37e législature, 3e session



Thursday 3 October 2002 Jeudi 3 octobre 2002



























































Thursday 3 October 2002 Jeudi 3 octobre 2002

The House met at 1000.




Mme Claudette Boyer (Ottawa-Vanier): Je propose que cette Assemblée législative soit d'avis que le gouvernement de l'Ontario considère / I move that, in the opinion of this House, the Ontario government consider:

That TFO is given real autonomy in its own direction and development through the creation of an equal-sized French-language section of the board of the Ontario Educational Communications Authority;

That this section of the board be given exclusive jurisdiction over French-language programs and French-language materials in the educational broadcasting and communications fields, as well as jurisdiction over the appropriate share of the financial means to ensure these services; and

That TFO obtain the necessary support from the government of Ontario to realize the full nature of this mandate.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): Madame Boyer has moved private member's notice of motion number 14. The member has up to 10 minutes to make a presentation.

Mme Boyer: Reconnaissant que TFO, le service de la langue française de TVOntario, est un réseau provincial de télévision éducative de tout premier ordre, connu pour ses émissions primées ;

Whereas TFO is a crucial component for developing and promoting francophone training, education and culture in Ontario;

Reconnaissant que TFO n'est actuellement pas autonome mais qu'elle est subordonnée à TVO, de langue anglaise et plus imposante ;

We are only asking that this resolution be considered and that this government look into the matter.

We really think it merits attention. We strongly support TFO continuing to work in partnership with TVO. By the way, TFO is much appreciative of TVO for its assistance and partnership in its creation and development. TFO owes TVO an enormous debt of gratitude.

I want to stress that we are strongly against privatization, and this resolution is in no way an attempt or effort to privatize TFO. It would be wrong to characterize it as such in any way. We only feel that it's time to make TFO autonomous so that it can properly continue its path toward excellence. The francophone community knows that only through its autonomy will TFO fully realize its full potential.

De cette façon, la section de langue française aurait compétence exclusive pour gérer TFO et la section de langue anglaise aurait compétence exclusive pour gérer TVO.

Les dossiers communs relèveraient d'un conseil plénier.

Every day, we as francophones live in a minority situation. I guess it's something that is very difficult for the majority to understand.

Let me remind you that TFO is one of Ontario's institutions that pulls us francophones together. It is incredibly significant to us and to the health of our community.

If, through the years, francophones have learned anything, it is that we must have autonomy and real control over our institutions for them to be set free to create genuine value for us and aid us in our development.

TFO possède déjà une infrastructure, possède déjà des ressources et l'expérience pratique de l'exercice des fonctions de gestion propre à nos entreprises de télécommunication. Nous voulons le contrôle sur nos décisions, un usage plus efficace de nos ressources. Pour nous c'est une évolution normale. For us this is a normal process and, listen, it's not a first. On a quand même des précédents.

Remember, we experienced this with our schools. First of all we began as a part of English-language school boards, and then there was the creation of French and English sections within the boards, until this government and all parties of this House have seen fit to give to francophones the full governance of their schools. Let me remind you that the governance of our schools, by and for francophones, has brought many benefits to our communities and to this province.

Another great example are our community colleges and institutions, and look at the remarkable success of our French colleges: the agricultural college in Alfred, La Cité collégiale in Ottawa, and Collège Boréal in the north, and now in the south.

Who is a better advocate for the success of our French colleges than our minister of colleges and universities? I know that she is proud of our francophone colleges and I thank her for it.

Voilà c'est la même réalité que nous voulons pour TFO. Une TFO gouvernée par et pour la collectivité franco-ontarienne ne coûtera pas plus cher au trésor public.

We are not asking for extra money. We're not asking for more money. We simply want the amount of money that is already allocated to TFO by the government through the existing budgets.

Avec cela TFO pourra, d'autre part, avec son initiative, générer des revenus au moyen de mesures novatrices et entrepreneuriales.


Listen, we're not asking for an immediate change, because this is a very important issue for the francophone community in Ontario. It has a broad and non-partisan base of support. We want to explore it very seriously. It is important to look into it. We want you to consider it.

What the resolution proposes is not new. It has been discussed in various circles for a number of years now. It has been the subject of public consultation and, let me tell you, it has wide support in the francophone community as well as in many anglophone communities. I really believe this is the time, the right time, to introduce this to the Legislature so that it can be considered.

I could have brought in a bill, I had a bill ready to do this, but I think it needs a lot of thinking and research. That is why I'm bringing this resolution for this government to consider.

Depuis sa fondation en 1984, TFO a continuellement subi des contraintes budgétaires et structurelles. Ces problèmes ont pour effet de remettre constamment en question l'existence de TFO. C'est pour régler ces problèmes que l'on demande au gouvernement de tout mettre en oeuvre en vue d'assurer que TFO sera gouvernée par ses propres administrateurs, qu'elle gérera ses propres finances et qu'elle administrera ses propres services.

We are asking for the support of this government. Nous demandons votre appui.

Je dois dire qu'avec l'évolution des temps, cet historique, on a évolué comme francophones. On est parti du bas en montant, en progressant et en étant des succès pour la province de l'Ontario. Nous sommes rendus à l'étape de notre gestion de TFO, notre télévision éducative, qui est connue non seulement à travers la francophonie ontarienne mais qui est connue à travers la francophonie canadienne et même au-delà. Laissez-nous, s'il vous plaît, voler de nos ailes.

We want to be our own government and work with TVO in all its respects.

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I'm pleased to rise in support of my friend Madame Boyer's resolution. Frankly, it is a relatively modest proposal but one that I think is important, clearly, to our French-speaking community and to all of Ontario. I think she has framed the resolution in a way that should, I hope, get unanimous support of the House.

I think people in Ontario recognize, perhaps not everyone, that in this province we have hundreds of communities that are essentially all French. As members travel the province, they recognize that. I think perhaps some people who don't travel the province don't appreciate that. That is something I'm very proud of and it's something I want to make sure is the case 10 years from now and 100 years from now. We're better for it. This is another small step forward, in my opinion.

We all have our own view of this country we live in. I've always compared it to a flower garden, where originally there was one flower, our First Nations people, our native people. We're one of those unique countries that have truly been built on immigration. Over the history of our country, we have been fortunate to attract the best and the brightest to come here.

When this country called Canada was established, it was established because of some far-thinking, far-reaching, generous people who figured out a way to have our French-speaking and English-speaking, Protestant and Catholic communities living and working together in harmony, along with our First Nations. It continues to be a work in progress.

I've always supported in Ontario our separate school systems because, in my opinion, part of the reason Canada came together was because there was an agreement here in Ontario that we would have a separate school system. It's also why I'm a strong supporter of French-language rights in this province.

If we look ahead to Canada continuing to be a country that is together, it will be as a result of many things, but one of the key things will be how French-speaking people are treated outside of Quebec and how English-speaking people are treated inside Quebec. So I'm pleased to lend my support to my friend Madame Boyer's resolution. It can only add to the strength of this province. I celebrate our French communities. As I said earlier, I hope in the centuries ahead that the people who come after us will have strong French communities in this province. But it does require some effort by us, ensuring that services are available in both languages.

I appreciate Madame Boyer's efforts in bringing this resolution forward. I want to lend my strong, personal support for it. We're blessed to live in what I think most people regard as probably the best country in the world to live in. But it doesn't continue to be that way without nurturing and caring, and one of the most sensitive areas is our language, the preservation of our English and French languages. As Madame Boyer points out in this resolution, in terms of language, education and culture, is a modest but progressive step forward and one that I'm sure can be accommodated reasonably. I'm pleased to support Madame Boyer's resolution.

Hon Dianne Cunningham (Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, minister responsible for women's issues): It's my pleasure this morning to thank my friend and colleague from Ottawa-Vanier, Madame Boyer, for bringing this forward. I'm very pleased to speak to the honourable member's resolution. I'm also pleased that she mentioned French-language school boards, and our French colleges, because we're very proud in Ontario about the gains we've made and the leadership that we've tried to show over the years in this great province with regard to our respect and our intentions to support in anyway we can our Franco-Ontarians.

As Madame Boyer stated, she is interested in services that we can provide to all Canadians, but she especially mentioned francophones in all of Canada, and I appreciate that. I think that's what we're talking about today. We're talking about a program that will meet the needs of the future and far beyond, something that serves our young people and families, and that is TFO. We're very proud, because there are many good things that we would like to celebrate with regard to this great institution.

We're very pleased because of the significant role that TFO takes in the promotion in the Franco-Ontarian culture and in providing a forum for French-speaking Ontarians to talk to each other, to the rest of Canada and to the world. We know here in Ontario that we are proud of Panorama. English-speaking and French-speaking and all cultures are interested in arguments in our other language, as Canadians, and it is well appreciated.


This year actually marks the 15th anniversary of TFO. Since 1987 it has provided Franco-Ontarians and French-language school boards with quality educational programs and services. Having been elected many years ago, in 1973 in London, Ontario, where a lot of this work started with great support from the government of the day and from the Franco-Ontarian community, which is very strong, we have made gains. I have watched many improvements, but this one is the best.

TFO is not a division of the Ontario Educational Communications Authority. Both TVO and TFO operate different networks, under different licences, under different conditions from the CRTC. This is about how it works and whether it can work better. The English network exercises no editorial influence over French, and vice versa. This has evolved over time -- I might say, with enthusiasm to get it right.

You only need to turn on your television to see this for yourself. There aren't very many of us who are not familiar with our very young children who love to watch cartoons and love to watch educational programs. The strength of TVOntario and TFO is that parents trust the programming. We have our children, our Franco-Ontarians and our Anglo-Ontarians, all watching TFO, certainly in our French-language schools, but just as much in schools where there are programs to introduce, as far as possible, all of our students to our second language.

Many of us, including myself, are somewhat disappointed that we are not better in our second language. Perhaps it's because of the system, but often it is because of our talents and our lack of opportunities to spend as much time with each other as we would like. I am also pleased, not only for our young children, especially pre-schoolers, with the contributions that the wonderful programming has made in that regard. My own grandchildren are recipients of this wonderful programming.

I am also pleased about the ongoing dialogue between the Franco-Ontarian community and my ministry about the future of TFO. It is ongoing. We are always particularly interested in seeking out new ways to do things better, not just in our school boards but, for me in particular, in our college system. The leadership of our colleges in this regard, especially our Franco-Ontarian colleges, or as we call them our French colleges, is second to none. We know how much difference it has made for the availability of appropriate programming and the future dreams and ambitions of young people who want to proceed in their own language, but others who would like to be totally bilingual, providing a wonderful job.

I just want to assure my colleague, because I think that she has come at this at a time when she probably would have appreciated to have much more time for dialogue with all of us in this House, that we are open for new ideas and better ways of doing things.

The current wording does give us some concern about the effects this resolution would have on TFO. I obviously will be speaking further with my colleague with regard to this. It is very interesting, as we seek creation of a separate organization at this time, because creating this separate hierarchy -- administration, services -- to support TFO could result in duplication and sometimes a loss of revenue that would otherwise be directed to education and cultural programming.

It is a fact, even within my own ministry, as I take a look at working with other ministries on the administrative level, certainly now more than ever as we try to share technical opportunities, it's very difficult to say that you can put the same amount of money in programming.

Our school boards are sharing in many ways, our separate school boards, our French school boards and our public school boards, to keep the cost of administration down so more money can go into the classroom. It would be, I think, foolish to think that we haven't had that kind of attitude about the way we operate our TVO. So it does in fact make a difference.

The control over content and programming exists within TFO today. I have been reassured about this over and over again. That was the reason we set up the structure the way we have. While TVO and TFO work well together, it is TFO, with the support of their advisory board, that is making the key decisions that matter for Franco-Ontarians. That is the purpose of the structure that we have.

In addition, this resolution risks splintering an organization that is recognized for the quality of its programming in both languages. It will weaken an organization that serves all Ontarians, and I believe that strongly. When we work together and we focus on what I've already spoken about, that is, who is in charge of decisions that matter, we know that TFO is in charge of decisions that matter.

Their markets, which we're very proud of, are across the country in New Brunswick, Manitoba -- in fact, around the world. As my honourable colleague mentioned in the beginning of her speech, this is about reaching francophones in Ontario, in Canada -- in fact, around the world. The products are sought after. If our vision is realized together, our products will be sought after around the world. But here in Ontario, these products are also in French, which makes us so very proud.

Everyone benefits, but we have to focus on our viewers, and you know, as we return to our educational roots for TVO, our viewers, our focus is very much on education and schoolchildren -- colleges, universities, educational programs -- and we want to work together. In fact, I just heard about Collège Alfred working with TFO in bringing forward some sitcoms -- I think there might be 13; I've just heard about this -- some rural stories talking about the history of the French and Franco-Ontarians right here in Ontario. That's why, as a government, it's set up that way, so they make the decisions for their constituents.

As an organization, TFO has achieved many important things. It has established a strong relationship with French-speaking educators across Ontario. TFO produces a range of educational programs and services to support French-language education, such as Web sites, pedagogical sites, programming and other supports. TFO offers training to teachers in class and in education facilities. Most recently, in partnership with the 12 French-language school boards, TFO has implemented SOS Devoirs to promote on-line homework help to students across Ontario.

Managing director Claudette Paquin deserves support for the leadership she is bringing to TFO. She's a great leader and she has a great team. She's well known, and so are they. An extended line of new media services and outreach to teachers and community organizations is ensuring the broadcaster is serving the lifelong learning needs of French-speaking Ontarians of all ages.

You need only visit TFO's new Web site to see the energy and commitment that the broadcaster brings to giving French-speaking Ontarians a forum to learn and to communicate in French. In response to OECA's most recent licence renewal application, the Canadian Radio and Television Commission said it "commends the licensee on the high quality of programming offered by TVO and TFO...and that the licensee intends to continue to build on its traditional strengths and to emphasize continuing learning throughout its schedule."


Let's sit down and talk with the French-speaking community about improvements that we can make. In the meantime, I think we can assure them that the authority and TFO are taking effective action to serve the needs of French-speaking Ontarians and provide high-quality educational and cultural content to their services. Their francophone advisory council provides us with sound advice, and I'm advised that one third of the authority's broadcast budget goes to TFO programming, with the savings that result from shared resources.

Our priority is to ensure that all Ontarians have opportunities to access high-quality, relevant learning programs whenever and wherever they are needed. I once again want to thank my colleague and to assure her that we will work with her to make TFO even better for Franco-Ontarians than it is now.

Mr Jean-Marc Lalonde (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell): It is with pleasure and pride that I am taking this opportunity to speak on Mrs Boyer's resolution. The member for Ottawa-Vanier's resolution is that TFO be given real autonomy in its own direction and development through the creation of an equal-sized French-language section of the board of educational authority.

C'est toujours un plaisir et un honneur pour moi de participer à des débats qui portent sur les services en français en Ontario. Ce matin la résolution de ma collègue porte sur la gestion de TFO.

TFO est un réseau provincial de télévision éducative qui dessert les communautés francophones de notre province. Cette résolution accorderait que les émissions de langue française et les ressources de langue française dans le domaine de la diffusion et de la communication en matière d'éducation, de même que l'administration de la juste part des ressources financières, permettent d'assurer ces services, et qu'elles relèvent de la compétence exclusive de cette section du conseil de l'Office de la télécommunication éducative de l'Ontario.

The French language has been present in Ontario for over 350 years. The first French speakers to come to Ontario were the missionaries who established the mission of Sainte-Marie-Among-the-Hurons in 1639.

La communauté francophone de l'Ontario compose la communauté francophone la plus nombreuse au Canada après celle du Québec. La population française de l'Ontario équivaut à la population entière de la province de Terre-Neuve. Le français est l'une des langues officielles du Canada. En Ontario, il jouit du statut de langue officielle devant les tribunaux, dans l'éducation et à l'Assemblée législative.

Dans notre région, le français remonte surtout à la vaste vague d'immigration canadienne-française du 19e siècle. Aujourd'hui, il y a plus de 540 000 personnes qui ont le français comme langue maternelle, et plus de 1,2 million d'Ontariens peuvent parler cette langue de notre belle province qui est le français.

For nearly 40 years, the province of Ontario has recognized the importance of serving its citizens in French upon request. It was when the present section 5 of the French Language Services Act, an act also known as Bill 8, came into effect in November 1989 that the province recognized its citizens were entitled to those services upon request.

Très peu de gens savent que sur notre globe, sur la planète, il y a plus de 500 millions de personnes qui parlent le français. Quelque 500 millions de personnes sur le globe terrestre parlent le français et, dans 67 pays sur ce globe terrestre, sur cette planète, ont le français comme langue de travail.

Depuis l'adoption de la Loi 8 sur les services en français de 1986, de la mise sur pied des conseils scolaires de langue française, de la mise en place d'institutions collégiales et universitaires de langue française, les réseaux francophones travaillent de concert à contrer l'assimilation en Ontario et figurent parmi leurs priorités de voir aux coûts et aux besoins croissants pour une clientèle étudiante francophone à la baisse.

Des 72 conseils scolaires en Ontario, on retrouve 12 conseils scolaires francophones. Or, le nombre de petites écoles françaises et l'étendue des territoires que couvrent les conseils scolaires devient problématique quant au financement et elles devraient être reconnues uniques. Il y a besoin de financement accru afin d'égaliser les chances de réussite entre les jeunes anglophones et les jeunes francophones.

Il faut dire que nous faisons du rattrapage depuis nombre d'années, et ce rattrapage-là va durer encore de nombreuses années à venir. Depuis sa création en 1987, TFO est indispensable et est le principal pourvoyeur d'appui à l'enseignement en français. TFO est la seule télévision qui diffuse pleinement à partir de l'Ontario des émissions en français qui s'adressent spécifiquement à la collectivité francophone. Elle sert de lien vital entre les francophones de l'Ontario et offre un outil indispensable pour les agences et groupes francophones quant à la promotion de leur culture.

J'ai ici une coupure du journal le Voyageur de Sudbury qui nous confirme : « Le document contient des statistiques révélatrices. Par exemple, la superficie moyenne d'un conseil scolaire francophone est de 33 742 kilomètres carrés, comparativement à 6 630 kilomètres carrés pour un conseil anglophone. » Cela démontre encore pourquoi nous voulons que la gestion de TFO soit donnée à des francophones afin de pouvoir desservir d'avantage ces francophones qui doivent parcourir de longues distances pour aller à l'école, et aussi, rendus à la maison, qu'ils pourront poursuivre leurs programmes éducatifs à la télévision. TFO travaille de concert avec la communauté francophone afin de protéger nos acquis et d'améliorer la qualité de vie de chacun et chacune.

C'est une question de survie pour nous de parler français le plus possible. Nous devons être fiers de parler notre langue. Pendant des siècles, le français a été la langue la plus importante dans le monde. Monsieur le Président, saviez-vous que le français a été la langue officielle de l'Angleterre pendant des siècles ? La langue officielle de l'Angleterre pendant des siècles. De ce fait, la plupart des mots de l'anglais moderne sont d'origine française. En tant que représentants, il nous incombe de veiller à ce que tous les francophones partagent les mêmes droits, libertés et devoirs que le reste de la province. Il s'agit d'une responsabilité qui incombe à tous les ordres du gouvernement à toutes les régions, à tous les organismes et à tous les particuliers de la provinces.

Il est vrai que notre passé et nos racines sont des composantes importantes de notre patrimoine, mais nous avons la responsabilité de bâtir un héritage pour la prochaine génération. Il est essentiel.

Essentiellement, les besoins de TFO se résument à celui d'être autonome dans sa gouvernance et sa gestion. Cette autonomie permettra à TFO de se rendre à la demande de son marché, à le faire dans le cadre d'une gestion efficace et avec une approche novatrice et entrepreneuriale.

Outre ces besoins de part et d'autre, une TFO autonome et entrepreneuriale pourra tirer des profits de nombreuses possibilités à exploiter. Ces occasions gravitent entre les économies d'échelle et la pénétration de marchés en demande de produits éducationnels en français.

C'est pourquoi moi, Jean-Marc Lalonde, député de Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, une région qui compte au-delà de 68 % de sa population francophone, j'appuie sans réserve la résolution de la députée d'Ottawa-Vanier, Mme Claudette Boyer.


Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for allowing me to say a few words this morning. I don't really have a lot of time left; Minister Cunningham made most of the points. I did want to, however, thank the member from Ottawa-Vanier for bringing forth this resolution, and both herself and Mr Lalonde for their strong interest in our French-Canadian language and culture that makes up such an important part of not only Ontario, but all of our country.

I wanted to specifically talk just for a moment about my part of the province, the riding of Simcoe North, which has a very strong and large French-speaking community. The town of Penetanguishene and the hamlets of Lafontaine and Perkinsfield have a very strong French-Canadian culture and heritage that the community is very proud of. I can only say that on a number of occasions I visited particularly the hamlets of Lafontaine and Perkinsfield this past year, and I want to just point out some of the strengths or some of the enhancements that the province of Ontario has given to the community of Lafontaine. They started their first ever Festival du Loup, which is the Festival of the Wolf. It's bringing back the strong tradition and heritage of that community, and our government was pleased to provide them with a start-up grant of $17,000 through the Ontario Trillium Foundation toward the start-up of that function.

I want to say that I'm pleased to be here this morning. I wish I could have spoken a little longer on this particular bill, but the minister took a little longer than I had expected.

M. Gilles Bisson (Timmins-Baie James): Comme porte-parole et responsable des affaires francophones pour le Nouveau parti démocratique, c'est avec plaisir que je suis ici aujourd'hui de la part de notre caucus pour appuyer la motion de Mme Boyer.

Comme Mme Boyer, nous croyons qu'il est finalement temps que l'on dise à TFO, « Il est temps que vous preniez l'indépendance dont vous avez besoin pour être capable d'épanouir et de faire ce qui est nécessaire pour vraiment prendre la prochaine étape sur le développement de la télévision éducative ici dans la province de l'Ontario. Nous, le Nouveau parti démocratique, supportons cette proposition. Justement, c'est l'une des positions qu'on prend dans notre plate-forme électorale qu'on va dévoiler dans les prochains mois envers le dossier des affaires francophones. On croit, comme d'autres le croient, qu'il est temps que TFO fasse une séparation avec TVO pour être capable de faire finalement leur vision eux-mêmes selon les besoins de la communauté francophone.

Ce n'est pas dire que TVO a quelque chose d'amer ou de la rancune envers les francophones, envers TFO. C'est justement le contraire. On croit que TVO a fait une collaboration assez excellente avec TFO. Il n'y a pas de chicanes entre les deux parties de la télévision publique de la province. Franchement, TVO fait un excellent job sur leur réseau anglais et une bonne collaboration avec les francophones.

La position que nous prenons, c'est que c'est juste une partie de la transition. Quand on a commencé avec TVO en 1973, on ne savait pas encore qu'une bonne journée on développerait une chaîne française. C'est arrivé. On a développé la chaîne française. On a développé un réseau francophone pour la communauté : beaucoup de bons programmes, beaucoup de programmes éducatifs pour la communauté, des programmes d'actualité tels que Panorama et autres qui sont très importants dans la communauté francophone.

Là, c'est la prochaine partie de l'évolution. Nous voulons appuyer cette motion de notre collègue Mme Boyer. On pense que c'est vraiment une très bonne idée.

Je veux dire aux anglophones qui nous regardent pourquoi il est important pour nous, les francophones, d'avoir cette institution. Premièrement, pour être capable de vivre en français en Ontario tu as besoin de tes institutions. On ne peut pas, comme francophone, vivre dans un milieu où on n'a pas nos écoles, où on n'as pas nos collèges et où on n'a pas notre radio et notre télévision, nos journaux, les institutions importantes chaque jour que l'on fait notre vie quotidienne pour pouvoir vivre en français dans notre province. Ces institutions-là sont importantes.

C'est pour cette raison que dans le passé les gouvernements libéral, conservateur et NPD ont mis en place des institutions qui sont importantes pour la communauté, pour l'assurer qu'elle pourra survivre en français ici en Ontario. C'est pour cette raison que je crois que le gouvernement conservateur, depuis la décision Mahé à la Cour suprême du Canada, a finalement créé les conseils scolaires francophones ici en Ontario, et ils reconnaissent qu'il est important que l'on a nos institutions francophones pour être capables de nous épanouir en français en Ontario. C'est pour cette raison que nous, le Nouveau parti démocratique, avons créé le Collège Boréal et le Collège des Grands Lacs et d'autres institutions comme des garderies francophones, des centres de santé communautaires et j'en passe. On croit que, comme parti démocratique, si la communauté va survivre, si la communauté va être capable de s'épanouir, il est très important d'avoir ces institutions.

Ce dossier de TFO est justement parti de toute cette évolution. On sait qu'il n'est pas toujours facile de vivre dans l'environnement de l'Amérique du Nord sans avoir des influences anglophones autour de nous. Quand on demeure en Ontario, il est même plus important pour nous d'avoir ces institutions que pour les Québécois, qui restent dans un environnement totalement francophone. Si comme francophone je demeure dans la ville de Québec, loin de Montréal, il est très facile d'aller au coin de la rue pour parler français avec mes amis et mes copains. Mais quand on demeure en Ontario, c'est parfois avec la famille et notre petit groupe d'amis que l'on a la chance de parler le français.

Si on va être capable de garder notre langue et épanouir dans notre communauté, on a besoin de ces institutions. Moi, je suis fier que, comme francophone de la province de l'Ontario -- je suis né ici, je suis du nord de l'Ontario et je m'affiche comme Franco-Ontarien -- ces institutions-là sont là. J'ai bénéficié d'être allé à une école française, j'étais à l'école secondaire Thériault, et j'étais à l'école au Conseil scolaire séparé catholique de Timmins dans le temps. C'était un plus grand conseil qui avait des écoles francophones. Je n'ai pas bénéficié d'un collège francophone parce que dans le temps il n'y en avait pas. C'était seulement des collèges anglophones. Mais là je suis fier de dire que mes enfants jouissent de l'opportunité qu'ils ont. Justement Natalie, notre plus jeune des filles, qui va au Collège universitaire de Hearst à Timmins, fait son post-secondaire, trois ans universitaires, en français, et nous comme parents sommes très fiers. Nous disons que ces institutions sont très importantes pour assurer la survie de la communauté francophone. Justement, c'est sur ce point que l'on croit que c'est important de faire cette évolution à TFO.

L'autre affaire, très brièvement : la ministre a parlé de l'importance des programmes d'immersion dans les écoles francophones, et je suis complètement d'accord avec elle. Les écoles à travers la province qui le font depuis une vingtaine d'années, à Welland, à Timmins, à Toronto, et il y en a trois dans le comté de M. Kormos, justement -- non, je n'ai pas compris « dans trois »; excuse-moi. Il veut avoir trois minutes. Do you want three minutes, Peter? Là, j'ai compris. OK. Parfois les signes que l'on fait dans l'Assemblée ne se comprennent pas très bien.

Les programmes d'immersion sont très importants. Justement, dans les communautés à travers la province je suis toujours -- je fais la remarque -- dans vos écoles anglophones, et francophones aussi, et beaucoup d'enfants viennent d'une famille anglophone pour apprendre le français à l'école et ils parlent bien le français. Ils le comprennent, le parlent, l'écrivent et le lisent, et cela est très important, je pense, non seulement pour la communauté francophone mais pour nous, pour le Canada.

Le seul commentaire que je veux faire contre la ministre : votre formule de financement met en danger ces programmes. Là on commence à voir -- et je pense que mes collègues francophones vont réagir à cela -- parce que les conseils scolaires à travers la province, avec la formule de financement, n'en ont pas assez, qu'ils ont besoin de faire des choix et ils sont en train de fermer des programmes d'immersion dans des communautés à travers la province. Ça ne dessert pas les élèves et je pense que ça ne dessert pas notre communauté et certainement pas notre pays.

Je dis au gouvernement que vous avez besoin de revoir votre formule de financement. Franchement, c'est quelque chose qui est très épeurant. C'est pour cette raison que nous, le Nouveau parti démocratique, prenons la position que la province de l'Ontario doit être affichée officiellement bilingue. On est le seul parti à le dire. C'est quelque chose qui a besoin d'arriver. Je suis plus convaincu que jamais parce que j'ai vécu l'expérience d'être au gouvernement où on ne l'a pas fait, et là on voit que que l'approche de M. Rae était de mettre en place tous les services, et quand les services étaient en place, là on s'afficherait bilingue.


Le problème avec cela est qu'il il y a eu un gouvernement qui est arrivé, le gouvernement conservateur, qui a fermé la plupart de ces institutions, et là on n'a pas la protection autrement que la Charte des droits en certaines instances, comme à l'hôpital Montfort, pour être capable de protéger nos institutions francophones.

Moi, je crois à cette heure, comme notre caucus, et c'est pour ça qu'on prend la position officiellement et que ça fait partie de notre plate-forme électorale, qu'on doit afficher la province officiellement bilingue. Pourquoi ? C'est pour assurer le succès des programmes et des institutions francophones dans la province, pour assurer qu'il n'y ait pas un gouvernement anti-francophone d'élu qui arrive et qui essaie d'ôter les institutions.

Moi, quand il y a du monde qui arrive qui dit, « Ça coûte de l'argent, le bilinguisme, blah, blah, blah », je remarque toujours, « Écoute, si on s'en va en Europe, si on s'en va en Italie, si on s'en va en Suède, si en s'en va en France, n'importe où en Europe le monde parle plus que deux langues. Dans beaucoup d'instances ils parlent trois, quatre ou cinq langues. Pourquoi ? Parce qu'ils réalisent que c'est un atout. C'est un atout non seulement social mais économique. Si on veut faire l'échange avec des pays comme la France, comme l'Angleterre, comme l'Italie, comme l'Espagne et autres, il faut être capable de parler ces langues. » Moi, je dis qu'on doit avoir une politique en Ontario qui favorise le bilinguisme, mais on doit aussi regarder aux autres langues et dire, « Y a-t-il des manières dont le gouvernement ontarien peut supporter les autres communautés : les Italiens, les Espagnols et autres? » Parce que ces langues-là sont aussi importantes pour nous, l'Ontario.

C'est peut-être difficile de dire qu'on veut être officiellement bilingue dans 15 langues. Je ne pense pas qu'on soit préparé à faire ça à ce point-ci. Mais je pense qu'on a besoin de prendre l'autre pas et de nous assurer qu'on a des programmes pour assurer la survie des langues à la deuxième génération ici au Canada et en Ontario quand ça vient aux autres communautés.

Je regarde chez nous la communauté italienne, qui est très forte, mais quand je regarde la deuxième et certainement la troisième génération des Canadiens qui viennent d'Italie, ils ne parlent quasiment pas leur langue. Franchement, c'est triste. On doit être capable de promouvoir sa langue. Ça veut dire que oui, on a besoin de mettre en place certaines institutions pour assister ces communautés aussi, de s'assurer que les clubs communautaires dans la communauté italienne, slave et autres sont financés adéquatement afin de pouvoir promouvoir leur langue et leur culture.

Même dans nos institutions, quoi de mal en prenant notre système scolaire et en promouvant les langues dans notre système scolaire, francophone ou anglophone et dire, « Pourquoi les jeunes francophones dans une communauté où il y a beaucoup d'Italiens ne prennent pas un troisième langage, pour apprendre l'italien ou le cri ou n'importe quelle langue qui est là ? » Moi, je favorise une politique qui dit qu'on reconnaît que l'Ontario est une province qui jouit d'avoir beaucoup de différentes personnes d'autour du monde et qu'elle est capable de promouvoir ces différences d'une manière très positive. Je favorise une telle politique.

I've got four minutes left, and I want to do something, and most people probably are going to wonder why I'm doing it. I just feel I have to do it. I know I'm going to have problems with a few people but I'm going to do this in only one minute.

This is in regard to Mr Cam Jackson. I don't want to comment on what happened with Cam and why he had to resign; that is another issue. I just want to say that Cam, as Minister of Tourism, was excellent to deal with as a minister. I'm sad to see him go. These are consequences that I'm sure not many of us are proud of here in the Legislature. It's not the kind of thing we want to see. But I've had the opportunity to work with Cam on a number of projects in regard to SuperBuild. There were a number of projects that were dead, going nowhere, especially in the First Nations communities up north in my riding. I came with the leaders of those projects to meet with Cam and people on his staff. They were most excellent in working with us to revive those projects.

From the communities of Moosonee to Kashechewan that are going to basically benefit from these projects that were revived and that were approved because of Cam's work and the work of his staff, I just want to say that we reach out to him today. This must be a very difficult time for him. I don't think anybody wants to be in the position he is in. On behalf of the communities that I represent that did benefit from the time that Cam was in cabinet, I just want to wish him well and hope that he's able to get past this and clear up this matter so he can get back to doing what he loves best, and that is working on behalf of the people of Ontario. So to Cam and his family, my heart goes out to you. The people of Moosonee and Moose Factory and others who benefited want to thank you for the work you've done for us.

Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): My gratitude to my colleague Gilles Bisson, who is the NDP critic for francophone affairs. This House has not seen a stronger and more enthusiastic and aggressive advocate for francophone interests, and I'm very proud to work with him. I feel very compelled to join in this debate, albeit briefly. Down where I come from, the communities I represent -- as you well know, Speaker, Welland has an historic and strong francophone community. Some 18% of our population is francophone. The francophone community extends down into Port Colborne and is paralleled only by Windsor and the north in terms of the French-speaking, historical presence.

We are also very proud that over the course of a few generations we have built a strong French-language education system from preschool all the way through -- until the government abandoned the community college, Collège des Grands Lacs on Welland's campus -- to post-secondary. I'm also very proud of the families across the riding of Niagara Centre, francophone and non-francophone, who, with their strong commitment to not just bilingualism but multilingualism, have ensured that their children -- notwithstanding that their first language may not be French -- have been enrolled in French-language education in the pursuit of that bilingualism and multilingualism. But one of the recurrent concerns, whether when it's when I attend one of these schools, be it Confédération or Sacré-Coeur or any other number of elementary or secondary schools, is that the minute these children leave the classroom they lapse into English on the playground or on their way home. Similarly, one of the frustrations of parents is the lack of resources that reinforce the French-language education that they are investing in for their children.

This proposal is one that I join my NDP colleagues and others in this House in enthusiastically endorsing. It's imperative that if we pay more than lip service to multiculturalism and multilingualism -- and multilingualism is an inherent part of multiculturalism -- that we have those institutions, those cultural institutions, those purveyors of popular culture -- television; Marshall McLuhan spoke of it many decades ago, the incredibly powerful medium that it is -- that there be those resources available to young and old so that they can not only educate themselves in the French language but participate in their community and in their cultural life, provincially and nationally, in the French language as well.

This is a sound proposition. New Democrats endorse it. I'm proud to be amongst those supporting it.

The Acting Speaker: Response?

Mrs Boyer: First of all I want to give a warm thank-you to my colleagues from Scarborough-Agincourt, Gerry Phillips; Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Jean-Marc Lalonde; London North Centre, our minister, Dianne Cunningham; Simcoe North, Garfield Dunlop; Timmins-James Bay, Gilles Bisson; and Niagara Centre, Peter Kormos.

I want to assure the Minister of Colleges and Universities that TFO and TVO will continue to work well together. TFO will continue to work in partnership with TVO. Let us be clear: we do not want to separate from TVO. TFO wants to remain a public broadcaster, but remember, on this board of directors there are only three francophones to give the ideas of what they want to do.

Il n'y a que trois francophones sur le conseil d'administration. Ce n'est pas assez pour gérer TFO. Nous avons besoin de notre autonomie. On se doit d'évoluer et d'avancer. On l'a faite, notre période de transition, comme M. Bisson a bien dit. Il est temps d'agir.

Let me tell you again: we don't want new money; only the money that is already allocated to TFO through existing budgets. Ceci est très important et nous voulons l'explorer.

Please note that this resolution asks only that the government consider the idea. We're not committing the government to act now but to consider in every detail que oui, TFO peut devenir autonome et bien gérer sa boîte éducative. What is so difficult about that?

Let us be clear again that it's time for the francophones of this province to have autonomy.

The Acting Speaker: This completes the time allocated for debate. I will place the question regarding this matter at 12 noon.



Mr Joseph N. Tascona (Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford): I move that, in the opinion of this House, the Ministry of Transportation should examine the relationship between driver fatigue and road safety on Ontario highways; and

That the ministry will be given up to six months to study and report back to the Legislature with recommendations respecting improved road safety on Ontario highways resulting from the design of a fatigue-fighting infrastructure plan for Ontario, which will address the following needs: a shorter distance between rest stops; more truck parking at rest stops; more restful rest stops; better signage of and access to current rest stops attached to service centres; and public education designed to drive traffic to the new rest stops.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): Mr Tascona has moved private member's notice of motion number 13. The member has up to 10 minutes to make his presentation.

Mr Tascona: It's a pleasure for me to rise to speak to you about my resolution with respect to driver fatigue. Every day throughout this province driver fatigue is the cause of many unfortunate accidents. That is why I believe it is important for all of us to work together to develop and implement new measures and to increase the safety of motorists across the province.

During the past several months, I have worked closely with the Canadian Automobile Association -- the CAA -- to create my resolution. My resolution aims at creating more rest areas across our great province of Ontario to help ensure the safety of our motorists.

It is my understanding that there are two types of roadside stops: there are service centres offering fuel and food, which are prominent throughout this province, and there are rest stops offering calm and greenery. My resolution looks into creating more of the latter of the two roadside stops. This would provide motorists with areas where they would feel comfortable stretching or walking and where parents would feel safe letting their children run freely to burn off excess energy. Furthermore, it would create an area where truck drivers could park their vehicles and relieve their fatigue without dangerously blocking the shoulders of the road.

Let's be clear: driver fatigue is a serious problem. The 1999 road user safety statistics for Ontario indicate that of the 401,572 collisions reported, 1,744 involved drivers who suffered some form of fatigue. However, experts agree that the rate of fatigue-related incidents is much higher, as many crashes are attributed to other factors. For example, police reports indicate that of the 401,572 accidents that occurred in 1999, 21,597 drivers were involved in the accident because they weren't attentive. Furthermore, a national study by the Canadian Automobile Association indicates that 79% of their members feel that fatigue poses a threat to their safety on the road. It is a fact that the only truly effective strategy drowsy drivers can take to prevent a crash is to immediately stop driving and get some rest.

I have received letters of support from many stakeholders and would like to take a moment to read some of their comments to you.

The Ontario Traffic Conference indicates: "Your suggestions merit action by the Ministry of Transportation. We believe a six-month study gives ample time for the ministry to come back to the Legislature with recommendations."

The Ontario Trucking Association states: "Increasing the quantity and quality of rest areas along the provincial highways, particularly in northern Ontario, has been a long-standing issue for Ontario's trucking companies and the drivers who work for them.

"In order to comply with the province's hours-of-work regulations, which restrict the hours that a commercial driver can work, drivers are often forced to stop on the shoulder of the highway or in some other unsafe location because of the lack of adequate rest areas. Given that the government has indicated that it will soon be amending the regulations to reduce the hours that a driver can work, it is all the more imperative that the MTO take a careful look at the existing supply of rest areas and consider adding new areas where the need for additional capacity is identified.

"I can therefore assure you that you have the full support of the Ontario trucking industry in your efforts to convince MTO to make provision for adequate stopping areas throughout the provincial highway network."

From the Police Association of Ontario I received a letter saying, "The PAO board supports the resolution and would be pleased to provide input into any study that is designed to improve safety on Ontario highways. As you are aware, the PAO represents over 20,000 front-line police personnel, and we appreciate the fact that you have asked for our organization's perspective on this important matter."

I received a letter from the Tourism Federation of Ontario that states, "We respectfully encourage you to broaden your resolution so that it calls for more frequent rest stops on all major highways throughout Ontario and not just the 400-series highways." I would note that my resolution covers all Ontario highways.

The Tourism Federation of Ontario goes on to state, "For example, the need for rest stops is also crucial throughout northern Ontario, which does not have 400-series highways. In addition, your resolution should call for improved maintenance of existing rest stops in terms of upkeep, ensuring they are kept in good repair, sanitation, which means regular garbage pickups, and security and adequate lighting at night.

"The safety and security of travellers is a key concern of Ontario's tourism industry. The last bullet of your resolution calling for public education to drive traffic to the new rest stops is particularly important to tourism since these stops could provide an ideal opportunity to market local attractions, retail shops, festivals and tourist accommodation to travellers."

I also received a letter from the Ontario Senior Officers' Police Association, which wrote to me and said, "The Ontario Senior Officers' Police Association supports your opinion that rest stops would reduce motor vehicle collisions and provide a much-needed respite from the stresses of driving. As your resolution points out, public education will be necessary to encourage the use and need for rest stops."

I also received a letter from the CAA with respect to this resolution. The CAA writes to me, "CAA Ontario is pleased to lend support to your resolution for research into fatigue-fighting infrastructure on Ontario roads. We note your resolution includes the following: a shorter distance between rest stops, more truck parking space at rest stops, more restful rest stops, better signage of and access to current rest stops attached to service centres, and public education designed to drive traffic to the new rest stops."

I'm looking for all-party support with respect to this resolution today. Driver fatigue is obviously an issue with respect to driving on highways today, when we see the increased urbanization and increased commuter driving, and the practical fact that if you have long drives to certain areas, whether it's to northern Ontario or southwestern Ontario, you'll find along those stretches in southwestern Ontario and northern Ontario long distances between the commercial rest stops we have out there in terms of service centres and being able to get off the highway.

I think it's much preferable to provide options to drivers to get off the highway and make that issue more directly dealt with, rather than someone getting off to the side of the road. Obviously, the OPP would have a concern if someone is off to the side of the road and would want to make sure that everything was fine. To me, that's a waste of the time of the OPP, if it is just for someone who wants to get off the highway for a rest.

There should be places there as in the United States. When you drive down the I-75 or if you drive through Fort Erie down to different parts of the United States, you'll find not only adequate signage with respect to service centres but adequate signage with respect to rest stops. A lot of areas have those rest stops throughout, so you don't have an issue with respect to people trying to get off the road -- not necessarily wanting to get off at a service centre -- as something they want to do in terms of getting off the highway for rest and relaxation, along with being able to take a break from a long drive.


Driver fatigue, as I indicated, is a very serious factor with respect to unsafe road-driving habits. You're seeing people who perhaps would be speeding or driving faster, because they want to get home quicker, recognizing that they can't get off a highway anyway because they have to look for service centres. This gives them an option to perhaps get off that highway, and get home in a safer manner.

This is an issue that deals with our infrastructure. We have to bring our infrastructure up do date to the realities of our society in terms of the people who use automobiles and the commuter traffic we're facing today, and the public must realize that driving while fatigued is not a safe driving habit. We have to get through to them that there are other alternatives with respect to driving in that manner.

I'm pleased to present the resolution and I'm looking for all-party support.

Mr Pat Hoy (Chatham-Kent Essex): I'm pleased to rise and comment on this resolution. I must say, though, that I will be amazed if the Ministry of Transportation has not examined the relationship between driver fatigue and road safety. I would hope that the people of Ontario would be with me on this issue, that the Ministry of Transportation would have this work done. I think everyone would agree with the member opposite's opinion and view, shared by many, that driver fatigue can indeed cause accidents. Therefore, I would think the Ministry of Transportation has an extensive file, an extensive knowledge, of what fatigue could mean to our drivers and the safety on our highways.

I think it stands to reason that fatigue can affect anyone's performance, whether they're driving or, for example, working on our farms. I know in the spring and fall, I have often asked, and have been asked, to assist in giving information to farmers who are working very hard, long hours, to take a rest; "Pause, take a rest and be sure you do your work well and safely." I know the Farm Safety Association calls for that as well. So it's a point well taken throughout communities in Ontario that fatigue can cause accidents.

I am amazed, however, that in 1996 there were 21 service centres that had picnic areas beside them where persons could go and relax, take their children, take pets, walk them and get a full, relaxed moment. Obviously those persons cannot take their animals into the stores and food outlets etc that exist at these service centres. They're not allowed to go in there. They need a place to put their recreational vehicles, to pull into these picnic areas, to take their boats and stay away from the truck traffic that is generally at the back of the rest stops.

But do you know what happened in 1996? The government closed 19 of those 21 service centres, those picnic areas. They closed them. They had chains across the front of them. People couldn't get in. The grass was three feet high. I visited the ones in my area. The grass turned brown. It was actually a fire hazard. There were picnic tables in there. If a fire had started, I don't know what would have happened.

People pulled in with their children and their recreational vehicles and parked wherever they could -- actually a dangerous situations as posed to me by the people who operated the service centre itself. They were parked along the 401, on the side of the road. In my area at that time, we did not, and still do not, have fully paved shoulders on both sides of the road -- very dangerous; young children along the 401 and the recreational vehicles.

I have a letter here signed by the then-minister explaining why they did this. They closed 19 of 21 service centres where people could rest, relax and ensure they did not suffer from fatigue. I'll read it:

"While we recognize the convenience that the service centre rest areas and picnic sites offer to the travelling public and their value to the tourism sector, the ministry does not consider the maintenance of these facilities essential...." It's signed by the minister of the day.

Ms Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth): Who was that?

Mr Hoy: You'll have to go back in your memory bank for the then minister. He signed the original letter. It was forwarded to myself. I was cc'd on this, as he wrote to the Chatham-Kent Tourist Bureau. Of course there is a tourism effect, naturally, to these rest stops as well, but we're talking about the issue of fatigue. Can you imagine the people who have come to Ontario and found these sites all closed, grass three feet high, not cut, not maintained, chained and they can't get in?

It did not, in my view, say welcome to Ontario. Eighty-five per cent of the tourism is by auto through our province. An unhappy tourist will tell others. I think that the House would agree, that the members here assembled today would agree, that word of mouth is an excellent way of having people talk about this fine province and how people should come here and visit, bring their children, bring their recreational vehicles and enjoy these sites. But in 1996 this same government closed the sites.

I think it was wrong-headed. We need to ensure that people have an opportunity to rest, and to inform them to do so. The ministry must have figures on this, they must understand this now and they should be doing something about it.

Ms Churley: I would say hallelujah, pregnant women rejoice. I know we're talking about road safety today, and I'll get to that, but it wasn't until I was having a baby and travelling across this province that I really noticed the lack of rest stops across the province. Every woman who has ever been pregnant --

Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): Not because you were tired.

Ms Churley: Not because we were tired, not because we were fatigued, but you know what happens.

I'm not sure if the resolution before us today -- it's not clear on that -- would also include washrooms. He makes a distinction between the rest stops that now exist where there are entertainment centres, restaurants, gas stations and all of that. Perhaps the member can clarify that -- I'm doing this for the sake of pregnant women across the province -- but I assume he's also talking about making sure there are in fact more actual washrooms on site.

I too find it strange that within Mr Tascona's resolution it says:

"That the ministry will be given up to six months to study and report back to the Legislature with recommendations respecting improved road safety on Ontario highways resulting from the design of a fatigue-fighting infrastructure plan for Ontario, which will address the following needs: a shorter distance between rest stops; more truck parking at rest stops; more restful rest stops; better signage of and access to current rest stops attached to service centres; public education designed to drive traffic to the new rest stops."

I appreciate, Mr Tascona, the background you have provided for us. I would assume -- I don't know if you had the opportunity to look into this -- that the Ministry of Transportation would have information and studies on this and that it shouldn't take up to six months to compile that information, to pull it together and come up with a plan. I'd be surprised if there isn't already some information.

Certainly, the material you provided is very good. I particularly like the driver fatigue background. There's some very good and very frightening information in that background, particularly when I read from the United Kingdom that driver fatigue causes up to 20% of accidents on monotonous roads, and a study of road accidents between 1987 and 1992 found that sleep-related accidents comprised 16% of all accidents and 23% of accidents on motorways.


I mention this in the context of an issue we recently became aware of. I find it interesting that this resolution is before us today in the context of this government having just signed a federal-provincial agreement last week that paves the way for an 84-hour week for truckers. This will reduce road safety, in my view, as cumulative fatigue will cause more drivers to fall asleep at the wheel.

Just so people understand the agreement that was signed, the new rules will allow truckers to work 70 hours over five days, rest for 36 and then start working again right away. They will be able to work 14 hours a day. The old rules allowed 60 hours of work per week or 70 hours in eight days. The US allows drivers to drive only 10 hours a day and 60 hours a week.

I'm concerned and wondering why -- and Mr Tascona may disagree with his government's having signed that. I understand the Ontario Trucking Association supports the new rules and they believe that's enough rest. Let me tell you why I think they support it.

Since deregulation of the trucking industry, truckers -- and we know all about this -- are having a very hard time being able to make a living. They're finding they have to drive more and more hours to be able to bring home enough money to support their families. That's a fact, and we have all kinds of evidence of that. Of course people are going to want to work as many hours as they can, which means the opportunity to make more money.

I think it is of real concern. It is to me when I'm on the highway. Of course we're not going to get into the issue of highway safety right now. There are all kinds of issues around that, certain stretches that we are well aware of where we need improvements in the road where there's a lot of truck traffic, for instance, between here and Windsor and Windsor and the border, those kinds of areas.

The fact that there are going to be more truck drivers out there driving for longer hours I find really disconcerting and frightening. I don't know if any of you have ever experienced this -- and I certainly don't want to just attack truckers today, because I know they're not by any stretch of the imagination the cause of most accidents, but we do know, and the evidence is in the information that Mr Tascona provided for us today, that driver fatigue causes accidents. The longer you're on the road driving without a chance to not only rest but get enough sleep can lead to accidents.

I experienced a very frightening thing once and perhaps it made me a little bit more aware of the driver who falls asleep at the wheel, because I was nearly killed some years ago.

Evelyn Gigantes, a former colleague, and I were driving back from Hamilton and she was driving my car. We were in the middle lane of three lanes on the 401 and I was on the passenger side. A truck started to veer -- I felt it -- right into our car. When I looked, it was continuing to veer and it was this close. I screamed at Evelyn -- there was no time to do anything else -- "Get over," and she did without looking. There was no time to look -- the only way to escape that. We were fortunate in that there was nobody in the other lane when she moved into it. We had no choice or we would have been wiped out. We watched that truck continue to veer. We beeped our horn like crazy and we noticed that -- it's a good thing -- shortly after, it left the highway. These are big vehicles and when something like that happens to you, it makes you more and more aware of the need for truckers to get enough rest and sleep.

I certainly want to leave a little bit of time for my colleague here. I support the resolution before us today and would suggest that the government, particularly in light of the information that was provided for us today, go back and take a second look at this agreement that was just signed. But I certainly do support the member's resolution today.

Mr Wayne Wettlaufer (Kitchener Centre): I'm pleased to rise today and speak in support of my colleague's resolution -- the member from Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford. It's a resolution which urges further study concerning the relationship between driver fatigue and road safety on Ontario's highways, byways and superhighways.

Highway 400 in particular has been a long concern of mine, especially north of Highway 11, and I have raised this issue with the bureaucracy in the Ministry of Transportation numerous times over the last three years. As parliamentary assistant in the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, I would like to address this issue from the perspective of the tourism industry.

Tourism is going to be the world's largest industry by the year 2020, and I firmly support this resolution because Ontario wants our share of that very lucrative market. It means jobs, jobs, jobs everywhere in Ontario. Many of the people in the north, where I have travelled extensively this summer, are very concerned about those jobs which will keep the children of the families living in the north.

Our visitors who drive to and in Ontario -- it's known in the trade as the rubber-tire market -- are an essential component of the province's tourism market; 91.6% of Ontario's visitors use our vast network of highways and roads throughout this huge province. That translates to more than 100 million visitors per year who are rolling along on our asphalt. That's a lot of traffic and, as we all know, driver fatigue can have a serious impact on our driving safety, and any negative impact on road safety has a negative impact on our tourism industry.

We in Ontario pride ourselves on highway safety and strive to make our roads visitor-friendly with safe conditions, large and legible road signs, our own TODS tourism attractions designations, as well as safe, secure and relaxing rest stops along our highways.

As someone who truly enjoys driving through this province, especially the very scenic north, and as someone who loves driving and discovering all parts of the province, I appreciate the creative rest areas that Ontario provides for its highway drivers. These are not simply restroom pit stops, but relaxing areas of rest and relaxation where drivers can stretch their legs or perhaps even take a quick nap. As we all know, the 15-minute power nap is sometimes as beneficial as a few hours' sleep. Many stops, even those located in scenic wilderness areas, feature barbecue pits, picnic tables and small variety stores. Some are located beside lakes and rivers, where motorists can take a refreshing swim or stretch out on a sandy beach. I've even visited certain Ontario rest stops that feature tiny shelters filled with pamphlets, flyers and brochures. This provides an excellent opportunity for operators to do some cost-effective marketing for the local tourism attractions, motels and restaurants.

An extensive study of these rest areas has implications for our ministry, the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation. The ministry operates 18 travel information centres, 17 of them located at major border crossings and along the province's 400-series highways. Year-round centres are located in Cornwall, Fort Erie, Fort Frances, Kenora, Niagara, St Catharines, Sarnia, Sault Ste Marie, Windsor, Toronto and Barrie. There are six additional seasonal centres in eastern and northern Ontario.


In 2000, these travel information centres serviced more than 2.5 million visitors. The centres serve as information outlets and rest stops for millions of people on the roads, both visitors to Ontario and residents who are exploring their own province.

The current examination to develop more of these rest and relaxation areas throughout the province should include an impact study of our existing travel information centres. We have already seen the tourism industry taking an interest in rest station areas. The OPP in Huntsville organized a pilot project, called Driver Reviver Station, encouraging tired drivers to take more breaks from the road. The community partners for this project included the Almaguin Highlands Information Centre, which served as the site for this initial project, the Travelodge/Thriftlodge hotels and the local Comfort Inn.

I believe the tourism industry in Ontario has a vested interest in this very important issue regarding public safety on our highways. For this reason I strongly support the resolution of the member from Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford to examine the creation of more rest and relaxation roadside areas throughout our vast province.

Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): I stand in support of the resolution by Mr Tascona, the member from Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford. Certainly, I want to zero my remarks in on Highway 69.

The highway is referred to as Death Road North because the statistics indicate that it's the most dangerous stretch of highway in all Ontario, that it has the highest number of deaths in all Ontario and yet this government does nothing about the four-laning of Highway 69 from Sudbury to Parry Sound. Absolutely nothing has been done.

The suggestions from the member are good, but for Highway 69 they're only interim suggestions. They will only help for a while. We need permanent solutions to Death Road North, and those permanent solutions include the four-laning of Highway 69 from Sudbury to Parry Sound. The government will pride itself on saying it spent roughly $409 million around Parry Sound, the four-laning aspects. We in Sudbury and northeastern Ontario see that as a good first step. We don't deny that there should be good roads across Ontario, but we insist that there be a safe road from Sudbury to Parry Sound. We insist that this government do the environmental assessments and begin the paving.

I challenge anyone on the government side to say they spent more than one cent on four-laning from Sudbury to Parry Sound. There hasn't been one penny spent on multi-laning that highway, in actual physical work.

We challenge the government. Listen to what Crash 69 is saying. Listen to what the municipalities across northeastern Ontario are saying. Listen to what the chambers of commerce across northeastern Ontario are saying. Listen to the labour groups across northeastern Ontario. Listen to the service clubs across northeastern Ontario. These groups come from Parry Sound, some from North Bay, from Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie and points north and northeast. We know it is an extremely important initiative that this government should be acting on quickly, and you have a golden opportunity because there is $2 billion worth of infrastructure money.

I challenge the members across the way, and in particular I challenge the member from Parry Sound-Muskoka, to write a letter to the Premier and say, "Highway 69 four-laning from Sudbury to Parry Sound should be the number one priority, because it will not only help Sudbury and those people who travel the highway, it will also help Parry Sound."

I challenge the member from North Bay to write a letter to the Premier and say, "Yes, that's my number one priority, because I know that just as we're four-laning Highway 11, it is equally important to four-lane Highway 69 from Sudbury to Parry Sound."

I applaud the initiative of the member from Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford. If passed and implemented, it will make a difference on the 400 series of highways. It is only a stop-gap measure for Highway 69. The real solution to Death Road North is to four-lane 69 from Sudbury to Parry Sound.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): I just had to run into the House to say a few words, after my good friend Mr Bartolucci, in regard to the four-laning of Highway 69. I think it's great that he, along with Shelley Martel and others in northern Ontario, is advocating to get that highway four-laned. But I'm here to beg just to get a road -- just one road. We don't have very many where I come from. Many of the communities I represent either go in by barge or by plane, or sometimes in the winter, when we're lucky enough to have a cold winter, they build a winter road.

While we're talking about four-laning highways like Highway 69 or putting 10 lanes on Highway 400, as we heard yesterday, I just want to advocate, for the Mushkegowuk Cree and other people who live on James Bay who don't have roads, that if you guys are talking about building roads in southern Ontario, it would be really nice if you would build even a single-lane road in some of the communities I represent. It would be really nice to have a road that went from Moosonee down to Highway 11, so that people could make that connection to the rest of the world and not have to go by rail or pay for an airplane ticket; to have a road to go to Fort Albany-Kashechewan, Ogoki, Atiwapiskat, up to Fort Severn or into Peawanuk, because those communities are landlocked. The only way you're able to get in is by plane. I'll tell you, most people in Atiwapiskat -- I would say about 80% or 90% -- never get out. Why? Because they can't afford to get out. They can't afford to buy the airline ticket to get out and to come to Timmins and do other things and make connections across this province and across this country.

So while we're talking about roads, on behalf of the Mushkegowuk Cree and the rest of the people who live on James Bay, could we have but one single-lane road? We'd be happy even if you didn't pave it and just built a couple of bridges so we could have an all-season road that goes all the way up the coast, so people can enjoy some of the things people down here seem to take for granted. If you're talking about building four and eight lanes, we'd like to have one.

Mr Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant): Kudos to my fellow member representing Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford for bringing what I consider a timely resolution forward to increase safety and convenience on our roads, both for those of us who drive automobiles and for professional truck drivers.

As we know, if passed, this resolution will give the Ministry of Transportation a six-month window to come back with recommendations focussing on shorter distances between rest stops, more truck parking, better signage and more public education.

We have seen the dangers of driver fatigue. In fact, I would submit that each and every one of us in this Legislature has at one time or another experienced tired eyes and slow reactions that can accompany a long drive. None of us is immune. The human body is simply not set up to take lengthy periods of sitting in the driver's seat staring at a constant flow of traffic or asphalt without experiencing some form of fatigue.

Statistics bear this out. As Mr Tascona has pointed out, in 1999 there were 1,744 collisions in Ontario that involved drivers suffering from fatigue. The Alberta Motor Association stated that 15% of all motorists have reported falling asleep behind the wheel.

While some areas of southern Ontario already have what might be considered adequate rest stop coverage, I can attest to the fact that many areas of this province are far from adequately served. As parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources, I spent many hours and many miles travelling up and down on what's referred to as the Great Lakes Heritage Coast, which stretches from Pigeon River on the Minnesota border, down and across the north shore of Lake Superior and the North Channel of Georgian Bay to the Severn River. I certainly am aware first-hand of the need for suitable rest stop facility locations. I appreciate that expression, "the long stretch of highway," a remote northern stretch of blacktop with no restroom. At times that is a long stretch of highway, and a stretch that can be less than amenable to luring the tourist traveller as well.


Our truck drivers are forced to deal with this every time they travel these long distances. In fact, government relations manager for the Ontario Trucking Association, Doug Switzer, indicated to my office that, with hundreds of miles between places where drivers can pull over, truckers are often forced to pull over on that very narrow shoulder, and clearly this practice creates a safety concern, not only for other drivers but for the trucker himself. Talking to truckers, the last thing they need to hear is that knock on their door in the middle of the night asking them to move on. Very clearly, the trucking association has indicated the value as a fatigue-fighter to have these areas to pull over and recharge the batteries.

A few weeks ago, I spent a Sunday afternoon at Ludwig transport down in my riding, south of Simcoe. One driver just got delivery of a beautiful, brand new, never-been-used Peterbilt tractor -- a $150,000 tractor, a Caterpillar diesel -- and this is his home. When I say this tractor-trailer is his home, he does not have a house, he does not have an apartment. He lives in his tractor-trailer. This is home and this is his profession.

Surely we can do a little better for many of these men and women -- a number of women drive for Ludwig transport. We can do better for other drivers who are on these highways. I think of other companies in my area, of Verspeeten, Smith Transport, McBurney, Slack and other fine companies, based not only in my riding but elsewhere.

For many of the fatigue factors that we hear about this morning, we really have little or no control; however, when it comes to driving Ontario's highways, this government does have control and, I would suggest, responsibility, to ensure that drivers, whether they're truckers or tourists, are given the opportunity to recharge their batteries somewhere off the beaten track.

MPP Tascona has done his homework on this, and I encourage members of this Legislature: let's help improve road safety for all of Ontario and support what I consider a fairly significant resolution.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr George Smitherman (Toronto Centre-Rosedale): It's my pleasure to have an opportunity to speak in this debate and to say at the outset that I'll be supporting this resolution today.

I was anxious to speak about it because I'm the son of a trucker. Adorning the walls in my office are pictures of my dad's trucking fleet -- it was called Smitty's Haulage then -- pictures taken in 1962 or 1963, just a year or so before I was born. My dad had by then adopted this tradition that always carried forward, which is that the trucks had to be lined up bumper to bumper. In later years, my career as a truck washer took hold. My job, by the end of Saturday, would be to make sure that 60 or 80 gleaming Macks and Freightliners and at least one International Harvester were properly lined up.

So truckers and cab drivers are my heroes, because they're the people who are required to assist us in transporting either us or materials. I remember that old slogan of the Ontario Trucking Association: "If you've got it, a truck brought it." It remains, I think, pretty true today.

I know those folks, and I talk to a lot of them. They work a lot of hours. One of the experiences that I had as a kid was the accident scene run with my dad. When you have a company of 100 power units and you're running hundreds of thousands of kilometres a year, accidents are an unfortunate part of the business. I attended accidents at the bottom of the Burlington Bay Skyway, at the corner of Highway 27 and Belfield. I remember one run that we made up to a rock cut near MacTier, where one of my dad's drivers, hauling 85,000 pounds of steel from Algoma Steel in Sault Ste Marie where my dad's company was the house carrier, had fallen asleep, and he went into the ditch. His truck ended up smeared against a rather unforgiving piece of the Canadian Shield. With his luck, he was thrown from the wreck. We went to visit him later in the Parry Sound hospital and counted our blessings he had lived that accident out.

One of the opportunities I cherish the most was the time I spent as executive assistant to a guy named Hugh O'Neil, who served this House with distinction for 20 years, including as tourism minister. The Speaker will know that during the days of the Peterson government, a very significant expansion of tourist information centres, many of which included truck parking, occurred. I think one of those might have been built somewhere near a bridge on the island that the Speaker calls home. I know there was one built in Wawa that I had the honour of attending the opening of, along with David Peterson, who was then the Premier.

As I travel around northern Ontario I see many of these centres. I think it speaks not only to an economic commitment that we make to the tourism industry, but also to a very practical recognition that in a country as vast as ours we need to make a commitment to allowing people an opportunity to pull over to the side and catch a few winks.

I live downtown and have the opportunity to use public transit, taxis, to walk, from time to time I even rollerblade. I also drive a car, rather too much sometimes, I think. My car was purchased right around the time of the election, in April 1999. My kilometres wouldn't begin to match those of my colleagues from places like St Thomas, Chatham and the Niagara Peninsula, but I've managed to rack up about 118,000 kilometres, so I get to travel these roads the same as other people. From that standpoint I think we all recognize that an expansion of opportunities for people to pull over to the side and rest a little or to let the kids wind down and calm down a little bit are important things.

Last Saturday I spent the day in Ottawa, at Meach Lake in fact. I was driving back to Toronto. I hit Kingston and found my 30 minutes of rest in a McDonald's parking lot. Now, I'm attracted to McDonald's -- that may be more obvious than I wish it were -- but I'm one of those who within the last week would have benefited practically from a better array of options had this resolution taken hold in the hearts and minds of those people who spend money over there and do planning within the Ministry of Transportation.

Count me as a strong supporter of this, and count me as one of those who has a pretty strong appreciation for the work truckers do in our society.

Mr Kormos: New Democrats support this resolution. Ms Churley and Gilles Bisson spoke to it and I'm pleased to speak to it as well. It just makes sense. Quite frankly, I encourage the author of the resolution, because it's obvious that it's going to pass today, to ensure it receives the attention it deserves from this government's Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Tourism.

We North Americans use highways. We drive far greater distances than people in Europe, for instance, do. We don't utilize public transit as often as we should, be it bus or train travel within the province or across the country. That again is a reflection of the diminished investment in that type of public transportation.

As a frequent, and for so many years now, commuter from Niagara to Toronto, I've got to tell you that you're up at 5:30 or 6 and you have two or three cups of coffee while you're reading the paper. You hit the QEW and you might stop at the Swiss Chalet-Harvey's at Casablanca Road, and I recommend it to you -- I'm a fan of Swiss Chalet -- but if you do, you pick up another coffee, and I tell you that by the time you hit Duck's dip over at the beginning of the Gardiner -- the dip has been levelled out a little bit, but back when the dip was dramatic, by God you needed a rest stop.


You would have given your left arm, you would have cashed in the RRSPs for a rest stop. You're biting the back of your hand, not because you're tired but that last dip at Duck's dip drained every last bit of resistance out of you. Surely, nobody can refute the safety issues around driver fatigue, but surely the need for a restroom can be as distracting as the need for a rest; I don't think there's anybody here who could dispute that.

There are great opportunities here. One, from the tourism perspective, is to make our highways the envy of North America in terms of their attractiveness to other Canadians and to Americans.

I've got to tell you, a few years ago I had the privilege in Italy to drive down the autostrada. Now, they've got rest stops. They've got rest stops with espresso bars and wonderful arrays of food and cured meats. They have not succumbed to the fast-food chain syndrome. Webers, for instance, is one of the few remaining on your way up north where you aren't confronted by the same old, same old.

I encourage the government, in establishing these rest stops, to look at entrepreneurs other than solely the traditional fast-food restaurants as sponsors or -- dare I say it? -- yes, even partners.

Rest stops, we support. I'll take a look very quickly at some imperative elements of them: accessibility. I tell you that a rest stop should contain restroom facilities because that's an inherent part of the utilization of them. But they should be accessible, and that means wheelchair-accessible, accessible to persons with any number of disabilities, but also accessible in terms of being even senior-friendly.

Second, we have to have rest stops that identify themselves as having security. Far too many travellers may find themselves reluctant to pull over, especially in the dark of the night, at a so-called rest stop unless it's identifiable as one that has live, on-site security. I think that would be an incredibly effective enhancement.

The trucking industry and truckers have been addressed, and very legitimately so. But the rest stop has to be supportive of not only truckers but also the domestic traveller, the person in their car either alone or with their kids or other passengers in their vehicle.

So I encourage the member to pursue this. I encourage him to ensure that issues of accessibility, security and the amenability of the rest stop to not only commercial truck traffic but also to domestic and motor vehicle traffic be an imperative part of each and every one of these new rest stops. I also encourage the government to be creative in ensuring that we have rest stops that are above and beyond the same old, same old.

Mr Norm Miller (Parry Sound-Muskoka): It's my pleasure to join the discussion today and to support the resolution brought forward by my colleague Joe Tascona from Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford.

As many of you know, I have the beautiful riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka. Every weekend, thousands of people head up Highways 11 and 69, usually after a long week of working or having just flown into Pearson from an international flight, so many of them are driving in a fatigued state.

The statistics show that in 1999, of the 401,572 collisions reported, as many as 1,744 involved drivers who were suffering from some form of fatigue.

There are rest stops on Highways 11 and 69, but I think especially in the north, and as the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, we have huge geographic areas to cover and, in many cases, many hours between rest stops.

I was looking through the northern clippings and I see in the October 1 Kenora Daily Miner and News that this topic to do with Highway 17 has come up. I'll just read from that: "Improving safety on a stretch of the Trans-Canada once dubbed The Death Strip isn't a matter of adding more lanes, but a case of keeping drivers awake.

"Kenora councillor Don McDougald made that comment last week during a finance and administration committee meeting" about "a resolution to twin Highway 17 between Kenora and Vermilion Bay."

He goes on to say, "`Personally, I think they have done a marvellous job with what they have done with the highway both east and west (of Kenora) ... Maybe we could add a few passing lanes, but I don't think there is anything wrong with the highway.'

"He said the single factor that would reduce the number of crashes on the strip is by building properly designed rest areas where tractor-trailer drivers can easily stop, grab a cup of coffee and stretch their legs.

"`If you look at the Trans-Canada Highway through this area, the nearest [rest stop] is at Headingly and if you go east, it's Thunder Bay'" -- to the west -- "and that's an 11-hour stretch. ...

"`We need places with decent access on and off. Sure there are places you can get off, but it's strictly on one side of the highway or the other.' ... "

The Miner goes on to say, "Mayor Dave Canfield agreed, noting that in the four August crashes (in which nine people were killed), each was the result of either drivers falling asleep or in which alcohol was a factor."

The member from Sudbury was talking about Highway 69 and work going on in highways north. I'd just like to point out that in the riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka there are hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on both Highway 11 and Highway 69. We're setting record amounts of money being spent on highways in the north, far more than was done by past governments represented by the member from Sudbury.

I'd like to point out that we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on improving the highways in the north. I think it's very important that we've been doing that.

I had the opportunity to comment on the new visitors' centre being created as part of the Great Lakes heritage coast at French River. My one suggestion is that the rest stop be made so that it can adequately handle large trucks whose drivers need an opportunity to rest. Statistics show that having a short 15-minute break, especially before you become tired, can make a big difference in terms of safety on highways.

I'd like to draw attention to a program that was developed in my riding this past summer by Constable Harry Rawluk of the Huntsville OPP detachment. He's developed a program called Driver Reviver. They have a station just north of Huntsville on Highway 11 which saw a steady increase in drivers that ran over the July 1 long weekend and weekends from then on. Harry Rawluk, when I was speaking to him, said that this is something that needs awareness raised on this issue of driver fatigue.

I believe this resolution today is doing just that, raising awareness of the fact that we all need to watch that we don't become too tired while driving.

The Acting Speaker: Response.

Mr Tascona: I'm very pleased to respond to the many colleagues who have spoken in support of this resolution: the members from Chatham-Kent-Essex, Toronto-Danforth, Kitchener Centre, Sudbury, Timmins-James Bay, Haldimand-Brant-Norfolk, Parry Sound-Muskoka, Niagara Centre and Toronto Centre-Rosedale. I thank them for their support.

The general theme is that MTO should act on this. The intent of the resolution when in fact putting together rest stops along highways is to ensure they maximize the safety and security of those who using them. I would envision in the spirit of this resolution seeing a phone installation for emergency calls, picnic tables, washroom facilities, adequate lighting and certainly proper maintenance of this particular area for usage by the general public.

The member from Kitchener Centre indicated the impact this also has on tourism, and I quote his statement that "any negative impact on road safety has a negative impact on our tourism industry." It also negatively impacts the general feeling of the public using those roads every day. People who are in situations with young children or in situations with medical problems have to be sure they can trust not only the roads but the people who are using them.

Driver fatigue is a very serious problem. I thank members for what I would hope is all-party support for this resolution.

The Acting Speaker: This completes the time allocated for debate on this matter.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): I will now place the question on ballot item number 57.

Madame Boyer has moved private member's notice of motion number 14. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): Mr Tascona has moved private member's notice of motion number 13. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

All matters before the House this morning being now complete, this House stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock this afternoon.

The House recessed from 1200 to 1330.


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: There's a lady from Sudbury who has taught her family and friends the importance of honesty, fortitude, compassion and knowledge; a person who has a heart and house that is open to everyone at any time, be it friends, family or strangers; a person who believes that the three greatest gifts are faith, hope and love; a person who has played the organ at her church for the last 63 years. That person's name is Mary Bartolucci. She's celebrating her 85th birthday tomorrow and I just want to wish her a happy birthday and say, Mom, I love you.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): I want to pass my best wishes on to your mom as well, and I also want to thank her for the lovely correspondence she gave me this week. It was very appropriate. Tell her I do pull it out once in a while and it's very appropriate. Thank you to her very much.



Mr Michael Gravelle (Thunder Bay-Superior North): For some time now, many of my constituents have been frustrated and bewildered by the restrictive guidelines and bureaucratic nature of the northern health travel grant program. The stress this causes is nothing short of cruel at times, and each new example I bring forward only adds to the need for a thorough review of this vital assistance program for northerners.

Today I must draw to the Minister of Health's attention a situation that cries out for his immediate attention. A constituent of mine has a 14-year-old daughter who suffers from a variety of mental health problems, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, extreme clinical depression, Tourette's syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder. She has been hospitalized three times in the past six months and is suicidal.

Despite all this, there is hope and there is help. Two psychiatrists who have been treating her in both Thunder Bay and Toronto have referred her to a world-renowned psychologist in Toronto. Dr Sandra Mendlowitz is a national expert in the area of cognitive behaviour therapy and she has entered my young constituent in a specialized treatment program that requires 12 trips to Toronto. The problem is that the northern health travel grant program does not fund referrals to psychologists, even world-renowned specialists like Dr Mendlowitz.

This is a life-or-death situation for my constituent and her family. Their struggles have been enormous, but Dr Mendlowitz has become a light at the end of the tunnel. I implore you, Minister, to act quickly to approve travel grant funding for this family in such desperate need. A young girl's life hangs in the balance, and it would be an overwhelming tragedy if bureaucratic red tape and outdated restrictions prevented my constituent from receiving the help she so desperately needs.


Mrs Julia Munro (York North): It was supposed to take 10 years. They did it in 10 months. The Meeting Place is a seniors' centre on Davis Drive, next to the train station in Newmarket. The centre was given a considerable loan last year to do a major renovation of the six-year-old facility. The Trillium Foundation gave the centre a grant of $75,000. The town of Newmarket gave a grant of $300,000. The 1,400 members of the centre committed to raising $100,000 for the renovation plus another $50,000 to furnish the renovated space. Through a variety of fundraising events and corporate sponsorships, the money was raised in 10 months.

The newly renovated space boasts a variety of new meeting spaces, computer rooms and is the headquarters of the Cyberseniors' Computer Club. Prior to 1995, senior activities in groups were scattered throughout the town in a number of public and private buildings. The Meeting Place was opened in January 1995 to offer all seniors' services and programs in one centrally located centre.

Congratulations to the fundraising committee members, Betty Mikucki, Peter Boyles, Jack Brown, Harry Hakim, Marianne Leggate, Peggy Martin, Pauline McLean, Joan Pelham and Jim Wilson, and to all of the meeting place members for achieving a spectacular fundraising success in such a short time.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Sometimes the headline says it all. The headline in today's St Catharines Standard says, "Ambulance Dispatch a Mess. Paramedics: `How many more people have to get seriously hurt or perish?'" We see this on the front pages of our newspapers; we see editorials. I have raised so many times in this House the issue of the dire circumstances facing ambulance dispatch in Niagara region.

The time for delay, dithering and procrastination by the Ontario Ministry of Health in dealing with this chaotic crisis confronting Niagara's ambulance dispatch system is over, and immediate action by the Conservative government of Ernie Eves is needed before further deaths occur.

For several months now, I've been calling upon the Ontario Ministry of Health to deal with an ambulance dispatch service that is in critical condition, with ambulances being improperly dispatched by an office located in Hamilton, which must direct ambulances for Hamilton, Brantford, Haldimand-Norfolk, Brant, the Six Nations Reserve and Niagara.

The report of an independent auditor, which was kept secret for months, pointed to inadequate training, low pay, antiquated equipment and frequent turnover of staff, yet little has been done to solve the crisis.

I urge the Eves government to turn over responsibility for ambulance dispatch to the regional municipality of Niagara and to provide the funding to ensure that the service operates efficiently in the best interests of Niagara residents.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): Last spring, I brought legislation before this House to increase the Ontario disability support program pension. My private member's bill did not ask for the sun, the moon and the stars. All it asked for was a simple annual cost-of-living adjustment so that thousands of people who live with a disability in this province could stop falling deeper into poverty.

Since 1993, when the NDP last increased benefits to people who must rely on a disability pension, the cost of living has increased by 12.8%. The $920 a month that a single person living on ODSP receives is now worth only $802. This means that people on ODSP have $118 a month less to live on. What kind of government forces people living with a disability to live in poverty?

The people of Ontario do not want their government giving huge bonuses and buyout packages to government-appointed board members on the backs of people with disabilities. Even three of this Conservative government's own backbenchers understand that forcing people with disabilities to live in poverty is wrong.

Last spring, when Minister Elliott realized she could no longer ignore the public pressure to do what is right and increase ODSP benefits, she tried to duck out of it. She said, "I've asked my staff to review the plan and we will look into it." Well, here we are today and nothing has happened.


Mr Joseph N. Tascona (Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford): I was pleased to attend Grove Park Home's annual volunteer appreciation tea. This annual event recognizes the hard work of volunteers who dedicate their time to making the tea cart, tuck shop and palliative care programs work.

I would like to recognize the following individuals who have made a tremendous effort in leading and organizing the many volunteer programs through Grove Park Home: Helen Switzer, the St Mary's Catholic tuck shop conveyor; Jean Hutchinson, the Central United Church tea cart conveyor; Joan Pearson, the Emmanual Baptist Church tea cart conveyor; Joyce Ackerman, the Emmanual Baptist Church tea cart conveyor; Ethel Byles, the Grace United Church tea cart conveyor; Helen Hicks, the North Side Bible Chapel tea cart conveyor; Debbie DeWolfe-Vokey, the palliative care volunteer coordinator; and Betty Latimer, the May Court conveyor.

Grove Park Home is one of the outstanding care facilities within the city of Barrie in my riding. It's also benefiting from the government's long-term-care investment program with respect to putting new long-term-care beds in their facility.

I just want to say that the investments our province has made not only to Grove Park Home but throughout the riding have been very well received.


Mrs Leona Dombrowsky (Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington): This government clearly has a double standard when it comes to spending taxpayers' money. They got tough with people on welfare. If someone on welfare does not report additional income, whether it is money from OSAP, child support or a paper route, they're charged with fraud. When convicted of such a crime, even if it was an inadvertent oversight, this government hands these individuals a ban for life from ever receiving social assistance again. They broke the rules; they pay the price.

This is also the government that cancelled the $32-a-month nutrition allowance for pregnant women on welfare because Mike Harris said they would just spend it on beer. However, when Chris Stockwell, John Baird and Cam Jackson break the rules and they spend taxpayers' money on beer, it appears they are offered the opportunity to pay back whatever they think is fair. They break the rules; they pay back what they want.

The double standard is clear, and it is wrong. I know members on the government bench do not like to hear such things in this chamber. However, I just remind everyone on that side of the House that it was your idea to establish snitch lines.



Mr AL McDonald (Nipissing): The Davedi Club of North Bay is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The Davedi Club was formed in 1952 when a small group of Italians became concerned about the preservation of their Italian culture. While forming the club, they kept in mind a goal: taking an interest in community affairs, especially education, music and sports.

With that in mind, the club's name was decided. Davedi is derived from the first two letters of significant Italians: DA after the poet and educator, Dante; VE after Verdi for music; and DI after DiMaggio for sports.

Len Grassi and Bert Pesano, two of the original founders, are still active members in the club. There are 260 members, with the ladies' auxiliary playing a very integral part of the organization. Past president and treasurer Hub Fedeli boasts that the ladies have the bragging rights of serving the best spaghetti and meatballs.

The Davedi Club plans to complete an Italian library. It reaches out into the community, partnering with organizations that regularly use the facilities, like Heart and Stroke, the arthritis and cancer societies, and many more. It houses a Montessori school for children, to whom the club has donated $1,000 for playground equipment. In 1952 people didn't know much about soccer so Joe Tripodi and a group of other Italian friends started practising, and soon the Azzuras was formed. Today the club plays a big role in promoting the sport of soccer.

The Davedi Club also promotes itself as a centre for the entire community and is moving forward with renewed commitment to its members and the community of North Bay. On behalf of everyone is Nipissing, I want to congratulate the Davedi Club for serving so well.


Mr Tony Ruprecht (Davenport): Today Korean nationals and Korean Canadians are celebrating a very special day, Korea's National Foundation Day. With us today in the gallery are a number of very distinguished guests: the Consul General of the Republic of Korea, Mr Sook Kim; the president of the Korean Canadian Association, Mr Choon Soo Lee; the former Korean ambassador to Canada, Mr Pil Sik Chin; the president of the Korea Times Daily, Mr Myung Kyu Kim; the president of the Korea Central Daily, Mr Hyo Kim; the president of the Korean Canadian Heritage Award, Mr Chang Hun Chung; the president of the ALL TV, Mr Chang Sung Lee; the former president of the Korean Canadian Association, Mr Sung Taek Han; board director, Korean Canadian Association, Mr Ki Hoon Lee; Deputy Consul General of the Republic of Korea, Mr Ji Eun Yu; and Mr Andrew Chung.

Unlike Canadians who experienced a fairly easy progression toward independence, Koreans had a tremendous experience in terms of pain and suffering to become independent. To celebrate this day, hundreds of thousands have died. In their own country, they couldn't even speak their own language, but in the hour of their greatest need, in the war for independence, in the war to be independent from their neighbouring countries, Canada was shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, weapons in hand to defend the right of Koreans today to be independent and have a democratic country. That's Canada; that's their friend.

We are also mindful today of the very special contribution that Canadians of Korean heritage have made. As you know, there are 98,000 and more in Ontario alone. In every corner their contribution is being felt -- in the arts, in culture, in the economy. But today we want to say to the representatives of the government of Korea simply this: we will be there when you need us. We will be there when you keep on fighting. We will ensure that you will be able to structure your own future and determine your own destiny. We will be there for you.


Mr Raminder Gill (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: It gives me great pleasure to welcome in the members' gallery my good friend Jim Muldoon Sr, president of Carefree Coffee. Jim and his daughter Carol are also in my riding association and are great constituents. He is the owner of a flourishing small business and, as you know, small businesses are the engine of Ontario's economy.


Mr Bob Wood (London West): I rise today to tell the House about a highly successful event held in London last weekend to kick off October as Autism Awareness Month. It was a bike ride and walk in which 60 families participated and over $9,000 was raised. To the surprise of his wife, who sponsored him, the MPP for London West successfully completed the eight-kilometre bike ride.

Autism and related pervasive development disorders, also known as PDD, are found throughout the world in families of all racial, ethnic, social and economic backgrounds. Since there is no physical test for autism/PDD, diagnosis is made by an experienced medical or psychological practitioner and is based on observation of behavioural characteristics. Children with autism/PDD are generally affected in a number of the following areas: communication, social interaction, sensory impairment and play.

The aims and objectives of the Autism Society Ontario are as follows: to advocate on behalf of all people with autism/PDD and their families; to promote public and professional awareness and understanding; to provide information, referral and resource material; to monitor and encourage appropriate government legislation; to act as liaison between parents, service providers and government; to promote diagnostic, education and treatment programs; and to promote research into the causes and treatment of autism. The Autism Society's mission statement is to work together to improve the quality of life for persons with autism and pervasive development disorders and their families, and to ensure that those with these disorders live with dignity within their own communities.

I know all members will join with me in acknowledging the good work done by the Autism Society Ontario, and in particular the London and district chapter.


Mr Tony Ruprecht (Davenport): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I have another happy announcement to make. Mr Raghu Krishnan, who works for Hansard, actually just got married, and he has with him a number of guests who come from Mexico. They are José Luis González Aguillón, his brother-in-law; Gilberto Conde Zambada from Mexico City; Adrian Thomas from Luxembourg; and Verónica González Aguillón, his wife. Congratulations, and the very best to you. Buena suerte para los casados.


Mrs Julia Munro (York North): Mr Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to introduce a private member's bill on behalf of the member for Scarborough East, Mr Gilchrist.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is there unanimous consent? Agreed.


Mrs Munro, on behalf of Mr Gilchrist, moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 184, An Act to proclaim Rouge Park Week / Projet de loi 184, Loi proclamant la Semaine du parc de la Rouge.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

The member for a short statement?

Mrs Munro: This bill will proclaim Rouge Park Week. It is the week from September 30 to October 6. In each year after 2002, it is the week beginning with the first Monday in October.



Mr Arnott moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 185, An Act to amend the Representation Act, 1996 / Projet de loi 185, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1996 sur la représentation électorale.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

The member for a short statement?

Mr Ted Arnott (Waterloo-Wellington): As all members are aware, at present the names of the provincial electoral districts, or ridings, are identical to those of the federal electoral districts. This bill proposes an exception to that rule in the case of my constituency of Waterloo-Wellington.

If passed, the name of the electoral district of Waterloo-Wellington would be changed to Waterloo-Wellington-Kitchener.



Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Deputy Premier, Minister of Education): I am pleased to advise the House that Saturday, October 5 is World Teachers' Day, which is designated each year by UNESCO.

World Teachers' Day offers us the opportunity to reflect on the importance of teaching and to pay tribute to the contribution that committed and dedicated teachers make to our future. World Teachers' Day reminds us of the vital role that teachers play in motivating, inspiring and challenging young minds. It also reminds us that so many of society's greatest accomplishments occur because a teacher made a difference in the life of a student.

We ask a lot of our teachers -- in fact, more than ever before. We ask teachers to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need for success in today's competitive global economy. We ask teachers to help our children develop the self-esteem and confidence they need to live productive and fulfilling lives as active and responsible citizens. We ask teachers to inspire in our young people a love of learning that will last a lifetime because, in today's changing world, the need for education never ends. We ask teachers to be educational leaders: to work closely with colleagues, parents, other professionals and members of the community to improve student learning.

Teachers need the active encouragement of the societies and communities they serve. That is why our government continues to take steps to support teachers and to ensure that both teachers and students have the resources they need for success. There are many things that go into a child's education. Offering children a challenging curriculum is an important part. Our government introduced a new standard curriculum that is allowing more students to succeed than ever before. High school literacy test scores are up under the new curriculum, as is Ontario's ranking in international test scores.

New resources are also important to ensuring a quality education. Again, our government has delivered. Premier Eves' first priority on taking office last April was the investment of an additional $65 million for textbooks and learning resources for our students. That announcement was quickly followed by an additional $25 million to expand the early reading program and to introduce a new early math program across the province.

School safety is yet another important part of a quality education and, once again, our government has responded decisively. We started with the Safe Schools Act and the Ontario schools code of conduct, and this spring we followed with the Student Protection Act.

But the single most important part of a quality education is the classroom experience itself. Stability in the classroom means qualified, dedicated and caring teachers who have the tools they need to help their students achieve their full potential.

This morning, I had the pleasure of visiting St Anthony's Catholic Elementary School in Toronto, and it was here that I announced our government's commitment of $21 million on a series of wide-ranging initiatives to assist teachers in the classroom.

I also want to pay tribute at this time for the gift I received from the grade 1 students at St Anthony's, Miss McDonald's class. They had gone for a nature walk, and they had found two chestnuts. They made a decision that they would keep one, and I feel very honoured that they chose to present me with this gift of a chestnut, which I can tell you I will certainly cherish. But I think it's another indication of hard-working teachers working with enthusiastic students and learning about what happens in the fall.

This morning we committed $5 million to ensure that a sufficient number of low-cost, easily accessible courses are available to teachers, principals and other administrators across the province. These funds will assist school boards in creating some 400 permanent courses for teachers as well as augmenting professional training for principals, vice-principals, supervisory officers and directors of education. Regardless of where they work in Ontario, teachers and education professionals will have access to these courses through distance learning.

We also provided $5 million in funding to support teachers at 14 more schools to improve students' reading skills. This is part of Ontario's schools that need extra help program, which is linked with our early reading strategy. It will bring to 29 the total number of turnaround schools that are being provided with extra help, schools located in such places as Moosonee, Fort Erie, Toronto and Kitchener.

Excellent teachers are critical to students' success. We want to support them by helping them with more effective early reading strategies and by providing the resources they need to help boost student success.

On another issue, in announcing this year's World Teachers' Day, UNESCO noted that many countries around the world are facing teacher shortages. In Ontario, our government has been working closely with our education partners, including the Ontario College of Teachers, the Ontario Teachers' Federation and the Ontario Association of Deans of Education, to address the challenge of this shortage and to renew the profession.

Since 1999, the government has been implementing a five-year, $45-million plan to create more spaces at Ontario's faculties of education. The government is now funding 6,500 spaces. That's up 30% from 1998-99. Applications to the faculties of education in 2002 are up more than 21% over 2001, and the number of people accepting offers of admission to the consecutive teacher education program has increased by more than 2.8% this fall.

To further support effective teacher recruitment, I am pleased to announce an additional $1 million in efforts to attract the best people to the profession, especially in fields such as math, science, technology and French.

Ontario parents have consistently told us they want to be assured that teachers are up to date in their knowledge and skills. For that reason, the government has taken a number of important steps to support teacher training and excellence. Each of these initiatives is designed to acknowledge teachers as professionals, to support them throughout their teaching careers and to help them improve student learning. As promised in our budget, we will be providing an additional $10 million to assist school boards in developing professional learning resources to support and train our teachers.

We want to consult further with teachers and other education stakeholders in the coming months to make sure this funding will best serve our students and teachers. As a teacher, I know that they share the privilege and challenge of shaping the next generation of our citizens. Certainly the impact of teachers is a benefit to students throughout their lifetime. So we need to continue to provide support for teaching excellence in order to ensure that this province has the most successful students, taught by the most qualified teachers, in the country.

As World Teachers' Day approaches, I know that all of us in this House will want to join with me in thanking Ontario's teachers for their dedication and hard work and for the contribution they make to helping our students achieve their full potential.

Finally, in addition to this statement and to further recognize the commitment and dedication of Ontario's hard-working teachers, I am pleased to announce that a proclamation is presently before the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario for his signature to proclaim October 5 as World Teachers' Day in Ontario.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Responses?

Mrs Leona Dombrowsky (Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington): It is indeed an honour for me to recognize World Teachers' Day on behalf of the Ontario Liberal Party and my leader, Dalton McGuinty.

The Speaker: Sorry. Apparently there was another statement. The minister didn't come up. I would look for unanimous consent to revert back. Agreed.

The minister, and then we'll start the time over again with the other member.


Hon Dianne Cunningham (Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, minister responsible for women's issues): Thank you, Mr Speaker. That was my problem. I didn't think of asking for consent.

This is a very special occasion this month in October. Today I rise in the House to recognize October as Women's History Month in Canada.

This government has introduced a number of programs designed to provide new opportunities for women. Women in skilled trades is one that I will highlight at this time. It trains women to become apprentices in highly paid, skilled occupations in which they are traditionally under-represented. It's very difficult. It's a different world for women in the skilled trades. These are our pioneers and they will become our mentors. As more women gain a foothold in the skilled trades, they also lead the way for other women. I want to celebrate their great success and compliment their courage. They are our mentors and role models, and we are very pleased to recognize them especially during Women's History Month.

For more than 10 years, Canada has dedicated the month of October to honour and highlight the vital role of women in our history. Women's History Month is an excellent opportunity to recognize and celebrate women's many achievements. It's a time to reflect on how the world and society has changed for women. It is an opportunity to instill a sense of pride for all of us in our historical background.

I'm sure you especially relate to this year's theme, Mr Speaker, "Women and Sports -- Champions Forever!", not just through your own history in sport but also that of your daughter. It's an opportunity to pay tribute to all of these young women, whether they're in kindergarten, elementary school, secondary school or on through our college and university training and our working environments. They are so committed to sport forever that we will pay tribute to all of Ontario's female athletes, but especially to our sports professionals and our heroes.

Women have made a significant contribution to sports in Ontario. We can thank them for some truly stunning moments in sports history. I am thinking of women like Barbara Ann Scott of Ottawa, who thrilled all Canadians when she won Olympic gold for figure skating in 1948. There are some of us who actually remember who Barbara Ann Scott is. She's still very involved in our community.

And 16-year-old Marilyn Bell of Toronto. For those of us who grew up in this great city that was a very special evening. She kept most of us awake throughout the night as she finally landed on the shore of Lake Ontario in 1954 and created quite a sensation as the first person to swim across Lake Ontario.

This is actually fun for the men. It is Women's History Month, and look what these women have done to make men have more fun. You know who I'm talking to.

And Bobbie Rosenfeld --

Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): Oh, oh.

Hon Mrs Cunningham: I wake up my colleague -- outstanding Woman Athlete of the Half Century.

This is about sport, Rosario, and culture, women in sport.

In more recent years, many other women have joined them in outstanding sport achievements. More recently, women like Marnie McBean, winner of three Olympic gold medals, and two-time Olympic champion Catriona LeMay Doan. Have we ever had wonderful times during these wonderful contests with women in sport.

Remember how we shared in rower Silken Laumann's triumph at the 1996 Olympics, and cheered for gold-medal skier Nancy Greene and all-star peewee hockey player and track and field champion Abby Hoffman?

It would be remiss if I didn't remember the members of the Canadian women's hockey team, who showed the men how to do it by defeating the USA to win the gold medal in the Olympic Winter Games. Many of these formidable players are Ontario-born and bred. They put our guys under very serious pressure and they won. We're great role models.

Women in Ontario have been pursuing their vision of sport for many years, and Ontario is very proud of our many fine female athletes. This month affords us a chance to recognize their achievements and honour their remarkable record, and recognize their teachers and their coaches, whether they be in the classrooms and in our schools or whether they be volunteers and parents and relatives and neighbours. It's all part of recognizing our communities that come together and provide such terrific role models for women in our great country.

My colleagues, I invite you to share the message of Women's History Month with your own communities, in whichever way you feel would be most appropriate. I encourage you to get involved and celebrate the contributions made by female athletes and sports organizers in your own communities, women who provide important role models for other women and girls. Let us always celebrate our local heroes.

Mister Speaker, and all my colleagues, please join me in applauding the commitment and dedication of Ontario's women in sports.


Mrs Leona Dombrowsky (Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington): It is a privilege for me to stand in the Legislature on behalf of my leader, Dalton McGuinty, and our education critic, Gerard Kennedy, and recognize World Teachers' Day. I think we are all aware that for our children and youth, outside of their families, teachers are probably the most significant individuals in their lives.

In my former role as a school board trustee and chair of the board, I had the very great pleasure of getting to know many teachers in our system. As a mother of four children, I again had other experiences getting to know teachers, and I have to say that I have always been so impressed with the dedication, with the commitment, with the love that these professionals have for the children and the youth that come to them every day, in a variety of shapes and sizes, with a variety of abilities. These men and women in schools, who look after and teach our young people, are truly committed, and we are blessed to have them.

I would say, however, there are some statements that have been made by the minister today that confound me, that perplex me somewhat, because there are some disturbing facts, and some facts that actually I pulled down from the Ministry of Education Web site. For example, one is that, compared to 1995, when the government took office, there are 80,000 more students but 3,000 fewer teachers today; 80,000 more students and yet 3,000 fewer teachers. That has an impact on the workload and what our teachers are able to do for the students who come to them.

Another very disturbing fact: in the year 2000, over 4,400 teachers left teaching in Ontario for reasons other than retirement. That's four times more than in previous years. In the year 2000, 622 young teachers graduating from Ontario schools left to teach in other jurisdictions.

Dalton McGuinty certainly recognizes the value of our teachers. He wants to support them. We have a plan to make sure they stay in our schools, because they truly are integral to quality education in the province. We salute the teachers of Ontario today.



Mrs Marie Bountrogianni (Hamilton Mountain): Congratulations to my colleague Leona Dombrowsky for her words. I'm also pleased to rise in this House today and respond to the minister's statement on "Women and Sports -- Champions Forever!" We certainly do have many wonderful athletes, male and female, that we can be proud of in Ontario.

I'd like to pay tribute to a local athlete, a Hamilton hero, Cecilia Carter Smith. She's a former international track star, retired teacher, freelance sports columnist and community activist. She has been appropriately described as nothing short of a force of nature. She's involved in every local project. Her current passions are the World Cycling Championships coming to Hamilton next October, as well as bringing the 2010 Commonwealth Games back to Hamilton for their 80th anniversary. She's involved in this year's National Conference on Women, Sport and Physical Activity, which will be in Hamilton this November. On behalf of the Liberal caucus, I salute Cecilia and her tireless efforts.

The theme of women and sports also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the importance of sports in the lives of all of us, but particularly in young people's lives. A survey commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport has found that while 92% of Canadians believe that community-level sport can be a positive influence on youth, one in five believes that not enough is being done. Local sports are a way to teach teamwork, commitment, hard work, excellence, fair play, courage to try new things, respect for others and honesty.

Unfortunately, Ontario's commitment to sport is the lowest rate of per-athlete and per-capita funding of any Canadian province. In Ontario, only 55 of 82 provincial sport organizations are eligible for government funding, which accounts for 21% of those budgets. Thanks to this government's education cutbacks, the physical education programs that exist are poor. Only 5% meet the minimal standards for physical activity.

Primary school children sit in classes about 26 hours a week and spend roughly the same time in front of a television set. This government's response to this challenge is to consider closing 85 community pools in Toronto, the largest city in the country.

More men than women are regular sports participants. The gender gap is particularly evident among teenagers 15 to 18 years of age. One third of Canadians are at risk for obesity. A better investment in recreation and sport will improve health, self-confidence and long-term wellness.

We salute our women athletes, but we acknowledge the need to do more to close the gap between genders in Canada.

Finally, we challenge the government to step up to the plate and, at the very least, fund athletes at the Canadian average.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): I just want to say to the Minister of Education that I'm a little bit hurt today. She knows that for two successive years -- two years in a row -- I introduced a private member's bill that would recognize World Teachers' Day. You rejected it, and all your members fought against it and said no. I didn't even get a note from her saying, "Rosario, this year we're going to proclaim World Teachers' Day today." Not even a note. I just don't get it.

Quite apart from that, Minister, I want to say that what you offer here today is a pittance to deal with a crisis that you -- yes, you -- and your friends have caused in the last seven years. It's a pittance. You know that 60% of boards can't retain teachers -- 60% of boards. This is a deep problem. You know there's a massive teacher shortage across Ontario, and you know that after you denigrated them for years, booted them from one end of the room to the other, belittled them, it is not going to be much solace to them when you say, "We love you, teachers." It isn't, and you know that. Teachers are paying for essential supplies out of their own pockets, and you know that too.

You also know that boards are $590 million short to be able to negotiate fair and satisfying settlements with their teachers. They don't have the money, and you know that. You admitted that in committee hearings.

Your announcements to support and improve student learning, 14 more schools -- please, come on; there are 5,000 schools and you proudly say that 14 more schools are going to get some help to improve student learning. What about the other 4,000 schools?

Professional development days: the money to fund electronic learning is not going to go very far. Yes, it will help a couple of people, but you've got to restore professional development days for all the teachers so that they all benefit directly, hands on, in the classroom, and through Bill 160 you cancelled all that.

I've got to tell you, Minister, that what you should have announced today was some programs of teacher mentoring to help the new teachers coming in, of fixing the funding formula so we don't have more disruptions and strikes, and bringing back true respect to the profession. That's what I expected of you today.


Ms Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth): I want to congratulate, on behalf of the New Democratic caucus, all our female athletes and our champions and say how proud we all are of them.

I want to take this opportunity to urge the government to keep the 85 pools open in our schools. The minister mentioned Marilyn Bell, whom we're all so proud of. She mentioned she was the first person to swim across Lake Ontario. We're not going to have those kinds of champions again in this province unless you keep those pools open and refund the athletes' programs and other programs you've cut within schools.

I want to talk about another activity some would like to refer to as a sport, and that is politics. Women are still woefully under-represented, even though we are more than one half of the population, but only about one fifth of women --


Ms Churley: I'm talking about something important here. Only about one fifth are elected representatives. Here in Ontario, out of 103 members, we have only 17 women. In 1943 Agnes McPhail was one of two women elected to the Ontario Parliament, one of ours, a CCFer. Equal Voice has calculated that at the rate we're going it will take us another 123 years to achieve even 50% representation. We have an outmoded electoral system that disadvantages women, and that includes a system where a leadership candidate has to raise or feels he has to raise up to $3 million to even get elected.

I would urge all members to go and look up equalvoice.ca and see for yourselves how outmoded our electoral system is and what we have to do to change it. I would urge people to also look at the NDP Web site and see our discussion document on proportional representation, which other jurisdictions are doing across the world, and it means that more visible minorities, more women, are elected to Parliament.

I would end by saying that we have come some distance when it comes to sports activities. I remember that when I was on city council I made a motion and got support for equal funding for female cycling races, because they weren't getting the same amount as men. I won that vote and actually got death threats over it. I think we've come a fair distance from that.


Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Transportation): I seek unanimous consent to make a few remarks about Bruce McCaffrey, who recently passed away and was a former member of this Legislature.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Unanimous consent? Agreed.

Hon Mr Sterling: Bruce McCaffrey was the member for Armourdale, which was a riding up near the 401 in Toronto, near Avenue Road. Bruce was first elected in 1977, the same time Jim Bradley and I were first elected, and was a member of this Legislature until 1987.

Bruce passed away on August 9, after a very, very short illness, at the age of 63. For many of us who knew Bruce it was really an early and untimely death, particularly for Mr Conway and myself, who consistently and constantly kept in communication with Bruce after he left this Legislature. It was a very, very sad time for us.

I first met Bruce on a campaign bus during the 1977 campaign and happened to occupy the seat with him when all the candidates for our party came down to Toronto for a common event. That event was the Brampton Charter -- it was nicknamed that -- which was not really a hugely successful campaign endeavour.


I can never forget sitting beside Bruce. I had never seen a candidate who looked more whipped and beaten in terms of having campaigned as hard as Bruce did. He informed me that he had just spent about two days sleeping, almost on a 24-hour basis, because of the effort he had been putting out in going door-to-door around Armourdale. That was sort of an ominous indication of how Bruce approached life. Bruce approached life in that he was never half-baked about anything. He was 100% into all his endeavours.

He started out as a high school teacher, then went into the investment business, then became a member of this Legislature, as I mentioned, from 1977 to 1987, and then went back into the investment business. Eventually he ended up teaching history at the University of Western Ontario. So he really went from a teaching position back to a teaching position. He really had, at the end, as Mr Conway no doubt will remark, reached a great deal of satisfaction and happiness in his studies of history. He really, truly loved history and was very much involved in educational issues while he was here, although he never served as Minister of Education.

Not only did I meet Bruce for the first time in 1977 on the bus, but when we were first seated in this Legislature, I was seated right beside Bruce. After the 1981 election, in which we both won re-election, both Bruce and I were sworn into the cabinet as ministers without portfolio in the Bill Davis cabinet. Then I was elevated to become Provincial Secretary for Justice and he was sworn in as Provincial Secretary for Social Development -- we don't have those positions now. We did this in tandem, and again I found myself sitting beside Bruce as a cabinet minister.

We became fast and good friends, and I really got to know the man. As I said, he really was 100% into everything he did, and he worked really hard, both as a minister and for the people he represented. In a lot of ways, he was not what you would see as a politician. He wasn't really -- I won't say he wasn't outspoken, because he was outspoken at certain times, and in a very amusing way. He could make statements that no member of this Legislature could get away with. He could say some of the most astounding -- I don't know how to describe the other part of the English language he would use from time to time, but he could get away with a great deal in terms of both private and public conversations.

I term him somewhat as a character in this place. In the present-day scheme of things, I guess you would probably picture a guy like John Snobelen as the closest thing we have to Bruce. Bruce would often show up in this place in jeans or very casual wear, or he might turn up in a tie. You just didn't know when or how or where he was going to come from and go.

During this period of time, he had family difficulties, in terms of being here and in the nature of his character. But one of the most outstanding things he did have was a huge love for his two children, Ryan and Shawna, whom I got to know quite well and still know quite well. Whenever Bruce and I would talk over the last 15 years, since he was a member here, which was sort of on a monthly basis, the first part of the conversation would always be about our children, because he took a great interest in both Sara and Ian, my two children, as well. We would talk about our kids and the problems both of us were having in terms of settling our kids and those kinds of things.

But at his memorial service and funeral, his children spoke of just the tremendous trust, the tremendous love they had for their dad. After, at the reception, when I talked to so many of his friends from the Toronto area, it was so evident that the character I saw here during his period as a legislator was also true before and after his service here. That sort of offhanded and very friendly manner that he portrayed here in the Legislature was felt by everyone who came into association and knew Bruce during his lifetime.

Bruce took a tremendous interest in the education area, as I mentioned earlier. I can remember Bill Davis sending him out to different jurisdictions as sort of an emissary to try to find solutions to some of the educational problems we had at that time. I think he was appointed as the first Minister of Citizenship and Culture in the province. That portfolio was created at that particular time, and I think that's where he finished as a cabinet minister in 1985.

A strong supporter of Larry Grossman, Bruce represented a strong constituency and the Jewish community was a significant part of that. He spoke eloquently and often on their behalf in terms of his representation, both here in the Legislature and in cabinet as well.

On my 25th anniversary, when Jim and I were celebrating this last June, I talked about somebody who had been here as well for 25 years, and that was Barb Colantonio. That's how I got to know Barb and how close that community became because Barb came with Bruce to this place. She was his first assistant and worked with Bruce so long. Barb and Bruce were tremendously close. They were very supportive of each other during all of their lifetime. I know Barb misses Bruce very much, as I do.

In about 1982-83, one of the journalists here did an informal poll among other members of the Legislature. I don't know why this poll was done, but it was done in an informal way. They asked who were the most popular members of the Legislature, and Bruce was one of those members. Actually Mr Conway was the other member. They had taken one from the government side, and Bruce was from the government side in Toronto. Sean was from the --

Hon Brad Clark (Minister of Labour): It was a skewed poll.

Hon Mr Sterling: We could talk about the skewed for Sean, but it wasn't for Bruce.

People like Bruce added nothing but class and dedication to this Legislature. His dad, whose name is Clarence McCaffrey but goes by "Mac," will no doubt get a tape of this. He is living in South Porcupine where Bruce was born. He was so proud of him and survives Bruce. He's also survived by three grandchildren, Dallas, Clea and Rusty.

Not only do I miss Bruce very greatly as a wonderful friend, I liked him very much. He was intelligent. He was modest in terms of trying to hog the political limelight. He was very dedicated to what he was doing. What he would try to do for the people of Ontario and the people of Armourdale was to improve their life every day, and he no doubt did it, because he was very effective in his arguments, outspoken, and wore his heart on his sleeve. You never had to guess too far about where he was positioning himself.

But I really feel that he was one of the outstanding members of the Legislature that I've known here in 25 years and I'll really miss Bruce. I miss his candour. He left this place in 1987, and I'm very unhappy that he died at such an early age. All I can say on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party is that he served his party loyally, and he not only took an active part in the party when he was an MPP, but he did that before he was a member and after.

To Shawna and Ryan, his two kids, you had a great dad to be proud of, and we'll all miss Bruce very much.


Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): I remember it so very well. It was the summer of 1977. There had been a general election that produced a rather surprising result, since we in the opposition thought a Davis majority government was guaranteed. It didn't turn out that way. One of the new members elected on June 9 was my friend Bradley, who got elected as a Liberal, though you couldn't find the word "Liberal" on any of the literature.

But the fraternal twins of the Tory caucus of 1977 were Bruce McCaffrey and Norm Sterling. They were fraternal because it seemed where you saw the one, the other was always nearby. If Norm represented virtue, then Bruce represented energy, and Bruce was not always likely to subscribe to the kind of virtue which Norm was so quick to advertise and talk to you about, particularly having to do with tobacco, as I recall.

One of the memories I have -- in fact today, as I thought about these remarks, I went to a place where I have not been in a long time, and I will say to many of the new members that you've probably never been there. But there is in the basement of the north wing of this building a big room. When I was elected in 1975, that was a bar; there was a legislative bar in the bottom of the north wing where you could find many of our colleagues busily occupied with public business at noon, in the afternoon and in the evening. One of the first times I remember Bruce McCaffrey was when Bruce and his fraternal twin were down there, and they had brought about the installation of a shower because, Bruce said, "There are too many people around here getting fat on the job. We've got to keep up a good fitness regime." I think Bruce McCaffrey and his friend Sterling deserved a lot of credit because they caused a minor appropriation of legislative monies to be spent to build a shower so that McCaffrey and Sterling could go running in the park at noon hour and walk by those of us drinking in the bar underneath the north wing to show us a good example.

Bruce had an energy level that was quite remarkable. When I think of Bruce, his features were in some respects aquiline; his manner was engaging and sometimes very aggressive. You had to be here to see Bruce engaging Dr Bette Stephenson on the matter of the Davis government education policy. I mean, Frazier and Ali had nothing on some of those contests. Bruce, as Norm Sterling rightly said, could express himself in a lexicon and in a language that was colourful, to say the very least. It was really ironic that Bruce McCaffrey, investment broker, high school teacher, began his ministerial life as the Minister of Culture, and that he was for a couple of years in the early 1980s. I remember dealing with Bruce on the famous McMichael gallery issue of 1981-1983. Let me tell you that Bruce, a proud son of South Porcupine, though he grew up in Toronto, never lost his northern roots. He told me many times in retirement how he had been back up to the Timmins area. He talked about taking his father back to South Porcupine, where his dad resides to this day. I'll tell you, Bruce was able to frame some of the culture questions in language and phrases that I had not ever heard before or since.

I want to say one thing, because Bruce was a really good guy, and Norm rightly observed, for the new members, particularly the government members, if you want to get a measure of Bruce McCaffrey, all you need to know is Barb Colantonio, because where you saw one, you saw the other. There has to be a heaven, because Barb did more good things for Bruce and his friends than she can ever be thanked for. She even joined Bruce, I think, in the odd cigarette in this place, which violated the sterling code of no smoking.

It was Bruce in retirement that I wanted to end with, because when Bruce left, voluntarily in 1987, he told me, "Do you know one of the things I want to do? I have always wanted to do graduate work in history." I thought, "Well, you know, he's just saying that because he just wants to think about it." Not many years later, I got a phone call from him and he said, "When are you coming down to my class?" Bruce had an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto, but he went to Western and, in his mid-to-late 50s, enrolled first in a master's program and later in a doctoral program. I want to say to the member for London North-Centre, the minister of higher education, Western never had a more enthusiastic, hard-working, peripatetic graduate student in its long and distinguished life. In fact, just this past spring I remember going down and Bruce was describing his doctoral program in some detail.

To all of us who will someday leave this place -- and this now means a little more to me than it did a few months ago -- there was, for me, no better model of a truly successful retirement from a full and active business and political life than what Bruce McCaffrey accomplished in the last decade of his life at the University of Western Ontario. Bruce was a wonderful guy, certainly no saint, but a wonderful member of this Legislature. I believe absolutely that poll that our friend the minister just cited. To know Bruce was to like him and to like him a lot. He was lively, he was personable, he was strong-willed in his views, and he had strong views -- not just about education, but about financial services, about rent control -- and he would tell you, the opposition, you, the Premier, and you, the members of the Legislature, in public how strongly he felt and where he thought government policy was perhaps not exactly where he'd like it to be. He was, in many important respects, a model member of this Legislature.

But, for me, he was a great friend. I was shocked beyond belief to come back from my holiday in France and to read in the Globe and Mail that he had died, because I had been with him just weeks before. I will never get out of my mind the image that he presented late this spring when we chatted about doing some things together in London this fall.

To his family, to Barb and to all his friends, we mourn his passing, but we remember his legacy, which is a very significant one.

Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): I am very honoured to speak for New Democrats as we join in this tribute to Bruce McCaffrey. I speak not only on behalf of this NDP caucus here and now but on behalf of New Democrats who served in this Legislature with Mr McCaffrey. One of them, of course -- and I spoke with him -- being Mel Swart. Mel, I want to tell you very specifically, asked me to express his personal sympathies to Mr McCaffrey's family, to his friends and to his community. Mel, I tell you, recalled Mr McCaffrey with fondness, with admiration and, yes, respect.


The descriptions of McCaffrey are consistent and they speak to qualities that sometimes some of us view as scarce. Bruce McCaffrey is spoken of as honest, outspoken and smart, and quite fearless in his approach to issues, quite fearless in his approach to his role as a member of the provincial Legislature.

I read what Lorrie Goldstein, then a columnist, had to say about Mr McCaffrey back in 1985, shortly before Mr McCaffrey indicated he wasn't going to be seeking re-election. Lorrie Goldstein wrote that he, Bruce McCaffrey, "has always belonged to that handful of politicians at Queen's Park," -- but a handful -- "the NDP's Richard Johnston and the Liberals' John Sweeney are others, who always wear their hearts on their sleeves, even when it lands them in hot water.

"You can disagree with McCaffrey.

"I often do.

"But there is just no questioning his sincerity."

Where I come from, you couldn't expect or ask for anything more in an elected member of this Legislature. That quality is compounded. A later newspaper article, which reports Mr McCaffrey's announcement that he won't be seeking re-election -- and let's observe this: Mr McCaffrey served longer than many in this Legislature, but certainly not as long as some. Mr McCaffrey, after some eight or nine years of service in this Parliament, rather than clinging to the job, acknowledged that he had given as much as he felt he could during that almost a decade of provincial service, and indicated quite candidly with a candour that is, oh, so rare, that he had just lost some of his enthusiasm. In view of that, he saw it as appropriate to move aside, move on to equally grand tasks, as described by Mr Conway, but to create an opportunity for his successor. That 1986 article speaks of Mr McCaffrey as having been one of the most plainspoken of provincial politicians, a characteristic that often landed him in hot water.

I've got a feeling that I would have very much enjoyed Mr McCaffrey. I've got a feeling that the admiration that's been expressed for him, not just by current members of this Legislature but by some of my colleagues who served with him who are no longer in the assembly, was well-earned, well-deserved by Mr McCaffrey.

We New Democrats join every member of this assembly in applauding Mr McCaffrey's tremendous contribution to public service in this province, his contribution to this Legislature and the legislative process. We express our sincere sympathies to his family, to his friends, yes, and to that community of his which extended far beyond Armourdale through into the academic world to, I'm sure, by the time his academic career was over, the thousands of young people's lives he touched in the most positive way. Our sincere sympathies to all of them.

The Speaker: I thank all the members for the kind words, and I will ensure that copies of the Hansard are sent out to the family.



Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor West): My question today is for the Premier. Yesterday, Tourism Minister Cam Jackson resigned. A number of your ministers abused taxpayers' money just like Minister Jackson. Minister Hudak expensed beer and his fishing licence. Minister Stockwell expensed 44 bar tabs after midnight. Today you stated, this morning, on a radio talk show that Jackson withheld information from you about the size of the expenses. This morning you claimed that Jackson only told you about $53,000 of expenses, not the $103,000 we reported to you yesterday in this House.

My question for you is simple, Premier. Why did you accept his resignation? Was it because you thought his spending was inappropriate or was it because he hid the real cost of his spending?

Hon Ernie Eves (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I accepted Mr Jackson's resignation. Obviously he thought some of the expenses were inappropriate or he wouldn't have submitted his resignation to me. We all have to try to hold ourselves to the highest standard possible when expending taxpayers' money.

Mrs Pupatello: We believe also that telling the truth is the cornerstone of ethical behaviour. If Minister Jackson misled you about the extent of his expenses, that would be unethical behaviour.

This is a news article from March 1, 1997, and I'll quote from it. It says, "Finance Minister Ernie Eves who boasted about his own frugality as well as his government's, has understated some of his biggest expenditures, according to ministerial records. The spending records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show that" -- tens of -- "thousands of dollars in bills incurred by Mr Eves were paid by his two senior aides and claimed on their expense forms. Mr Eves has said previously that his own expense forms contain all his spending."

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Question.

Mrs Pupatello: Given your decision to accept Mr Jackson's resignation for similar behaviour, Premier, do you think that this description just now is ethical behaviour for a minister?

Hon Mr Eves: The honourable member will know that my expenses between June 1995 and February 2001 have been FOI-ed. To save everybody the wait to get the information and save you the expense of binding them up, my total expenses were -- and this includes members of my staff, I believe -- $104,111.42 over six years, made up of $85,161.98 for travel and $18,949.44 for accommodation and meals over a six-year period of time. That would average out to something less than $15,000 a year and, I might say, is very comparable to members of all three political parties when they were finance minister for this province.

Mrs Pupatello: Premier, the truth came out about Minister Jackson's expenses because he submitted receipts. When we requested the freedom of information, we could actually see the receipts. The receipts showed in-room movies, beer, valet parking. Submitting receipts appears to be a key part of the ethical minister's expenses. If only some or no receipts are submitted, no one knows what the minister is spending and certainly not what it's being spent on.

Here's another news report, from December 16, 1996, and I'll just read a brief paragraph, "Although Finance Minister Ernie Eves portrays his management of the public purse as having businesslike standards, his staff follow one major departure from normal practice in the private sector: they do not attach receipts for his expenses."

It goes on to say that it was done to keep the places you were going --

The Speaker: Question.

Mrs Pupatello: -- what you were eating and what you were drinking a secret. Premier, is this ethical behaviour for a minister?

Hon Mr Eves: The honourable member can wait until she gets the FOI receipts and expenses she has requested with respect to my behaviour for six years. I will certainly stand behind them. I'd be more than willing to compare them to those of Robert Nixon, Floyd Laughren and other finance ministers in this place. I don't believe you will find any alcoholic beverages that were paid for on my behalf submitted in receipts that I submitted by the taxpayers of Ontario.

There is a standard that I think we all in this place must hold ourselves to. Certainly incidents like the one yesterday with respect to Mr Jackson not only deal directly with Mr Jackson, but I believe they deal with every single member of the Legislature. There are some members of the Legislature whose receipts are not FOI-able, such as the leader of the official opposition and the leader of the third party.

The Speaker: New question.

Mrs Pupatello: With all due respect, this second question is also to the Premier. The whole point of the first question was to suggest that this Premier, as finance minister in this province, had a record of including some but not all receipts, so that what he tells us in this House cannot be proven, and freedom of information records prove this.

You said on a radio talk show this morning that you've adopted a new standard since you became Premier, since April. You suggested to people on the airwaves this morning that you are adopting a new standard. When exactly did you adopt a new standard?


Hon Mr Eves: What I said on the radio this morning, if she was listening, was that on June 7 this year I asked the Chair of Management Board to come out with new guidelines for ministerial expenditures in this province, because I believe the existing ones are somewhat grey in their interpretation. Obviously, if we have even one example of a minister who didn't know what he or she could or could not charge, I think it's appropriate to try to develop better guidelines that will be clear and understandable. That is what we are endeavouring to do. I expect the Chair of Management Board will have those on my desk in short order so that we'll be able to go over them.

Mrs Pupatello: This new standard seems to be news to everyone. It seems to be news to your Management Board Chair as well. This is what he said yesterday to reporters outside, under questioning about to whom the guidelines are supposed to apply, including the minister who's supposed to be writing your new rules. Listen to what Minister Tsubouchi said yesterday: "Supervise yourself." That does not sound like rules. It doesn't sound like new rules. It sounds like there are no new rules.

The truth is that you're making policy on the fly. Yesterday the spotlight was on you to answer for behaviour that occurred before you even became Premier. Now, when you're blatantly responsible for a response, you're making a swift, fast decision for one minister but not all, including yourself. Is it not true that you're just making policy decisions on the fly when the spotlight is on you? You had ample time to try to resolve these issues within your cabinet, and you did not show the leadership required to see that your ministers were following rules.

Hon Mr Eves: Would that we all could be as great as the member opposite and as flawless as she is in her endeavours.

I don't think expenses of the deputy leader of the official opposition are subject to FOI either. You might want to let the taxpayers of Ontario know how much you spent to bind up the volumes on Minister Jackson and the many copies you made and who paid for that and how it was paid for. You might want to reveal the expenses of your leader, which are not FOI-able.


Hon Mr Eves: I think I've got their attention over there.

I'm sure that as we go forward and develop these new rules, the leader of the official opposition and the leader of the third party will do the right thing for the people of Ontario and make known their expenses for the last six years as well.

Mrs Pupatello: Perhaps our Premier needs to see the kind of reports that are tabled in this House on behalf of all MPPs.

This is my final supplementary to the Premier. In a letter that was dated the end of July to one of our members, the MPP for Sarnia-Lambton, seeking clarification of expenses of cabinet, here's what your Management Board Chair had to say: "It's important to observe at the outset directives of the Management Board of Cabinet, including travel management and general expenses directives, apply to ministries and employees of ministries. Ministers of the crown, of course, are not employees and the directives do not apply to ministers. This, of course, has always been the case." So the truth is he has no new guidelines, he hasn't had guidelines and apparently, under Management Board, which you've now told to write guidelines, they never existed before.

How are ministers supposed to take your lead when your lead is an abysmal track record? You have a history of not submitting a full list of receipts, and your own history suggests you can hardly be charging --

The Speaker: The member's time is up.

Hon Mr Eves: That is simply not an accurate statement. The ministers' guidelines do exist. They're right here. The OPS guidelines also exist, which are right here. The ministers' guidelines and the ministers' handbook actually refer to the OPS guidelines. So what she said just now is totally inaccurate. I'll leave it for others to determine why she would make a totally inaccurate statement with respect to the existence of ministers' guidelines.


Mr Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): My question is for the Premier. Your former cabinet minister Cam Jackson spent more public money at the Yorkville Hyatt hotel in two days than a person working at Swiss Chalet gets paid in a week. Meanwhile, hard-working people in Wawa can't afford to pay their hydro bills, and natural gas consumers across the province are hit with $100 retroactive gas bills.

Premier, while your cabinet ministers spend thousands of dollars in public money at Toronto's finest steakhouses, what are you going to do to help those people hit with sky-high hydro bills? What are you going to do to help those people who have been hit with retroactive natural gas bills?

Hon Ernie Eves (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): First of all, I indicated this morning in response to several questions that I believe the operational mandate of the Ontario Energy Board needs to be reviewed. I think the rules and procedures under which they operate, especially in light of the market opening with respect to electricity prices, need to be reviewed. I think the mandate with respect to retroactivity with respect to utilities such as Union Gas and how far they can go back and how far people get in the future to pay an underbilling needs to be reviewed as well.

Mr Hampton: Well, Premier, let me ask you this. I think more than a review is required. It's your government's policy with respect to Hydro privatization and deregulation that's driven the hydro bills up. It's your government's rules that allow retroactive billing in terms of natural gas and other utilities. So more than a review is required; some change is required. Admit that Hydro privatization and deregulation isn't working. Admit that retroactive billing shouldn't be allowed.

But your cabinet minister's spending habits bring up another point, Premier. While Minister Jackson was spending so much money at steakhouses and hotels, I'm reminded that your government has frozen the minimum wage for seven years. While you believe that cabinet ministers should get a $40,000-a-year increase, someone working full-time on minimum wage doesn't even receive $15,000 a year. So while you are looking after your cabinet ministers, do you think you could raise the minimum wage, after seven years, to give the lowest-paid workers in Ontario a break?

Hon Mr Eves: Our government's policies, as he refers to, have also led to the creation of 955,400 new jobs in the province of Ontario since June 1995. Our government's policies have also led to tax savings for more moderate-income earners in the province of Ontario; for example, a one-income-earner couple, two kids, $30,000 net income, a tax savings of $132 a month to date, to be increased by another $45 a month in the not too distant future; a single parent with one kid, $40,000 of net income, $118 in tax savings a month, with an additional $145 to come; a senior couple, $50,000 net income, $108 a month -- and we can go on, if you want, in your supplementary and give you other examples of what our government has done for moderate-income earners in the province of Ontario.

Mr Hampton: For all those people out there who have had their wages frozen for seven years by your government, the lowest-paid workers in the province, this is certainly an expression of generosity on your part, Premier: $40,000 increases for cabinet ministers who spend money, public money, like it doesn't matter, and you tell minimum-wage workers that they should accept a continuing wage freeze.

This leads us into another issue. We've watched over the last two years the Nortel scandal, the Enron scandal, where corporate executives that you would know have lined their pockets with millions of dollars. Meanwhile, pensioners have watched their pensions and their life savings dwindle.


Today I was joined by Alexa McDonough to make the point that those people who put their money into RRSPs and pension plans deserve greater protection, greater accounting protection and greater securities protection. Premier, will you admit today that Ontario's securities laws and accountancy laws are far behind and that they need to be improved and toughened, and will you commit to do that to protect people's pensions?

Hon Mr Eves: I believe the Minister of Finance indicated yesterday that such changes in the laws are forthcoming. But I want to say at the outset, before we talk about that any longer, and perhaps in your next question you want to go into it further, that the Ontario Securities Commission already has in place regulations, such as disclosure requirements, that are more stringent in many instances than they are in the States.

Having said that, I think that is not enough and that we have to proceed to further strengthen those. David Brown, the head of the Ontario Securities Commission, and his counterparts across Canada for that matter, are doing exactly that. The Minister of Finance will be coming forward with regulation and legislation changes to do exactly what you're suggesting.


Mr Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): I look forward to seeing the proposed changes and regulation tightening.

Today we learned that Gene Preston, the chief nuclear officer at Ontario Power Generation, has retired, we're told, without bringing Pickering nuclear generating station back to service. Mr Preston was being paid $1.2 million a year. Not bad for someone who has presided over a project that is over $1 billion over budget and one year behind schedule. Meanwhile, Mr Preston's boss, Ron Osborne, has pocketed a bonus of $750,000 on top of his generous salary. This must be the free market discipline you talk about, Premier: rewarding chronic failure with fat bonuses and bloated salaries. Why are you paying Ron Osborne a fat bonus when the company he heads has performed so poorly?

Hon Ernie Eves (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I'll be happy to look into the particulars with respect to the retirement of the individual you talk about, Mr Preston. The Minister of Energy is not present today, but I'd be happy to obtain that information from him and respond to you at a later date.

Mr Hampton: While you're checking into it and while you're looking into this issue of accountability, you might want to note that Mr Osborne is paid three times what the chief executive of Hydro-Québec is paid and more than three times what the chief executive at Manitoba Hydro is paid. They aren't jacking up people's hydro rates to the tune of 60% and 70% and they aren't running billion-dollar-over-budget projects that are years behind. Premier, what don't you get about this? You're jacking up people's hydro bills. You're paying million-dollar bonuses to chief executives who either can't do their job or haven't done their job. When are you going to admit that your hydro privatization and deregulation strategy, no matter how you measure it, is putting the screws to consumers and putting money in the pockets of your corporate friends? That's the problem.

Hon Mr Eves: I am not raising any rates, to start with. With respect to OPG and Mr Osborne and other executives at OPG for that matter --

Mr George Smitherman (Toronto Centre-Rosedale): I had no option.

Hon Mr Eves: You're no Brian Mulroney, George Smitherman, I can tell you that. You're no John Turner either.

To the leader of the third party, I asked the previous Minister of Energy this summer to conduct a review of all executive compensation at OPG, as we have done at Hydro One, and I look forward to receiving that review from the current Minister of Energy in the near future.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): New question?

Mr Michael Bryant (St Paul's): A question for the Premier: Premier, you owe the people of Ontario some money. That's right; you owe the people of Ontario some money by way of a rebate that may add up to some billion dollars, a hydro electricity rebate. It's the people's money. It's their money, not yours to play with. Why won't you give Ontarians their hydro electricity rebate now?

Hon Mr Eves: With respect to rebates from OPG, if that is what he is referring to, charges over 3.8 cents a kilowatt hour, I indicated this morning that I expect the rebate program to be as advertised by OPG and I expect the people of Ontario to be entitled to their rebates.

Mr Bryant: So you're going to retreat on your plans to reduce the rebate by 20%. You're going to pay the people of Ontario the money that you owe them. You're not going to rip the people of Ontario off by some $200 million. Oh, thanks, Premier. Super. Thanks a lot.

But the people of Ontario need the rebate now. People cannot afford to pay their hydro bills. People can't afford to pay them now. They can't wait 12 months for your rebate. They can't wait for you to use it, perchance, as a pre-election goody. They can't wait for you to give it to them as a Christmas present. Dalton McGuinty and Ontario Liberals are saying to you that you need to roll out the rebate to compensate consumers for Herculean hydro prices. Roll out the rebate. Roll it out now.

Hon Mr Eves: I know grandstanding and flowery speech and appearing on TV is your strength, or so you think. You might want to explain to those people on TV right now why you voted against every one of 199 tax decreases to the people of the province of Ontario; why you did not support and don't support, for example, a two-earner couple, two kids, $60,000 net income -- why do you not want their taxes reduced, which they are now, by $167 a month, every month for the last few years, and go on ad infinitum?

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): You can't answer the question.

Hon Mr Eves: I say to the honourable member for Scarborough-Agincourt -- he's a little touchy on this -- he doesn't want those people to get that $167-a-month tax reduction either -- month in, month out, now, forever. What have you got against those modest-income earners in the province of Ontario getting thousands of dollars in tax rebates every single year as we go forward?


Mr Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant): My question is for the Minister of Public Safety and Security. Minister, last Friday the 13th provided great weather for the traditional biker run to Port Dover. In addition to thousands of lawful bikers, outlaw motorcycle gang members from both the Outlaws and the Hells Angels set up shop. This caused concern for many area residents, myself included.

I understand that late last week an OPP blitz resulted in a significant number of charges against members of this province's second-largest motorcycle gang, the Outlaws. Could you please tell my constituents and members of this Legislature what results were seen from this police action?

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Minister of Public Safety and Security): I want to thank the honourable member for the question and his interest in this issue. As members are aware, this government is strongly committed to a strategy of putting organized criminal groups such as the Outlaws motorcycle gang in Ontario out of business.

As a result of the actions taken by the provincial biker enforcement unit on September 25, approximately 65% of the Outlaws total gang membership has been arrested. Over the course of the investigation, and as a result --


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Sorry, Minister, for the interruption. The member for Windsor West, come to order, please.

Sorry for the interruption, Minister. Please continue.

Hon Mr Runciman: This is a result of Project Retire, which was a three-year investigation. Over the course of the investigation and as a result of the raid, 32 stolen motorcycles, one stolen trailer and three stolen pickup trucks were purchased and seized, along with 44 firearms, which included an AK-47 rifle and a MAC-10 machine gun. As well, approximately $1.6 million of drugs, including cocaine and ecstasy, were seized. Thanks to the hard work of the biker enforcement unit --

The Speaker: I'm afraid the minister's time is up.


Mr Barrett: It is important to send a message to gangs that organized crime will not be tolerated in Ontario. What you've just told us is a good start, and I understand this was one of the most significant crackdowns on outlaw biker gangs in Ontario.

Further initiatives: where do we go from here to further handcuff motorcycle crime?


The Speaker: I don't know if the member for Windsor West has any more questions, but if she keeps it up she won't have a chance to ask them. It's your last warning today. If I have to stand up again for you, you're going to be named.

I apologize to the member for the interruption.

Mr Barrett: Very simply, where do we go from here? More specifically, I'm thinking of Hells Angels. As we know, it's the most powerful biker gang in the world, and regrettably they arrived in Ontario two years ago.

Hon Mr Runciman: It's very important to our government that biker gangs are a growing threat in Ontario. They're involved in many types of criminal activities, such as prostitution, racketeering, smuggling and murder. It's not hard to tell just how dangerous these people are. As such, reining in these criminal groups as been one of our top priorities.

Our government has invested over $125 million to fight organized crime since 1995. In 1998 we formed the biker enforcement unit, and in August this year we invested another $3 million to double the size of the unit. It now has representatives from 17 municipal police services, the RCMP and the OPP. Last year almost 1,500 occurrences were investigated and 444 Criminal Code charges laid. The government has always taken justice issues seriously and will continue to do so in the future.


Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-St Clair): I have a question for the Premier, and it relates to his comments this morning on CFRB radio.

I didn't hear the actual comments with respect to Union Gas, but the media reports indicate that you were frustrated with the retroactive increases being charged to 1.5 million customers across the province, and it seemed at one point that you support the notion that that should not be allowed to happen. Subsequently, you did go on to say that at the very least the payback period should be extended for two years, as opposed to right away.

Is it your opinion that the OEB should not have allowed this retroactive increase, and if it is your opinion, do you intend to direct them to repeal that decision under the Ontario Energy Board Act?

Hon Ernie Eves (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): It would seem reasonable to me that if a body is going to decide that because somebody has been under-billed for a period of time, whatever that period of time happens to be -- if it's a year, it's a year; if it's two years, it's two years -- it would be a fair and equitable thing to allow the individual who was under-billed to recapture that money, if it's going to be allowed in the decision of the independent body, over a similar or same period of time.

Mr Duncan: No other gas company in the province, including Enbridge, which has many more customers, has had to apply for a retroactive increase. Having read the decision, arguably it's hard to see where they're out money in this case. It's the opinion of the official opposition -- we asked the Minister of Energy this question 10 days ago -- that your government, under an amendment to the act that the Harris government put forward, can intervene with the OEB on a policy matter of this nature to, in fact, not allow this increase. Section 27.1 of the act permits the Lieutenant Governor in Council -- that is, the cabinet -- to order a review of this policy and this decision. Will you do that, Premier?

It is patently unfair in our view that a corporation, in this case Duke Energy, with $1.8 billion in profit last year as reported in their filings with the New York Stock Exchange and their official corporate reports and US$400 million in profits for the first six months of this year according to their filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission -- will you use the power that you have now to order the Ontario Energy Board to not allow this very unfair retroactive price increase?

Hon Mr Eves: First of all, I'm not here to defend Duke Energy or any company. I don't see what earnings in the States have to do with --

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): They own --

Hon Mr Eves: I know that. I understand that, but the money that is earned elsewhere outside of the country, outside of Union Gas, surely has nothing to do with Union Gas. Having said that, I think the honourable member makes a good point. I am certainly prepared to discuss the matter with the Minister of Energy and look into what we can do.


Mr Raminder Gill (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale): My question is to the Minister of Citizenship. The constituents of my riding of Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale and I noticed with interest yesterday's announcement of $2.2 million in provincial funding to help victims of domestic violence who need the assistance of a language interpreter.

This announcement is an important investment in a vital program. Minister, I welcome many individuals in my riding who are newcomers to Canada and, more specifically, to Ontario. How is this investment going to help victims of domestic violence who have difficulty speaking English?

Hon Carl DeFaria (Minister of Citizenship, minister responsible for seniors): I thank the member for the question. Indeed, the cultural interpreters program for victims of domestic violence is a very important program for Ontarians and in particular for Ontario's diverse communities.

The $2.2-million grant specifically provides for language interpreter services that enable non-English-speaking victims of domestic violence to have access to shelters, social services, health care and legal services. These services are provided through 11 organizations across Ontario, enabling clients to get the services needed to access the domestic violence courts in Ontario.

Last year the program served more than 3,000 victims of domestic violence, an increase of 28% from the previous year. This program is one of the many ways our government is supporting victims of domestic violence in Ontario.

Mr Gill: Minister, domestic violence is a serious crime and societal problem that can only be addressed in a broad-based, co-operative way for all communities affected.

How does this initiative fit into our government's larger, overall domestic violence strategy?

Hon Mr DeFaria: Again, I thank the member for the question. Our ministry's cultural interpreter program is supported by our government's violence against women prevention initiatives and our domestic violence justice strategy. My announcement yesterday of $2.2 million is in addition to the recent investment of $21.4 million in new initiatives announced by my colleagues the minister responsible for women's issues and the Attorney General.

All of these initiatives are part of our government's comprehensive $161-million domestic violence strategy, focusing on protection and prosecution support for victims, and on prevention and public education. The $2.2-million cultural interpreter program is one more step forward in our government's strategy to address domestic violence in Ontario.

Ontario leads the world, not only with our domestic violence prevention programs, but also with our newcomer settlement programs and our cultural interpreter program.



Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): My question is to the Minister of Education. Your private tax credit is inciting parents to leave our public schools. The Toronto board faces a further cut of $21 million because of an unexpected drop in enrolment. Meanwhile, the number of private schools jumped to 162 from 134 in Toronto alone.

Tell me this, Minister: how does the loss of $21 million from public schools to private schools constitute your strong support for public education?

Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Deputy Premier, Minister of Education): The member probably is aware of the fact that over the last few years the Toronto District School Board has been seeing a decline in its enrolment. It has been anticipated that this would happen. The rationale for it happening is -- there are many reasons for it.

He also knows that across Canada there are the same number of people choosing private schools as in the province of Ontario. In fact, we're lower than some of the other provinces. So I don't think there's any trend or anything surprising happening. The Toronto school board had predicted this, and it's happening. The separate school board has seen a decline in its enrolment as well.

Mr Marchese: I've got to tell you it's no coincidence that enrolment in Toronto dropped by 3,000 students. The explanation, we say to you, is right before your eyes. You gave parents cash incentives to take their kids out of our public schools and send them to private schools. Now what we're seeing is that we have 18% more private schools in Toronto alone. Our public schools will have to face an additional $21-million cut in Toronto alone. The link, in my mind and in the minds of many, is very clear.

We have a bright idea for you: it's time to reconsider your tax credit for private schools in order to save our public school system and in order to invest properly in our public school system. Will you eliminate the tax credit?

Hon Mrs Witmer: We have made a tremendous investment in the public school system of Ontario this year. We have invested, since Mr Eves became the Premier, about $560 million. In fact, today I stood in this House and talked about the $21 million that we were investing in order to support teachers and students in this province to achieve success. To make any connection between the two is absolutely absurd.


Mr Monte Kwinter (York Centre): My question is to the Attorney General. On Tuesday I suggested that your position on Picov Downs was a charade and today I'm certain that it is. In your reply to me you said, "nor will I interfere in the decision and the process that will follow from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission, another independent, impartial process." You also said, "We are still in the early stages of this process."

Both of these statements do not square with the facts. On April 10, 2002, which was six months ago, Tim Hudak wrote to Picov Downs and said, "After careful assessment of the status of Ontario's gaming market by the OLGC, I am writing to advise you that the OLGC has been directed to begin discussions with you for the establishment of a slot machine facility, with up to 800 slot machines, at Picov Downs.

"This decision is further to cabinet direction in December" -- which was 10 months ago -- "for the OLGC to complete a business case for slots at Picov Downs.

"The results of the OLGC business case supported the development of a new slot machine facility in the Ajax area with up to 800 slots, subject to prescribed conditions.

"In March" -- seven months ago -- "cabinet reviewed and approved the business case as part of the provincial gaming strategy."

Minister, will you agree that this whole exercise is a ruse to put 800 slot machines into the Ajax area by circumventing the three-year pause imposed by Management Board on commercial casinos and utilizing Picov Downs, a facility that barely qualifies as a racetrack, as a vehicle to pass it off as part of the racetrack slot initiative?

Hon David Young (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): The honourable member keeps asking the same question over and over again. I guess I'm obliged to give a similar answer over and over again. The government is going to continue to take a responsible approach to gaming in this province. We've done so in the past; we will continue to do so in the future.

There are 16 tracks in this province that have slot machines. Each of those tracks went through a very similar process. What has happened to date in relation to the Picov Downs application is that they have received the right to apply for slot machines. The member opposite quotes "up to 800." As I have said on repeated occasions, "up to 800" can mean one or two or three or 799. The problem with your theory, your conspiratorial theory, is that Picov Downs doesn't have one slot machine today.

Mr Kwinter: For several days now I have been questioning you about the proposed allocation of up to 800 slot machines for Picov Downs, a number that the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association termed "incomprehensible." It is now obvious that you and your government are prepared to pervert the process by bringing through the back door an initiative that you don't have the guts, the courage or the conviction to bring through the front door. There are also questions about the contribution of $80,000 by Picov Downs to the leadership campaign of Minister Flaherty, who is strongly supporting this initiative. Mr Minister, will you call a public inquiry so that all the facts related to this decision can be examined?

Hon Mr Young: Well, last week the honourable member said the right number was one and a half; earlier this week he said the right number was 100 and he wanted to see them right away. He's quoted the Ontario horse racing association to suggest that they don't think 800 is the right number. That is accurate, sir; they do not believe that. They do believe that up to 200 is the right number. So there is another number that we could insert into the equation.

But the point is that this decision should not and will not be made by a bunch of politicians on the floor of the Legislature. I would suggest to the honourable member that if he wants to talk about political contributions, he should include in his discussion the contributions he received from the Barrie Raceway, the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, Flamboro Downs Holding, the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and on and on and on.


Mr R. Gary Stewart (Peterborough): My question is for the Minister of Health.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Sorry. You'll be able to start over. I apologize. Member for York Centre, come to order, please.


The Speaker: Minister, come to order, please. Your member's got the question. If one side stops, the other side will stop; when one continues, it just gets the other side going.

Again, I apologize. The member for Peterborough has the floor.

Mr Stewart: My question is for the Minister of Health. Minister --


The Speaker: Would the member take his seat.

This is your last warning. You say one more word and I'm going to throw the minister out. We're not going to continue with this. Last warning to the minister.

A final apology, and I assure him he will get to do it this time. The member for Peterborough.

Mr Stewart: I'm getting old getting up and down, Mr Speaker -- or older, I think is the word.

Anyway, my question is indeed for the Minister of Health. Recently, there have been several health care improvements and announcements in my riding of Peterborough. Could the minister please inform the House and my great constituents of the recent developments and the great work that the Eves government is doing to ensure top-quality health care in my riding of Peterborough, and indeed throughout the province of Ontario?

Hon Tony Clement (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): I thank the honourable member for the question and for the idea that part of the health and wellness program of the Ministry of Health is question period, where we stand up and down to answer questions. That's a good addition to it.

Of course, I want to inform my colleague and members of this House of a new peritoneal dialysis machine at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. The new service launched on Monday will be of great benefit to dialysis patients living in the Peterborough area. Residents will no longer be required to travel great distances to area hospitals for blood exchange treatments or checkups. This new dialysis machine cleans blood by removing excess waste and water from the body and also allows the patients to have their blood exchanged at a centre in only four hours. This represents a significant reduction in time from performing this procedure at home, where the process takes up to nine hours. This is yet another example of the work my ministry, on behalf of the Eves government, is performing to benefit Ontarians, including those in Peterborough.

Mr Stewart: Indeed, it is of interest to the people who need that service.

Minister, this morning I was listening to 1050 CHUM and the guest was a very famous singer from my area of Peterborough.

Interjection: You're a bit old for that, aren't you?

Mr Stewart: No, I'm not, actually.

Interjection: Sorry, I couldn't resist.


Mr Stewart: You've got me all confused now. The famous singer was Ronnie Hawkins, and he was discussing how grateful he was to be alive because he lives in Canada. The Hawk further commented on Canadians not realizing they have one of the best health care systems. The Hawk suggested that if he had been in the United States, he may not, first of all, have been able to afford health care, and that his recent open-heart and pancreatic surgery in Toronto led him to believe that he was most thankful.

I'm wondering if there are any other health care initiatives of which Peterboroughonians like Ronnie Hawkins -- you've really got me confused.


Mr Stewart: I may never ask another question, by the way, what you guys are like -- anyway, that the folks of Peterborough, people like Ronnie Hawkins could be made aware of?

Hon Mr Clement: The member for Peterborough is full of surprises today. Thank you for the question.

These are exciting times for the people in Peterborough. Our thoughts of course are with the Hawk, Rompin' Ronnie Hawkins. Who do you love, Mr Speaker? We love the Hawk. He thinks so highly of our health care system. This reinforces the health system performance report where over 90% of Ontarians were satisfied with their health care delivery.

I'm pleased to announce here that two MRI licences have recently been granted. The first licence involves the Lakefield community. As a result of this decision, the residents of this area will soon give a home to a bone density MRI. This is a first for them. The second licence involves bone density radiology services at the Pine Ridge clinic. We also cannot forget that a new hospital for Peterborough will be built in the very near future. More good news from the Eves government for the people of Peterborough.


Mr Ernie Parsons (Prince Edward-Hastings): My question is to the Minister of Public Safety and Security. Minister, your government continues to treat taxpayers' money like it's Monopoly money, to be spent and played with by your friends.

In 1995 Mike Harris moved the OPP communications centre from Sudbury to North Bay. You're doing it again. Premier Eves is no different whatsoever on this. Although there is an OPP report recommending that it go to Belleville, you chose to put it in Smiths Falls. If you have any question at all as to whether you made the right decision, have a look at this. There's a station you rejected. There's the property you chose to put it in. You chose to put it in an old abandoned warehouse --

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): The member knows better than the props. Please don't do that again. Thank you. The member may continue and your time's still going. You have three seconds to wrap up the question.

Mr Parsons: Minister, will you release the OPP report that identifies Belleville as a desired location?

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Minister of Public Safety and Security): My knowledge of this was that the OPP made the appropriate decision with respect to a number of reasons. If you look at the fact that the eastern regional headquarters is located just outside of Smiths Falls -- when I talked to OPP officials, they were also talking about their concerns about retention of bilingual staff in their communications centre, of people in Kanata. A move to Belleville was certainly a significant disincentive. The fact is, the building in Belleville is being fully utilized and, as far as I'm aware, will continue to be fully utilized.

Mr Parsons: You need much better information than you've just shared with me. The building in Belleville was ready to go three years ago before political interference changed it. The building in Smiths Falls is a year away. It is an abandoned warehouse that requires complete rebuilding. This absolutely stinks of pork barrelling. It may be funny on that side, but it's not funny to the people of Ontario. Minister, I'm asking you to reverse the decision and do what is right. Quit looking after your friends and look after the people.

Hon Mr Runciman: That's a Liberal trait, looking after their friends, not the Conservative Party of Ontario. We can see that in the gerrymandering of the federal election boundaries by their cousins in Ottawa.

The reality here is that unlike the Liberals putting their friends first, what this government does is put the public first in terms of public safety and puts front-line OPP officers' public safety first as well.

My involvement in this was to make sure that we get on with this, because first and foremost, this is a front-line officers' safety issue. We have to have good communications on the front lines to ensure the safety of our officers and ensure that we have that rapid response time to incidents.

The Belleville facility is going to be used in the future by the OPP. This member is whistling in the wind. He has no --

The Speaker: I'm afraid the minister's time is up.


Mr Bart Maves (Niagara Falls): My question is for the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. Minister, we all know that Ontario's colleges and universities are in a period of growth, with more young people -- well, where did she go?


Mr Maves: Well, I want to make sure she hears my question, Speaker.

Thank you, Minister.

We all know that Ontario's colleges and universities are in a period of growth, with more young people going on to pursue post-secondary education. Applying to college or university can be a stressful time for families, and I know that many secondary school students are looking for assurance that our government is ready to manage increasing enrolments.

Minister, what can you tell students in my riding, and indeed across Ontario, about our readiness to accommodate more students in the post-secondary system?

Hon Dianne Cunningham (Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, minister responsible for women's issues): I can begin by telling my colleague from Niagara that the students in that region of the province are very, very lucky, and that has to do with the huge expansion of Brock University, the wonderful new building that was opened not too long ago. Take a look at what's happening at Niagara College, and the private sector that's supporting these communities with regard to the wonderful programs in both tourism and of course restaurants. All of the kinds of jobs that are becoming available in Niagara -- both Brock University and Niagara are responding to that.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands): Instant double cohort.

Hon Mrs Cunningham: Let me just say to my colleagues who get so excited, because they're excited about all these young people going on to post-secondary education, with all of the money we've put into the buildings, with all of the money we have put into operating grants, $368 million, for teachers --

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): I thank the minister. Final supplementary?

Mr Maves: Thank you very much, Minister. Indeed, your support for the expansion of both Brock and Niagara College has been much appreciated. However, recently I noted that Ontario's universities held a recruitment fair at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, attracting thousands of parents and students interested in studying in Ontario.

I saw that you had attended this event on behalf of the government to talk to students about this massive expansion taking place on campuses across Ontario. Minister, there have been media reports for months suggesting that schools from other jurisdictions are working to recruit Ontario students. According to some reports, several are promoting themselves by raising fears about the opportunities that Ontario students enjoy. What's the real story, Minister?

Hon Mrs Cunningham: There are students here today, and they should know that last year the increase in admissions to our universities was 16%, and as of September, the number of new students going into our universities who have accepted those admissions was 16%. So it really doesn't get any better.

It is about properly projecting, and we have been spending seven years working with our schools, our colleges and our universities.

Mrs Marie Bountrogianni (Hamilton Mountain): You haven't properly projected this, and you know it.

Hon Mrs Cunningham: We got it exactly right this year, I say to my colleague. Speak to your own presidents at both your college and your university. We got it exactly right.

Next year, we hope to do the same thing. But everybody in this place -- you're right about that, because you know who makes up their mind who comes? The students. And they haven't told you yet whether they're coming or not. Guess what? They haven't made their decisions with their parents or their teachers or anyone. But no matter what their decision is, we will fully fund every student who is qualified and motivated to be admitted into our colleges and universities.



Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): I have a question for the Minister of Community, Family and Children's Services. Minister, on April 1 you received about $150 million from the federal government for early childhood development initiatives. What have you spent this money on, and how much was invested in high-quality regulated child care?

Hon Brenda Elliott (Minister of Community, Family and Children's Services): I thank my colleague from the third party across the way. As she will know, yes, we were very pleased to receive money from the federal government for early childhood development programs. She will know that we have undertaken a two-pronged approach in how to provide services. We are providing a broad range of programs that are not only to serve children but also to meet parents' needs. We've also targeted some of that money very specifically to very key programs, things like autism and children's mental health. It's a combination of programs, along with my colleague in the Ministry of Health, that we think meets the broad children's needs across the province and those most vulnerable.

Ms Martel: The specific question was, how much was invested in high-quality regulated child care? I suspect you didn't answer that because I suspect that again this year you didn't spend a penny of that money on regulated child care.

Your decision to exclude regulated child care from this federal money has been strongly criticized by Charles Coffey and Margaret McCain in a report that they did for the city of Toronto this May. They said, "The three largest provinces have not only excluded child care, but also reduced spending for regulated care and other children's services, in violation of the agreement's intent to expand service provision."

In contrast, New Democrats have consistently argued that a significant portion of the federal money should be invested in high-quality regulated child care. In fact, you should adopt our $10-a-day child care plan, and you should use a significant portion of the federal money to make sure that child care is affordable and accessible for Ontario families.

Minister, will you honour the spirit and the agreement of the early childhood development agreement and invest in $10-a-day child care in Ontario?

Hon Mrs Elliott: My colleague knows full well that this government already spends in excess of $700 million in child care. My colleague from the third party knows very well that that goes directly into programs for parents to give them the flexible kinds of child care that they indeed are looking for.

The federal money is spent very well, every single penny, in programs like autism, infant development, children's mental health, Learning, Earning and Parenting programs, Ontario Early Years centres, early literacy programs, Early Years challenge fund programs. These are programs that are needed by many children in this province; again, targeted and broad programs for the most vulnerable and for parents to be better parents, in addition to the $700 million we already spend on child care.


Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): My question is for the Attorney General. Last week you misquoted the OPP commissioner in a response in the House. My question is, why did you do that?

Hon David Young (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): I appreciate the opportunity to address this issue. Indeed I'm looking for the actual document that I will read from, with your permission. The document is not an affidavit. You are quite right, sir, and I want to correct that. It is a reply to a request to admit. It is a document that contains an actual admission, which I would be pleased to read at this point in time. It's an admission from Thomas O'Grady, the former commissioner of the OPP. He is, in the reply to request to admit, admitting the following: that he was "never directed or pressured by the defendant Michael D. Harris or the other government defendants or any other member of government to remove the occupiers from Ipperwash Provincial Park by force prior to the death of Dudley George."

Mr Phillips: It's very important because the commissioner has been very clear. He has said that he never received command direction from the Premier. It is clear that just a few hours before the shooting death, Premier Harris told the OPP he wanted the First Nations out of the park within 24 hours.

You, Attorney General, in my opinion misstated clearly the OPP commissioner's affidavit, his sworn statement, to use your term. You said that Commissioner O'Grady said that "the former Premier in no way directed the OPP to act in any certain way in relation to this incident." The OPP commissioner has never, ever said that. I have read the sworn statement clearly, and again you have misquoted that statement. The OPP commissioner has never said that he did not get direction from Harris. In fact, he has said he did take direction from the government.

Again I say to you, Attorney General, why did you misquote the OPP commissioner's statement?

Hon Mr Young: I would invite you to choose your words a little more carefully, with respect. I will now read in the remainder of the relevant portions of the request to admit.

Mr Phillips: "Command decisions." Try that.

Hon Mr Young: Sir, do you want to hear the answer or don't you?

Mr Phillips: I want you to read it.

Hon Mr Young: I'm trying to read it.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): It's now the Attorney General's time.

Hon Mr Young: Indeed what it says is that no "member of government did ... have any input into or participate in or interfere with, in any way, the command decisions of the OPP in respect of the events which occurred at Ipperwash Provincial Park in September 1995."

Mr Phillips: There it is.

Hon Mr Young: No, sir, I think it's a pretty accurate review of it. He goes on to admit in this document, "After the commencement of the occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park on September 4, 1995 and prior to the death of Dudley George you had no contact" -- in other words, the commissioner admits he had no contact -- "or communication with the defendants" -- and he lists them, including the former Premier, Michael Harris -- "or any other member of government with respect to the events which occurred at Ipperwash Provincial Park...."

Included in there, sir, is the paragraph that says he was not "directed or pressured by" the former Premier "or the other government defendants or ... any member of government to remove the occupiers from" the park.

Ultimately, it will be up to the judge to weigh that admission against the handwritten notes and other documents, and a decision will be made. It's not for you and me to make that decision, sir.

The Speaker: The time for question period is over. Oh, the point of order, the member, for next week --

Hon Chris Stockwell (Minister of the Environment, Government House Leader): Before I go forward, I know I have consent from the other parties --

Interjection: You don't have the floor.

The Speaker: The minister take his seat for a second. That was a point of order, wasn't it?

Hon Mr Stockwell: Yes.

The Speaker: It is a point of order. We'll deal with this one first. Sorry.

Hon Mr Stockwell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I know I have consent from the opposition parties for next week's private member's business to substitute Mr Sampson in for the second hour of private members' business, allowing the bill Mr Klees submitted to stand in his name. I know I have consent.

The Speaker: Agreed.

Mr Phillips: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I serve notice of my dissatisfaction with the answer by the Attorney General and request an opportunity to have what we call here a late show.

The Speaker: The member would know to file that with the table, if he would.


Hon Chris Stockwell (Minister of the Environment, Government House Leader): I wasn't quite clear enough on that point of order. Let me try again.

Mr Sampson will take the second hour of private members' public business next Thursday and agree to stand for Mr Klees in his private member's bill. Is that good? I think everyone knows what we're driving at here, because Mr Klees is the private member who was supposed to be up next Thursday. He obviously got a huge promotion today, for which I applaud him. I talked about it at House leaders this morning. All I'm trying to do is substitute Mr Sampson for Mr Klees and his bill for next Thursday.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): What you're asking for is unanimous consent? I know we're having a little bit of fun but we need to be clear: what we're asking for is Mr Sampson and Mr Klees -- no, not change places, because he doesn't get one now. But Mr Sampson will take Mr Klees's place next week, the second hour of private members' business, and stand with the same bill that Mr Klees had.

Is there unanimous consent? Thank you. We have that.

Now the government House leader for the orders next week.

Hon Mr Stockwell: I appreciate your patience.


Hon Chris Stockwell (Minister of the Environment, Government House Leader): Pursuant to standing order 55, I have a statement of business of the House for next week.

On Monday afternoon we'll be debating waterfront restoration. That's Bill 151. On Monday evening we will be debating Bill 177, the Municipal Act.

On Tuesday afternoon it will be the Liberals' opposition day. In the evening we will be debating Bill 175, water and waste water services, which is a fine act, if I might add.

On Wednesday, by agreement we will adjourn after routine proceedings for the Queen's visit. I'll repeat that because it's unusual: on Wednesday of next week we will adjourn after routine proceedings, which means after petitions, for the Queen's visit, and there will be no session in the evening as well.

On Thursday morning, during private members' business, we will be debating exactly what I just got clarified a minute ago -- because I'm not going there any more -- on Thursday afternoon we will be debating Bill 175, and in the evening, Bill 181, which is the legal aid services bill.




Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): This is a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads as follows:

"Whereas the Eves government has increased the fees paid for by seniors and the most vulnerable living in long-term-care facilities 15% or $7.02 per diem effective August 1, 2002; and

"Whereas this fee increase will cost seniors and our most vulnerable more than $200 a month; and

"Whereas this increase is 11.1% above the rent increase guidelines for tenants in the province of Ontario; and

"Whereas the increase in" Ontario's "own contribution to raise the level of long-term-care services this year is less than $2 per resident per day; and

"Whereas according to the government's own funded study, Ontario ranks last among comparable jurisdictions in the amount of time provided to a resident for nursing and personal care; and

"Whereas the long-term-care funding partnership has been based on government accepting the responsibility to fund the care and services that residents need; and

"Whereas government needs to increase long-term-care operating funding by $750 million over the next three years to raise the level of service for Ontario's long-term-care residents to those in Saskatchewan" back "in 1999; and

"Whereas this province has been built by seniors who should be able to live out their lives with dignity, respect and in comfort in this province;

"We the undersigned petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"Demand that Premier Eves reduce his 15% fee increase on seniors and the most vulnerable living in long-term-care facilities and increase provincial government support for nursing and personal care to adequate levels."

I affix my signature.


Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): I have a petition sent to me by the Little School in Orleans, Ontario. It reads as follows:

"Whereas 70% of Ontario women with children under age 12 are in the paid workforce;

"Whereas high-quality, safe, affordable child care is critical to them and their families;

"Whereas the Early Years study done for the Conservative government by Dr Fraser Mustard and the Honourable Margaret McCain concluded quality child care enhances early childhood development;

"Whereas this government has cut funding for regulated child care instead of supporting Ontario families by investing in early learning and care;

"Therefore, be it resolved that the Ontario government adopt the NDP's $10-a-day child care plan and begin implementation by reducing full child care fees to $10 a day for children aged two to five currently enrolled in regulated child care, by providing capital funds to expand existing child care centres and build new ones, by funding pay equity for staff and by creating new $10-a-day child care spaces in the province."

I agree with the petitioners and I've affixed my signature to this.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr David Christopherson): Now you guys are going to work this out, so don't you confuse my life by standing up. I'll recognize the member from Durham.


Mr John O'Toole (Durham): Thank you, Mr Speaker. The members on this side of the House are always speaking on behalf of their constituents. The member from Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale will be next, I think.

To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Rick Kerr has distinguished himself as a dedicated member of Durham College through 25 years of service; and

"Whereas his commitment to student success and professionalism has set an outstanding example for Ontario's college education sector; and

"Whereas his nickname of `Captain KPI' should in no way diminish his accomplishments of organizing program mapping when no one else would; and

"Whereas Rick's proficiency as a squash player and his status as the most physically fit person on campus has earned him only passing glares; and

"Whereas his commitment to student fashion has made the police foundations program clothing order an international event for the textile industry; and

"Whereas the Kerr family has an outstanding reputation in the community for teaching, and Rick also teaches;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to recognize Rick Kerr's long service and dedication to the Durham College community."

Andrea Brown from Bowmanville signed this petition, along with hundreds of others.


Ms Caroline Di Cocco (Sarnia-Lambton): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Union Gas/Duke Energy has had a retroactive increase in natural gas prices approved with interest by the Ontario Energy Board; and

"Whereas all the appointees have been appointed by the provincial Conservative government; and

"Whereas the Ministry of Energy gave itself the authority in 1998 to review the decisions of the board if they are not in the public interest; and

"Whereas the company applying for these increases is already very profitable and is making more money than ever before; and

"Whereas this retroactive increase is unfair, unbusinesslike and holds consumers hostage;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That the Minister of Energy intervene to overturn this decision and protect the public interest and the consumers of natural gas."

I affix my signature to the petition.


Mr Raminder Gill (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale): This is a petition to the Legislative Assemble of Ontario:

"Whereas Rick Kerr has distinguished himself as a dedicated member of Durham College through 25 years of service; and

"Whereas his commitment to student success and professionalism has set an outstanding example for Ontario's college education sector; and

"Whereas his nickname of `Captain KPI' should in no way diminish his accomplishment of organizing program mapping when no one else would; and

"Whereas Rick's proficiency as a squash player and his status as the most physically fit person on campus has earned him only passing glares; and

"Whereas his commitment to student fashion has made the police foundations program clothing order an international event for the textile industry; and"

"Whereas the Kerr family has an outstanding reputation in the community for teaching and Rick also teaches;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to recognize Rick Kerr's long service and dedication to the Durham College community as follows."

It has been signed by many people, and I am happy to put my name to it as well. I will have Kevin, the very hard-working page, deliver that to the desk.


Mr Pat Hoy (Chatham-Kent Essex): A petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Ontario Energy Board has consented to allow Union Gas to retroactively charge $40 per month for a three-month period to recover additional system operation costs that occurred during the winter of 2000-01 totalling approximately $150 million; and

"Whereas Union Gas will recover accrued costs over the peak heating season, causing undue hardship; and

"Whereas this retroactive charge will affect all customers who receive Union Gas, including new homeowners and new customers to Union Gas;

"Therefore, be it resolved that we, the undersigned, demand that the Ernie Eves government issue a policy directive under section 27.1 of the Ontario Energy Board Act disallowing the retroactive rate hike granted to Union Gas; and we further demand that the Legislature examine the Ontario Energy Board, its processes and its resources, and make changes that will protect consumers from further retroactive rate increases."


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands): I had it prepared, but I didn't think we would get to it today. But here they are, hundreds of petitions dealing with the long-term care situation addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Eves government has increased the fees paid for by seniors and the most vulnerable living in long-term-care facilities by 15% or $7.02 per diem effective August 1, 2002; and

"Whereas this fee increase will cost seniors and our most vulnerable more than $200 a month; and

"Whereas this increase is 11.1% above the rent increase guidelines for tenants in the province of Ontario; and

"Whereas the increase in the government's own contribution to raise the level of long-term-care services this year is less than $2 per resident per day; and

"Whereas according to the government's own funded study, Ontario ranks last amongst comparable jurisdictions in the amount of time provided to a resident for nursing and personal care; and

"Whereas the long-term-care funding partnership has been based on government accepting the responsibility to fund the care and services that residents need; and

"Whereas government needs to increase long-term-care operating funding by $750 million over the next three years to raise the level of service for Ontario's long-term-care residents to the same as those in Saskatchewan in 1999; and

"Whereas this province has been built by seniors who should be able to live out their lives with dignity, respect and comfort in this province.

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"Demand that Premier Eves reduce his 15% fee increase on seniors and the most vulnerable living in long-term-care facilities and increase provincial government support for nursing and personal care to adequate levels."

As I mentioned before, it's been signed by hundreds of people from all over the province. I agree with it and I have signed it, and I'm handing it to our page Philip.



The Deputy Speaker (Mr David Christopherson): Pursuant to standing order 37(a), the member for Scarborough-Agincourt has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Attorney General concerning Ipperwash. The matter will be debated today at 6 pm.



Resuming the debate adjourned on October 2, 2002, on the motion for second reading of Bill 175, An Act respecting the cost of water and waste water services / Projet de loi 175, Loi concernant le coût des services d'approvisionnement en eau et des services relatifs aux eaux usées.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr David Christopherson): We will resume the debate. It's my understanding that the member for Toronto-Danforth has the floor and so she may continue with her opening debate.


Ms Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth): Thanks for the applause from the Minister of the Environment. I know he was listening very carefully to some of my remarks yesterday, and I will continue on.

Just to give a brief synopsis of what I was talking about yesterday, I was giving the backdrop to this bill and talking about, as Mr Bradley, the Liberal critic, talked about earlier, the deep and severe cuts to the Ministry of the Environment in all its resources. The budget was slashed and the front-line staff was slashed. Over 40% of the water staff, people who deal with water, were cut.

I was referring to Justice O'Connor's two reports, part one and part two, and urging people to read these reports in their entirety to really get a sense and overview of what happened in Walkerton and how we're sadly letting down our constituents in terms of providing safe water in this province.

Something that comes through in both reports, particularly in the part two report, is that Justice O'Connor's guiding principle to ensure safe drinking water is to protect our water from source to tap. So far, with the pieces of legislation that have been brought forward, and that includes the Nutrient Management Act and this bill before us today, and from what I've seen, the government's draft Safe Drinking Water Act, none of those bills are in any way doing anything about source protection, which is the underpinning of what we have to do to protect our water.

The minister said that's being worked on and perhaps, perhaps, in six months we might see something. But again, I'll remind people that an election is looming and I have grave concerns that we're not going to see any kind of source protection act come before this House before the election, which means we have to seize the opportunity to make sure that source protection is dealt with to the extent that we can under this bill and under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Before I turn specifically to discussing the act and my concerns and the New Democratic caucus's concerns about the bill, I want to turn briefly to the recent Environmental Commissioner's report, the annual report for 2001-02. I would ask people to refer specifically to pages 47 and 48. I asked a question about this, and it's indeed absolutely chilling to read something like this in the wake of Walkerton and to see that still nothing has been done about it.

I'm going to read the quote directly. Mr Justice O'Connor says, "Unfortunately, MOEE severely cut back on its monitoring network, from 730 stations in 1995 to 240 by 2000. Only six of these stations are located across the vast expanse of northern Ontario. The remainder represent less than six stations per major watershed in southern Ontario. The dismantling of the network seems clearly inconsistent with MOEE's 2001/2002 business plan. The water bodies at the stations are sampled between" -- and then he goes on to how infrequently they're examined. "No consolidation or interpretive reports are produced from the acquired data, and this severely limits the usefulness of the data to environmental decision-making and to the public."

This is still going on after Walkerton. You turn the page to 48, just to continue on why this is so important and why source protection and ground protection is so important.

"Most Ontario residents have little knowledge of the state of water quality in their local streams or lakes, or how the character of those water bodies might be changing as a result of climate change," which is very relevant today, given this government's lack of commitment to the Kyoto accord, lack of commitment to shutting down the coal-fired plants, lack of commitment to energy conservation and efficiency programs, and its lack of commitment to bringing forward in a timely fashion the recommendations from the alternative fuels committee, which I sat on.

Justice O'Connor and the Environmental Commissioner both spoke at some length about the importance of protecting our water at the source. Again, as we talk about this bill, it's shocking to have this information before us. That is the background to which I speak when I talk about this bill.

I'm going to give you some concerns that the New Democratic Party has about the bill, and indeed some of those concerns are shared by some of the key environmental groups, like the Canadian Environmental Law Association, who's done a brief and sent it to the government, and their views of the bill; and from the conservation authority, as well.

The bigger flaws in the bill really do jump out at you. In some ways it's a very technical bill. But I'm going to give you a few of the bigger concerns I have.

It really should be called the "forced privatization bill," because that's what it really comes down to, as it allows the minister to impose a privatization scheme if he chooses to. Given this government's penchant for privatizing things and the context of what's happening with hydro right now, we understand why this bill is written the way it is.

It tries to establish full cost recovery for water, but again, as you'd expect, I'm not surprised -- from what we've seen so far -- this government's environmental short-sightedness. It does not include source protection in that cost.

For the record, I went into some detail yesterday about the implications of cost recovery and the various financial models that should be looked at, and the passages from Justice O'Connor's part two report about the need to make sure that municipalities who can't afford full cost recovery, that there's a financial model in place. In other words, the province cannot pull completely out of this, and we have to make sure that the standards are even across the province. If municipalities or individuals cannot afford full cost recovery in their jurisdiction, we expect the government to step in. There are all kinds of financial models that we have to look at to make sure that everybody can afford to turn the tap on, and that all of these, especially smaller municipalities, can afford to protect their water.

Having said that, what's missing from this particular bill is source protection, which municipalities are going to have to have to be required to do.

The other thing that this bill does, in my view, is give far too much power to the ministry. The way it's written now, the minister can basically order a municipality to privatize or change its business practices. When the municipality comes back and is having trouble raising revenues through their ratepayers, then the minister can order that municipality to privatize its system. I'm going to get into a little bit more detail in a few minutes about problems with that.


The other problem is, like a lot of other bills that come before us, there's too much left to regulation, so we don't know what the final product is going to be. I'm glad the minister said he's in favour of public hearings on this, because I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will want to give their views on what should be in these regulations.

This bill sets no standards and it gives us absolutely no sense of how the minister -- right now, it's Minister Stockwell. Who knows who it's going to be next? We've had a lot of environmental ministers in this government over the years. The delegation powers of the minister are far too broad. He basically has the ability, if he wants, to contract out his own job.

This is a very sneaky way to privatize through the back door. It's sort of hidden in this bill, but when you read it, it is very clear that that's what this bill will provide for. In that sense, this bill is not just about making our drinking water safe; it's about forwarding this government's privatization agenda.

The bill identifies regulated entities that are eligible to provide water and waste water services, which could be a municipal department, utility board or corporation, to a municipality. The bill gives the government broad powers to mess around with municipalities' financial systems and could be a serious threat to local decision-making.

I would say to the government, if they want to privatize water, just say so. Say it openly and then we can deal with it. I think it's incumbent upon us to make the public aware that that is a major component of this bill and that we will not allow it to be snuck in in the back pages of the bill before us.

The government's so-called SuperBuild department had commissioned eight grand studies of various models for funding water infrastructure -- and we know that's going to be a lot of money -- which are intended to rationalize and justify the government's failing privatization agenda as we have seen in the SuperBuild program. These are very critical topics for discussion, yet the government did not initiate any public discussion or consultations on any of those issues or studies and only quietly released four out of the eight studies. The other four were not released.

The other implication for privatization in this bill is that it allows -- and potentially even requires -- private sector interests to extract large quantities of water for export to other jurisdictions. First, what could happen here under this bill, if it's passed in this form, is it could privatize the water systems which, under NAFTA, opens up Canadian water systems to competition from corporations from all over the world and then you give those foreign corporations the ability to extract large quantities of water.

I'm going to, at this point, give you some ideas of the perils of privatizing our water systems.

You will recall a few years ago the government brought in a bill -- I forget the name and number of the bill -- that would lead to privatization of water systems. There was a great flurry of activity at the time and the government backed off, but we certainly did our research at that time. It was under the Harris government several years ago. Indeed, since that time there has been more privatization of water systems in Ontario and across the world.

What we have to bear in mind when we're looking at all of these issues related to water is that water is essential for life. It's absolutely essential for life on this planet. The concern now is that our water is in danger of being sold to the highest bidder.

I just want to tell you that the for-profit water industry -- we already have the evidence that, in general, it has a very poor record of service. There are several water companies that have been tainted with corruption charges. I just want to let you know the size of the industry -- and this is not a bogeyman. This is real; this is happening. The private water corporations already are generating worldwide revenues of $120 billion per year; that's four times the annual sales of Microsoft, for heaven's sake. This is already happening. So already across the world, some of these private companies are making over $1 billion from selling one of our most precious resources, something that we need to sustain life, and making a profit off it.

I've already talked about considering the costs of privatization and what we have seen here in Ontario. I again went into more detail about this yesterday. Mr Speaker, if you're interested, because I don't believe you heard my speech yesterday, you could always read yesterday's Hansard, because I went into -- and I'm sure you will. Write down the page numbers.

I went into some detail about what happened in Walkerton and went to the Walkerton part one report and talked about the privatization of those labs by the Tory government. I said, and I'll repeat this, that one of the Tory members came across the floor to me and in essence was blaming the NDP once again -- I thought we were over that -- and said to me, "Did you know that Walkerton started using a private lab in 1994 when you were in government?"

Well, I pointed out -- and you will be able to see this in Hansard, and it's very clear in the part one report -- that that in fact isn't correct. I don't know where he got that from. Walkerton had been using the public health labs provided for free, the service provided for free, up until the government got rid of those. We often talk only about the four labs under the Ministry of the Environment which were closed down, but there were, I think, 13 other labs under the Ministry of Health which still were not charging any fees, and they in fact were testing Walkerton's water up until 1996, I think it was. Then the government got rid of those as well. So that's what happened there.

We know there were several tragic, terrible events that happened that led to the deaths of those people and the terrible illnesses that in particular have left many children very sick, who will be for the rest of their lives, perhaps on kidney dialysis and with other problems. We know that thousands were made seriously ill.

That's because the government turned the testing of water over to the private sector. Was it seven weeks? I know you can't talk back to me, Mr Speaker. I think it was seven or eight weeks they had in order to find a private lab. And there were no regulations. There was no oversight by the government, no accreditation required. So those smaller towns were out there desperately looking for labs without any oversight from the government. That's one of the things: the reporting mechanism fell apart once those labs were privatized, and no system was put in place to help the municipalities deal with not only getting a lab that could do the required work, but that would also understand the reporting systems that had been in place for a number of years.

The other thing we know is happening now across Canada is that groundwater is being given away to bottled water companies. They pay nothing for it, and then they sell it back to us in bottles. Ontario has now lost track of how much groundwater is left. We don't know. But we know that more than 18 billion litres a year are being taken out.

I'm going to give you some examples, because I have said this, and if I'm going to be making these accusations -- and this is documented, that some of these companies, these for-profit water industries, have been involved in corruption charges. I'm going to give you some examples of some of the things that have been happening.

In December 2000, in Goderich, Ontario, they made a deal with a French company called US Filter Canada, otherwise known as Vivendi. It's the largest water company in the world. It has been investigated in six separate corruption cases and is currently -- it had been, anyway; I'm not sure if it's still going on -- under a major judicial review in France for participating in a whole series of corruption activities between 1989 and 1996. They were charged with imposing a 2% levy on all their contracts, and then do you know what they were doing with that 2% levy -- or what they were charged with? They were giving those funds to political parties. Doesn't that make you worry?

Mr AL McDonald (Nipissing): Not at all.


Ms Churley: Well, it wouldn't make Tories wonder, because we've looked at some of the donations that have gone to leadership candidates there from big companies here in Canada, in Ontario, and some of those connections have been pointed out, particularly around gaming.

They have also been prosecuted for supplying water unfit for consumption in one town in France. That was for 476 days between 1990 and 1993. Then again in Sydney, Australia, in 1998, another huge water giant failed to inform the public for weeks about the presence of cryptosporidium. We all well know that is a parasite that's found in water. You'll recall that before Walkerton, and I remember standing on my feet and asking questions about this, there was a man who died. I think there was only one death -- and one death was too many; I believe it was in Barrie -- from cryptosporidium in the water. At that time, I rose and asked questions of the government, as did other members, about what they were going to do to improve our testing of water and information to the public.

I also want to talk a bit about what costs would be involved if we continue to put our water supply in private hands. We are very well aware that this is an issue that is out there and is causing great concern. I know the Council of Canadians, Maude Barlow and others have been doing a great job across the country alerting people to the fact that there is a lot of pressure on all governments, it seems, the federal government and across Canada, to allow us to sell our water and allow it to be shipped out of the country. If bulk exports of water start, we all know that it will be very difficult and costly to stop them. My hometown in Newfoundland had recently been toying with exporting tankerloads of lake water to the US, and we all expressed a concern about that because it would have set a precedent for all of Canada.

The last thing I want to say about water privatization, and you'll recall this, is that when the government was in the process of moving forward with the privatization of our water, we in our party, and I recall this very well, did our research and found out what happened in Britain after that water system was privatized. I'm just going to remind the House, and the members who were here will recall -- not all were here at that time -- that we raised these issues at the time, the perils of privatizing our water for profit.

The British water companies have been found guilty of supplying water that is of poor quality. The water rates went way up, so private water means higher water costs, and here we are talking about full cost recovery, which I think most of us in the House agree to as long as it's done in such a way that poorer, smaller municipalities and individuals are subsidized. Somehow we have to find a funding model that will meet those goals. But in the same breath that we're talking about this, this bill would allow the privatization and rates would go even higher, just as we're seeing with the privatization of hydro right now. The private water experience in Britain proves this.

I remember that when we were investigating it back then, one of the most shocking things that happened in Britain was that poor people actually had their water turned off because they couldn't pay the private company rates. They had their water turned off. That happened in Britain. It is well documented.

Private water discourages investment in upgrading and infrastructure renewal. Again, I come back to the British experience. It showed that -- are we surprised by this? It's their job -- multinationals focus on maximum profits. That's what companies do. That's why they shouldn't be allowed to take over our water. Their main goal is not the public well-being. That's what multinational companies do. They're out there to make money for themselves and their shareholders. For instance, when the British water regulator told the water companies to reduce water costs and improve their infrastructure, one water company reported that they would slow down improvement programs.

The other problem, and it's a real concern, is that the evidence showed in Britain that the water companies paid less attention to preserving the environment. With public water systems, citizens can and do, as was evident in this House before and after Walkerton happened -- can be involved in bringing in programs that preserve the environment and deal with environmentally sensitive policies. But when commercial interests and profits dominate, we don't have the opportunity to do that. It becomes much harder. British water companies turned out to be the worst environmental offenders in the country, and illegal sewage discharges topped the list.

So that's just a brief summary of some of the things that went wrong in Britain and France when their water systems were privatized.

I want to discuss a little more why I'm concerned and why others are concerned about full cost recovery being defined too narrowly in this bill and, as I mentioned earlier when I spoke, the need to have source protection be the linchpin, the centrepiece, of all of the new water regulations and bills that we bring to the House.

I have a letter here from Conservation Ontario and I also have a submission from CELA, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, expressing their concern about the limitations. I'm going to read you a little bit of this letter from Richard D. Hunter, who is the general manager of Conservation Ontario. What he says is:

"Conservation Ontario has reviewed with concern the interpretation of the Canadian Environmental Law Association ... which suggests that `municipalities that want to include the types of source protection and watershed protection costs ... may actually find that not only are they not in the definition of full cost, they are actually expressly forbidden to charge for these costs.' This is clearly undesirable since it would undermine a municipality's ability to deliver source protection as the first step in protecting their residents' drinking water supplies."

He goes on to say, "In particular, but not limited to this, full cost accounting must include the cost of watershed infrastructure that provides the source of water supply or improves waste water ... capacity of the receiving stream, including that infrastructure that is operated by the conservation authorities on behalf of one or several municipalities. As written," the bill "provides no mechanism to recognize this direct cost of water/waste water in the municipal water/waste water bills."

So this is something that is of great concern to all of us. Obviously, we're going to have to work out the funding mechanisms later so that it's fair and so that people are recognizing the full cost of water.

Clearly, the government needs to bring in water conservation programs. I would see a full cost funding arrangement, not seeing the government completely pull out, but being there when it's needed -- and also bringing in water conservation programs which, I might add, the New Democratic Party did when we were in government, when we set up OCWA, the Ontario Clean Water Agency. A major component of that was that any municipality that applied for funding to upgrade, expand or build a new water treatment system had to build in a conservation plan. We have examples. I believe it was Collingwood that did that. They expanded a system, with those conservation components built in. Actually, they got money from our government and then they continued to save money because of the conservation programs. So that's going to be a critical part of any financial arrangement that comes out of the concept of full cost accounting.


The most important thing is to ensure that everyone in Ontario has clean and safe drinking water; and the funding model for water must ensure that all water is affordable for all Ontarians. That's a given: we have to have a high standard right across the province, uniformly across the province. So even if you're a smaller municipality and you can't afford it, there has to be a mechanism for the government to step in and deal with that, so that they don't do what they did recently after bringing in their new regulations. When some municipalities were unable to meet those requirements, they were given a six-month deadline. What we don't want to see across the province are those municipalities that can afford more upgrading their systems to make their water safer, and those communities that can't having a lower standard. We all want every single person in this province to be able to know that when they turn on their tap their water is safe. But that doesn't mean that because we want to keep the costs down we can just ignore the first barrier in what Justice O'Connor called a comprehensive source-to-tap plan.

The bill, as I said, has been criticized in those particular areas by environmental groups, including CELA and Conservation Ontario, for its exclusion of water source protection. There is an important link between watershed management and the efficient delivery of water and waste water services to the public. Projects to improve and protect water quality at its source as well as projects that improve the capacity of the environment to absorb waste water are both vital.

The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario just finished blasting the government, as I mentioned earlier, for abandoning the water quality monitoring stations without ever solving the problem of why our water sources are deteriorating. This is just such a terrible oversight -- I guess "oversight" is too mild a word for it in the wake of Walkerton. I want to get this phrase out there as much as I can, so people start thinking of protecting our water, not just what comes out the other end of the pipe but protecting it before it hits our pipes, and that's to institute a source-to-tap policy, which means that all of the bills, any new regulations, any new legislation that comes in dealing with water -- and none of the bills that have come forward to date are dealing with this essential component.

I want to address my concerns about far too much power being given to the ministry and the minister, and I'm going to outline some of those powers. The minister is authorized to approve, amend or impose another cost-recovery plan for any reason whatsoever. These are, in my view, sweeping powers for one person to exercise, considering that we are going to be dealing with a community of people who have elected councils to represent their interests. As I said earlier, this bill -- we are going to have to rely on regulations later -- does not lay out any details regarding the standards that the ministry will use in approving those plans. I think this is an unforgivable omission, this is something that we should be discussing as we discuss this bill, but my reason, again, for why I believe these criteria are omitted is that the government will just tell municipalities that they have to privatize to meet the requirements of the government.

Further, there is no "purpose" section in this legislation that would give us any comfort in indicating what the minister might use as guidance. I'd like to see it in a new bill. I have it for my Safe Drinking Water Act, and it's highly recommended in all acts, to lay out very clearly exactly what the purpose is. If you do that, then it gives an overview of what the act is supposed to be achieving. The government has now taken that out of the Safe Drinking Water Act they will be bringing forward, and I'm hoping they'll accept an amendment to bring back the purpose section I had in my bill, which is no longer on the table.

Further, what this means is that without a purpose section in the legislation the government can add or ignore any element that includes the concepts of water efficiency and conservation, reduced consumption, protecting water for the future and protecting public health in the interpretation of the act. Those are the kinds of things that should be in the purpose statement.

The bill should provide some explicit directions for the government's role in relation to the bill, but it does none of that. We will be putting forward amendments that will fix that, and I hope the government will support those amendments. This means, again, that it ignores the wishes of a publicly elected council, ignoring the public's wishes.

The bill also doesn't provide for any public input into the development of the plans themselves. I know the minister said yesterday that he wants to take this out for hearings and I know he's going to take the safe drinking water bill out for hearings, and we're expecting extensive hearings across the province on both these bills, but there is no opportunity built in for public consultation around the development of the plans, and that's something we have to ensure we change. If a "regulated entity" is not implementing an improved plan or not taking all necessary steps to pay the full costs, the minister is also authorized to order -- I see I'm running out of time here. How did that happen? I'm not nearly finished.

I will have substantive amendments that I will be bringing forward to the minister during the public hearings. I will end by saying that the very first thing the government needs to do, today, is announce that they're putting the resources back into the Ministry of the Environment or otherwise all these bills are not worth the pieces of paper they're written on, because there won't be anybody there to enforce the new laws.

The Deputy Speaker: The member's time for debate has expired. Members now have up to two minutes for questions or comments.

Hon Chris Stockwell (Minister of Environment and Energy, Government House Leader): I appreciate the comments made by the member for Toronto-Danforth, the NDP critic for the Ministry of the Environment. I can't say I agree with everything you said. Some of it was, I would say, somewhat partisan and controversial. I'm not saying that's wrong. This is supposed to be a partisan and controversial place. But I will say that some of what you said I found interesting and probably something we could talk about at committee, with respect to certain amendments to this bill. As I said to you yesterday, I'm not opposed to looking at legitimate amendments. They must live within the spirit of Justice O'Connor's report -- not just the spirit, but the actual workings of it. It's difficult drafting legislation from that report, because, as you know, it's going to take three or four bills to do exactly what Justice O'Connor wants us to do. Again, I want to reiterate what I said yesterday, that I'm very interested in having a conversation about that at committee.

Water monitoring: water quality monitoring stations in Ontario have been increased from 240 to more than 350 stations between 2000 and 2002. The 350 stations are part of the ministry's provincial water quality monitoring network. Ontario already has one of the most comprehensive stream water quality monitoring networks in Canada. The ministry continuously reviews the need for enhanced monitoring at specific stations or new locations.

Our first priority after Walkerton was to ensure the delivery of safe drinking water in Ontario. With respect to the water monitoring stations, I want to be clear. On the argument that it was X and now it's Y, when it comes to Canadian jurisdictions we are near or at the top with respect to the number of water monitoring stations due to size and population. Can we do better? The Environmental Commissioner has told us we could, so yes, I believe we can. But let's not leave the impression that we have not tried to beef up water monitoring in the last couple of years by actually producing 110 more stations to try and do better. That will grow. I just wanted to leave that impression out there. I only get two minutes. You had an hour's speech and you touched on a number of subjects, but I just wanted to put that across.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I think the member was quite accurate and it was appropriate for her to draw to the attention of the Legislature the very substantial reduction in the number of those monitoring stations. Now that the Environmental Commissioner has indicated to the Ministry of the Environment that he is going to do a report on it, of course we now have the government scrambling to have some more monitoring stations put in place. But I think we have to remember the original figures. When this government came into office, there were 730 monitoring stations, and we were down to 240 by the year 2000. So I understand that when they heard from the Environmental Commissioner's office, quickly they're going to scramble to try to get those monitoring stations back in place. They still have a long, long way to go, and those of us in the opposition will try to help the minister out. We always try to help the minister out whenever we can, with his cabinet colleagues.

The member is also quite right in saying that all of the legislation will not be nearly as helpful as we would like unless we see the Ministry of the Environment restored in terms of the staff it had, the financial resources it had and the clout it had within government before this government came into office. That's absolutely essential, because otherwise it will simply be on paper and we won't have the enforcement mechanism we need.

The member also, at the beginning of her speech, appropriately pointed out her concern about the agenda being privatization -- that is, the privatization of the ownership of municipal water systems, which at the present time, by and large, are owned and operated by municipalities, or by OCWA, which indeed is what we would call a quasi-crown corporation. He also mentioned, appropriately, that she sees the principle behind this bill as being reasonable. I think we'd agree on that, but it certainly does require amendments.


Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton): The member made an interesting speech. Of course the speech is always halfway between the dire areas that we're moving into and the legitimate comment that the bill provokes. That's always an interesting speech.

There are many areas where, as the minister pointed out earlier, this bill is certainly open to some amendments, providing that they move within the spirit that Justice O'Connor has pointed out from his consultations in Walkerton.

Certainly, Ontario has always been known for its clean water and its pristine environment, and the purpose of this bill is to ensure that that kind of international reputation is maintained and indeed enhanced so that Ontarians and people around the world have confidence in our ability to produce clean water, not only our drinking water but also in the lakes and streams and those areas of the province that have seen some pollution in the past. It's very important, from an environmental point of view, that the legacy of our agricultural communities, the legacy of the forest industries, the legacy of our national parks are all enhanced with clean water, with sources of water that are pure and can be relied on in the future to maintain a very high level of environmental integrity throughout the province of Ontario.

Mr Michael Bryant (St Paul's): I want to say that there are many residents of St Paul's who have called my office expressing great concern and hope that in fact they can one day soon have their confidence restored in the quality of water. It was obviously shaken after Walkerton, and the mission here is to restore that confidence for all Ontarians.

A number of residents of St Paul's are tenants -- 68% of the riding is tenants -- and any changes to any utilities affecting tenants immediately automatically gets passed on to them. A very odd result has followed the so-called Tenant Protection Act -- I don't even think it was the intention of the drafters; I know we've got a former housing minister in our midst, and I don't think that even he would have imagined that this would happen -- whereby landlords are able to pass along the cost of the increase of utilities, but when utilities then decrease thereafter, such as happened with respect to natural gas costs in the city of Toronto, they don't then have to pass on that decrease. It results in, really, what can only be described as an unjust enrichment. It is something that the government of Ontario has got to address. It's just fundamentally unfair to permit a landlord to, in effect, double-dip, to pass along the cost but not pass along the savings to tenants. As a result, you're going to see, with changes in utility costs, skyrocketing tenant prices.

It's why, in the riding of St Paul's, the increase in hydro prices is probably going to be a double hit for those tenants, because not only will they have to pay eventually, through increased rents, for those increases, but if and when electricity prices ever go down again, they won't be able to have the savings passed on to them, and that's just wrong.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Toronto-Danforth now has up to two minutes to respond.

Ms Churley: I'd like to thank all the members for what I consider to be a fairly reasonable tone in response to my remarks overall. I appreciate that from the minister, his expressing an interest in looking seriously at amendments. But I have to say that sometimes I feel that, when he's speaking about the environmental bills he's bringing forward, we should see it as, "We're on the road to paradise." I see it more as a game of snakes and ladders, where you feel like you're going up the ladder for a while and then you look at the bill, because it has so many components that won't work, no resources attached etc, and you go down the snake. It's just back and forth.

We could, if we made the appropriate amendments to this bill, make it more of a road to paradise, or at least get us partially there, but it's not going to happen unless we make some substantive amendments to this bill.

I want to say to the minister as well that he talks about having to stick precisely to Justice O'Connor's recommendations. We hear the same thing about the select committee on alternative fuels: "We have to go by the letter. We signed off on that." Excuse me, Minister, you see that as a ceiling; I see it as the floor. I see it as, if we can make it better, we should. So I would appreciate it if we'd get off that subject, on both of those. If we can see a way to make those recommendations in both reports, like the coal-fired plants -- if we can close them earlier, let's do it. Let's not say, "We can't, we shouldn't, because the select committee -- you signed on to it, Ms Churley. Therefore, you can't discuss or suggest that we close them down earlier." The same thing is happening now with the Walkerton report. That, for me, is the floor. We should, if we can, do even better.

I don't have time to respond, and I will personally, to the comments about the dire comments I made here. We'll discuss that later.

The Deputy Speaker: The floor is open for further debate.

Mr Bob Wood (London West): It will come as no surprise to members of the House that I support this bill and that I think it's one of the most important bills we're going to pass this sitting. It gives transparency, accountability; it empowers the users of the systems. I think it's going to lead to more responsible use of our water resources and better conservation of them. I think it's a major step to giving all Ontarians access to clean, safe drinking water.

Why do I say it's going to provide greater accountability and empowerment? When you go to full cost recovery, that makes the users accountable for what they use. It also draws to their attention the cost of what they're doing.

Why do I say "empowerment"? Because they can then decide how much water they want and how much sewage they want to use. They then are in a position to decide what exactly they're going to get, and have the responsibility, of course, of paying for it. We have to bear in mind that where we do not have full cost recovery, any system, whether it's a water system, a waste water system or anything else, is subject to political vagaries. When budgets are tight, no money is available. The system therefore declines. When monies are available, the system then gets money. That, surely, is not a rational way to plan something as important as the provision of water and waste water services.

I think also that, in going to full cost recovery, we're going to change the way people generally think about water and waste water. They're going to understand the costs better. They're going to understand there is a cost to using water. They're going to understand there is a cost to disposing of used water and other waste.

They may begin to look more rationally at what areas they think of. Traditionally, when it comes to water and waste water, we have tended to think of municipal boundaries. But if you speak to somebody who is in the business, for lack of a better term, of water and waste water, they tend to think basically of river systems. Water comes into an area; water has to go out of an area. The artificial boundaries we tend to think in terms of really are outdated and unhelpful to solving the problem. I'm hopeful, as we go to full cost recovery, people are going to change their thinking and think more of water catchment areas and drainage areas.


I think it's also going to encourage us to look at planning rationally to have available the water and waste water services we want. There's a bad joke that I won't share with the House, but the punch line is, when it's not my money, cost is no object. I think that has tended to be, to some extent, how we've thought of water and waste water. Since we aren't actually writing a cheque each month, we don't have to worry about doing any planning. "Let somebody else do that." When we write the cheque, I think we're more likely to think about planning.

I might say, as well, that I agree with what some others have said, that there should be a subsidy so rates in smaller communities are not beyond the ability of people to pay. I would like to suggest that in implementing that, we have to be certain there's a mechanism to be sure that before Ontario -- I think that's likely to be who's going to be writing the cheque -- writes a cheque to anyone, they can demonstrate they're getting the best possible value for the dollars they're spending, before they have the opportunity to spend other people's money.

I'd like to turn for a few minutes to some of the details of the proposed bill.

If passed, the act would require all owners of systems to undertake a full cost accounting of their water and sewer systems. The detailed analyses are going to include all operating and capital costs, all sources of revenue, and the investment required to maintain and expand their systems.

Bill 175 will also require system owners to develop comprehensive asset management reports and then provide a plan for implementing full cost recovery.

All of this, when you think about it, sounds like fairly common and good business practice, but we have to face the fact that there are a significant number of systems out there now that are not doing all these things, and that's simply a valid critique of the current system. I think the full cost recovery complements what I just set out as the provisions in this bill, and vice versa. I think over time we're going to notice a real change for the better as we see that kind of planning and discipline take hold and make the system work a lot better.

Judge O'Connor, in his report, said, "In my opinion, if passed into law, the act" -- that being the act that's before the House today -- "will address many of the important issues concerning the financing of water systems.... The requirements for a full cost report and cost recovery plan, as generally expressed in the proposed act, are in my view appropriate."

I think what Judge O'Connor says is dead on and I think time is going to prove he is indeed correct.

He also strongly supported the implementation of asset management and full cost recovery plans in relation to drinking water treatment and distribution systems. He made far-reaching recommendations. As the members of this House know, we're implementing all of them.

Consultation is essential. As we have done with the proposed Safe Drinking Water Act and are currently doing with regulations for the Nutrient Management Act, we will continue to encourage public and stakeholder involvement.

I might remind members of the House that the Red Tape Commission, which has a mandate to provide regulatory excellence in Ontario, has as one of its principles that where you have regulation, as we're proposing here, you must also have consultation with those affected. I think the act implements what is known to be one of the solid principles of good regulatory policy.

We are going to hold extensive meetings with our municipal partners and others to ensure that decisions made on this bill make sense. I think the Minister's made it crystal clear that we are prepared to listen. We want to hear from the people who will be most directly affected, because they have the experience and the expertise to come up with needed solutions.

The Ernie Eves government is investing more than half a billion dollars in the next two years on clean, safe drinking water for the people of Ontario. The government will deliver on its budget commitment to establish the $500-million clean water legacy trust, and the Clean Water Centre of Excellence in Walkerton to provide access to the best scientific knowledge, research and technology and training in the management and monitoring of our safe drinking water.

I think, by the way, that the centre will be well advised to look at what public-private partnerships may be available to assist them in their work.

We heard some comments earlier today on what entities should deliver these services. I'd like to put on the record my view that public-private partnerships in the right circumstances can be of great benefit to the communities involved and to the people involved.

To date, the Eves government has provided municipalities and conservation authorities with over $14 million to conduct groundwater studies, the largest investment in groundwater source protection in the province's history.

I might say, I'm going to spend half a day tomorrow with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority to see their work and ideas in this area. I am told that they already have some good working models, and I hope they will provide their experience and their expertise to the centre in Walkerton. I hope they're called upon to do so.

A further $5 million will be provided this year to municipal stakeholders to undertake further work on source protection.

In addition, the government launched the $6-million provincial groundwater monitoring network in co-operation with Conservation Ontario, its member authorities and municipalities across the province.

It's time that all of us start considering the true cost of the water and sewage services we take for granted. It's the only way we can ensure that these services will be there to support the health and prosperity of future generations.

I encourage members of this Legislature to support the Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act as well as any amendments that come forward during consultations that they feel would be helpful.

Mr Speaker, I know that the opposition wants to get this bill through as quickly as possible and I know they want to put on the record a number of ideas they feel would be helpful in terms of what should be in the act and how to get it through quickly. I am therefore going to yield the balance of my time so that the opposition can put their ideas forward more quickly and we can get this bill through more quickly.

The Deputy Speaker: Members now have up to two minutes for questions and comments.

Mr Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence): Certainly we're all in favour of doing something about water infrastructure. It has been an area long neglected. I remember on local council in the city of Toronto for many years people would say, "Well, what's the use of spending money under the ground? People can't see it. Let's spend money on our parks. Let's spend money on more asphalt." They were always very reluctant to dig up the asphalt to put in sewers.

In the old city of York, we had combined sewers. I don't know if anybody here knows what a combined sewer is, but a lot of the city of Toronto is still on combined sewers. Maybe in Hamilton, Mr Speaker, it's the same thing. So something has to be done.

I do support the direction of this bill. I think there are a lot of good things in there that we have to look at. I know our party is looking at maybe making it a bit stronger. I hope that the Minister of the Environment will be open to our suggestions. I think we've got some good ones. But as I said, we think there are some things that can be done with this bill that will make it not be only a patchwork bill but a real breakthrough bill that we need, literally and figuratively.

Maybe one of the things this debate or discussion will do is encourage people to understand the importance of investing in infrastructure, whether it be the supply of water, the consumption of water and also the disposal of water. It's very expensive and very complex, but the one good thing we have going for us in Ontario is that we've got some of the best engineers, workers in this field, in the world. So they can do the job. We've got to give them the go-ahead to do it and hopefully find the resources for them to complete the job.

I think we're maybe at the beginning of something that can be fashioned into something manageable to solve this serious challenge that we have in Ontario.

Ms Churley: I must admit I couldn't quite hear every word that the member for London West said. I don't know if it's my hearing today or if he was talking softly.


Ms Churley: Yes, that's right. The first thing to go, maybe.

From what I did hear, I understand that he's in support of the bill, and no, we're not surprised by that. I was expecting that the member would be supporting the bill, and I believe he was also saying we need to give it fast passage so we can move ahead.


I do want to point out that you will recall that the member for Halton said in response to my comments earlier that I had made some legitimate comments and then there were some dire -- he used the word "dire" -- warnings, or something like that. He used "dire." I do want to say that it's really important for us, and government members should do it as well, to examine these bills very closely for the flaws.

I've got to remind you of this, speaking of dire warnings. Before Walkerton ever happened -- in fact, at the Walkerton inquiry I was there when the Premier was being questioned. Two questions that I had asked in the House previous to the tragic occurrences in Walkerton, directly to the government, to Mr Harris and to Mr Sterling, who was then the Minister of the Environment, suggesting that there could be dire consequences as a result of the way they privatized the labs, and at the time I was laughed at -- "What do you know? What are you talking about?" -- and put down and just shoved aside. And then it happened. Eva Ligeti also made these warnings, and it was shoved aside.

Sometimes it does sound like dire warnings, but now we know that they can come true. It should be a lesson to us that when these kinds of concerns are raised, they should be taken seriously and dealt with.

Mr McDonald: Clean, safe drinking water is definitely worth the investment, and I just want to congratulate the member from Toronto-Danforth, who has a passion for the subject, as we do, to ensure that Ontarians have safe, clean drinking water. I do congratulate you, because you show a lot of passion on this. I have known for the past five or six months that I've been here that you spoke very clearly about your beliefs, as we do.

It's unfortunate that the official opposition doesn't share the passion you and I do on safe, clean drinking water. They stand up and they say, "Yes, but...," "Yes, but...," "Yes, but...." Obviously, they don't have a plan or any idea what should and shouldn't be in this legislation, or I haven't heard any of it. But, Ms Churley, I congratulate you again for your passion on this.

Ms Churley: And my knowledge.

Mr McDonald: I share your beliefs --

Ms Churley: What about Bob's passion?

Mr McDonald: -- and I support what the member from London West said. On this legislation, there's no question that we have to consult with municipalities.


Mr McDonald: You know, I sat and listened to all the members speaking on this bill. I didn't interrupt them, and I don't understand why they're yelling across at me when I'm saying this is a great piece of legislation and I agree we need to protect the citizens of Ontario with regard to clean drinking water.

I'm happy to turn it over to you to make some comments. I guarantee I won't say anything when you stand up and speak, and I kind of wish you would share the same thought.

Mr Mario Sergio (York West): I was listening very attentively to the previous speakers, especially the advocate from Toronto-Danforth. She has been a true advocate on the issue, as well as the member from London West. I can see that both of them, and previous speakers on the issue, are taking the issue quite seriously.

I hope the government will take the issue indeed very seriously. Yes, we hope to see this particular piece of legislation going to hearings, and I hope that the government indeed, recognizing the importance of the legislation that they are proposing here, will allow sufficient time to hear all those concerns so indeed we can go on and approve of something that will be delivering safe, clean drinking water from the source to the tap. We want nothing less, and I'm sure they don't want anything less. We will be proposing a series of reasonable amendments which will be reflecting the views, the concerns, the recommendations of the O'Connor gospel, if I can call it the gospel, because I think we all praise those recommendations in that report. Only then can we say that the government has taken not only the issue very seriously but that it's addressing the concerns related to safe drinking water, that it's taking the report from Justice O'Connor very seriously, and only then can we say, yes, every member of this House should support this report. Until then, we'll see what happens to the public hearings and we'll see when this will come back to this House.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for London West now has up to two minutes to respond.

Mr Wood: I would like to thank --

Ms Churley: Show some passion, Bob.

Mr Wood: I'll do my best. I would like to thank all members who commented and offered responses. Reference was made to outdated infrastructure and an example was given in the city of Toronto of outdated infrastructure. I would like to remind the House that that's exactly the reason we are going to full cost recovery. Once we get this away from the vagaries of politics and into rational planning, I think you'll find there will be a lot fewer instances of that kind of problem. In fact, I'll be so bold to say there will be practically none.

We have heard some discussion about developing expertise here. One of the earlier speakers talked a bit about some of these larger companies. I think we should bear in mind as we consider this bill that these large entities develop very considerable expertise and export it to other countries. That's what the opportunity is that we have here. We can develop an expertise which will be an exportable business, for lack of a better term. We'll be in a position to share our expertise with others to the mutual benefit of ourselves and them.

Reference was made to regulations. I certainly think this is a bill where the devil is in the details. I intend to follow the regulations and policies that are brought forward to implement this bill very carefully, because if those aren't right, the whole purpose and effectiveness of the bill is going to be frustrated.

We heard a reference made to problems being on the horizon. Warnings were given and so on. I think that's absolutely right. I think we could have seen something like Walkerton coming. I think we need a bill like this to avoid another Walkerton.

The Deputy Speaker: The floor is open for further debate.

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I am pleased to join the debate on this bill. I carry around with me this document, Doing Business in Ontario. The third paragraph in it says, "Ontario means `"beautiful" ... "sparkling" ... "shining" ... water' in the languages of the aboriginal Iroquois, Mohawk and Huron First Nations."

It was sad. I think Walkerton was, in the last 10 years, perhaps the biggest story coming out of Ontario, kind of attacking the very meaning of our name. The document also goes on to point out that in Ontario water costs are among the lowest in the world, 35% cheaper than in the United States. That, of course, is going to have to change as we move to full cost recovery.

The last point I'll make here is that one of the things the report talks about is the number of regulations that were eliminated. I am very supportive of making it easier to do business in Ontario, provided we don't run the risk of sacrificing our basic health. In my opinion, the combination of a lack of priority on the environment over the last few years, a very dramatic reduction in the staffing in the Ministry of the Environment and the elimination of so much of the control, the oversight that we used to have, I think without a question of a doubt has contributed to this very dramatic problem we have with the quality of our water.


I'm our party's finance critic. I'd like to focus on the practicalities of the full cost recovery and to raise a concern our party has about the need for this bill to ensure that, in our moving forward to full cost recovery, we have made certain that all the municipalities across this province are able to make it happen.

The area I represent is called Scarborough-Agincourt. It's three kilometres by three kilometres. There are 110,000 people living in that very confined area. You can imagine that full cost recovery to deliver water to 110,000 people in an area of three kilometres by three kilometres is quite a different matter than full cost recovery delivered to a community of 3,000 people spread across a considerable amount of land.

The reason I raise this is that I have learned from experience here that this is a government that will say, "Trust us. We're going to let this horse out of the barn," only to find that, months or years later, the public of Ontario will come back to us and say, "Listen, you didn't look after my interests. You didn't make sure my interests were protected."

I say to all of us here that I don't think there's a question of a doubt that full cost recovery is a logical concept, that we do need to invest substantially in our water infrastructure, but -- Mr Wood said this -- the devil is in the details. For many communities across this province, it will be shocking when they find out the real implications of full cost recovery.

So what needs to be done? There need to be some mechanisms built in here to take that into account and to make certain this concept can work in reality. I understand the need for substantial investment in it. Conceptually, I think all of us recognize that there is a need for us to pay what the cost is to deliver our water, but there will be people in this province in shock when they find out that just because of where they live and the inherent cost in doing that, they're going to be faced with a huge, brand new tax.

The reason I focus on this is that I've learned my lesson. I remember the day the last election was called, May 5, 1999. That's the day the 407 was sold, literally that day. The new owner proudly brought a cheque down here for $3.1 billion and gave it to the then Minister of Finance, Mr Eves. The election was called and the profits from that were used as a great election slush fund. At that time, we were told, and the users of the 407 were told -- it's in the government's release -- "Listen, don't worry. We have controls on these tolls. Tolls cannot go up, after 15 years, more than three cents a kilometre." That's after 15 years, they were told. Well, that was not the case.

As a matter of fact, the owner of the 407 tells the public, tells the investors, they can take the tolls up without limit. As a matter of fact, the 407 is the most profitable toll highway in the world. The original owners on May 5, 1999, the day the election was called, brought an equity investment of $750 million. It's now worth four times that. The reason we all know that is because one of the owners sold a substantial portion of their investment for four times what they paid for it. Why is that? It's because the 407 users were sold down the road.

We talk to trucking firms that say, "Listen, when the 407 first sold, we were shipping our goods at midnight for four cents a kilometre. It's now costing us 11 and a half cents a kilometre." If you look at the 407, there are very few trucks on it, because they can't afford it. The reason I raise this is because that's the first lesson I learned about this government's protection of the public. The owner has the best toll road in the world.

I have another issue with it, by the way: amazingly, Mr Al Leach is on the board of the 407. Mr Al Leach is a well-regarded individual. He sits on the board of the 407, and there's nothing wrong with that. He's a former cabinet minister from here and knows the business well. But the government has just appointed him to sit on GO Transit. Here we have the public interest trying to be served by GO Transit and, believe me, every single decision GO Transit makes will have an impact of millions of dollars on the 407.

If you wonder why we are cautious about trusting the government when they say, "Just let it go" -- Mr Wood says the devil will be in the details, but the problem is, we don't get a chance to comment on the detail. The detail will be done through what's called regulation. The Legislature never gets to debate or even see it before it's simply published as law.

My first experience, as I say, was on the 407. So what this bill must contain is some assurances that, in reality, communities are going to be able to afford full cost recovery. In major urban areas, I frankly don't think it'll be a problem, but I can visualize that in many communities across this province it's just not going to be practical. We are either going to force them into an enormous cost -- unless we demonstrate how we're going to handle that.

The second example, frankly, is what we're going through right now with hydro. I don't know about other members, but I am being flooded with calls from people, many of them businesses, by the way. Local business in my community: their increase in hydro is putting them kind of on the brink. But once again, if you remember, we were told by the cabinet, "Just trust us. Let it go. The market will handle it all. Don't worry. It has been a hot summer. It'll sort itself out." Well, I'm not very confident in the government and in the government's plans, having been through the 407 and having been through -- so far, all of my experience in hydro has been that the people in the famed marketplace will do all right, but the people who are paying the bills I have some serious concerns about.

The thrust of this approach, of the full cost recovery, is for two reasons: one is to make certain that we all understand the real cost of water, although, I repeat, the real cost of water will vary dramatically, depending less on how much you use and much more on where you live. The real cost of water for me, I think, will be quite low, because Toronto will put a pipe out into Lake Ontario, a ready source of water that really is not Toronto's water -- I guess it's Canada's water -- but we will tap into that. I live in a community where there is a huge concentration of people. So full cost recovery, for me, might be great. Full cost recovery for water in Kinmount -- I think the Minister of Municipal Affairs used that example in the debate -- is going to be quite different. The people of Kinmount will say, "Listen. I'm accessing the same kind of water as you are, but I'm paying four or five times what you're paying."

So the first issue is the embracing of full cost recovery but not knowing what it really means in practical terms.


The second is -- make no mistake -- governments across North America, maybe in the world, are looking for creative ways to spend money on capital without it showing up on their books. I'll give you a couple of examples here in Ontario. In Ontario, we now spend virtually zero on our books for elementary and secondary school capital. If you look in the budget book under school capital, it's virtually nothing. It used to be $500 million a year. It's now down -- education: $4 million, $15 million, $10 million. But the government says, "No, we're spending at least $500 million a year." Well, where is that $500 million a year of capital spending? It is now off the province's books, hidden on school boards' books. They've now had to set up a financing authority. It's costing the people of Ontario probably $20 million a year in extra interest costs simply to hide the debt, because school boards have got it off their books but they're paying substantially higher interest rates solely for that.

The government talks about a $1.2-billion investment in 20,000 long-term-care beds. They've spent nothing so far. They haven't spent $1.2 billion. They've told Extendicare and Leisureworld and other organizations, "You go borrow the money and we will pay you, over the next 20 years, $10 a day per individual."

The reason I raise that is that this is another move to move capital expenditures off the government's books. Rather than the province saying, "Listen, a role we've always played in the province is to ensure that no matter where you live, there is some reasonable opportunity for you to have clean water, because if your local municipality doesn't have the resource base to fund it, the province will step in and help to build that," we're moving away from that. We're now saying it's going to be basically user-pay. As I say, we're being asked with this bill to essentially, on faith, buy that that will work.

I think there should be a mechanism in here that says that in those cases where it is unreasonable to expect the user to pay for full cost recovery -- and it has nothing to do with people who are using water indiscriminately; it just happens to be where they live -- and where the municipality has the kind of tax base that cannot support it, there should be some mechanism within the bill that ensures that we are going to be able to accommodate that.

If I hadn't been through the experience of 407, where we were told -- in fact, I think the Premier still brags about the 407 as one of the world's great deals. Well, it's a great deal for Bay Street and if you're one of those owners. SNC Lavalin are just so delighted because they bought, I think, about 24%. They sold a quarter of it. They've recouped all the money they used to buy their first 24% and they've still got 18% left. So they love it. The government liked it because it wasn't just full cost recovery; the government sold it for twice what it cost to build. How was that? Because they sold it for 99 years when they said they were going to sell it for 30 years. They let the owner take the tolls up without limit. If you don't pay your tolls, by the way, you don't get your licence plate renewed.

The second example we've all come to live with, and we're right in the middle of it, is this hydro mess, where we were told, "Listen, let's just let the marketplace handle this." As I say, my office has been deluged with both individual and significant company problems with hydro.

One of my colleagues talked about how the sewer and watermain people in this province are terrific. They know how to do this work. There is a substantial capital deficit in this area that has to be accommodated. In many respects, we have neglected this area. I think in the last six or seven years the environment has been an area that, for whatever reason, has not had the focus.

So there's no question of the need for action. There's no question that we have to find a way that we now more fully appreciate the real cost of water. There's no question that individuals, and companies, are going to have to, in the future, look to conserve water in a far more aggressive way than we have in the past. There's no question of any of that.

But I say again, the challenge for us is not with the concept. It will be that we are being asked to essentially let this go without any assurance at all that those communities and those individuals who are going to be faced with, frankly, I think in many cases, quite dramatic increases in cost -- that we're going to find a way to accommodate them.

I go back again to the area I represent, where I think this may very well be a boon to us because we have ready access to considerable water, huge concentrations of people, an existing infrastructure -- much of it comparatively new, I might add. But that's not going to be the case in much of the rest of Ontario.

So if we want access for everyone to clean water and we want people to pay their fair cost, it may not be just as simple to say, "Everybody's going to pay full cost recovery." I believe this bill should incorporate a mechanism for municipalities and individuals, where there's some flexibility and where there's some funding to accommodate that.

That's the essence of my concern, and certainly it's part of our party's concern about this bill. Overall, we need to move forward on it. Overall, in many jurisdictions, we are not paying the real cost of water, and that's going to have to change. But it cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution that, in many respects, I think this bill leads to. There is reference to possible solutions, but it's not clear at all that the province is going to be part of that solution or that within the bill there is a solution for many of the issues that I've raised.

We look forward to the bill going to committee, an opportunity to try and get the bill amended so we can incorporate some flexibility and make sure that nobody in this province is left behind when they're looking for clean water that they can also afford.

The Deputy Speaker: Members now have up to two minutes for questions and comments.

Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): I listened carefully to this member. I listened carefully to Marilyn Churley, the environmental critic for the New Democratic Party. I've read the legislation carefully.

The title to the legislation is, in and of itself, very attractive, and nobody could argue with that proposition: An Act respecting the cost of water and waste water services. This goes far beyond "respecting the cost"; it, indeed, opens the door in a number of insidious ways, both the front door and the back door, to not only the implied prospect of the privatization of water services but the forced, the imposed privatization of water services by the provincial government.

Down in Niagara where I come from, cities like Welland and Pelham, Thorold and, yes, St Catharines, where I represent south St Catharines, have been struggling to provide consistent provision of quality water. There's been extensive debate about water metering versus per-unit payment of water. There has been an incredible increase in water rates down in those communities. Yet, at the same time, we recognize that those communities, all of them historic ones, have some very old infrastructure in part of the water delivery system.

Let's make one thing perfectly clear. If this government was truly interested in safe water, this government would be supporting the maintenance of water provision and waste water management in the hands of the public sector, and it would be making significant contributions to those municipalities that are historic and have aging infrastructure to ensure that they're brought up to contemporary standards. We've seen this government abandon public water supply. We saw the consequences in Walkerton. Folks down from where I come from in Niagara expect their provincial government to assist them in the financing of the maintenance of safe drinking water.


Mr McDonald: I enjoyed the debate and conversation regarding clean, safe drinking water for all Ontarians. I want to point out something here. Commissioner Dennis O'Connor has clearly indicated his support for sustainable financing. The commissioner has made several references to the need for municipalities to ensure their water systems are adequately financed. I think this is what this legislation is doing. It's responding to the recommendations Justice O'Connor has put forward. I see this legislation as taking those steps to ensure that all Ontarians have clean, safe drinking water. It's worth the investment.

I've heard the member opposite from Scarborough talk about the 407. I don't know, maybe it was raining and water was on the road and that's how we kind of got 407 into the Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act. But given that, I believe we have to do the right thing, and the right thing is to support this legislation. Again, it is a great investment. I support this legislation. I think it's very important that we assure all Ontarians that when they turn that tap on, it's safe to drink. I think we all want that, there's no question. I say that no side needs to take credit in this. We should all do the right thing, because in the end good things happen when people don't try to take credit. I think all of us, as members who represent Ontarians, support this legislation that will protect our drinking water.

Mrs Leona Dombrowsky (Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington): I'm very happy to have an opportunity today to make some comments on the presentation that was made by my colleague from Scarborough-Agincourt. I have some concerns with the legislation. I guess the concerns are more with what's not in the legislation, particularly when I go to that part of the bill that talks about the sources of revenue. That is an area of interest for the communities I represent in the province.

Many of the communities in my riding are municipalities of perhaps 800 to 1,200 residents. What has been presented to me by representatives in those areas is that, for those small municipalities, it costs the same amount of money to put in a water treatment system for a community of 1,000 residents as it does for a community of 10,000 residents. So the question, to me, is that we don't have same resource base to pay for that and is it right that our residents should have to pay 10 times more to build this system in our communities? While it sounds fair to talk about full cost recovery, I would suggest that there are many communities, certainly in my riding -- I'm sure there would be communities in the riding of North Bay -- that would have a great deal of difficulty if they had to bear the full cost of installing a new water system. If you have a small community of 1,000 residents, they're going to have a challenge making that commitment, and yet there is nothing in this legislation that even suggests the ministry is going to consider a plan to assist those smaller municipalities.

I think that we want to have some assurances that all of the people in Ontario will be able to access safe, clean water, and it shouldn't have anything to do with how wealthy they might be.

Ms Churley: The member for Scarborough-Agincourt quite rightly points out the need to carefully examine the implications of full cost recovery and that it can't be and shouldn't be -- in fact, I wouldn't support a one-size-fits-all because it would never work. The member for Nipissing, in response, points out that Justice O'Connor -- he's right -- supports the concept of full cost recovery as well, and so does the environmental community, and so do I, within a certain framework. But I've got to point out to you that I'll bet people in Ontario, as soon as they find out what's in this bill -- that it's going down the road of privatization -- and in light of what's going on with the privatization of hydro and rates going way up, are going to be quaking in their boots and it could become an election issue. So we had better find out what kind of fair and equitable cost recovery process we're talking about here.

I also want to point out to you -- and you can't leave this out when you talk about Justice O'Connor -- that on page 313 he acknowledges that the downloading to the municipalities would cause a problem for them to be able to do it. He also acknowledges quite explicitly that in some cases the government would have to step in. But I want to remind you that on page 313 of part two he says, "In light of recent restructuring in the municipal sector, especially the transfer of ... open-ended social service costs (eg, welfare) to municipalities in 1998, there is currently some uncertainty about the ability of municipalities to finance all of the programs they are responsible for, including water services. Municipalities may be reducing spending (including borrowing) to plan for potential increases in social service costs." He goes on about that. Later, on another page, he talks about the need for the province to continue to be involved.

So let's not be selective. He makes it very clear that the government, before doing this -- passing on even further costs to municipalities -- should look at the costs that it has already downloaded to them.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Scarborough-Agincourt now has up to two minutes to respond.

Mr Phillips: I thank the members for Niagara Centre, Nipissing, Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington, and Toronto-Danforth, all of whom touched on the key issue from our perspective. The member for Nipissing said that Justice O'Connor said they must be adequately financed. That's absolutely the case. That's not the question. The question is how.

I too have looked carefully at the cost recovery plan in here, and I would just say that I think municipalities look to Queen's Park to have some idea of how these things are actually going to work. This proposal, without some explanation of how those communities that, quite frankly, I don't think can make this happen without some support from some other jurisdiction -- their own ratepayers can't afford it and their property tax base can't afford it. This looks like kind of a Toronto proposal, rather than an Ontario proposal. As I say, for the area I represent, 110,000 people living in an area three kilometres by three kilometres, you can see how full cost recovery can work very nicely there. But we are here to represent the people of all of Ontario. I go back to my concern. The government too often has said, "Don't worry. Just let it go and we'll deal with it." I've had bad experiences when that has happened, whether it be the 407 or our experience on hydro right now. People now are saying, "Why didn't you do something about this before it hit us?" That's the issue, I think.

The Deputy Speaker: The floor is open for further debate.

Mr McDonald: I am pleased to take part in the debate on a subject matter that is of crucial importance to all of us: safe drinking water, and specifically our proposed Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act. The proposed bill continues the decisive action this government has taken since the summer of 2000 and demonstrates that this government is sparing no effort to give Ontario residents access to clean, safe drinking water. The Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act makes for good planning, promotes water conservation and is an integral part of this government's clean water strategy.

In the words of Commissioner O'Connor, this bill, if passed, "will address many of the important issues concerning the financing of water systems.... The requirements for full cost report and cost recovery plan, as generally expressed in the proposed act, are in my view appropriate" -- Justice O'Connor.


The act has been reintroduced to give legal authority to the Minister of the Environment, as announced by the Premier in August 2002, in keeping with the Premier's announcement.

We are moving forward in such a way as to ensure a full and robust consultation process. We will continue to meet with our key stakeholders to help explain aspects of the proposed legislation and to seek their input in making the legislation workable.

We also agree that a fundamental cornerstone needed to ensure safe and clean drinking water is sustainable financing of municipal water and sewer services. This is absolutely essential. The proposed bill before you is an intangible recognition of that requirement and is the government's next step in fulfilling Commissioner O'Connor's recommendations.

We believe that one of the crucial success factors behind implementing Commissioner O'Connor's recommendation is the government's proposed Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act. The driving force behind this proposed act is the concept of full cost accounting and recovery. Our government believes that legislating full cost accounting and recovery for municipal water and sewage services is one of the best ways to protect public health and our environment.

The principles of full cost accounting and recovery are fundamental to sustainability and are key aspects of Commissioner O'Connor's recommendations in the report of the Walkerton Inquiry, part two. Full cost accounting and recovery provide us with an accurate picture and a transparent method of identifying all costs, both operational and capital, associated with water and sewage systems.

As you have undoubtedly heard, Commissioner O'Connor made several references in his report to the need for municipalities to ensure that their water systems are adequately financed. To quote Commissioner O'Connor, "Over the long term, safety depends on stable and adequate financing to maintain the water system's infrastructure and its operational capacity to supply high-quality water consistently."

If passed, the new Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act will make it mandatory for municipalities to assess and cost-recover the full amount of water and sewer services. The proposed act will ensure that water and sewer systems generate sufficient revenue to fully recover all their long-term operating and capital costs.

The concept of full cost recovery is not new. Municipalities are already able to apply full cost recovery if they wish, and in fact some municipalities have implemented this to varying degrees. But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Although some municipalities claim to be recovering full costs, they don't know the extent to which they are recovering all of their long-term investment needs.

The proposed act will give us the full picture of what it costs municipalities to provide water and waste water services by requiring municipalities to do cost accounting according to a regulated standard.

Specific reporting requirements and detailed analyses would include all operating and capital costs; financing costs; renewal, replacement and improvement costs; infrastructure and investments required to maintain and expand the systems; and of course all sources of revenue.

In order for the proposed Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act to be effective, it is crucial that the government understand and appreciate the direction and specific activities municipalities are undertaking in their communities. The act therefore proposes that municipalities be required to provide their plan for full cost recovery. Underpricing of water can lead to deferred maintenance and over-consumption by water users. Deferred maintenance ultimately leads to deteriorating infrastructure and potential risks to public health.

This bill includes a provision to ease the transition to full cost recovery, and I think that's important. Through section 10(5), the government can set limits ensuring cost recovery rates. Legislating full cost accounting and recovery ensures that safe water is a priority municipal service -- and that's very important -- that cannot be traded off with other services. The standard of service is mandatory. I think that's very clear and very important.

As mentioned earlier, if it is passed into law, Bill 175, the Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act, will set a benchmark for even higher environmental standards. The proposed bill is one more example of this government's commitment to provide safe, clean drinking water. It is a commitment reinforced by this government's clean water strategy and is backed by a solid record of action, and while there is much to be done, this government continues to make significant progress.

I'd like to now take a look at that progress. Through our clean water strategy, this government will invest more than half a billion dollars over the next two years in safe, clean drinking water for the people of Ontario. The following examples touch on these investments and set the stage for a strong environmental future.

On August 8, 2000, the government launched Operation Clean Water, an ambitious action plan aimed at placing Ontario at the forefront of drinking water protection. Our swift action was a signal to the people of Ontario that we will do everything in our power to protect their drinking water. We are making good on these promises. Since Operation Clean Water was announced, we have significantly strengthened the safeguards for Ontario's drinking water.

The members of this Legislature will recall that in August 2000 they put in place the drinking water protection regulation. This regulation was a milestone because it gave Ontario its first-ever legally enforceable standards for drinking water quality, as well as strict requirements for testing, treatment and reporting. This regulation gave Ontario its first-ever legally enforceable standards for drinking water quality. I think that's very important.

To ensure compliance with this regulation, we now have increased both the number of inspectors and inspections. The Ministry of the Environment now annually inspects all municipal water systems, and it orders corrective action whenever a problem that might lead to adverse health effects is found.

We also put into place the new drinking water protection regulation for smaller waterworks serving designated facilities. This regulation applies to waterworks in schools, day nurseries, nursing and retirement homes, and social and health care facilities in the broader public and private sectors that do not fall under the existing drinking water protection regulation.

The smaller facilities regulation is particularly important because it protects the most sensitive people in our society, including infants, children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Particularly important, it does protect the most sensitive in our society.


Our clean water strategy builds on significant actions undertaken through Operation Clean Water. This year the government will provide $245 million, including investments to help municipalities upgrade their water systems to meet our tough new standards and make improvements to their waste water systems. Clean, safe drinking water is worth the investment.

The government will also deliver on its budget commitment to establish the $50-million Clean Water Legacy Trust and the Clean Water Centre of Excellence in Walkerton to provide access to the best scientific knowledge, research and technology and training in the management and monitoring of our safe drinking water. Additionally, the government plans to consult with key stakeholders on watershed-based source protection planning issues this fall.

As well, the government, through SuperBuild, has posted the first four of eight studies on the province's water and waste water infrastructure. Produced in co-operation between the province, municipalities and third-party organizations, these studies provide up-to-date data on the condition, organization, investment levels, governance and the price and financing of Ontario's water and waste water infrastructure.

These studies will assist in formulating policy options to support Ontario's goal to have safe, clean and reliable water and waste water services. The first four studies are available on the Internet at www.SuperBuild.ca; the remaining studies will be released later this year.

It is evident from these examples that our commitment is unwavering and the momentum is strong. As I mentioned earlier, we are now eager to move forward and complete the full implementation of Commissioner O'Connor's recommendations on full cost accounting and recovery.

Environmental improvement is a continuous journey, and it is a journey that we must travel together. That's important. We must travel together. We all represent the people of Ontario; we all want clean, safe drinking water for the people of Ontario. I implore my colleagues on the other side of the House to please support this legislation to provide clean, safe drinking water to all people of Ontario.

As a government we have the responsibility to examine all points of view. As we continue the debate on the proposed Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act, we will seek the views of our municipal partners and other stakeholders. That's very important. There's no question that we have to seek out and get the views of our municipal partners. We value their expertise. As the former deputy mayor of the city of North Bay in the great riding of Nipissing, I can tell you that in my first 12 months we put in place a plan to install a UV water treatment system on our water supply, and we started the EA process to put in water filtration within 18 months of being elected. So all the members of this new council took on the responsibility of providing safe, clean drinking water for the people of North Bay. We took it to heart. We felt it was our responsibility to make that happen, and I bring that commitment here to Queen's Park on behalf of all the people of Nipissing, on behalf of all the people of Ontario. It's our responsibility.

Mr Raminder Gill (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale): A promise made, a promise kept.

Mr McDonald: I agree with you: a promise made is a promise kept, no question about it.

We are open to hearing amendments that make sustainable water and sewer financing work for our partners, but as I said in my opening remarks, our government's commitment to safe drinking water is a non-negotiable priority.

I made that statement during my campaign when I was running for deputy mayor. I said, "Clean, safe drinking water is a priority -- unwavering commitment to provide safe, clean drinking water," and I bring that to Queen's Park with me. I believe that, if passed, this bill will become an important legacy of our government, of all of us, and I encourage members of this Legislature to support the Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act.

This is Thursday and I'd be happy to turn it over for comments and questions.

The Deputy Speaker: Members will now have up to two minutes for questions and comments.

Mr Sergio: I'm truly encouraged to hear the remarks from the member for Nipissing that they would like to see this bill approved and that they are willing to make sure that this ultimately will be delivering safe, clean water into our homes and our places of employment in Ontario. I only hope the government will be as serious as the member has expressed, and as other members have expressed as well. We have not seen it be so in the past, but this is a very important piece of legislation. It won't be passing as such, but if it should, then it won't be as good as the members of this House who have spoken have said it will be, unless the government is really serious about sending it for public hearings, listening to the various members, the public, the various groups, those that will show a serious interest, and then coming back to this House.

Only then will we see if the government, not the individual members but the government as a whole, will have the responsibility to come back to this House and say that this bill deserves the approval of the House because it's carrying out fully the intent that is in the report of Justice O'Connor. Only then can we say that we are acting responsibly in this House, and only then will the bill deserve the approval of this House.

As I said before, from the source to the tap, regardless of whether it's in our places of employment or our homes, we need safe, clean drinking water, and I hope that finally the bill will do just that.

Mr Kormos: I actually listened to the speech read by the member from Nipissing. I sat here patiently. When all is said and done, it still requires any one of us to go back to the legislation, and what the legislation does quite clearly -- this goes all the way back to Bill 26. Remember Bill 26, the omnibus bill? It started to lay the groundwork, oh so obviously, for privatization. The boilerplate sections that had their genesis with Bill 26 now recur in legislation after legislation, in bill after bill.

What this bill clearly permits, and what's particularly onerous about this legislation, is the imposed privatization of municipal water services. Take a look at section 21, in particular subsection (3), where the minister reserves the power to order, by fiat, the privatization of part or all of a municipal water supply system or, I presume, a waste water system for the purpose of achieving this so-called goal of user-pay/cost recovery.

At the end of the day this government is abandoning the traditional provincial role of assisting municipalities like the municipalities I represent -- Welland, Thorold, Pelham and St Catharines, typical of Niagara region -- in ensuring they have the capital funds available to build the infrastructure that can continue to provide safe drinking and that can continue to accommodate waste water in those municipalities. The government's abandoning those cities, not just in Niagara but across the province.


Mr Bart Maves (Niagara Falls): It's a great pleasure, as always, to hear the member from Nipissing rise and speak in the Legislature. He's been a great asset since he won by an avalanche in his riding. I know that his popularity continues to grow in his hometown since that election and that in his next one he will at least double his margin of victory.

The legislation the member supports, and that I support, at its simplest requires all owners of water and sewer systems, mainly in municipalities, to undertake detailed analyses of their systems, including all operating capital costs, all sources of revenue and the investment required to maintain and expand their systems. This is a move that the Ontario Water and Sewer Association, many municipalities, environmentalists and a whole host of folks have been after for many years, and it's high time we moved on it. Like the member for Nipissing, I support the legislation.

The Deputy Speaker: A final question or comment.

Mr Kormos: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: It's well past 6 of the clock.

The Deputy Speaker: We're in the midst of doing questions and comments. As the member well knows, it's at the discretion of the Speaker whether to complete those rounds of comments or not, and I have chosen to complete them. Therefore, there is still one slot left, if anyone would like it. If not, then I'll look to the member for Nipissing for a response for up to two minutes.

Mr McDonald: I'd like to thank the members from York West and Niagara Centre and of course my desk mate, the member from Niagara Falls, who has dispensed great advice since I've come here to Queen's Park. I appreciate his leadership and his knowledge here at Queen's Park, which is immense. I can tell you that it's made my transition from the great city of North Bay down here to Queen's Park, so thank you very much, Mr Maves.

I want to tell you that all Ontarians, not just local councillors but mayors, MPPs and MPs share the responsibility to provide safe drinking water to everyone, including our elderly, infants, children and those with compromised immune systems. It is our responsibility and duty to make sure we provide safe, clean drinking water to all the people of Ontario.

There's no question that all levels of government, federal, provincial, municipal, both sides of this Legislature, have a duty to provide safe drinking water to every individual in Ontario. I ask for the support of the official opposition and the third party, that we consult with our municipalities, consult with our stakeholders and do the right thing and pass this legislation that will provide safe, clean drinking water to all the people of Ontario.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr David Christopherson): Pursuant to standing order 37, the question that this House do now adjourn is deemed to have been made. The member for Scarborough-Agincourt has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to a question given by the Attorney General concerning Ipperwash. Therefore, the member has up to five minutes to debate the matter, and the minister or parliamentary assistant may reply for up to two minutes. Therefore, the floor now goes to the member for Scarborough-Agincourt.


Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): This is an extremely serious matter. The Attorney General has, for whatever reason, chosen to misquote the signed document from former OPP commissioner Mr O'Grady involving the extremely serious matter of the shooting death of a First Nations person at Ipperwash, one that, in my opinion, the former Premier was deeply involved in. Today, when I asked why he misquoted that document, he did not answer me and went on to misquote another section of the document, with an equally serious implication.

In both cases, Commissioner O'Grady has been very clear. The Attorney General said that the OPP commissioner said that "the former Premier in no way directed the OPP to act in any certain way in relation to this incident." The actual document says that the government "did not have any input or participate in or interfere with, in any way, the command decisions...." Totally different. In my opinion, the government did give direction to the OPP, and in my opinion, the commissioner said, "We did not get a command direction from the government."

Then today the Attorney General said in the Legislature, quoting from another section -- he's purporting to quote directly from the affidavit -- that the Premier or other government defendants or any other member of the government -- I'll go back slightly here: "... the paragraph ... says he was not `directed or pressured by' the former Premier `or the other government defendants or any other member of government to remove the occupiers from' the park."

The commissioner never said that. The commissioner was very clear and said something quite different. He said he was "never directed or pressured by the defendant Michael D. Harris or ... other government defendants or any other member of government to remove the occupiers from Ipperwash Provincial Park by force...." The Attorney General left the words "by force" out.

I regard this as extremely serious. There is considerable evidence that the Premier, at a meeting only hours before this shooting, told the OPP that he wanted the occupiers removed within the next 24 hours. That was the direction he gave the OPP. He never gave them a "command decision," and that's why Commissioner O'Grady was very clear: he did not get a command decision; the OPP simply got direction to remove them within 24 hours.

The Attorney General today left out the key words in another part: "by force." I've never, and no one's ever, alleged that the Premier said, "I want them removed with force." He simply said, "I want them out."

I find it serious that on two separate occasions, from what I regard as one of the most important documents in one of the most important matters in this Legislature, the death of a First Nations person, with considerable evidence of totally inappropriate involvement by the political body in this matter, that the Attorney General has on two occasions -- I called him on one occasion today. He chose to get up and, for whatever reason, misquote again another part of former Commissioner O'Grady's signed affidavit. He left out the two key points. Commissioner O'Grady has said, "I was never given command direction, and I was never ordered to use force," and for whatever reason, the Attorney General has left those two matters out.

Frankly, my intention right now is to refer the matter to the law society. I think it's unacceptable behaviour for the Attorney General, whatever his motives, to on two separate occasions take Commissioner O'Grady's signed testament and leave out the key points. Frankly, it leaves a completely different impression with this Legislature than that intended by the signed affidavit.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr David Christopherson): The floor now goes to the parliamentary assistant, the member for London-Fanshawe.

Mr Frank Mazzilli (London-Fanshawe): Thank you, Mr Speaker. As you know, this matter is before the courts, and it would be prudent to let the courts look after the matter.

The member from Scarborough-Agincourt obviously has different views from the Attorney General. He's talking about contents, meaning and validity of documents. We are certainly satisfied that an impartial judge will bring justice to this matter.

The Deputy Speaker: There being no further matter to debate, I deem the motion to adjourn to be carried.

This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock Monday afternoon.

The House adjourned at 1811.