts are brought in to ensure that maybe there are other avenues we can start to follow to make those facilities even safer. I think a renewal program should be considered, and that it not simply be, "This is what we have, and we're going to do it," because we've also found, unfortunately, that in some cases the law might exist but we haven't checked up on it. We need some type of cyclical review, not only of the plans, not only of the facilities, but of the process that's used to keep those places safe. So we could bring in new people, we could bring in different people, to take care of that.

In the future, I would very strongly suggest, we are not going to be looking at just nuclear power. I hope we are smart enough to look forward and, as our First Nations friends tell us, do things today that plan for the seven generations in front of us. We must acknowledge there is a future use of different types of energy, beyond what we're doing presently, that we need to start to plan for. And once we do that, we're sending the message loud and clear to those people who would take advantage of the facilities we presently have that, "Not only are we going to protect our stuff today, but you need to know that we're looking into the future and we're going to have plans in place so that when you bad guys out there decide to start looking to the future, we're already going to be there." We need to send a message that we're working collectively and working brightly on what's going to happen for our people. They need to know and feel safe and secure.

I learned that not from this place; I learned that from my parents, in my home. I learned that from teaching and being in school for 23 years. My first and sole responsibility initially was the safety and security of my students; then we started talking about education. I think with this bill we have the opportunity to put the foundation in place that sends the message loud and clear that each and every one of the citizens of Ontario will be protected to the best of our ability. By doing so we still need to move forward -- that's an important aspect that hopefully is going to be discussed during this debate and, when the bill passes, inside regulations to ensure we can establish that forward-looking continuum of evolution, change and improvement.


The EMA authorizes the Solicitor General to make regulations setting standards for emergency management programs and plans. Municipalities and designated ministries must comply with these standards in developing their programs and plans.

Minister, I compliment you on that; it's the right thing to do. My question is, what happens if they don't? Is that going to be covered off in regulation? If it's not, it needs to be. They need to know what's going to happen if we find municipalities not complying for whatever reason. Is it because they can't afford it? Have they entered into discussions with you to help you come up with the support in funds needed to provide that security? If they don't do that, we need to be strong in our conviction. We need to be strong to say, because that municipality over there has not complied, that they need to know, and the rest of Ontario needs to know, that something is going to happen if they don't, because that's how strongly we in this Legislature feel about the safety and security of the people of Ontario.

I would only hope that if any municipality in any of our members' ridings is not in compliance, the first thing that would happen would be that the member, of whatever party, sitting in this place would advise that municipality that they're not in compliance: "We're paying attention, and we're here for the safety and security of the people we represent." Maslow teaches us that we can't do anything until we take care of the bottom rung of that pyramid. That pyramid says, quite clearly, safety, security, shelter, food and love, and then we build what we can be as a society.

So with the compendium I also ask, are we talking about a dialogue with municipalities and the province to assure that funds will be made available? That's part of the compendium.

I will continue my little litany of things I said I was actually going to talk about, and we're going to stay on topic.

Previous comments made by then-Minister Turnbull on December 6, 2001: quite frankly, I had an opportunity to respond to this and told him quite clearly that we on this side of the House very well understood September 11, as did all Ontarians. We understood the pain, the tragedy, the catastrophe. What was perplexing was how any one individual could get themselves to the state that they would do something like that to innocent people. Subsequently, as the minister spoke about the bravery and the heroic actions of the firefighters, the paramedics, the volunteers, the police officers, as ours here in Ontario exemplify what that job means, we made comment about that. We indicated to them that we want to do things to make sure our province is safe and secure.

Let me quote what the then minister said: "We will ... establish training for volunteer emergency response teams." We agree with that, but I do offer a caution, and that would be to ensure we refer ourselves to the professionals who provide that service to make sure they understand why we're looking to the volunteer sector to help with that, how they are going to be trained and who is going to provide the training. Several answers need to be fleshed out before we proceed with this to ensure we don't end up at cross-purposes, because emergency response is an exceptionally important aspect of referring ourselves. Once the emergency takes place, we have to make sure this team that's being referred to is working with all the stakeholders to avoid duplication and conflict and to avoid getting in each other's way. There's nothing worse than having too many volunteers in an emergency situation. There's nothing worse, believe me. I've been in the middle of some, and you need to get people out of the way. So when we do these responses, it must be in a measured way with all the stakeholders participating in the development of this concept.

He also said we will "work with the owners and operators of large buildings to develop evacuation procedures." I'd take this even a step further.

To use the example of Japan, it is exceptionally brilliant on how to plan that. But did you know they spent decades developing how to respond, pre-emergency, to typhoons and earthquakes? What did they do? They went to architects, to builders, to developers, people who acquire land. As part of the suggestions I offer the minister, I'm suggesting we move another step forward. Let's move to our architects, to our builders, to the building owners and find out whether there's a better way to house our people.

Is there a new way to look at how we respond to emergencies and the kind of evacuation processes we have? Can we put in new processes? Can we develop new ideas on how to evacuate or section off parts of our city? Are we looking at futuristic development? Those are the things I'm trying to refer the minister to: the next step. That dialogue needs to start now so that we can be prepared once we have in place all the templates and the foundation you're talking about tonight. It's very important to go beyond simply having a plan today and not being able to make it evolve.

His last comment that I want to make comment on was "to develop more specialized forensic capacity in the Centre of Forensic Sciences and the office of the chief coroner." In my two or three visits to the centre as part of my responsibility as critic, I've come to know and befriend Dr James Young. Jim was telling me some interesting things about the building itself. I believe there's a plan in place -- and I would encourage the government to continue that dialogue, and if not, to fast-track it as best you can -- to reconsider an emergency centre that is 19 storeys up. The first thing that came into my head, and he just kind of giggled when I said it, was, "You're 19 storeys up and it's the emergency centre?" He said, "You caught it. It shouldn't be there."

I would also encourage this, and I don't know if I'm going to get a giggle out of the minister this time: why would we not go to the municipal coordinators, to the federal government, to the provincial government, get us together and say, "Look, let's get the brightest, best minds we have and design the best centre we can possibly have"? Maybe we can get the federal government onside, because we know Toronto is the centre of an awful lot of action, as is Ottawa, as is Vancouver. If you get what I'm getting at, again we're talking about future planning, the type of planning we were taught, unfortunately, by September 11.

Nineteen storeys up we've got our centre that's going to be the brain trust of how we respond to a catastrophe. That building itself would be subjected to that type of problem. I believe we need to consider very strongly that that centre needs to be moved. We need to reinvest. I know the government has already invested some money, and the chief coroner, who is also the manager of this new system, is very pleased with the direction the government is taking. I'm sure he would say, as would any other responsible manager, "If you're going to give me more, I'll take some more, because I've got some other ideas about what we have to have."

We should be sitting down and taking the approach of -- I will tell you this. The minister said it tonight, and I was very pleased to hear it. His response was very measured: "I'm not going to be political about this. I'm going to try to do the right thing." That's the challenge I'm laying out: let's talk about doing the right thing. That building needs to be built. For that building, we need to call upon the expertise we've got, even from around the world; we don't want to reinvent the wheel. But in terms of that particular centre, it needs to be a beacon. It needs to send a message that we've learned the lesson and we will proceed with providing our citizens with the best we possibly can. It will take some funds, but if we do it with a shared sense of responsibility, if we approach the federal government in a way that simply says, "Come on, let's talk about this. This is really important," I believe that all levels of government will step forward and say, "You know what? You're on to something. I believe it's the right thing to do."


That's the other issue that came up as a result of the minister's statements, and I appreciate very much the fact that the minister has indicated some funds have already been put into the centre and that -- I think it's verbal right now; I'm not sure whether it's on paper -- they're looking for proposals. But I believe they've caught that one and are moving forward with the idea of re-evaluating that building. First of all, it's 30 years old, if I'm not mistaken. Second, that centre being 19 floors up just doesn't make sense. I've learned a little bit -- not a lot. I'll be honest with you. There's so much to learn and not enough time to put that together. But I believe we have expertise, and I think most of the experts have said, "That's not the place for your centre." So I believe that should be done.

I want to move forward with responses to Bill 148, as I indicated in my litany of things I was going to do. I'm on track. It's amazing, Speaker. I'm just talking about what I said I was going to talk about.

I know I've said this to the minister, but I want to say it one more time. Minister, we are going to support. We understand the direction you're going. We do believe it's the right thing to do. But I don't necessarily believe that we should be hurrying this, and I say this with very gentle words, just because it's the anniversary. I don't know that we should be saying, "We need to pass it because." Believe me, I appreciate the concept, I appreciate the value and the psychological impact of making a significant contribution on the anniversary of September 11, but that should not be the purpose of passing the bill quickly.

I know that the members of the third party have concerns about the bill, some legal, some financial, and others in terms of ideas. They should be heard. We should hear them. We should understand what some of the concepts, the thoughts and the concerns are from the third party. I think we should be able to offer some of those recommendations and changes. I believe the member, as the former minister, received many deputations from people in the field, from all different directions, and rightfully so. This is something we shouldn't do just because. This is something we should do because it's the right thing to do and we've thought it out as best we possibly can.

I'll say this: I believe this is a first step. It shouldn't be seen as the answer to our safety and security woes. If it is, I would suggest to you that I couldn't support the bill, because as I said earlier and will repeat, I believe this is an evolution. This is something we should be working on in a cyclical pattern, time and time again, to ensure we've improved our safety and security, because new issues will come up. New ways of devious, perverted behaviour are going to be inflicted on people around the globe, and we should be prepared to learn from those.

Since the terrorist attacks, in addition to proposing the creation of the Ontario security fund, Dalton McGuinty has put forward positive proposals to improve Ontario's economic and physical security. The Ontario security fund called for using $100 million from monies already available, already in our coffers, simply reprioritized and reshuffled. This fund would have made $50 million available to Ontario municipalities to do what they thought was necessary to comply with the contents of Bill 148 so that the firefighters, the police officers and the training for their employees in emergency readiness could have been paid for. Another $50 million would be used to improve security at provincial facilities in preparation for the future, such as reconstruction of the brain centre, if you will, during an emergency.

Right now, it's very clear, from studies provided to us by Emergency Measures Ontario when they conducted their survey of municipalities across the province, that they're ill equipped to deal with small emergencies, let alone serious natural disasters and attacks inflicted on us by other people. According to that survey, 72% of Ontario's municipalities have not conducted exercises over the past year to evaluate their emergency plans. I will say, on a positive note, that 91% of our municipalities do have a plan. That's positive, and I think it has grown since, if I'm not mistaken. That's good, except that when 72% of them don't practise that plan, there's a problem.

I'll tell you how I know that. By law, as the principal of an elementary school not that long ago -- we had to perform three fire alarms, one a term. We had to do those fire drills by law and we were checked by the fire service of whatever area you came from. We had to do three by law.

And guess what? I would suggest to you that the statistics are reversed. I would suggest to you that 90% to 100% of the schools do those fire drills, and that's practise, practise, practise. We do them over and over again, and that's an expensive proposition for emergency preparation. But if we work together, that practice will pay off dividends in life. That's what it does: it saves lives.

I was unfortunate to have to have an evacuation of one of my schools, and it was for real. I had that school cleared in two and a half minutes; 320 students in two and a half minutes. Nobody got hurt. A tricky firefighter decided, the second time he came to my school, because he said it was working too well, to put a pole in one of my exits. He blocked an exit. But I had practised the alternative and I got my school, the same number, cleared in two minutes and 25 seconds. We were awarded a commendation by the fire service, but it only happened because of practice.

So the point I'm making here is that we've got a long way to go and there are things we need to do to keep our people safe.

I would offer you this last comment. Bill 141, An Act to amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, that I offered to the House -- Speaker, if you would indulge me for 10 seconds, I'll finish -- it's to make sure the fire marshal never again allows one firefighter to go to a fire on a fire truck. That would do it; that would keep our communities safe. I ask the members opposite to look at that bill and pass it.

It has been an enjoyable opportunity to speak on this bill. I offer my support to the minister and thank him and the former minister for their good work.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Questions and comments?

Ms Martel: Let me make a couple of comments with respect to the opening remarks that were made by the critic for the Liberal Party.

We are concerned about this bill. We are particularly concerned, as I mentioned earlier, about the cost to municipalities to ensure that they can comply, because we do not see anywhere in this bill any mechanism for the government to provide funding. It would be very useful if the minister were able to stand in this place tonight and tell this House what the anticipated costs for these regulations would be for municipalities to comply and what the obligation of this province will be to fund those costs.

I say that because, as I look at the budget that was most recently brought in, I am very concerned about what, if any, financial resources this government will provide to municipalities to comply. I say that because, if I look at the Ministry of the Attorney General and the operating budget proposed in the estimates for this year, I see there is a cut of $15 million. If I look at the operating budget for public safety and security, the cut there is very significant. It's a cut of $73 million for this year.

So at a time when the government comes forward and asks us to consider this important bill, I have to note that in fact the government's own resources for some of these important measures seem to be cut. If that is the case, then I can't imagine that the government is going to be in a position to offer up any cost-sharing to allow municipalities to comply.

So we remain, as I said earlier, very concerned about that particular provision. How is all this going to be funded?


Hon Mr Runciman: Just a quick response to that comment from the member from Nickel Belt. As the member for Brant indicated, over 90% of municipalities already have plans in place. We have enhanced the staffing levels at the EMO and they're working with the municipalities which have not, as of this date, developed plans to do so in a timely way. We are addressing that concern.

I just want to say, in response to the member from Brant, that I spent 10 years in opposition. Some folks will think that being in opposition is to some degree an exercise in futility, but I want to say that you can make a contribution; you can make a difference. I very much appreciate the stance you have taken this evening, the stance that your party has taken, with respect to this piece of legislation. Opposition can indeed make a difference. If we look at security issues, the Liberal Party drew to our attention the weaknesses in terms of vital statistics and the weaknesses with respect to the birth certificates in Ontario and how they were issued.

That's the kind of role the opposition can play. Mr Speaker, you and I spent five years there together, and we know we can make an impact. We can work together. Especially when we're talking about issues like national or provincial security and safety, we can find ways to work together in a non-partisan way.

I want to compliment the member from Brant in terms of his comments. He has made a number of positive suggestions. I want to commit this evening, as a new minister in a new ministry, that we want to involve him, as the Liberal critic, in anything that evolves in the next little while with respect to improving emergency measures in this province and ensuring the safety and security of the residents of this great province.

Mr Jean-Marc Lalonde (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell): I would say that, yes, we will support this bill. It's very important that we give the necessary tools to our officers, whether they are provincial officers, federal officers or municipal officers. Since September 11 we all know the precautions that have to be taken. With this bill, I hope the government will have sufficient funding in response to the requirement that is necessary to give safety and security to all Ontario people. Again, we will support the bill. We will definitely make sure that the contents of the bill are followed properly by the officers within the province.

Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): The critic for the Liberal Party spoke for -- did you speak for an hour? OK. It's my turn in but a few short minutes and I've been looking forward to it.

I'm glad I got back here from Thorold -- and I'll tell you about what I was doing down in Thorold -- just in time to hear the minister wrap up his leadoff. I commend the minister for being here. It has become a rare phenomenon. He's from the old school in that caucus, who knows that ministers should be monitoring their bills, especially on the introduction for, let's say, second reading. So I commend the minister for being here this evening while he kicks off second reading debate. But I have some things I want to say to him. I'm glad he's here. If he wants to wander off for bits and pieces, he can, because it will be available in Hansard, and there'll be minions of one sort or another making notes over there behind the Speaker.

In two minutes' time I'll have a chance for my one-hour leadoff. I'm going to tell you about the graduation down at Thorold Secondary School as well. Thorold Secondary School is a small-town high school that has some great teachers and some great kids. I drove down there just in time for the graduation. I had to leave after only 30 minutes. They let me say hello to the folks there and then I rushed back here, anticipating this debate. I told the folks there that this was going to be dealt with.

The problem is that it's not going to be finished tonight, is it? I'm going to explain how that's the case as well. It could have been -- and the minister's being very cordial. He's even being affable this evening. Whether he remains affable remains to be seen, but I understand. He wants something; he may or may not get it.

The Speaker: Reponse?

Mr Levac: I appreciate the comments from the member for Nickel Belt, the Minister of Public Safety and Security, the member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell and of course, as always, the member for Niagara Centre.

I had a list of about eight or nine items I wanted to go through. I got through 99% of them, so I've got two more to mention quickly. I'm going to do that and then make a final challenge in my two minutes. To finish it up, rather than enter into a debate I want to make these observations about some of the proposals that I think should be considered seriously, other than the ones I've already presented.

I believe that there was at one time in this place, before my time, an all-party committee on terrorism and I believe we should be doing that one more time. If that's the case, I think we should reconvene that and ask all of our parties to come together to work on terrorism.

Another one -- here's an idea: why not get our mayors together? If we could get our mayors together to give us various concepts, it would also include the other issues that I've talked about earlier. Maybe a unique opportunity to get our mayors together to talk about this specific issue could include some of the other things I talked about earlier, plus the fact that it wouldn't hurt us to let them know from time to time that we really don't think they're such bad people. Talk to our mayors. It would be a good idea, don't you think? I think it's a good idea.

I would also suggest that in the budget -- I'm concerned about this and I'd love to talk to the minister about how we're going to reconcile the $70-million cut to your operating/spending budget and the fact that we've got to provide the OPP with more money and that the allocation for infrastructure spending includes courts and jailhouse infrastructure. The two don't mix. I'd like to talk to the minister about that, how we can help him get bigger budgets. I'm sure he'd like to go to the Chair of Management Board and improve that circumstance. Finally, let's do it for the right reason.

The Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Kormos: Thank you kindly, Speaker. I commence my one hour. This is the only opportunity I'll have to speak to this bill on second reading, but there are eight other members of the NDP caucus who have great concerns about it as well.

That's not to say that it shouldn't pass second reading. Second reading, as you know, is all about passage in principle, and I hope that the minister agrees. I've known the minister for a long time. I've known him for a good chunk of time. I've already commended him for sitting here through his bill, and I point that out for the benefit of his juniors in his caucus, who seem ill-inclined to attend during second or third reading of their bills. I'm talking about his colleagues in the Conservative cabinet who somehow treat this chamber as something -- oh, you know, it's just a little bit of irksome trouble that you've got to get done and over with. It's like the bar admission course, if you will, or the final exams or the final essays for a master's degree. You've done all the work, but then you've got to go through that little bit of irritation. Once that's over, it's clear sailing. I think you understand what I mean. Perhaps only in hindsight do you reflect on the fact that that little ultimate hurdle has, in and of itself, some value.

There are a lot of ministers in this government's cabinet -- and I've watched them now for, good grief, seven years -- who haven't got the commitment to their legislation to sit here and not only address it on second and third reading in terms of the leadoff speeches, but to sit through and carry their bill though the Legislature. They don't even send their parliamentary assistants.


One of the problems is, I don't know who's who when it comes to parliamentary assistants any more. It's true. PAs used to be readily identifiable just because of their closeness with the affairs, with the business, with the legislation, with the policy development of a given ministry. We've seen so much shuffling of PAs. Some days, I look over there and I think everybody's a PA. I know there are four who aren't. There is the quartet over in the government caucus. Do you understand whom I'm speaking of?

This government caucus, with its -- I've got to check the sheet now -- with its still-significant numbers -- admit it. I know they won the last election. It's obvious every time I come into this chamber. It's not hard to figure out. But holy moly, 57 members and there are only four of them who are on the fringe, who don't receive pay in addition to their base pay of, what is it, some $82,000 a year now? There are only four out of 57.

I understand being on the periphery from time to time, but I also understand that there are ways to get there and I suppose there are ways not to get there. But when you reflect on the fact, not so much that there are four on the out but that there are so many on the in -- that's my point. It's not that the glass is half empty, it's that it's half full when, out of 57 government members, 53 -- let's put it that way -- are getting greased -- right? -- to follow the line.

When you think that to do that the government had to concoct ministries -- I mean, how many Ministers of Housing and Municipal Affairs are there? There is the minister, there are one, two, three associate ministers -- help me -- and then parliamentary assistants galore. There is no housing any more, so scratch the housing. Municipal affairs? Well, the Municipal Act bill was passed some chunk of time ago now and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of work going on in municipal affairs. So this government has created some tremendous make-work programs for its own members, for all but the four, the notorious four, the gang of four who find themselves on the outs, and for the life of me I can't understand why.

I really was talking about this minister and the standards he's setting for other ministers in his cabinet, and I put to you that he sets a particularly high standard, one that other ministers have been disinclined to reach or strive for. But having said all of that, here's a minister who cares. Look at the passion this minister brings to the House in terms of presenting this bill. He cares. He does. This minister now wants this bill to pass so badly he can taste it. He's been up front about it and I don't condemn him for that. The former Solicitor General, now the Minister of Public Safety and Security, wants this bill to pass so badly he can taste it. He wants it to pass so badly that he told his House leader, "Don't worry, I'll commence second reading some time around 9:30 on Wednesday night," the day before the House is scheduled to adjourn for the summer. That's how eager this minister is to see this bill pass, regrettably for the minister.

Again, he can play all the 9/11 cards he wants. The fact is that doesn't cut it very much any more, even in the United States, and we don't buy it. Are there elements of this bill that are good? You're darned right there are. I'm particularly impressed by the elements of a bill that permit a person to be declared dead in circumstances, for instance, where the body can't be retrieved. I've had, through the course of our constituency office and in other facets of life -- and I suspect most of us have had to deal with constituents, family members, what have you, who have had to go through that rigorous and expensive exercise. The parts of the bill that deal with that are certainly interesting, but in and of themselves, please, the problem has existed for some time and predates 9/11. To be fair, it's a problem that should be addressed.

Similarly, reading the bill and reading those sections, I say to the minister, that these provisions, these novel revisions of the current law -- in terms of having someone who has disappeared, if you will, declared dead -- warrant some careful analysis by, among other things, members of the bar out there, lawyers, people who practise in that area of the law.

I know that this minister, in his passion for this bill, would dearly love to see and hear participants in a public hearing making submissions about those portions of the bill. He's just that kind of person. He's a careful, cautious minister.


Mr Kormos: Well, you are, Bob. You're not rash at all. You're not intemperate. You're careful and you're cautious.

Certainly he didn't leap into this. The bill was introduced back on December 6, about a week and change before the House adjourned for Christmas, and as I say, my appreciation of this minister's cautious approach is that notwithstanding that the bill was introduced --


Mr Kormos: The din in here is insufferable, Speaker. Can't these people be instructed to take their conversations outside? This is so distressing. The minister is being precluded from paying attention and putting his focus on the debate around Bill 148. Thank you. That's better. Sh. That's much better. Very good, people.

The minister, in his cautious way, notwithstanding that the bill was presented for first reading on December 6, has waited until today to present the bill for second reading. I'm not criticizing you, Minister. This is what I expect from you: that very cautious approach. It's like the tortoise and the hare.

This minister does not want to rush to an inappropriate resolution of the determination of this bill. I share that with you. I'm going to help you make sure this bill receives the careful, studied, cautious, indeed almost conservative approach that I've admired from when I was a young MPP here.

I used to look up to you and say, "By goodness, there's Bob Runciman. He's the kind of MPP who -- maybe someday, if I just put myself to it hard enough and worked hard enough and was careful enough, I could have some of the style he does." Because sometimes, I acknowledge, I'm prone to be quick to draw. Do you understand what I'm saying? Not this minister. I've argued with folks who would say that this minister is so slow and cautious that he's boring. I've argued with those people. This minister is not boring at all. I've argued with those people and said, "No, he's just cautious." I admire that.

I am going to help the minister take a cautious, studied, careful approach to this bill. Some of the other members in here may want to see this bill speeded up and rushed through tonight, but no, the minister doesn't want it speeded up, nor do I. I'm on the minister's side on this one. I'm going to help you. I'm with you. I'm working with you.


Mr Kormos: Don't fight like that, because back in the old days when we were both in opposition, we used to work together. We used to collaborate. Today the New Democrats are collaborating with you. They're going to make sure that nothing stupid happens by virtue of passing this bill without careful study. We're going to make sure this bill receives full consideration during the course of debate, because this minister knows that's the way it should be. We're going to acquiesce in what is clearly the minister's concern, which he signalled by not bringing this bill forward until today, June 26. We've been here three months, three months plus? No, just shy of three months.

See, I knew, because we were back here in April -- we were supposed to be back earlier, but of course there was a Conservative leadership campaign going on. I understand. I went to one of their debates. I understand as well why nobody else in the province was particularly excited about it either. I was there in Oakville. There were far more interested and interesting people outside on the street than inside. It's true. I went there and I listened to the debate, and I was saying, "Please, get me out of here." It was real exciting. Sure. Ernie and Ms Witmer going at it. I've never been in one of your cabinet meetings, but it was a real duel with rapier opines being expressed.


So here we are. There's some good stuff here, no two ways about it -- people presumed to be dead. But let's have it looked at. Let's make sure that people out there who practise this law have a chance to look at that section of the statute and fine-tune it.

The minister has clearly been preoccupied with Bill 148. The other day I heard him responding to a backbench question from his own caucus, where he was asked -- I don't want to tell stories out of school, but these questions are set up. I'm sorry if this is like a magician telling Houdini secrets. The questions from the backbench are set up. They're usually written by the ministry.

Interjections: No.

Mr Kormos: I know people are shocked. I can hear people's jaws hitting their desks. It's the truth. These are set-up questions. They're pretty clumsy; if only the government were clever enough to have those questions put in a way that appeared to be a little bit pugilistic.

But the other day this minister got a question. I can't remember which backbencher it was from, but he was just giddy about asking a question. For 45 minutes, at the beginning of question period, I see this backbencher sitting there and I see his lips moving as he's rehearsing the question over and over again. I thought, my goodness, there's a cautious questioner. I could see him, with his finger moving across the page, and then he goes back to the top and his finger's moving across the page and you see his lips moving as he's reading.

The question was about the fire marshal and the 10-10 response time. Clearly the minister wanted to get something off his chest. There's been a little bit of concern expressed -- I'm sure to all of our offices -- about the fire marshal's 10-10 proposition. One, because the --

Mr Raminder Gill (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale): Sounds like a radio station.

Mr Kormos: No, the minister is being told that the fire marshal is imposing a 10-10 response time: 10 firefighters in 10 minutes. The problem is that it's a stupid response time for rural communities and volunteer fire departments. It's just not realistic.

I know the minister is a friend of firefighters. I've heard him tell me that many times. I've heard him say it to firefighters. He'd have more credibility if the firefighters would say it about him. But I've heard the minister say it. So I was surprised when the minister got to his feet and appeared to achieve some salvation, at least in his own mind, by saying, "Let's make it clear. I've talked to the fire marshal's office, and this is merely advisory, some sort of vague standard."

I suppose that's some relief for rural fire companies, for volunteer fire companies that know the 10-minute response time is simply not realistic. But it begs the question. Here's a minister -- I want him to do good in his job, I want him to succeed where others haven't. I want him to go down in the annals of Queen's Park history as a great advocate for firefighters and firefighting services. That's why I want the minister to stand up and say, "No, forget the 10-10; it's 17-10 and 17-20." Those are the real numbers: 17-10 and 17-20. You see, all the Bill 148s in the world will never address that most fundamental concern of firefighters across this province that they be adequately staffed and that the firefighting services have adequate resources and tools to ensure 17-10 and 17-20 response standards. That's what it's all about.

And these aren't numbers plucked out of the air, to have 17 firefighters on the scene within 10 minutes, the capacity to do that. Now, does that mean that every call will deliver 17 firefighters to the scene? Of course not. We're talking about the capacity. These aren't whimsical numbers; neither are they frivolous numbers. They're real numbers. As a matter of fact, they come from the National Fire Protection Association in the United States, the NFPA, which has released two significant documents, thoroughly researched, incredibly well prepared, incredibly persuasive to even the most casual reader, indicating that if we want to have safe communities, if we're really serious about it, if we're really serious about public security, then we don't fiddle around with 10-10, or even 10-10 as a mere guideline. We accept and adopt and demand -- and support -- the now universally accepted standards in North America standards of 17-10 and 17-20.

Quite frankly, I know it can't be done overnight. But the minister should stand up on his feet right here and now, to tell us in a clear, unequivocal way -- and it doesn't have to be in his own words; his staff can prepare the note for him now; they've got 40 minutes in which to prepare the note -- on behalf of this government at Queen's Park, stand up and say as minister of public security, "I announce here and now that this government, this, the Ernie Eves government, commits itself to establishing the 17-10, 17-20 standard and to ensuring that every firefighting service in this province, full-time and volunteer, has the resources with which to do it and that those resources will come from this province." Do you want me to repeat that so you can get it down? That would save far more than any or all of Bill 148.

Confirming those standards alone and, most important, ensuring that every community in this province has the resources to live up to those standards in terms of staffing, in terms of equipment, in terms of training, in terms of infrastructure, would be Bill 148 times 100. It would actually give communities and their firefighting services the capacity to deal with, yes, any number of emergencies and crises that confront people in communities across this province on any given day.

Please, let's cut the 9/11 rhetoric. Let's be cautious about persisting in hanging our hats on that. At the end of the day, all said and done, I'm still far more concerned about any number of natural catastrophes that can and do occur, any number of life-threatening events that can and do occur, far more frightened about the prospect of an arena roof or of a plaza roof collapsing, especially with the new Bill 124, the privatization of property inspection, the privatization of building inspection during the course of building. Municipalities no longer have carriage of that. Read the international section of any newspaper -- I don't care: American, Canadian, European -- and you find that those countries which have no building standards and no proper and arm's-length and independent inspections are those countries where we witness those terrible catastrophes that result from building failures, among other things.


Mrs Marland: Why am I sitting here like an idiot?

Mr Kormos: Do you want me to answer that? Ms Mushinski asks why she is sitting there like an idiot. I let the record speak for itself. Why are you sitting there like an idiot, Ms Mushinski?

Mrs Marland: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Sometimes when I speak, because I sit so close to my colleague from Scarborough Centre, people think it's one or the other speaking. I would like to assure the member from Welland -- is that the name of your riding, Mr Kormos? I know it's something else now -- that indeed it wasn't the member for Scarborough Centre speaking; it was me.

The Speaker: Thanks for the clarification. It's not a point of order.

Mr Kormos: Ms Mushinski, I apologize. You weren't sitting there like an idiot, Ms Marland was. I'm glad that Ms Marland rose and corrected the record. Ms Mushinski, you're sitting there quite genteel and polite and quite fine. So you're not the idiot by any stretch of the imagination. I'm glad Ms Marland corrected the record, because I might have made a horrible and tragic error there that I would have regretted the rest of my life. So I do apologize to you. That was incredible.

God bless the candour of Ms Marland, to be so prepared to make that admission, an admission contrary to her own interests, which of course gives it credibility when we're talking about the standards they use in criminal courts. I was, regrettably, distracted.

I'm going to talk about 17-10 and 17-20. That's one of the real issues. One of the problems with the bill is that it doesn't speak of accepted, already established standards. This bill, if it truly were an act to provide for declarations of death, but more importantly to amend the Emergency Plans Act, it would codify 17-10, 17-20 right off the bat.

Let AMO come and argue its case. Let them stop being such a sycophant, riding the coattails of this government. Well, are they? Come on, please. Let AMO stop apologizing for the downloading and looking for more tools to cut services, like Bill 124, the privatization of building inspection -- please. What a dangerous proposition. Let AMO argue against it in committee. I think the minister can stand up to AMO. I think this minister would tell AMO to go pound salt if they came to him with that type of argument, because this minister believes in his position. I have no hesitation in putting that to you. I say that with all the generosity I can muster, all the generosity of spirit, that this minister really wants to do something good for public safety. Well, then do it: codify 17-10, 17-20.

Accept the fact that the issue has been studied, studied, studied by authorities. I've got footnotes here in this report on NFPA 17-10. I've got footnotes; I've got indexes; I've got authoritative sources; I've got cross-references. On the 17-20 document, the same thing: indexes, footnotes, cross-references, authoritative sources; the names of the studies that have been done; the names of the research programs that have been done in communities big and small, full-time firefighting services and volunteer firefighting services across the United States. It's no longer an issue; it's no longer an argument: 17-10, 17-20.

I tell you what, Minister: let's go into committee of the whole House for 10 minutes. You codify 17-10 and 17-20 in this bill tonight. Make it mandatory within six months and also commit the province to financing it, and this bill will not only pass second reading tonight, but I might be inclined some time tomorrow afternoon or tomorrow night to give it third reading as well. I won't take any credit at all; I'll give all the credit to you. Codify 17-10 and 17-20 in Bill 148 and you will have done a far greater service and it's something I'll stand up on, on behalf of this caucus. Codify it, commit support for the financial end of it and, bingo, you've got yourself a bill, end of story.

I don't want to speak for my counterpart in the Liberal Party, but I suspect he's interested in that proposition.

Mr Levac: Fully supportive.

Mr Kormos: What was that, Mr Levac?

Mr Levac: Fully supportive.

Mr Kormos: Did Hansard get that? Thank you. I responded to his heckle, which is how it gets into the record.

Mr Levac: It's not my bill. Have you seen my bill?

Mr Kormos: Don't be that way, Mr Levac -- it's all about firefighters and firefighting services. We'll give Mr Runciman credit.

One of the other problems, and this is a response to this sense of urgency --


Mr Kormos: Ms Martel, the member for Nickel Belt, was in here while I was coming back from the Thorold Secondary School graduation. It was hot in that gymnasium too. As a matter of fact, talk about a school that could use some air conditioning -- it's a good school with a lot of students.

As I'm rushing back from Thorold, Ms Martel from Nickel Belt is in here, and she whispered to me that it was a rabid introduction on the part of the minister. I don't want to tell stories out of school, but she said, "Look, the minister delivered a rabid exhortation on behalf of his bill." He talked about the urgency. Indeed, I got into this chamber just in time to hear the minister become very partisan -- this minister partisan? I'm shocked -- in his accusation that the opposition parties were going to be partisan.

Ms Martel: Only us. Not the Libs, only us.

Mr Kormos: Oh, thank you very much. Ms Martel is telling me now that the minister was cutting the Liberals some significant slack, that he focused all his enthusiasm and vigour on the New Democrats. I understand. We get under the government's skin from time to time. We're small, but we're mighty. I understand why the minister might be inclined, from time to time, to have to vent. That's a healthy thing. I've read a whole lot about that kind of stuff. It's how this minister has reached his age without any major coronaries and so on. He understands the need to vent.

I suspect he's merely frustrated. He may be up next for an editorial cartoon in the Toronto Star. But I suspect the minister is merely frustrated. Now I'm reflecting on what I've had to say: did this minister really want this bill to sit off in first reading orbit until the day before the House adjourned for the summer? I think not. Now I actually regret some of the things I've had to say to him during the course of the last 32 minutes.

Ms Martel: You do not.

Mr Kormos: No, think about it, Ms Martel.

Ms Martel: You do not. You never regret it.

Mr Kormos: I do regret it. Here I was, suggesting the minister himself was responsible for this bill not coming before this House but a day before the House adjourned, knowing full well he heard the responses. We've got research staff, thank goodness, who, knowing for instance that a bill is going to be called for second reading, pull the ministerial statement that accompanied first reading of the bill and pull our responses. I know this minister would have read my response, my mere five-minute response on the bill. We were highlighting issues and concerns about it way back then, in anticipation of the bill's first reading, when the minister made his ministerial announcement. We said, "No, Minister, you've got problem A, you've got problem B, you've got problem C, you've got issues around funding and you've got the fact that communities can set standards now."


This bill is irrelevant to the capacity of any community, any municipality, to do an audit of its emergency measures capacity. I don't care whether it's Welland, Thorold, Pelham, St Catharines or Brockville, every one of those municipalities, regional municipalities to boot, can do exactly -- let's get down to the nitty-gritty: "It requires municipalities ... to develop and implement emergency management programs ... emergency plans, training programs and exercises, public education...."

Please. Cities can do that now. I acknowledge it says it requires them, but it neither funds them in the course of doing that nor does it set minimum standards that are enforceable.

We've got firefighters -- good women and men across this province -- police officers, front-line medical emergency personnel, paramedics and others who have been talking about this stuff for years but whose municipalities have to say no to them. This government, the Conservatives at Queen's Park, has downloaded on to whether it's a regional municipality or Toronto or eastern Ontario or northern Ontario, and because of the downloading there simply ain't the financial resources to make it happen.

I told you before that I was up with the member from Timmins-James Bay a couple of years ago. I've got to get back up there again, because there are wonderful people up in communities like Peawanuck, Attawapiskat, Ogoki and a number of other communities on the James Bay-Hudson Bay coast. We visited the aboriginal police forces in those communities.

Emergency measures capacity? Minister, you've left the far north. You left them a long time ago; you've abandoned them. You've got police forces with snowmobiles that have no tracks, boats that have no motors, lock-ups that have no cells and community after community without a justice of the peace to do the procedural stuff.

We were talking to police officers in the native policing services, First Nations people, who were well trained in the first instance but for whom there is no access to ongoing training, because these small, impoverished communities can't afford to do it, especially when it entails travelling to southern Ontario, and this Minister of Public Safety has no interest in helping them.

Lock-ups with no cell doors -- well, of course -- snowmobiles with no tracks, boats without motors, police officers with no ongoing training -- hard-working, committed police officers, men and women, who want to serve their communities and who have a strong commitment and a strong passion for native policing services.

I visited at least five communities -- six or seven by the time all was said and done. To tell these communities that Bill 148 is going to do squat for them would be an exaggeration. Dare I push the envelope and wander into oratorical turf that might be considered unparliamentary? I think not.

This bill has to go to committee. It can't go to committee before the end of the session. This bill needs committee hearings in Ottawa, Kingston, Niagara, Hamilton. It needs committee hearings in the Brant area, Brantford, then down west toward London, Windsor. It needs committee hearings in Toronto, big-city Ontario, and it needs committee hearings in small-town Ontario and in mid-size Ontario. It needs committee hearings in the densely populated areas like the Golden Horseshoe, especially the border communities.

You see, this is the problem. The minister has staff and counsel draft up the bill and says, "This bill is like some sort of cure-all, some sort of panacea." Well, no. It takes more than that, Minister, please, and you know better than that. It takes resources. Quite frankly, the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association has not been particularly enthusiastic about this bill, have they?


Mr Kormos: Oh, I don't know. I read some of the correspondence from the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association. Let me share it with you. It was addressed to the predecessor of this minister on December 8, 2001, but two days after the bill was introduced. To be fair to you, Minister, this isn't a Runciman bill; it's a Turnbull bill. Remember Mr Turnbull, he who wants the gold-plated pension plan restored? Mr Turnbull, he who moans and whines and groans because he was making oh so much money before he came to Queen's Park and who just figures that he, with his six-digit --

Mr Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): Five-digit.

Mr Kormos: No, six.

Mr Bisson: Five.

Mr Kormos: It's no longer five-digit. It's far from five digits. These are five digits. Mr Turnbull is making a five-plus-one, six-digit income. So here's Mr Turnbull, not making a five-digit income but a five-plus-one, six-digit income. Me, I could live with five.

Mr Bisson: I could live with five.

Mr Kormos: Could you handle five right now? I could live with five. Just show me five and I'm happy. But Mr Turnbull doesn't want to live with five. He wants six-plus. Mr Turnbull wants a gold-plated pension and he wants a salary increase from the 120 grand or so that he makes now -- shameful. And then these guys sit here, all these six-digit-income guys, and they hike their pants up and they sit back and they belch out a couple of Bigliardi belches and they say, "Oh my, let's slash welfare rates."

Mrs Marland: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I think the member who has the floor now is maligning a colleague on the government side of the House, who isn't even in the House. I would ask that he desist from that line.

The Speaker: We'll listen carefully to the member for Niagara Centre.

Mr Kormos: Speaker, I would never point out that somebody's not in this House. That's unparliamentary, and I resent Ms Marland's drawing to this House's attention the fact that Mr Turnbull is absent. This House should be as indignant as I am and should move to censure Ms Marland. That this member would malign her own colleague in such a way by pointing out his absence in this House when I've been so careful not to is a shame.


Mr Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): It's because he wants the pension.

Mr Kormos: Please, I happen to know where Mr Turnbull is. That you would raise it in such a way -- you'll be awfully embarrassed to know that Mr Turnbull is working at a 7-11 on the midnight shift to supplement his income. That's why he's not here. He has car payments to make. He's got mortgage payments to make. He's got RSPs to buy. Mr Turnbull's working his feet off in a 7-11 right now in some dark, dangerous plaza because he can't live on a cabinet minister's salary. He can't face life without a gold-plated pension plan.

You, Ms Marland, when your colleague is working a second job to keep body and soul together, to keep a roof over his head, because at 100 grand plus he just can't make ends meet, want to humiliate and embarrass him by pointing out his absence in this House. Shame on you.

The letter was addressed to at least one of the predecessors of the current Solicitor General. I don't know how far back his predecessor goes because there's been some turnover of Solicitors General in this House. It's dated December 8, 2001, and says:

"Dear Minister Turnbull....

"My disappointment lies in the fact that this legislation" -- he's referring to Bill 148 -- "is lacking in enforcement mechanisms for municipalities that do not comply. As well, there is no authority given to a `body' of the government, such as Emergency Measures Ontario, to obligate a municipality to have minimum response requirements given their risk assessments.

"For this legislation to truly succeed in its intent to make the citizens of Ontario safer within their communities, the communities must be obliged to produce an appropriate response.

"On behalf of the 9,000 members of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association I respectfully request that you submit Bill 148 for extensive public consultations and hearings."

I'm with the firefighters on this one. They're the women and men across this province who work -- and I don't want to be in any way less than deadly serious about this, because it is deadly serious -- at truly great risk to themselves, and we've seen that tragically demonstrated. We see it tragically demonstrated far too often and far too regularly, the firefighters who respond, each one of them heroes, to save lives with no consideration for their own, to protect others' safety and security with no consideration for their own.

Firefighters want extensive public hearings. I'm on their side, Minister. Do you know what? You are too. That's why I'm shocked and surprised that you would have prefaced your introduction of this bill or accompanied your moving of this bill for second reading with some sort of demand that it receive second and third readings in one fell swoop. I believe that was an oversight on your part. Perhaps nobody had drawn your attention to the December 8, 2001, letter from the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association to your predecessor, Solicitor General Turnbull.

You're the last person in that government whom I would expect to thumb his nose at firefighters, and New Democrats are not going to let you make that horrible mistake. New Democrats, as a matter of fact, aren't going to let your House leader force you into ramming this bill through the Legislature. New Democrats aren't going to let your Premier's office yank your chain or pull your strings. New Democrats are going to work with the Solicitor General.

Quite frankly, Mr Minister, we'll stand with you when it comes to fighting off your House leader and we'll stand with you when it comes to fighting off your Premier's office. We'll stand with you because I know you care about firefighters and firefighting, and I know you know that a critical part of your goal in Bill 148 is adequate firefighting services and firefighting response times. Your House leader may not appreciate that. Your Premier may not appreciate that. They may be more interested, those two, in simply wrapping up a legislative agenda, tying it up neatly with a bow and then moving on to something else, knowing full well that if Bill 148 passes, as it is, it ain't worth squat.

It does nothing for public security. It does nothing for public safety. Quite frankly, it's an insult to firefighters who have been out there working so hard for so long, fighting for minimum standards, whether it's during the course of labour negotiations and arbitrations, whether it's in the course of public campaigns of their own, educating their communities, or whether it's in the course of their lobbying, their efforts here at Queen's Park.


Mr Kormos: I want you to know that former Solicitor General Turnbull is here. He got off shift early. Ms Marland may want to take this opportunity to apologize to him. I would welcome her to stand on a point of order. But then again, she could do it privately afterwards. Here's the Solicitor General who was the recipient of this letter from professional firefighters. I wish the former Solicitor General, knowing he's a busy man, working two jobs as he is, would take some time to talk to the current Solicitor General -- no, I'm sorry, my apologies. Of course, you're the Minister of Public Safety and Security.

I wish former Solicitor General Turnbull would talk to the current minister and point out the letter of December 8, 2001, from the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association that said Bill 148, without extensive public hearings, ain't worth squat.

We're not going to let this government mislead firefighters.

Hon Mr Stockwell: Order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kormos: My apologies. Withdrawn.


Mr Kormos: Those government backbenchers, they are so quick to their feet. They must spend lifetimes reading old precedents from Erskine May about what constitutes unparliamentary and parliamentary language.

We're not going to let this government betray firefighters and betray the promise of community safety. The folks where I come from believe in their firefighters. The folks where I come from are prepared to invest in those things in their community that make their community safer. The folks where I come from know full well what their Tory tax cuts have meant, and what they've become.

Those young people at Thorold Secondary School this evening -- families were there, too; their folks were there, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbours. These are bright young kids. I get into that school at least a couple of times a year. I don't have to be prompted to by any caucus's education critic.


Mr Kormos: Well, please, I don't have to be challenged by some downtown Toronto elite education type. We have schools where I come from and I get to them often. The young people at Thorold Secondary School are bright young kids -- very capable.

One of the things I had occasion to say to them in the few minutes they let me speak was to congratulate their folks and their grandparents for a lifetime and lifetimes of investment in public education. Those folks and grandparents are making the sacrifices, prepared to pay the taxes, make that investment in the community, in their province, in the infrastructure and in a public school system. I congratulated those parents for doing that. I also apologized to them because they haven't been well-served by their government over the course of the last seven years, have they?

Generations of investment, generations of building public education have been gutted in the course of but seven years. This government has created an educational school environment in which teachers are treated with derision and are vilified, in which education is downgraded and in which students are faced with the prospect of higher and higher tuition fees, whether it's college or university they choose to attend or aspire to attend.


I asked those young people to please recognize that now, as they enter yet another stage of those lives, those bright young people at Thorold Secondary School -- I congratulated their teachers. These young people at Thorold Secondary School or at any other school across this province -- I don't care whether it's in the Nickel Belt area or whether it's in Kenora-Rainy River or Timmins-James Bay or out in east Toronto, old Beaches-Woodbine -- have been taught by the most skilled, the best trained, the most professional generation of teachers this province has ever had. These teachers display a commitment notwithstanding the constant battle they have had now for seven years: the de-funding of schools, the overcrowding of classrooms, the elimination of support staff including teachers' aides, the abandonment of programs, those programs that are so critically essential to a complete education.

Let me tell you this, one of the things I just learned recently that's extremely frightening: in 1988-99 this province had reached something of a peak in terms of retention rates for young people in secondary school. But then over the course of the last three and four years the retention rate, which had climbed to almost 90%, has dropped to 85%, perhaps even as low as 80%, because of this government's abandonment of public education both at the elementary and secondary stages. This government has created yet a whole new generation of young Ontarians who in the year 2002, notwithstanding that they're bright, capable, motivated, interested, ambitious and aspire to good things, will not complete high school, and that's intolerable.

These same folks have also invested in their community in terms of firefighting services, and they're prepared to do it. They know their Tory tax cuts have cut municipal services, have cut firefighting services, have cut police services. For this government to come to folks like the folks I represent down in Welland-Thorold, Pelham or St Catharines and wave Bill 148 is an insult to them. Those people down where I come from know what it means to build community readiness and preparedness in the event of emergencies or crises, and you don't do it with empty, hollow, shallow bits of bills that are there merely for the Solicitor General, the Minister of Public Security etc to puff his chest and boast with great self-aggrandizement how he's taken on them terrorists. Please, let's cut the 9/11 flag-waving. Let's talk about real life.

This is the minister who's searching down these mysterious and genuinely peripatetic al Qaeda cells, these quicksilver al Qaeda cells. One minute they're there, the next minute they're gone, but they sure were there. It's like back when I used to practise law. Every time I had a dangerous driving charge against one of my clients -- you know, the guy who took his car into the ditch -- there was always a black dog. There's a black dog down in Niagara region that charges in front of cars of drivers who inevitably have had, granted, not over the limit but a couple of beers at one of those taverns on Lundy's Lane in Niagara Falls.

That black dog has been preoccupied. He's just been so busy. That black dog hasn't had a moment's rest for the last 25 years or so since I started practising law. From what I hear from Mark Evans, a very good criminal lawyer down in Welland, that black dog is still out there darting in front of cars coming home from any number of those infamous taverns on Lundy's Lane in Niagara Falls, causing guys to pull their cars into the ditch, rolling over. And sure enough, there are still justices of the peace who, as they should, are prepared to give reasonable doubt on the basis of that black dog. From the look of the judge over there, that black dog's been doing some travelling.

Just like that black dog, there are al Qaeda cells and, by God, just as drivers leaving those notorious drinking joints on Lundy's Lane get confronted with that black dog, there's the Minister of Public Security -- boom, al Qaeda cell. Oh, boom, there's another one. Bang, there's another one. By God, there must be terrorists in Ontario and if we never needed Bill 148 before, we need it now.

So, Speaker, I put to you: I move adjournment of the House.

The Speaker: The member has moved adjournment of the House.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion, the nays have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 2306 to 2336.

The Speaker: The member for Niagara Centre has moved adjournment of the House.

All those in favour will please rise and remain standing.

All those opposed will please rise and remain standing.

Clerk Assistant (Ms Deborah Deller): The ayes are 6; the nays are 25.

The Speaker: I declare the motion defeated.

I believe the member had some time left on the clock.

Mr Kormos: Let me make it quite clear that today doesn't even count as a sessional day for Bill 148 in terms of getting into the fall and seeking three sessional days of debate before the matter can be time-allocated.

Hon Mr Stockwell: OK. Explain the rules to us, Peter.

Mr Kormos: That's just the way I figure it. What do I know? I do my incompetent best. I struggle here. I just cope as well as I can.

I have a great, ongoing concern about the financial welfare of government cabinet ministers. We know how some have begun to address their financial shortcomings. Others have noticed that there are little pinpoints of rust on the Lexus, that the kids aren't quite dressed in the latest of expensive Yorkville fashions, and they're complaining. Times are tough for Tory cabinet ministers in terms of salaries. Things have been getting down and dirty.

Driving into town late Sunday night I see some of them out on the street -- I've stopped and asked them if they want a ride. They say no, they're waiting for buses. Anything to make a buck, I suppose, when you're down and out. We're talking 2 in the morning on streets where there haven't been buses running for years.

In any event, I move adjournment of the debate.

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 "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 2339 to 0009.

The Speaker: All those in favour will please rise and remain standing.

All those opposed will please rise and remain standing.

Clerk Assistant: The ayes are 0; the nays are 7.

The Speaker: I declare the motion lost.

Hon John R. Baird (Associate Minister of Francophone Affairs): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I'd like to ask for unanimous consent to put the question on Bill 148 on second and third reading.

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent? I'm afraid I heard some noes.

It is now 10 minutes after 12 and this House stands adjourned until 10 am tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 0010.