37e législature, 3e session



Tuesday 29 October 2002 Mardi 29 octobre 2002















































Tuesday 29 October 2002 Mardi 29 octobre 2002

The House met at 1330.




Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): I rise today to welcome the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police to Queen's Park. Certainly we're happy that they're here helping to raise awareness of policing issues like the integrated justice project, how to fight organized crime, police recruitment, and the very important issue of traffic.

We want to note especially the four northern chiefs who are here, people from northern Ontario who are doing a remarkable job at ensuring there is confidence in our police community. I think of Robert Davies, the chief of Sault Ste Marie, whose unique integrated educational experience with Lake Superior State and Sault College is truly something that we should all be very proud of; Bob Herman from Thunder Bay, whose community-based policing project has instilled confidence in the people in Thunder Bay; George Berrigan, whose public participation forums have enhanced the positive aspects of policing; and of course Sudbury's own Ian Davidson, whose initiative against elder abuse will be a model for this entire province to follow.

In short, our chiefs of police have something very positive to offer all Ontarians and they deserve the respect that this House will give them today. But also, in the broader community, they should know we all appreciate them very much.


Mr Bert Johnson (Perth-Middlesex): I too would like to welcome the chiefs to our Legislature today.

We have heard a lot over the last few weeks about lowering greenhouse gas emissions and how, according to the opposition, this government's restructuring of the electricity system will raise those emissions.

Today I want to tell the House about a company in my riding of Perth-Middlesex which is doing its part to lower greenhouse gas emissions and how the Ontario government has facilitated that.

Stratford-based FAG Bearings, a major supplier of bearings to the North American automotive and aerospace sectors, has opted to purchase Ontario Power Generation's Evergreen Energy. Evergreen Energy is produced using renewable resources like wind, solar, biomass and small hydro generation.

Frank Lang, president and CEO of FAG Bearings, said, "We are always looking for innovative ways to support the environment, and buying green electricity for our operations will help promote additional electrical generation from renewable resources. We are very pleased that Ontario Power Generation offers consumers like us this environmentally friendly energy option."

That option to buy green electricity can only be available in an open market where consumers can choose to buy their energy based on how it's produced.

I want to take this opportunity to recognize and congratulate FAG Bearings for leading by example and thank them, on behalf of all members of the House and all residents of Ontario, for choosing to use green electricity.


Mr Dave Levac (Brant): I rise in the House today to speak on behalf of Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals to recognize the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police here at Queen's Park today. We welcome the chiefs and thank them for their important and difficult work.

I am pleased to have this opportunity to highlight some important issues surrounding policing in Ontario. We have been calling on this government to assist municipal police services by providing stable funding for the needs of the communities they serve. Instead, many smaller communities that have municipal police services have been starved of resources, causing restructuring that doesn't always fit small-town Ontario. I am calling on this government to conduct an evaluation of police services restructuring to ensure our Ontario communities have the best services possible and the funding to provide them.

I am also concerned today with the demands placed on our police services to transport prisoners to Ontario's so-called mega-jails. This is taking the resources of the front-line officers off the streets of their communities, at an outrageous cost to police services and communities.

It was interesting to hear the Minister of Public Safety and Security announce new funding this morning for additional police personnel to deal with criminal intelligence, but only on the condition that the municipality can afford to share half the cost, and capped at $30,000 per officer.

It is time that this government recognized the value of our front-line emergency personnel and our police and made a commitment to providing the adequate tools and funding necessary to protect Ontario citizens. Again, I look forward to our discussions, and we will work with you.


Mr John O'Toole (Durham): I'd like to pay tribute to the hard work of the Ontario wetland habitat fund and its supporters across Ontario. The fund's 500th landowner celebration was held in my riding of Durham at the Woodside Farm. This is a fourth-generation family farm owned and operated by Jennifer and Robert Henderson. On Monday, October 28, my assistant, Sheryl Greenham, represented me at the Hendersons' as they became the 500th landowner to participate in the Ontario wetland habitat fund program.

The farm includes a 10-acre marsh at the headwaters of the Ganaraska River. The Hendersons wanted to fence cattle out of the wetland and surrounding woodland, which is currently home to a variety of wildlife, including wood ducks, turkeys, bullfrogs and a number of other species. By protecting Ontario's marshlands, we are promoting ecologically sound landscapes that benefit wetland waterfowl and wetland wildlife, as well as people.

The Ontario wetland habitat fund is a landowner-based stewardship that now protects 23,000 acres across Ontario. It provides technical and financial assistance for hands-on wetland conservation projects on private land. I would also like to thank and congratulate Herb and Linda Gasser, who are members of the wetland fund, and Irv Harrell, another Durham riding resident who also participates in the program.

I'm pleased to note that my neighbour, the Honourable Jerry Ouellette, Minister of Natural Resources, was present. The ministry has contributed $850,000 to the wetland fund and Wildlife Habitat Canada has contributed over $1 million. I'd like to thank Jean Cinq-Mars of Wildlife Habitat Canada for joining in the celebrations, along with councillors Charlie Trim and Gord Robinson of Clarington council, as well as Mike Barker of the Ontario wetland habitat fund. This is a very worthwhile project, and I commend the residents of my riding.


Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I wanted to congratulate Toronto Police Chief Fantino for asking Justice Dubin to prepare a report on the issue of the relationship between Toronto Police Service and the Black community. The issue of our Black community's relationship with the police will require enormous sensitivity by all of us and a recognition that it is a far broader issue than just a police issue.

I have these views: just like in any community, the overwhelming majority of the Black community -- like 98% -- are decent, law-abiding citizens, and we cannot allow an entire community to be stigmatized by a small group of criminals within that community. Young Black males do face discrimination on a daily basis, much of it unintended, but real. If you see three Black males on a corner at 10 o'clock at night, I think they're treated differently from three white males by all of us, myself perhaps included. A young Black male enters a store at night and he is treated differently. This has to have an effect on a young person.

How we solve this, I don't know. I do not believe our police forces to be racist, but I do believe that if there are two identical young men in the same type of car, wearing the same clothes, and one is white and one is Black, the Black young man is more likely to be pulled over by the police. So I would urge all of us to accept that there is a problem, that the problem is complex, and to seize this moment to now look for long-term solutions that will involve far more than our police services.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): I just want to say to the public watching that last night I went to an education forum at the Scarborough Civic Centre. It was a very successful meeting. There were about 80 people there, the usual number of people who care passionately about education. They did say, of course, that they invited the Conservative members, but none showed up. Every meeting I go to on education, it's difficult to find a Conservative member who is willing, ready and able to come and debate.

Interjection: Missing in action.

Mr Marchese: Always missing in action. You can never find one Tory who is willing, able and ready to come and debate educational issues, and there are so many of them.

Does it surprise anybody watching that this should be the case? It shouldn't, because that is always, as a matter of fact, the case. Not one of them, and there are so many -- look at them.

They talked about special education, they talked about the English-as-a-second-language program, they talked about gym, they talked about music, they talked about librarians, they talked about international languages. They talked about so many important issues that connect to the public. I have to tell you that I'm surprised there are so many people with so much energy to defend public education in spite of the fact that these people never listen and in spite of the fact that they never show up.



Mr Bill Murdoch (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound): I rise in the House today to share with everyone more background about "The Fish are Here" campaign on behalf of the Walkerton Tourism Recovery Partnership Committee. The fish sculpture campaign came from the idea by Chris Hughes, tourism coordinator for the county of Bruce. It compares to a similar campaign when Toronto first introduced the moose campaign. Placed at various locations, they were decorated in different colours and designs.

This campaign involves 12 large fish sculptures, each one located in a high-traffic area throughout the counties of Bruce and Grey. The surrounding municipalities were contacted to take ownership of the sculptures, find a location and maintain it for the future. A paint-the-fish contest was held, requesting artists to submit a full-colour sample of how they would design their sculpture. Twelve local artists were selected from all the artwork submitted.

The exhibit has taken countless hours of preparation and effort from a team of hard-working people. It is promoted through an extensive marketing campaign to encourage visitation by local residents and visitors. Tourism directors will promote the exhibit for Grey and Bruce. They will include information about the fish sculptures in promotional materials when attending trade shows. Visitors will receive a passport with the location of each sculpture and are able to tour the area and view sculptures.

I invite everyone to come to Grey-Bruce and tour the fish sculpture exhibit. I mentioned this last week and I mentioned the artists. I just want to congratulate them again.


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor West): When it comes to being wishy-washy, when it comes to flipping and flopping, when it comes to saying absolutely anything at any time, the man of the hour is Ernie Eves. Where does Ernie stand on Hydro One? Does he want to sell it, or doesn't he? Who knows? We do know that Dalton McGuinty is clear: keep Hydro One in public hands.

Where does Eves stand on education? He's willing to let private schools dictate education policy. He's willing to cut special education teachers. Dalton McGuinty has a plan that will put our kids first. He'll cancel the private school voucher, keep kids in school until they are 18 or graduated, will have turnaround teams for schools in trouble, guarantee better test results and improve child care.

Where does Ernie Eves stand on health care? He was in favour of two-tier, then he backtracked to one-tier, and now he's back to two-tier on health care. Dalton McGuinty says no to two-tier on health care. He has a plan to reform primary care, one that will actually work. He'll put his plan forward to get foreign-trained doctors actually working. He put a plan forward more than a year and a half ago.

Where does Ernie stand on clean air? Nowhere. He's straddling the fence while 1,900 people die every year. Dalton McGuinty has a clear plan to close dirty coal plants, bring more jobs to Ontario farmers, clean up our gasoline and get more electricity supply on-line. Ernie Eves spins more than a washing machine.


Mr AL McDonald (Nipissing): Today I rise before the House to bring attention to a very worthwhile event that took place in my riding of Nipissing this past weekend. On Saturday a public consultation was held to discuss policing issues in North Bay. It was extremely well attended. Over 100 community leaders participated in discussions that proved to be very positive.

The police services board had many strengths identified, including strong community partners in and out of the judicial system with specific strengths that deal with victims of crime. They are very much a hands-on type of organization in which the officers are seen in and around the area, participating in fundraising and local neighbourhood events.

This great team was led by none other than Chief George Berrigan. His great team included Amelia Rising, the Transition House, VCARS and the crown attorneys' office, along with many others who made this public consultation happen and indeed succeed. They are all strong advocates of listening to local people and receiving input on how to make North Bay and surrounding areas run smoothly.

The North Bay police force has been in existence since 1892, and currently has 90 sworn members and approximately 35 civilians. They're a progressive organization that is well known for their work in our community. Our community has definitely benefited from the presence of the North Bay Police Service. I would personally say how pleased I am to have such a wonderful organization on our side. North Bay is one of the safest places to live in Ontario, thanks to our local police force and their willingness to hear the community's concerns.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker: If I could, I'm very pleased to introduce a community leader, a phenomenal volunteer and the chief of police for the city of North Bay, George Berrigan.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Maybe we could welcome all the chiefs. I know a lot of the members have the chiefs here. If we could do it once and welcome all of the chiefs: we're very honoured to have you here today.



Mr Stockwell moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 195, An Act respecting safe drinking water / Projet de loi 195, Loi ayant trait à la salubrité de l'eau potable.

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

The minister for a short statement?

Hon Chris Stockwell (Minister of the Environment, Government House Leader): I'll defer until ministerial statements.


Mr Wood moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 196, An Act to proclaim Autism Awareness Month / Projet de loi 196, Loi proclamant le Mois de sensibilisation à l'autisme.

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

The member for London West for a short statement?

Mr Bob Wood (London West): This bill proclaims October in each year as Autism Awareness Month. The passage of this bill will help those interested in autism issues to work with the government of Ontario, school boards and other entities to promote better understanding and treatment of autism.

The Speaker: Motions?

Hon Chris Stockwell (Minister of the Environment, Government House Leader): I move that, notwithstanding the order of the House dated October 29, 2001, Bert Johnson, member for the electoral district of Perth-Middlesex, be appointed Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Committee of the whole House; Mike Brown, member for the electoral district of Algoma-Manitoulin, be appointed First Deputy Chair of the Committee of the whole House; and David Christopherson, member for the electoral district of Hamilton West, be appointed Second Deputy Chair of the Committee of the whole House.

The Speaker: I'm informed that without notice, the minister needs consent to move that.

Hon Mr Stockwell: I apologize. I seek consent to do that.

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent? I'm afraid we didn't get unanimous consent.




Hon Chris Stockwell (Minister of the Environment, Government House Leader): May 2000 marked a tragic turning point in how we think about our drinking water. When seven people died and thousands more became ill from drinking water that had been contaminated with E coli, it was the gravest wakeup call our nation could have had. In the aftermath, our government promised to make sure such a tragedy would never happen again.

We continue to honour that promise today by introducing the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, for first reading.

The act carries on with the decisive actions our government has taken to protect Ontario's drinking water since the summer of 2000. It also marks a major step forward in implementing the recommendations made by Commissioner Justice Dennis O'Connor in his Report of the Walkerton Inquiry, parts one and two.

In recommendation 67, Commissioner O'Connor stated, "The provincial government should enact a safe drinking water act to deal with matters related to the treatment and distribution of drinking water."

I stand before you today to deliver on this recommendation specifically, and 49 more, through the proposed act.

In addition to honouring this government's commitment to safe drinking water, we are also announcing the first step of our bold plan to develop a watershed-based source protection framework in Ontario. Watershed-based source protection plans would be required and approved by the government to protect drinking water sources, as per O'Connor's recommendation. These plans would bring us one step closer to comprehensive watershed planning in Ontario. An advisory committee is being finalized to guide the development of a framework that will implement Commissioner O'Connor's recommendations on source protection planning.

Key organizations that will be represented include conservation authorities, municipalities, environmental stakeholders and agricultural groups. I am eager to begin work with the advisory committee so that we can begin planning ways to protect drinking water sources for generations.

I would now like to give special thanks to some of the people who have helped bring this proposed Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, forward. Through his hard work and dedication, my parliamentary assistant, Bill Murdoch, has helped make this a better piece of legislation; the member from Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound deserves our gratitude. For her work on a private member's bill that became an integral part of our proposed act, I would like to thank my colleague Marilyn Churley; the member for Toronto-Danforth should be applauded for her efforts and receive appropriate credit.

I was asked by Premier Eves to work with the member across the floor to ensure that the act we develop creates strict new safety standards and enhances the Ministry of the Environment's monitoring, reporting and enforcement powers. I believe the Safe Drinking Water Act achieves these goals.

I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge some visitors to the gallery who have been consulting with us on our comprehensive water strategy. From the Ontario Municipal Water Association, we have President Sharon Crosby and some of her directors. From the Ontario Water Works Association, I'd like to welcome Tim Lotimer as well. From Conservation Ontario, we have Executive Director Dick Hunter. Thank you for being here today and for helping with this bill. Your comments and feedback surrounding our clean water initiatives have been well taken.

If passed, the act would require mandatory licensing and accreditation of laboratories that perform drinking water testing; require the minister to establish a standards advisory council, and provide authority to set standards for drinking water treatment and distribution; require the certification of all drinking water systems operators; require municipal water systems owners to meet all necessary conditions and obtain an owner's licence; hold municipalities with oversight functions to a statutory standard of care; strengthen compliance and enforcement provisions, including the creation of the new position of chief inspector; and amend section 62 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act to address vacancies of the position of medical officer of health.

Under the proposed act, the government would also be required to submit to the legislature an annual State of Ontario's Drinking Water report. We will continue to be accountable for our promises, and this report will provide a benchmark for doing that.

The proposed Safe Drinking Water Act has benefited from the ideas and comments put forward by stakeholders and members of the public alike. In addition to the extensive public process Commissioner O'Connor undertook through the Walkerton inquiry, this government has consulted broadly on technical details of the act. Further consultation will be held through upcoming legislative hearings and stakeholder meetings. I look forward to working with the opposition critics and the opposition House leaders to determine how those committee hearings will be made, where they will go, and get input from the public. The public is also encouraged to provide their comments through the Environmental Bill of Rights registry posting.

Safe drinking water remains a top priority of this government. We are committed to ensuring that Ontario has and enforces the best and toughest clean water policies in the world. We continue to make significant progress on several fronts with our clean water strategy, but there is more to be done. Our government is investing more than half a billion dollars in the next two years on clean, safe drinking water for the people of Ontario. This year alone, we are providing $245 million, including investments to help municipalities upgrade and make improvements to their water systems to meet our tough new standards.

In addition to today's announcements, this government has proven its commitment to taking action to protect our drinking water. In June, the Nutrient Management Act received royal assent, and I want to compliment the Minister of Agriculture for that, and last month Bill 175 was introduced. The first stage of the Sustainable Water and Sewage System Act will bring municipalities together with government to assess the full cost of water and sewage services.

The second stage will allow for development of full-cost recovery plans.

Safe drinking water is a non-partisan issue, and while a healthy debate is sure to ensue on the subject, I call on all my colleagues in the Legislature to help us take a giant step forward in protecting public health. The Safe Drinking Water Act is an environmental milestone for this province. By passing it, the members of this House will make Ontario a world leader in drinking water protection and preservation.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): In response, first of all, I think we have to remember why the government is bringing in this legislation at this time, some two and a half full years after the Walkerton tragedy. We must remember this is the government that cut the Ministry of the Environment to such an extent, damaging and deep cuts, that this brought about a situation where the risk to the people of this province was drastically increased. I now quote Dr Richard Schabas, the former chief medical officer of health of Ontario: "...the Premier looked at me and I was quite certain was hearing what I was saying, we weren't more than a few feet apart, and then he basically turned away from me and ... as far as I was concerned, the Premier was turning his back on public health...."

Then we had a situation where we had, I think most people in this province would agree, some high-quality provincial regional laboratories operated by the Ministry of the Environment. A decision was made by this government, in its efforts to slash so very quickly and without giving due consideration to the consequences of that slashing, and those regional laboratories were closed. Municipalities in this province, one of them in London, I say to my good friend from London, were forced to scramble over the next six to eight weeks to find an opportunity for someone to do their water testing. No specific rules were put in place at that time. The Red Tape Commission had intimidated Ministry of the Environment officials into not even proposing some of those rules, because at that time the Red Tape Commission was looking for ways of cutting government involvement.

The Ministry of the Environment was cut: one half of the operating budget and one third of the staff were chopped by this government. Decisions were made, despite internal memos that were shown to the Conservative caucus and to the Conservative cabinet, so that what the government was doing was increasing the risk measurably. That program of cutting was still invoked by this government. The Provincial Auditor -- I think we all recognize, particularly those of you who sit on the committee that's involved with the Provincial Auditor -- warned of the situation facing the sources of groundwater and drinking water in this province. In addition to this, two in a row of the Environmental Commissioners, one whom you fired because she was critical of the government, Eva Ligeti, and the subsequent Environmental Commissioner you put in place, both warned of the problem.

The minister talks of a bold plan for water sources. I must say to the minister that a bold plan, after two and a half years, to deal with the sources of drinking water in this province is not to appoint another committee to look into the matter and advise the minister. We would have expected some time ago that that bold plan would have been in effect. I think the minister recognizes as well, because he read the report and he'd be aware of it, that the present Environmental Commissioner said that in fact this government had cut, from the time it came into office to the year 2000, its number of water monitoring stations from 730 to 240, about 500 water monitoring stations cut, despite the fact that Justice O'Connor, the Provincial Auditor and two Environmental Commissioners had recommended against that, and for much more extensive monitoring. This bill deals not at all with the issue of the sources of drinking water. We must recognize that the contaminants getting into that drinking water are a major problem.

I say as well that the regulations to go along with the nutrient management legislation are nowhere near finished at this time. They're lacking in many areas. I implore the Minister of the Environment, who has that special responsibility, to look carefully at that. I think what has to happen if this bill is to be successful is that we have to have the Ministry of the Environment budget restored to what it was when this government came into office, the staffing levels and assistance to municipalities restored, and most assuredly, the immediate addressing of the problem of the sources of drinking water in this province.


Ms Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth): I think the question for us today is: is this glass of water half full or half empty? It's certainly not full. I want to try to take the approach that today's piece of legislation that is before us -- of course, we haven't had time to study the whole thing yet, although I thank the minister for the technical briefing this morning. The glass is clearly not full. There is still a lot of work to be done.

As a backdrop, I want to mention that I brought forward a safe drinking water bill about two years ago and we're just seeing that partial bill come to the light of day now, today. Indeed the bill before us, I think to be fair, goes a long way to fulfilling the narrow definition recommendations from Justice O'Connor, specifically around the pipes and pumps in the delivery, the treatment of water. The recommendations are followed fairly closely within that definition. Of course, the devil will be in the details. We'll have to look very closely at the powers of the minister and at what is left up to regulations.

I want to point out for the record that, after the Premier announced he would be bringing forward my bill and then a decision was made to go ahead with a government bill, I was not involved in the process, although the Premier stated that this morning. I was at that point frozen out of the loop. I wish I had been involved in the process because some of the pieces that are missing from this bill were in my bill. Some of those pieces are the safe drinking water fund to make sure municipalities have enough money to be able to bring in the kinds of requirements that come under this bill; the public's right to know; the registry I talked about; the public's ability to sue. That, by the way, can be remedied. I know Justice O'Connor didn't recommend going down that road. But if you bring the Safe Drinking Water Act under the Environmental Bill of Rights, which would then allow for investigations to be called and allow people to sue under certain circumstances, that might be the trade-off there.

What is really missing today, a big piece, what I would refer to as the hole in the bucket, is that here we are, two and a half years or so since people died in Walkerton and over 2,000 people became ill -- some of those children will never recover -- with a safe drinking water bill that deals with the pipes and pumps, but we have seen nothing on groundwater source protection.

I seem to recall that when Minister Clement was in the Ministry of the Environment back in 1999, he said they were working on groundwater source protection, and we saw nothing. Over the past two and a half years, all that the government, the Minister of the Environment, can bring forward on source protection -- the guiding principle in Justice O'Connor's reports and recommendations is that there would be source-to-tap protection. The first 15 or 16 recommendations in his part two report talk specifically about source protection.

I have to point out to the minister today that I will be making amendments to this bill. I am going to want to see much more quickly, as are the people of this province and the people in Walkerton, the next piece of legislation, and that is source protection. Amend the EPA, as Justice O'Connor recommended. Do not wait for yet another committee.

It's astounding to find out that this advisory committee hasn't even been set up yet. It's like we're starting from ground zero here. After all this time we do not have a comprehensive piece of legislation before us today, and after what happened in Walkerton, that is unacceptable.

I want to say to the government that I'm happy to see, finally, that a safe drinking water bill was brought forward today. I will be reading it carefully. In particular, I am calling on the minister to make sure we have comprehensive public committee hearings clear across the province so the public can have a say in how this bill comes out at the end.


Hon David Young (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I knew that you would want to know that Professor Gerald Gall is in the Speaker's gallery today. Last week, Professor Gall was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, and that was done by reason of the fact that he has been a tireless worker for individuals in this country and across the world. He is an individual who is well known as an expert on civil liberties and civil rights, and he has dedicated much of his life to that cause. He's accompanied here today by Karen Gall and their son, Andrew, they being my sister and nephew respectively.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I just thought people might be interested to know that Nancy Steele and Bill MacPherson, the grandparents of Alexander Steele, the page from Sault Ste Marie, are in the gallery today.

Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor West): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: If I may, I'm happy to introduce very prominent members of Windsor's Jewish community who are here at Queen's Park in the members' gallery. Mr Gary Katz, Ms Sharon Kaplan and Dr Plant, welcome to the House.



Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I have a question for the Premier. Today I watched with great interest as the Premier, with the appropriate backdrop, made his announcement, along with the Minister of the Environment, about a Safe Drinking Water Act.

I noted one exception: I know that his pangs of conscience were certainly present in the statements he made, but there was one particular part of the package that was recommended by Justice O'Connor, recommended by, shall we say, the Provincial Auditor and by two Environmental Commissioners, and that dealt with the sources of drinking water. The main criticism today that has been levelled too, and I think justifiably, is that after two and a half years all you have decided to do about the sources of drinking water, that is groundwater protection, is in fact to appoint yet another committee.

Could the Premier tell us why that was not included in the bill or in a bill previously presented to this House?

Hon Ernie Eves (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): First of all, the honourable member will know that Mr Justice O'Connor recommended different treatment for source groundwater and for the sources of water in the province, and we are following his recommendation in that regard.

I've had several discussions about this issue with the secretary of cabinet and others. We are undertaking the largest accounting and documentation of watershed and sources of water ever undertaken in the province of Ontario. The honourable member will surely understand, being a former Minister of the Environment himself, that this takes a considerable period of time. But we are treating the issue seriously and we are, as he has pointed out, asking independent advisory groups to give us their advice in the committee on this issue.


Mr Bradley: If the Premier were treating this matter seriously, as he says, he would have noted in the latest report of the Environmental Commissioner the following statement: "In much of southern Ontario and especially in southwestern Ontario, we know there is a problem with water quality in streams and rivers.... Remarkably," Ontario's "water quality monitoring system has been largely abandoned without the causes of poor water quality ever being addressed. I suspect that the problem may be worse than ever. But I can't say that for sure because the data is simply not available."

Under your watch as the Minister of Finance and now as Premier -- particularly as Minister of Finance -- the number of monitoring stations on waterways in this province was reduced from 730 to 240. Almost 500 monitoring stations on our rivers, lakes and streams have been reduced. Could the Premier explain why that would be, if they're so concerned as a government about the protection of our water supply?

Hon Mr Eves: I think the Minister of the Environment has a response to this particular question.

Hon Chris Stockwell (Minister of the Environment, Government House Leader): In fact, it's been increased by another 90, I think, and the member opposite knows it has. We are in the process of implementing the recommendation from the Environmental Commissioner with respect to the monitoring stations. We've increased it, I think, by 90; it's up to 350. We've done a lot of work, in my opinion, to ensure that the water monitoring stations are in fact there. I can only say to you that we are going to continue to do that. Even the commissioner himself said he didn't know how many water monitoring stations are needed. He wasn't certain either.

By working with these associations and groups, we're just trying to determine exactly how many are needed. Maybe it's 400, maybe it's 500, maybe it's 750. But the fact of the matter is, we have to work to get this strategy together to determine how many you need.

Mr Bradley: Could the minister explain to all members of this House -- or the Premier, one of the two; whoever wishes to answer this -- I guess I'll address it to the Premier. He was the chief spokesperson today. Can you explain, if groundwater protection is so important, if you want to find out what's going into that groundwater or even surface water that you have out there, why on earth would you as a government reduce the number of water monitoring stations? I know you say you've added 90 since then, but why would you have reduced them from 730 to 240? Why on earth would you do that when the Provincial Auditor, two Environmental Commissioners and of course latterly Justice O'Connor have all said that you have to get a handle on this, and one of the ways to do it is to determine what's going into the waterways, and address that? Why did that reduction take place?

Hon Mr Stockwell: The question could be put to the ex-Minister of the Environment for five years in Ontario: why didn't you do a watershed-based management protection study at all? Why didn't you deliver a water-based strategy, period? You didn't do anything. You didn't deliver a water-based strategy study. The NDP didn't produce a water-based strategy either.

I say to the member opposite, the government is actually doing the work, working with AMO, working with the Ministry of Agriculture, working with the conservation authorities. All I've suggested to you is, you have to determine how many stations to have. So I look to the member opposite and say, for five long years, while you were Minister of the Environment, why didn't you even think about having a water-based protection strategy? It's beyond me that you couldn't have come up with the one approach that would have helped the situation: a water-based strategy. You never even thought of this and the NDP never even thought of this.


Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): My question is to the Premier and it concerns my growing worry about the increasingly serious, if not critical, situation at Pickering A. Only four and a half months ago, on June 6, 2002, our Provincial Auditor, the watchdog of public finances in the province of Ontario, said this to the members of this Legislature:

"I would urge the Ontario government as a shareholder to take a very active interest in the cost overruns and delays being experienced in restarting Pickering A. These delays could drive up electricity prices and the cost overruns could negatively affect Ontario Power Generation's cash flows and its contributions to reduce the stranded debt of the old Ontario Hydro."

Premier, as leader of the government of Ontario, why are you and your colleagues in the government so unwilling to allow immediate public hearings on precisely what is going on at Pickering A? What are the real reasons for the delays? What are the true costs and what are the short- and intermediate-term implications of the very serious situation developing about 30 kilometres east of this very place?

Hon Ernie Eves (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): First of all, if this was an easy issue, there would be hundreds of people who could answer the question in 10 seconds or less. Obviously this is not an easy issue. This is an issue of the nuclear generation of power, which is extremely complicated.

Obviously OPG has grossly underestimated -- by their own admission, by the admission of the CEO yesterday in a speech -- the cost of doing the required work at Pickering and has underestimated the date by which it would come on line. But let there be no mistake, this is not an easy issue to resolve and it does take expertise to resolve the issue. I don't see any of that expertise in the Legislature on either side.

Mr Conway: Let me agree with my colleague the Premier. I know better than most of you that this is not an easy problem. Let me remind you that five years ago, under the able leadership of Derwyn Shea, we had a select committee looking at the problem that brought the old Ontario Hydro to its knees, and we are reliving that nightmare now again. It is exactly the same situation, only with this difference: the hydro debt is going up, not down. Consumer pain is everywhere and it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Three weeks ago the independent electricity referee, the Independent Electricity Market Operator, said, on October 7, 2002, "There is a serious shortage of generating capacity to meet Ontario's growing electricity demand, and if steps are not taken soon, the next few months and next summer will be worse than what we've just come through." The auditor has begged us, as the responsible owners of Pickering A, to take a more active interest in understanding the problem.

Premier, what on earth have we got to hide? The public knows it has an obligation to pay. The public has a right to know what is going on and how big the bill will be. Will you now agree --

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Order. The member's time is up.

Hon Mr Eves: First of all, the Minister of Energy is indeed trying to find out exactly what is going on at OPG with respect to Pickering.

I would say, with respect to the independent market operator, that the honourable member neglected to talk about the report, the 18-month outlook that was released late last month, on September 24, talking about energy production in this province. It said that the capability "is generally expected to be well above energy demand levels in each month of the outlook period," that being the next 18 months. "No additional energy is expected to be needed to meet the Ontario forecast energy demand." That paints quite a different picture than you just painted in your question of a moment ago.

Mr Conway: I say to my friend the Premier that the October 7, 2002. report from the independent market operator paints a very worrisome situation, and that's before it was generally understood how serious are the delays and cost overruns at Pickering A.

Yesterday, in OPG's third-quarter report, we find out now that our company, OPG, the successor company to the old Ontario Hydro, the company that controls 70% of the electricity marketplace today, the company that has more to do with keeping prices high than anybody else -- do you know what they're now doing, according to this report? We are selling valuable hydroelectric assets like the Mississagi asset, and we are taking the income reported in the third-quarter statement yesterday, $100 million worth of asset sale revenue, and we're not doing what you said you would do, that you'd take that money and write down the billions of dollars of debt. No, you're not doing that. You're taking that money and giving it to the company, OPG, for operating expenses at Pickering.

All I'm asking for is simply this: we can't let Ontario Power Generation, with its record in the nuclear business, be both player and referee in this game that is so critically important to Ontario consumers of electricity and to Ontario businesses. Premier, please tell the electricity ratepayers that you're going to give them --

The Speaker: Order. The member's time is up.

Hon Mr Eves: Indeed, there is a plan in place to pay down and pay off the residual stranded debt of the old Ontario Hydro by the year 2015, I believe it is. That plan is in place.

With respect to the comments he makes about the generation capacity in the province of Ontario, the very independent market operator he is quoting now has said that over the next 18 months, barring some grossly unforeseen circumstance, there will be an excess of capacity in the province of Ontario, for the next year and a half.



Mr Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): My question is for the Premier. Premier, your hydro deregulation and privatization scheme is causing incredible pain for small business owners across the province. Yesterday we talked with Cheryl Frenette, who owns Hilltop General Store, near Sault Ste Marie. Her hydro bill for the store this summer went from $1,400 to $3,300. She says that if she gets another two or three hydro bills like that, she will have to close down her store. Premier, where do you expect Cheryl Frenette to find an extra $1,900 for her monthly hydro bill?

Hon Ernie Eves (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): First of all, the honourable member is aware of the circumstances that have gone on with respect to the weather, the usage of power, in the province during the months of July, August and September. He's also aware that prices were below what they were before the market opened for the months of May and June. He is aware, of course, that they were above in July, August and September.

He is also aware that on half the days during the month of October, the price has been below what the price of power was before then. There is a commitment on behalf of OPG, on behalf of the government, to offer a rebate program to consumers for the cost of producing power by OPG in excess of 3.8 cents a kilowatt hour despite the fact that the average price before the market opened was 4.3 cents per kilowatt hour.

Mr Hampton: Well, Premier, Cheryl Frenette has heard your excuses. She said to me, "Does the Premier honestly believe that Ontario has never had a hot summer before?" This is a person who is faced with losing her business, and there are dozens of others across this province. Take Dave's Fish Market in Burlington or the Asian Food Store in Rexdale, or Ramundo's Deli in Welland, or Dalseg's Trading Post in my own riding -- all of them small businesses, and all of them can't afford to pay their hydro bills, Premier. It's got nothing to do with a hot summer. It's got everything to do with your scheme of hydro privatization and deregulation. In Algoma district 4,000 people have signed petitions, just in the last 30 days, opposing hydro privatization and deregulation.

What these small businesses want to know is, why are you reaching in and taking the money right out of the till? When are you going to recognize that the problem is hydro privatization and deregulation and stop it now? That's what they want to know.

Hon Mr Eves: The leader of the third party is well aware that this summer was the hottest summer on record since 1955. This stuff isn't made up. If he spent any time in Ontario in the months of July, August and September, he would know that was the case.

There are two things that result in the cost of your hydro bill: the cost per kilowatt hour and the amount of hydro you use. Obviously, if you use twice as much hydro, the cost is going to be twice as much. Having said that, we have a rebate program that is going to rebate consumers the price they have paid over the suggested price, but I do want to remind the honourable member about what his government did when it was in power.


Hon Mr Eves: Well, he was the Attorney General. He sat at the cabinet table. He obviously agreed with all these decisions of the Rae government. You let the debt of Hydro go up by in excess of $3.5 billion, like you did all the other debts that the province had. You let that go from $39 billion to over $100 billion and you leave it for your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to pay: "Don't bother me with the facts. We'll just keep on running up deficits of $10 billion to $14 billion a year and Hydro $3.5 billion -- "

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Order. The Premier's time is up.

Mr Hampton: Premier, if you won't listen to those small businesses, maybe you'll listen to this other person who is very concerned about hydro prices. His name is Gary Carr. He is the MPP for Oakville, who admits that he is circulating a petition calling for a hydro rate freeze and a review of the government's hydro deregulation policy.

He says your arguments are all wrong: "It's true we had a very hot summer, but that alone doesn't explain the tremendous hikes people see in their current hydro bills." He also says, "If deregulation results in the highest hydro rates we've seen before now, I don't see much benefit to that, and neither do the people of Oakville."

Premier, your own MPPs are saying it's obvious something is drastically wrong with hydro deregulation. If your MPPs can figure it out, why are you so slow? Why can't you figure it out?

Hon Mr Eves: We know what your solution was, and that was to run up all kinds of debts by well over $100 billion. If anybody thinks that isn't costing the people you're talking about a lot of money -- the interest on the debt alone is $9.3 billion a year, thanks to you and your government, in large part. You managed to virtually triple the amount of the debt of the province of Ontario and run up Hydro debt and run up workers' compensation unfunded liability, all in a matter of five years. You undid what had been done since Confederation in five short years. That's how you didn't solve those problems.

Unfortunately, I can't refer a question to the Speaker of the House.

Mr Hampton: Mr Speaker, I think the Premier took a shot at you.


Mr Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): Premier, I want to talk about your other debt boondoggle: Pickering. The CEO of Ontario Power Generation now admits they are $2.5 billion over budget on Pickering, and we also know that this is increasing Hydro's debt.

Conservative governments had the original love affair with nuclear power. Remember Darlington? You said it was only going to cost $5 billion, and when you and the Liberals finished, it cost $15 billion, a $10-billion cost overrun. You'll also remember that during the 1980s it was discovered that Pickering was costing hundreds of millions of dollars each year in maintenance costs that were not supposed to happen with nuclear power. That's all history. That was all learned.

Your strategy, besides hydro privatization and deregulation, seems to be to dump it all back into nuclear. My question to you is, can you tell us why you didn't learn from the mistakes in the first place? Why do you want to repeat this mistake of billion-dollar debts on nuclear power?

Hon Ernie Eves (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I don't think there's a single party in this Legislature that is blameless in terms of Pickering and the cost of nuclear power. I seem to recall two Premiers named Peterson and Rae who did a pretty good job of racking up increased debt for Ontario Hydro through spending more money completing nuclear facilities when they were Premiers. I can see lots of members on all sides of the House who were members of cabinet in those eras who helped us get where we are today.

We are actually doing something about paying off the debt of the old Ontario Hydro and being transparent and open about how we got to where we are. We got to where we are by supplying consumers in Ontario with power not at cost, which was what Hydro was supposed to do, but with power at cost minus $38 billion.


Mr Hampton: Premier, I know you would not want to misinform the House, and I know you would want to read the 1995 annual report of Ontario Hydro. The chairman of the board was someone named Bill Farlinger, whom you put in place. This is what Mr Farlinger said in the 1995 Ontario Hydro report. He said that during the NDP years, they were actually able to pay down Hydro's debt by $730 million and that the debt repayments were actually increasing. This is your Bill Farlinger, the person you appointed in the summer of 1995 as the chair of Hydro, so let's be accurate about that, Premier.

But the question is this: you had an opportunity to change the direction, an opportunity to put some money into wind turbine energy, to promote an electricity conservation strategy; you had an opportunity --


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Sorry to interrupt. The Minister of the Environment, come to order, please. You've got a Premier. The people want to hear the Premier answer. If he wants to defer to you, he will. The Premier is who the people want to hear. Yesterday it was very quiet when you weren't here, and I'd appreciate your co-operation.

Sorry for the interruption.

Mr Hampton: Speaker, he couldn't answer these questions when he was the Minister of Energy; I don't know why he has so much to say now.

Here's the story, Premier. Besides the hydro deregulation and privatization fiasco you've gotten the province into, instead of pursuing energy conservation, instead of investing in hydroelectrics and wind turbine energy, you're putting it all back into nuclear. How many times do you have to go back into nuclear before you figure out that it's very expensive and it leads to a lot of big debt? How long is it going to take?

Hon Mr Eves: First of all, I hope he knows that the numbers that he's referring to, the $715 million that he says the debt was paid down by, was in one year, 1995. Surely he of all people will recognize a significant event that took place in June 1995. He will also remember that the government that really paid down the debt was this government, not his government. Your legacy was adding three and a half billion dollars to Hydro's debt. That was your legacy; that's what you did about it. Surely the honourable member understands that the mix of power in the province of Ontario has to be a mix that doesn't rely upon any one specific aspect -- nuclear, hydraulic, fossil fuel or gas-powered. It requires a mixture of all of the above. I would agree with him: we should be investing in more green sources of generating energy.


Mr Michael Bryant (St Paul's): My question is for the Premier. If you add up the salaries of the chair and the CEO at BC Hydro, it is $313,000 a year. If you add up the salaries of the chair and CEO of Ontario Power Generation, it is in excess of $2 million a year. I asked the energy minister in estimates about whether he thought the salaries were reasonable at OPG and he said, "I looked at the compensation packages and the verdict from an outside person said that they were reasonable." I said, "Do you accept that verdict?" and he said yes. My question for you is, do you accept that verdict? Do you think that these salaries are reasonable at Ontario Power Generation?

Hon Ernie Eves (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I'm sure the Minister of Energy has an appropriate response.

Hon John R. Baird (Minister of Energy, minister responsible for francophone affairs): The member opposite, as I reported to him in the estimates committee, shortly after I became Minister of Energy, our Premier asked me to look at the executive compensation at Ontario Power Generation. Rather than conducting it myself, we brought in outside experts, people who have a lot of skill and experience with respect to executive compensation in the province of Ontario. Those outside experts, after reviewing the compensation packages of the individuals in question, confirmed that they were reasonable in the marketplace.

I disagree with the escalating salaries we've seen in a whole host of sectors across our globe. Whether it's a sports star, in business, or in medical and physician services, the reality is, we want to ensure that we can attract people who have the right competence to ensure that this company can be run well.

Mr Bryant: I don't know why you're standing beside your Hydro man Farlinger, your Hydro man Osborne. You've got nothing good to say about the performance of Ontario Power Generation. Yesterday you said the performance on Pickering A was not Ontario Power Generation's finest hour. You said as minister that you're not happy with what you've seen -- but you're happy with their salaries. I don't get it. Ontario consumers see their bills go up, yet they also see the salaries of the people running this show skyrocketing, quadruple that of their counterparts in BC and Quebec. When faced with this in Hydro One, you heeded the call of Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals, and Captain Clitheroe and her crew went down with her ship. Why not at OPG? Why are you standing beside your Hydro man? Is it because of the close relationship between Chairman Farlinger and this government? It's a serious charge, but it deserves an answer. Why are you standing beside your Hydro man when you've got nothing good to say about his performance?

Hon Mr Baird: I'll read from the report: "We reviewed the CEO's employment agreement and find it to be in line with responsible market practice."

The member opposite speaks of the chairman of Ontario Hydro. He doesn't mention his salary, which is nowhere near the amount he has spoken of. The member opposite cites Quebec and British Columbia, two places where a competitive marketplace is not in existence. This is a competitive market in the province of Ontario. It has expensive mixed generation, not just hydroelectric, not just fossil fuels, not just new emerging green powers; it also has substantial nuclear resources.

When this government, this Premier and the former minister stood in this place to take action on the Hydro One issue, this member stood in his place, fought it and voted against it. He should be ashamed of himself.


Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): My question today is to the Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. I'd like to say that I've been working with my colleagues Associate Minister Newman and Minister Clement for the past few months to extend interim beds at the Orillia Care Centre in my riding of Simcoe North. This will help ensure a smooth transition for residents to permanent long-term-care beds in the Simcoe area, once they are up and finally constructed. I'm very pleased to say that the beds have been extended for up to 12 months, past March 31, 2003. For the benefit of my constituents in Simcoe North, I ask the associate minister what the status is of interim long-term-care beds in the Orillia and Simcoe serviced area.

Hon Dan Newman (Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): I thank the hard-working member for Simcoe North for his question. The interim bed program is consistent with one of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's key strategies, and that is to anticipate and develop services to meet the needs of our growing and our aging population. Care provided through long-term-care facilities is an essential component of the continuum of services for our elderly Ontarians.

I'm pleased to say that the beds at the Orillia Care Centre have been extended to help provide even better long-term-care services for the people of central Ontario. Interim beds were implemented as a bridge until new long-term-care beds are built. I'm proud to say that 119 new beds are presently in operation in Orillia, with another 24 expected to be completed by November 2002; in Barrie, 423 beds, and 264 redeveloped beds have been awarded, with construction moving ahead.

I commend the member for Simcoe North for his dedication and for his commitment to long-term-care services on behalf of his constituents.

Mr Dunlop: I thank the associate minister for his response and for his assistance in the Orillia long-term-care centre.

There's no question that even better long-term care is even more important to meet the needs of Ontario's growing and aging population. I'm very proud to be part of a government that has made such unprecedented commitments to long-term-care services in our province. There's no question that these investments will make a real difference for seniors and others who require long-term care throughout our province. I'd like to ask the associate minister what steps our government has taken to ensure that the progress we've made in long-term care continues in the years to come.

Hon Mr Newman: Once again I thank the member for Simcoe North for his question. Long-term care has certainly come a long way in Ontario since our government was first elected by the people of Ontario in 1995. That's because we've taken strong action to improve the sector, unlike the Liberals and NDP, who seemed to hope the challenge of our growing and our aging population would somehow just go away.

As tens of thousands of long-term-care beds are built and redeveloped across Ontario, our government is providing funding of up to $10.35 per bed per day for 20 years to help with the cost of construction of long-term-care beds. That money goes to new and redeveloped facilities across our great province once the beds are built and once the beds are in operation, up to a maximum of $75,000 per bed.

There's no doubt this provides a strong incentive for long-term-care operators to put their beds in operation sooner rather than later. This will mean even greater care for residents and even greater peace of mind for the families of residents.



Mrs Lyn McLeod (Thunder Bay-Atikokan): My question is for the Minister of Energy. I was visited last weekend by a door-to-door electricity salesman. This individual bore a name tag proclaiming he was from Ontario Hydro; in fact, he assured me repeatedly that he was indeed from Ontario Hydro. If you look at the small print on the business card, Minister, you will see that this particular Ontario Hydro is in fact a division of Union Energy Inc, a private company. It was interesting that this Union Energy representative also insisted that his company was working with Thunder Bay Hydro, even though Union Energy of course is in direct competition with our local utility.

Minister, the code of conduct for independent retailers says, "The electricity retailer shall clearly indicate that the offer is not being made by a regulated distribution company and shall not seek to mislead or otherwise create any confusion in the mind of a consumer." Minister, will you agree that Union Energy is misrepresenting itself as Ontario Hydro and will you act now to stop this misrepresentation?

Hon John R. Baird (Minister of Energy, minister responsible for francophone affairs): The priority of our government is to ensure the people of Ontario receive a supply of safe, reliable and affordable electricity in Ontario. We do have a competitive marketplace and we have strengthened measures to protect consumers this past June with Bill 58, brought in by my predecessor.

If the member opposite has allegations that the market rules are not being obeyed, she should bring them forward to me directly. The Ontario Energy Board does have the authority to order compliance and can level substantial fines if people are breaking the law. I don't think it would be fair or appropriate if you asked me to adjudicate it based on the information you've provided me today, like any crime, but if the member opposite wants to present me with the information I'll ensure it reaches the authorities in short order.

Mrs McLeod: I just did bring it to you directly and I think it should actually concern you directly. You and I both know -- and if you had acknowledged that in your answer -- that Ontario Hydro sold its retail arm to Union Energy. It is now being run by a private company. Most consumers, I submit to you, don't know that. Consumers see the Ontario Hydro sign, they see the logo and they assume that they are making a contract with a public utility. They assume that your government is probably in some way underwriting that contract. In fact, Minister, I begin to wonder if in some ways, directly or not, you are in fact underwriting these private contracts. Your own regulator is now saying that it's probably a good idea for consumers to get into fixed contracts because they know the prices of electricity are about to go up.

So what happens if Union Energy Inc is not able to provide their customers with electricity at the 6.02 cents that they're currently selling it for? Do they go and look for a retroactive price increase, as Union Gas did? Do they absorb the losses, even to the point of bankruptcy? I think that's highly unlikely. Do they come to you, Minister, and ask for some kind of bailout so the private company can stay in business, or do they walk away and let the public utilities fix up the mess afterwards?

Hon Mr Baird: If the member opposite has specific examples and wants to provide me with all of the details, I'd be very pleased to look at them.

She may want to look at her caucus colleagues. It's been her party that has steadfastly supported the privatization and steadfastly supported an open market. Just what did you think would happen when we'd have an open market in Ontario? Look what her leader said: "I am in favour of privatization both in terms of the transmission and the generation." That's further than anyone on this side of the House ever said. But has she once got up in this House and spoken up against her leader? Not a single time. What did her own energy critic say when they were out trolling Bay Street for bucks? "Throughout Ontario's electricity restructuring process, Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals have been consistent supporters of the move to an open electricity market in Ontario. Please send me $350." The member opposite should take these concerns to her caucus meeting on Thursday morning and bring me the facts on Thursday afternoon.


Mr Norm Miller (Parry Sound-Muskoka): My question is for the Minister of Education. Minister, as a parent I'm sure you agree that the safety of our students should be our utmost priority. All children in the province should have the right to learn in a safe and respectful environment. They should be able to attend class without the fear of violence, discrimination or sexual abuse. In order to ensure the safety of our children and all the children in this province, can you share with us some of the initiatives this government has enacted to protect our most valuable resource, our children?

Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Deputy Premier, Minister of Education): I would be pleased to respond to that question. Indeed, our government was the very first government in the province to address the issue of ensuring that our schools provide a safe environment for both students and teachers. We introduced the Safe Schools Act in 2000 and we have subsequently introduced the Ontario schools code of conduct. Each board in the province is responsible for developing strategies to deal with harassment, threatening, bullying and issues of sexual abuse.

I'm pleased to say that this morning I spoke at the Canadian Safe School Leadership 2002 conference and I had the opportunity there to meet with a very dedicated group of directors, trustees, teachers and others. I can tell you that people are working aggressively with the government to ensure that our schools are indeed safe.

Mr Miller: I agree that students can't learn when they are in an unsafe environment or when they fear for their safety. Growing up is hard enough, and no student should be placed in a harmful environment or be subject to an irresponsible adult, especially if they abuse their authority.

Can you share with us the specific initiatives this government has enacted to protect our children from sexual misconduct by a trusted adult?

Hon Mrs Witmer: The issue of the need to protect our students from sexual abuse is a very, very important obligation that we have. So based on Justice Robins's review, our government is the very first ever to introduce legislation that better protects students from sexual abuse.

I'd just like to state what the act stipulates. The act says that employers must remove from the classroom a teacher charged with or convicted of an offence with minors, and also that if an employer removes a member or restricts duties for professional misconduct, he or she must report this action to the college registrar within 30 months.

So we now have very comprehensive definitions of sexual abuse, including sexual assault and harassment. I can tell you that it makes it very difficult for disciplined teachers to move from one board to the other.


Mr Michael Prue (Beaches-East York): My question is for the Premier. The last few days have been very devastating for the Black community of Toronto and even more devastating, I'm sure, to the parents whose children have been killed on our streets. Unfortunately, another was shot this morning. Chief Fantino says that policing alone won't bring peace, and this was reiterated by the chiefs of police, with whom many of us met today. Chief Fantino says we need to fix the root causes, be they education or housing or opportunity.

Last year, before my election to this House, the New Democratic Party released a document called the Building Hope Action Plan. This was following extensive consultations with the Black community. Last week, Howard Hampton sent you a copy. There are 30 action steps contained within that plan. Given what has happened in these last few days, which ones will you implement first to get the guns off the street and return safe neighbourhoods to our citizens?

Hon Ernie Eves (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I think the Minister of Public Safety and Security can answer this question.

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Minister of Public Safety and Security): Certainly we're all concerned, and I think I speak on behalf of all members of the Legislative Assembly, with the spate of homicides and crime that we've seen over the last number of days in the city of Toronto. Certainly the chief raised a significant number of issues that have to be identified in terms of dealing with the root causes of crime.

I have not seen the report that you have provided to the Premier, but we, along with all members of this assembly, want to assist the Toronto police and the police services across this province in addressing these challenges.

Mr Prue: Mr Premier, I'm going to ask you again, but perhaps the minister will answer. A couple of very easy things can be done, and I've just sent a copy of that report back across the floor. One is to institute community safety programs involving the police, youth and the community -- the general neighbourhoods. Another very easy thing that can be done today is to give sufficient funds to the city or to other groups for recreation programs that will operate in the evenings and after hours so that our youth will have something to do other than to hang out on street corners.

Last week we gave you this road map; today I give it to you again. This road map is intended to transform the lives of so many of our most vulnerable citizens, so many of our young people who are at risk of death on our streets. Do you have the courage to sit in the driver's seat and take that road map where it needs to go?

Hon Mr Runciman: I certainly appreciate the party's input and their genuine concern about this issue. I have to say, looking at one of the references here to community policing, that I know there have been very significant efforts on the part of the Toronto Police Service, under the leadership of Chief Fantino, to reach out to the various minority communities in Toronto. I think there has been a real priority given to expansion of community policing as well in the city of Toronto.

Clearly, there is a willingness on the part of the Toronto Police Service. Meeting with the chiefs of police who are in the building today, as we speak, they are all concerned about this issue and I think they all want to work together, along with this government, with members of this assembly, to address these challenges. We welcome your input.



Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands): My question is for the Premier. Premier, as you know, October is Ontario Community Support Month. Today we have in our gallery individuals representing different community support sectors and the people who provide the care and support services in our communities.

You made a commitment to the people of Ontario in 1998 to provide an additional $551 million. You still owe more than half of that money, over $140 million that you have committed to the community care sector that has not as yet been paid out to them for services to our communities. In a letter dated September 18, signed by 13 different organizations, you were specifically asked to do something about it. You well know that many services that used to be provided by community care are no longer available to those elderly and frail who want to live in their own home.

Since we all agree it's to the benefit of our seniors and most vulnerable to live in their own home environment as long as possible, why don't you live up to your solemn promise and commitment and make that funding available immediately so that people can stay in their own home environment as long as possible?

Hon Ernie Eves (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): The Minister of Health has a response.

Hon Tony Clement (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): As the honourable member knows, in fact we are continuing to meet our commitment when it comes to both the community and long-term-care sector and the at-home community care sector. This is a multi-year commitment. This commitment was made by the government of Ontario a number of years ago, and each year we have met a certain portion of that commitment on schedule, on plan. That will continue as our support for this community grows.

Mr Gerretsen: Minister, currently you are $140 million short. You are the minister who wrote, by way of a letter to your colleague David Turnbull on September 30 of this year, that the ministry "will undertake a communications campaign directed at ... increasing the awareness about" long-term care "redevelopment activities currently underway throughout the province; highlighting the new home-like environment and improved comfort and amenities being offered by the new and redeveloped facilities."

We all know what a home-like environment is. We all know what comfort is. We all know that people would prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible. Will you tell the people in the gallery today that if you can find the money for this advertising campaign, surely you can find within your budget the money you solemnly promised to commit to this sector in 1998, so people can stay in their own homes with the community support they need? Will you tell them today that the funding will be there so they will be able to stay right where they want to be, in their very own home, where it is a real home, and not some home-like --

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Minister.

Hon Mr Clement: I'm quite surprised by the honourable member's characterization of this. He should know, as Ontarians know, that when you look per capita, we have the most generous home care services in the entire Dominion of Canada, at $128 per capita. That is a commitment that has grown since 1995 by 72%. In fact, it's grown by 440% since they were the government of Ontario on the other side of the House. That is 100% provincial dollars, not a dime from the federal Liberal government, I might add.

We are proud of our commitment to community care. We are proud of our commitment to long-term care. This government is meeting the demands and the needs of the people of Ontario, and we will continue to do so.


Mr John O'Toole (Durham): My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Business Services. But first, for the members of the House, I'd like to extend my congratulations on your recent marriage; I commend you for that. As we all know, marriage is no small business decision.

However, on a more serious note, October is Small Business Month. We all know that small business creates more than half the jobs, almost one million new jobs, in the province of Ontario.

Sadly, back in 1995, I recall sitting down and listening to those small business people talk about their genuine frustration with the government of the past 10 years -- red tape and bureaucratic handling and filings.

But today, fortunately, in my riding of Durham, there is hope. A branch of the Scugog Chamber of Commerce recently formed the Scugog Business Advocacy and Advisory Committee, which helps local enterprise, of course. I'd like to commend committee members Betty Penny, Julie Brock and Ed Olsen, just to name a few.

My question to the minister is very clear: Minister, what has this government done to make it easier for small --

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): The member's time is up. Minister?

Hon Tim Hudak (Minister of Consumer and Business Services): I appreciate the member's interest and enthusiasm in small business as well as my personal life.

As the member knows and said quite well, small business is the backbone of the Ontario economy. It's true: it used to be that small business people would have to wait in line for up to half a day to file their forms, renew their names or to sign up a new business name. It took them longer to file routine paperwork than it did to do their taxes, even using an abacus.

Once we were elected, we worked hard and we continue to work hard to make sure that we cut red tape and make businesses spend less time filling out forms and more time doing what they do best: creating jobs and investment in the economy. Now they can hop on the Net or stop by one of our electronic kiosks and be finished in the time it takes to make your morning coffee; a substantial improvement, and just one step that we're doing for small business.

Mr O'Toole: Thank you, Minister, for that. I'm certain you didn't have to line up to get your marriage licence.

However, I would also say we're moving ahead with entrepreneurship and e-commerce in our government; I know that. The Internet, of course, and kiosks are a very good way to eliminate the inconvenience for small business. Paperwork for small business is lost money, lost income and lost jobs.

I think there's much to be done. I know the Red Tape Commission is working tirelessly to eliminate barriers to opportunities and growth. But what additional initiatives, like the small business advisory committee that Mr Spina is working on -- what is your ministry doing specifically to help small business during Small Business Month?

Hon Mr Hudak: The member puts it quite well. The last thing we want to do is to make businesses jump through more hoops in filling out routine paperwork. There are enough levels of government for them to deal with. In fact, the Ernie Eves government has been recognized by winning a gold award from the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management in the United Kingdom for its work in streamlining processes, especially through electronic service delivery.

We're also working closely with the federal government in this area to streamline the registration process. We have something called the Joint On-line Registration Pilot project, which allows a small business that incorporates federally to similarly apply for Ontario Registration at the same time. There are also a number of joint business centres with the federal government which offer excellent resources for entrepreneurs across Ontario. This type of one-stop shopping frees up time and money and lets businesses concentrate on creating jobs and investment in small towns and large cities across the province of Ontario.



Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): My question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Minister, you can't pass off this question to the minister of rural affairs, because the question is for you. This is the question and this is the 14th day in which you've been silent. Journalists, all kinds of people, have been trying to get you to answer the question. Now I think I realize why you can't answer the question: it's because you really don't know the file. Here I have a deferral at the OMB. As you know, you're deferring the appeals on the decision by the OMB related to the ward boundaries that the city of Ottawa has already undertaken. You signed this, but strangely enough I see some fingerprints here of the minister of rural affairs.

My question to you is, is that the way you operate as a minister? You don't really take a look at what it means or assume your ministerial responsibilities; you just sign it because he said you should. Is that the way you operate?

Hon Chris Hodgson (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): Despite the direction from the person asking the question that I not refer it, I will refer it after this.

I understand that the people in Ottawa want to have a theory that Toronto is dictating everything in Ottawa, and it goes against your theory to even believe that a minister from Ottawa would have responsibility for this file to protect the rural interests in Ottawa. You've got all kinds of conspiracy theories: a plan from Toronto to take over Ottawa, and now you've even included fingerprints that you can somehow see on a letter, and that's a conspiracy.

Look, we're doing the best we can to make sure the rural residents in the Ottawa area are heard, that there's a proper process, and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, rural division, is in charge of this file.

Mr Patten: I told you that you had to answer that, didn't I?

To the minister of rural affairs: when I asked you this question last week, you said there was plenty of time and plenty of opportunity for a review of this. Is it your intent to resolve this issue before the end of December -- Elections Ontario is saying you must have recommendations in by that point, otherwise it would be too late, and the city of Ottawa will be encumbered with some wards that will have five times the population of others. Are you prepared to stand up for that kind of injustice and that kind of discrepancy? Is that what you want to see happen? Because the people of Ottawa will remember.

Hon Brian Coburn (Associate Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): As the member opposite knows, it was a very real issue during the time of amalgamation, and it is still an issue today, that there be proper representation from the rural communities in the Ottawa area, so much so that they launched an appeal to the OMB. There's a deep amount of concern with respect to their representation being undermined at the council table.

We have had a stay in the proceedings in order to have a time out so they can discuss it. The offer has been made for our ministry to work with the appellants in the case and with council to see if there can't be a solution to this so that the representation of the rural communities is not watered down and undermined in this process.


Mr AL McDonald (Nipissing): My question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Last month, I joined a large number of my caucus colleagues at the International Plowing Match in Glencoe. At that event our government provided a major announcement relating to financial assistance for Ontario farmers. I recall that delivering assistance as quickly as possible was a major priority. Minister, could you inform the Legislature and farmers across Ontario on any progress regarding the distribution of these funds?

Hon Helen Johns (Minister of Agriculture and Food): I'd like to thank the member from Nipissing for his question and his support of agriculture in the province of Ontario.

I'm pleased to inform the Legislature that last week the first of approximately 50,000 cheques were delivered to Ontario farmers. As we have noted, financial assistance represents Ontario's 40% of the federal share, and that's the first year of a two-year transition program that we promised to comply with. The short-term aid, of course, will assist Ontario's agricultural industry as they make the transition to a longer-term approach where the risk management tools will be established by the federal government through the agricultural policy framework.

Payments to grain and oilseed producers were made through the market revenue insurance information that we received, and that started to flow last week. We are very proud that these dollars have gone out to the farmers, and we are sure they will be put to good use in the agricultural community.

Mr McDonald: Minister, your ongoing support for Ontario agriculture is well known by Ontario farmers.

I understand your ministry has conducted extensive consultations with Ontario farm organizations to determine the most effective method of distributing this money. Could you inform the Legislature as to what farm groups requested and how our government is responding?

Hon Mrs Johns: We did do a lot of consultation. We worked very closely with the Ontario farm groups to ensure that we came up with the right balance and the right method of payment. The agricultural community talked to us and said they needed a cash payment as opposed to something that went into a plan that may not be able to be triggered. So of course the Ontario portion of the transition money was sent through direct payment. It was also based on a compendium program that we have in Ontario called the market revenue insurance program, which best meets the needs of the agricultural community that was most in need: the grain and oilseed producers.

We put a little bit of dollars into the net income stabilization program because we wanted to make sure that every farmer in the province of Ontario benefited from the program. So we think that's the most effective method and we certainly --

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): I thank the minister. The time is up.


Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): To the Minister of Public Safety: my colleague Tony Martin from Sault Ste Marie tells me that community is shaking its head in dismay at the prospect of you shutting down the only phase 2 young offender facility. That means that young offenders are going to have to be transported all the way to Sudbury, 300 kilometres away, transported back and forth with a new cost to the community of some half a million dollars a year for the mere transport alone. There will be no accessibility to parents, no accessibility to lawyers. Indeed, the job loss as well is a serious blow to a community that's already been hard hit by the Algoma restructuring.

How could you possibly contemplate shutting down that facility and using Sudbury as a base?

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Minister of Public Safety and Security): I think this issue arose as a result of some media reports a week or so ago that talked about the decommissioning of the Soo jail, which indeed has been contemplated for some time. The Soo jail per diem costs are in the neighbourhood of $250, when the average across the system in the province is about $138 or $139 a day. So clearly this is a facility that we cannot contemplate keeping open.

Tied into this is the fact that the young offender facility is attached to the Soo jail, so I think there has been a conclusion reached that automatically the young offender facility would move to Sudbury. I want to indicate that that is a possibility, but no final decisions have been taken.


Hon Dan Newman (Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I want to bring to your attention a matter that happened last night in Scarborough. There was a meeting that was attended by the member for Parkdale-High Park, and there were forms handed out at that meeting for the Ontario Provincial Education Network encouraging people to join. To the left of that name on the form appears to be the coat of arms of the province of Ontario being used for a highly partisan activity.

I'd ask you, Speaker, to rule and report back to the Legislative Assembly on whether or not members can use the coat of arms of the province of Ontario for partisan activities.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): We'll check and see, if the member would give it to me, and we could talk to the appropriate member if something hasn't been done.



Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): This petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and it's part of the 26,000-signature petition we have with regard to Highway 69.

"Whereas modern highways are economic lifelines for the north; and

"Whereas the stretch of Highway 69 from Sudbury south to Parry Sound is a treacherous road with a trail of death and destruction; and

"Whereas the carnage on Highway 69 has been staggering; and

"Whereas the Harris-Eves government has shown gross irresponsibility in not four-laning the stretch of Highway 69 between Sudbury and Parry Sound; and

"Whereas many municipalities across northeastern Ontario have supported the four-laning of Highway 69 from Sudbury to Parry Sound, such as Sault Ste Marie and Sudbury; and

"Whereas immediate action is needed to prevent more needless loss of life; and

"Whereas it is the responsibility of a government to provide safe roads for its citizens, and the Harris-Eves government has failed to do so;

"Therefore, be it resolved that we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to urge the Harris-Eves government to begin construction immediately and four-lane Highway 69 between Sudbury and Parry Sound so that the carnage on Death Road North will cease."

I of course affix my signature to this petition and give it to our page Nazir to bring it to the table.



M. Jean-Marc Lalonde (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell) : J'ai une pétition ici qui comprend plus de 1 300 noms, ce qui voudrait dire aussi que nous aurons atteint plus de 5 000 noms par la fin de la semaine.

« À l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario:

« Attendu que le gouvernement Harris-Eves a déréglementé le marché de l'électricité ontarien le 1er mai 2002 sans que cela ait fait partie de ses programmes de 1995 ou 1999 et sans mandat de la population de l'Ontario;

« Attendu que le prix de l'électricité a atteint des niveaux outrageux, augmentant parfois de 100 % depuis le 1er mai 2002 et causant de graves difficultés financières aux Ontariens et Ontariennes;

« Attendu qu'Ontario Power Generation (qui appartient au gouvernement de l'Ontario) a demandé à la Commission de l'énergie de l'Ontario la permission de réduire de 20 % le rabais promis aux Ontariens et Ontariennes si le prix de l'électricité dépassait les 3,8 cents le kilowattheure...; 

« Attendu que le gouvernement Harris-Eves a autorisé le versement de salaires et primes exorbitants de l'ordre de 2,2 $ millions par année à l'ancienne présidente de Hydro One et au-delà de 1,6 $ millions par année au vice-président d'Ontario Power Generation;

« Nous, soussignés, demandons au gouvernement Harris-Eves de prendre des mesures immédiates pour faire en sorte que les Ontariens et Ontariennes payent ce service essentiel qu'est l'électricité à un juste prix et demandons également que le gouvernement conservateur et son chef, Ernie Eves, déclenchent une élection générale sur l'instabilité du marché de l'énergie pour ainsi donner aux Ontariens et Ontariennes la parole à ce sujet. »

J'y ajoute ma signature.


Mr Tony Ruprecht (Davenport): I have a petition addressed to the Parliament of Ontario. It reads as follows:

"Whereas the Ernie Eves Conservative government has legislated the opening of the Ontario electricity market as of May 1, 2002, and the price per kilowatt hour for electricity in the province of Ontario has nearly quadrupled since May 1; and

"Whereas Ernie Eves has done a poor job in educating the public as to the ramifications of an open electricity market in the province of Ontario and has done little to punish the unscrupulous sales practices of door-to-door energy retailers; and

"Whereas the" Eves "government appointed the board of directors for Hydro One who approved exorbitant salaries and compensation packages for Hydro One executives;

"Be it resolved that the Ontario government move immediately to protect our province's electricity consumers by addressing the serious generation problem in Ontario, by punishing unscrupulous electricity retailers and by moving forward with a rebate to offset the increasing costs of electricity in Ontario."

Since I agree, I sign this document as well.


Mr Steve Peters (Elgin-Middlesex-London): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Ontario government led by the Harris-Eves Tories has severely damaged public education and created turmoil in our schools since they took office in 1995; and

"Whereas the current Toronto-based education funding formula is broken when it comes to rural schools; and

"Whereas [community schools] are being threatened with closure; and

"Whereas rural schools are the heart and soul of their communities;

"Therefore be it resolved that we, the undersigned, demand" that the education minister "immediately address the funding formula in relation to rural schools and place a moratorium on rural school closures."

I have signed this petition and give it to Pierre, a page from the riding of Elgin-Middlesex-London and a resident of Lambeth.


Mr Pat Hoy (Chatham-Kent Essex): I have 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."

I have thousands of signatures in regard to this petition. This one is signed from persons from Tilbury and Pain Court. I hand it over to an excellent page, Alex.


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands): These are further long-term-care petitions from Markham, Wiarton, Owen Sound, Mississauga, Ottawa, Beamsville, Burlington, Sturgeon Falls, Kingston, Grimsby and Port Hope. It reads as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Eves government has increased the fees paid 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 will cost seniors and our most vulnerable more than $200 per 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 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 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 the 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 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 the 15% 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 agree with it. I've signed it and I am now handing it to Matthew, our page.


Mr Steve Peters (Elgin-Middlesex-London): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the Ernie Eves government promised the people of Ontario that the opening of the electricity market would deliver lower hydro rates and improve service; and

"Whereas hydro rates have risen 21% over the past five months since the opening of the market; and

"Whereas consumers have not been adequately informed about the unbundling of charges and therefore do not understand and cannot reconcile the charges shown on their hydro invoices;

"Therefore be it resolved that we, the undersigned, demand that the Ernie Eves government convene a legislative committee to oversee electricity issues in order to inform and protect the public interest."

I am in full agreement and have signed my name to this petition.


Mrs Leona Dombrowsky (Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington): "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 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 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 the 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 in 1999; and

"Whereas this province has been built by seniors who should be able to live 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% 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 will very happily sign my name to this petition because I agree with it wholeheartedly. I will hand it to the page who is with me today, Michelle.



Mr Tony Ruprecht (Davenport): This petition is addressed to the Parliament of Ontario. It reads as follows:

"Whereas the Ontario government wants to take an additional billion dollars out of the education system this year and every year; and

"Whereas the Ontario government has decided to hire uncertified teachers in kindergartens, libraries, for guidance, physical education, the arts, and technology; and

"Whereas the Ontario government wishes to remove the right to negotiate working conditions; and

"Whereas the Ontario government will remove at least 10,000 teachers from classrooms across the province; and

"Whereas the Ontario government has become the sole decision-maker on class size, preparation time and the length of the school day; and

"Whereas the Ontario government proposes to take decision-making powers out of the hands of locally elected community-minded trustees;

"We, the undersigned Ontario residents, strongly urge the government to repeal the Education Act and create an accessible, public, consultative process for students, parents, teachers, and school board administrators to study alternate solutions that have universal appeal and will lead to an improved educational system."

Since I agree, I'm delighted to sign this petition as well.


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): This is a petition to the Legislature Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas modern highways are economic lifelines for the north; and

"Whereas the stretch of Highway 69 from Sudbury south to Parry Sound is a treacherous road with a trail of death and destruction; and

"Whereas the carnage on Highway 69 has been staggering; and"

Whereas in the last three years 46 people have been killed on that dangerous stretch of highway; and

Whereas so far this year, 10 people have been killed needlessly on that stretch of highway; and

"Whereas the Harris-Eves government has shown gross irresponsibility in not four-laning the stretch of Highway 69 between Sudbury and Parry Sound; and

"Whereas immediate action is needed to prevent more needless loss of life; and

"Whereas it is the responsibility of a government to provide safe roads for its citizens, and the Harris-Eves government has failed to do so;

"Be it resolved that we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to urge the Harris-Eves government to begin construction immediately and four-lane Highway 69 between Sudbury and Parry Sound so that the carnage on Death Road North will cease."

Of course I affix my signature to this petition. I give it to Wade, our page, to bring it to the table.


Mr Steve Peters (Elgin-Middlesex-London): A petition to the Legislature 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...; and

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

"Whereas the retroactive charge will affect all customers, including new homeowners;

"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 retroactive increases."

This is signed by over a thousand constituents from all over the province, and I want to thank Mrs Janice Duskocy of Port Rowan for her efforts.



Hon Doug Galt (Minister without Portfolio): I move that pursuant to standing order 46 and notwithstanding any other standing order or special order of the House relating to Bill 149, an Act to extend the red light cameras pilot projects to November 20, 2004 or for an indefinite period, when Bill 149 is next called as a government order, the Speaker shall put every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill, without further debate or amendment, and at such time the bill shall be ordered for third reading, which order may be called on that same day; and

That, when the order for third reading is called, the Speaker shall put every question necessary to dispose of this stage of the bill without further debate or amendment; and

That the vote on second and third reading may, pursuant to standing order 28(h), be deferred; and

That, in the case of any division relating to any proceedings on the bill, the division bell shall be limited to five minutes.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Mr Galt has moved government motion 49. The minister has the floor if he wishes. No? Then, in the rotation, the member for Chatham-Kent Essex.

Mr Pat Hoy (Chatham-Kent Essex): I'm pleased to rise and speak about the bill, but I'm not pleased to rise and talk about the fact that the government is once again this afternoon cutting off debate, for the public should know that time allocation means for the opposition that they're taking our time away; they're ending our time for debate.

I just want to contrast what has happened in recent times with the Harris-Eves government and what has happened in this regard in our past. For example, in the Peterson majority government they passed 183 bills and time allocation was only used three times. In the Harris-Eves government, from June 1999 to July 2002, they've passed only 71 bills and time allocation has been used 46 times. And since we have come back this fall they have invoked time allocation, taking debating time away from the opposition, six times.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): Six.

Mr Hoy: Six this fall alone.

So the government once again, with its majority and its heavy hand, is saying, "The debate of issues, and in particular the red light camera issue, is over. We want to end it."

We have this time this afternoon to make some comments, and I certainly want to make some brief comments, as do my colleagues, in terms of this time allocation motion and the impact it might have.

This time allocation motion is being put in place on Bill 149, the Red Light Cameras Pilot Projects Extension Act, 2002. Some time ago there was a bill passed that allowed for a red light camera pilot project to be used for red light cameras in proceedings concerning drivers who failed to stop at a red light and proceeded through the intersection before the green light came on. This was done in 1998 and the legislation allowed for it to continue until November 2002. What this bill would now do is allow for an extension of two more years of the use of red light cameras wherever they may be availed of and continue until 2004, unless the Lieutenant Governor were to repeal it before that date.

Surely, when it comes to safety on our highways, streets and roads, we want to ensure the very best for our public. And it seems that all too frequently people have been running red lights in various areas of the province. So it would seem reasonable that this pilot project -- if indeed the government does not have satisfactory data as to the value of these red light cameras, whether it's saving lives, protecting people from serious injury, we clearly should support the continuation so that we can fully assess whether this red light camera pilot project should be made permanent.

The Canada Safety Council argues that the purpose of these cameras is to prevent collisions and not generate revenue or to punish persons, and I think that's what all members in this House are concerned with: the protection of the public. Certainly I agree that the use of red light cameras can be an effective tool in ensuring that our public drives in a safe and forthwith manner.

On the subject of transportation, I would like the House to also be reminded that I have a concern, and my constituents have a concern, about the abandonment of railroads and how it will have a negative impact on local communities and economies and can affect the attraction of new businesses and industries to certain areas of this province. Not only does the abandonment of railroads have an effect on those businesses and industries, it reduces the choice of transportation that persons and manufacturers might want to avail themselves of and locate in various areas.

In my riding of Chatham-Kent Essex we have a very high incidence of heart, stroke and cancer. Our air quality in Chatham-Kent Essex is very, very poor on certain occasions. I was actually quite astounded to learn that the small village where I come from, with a population of about 500 persons, has an air monitoring system nearby, and at times, in this country setting of Chatham-Kent, in the little village of Merlin, we can have smog days that exceed that of metro Toronto.


So we believe, and I support the notion, that rail lines are an integral part of our gateway to southwestern Ontario. And it happens to be that there are many embarked on a campaign to save a part of the Canadian Southwestern Railroad, 83 miles of track between a point west of Welland to St Thomas. This rail line is an important corridor. It links New York, Boston, Toronto, Detroit and Chicago with ourselves. So I think we should ensure that we leave the options available to people when it comes to rail travel.

I find it quite interesting that the government has decided that it would embark on red light cameras. It embarks on taking pictures of licence plates to collect tolls, but it will not support Bill 112 in its fullest and have it go to committee in a speedy fashion.

My Bill 112 would allow for bus drivers to identify the driver of a vehicle by licence plate. The government will allow for ticketing of persons through a photograph of a licence plate at a red light camera situation and collects tolls. It'll collect money by taking a picture, a photo, of a licence plate. But on five different occasions, as I introduced a bill to protect children while riding on school buses with the red lights flashing and having the bus driver identify the vehicle, an eyewitness account of the licence plate, it seems that this government at the very least has been very slow, after second reading, with all-party support of this bill, in getting it to committee, in having a full and extended debate, in bringing it back to this House and having the bill passed into law so that we can protect the 810,000 children who ride school buses daily on 16,000 buses. Obviously the police cannot follow 16,000 buses, which may have one, two or three routes per day, so we need a conviction mechanism. We need a conviction mechanism so that we can protect these children. There have been 13 deaths and over 80 injuries by persons who pass school buses with the red lights flashing here in Ontario.

I have wide support for this bill, from all quarters; 30,000 names were presented in this Legislature in regard to the support for this bill. Police associations support this bill. The Ontario School Bus Association supports it, the Canada Safety Council, the School Bus Operators' Association of Ontario, the Ontario Home and School Association, the Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario, the Ontario Farm Safety Association, Citizens for Responsible Driving, and countless municipality school boards, school bus operators and drivers, and the public at large, who have signed petitions totalling 30,000 names.

Colleen and Larry Marcuzzi, and Ed and Ginny Loxton, both families lost daughters to someone who passed a school bus while the red lights were flashing. A tragic, tragic event, that a young life would be taken away.

We need a strong deterrent so that the people of Ontario recognize and will understand that passing a school bus with the red lights flashing will not be tolerated in Ontario.

Currently, the bus driver must identify the face of the person driving the offending vehicle. It is virtually impossible to see that face. First of all, the bus drivers are watching their most precious cargo, that being the children, first and foremost.

Secondly, if the offending vehicle passes the bus from the back to the front, the bus driver only sees the back of one's head. Many of the vehicles today have blacked-out windows, which makes it virtually impossible to see people inside.

The speed of the vehicle is also a factor in not being able to recognize the person who is driving. But school bus operators and school bus drivers have told me they stand an excellent chance of recognizing the licence plate number. That is what my bill is all about: allowing the bus drivers to give an eyewitness account, not a photograph, of who passed a school bus illegally, and they would be available for cross-examination. It's hard to cross-examine a red light camera or a camera taking a photo on the 407 to collect monies.

I urge the government to allow this bill, as it has passed second reading, to go to committee to have a full debate. We'll answer any and all questions members in all parties might have. The support is real; it's been over countless years. I've introduced the bill five times. We persist with this bill because it's right for the children, and it's right for those bus drivers and bus operators to know there's a strong deterrent here in Ontario that will stop this habit of passing school buses recklessly.

In my summation, I just want to say that those red lights flashing don't mean slow down and they don't mean pass the bus when you think it's safe; they mean stop. In many cases, people will stop for railroad crossings. There are exceptions to everything, but in the main people will stop for railroad crossings. They will stop for stop signs. Apparently we have some people -- a law was needed to have people stop at right lights on our streets. But for some reason, people take a dangerous attitude that they can pass a school bus when the red lights are flashing.

I say to the government, let's give our bus drivers a chance to ensure that their precious cargo returns home safe. Bus drivers have told me they drive white-knuckled, with not one car passing, not two, but as many as three in succession. A local TV station sent me film of this happening during an OPP blitz. They continued to pass. I've had mothers hiding behind shrubbery in their yards filming people passing a school bus when the red lights are flashing. We have proof that it happens, the sad proof of deaths and injuries that have occurred in Ontario.

I continue to work for those families and those school bus drivers who need Bill 112 to be passed into law. I know there are others who want to talk to this time allocation motion, so I simply say, get this bill to committee, make it law and protect the children of Ontario who ride school buses.

Mr Marchese: I support this one-page bill. I think it's a good bill. I oppose strangulation motions on principle, but one has to accept that governments have a job to do, and from time to time they'll bring in strangulation motions to strangulate debate. I understand why they do it. We just have to say that on principle we oppose them. But we do support Bill 149, because it extends the ability of cities to implement red light cameras, which we believe are a matter of safety. It's true. But I can't help wanting to make some comparisons with red light cameras and photo radar, because the two are almost intrinsically the same.

I want to bring you back, Speaker, because you were here, and bring on these four or five new Tories who are sitting across from me, because they weren't here in 1993-94. Just for their entertainment, listen to some of the things Mike Harris, their former leader, used to say about photo radar. This is what the former Premier, Mike Harris, then leader of the third party, asked with respect to the issue of photo radar: "My second question is to the Minister of Transportation. Late yesterday, your government brought in a motion to shut down debate on your totalitarian" -- I can't believe he said that, but that's Mike Harris -- "Orwellian" -- I'm surprised he knows what the word means -- "photo-radar cash-grab legislation."


Then he said, "Why are you so desperate to ram this legislation through that you are not even willing to listen to any viewpoint other than your own?" -- to the five Tories who are here listening to what I'm saying about what Harris used to say.

Our minister, Gilles Pouliot, then Minister of Transportation, answered, "You can attest better than anyone" -- speaking to the Speaker -- "that we have spent a full five days debating this safety initiative...." I'll tell you, a full five days -- we used to spend weeks and weeks debating bills in this place.

The former leader of the third party called what Pouliot, the Minister of Transportation, did, ramming through this legislation, called it "totalitarian" yet, "Orwellian" yet.

Then I wonder how this government could, in light of what your Premier used to say about photo radar, then introduce a bill that is about red light cameras, which is similar in nature to photo radar. You understand, there is no difference. The principle is the same. You attach cameras here and catch illegal activity that's going on there -- a matter of safety. Mike Harris said that our photo radar bill was totalitarian, Orwellian and cash-grab legislation. You go figure that. Premier Mike Harris, now gone, God bless his soul, spoke so vehemently against photo radar, and then you people grab this red light camera bill. I say, why would you do that?

Mr AL McDonald (Nipissing): Then you're agreeing with Mike Harris.

Mr Marchese: It's not what I said. It's what Mike Harris said.

I want to know what some of the Tories say, particularly some of the new ones, what AL McDonald from Nipissing has to say about what Mike Harris used to say about photo radar. I'm interested in your opinion. I told you what Mike Harris said. I want to know what AL from Nipissing has to say about those remarks. He called it totalitarian. Bill 26, which your government introduced, a bill that would give municipalities, ministers, totalitarian powers to do literally anything they wanted was okayed by Mike Harris.

AL from Nipissing, when 80% of people across Toronto said, "We will not be amalgamated," your Mike Harris, the same guy who called our photo radar totalitarian and Orwellian, said, "We won't listen to the 80% of the people." It makes you wonder, though, right, AL? It makes you often wonder what people do in opposition.

I've got to tell you, AL from Nipissing -- five days of debate on that. You understand, AL, because you've been here long enough. Some of the bills get debated -- what? -- for a day if we're lucky. Some of these things are dismissed expeditiously --

Hon Mr Galt: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: According to parliamentary procedure, we refer to members' riding names rather than their personal names.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): You are absolutely correct. Members should refer to the riding names, not to members' names.

Mr Marchese: We admire the whip's ability to be so perspicacious in his abilities; good heavens, yes. But with the same perspicacity that he made that comment, he would know that I referred to the member for Nipissing as AL. AL has a name; Nipissing has a member. The Nipissing member is called AL -- AL from Nipissing. He knew that. With that sagaciousness of his, he would have known that. But mercifully we've got a sharp whip over there.

I want to tell the whip, just listen to what your former Premier used to say. He said, "You, in your haste, are recklessly disregarding the people of Ontario" -- recklessly. We're talking about photo radar, a safety bill that these people presumably now, through the red light cameras, agree with. They said of our bill on photo radar we were in haste, "recklessly disregarding" the Ontario public. This is the Premier who back then, AL from Nipissing, used to be your leader of the third party, right here.

Let me get to Mr Stockwell, the Minister of the Environment, who said this about photo radar then, "Tell me what service they're providing to the public" -- meaning photo radar -- "by nailing every single driver to the cottage on Friday night and home on Sunday night because they're going 15 or 20 kilometres over the speed limit. They're not serving anybody. What are they doing? They're generating revenue for their coffers. That's what they're doing."

Let me understand this. The poor guy is going to the cottage. He's speeding by 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50 kilometres. Stockwell says it's not a problemo, right? They're just going to the cottage. On Sunday night, he says, they're coming back home. What's the big deal? I think to myself, if this is a matter of consistency, logic and safety, isn't that what red light cameras do? They catch some perpetrator of a crime going through a red light, potentially causing the life of somebody, potentially maiming someone. Yes, that guy might be going to the cottage, but he might be going through a red light, potentially causing harm to some human being, small, big, middle-aged, thin, old, whatever. They're human beings who could potentially be harmed by somebody going through a red light. The Minister of the Environment, then a member of the third party, said, "Tell me what harm they're doing." He called photo radar just "generating revenue for their coffers."

To be fair, AL from Nipissing, the Liberals argued the same stuff, so don't feel I'm picking on you, because the Liberals then opposed photo radar too. But they like red light cameras now, just as you like red light cameras now. I just wanted for the record, AL from Nipissing, to tell you what your friends used to say. Of course you like red light cameras now. If you were here then with Chris Stockwell, Mike Harris, Runciman and all these others, you wouldn't have liked it either then. But today you come here saying, "I like."


Mr Marchese: Photo radar? Right. I think there was an intelligent commentary, but I didn't pick up. Maybe the Hansard will. I'll look it up later.

I just wanted to tell you what your members used to say. "This isn't going to stop anyone from speeding in a rented car," says Stockwell. "Why would they stop speeding?" He goes on. There's so much more that Chris Stockwell said on this matter.

I want to bring to your attention, Speaker, and through you to the public, the inconsistencies, often, of politicians, how often we contradict ourselves and how difficult it is for the public to believe anyone. That's why so many are so cynical here. It's tough for the general public, for the general Joe, to say, "Whom do you believe?"

But I want to say, speaking to the issue of red light cameras, that New Democrats supported photo radar then and we support red light cameras today. Generally speaking, we take a consistent approach.


Mr McDonald: Let's just vote.

Mr Marchese: I know you just want to vote, but we need to make the points, right?

Here's the other point I want to make to you, AL from Nipissing. You had a two-year pilot project, right? How long do pilot projects last? When does a pilot project end? We're going to go to four years now as a pilot. A pilot is generally -- I don't know -- a year. You sort of look at the matter and you study it, say, one year. You say, "Hmm, all right. Let's give it another year, two years." If you don't have enough evidence in by now, you've got a problemo on your hands, right? Something is wrong when a pilot project is extended two more years into another pilot phase. It speaks obviously to a dilemma of sorts, because you as a government would have to argue or give reasons why you're doing that. Why would you be doing that?

I'm looking forward to Julia's remarks, the member from York North, to see what her speaking notes say in this regard. I want to know, when does a pilot project end?

Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington): When it ends.

Mr Marchese: When it ends, yes. But it's not quite true. As I was explaining earlier to the former Minister of Culture, pilot projects have an end, really, and they're usually time-specific. They don't last four years. They just don't last that long -- ought not to -- and if they last that long, there's a problem.

I argue that cities ought not to come begging to you every two years for permission to introduce red light cameras. Cities on their own have the ability and the knowledge to introduce red light cameras without having to come to beg to the province to do this. Why is it that you insist on holding on to this power and not liberate yourselves and the cities to be able to do what they ought to do is incomprehensible to me?

Perhaps the member from York North will also speak to this. I'm not sure what her speaking notes say. But hopefully they will say why it is that the province insists on holding on to the power of giving permission only to cities, holding on to the power of saying to cities yes or no. Why do you do that? Cities surely are mature enough to deal with this. Of all the things they don't need, it's the government in this case to continually pass a law that allows them to do something or not.

You are good, generally speaking, at flushing your problems down to the municipal level. You have flushed down every conceivable problem you have to the municipalities. Your taking back of education taxes and giving the cities back more responsibilities -- of transportation, God bless them; of child care; and completely giving them housing as a social responsibility where they're going to have to raise property taxes to pay for housing -- is an act of irresponsibility to the highest degree. You have flushed every conceivable responsibility to the city so that the city has to go to the taxpayer to get the money to pay for those problems.

But red light cameras are not something for which you, AL from Nipissing, can give municipalities the power. Speak up when it's your turn; you're next. Tell Julia you want to speak. You were a former -- what?

Mr McDonald: Deputy mayor.

Mr Marchese: You have the experience to speak about how able you are or were to take this on. You know because you were there. You could tell the Premier, "Ernie, they can do it. I was there; I was the deputy mayor of Nipissing," up there somewhere in your little town up there.

The problem is, the member from York North has a speech and she's not going to address my questions. The speeches are written by some young bureaucrat over there sitting at the back who gives you the speeches, obviously. I've got to tell you, I'm not a fan of that kind of stuff.

I want people like the member from Nipissing to stand up and say, "Here's my view." That's what I want. And I want the member from York North to answer my questions, and if she can't I want the member from Nipissing to get up and do it, and I want him to take just five minutes. Don't take 10, AL from Nipissing, just five, a couple of minutes to say Marchese is right or wrong, that Marchese is right in giving municipalities the power to implement their own red light cameras or not. You tell me, because you've had the experience, Deputy Mayor, you had the experience -- a small city, it's true, but nonetheless it doesn't matter.

Mr McDonald: It's not that small: 56,000.

Mr Marchese: But it doesn't matter: 56,000, big, small, it doesn't matter. You were the deputy mayor, with a whole lot of experience. I want you to just walk over to the member from York North and say, "Julia, just give me some time, because the member from Trinity-Spadina needs some answers." Go ahead, AL, I want you to do that for me, please, so I know. Go ask. He's asking; the member from Nipissing is asking.

The Acting Speaker: You know full well that you need to be addressing your comments through the Chair and that you do not refer to members by their names but by their constituencies. Thank you.

Mr Marchese: The member from Nipissing just went to the member from York North to ask for her permission to speak. You might ask the whip, because the whip has some say in these matters. Whip, the member from Nipissing would like a couple of minutes to respond to my question. Is that OK?

Hon Mr Galt: You'll have to check with the Speaker.

Mr Marchese: Check with the Speaker? It's not his business what you do.

Hon Mr Galt: I'm not chairing this Legislature.

Mr Marchese: No, but it's none of his business whether you'd permit the member from Nipissing to take five minutes or not. It's your business.

Anyway, I'm just having some fun here. That's not the point, really. We are against strangulation motions on principle; we are. That's not the problem. We support this bill, but what we say is that if there's one thing we probably will agree with the member from Nipissing on it is that red light cameras are something cities can take on because they've got the skills. It's not that complicated, really, when you come down to it. It's really easy. It's about safety. They're the closest to their communities so they know where to put these red light cameras, they know when to take them off, they know whether to put more or fewer in some of those streets. They're the ones who are best positioned to deal with these issues of safety. That's what we are arguing on this side.

Then I want the government to comment whether you will make this a permanent feature of what cities should be able to do. And if you don't want the cities to do it, will you end this pilot project and say, "We're going to permit cities to be able to do it all the time?"

The pilot project has got to end at some point. It's not complicated, right? You've got a red light camera that focuses on the problem: they speed and you catch the culprit. It's intended to prevent people from speeding recklessly through red lights. How effective it's going to be in the end is always a matter of degree and/or serious questioning, no doubt. But when people know you've got red light cameras keeping an eye on you, you're more likely to stop when you get to a red light than to take the chance of going through it, to take the chance of making the turn on the red light. It will seriously affect people's behaviour, because that's what you've got to do. You have to change the culture of what people do.

Listen, we live in big cities, those of us who live in big cities, or small, I suspect. We've got a whole lot of -- hey, there's Chris Stockwell, Minister of the Environment. I just quoted you earlier. We live in a big city where people are busy, so busy that, yes, sometimes they do reckless things, but that's no reason that we should risk going through red lights and risk lives, risk maiming people. No one ought to be that busy that you can't take the time to slow down.


Mr McDonald: Just vote yes.

Mr Marchese: The member from Nipissing, AL, says, "Just vote yes." No, AL from Nipissing; it's more than just voting yes, more than just sitting down and saying yes. I want to point out the contradictions so that you remember. I want to point out what your Minister of the Environment said then. I want to point out what your then leader, then Premier, said. You need to know, AL from Nipissing, so that you can correct your own actions, so you are aware of your own contradictions, because you people are mired in them. You are mired all the time in your own contradictions. You seem to get away with it, but your popularity is slowly diminishing. God bless, sometimes you think someone is up there looking after us.

So I say to you, end the pilot. Make it a permanent feature of what cities ought to do. Make it permanent by saying to the city, "You can do it on your own," and give each municipality, wherever they are, the power to be able to do it however they see fit.

The member from Nipissing, AL, is going to stand up next, after me, take five minutes -- right, Julia from York North? -- to respond to some of these questions because I know, Chris, that script that she has ready to be delivered doesn't answer my questions. She's going to say, "Oh, this is about safety, this is really good, we've got to do it, let's end the debate." That's what she's going to say. I know that. But that's not what her Premier used to say about photo radar: "It's all nonsense."

She's got to get rid of that speech that one of those young bureaucrats wrote and speak from whatever heart she's got. And you too, AL from Nipissing. Don't deliver speeches on the basis of what they write for you. Speak from here. Yes, you might be caught in a contradiction if you speak from here, but that's OK, because at least it comes from your heart, right? As opposed to those controlled debates, those boxed-in debates that get written for you. You can't be a fan of such stuff. I wouldn't have any fun reading speeches. It would be a crime. Wouldn't that be so, member from Perth-Middlesex? Yes, it would be. I know you're listening. You're very attentive to what we have to say, as one of the people who's in that chair from time to time.

So three things: First, AL from Nipissing, when does the pilot end? You've got to answer that. It's a simple question. And you can't say, like the former Minister of Culture, "When it ends." That's too cute. The pilot has to end at some point.

Second, why do you insist on holding on to this power? Why do you think cities are incapable, former deputy mayor, of doing this on their own? Why, if it's such a simple matter, can't you give this power to the cities to overview, administer? Why can't you do that? And after you've answered these questions, then some of us can sit down a little more quickly and get out of the way, right?

But don't stand up talking about how good this is, this is great for safety, good for kids, good for senior citizens, good for the people, badda-boom, badda-boom. That's why I quoted your former Premier about what he said about photo radar, because he said it was dumb, because he called our bill totalitarian, Orwellian. Like the Tenant Protection Act that Mike Harris, the former Premier, passed wasn't Orwellian -- the Tenant Protection Act, which doesn't protect tenants; it protects landlords -- that's not Orwellian. Saying to 80% of the people in the city of Toronto, in the Metro region, "We're against amalgamating," and disregarding their opinion, that's not totalitarian, but photo radar was totalitarian.

You see, Speaker, how funny it is. You've got to be able to contain yourself when you read stuff like that. You've got to contain yourself and try not to laugh or cry because it's bizarre.

Mrs Marie Bountrogianni (Hamilton Mountain): You're doing a good job of containing yourself.

Mr Marchese: You've got to, because otherwise you break down, either in tears or in laughter. You can't do it, and the Speaker wouldn't know how to contain himself if he witnessed such a spectacle either. Isn't that so?

So I think I've had enough to --

Mr Mario Sergio (York West): No, no, keep it up.

Mr Marchese: I could, but the member for Timmins-James Bay wants to speak on this too. I've got to tell you, I am happy when I have an hour to speak. I am, because 10 minutes is just not good enough. Strangulation debates, I love them too. If I had an hour to speak on that, this is the place to do it, right? This is the only place that people get to watch us and listen to us. Otherwise --


Mr Marchese: But it's true, Julia. So get rid of that script. Speak from the heart. OK? Let me just see you, because you're coming up next. You're not going to let AL from Nipissing speak. I know you. The whip laughed and he's not giving you permission to allow him to speak; I know that too. The whip is talking to somebody else right here on the Liberal benches.

Speaker, thank you for being attentive, as you always are. You've contained yourself very well. Thank you. My friend from Timmins-James Bay is going to take over in a short little while as we get around the turn.

Mrs Julia Munro (York North): I'm very pleased today to rise and offer my support for the time allocation motion in regard to the Red Light Cameras Pilot Projects Extension Act, 2002.

As my honourable colleagues will recall, the Minister of Transportation introduced this bill for first reading last June. The legislation would build on our impressive road safety record and on the success of the Red Light Cameras Pilot Projects Act, 1998, which was passed by the Legislature in December, 1998. That legislation authorized several municipalities in the province to install and operate red light cameras at selected intersections for a trial period of two years.

Under the proposed bill, the House would authorize a two-year extension of the pilot projects that have been underway in six municipalities over the past two years. Those projects are designed to test the effectiveness of red light cameras at high-risk intersections in deterring drivers from running red lights. This bill would allow the pilot projects to continue until November 20, 2004. The proposed bill that's before us proves once again this government's commitment to improving road safety, and improving intersection safety is part of our broader effort to counter aggressive driving.

As I mentioned earlier, the legislation authorizing municipalities to implement a red light camera enforcement pilot project was passed in December, 1998. The legislation called for a two-year pilot period during which participating municipalities would evaluate the effectiveness of red light cameras in preventing collisions at intersections.

Under the existing legislation, the red light cameras pilot projects are scheduled to end in November of this year. Six municipalities decided to participate in the pilot projects. They are the cities of Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa and the regional municipalities of Peel, Halton and Waterloo. These municipalities have taken a lead role in implementing red light cameras pilot projects. Five of these six participating municipalities have formally asked to extend the legislation and allow the pilot projects to continue for another two years, until November 20, 2004.

The draft legislation before us responds to the municipalities' request to extend the red light cameras pilot projects for a further two years. It would allow these municipalities additional time to gather more information on the effectiveness of red light cameras as a deterrent to drivers who run red lights.

As I mentioned, Ontario already has an outstanding road safety record. Our roads are the safest in Canada and the second-safest in all of North America. Our government is proud of this record. But we also recognize that there is still room to improve. Making Ontario's roads even safer is the goal of this bill.


I think it is important to point out that red light running is a significant cause of injuries and fatalities in Ontario. Based on highway traffic data for the year 2000, red light running accounted for more than 7,000 collisions and approximately 3.1% of all traffic-related fatalities. From the same data we also know, at municipal intersections in the province, almost one quarter of all collisions occur at intersections where there are traffic signals. More than 14% of those collisions can be attributed directly to drivers who run red lights. The undeniable fact is that almost half of all the deaths at municipal intersections that have traffic signals are caused by drivers who run the red light. Clearly, we must continue our efforts to improve driver behaviour by reducing and eventually eliminating this dangerous practice.

I'm sure my colleagues in the Legislature will agree that we pay a very high price for those irresponsible drivers who run red lights. The annual cost of collisions in Ontario has been estimated at about $9 billion. The cost of red light running, including hospital bills, property damage and the pain and suffering of victims, has been estimated at close to $300 million.

All stakeholders believe that a concerted effort is required to improve driver behaviour. We know it will take a combination of enforcement and education measures to end red light running, so, in addition to undertaking the red light cameras pilot projects, the participating municipalities were asked to step up their traditional enforcement methods. In each participating municipality local police conducted traditional enforcement blitzes on red light running for at least 20 hours at selected high-risk intersections during each year of the pilot project. The idea here was to have a basis for evaluating the effects of increased enforcement and the operation of red light cameras.

Preliminary results from the participating municipalities show a 40% decrease in red light running violations at intersections. As of September 30, 2002, these participating municipalities have charged about 25,500 red light runners detected by red light cameras. The final evaluation of the red light projects which examines the full two years of pilot data in terms of violations and impact on road safety will not be completed until 2003. This reflects the time required to compile all the collision data necessary for the evaluation.

I would like to stress that the public is generally very supportive of red light cameras. A recent Environics study indicated that red light cameras are supported by some 55% of all Canadians. Here in Ontario, support is much higher, at 84%. In addition, I would like to point out that a number of other transportation stakeholders, including the Canadian Automobile Association and the Canadian Safety Council, have also expressed their support for extending the red light cameras pilot project.

As I mentioned earlier, Ontario currently has the safest roads in Canada. We are proud of this accomplishment and we are determined to make our road safety record even better. Intersection safety represents an important part of our government's broader efforts to reduce aggressive driving throughout the province. Traffic statistics and common sense tell us that drivers who disobey red light signals pose a serious hazard to other road users and to themselves. Ultimately, red light running needs to be addressed through a combination of public awareness, vigilant enforcement and effective legislation, all of which are geared to changing driver behaviour. While the government continues to believe that traditional police enforcement measures represent a highly effective means of targeting drivers who run red lights, we want to give our municipal partners a chance to test and evaluate this additional tool for reducing red light running.

As a result, the government is proposing legislation that would extend the red light cameras pilot project for a further two years. That extension would give us more data to assess the effectiveness of red light cameras in enforcement. By drawing on that enhanced data, we can better decide on the extent to which this technology should be used in the future. The proposed legislation would also allow the end date of the pilot projects to be repealed before November 20, 2004, by means of an order in council. In effect, that would make the legislation permanent.

I would like to conclude my remarks today by again expressing my strong approval of this proposed legislation, and by strongly urging all members of the Legislature to join me in supporting this important initiative, which will help to make Ontario's roads even safer.

Mr Sergio: I join the debate on Bill 149, the so-called red light cameras, thanks to our colleague here, Mike Colle for Eglinton-Lawrence, who has been working very persistently on the idea. It's finally here, not for first but for second reading. My thanks to the minister for introducing the bill for second reading as well, after some three years in waiting. The fact that we are dealing with the second reading now is because the red light cameras that have been installed have proven to be an effective measure in control, being a deterrent to a lot of speeding traffic, but also those going through red lights. That was the intent. It is not as much the cost, because I believe if we can save not only one person from fatal injuries but any injury whatsoever, I think it's worthwhile.

Red light cameras do more than that. At a time when resources are very short, if I may say, they are practically replacing a number of our police force members for much more important issues. They do free up a lot of the police's time. In 2001 alone, some 9,000 speeders, infractions, drivers going through red lights, were caught. That shows us that it's still being done. Red light cameras doesn't mean that we'll be able to eliminate all the bad habits, those drivers who go through red lights. I don't think we'll be eliminating that completely, but at least it's a big deterrent. It is a message that we are sending to people who are speeding or going through red lights that indeed, sooner or later we are going to catch them. Sooner or later they will realize that the roads and intersections do not belong to them alone. They belong to other people, to other drivers and to pedestrians as well. I would hope that once they are caught, they will realize it doesn't pay to go through a red light. I hope they will soon realize it's better to slow down, take the extra two or three minutes, and then go on. I hope they would soon realize that it doesn't pay to cause pain and suffering.


In my own area, for example, I have a number of major intersections and I would love to have cameras at every intersection. I have one at Jane and Finch, which is a very busy intersection, and one with one of the most accidents as well. I would love to have red light cameras at the intersections of Weston Road and Wilson, Weston Road and Finch, Jane and Wilson, Steeles and Islington Avenue.

Often it's not that they go through the red light and cause no harm. The problem is that often these drivers with bad habits cause serious accidents to innocent people, let alone to passengers. They cause serious injuries to innocent bystanders. They could be people waiting at the intersection to cross or they could be in a bus shelter. The fact is that it's a very bad habit to approach an intersection -- do you know what's even worse? They speed even more when they are about to approach an intersection. Instead of slowing down and saying, "Hey, you never know" -- there could be other cars coming or people crossing or whatever -- they tend to speed even more.

It is good that the minister has introduced the legislation for second reading to extend the red light cameras for a period of two or more years. He has not attached any time as to two or more; it can be very indefinite. I can tell you, from speaking to some of my constituents, they are saying, "Do anything that would curtail speeding, that would curtail drivers going through red lights, that would curtail traffic accidents, that would do anything to make our roads more safe."

I think this would go a long way to inject some peace of mind, not only in our drivers but in our pedestrians as well. So I am pleased that the minister has introduced this legislation for second reading, extending it for two or more years.

I would like to see as well not only the existing municipalities that now have the red light cameras as a pilot project and have requested to extend them -- I think there is one municipality, but I have no idea, because I'm not privy to the information, why they're not willing to request the extension. But all the other municipalities have said, "It's working. It's good. It's having an effect. It's having an impact. We want to renew it." I would like to see allowing all other municipalities that request red light cameras to have them.

I think the cost can even be less than $90,000 per unit. The fact is that they pay for themselves. Those red light cameras, automatic machines or whatever they are, pay for themselves. They are there in silence. They are there as eyes in the sky, as my colleague Bartolucci mentioned. They are there watching those with bad habits.

What more pleasing thing can there be for a driver than to say, "I'm aware that the road does not belong to me alone, that it belongs to others as well." It makes them aware that there is something, someone, watching out there. I think that instead of curtailing it, we should expand this service.

As I was mentioning before, I have constituents of mine who say, "Do anything to make our roads safer." As a matter of fact, they are saying, "Bring back photo radar." I know that it would please some and displease some others, perhaps those coming into the city from the GTA. They are in a rush. They want to get downtown to their office, to their place of employment, as quickly as possible. Listen, we can't please everybody. The fact is that we should do everything possible to make our roads safer.

In my own community, police station 31, the only police station I have in my area, is understaffed. So it's not a question that we can post one or two traffic officers or whatever on a regular basis and say, "Watch and then go and catch them." It doesn't work that way. It is impossible. There are many other important things, crimes, that they have to attend to. Their time is very valuable.

I believe my time is coming to a close. I am supporting this legislation. Thanks to my colleague from Eglinton-Lawrence, who has been working very hard to bring it to the forefront. I appreciate that the minister has introduced it for second reading. I think we have to get on with it and hopefully expand the number of red light cameras throughout the city and throughout the various municipalities, because I believe that everyone must be responsible for our safer communities, our safer streets.

Having said that, my time has come to a close. I thank you for the time allowed to me to speak on Bill 149.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): I want to take a couple of minutes in this debate to make three points that I think need to be made yet again.

The government is back again with another time allocation motion. I know that my good friend the House leader of the New Democratic Party will speak to that. I'm sure he's going to talk about how this government said it was going to be different, how this government said in opposition and when it ran in the election of 1995 that they were going to be different, that they were going to build a better democracy, that it was going to be Utopia when it came to the democracy they would build in this great province.

And here we are again, with another time allocation motion. The government decides it doesn't want to do things the way they should be done in this Legislature, which is to give proper time for debate, to give the opportunity for members of the public to come to committee to speak on bills like this one, so that the police chiefs who were here in numbers today would have been able to come before the committee to talk about what they would have liked to see in this bill when it comes to red light cameras, and about how they probably would have liked to see this expanded to photo radar or other initiatives when it comes to the use of technology, so that we wouldn't have to be coming back with yet another bill, as we did with this one, because we didn't get it right in the first place.

Government brought this bill in some years ago to give municipalities the ability to do this as a pilot project. Now we're back again. We're having to reaffirm that authority we gave to the municipalities by way of this bill. All I'm saying is that if the legislative process was such that we had proper debate in this Legislature, and the government didn't yet again use time allocation and allowed things to go to committee, we probably wouldn't have to be here with this bill. That's the first point.


The second point I want to make: where were you guys when photo radar was around? Boy, I find this a really amusing story. On photo radar, I remember Michael Harris, Chris Stockwell, Bob Runciman and a whole bunch of people who sat in the Tory party, the third party, when we were in government, and they just got up and railed against the technology. They said that to use cameras was an invasion of privacy. There are all kinds of quotes in Hansard that one could use to show how they didn't like the use of technology when it came to the surveillance of traffic, be it photo radar or red light cameras at the time -- I remember that in the debate at the time, we had talked about red light cameras as one initiative, and I remember Mr Stockwell and others getting up in the House and railing against the use of technology.

I just find it passing strange that the government has yet again flip-flopped. They have changed their minds. They've decided that what was said in opposition was a different thing, and now that they are in government, they see it another way.

Mr John C. Cleary (Stormont-Dundas-Charlottenburgh): That was then, this is now.

Mr Bisson: That was then, this is now. As my good friend Mr Cleary has pointed out, they gave a quite different line when they were members of the opposition, but when they were the government it was a complete change of position.

So I say, better late than never. If you are going to get on to the bandwagon of technology, it would have been good to see you guys there prior to 1995. You have changed your mind, but I just want to point out that this is not in keeping with what you were saying when you were the third party back before 1995. I just have to point it out, because the government always likes to talk about how basically they always do what they say and say what they do. Well, that was a case where they didn't do so.

The last point I want to make is a point that my good friend the member from Beaches-East York has raised as our municipal affairs critic, and this has to be said for the debate. We gave a temporary authority to municipalities to deal with this issue. We said, "Temporarily, we as a provincial Legislature will allow you to deal with those traffic issues within your communities, when it comes to red lights, by the way of use of these technologies." I would just think that we have evolved in this province to the point that we trust municipalities enough to give them that authority in the first place so that they don't have to come back to the Legislature and change the legislation every time it comes to this kind of issue.

To the members across the way, if you had taken your time and done this right and allowed this bill to go to committee, as it should, we would be able to take a look at the issue of giving municipalities the authority they need to deal with these types of issues on their own. I believe that in the end they are better positioned to decide where a red light camera should or should not be installed in a community, because they are the ones who are closest to the people, they are the ones having to deal with this on a daily basis. It is certainly not the province of Ontario that sees what happens on the corner of one street and the other in some community in the province.

With that, I know that my good friend the House leader, Mr Kormos, has much to say, but yet again I just had to say it. Here we go again: say one thing when you are in opposition, but Tories say quite a different thing when they come to being government, both on this bill and on the issue of democracy. This is a sad day in democracy when we are back with yet another time allocation motion.

Mr McDonald: It gives me great pleasure to rise today in the House to offer my support of the Red Light Cameras Pilot Projects Extension Act, 2002. The bill was first introduced before our summer recess last June, and you would remember that the purpose of this legislation is to extend the red light camera projects for an additional two years, which would last until about November 2004.

Ontario has the safest roads in Canada and the second-safest in North America. The legislation before us today would build on Ontario's strong record of road safety. The proposed legislation would amend the provisions of the Red Light Cameras Pilot Projects Act of 1998, I believe, which was passed by the Legislature in December of that year. Under that legislation, the province authorized municipalities to install and operate red light cameras at intersections within their respective jurisdictions. The legislation provided for a pilot project of two years. However, it now appears that the municipalities have indicated that they would like to have more time to assess this technology's effectiveness.

It is interesting that our government is listening to the municipalities and is reintroducing this legislation to extend the pilot projects. I find it very interesting that the members on the other side of the House are agreeing to support this legislation but are dragging their feet. They are dragging this out and they want to go on and on and on about it.

I would just ask that we all work together to pass this legislation, which is very important. The municipalities are asking for us to extend the pilot project. I was the deputy mayor of the city of North Bay when I was there and I always found that if you asked and came with a reasonable request, the government of Ontario usually listened. Here, these municipalities are coming and asking us to extend this pilot project, and I firmly agree that we should. I think we should support these municipalities.

Under the draft legislation that we are currently considering, the government is proposing a two-year extension of the red light cameras pilot projects. These pilots have been underway in six municipalities over the past two years. They're designed to test the effectiveness of red light cameras at major intersections as a deterrent to drivers who run red lights.

Red light running scares and angers motorists, yet many of these same drivers admit to putting themselves and others at risk. A recent survey shows that 96% of drivers -- Mr Kormos, 96% of drivers -- are afraid of being hit by a red light runner, but nearly one in five admit to running a red light in the last 10 intersections -- not 10 days, 10 intersections.

Evidence elsewhere indicates that red light cameras have led to significant decreases in intersection violations and crashes. In fact, red light cameras have become a routine in many countries. Red light camera systems are currently operating in more than 45 countries, including Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa and the United Kingdom. That's just to name a few examples.

In the United States, 12 states have legislation permitting the use of red light cameras. New York City, for instance, has the largest red light camera program in the United States. There, the red light violations at photo-enforced locations have been reduced by 60%.

In Canada, red light cameras have been installed in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba as well as here in Ontario. Here, six municipalities are participating in the pilot projects. They are the cities of Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa and the regional municipalities of Peel, Halton and Waterloo. These municipalities implemented two-year projects in November 2000. Preliminary results show that red light running violations are down by 40%. The final evaluation of these pilot projects is expected in 2003.

I would now like to briefly describe how red light cameras work. Red light camera systems are connected to traffic lights, and the sensors are buried in the pavement at the crosswalk or stop line. The cameras are set to detect red light runners and not motorists that enter when the light is amber.

The system continuously monitors the traffic signal and triggers the camera to photograph the rear plates of vehicles entering the intersection after -- after -- the light turns red. A second photograph is taken to show the offending vehicle in the intersection.

Both photos are of the rear of the vehicle. The camera records the date, time and speed of the vehicle. A clear image of the vehicle is produced under a wide range of light and weather conditions. Plate numbers are matched with plate registrant data provided by the Ministry of Transportation.

I think that's very clear. I think that's great technology. It's a great way to protect the motorists and pedestrians of the province of Ontario.

Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): It sounds like photo radar to me.

Mr McDonald: I'm sure you agree, member from Niagara Centre, that this is a great pilot project. I'm urging you -- and I think you support this legislation, I really do. You want to stand up and support it, and I think you have stood up and said you're going to support this. I thank you for that.

If a provincial offences officer believes that red light running has occurred, a ticket is issued.

All told, the municipalities piloting the project are rotating 18 cameras through a total of 70 intersections. Increased police enforcement took place at an additional 30 intersections in these same six jurisdictions. The participating municipalities charged more than 25,500 vehicle owners from November 20, 2000, to September 30, 2002, for red light running.

Preliminary data shows a 40% reduction in red light violations at these test sites. In other words, these pilot projects are working. They're reducing the number of individuals who are running through red lights. I believe that we should extend this pilot project. In fact, the municipalities are even asking us to and I believe that we should listen to them.


While these results are only preliminary, they suggest that red light cameras may have significant road safety potential. I think the stats that I've just conversed with you about show it's working fine. They also suggest that it is well worth our while to extend the pilot projects for a further 24 months.

I believe it is important that, together with the province, these municipalities have shown tremendous leadership in exploring approaches to enforcing our traffic laws. On behalf of the government, I'd like to commend them on their efforts as outstanding road safety partners.

We all know that many efforts and approaches are needed to improve safety on our roads. That is why, in addition to the red light camera projects, the government has asked the participating municipalities to increase their efforts at traditional enforcement. As a result, the police services in each municipality undertook special enforcement blitzes to discourage drivers from running red lights. The campaigns were required to last a minimum of 20 hours a year at selected high-risk intersections for each year the pilot projects were carried out. The goal here was to give us data as a basis for comparing the effectiveness of red light cameras and traditional enforcement methods, and a combination of the two.

By giving the municipalities another two years to study the effectiveness of red light cameras, this proposed legislation could have a significant impact on the future of road safety in Ontario. Certainly, after four years, we'll be in a much better position to assess the results of the projects and, with those results, the potential benefits of red light cameras.

Ontario can be proud of its outstanding record in road safety. We have an average of 1.05 road fatalities a year for every 10,000 licensed drivers. Ontario has the lowest fatality rate in Canada and the second-lowest in North America. That's why I'm urging all of us here in the Legislature to support this legislation so that we will continue to add safety to pedestrians and motorists on our highways and roads here in Ontario.

At the same time, we must all recognize there is room for improvement. It is estimated that collisions in Ontario cost approximately $9 billion a year. The cost of red light running has been estimated at close to $300 million, including hospital bills and property damage as well as the pain and suffering of the collision victims.

Our government will continue to place a high priority on maintaining the province's excellent record in road safety while continuing to work for safer roads in the future. Red light cameras may have an important role to play in the future of road safety. Extending the red light pilot projects that have been underway for the past two years will help us determine what that role should be.

The bill would respond to the municipalities' requests by letting the pilot projects continue until November 20, 2004. If evaluation shows red light cameras are an effective tool, this legislation contains a provision for repealing the deadline for completing the pilot projects before November 20, 2004.

This speaks to the concerns that some of the members opposite had about extending the red light project. We want to study the effectiveness of this for another two years in co-operation with the municipalities, which have requested an extension. They've requested it. They've asked the province of Ontario for the extension of the two years, and I believe that every member in this House would want to support their request and support this legislation.

There would be a provision for repealing the deadline for completing the pilot projects before November 20, 2004, through an order in council. In effect, that would make the legislation permanent.

The proposed legislation is designed to improve the safety of our roads. Ultimately it could and will help save lives. So I ask all my colleagues here in the Legislature to join with me today in supporting this important initiative, in partnering with the municipalities that want to continue with this important pilot project to provide that safety factor for our pedestrians and motorists in the province.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands): Why don't you just make it permanent?

Mr McDonald: I understand the member from Kingston would stand up and say that he's going to support this as well, and I appreciate his support. You will get an opportunity to speak. I'm happy to turn it over to you at any time so you can stand up and say that you will support this legislation, you'll support the people of Ontario, the pedestrians and the motorists and the municipalities that are requesting this extension, that you will support that. And I believe that you will. I believe you'll do the right thing and we'll all stand up here and support this legislation.

Mr Speaker, I've taken enough time tonight and I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak on this bill.

Mr Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence): It's remarkable how things change in this House. I can remember that the members across the way, when we first started to talk about the need for red light cameras, said they didn't work. They said that they were an invasion of privacy. They said to let the policemen do it; they don't need red light cameras.

Mr Kormos: Orwellian.

Mr Colle: Yes, Orwellian. Day after day they blocked every attempt to try to introduce my private --


Mr Colle: Yes. They just refused to listen. Now they're basically quoting back some of the things that I put into the record. I guess somehow there's been a change over there. They realize the people of Ontario are very serious about safety on the roads. They didn't believe this government, which for three years blocked this legislation. Ironically enough, this government is now still saying we need another pilot project.

Very mature municipalities like the city of Toronto said, "We should have the right to employ a safety device if it works." Why should they have to come back here begging to Queen's Park to get a simple camera system that saves lives? This government itself says that they work. They've reduced red light running by 40%. They are in 40 countries. What other proof do you need if the municipality and the police force want them? This is the paternalistic attitude of this government that continually downloads to municipalities and then, when municipalities want to do something, says, "You can't." As you know, even if the municipality wants to put a certain notice on a tax bill they can't do it unless the Minister of Finance says it's OK. This is how paternalistic and ludicrous it is.

When it comes to safety, they're putting up bureaucratic roadblocks. I think any municipality that wants to have red light cameras or other safety initiatives like traffic calming should be able to do it without begging Queen's Park and interfering with good safety regimens that they have in municipalities. Because Queen's Park doesn't really understand how cities work. They're more interested in power and control. They're not on the streets with the traffic officers; they're not there with the local transportation officials who know best about how to make streets safe. That's why we're back here again.

This is an automatic piece of legislation but somehow this government has to put the municipalities through another two years of pilot projects. Nowhere else in the world where you have this kind of technology do they have these types of bureaucratic roadblocks like they do here at Queen's Park, where they want to control the stoplights, school boards and swimming pools, they want to control the whole world. But Queen's Park does not know best, and that's certainly been proven in the way they made such a mess of the hydro fiasco -- if you want to see the proof in the pudding.


One of the interesting things that the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police have brought forward is that they are great supporters of red light camera legislation; they have been from day one. But they do mention that one of the things they want to see us help them with is the whole issue of traffic safety in Ontario. They're very concerned that the serious problems with traffic are not given enough attention. Look at some of the facts they put forward: an estimated 85% of motor vehicle collisions are caused by driver error; impaired driving remains the leading criminal cause of death; in 2001 there were 2,900 traffic fatalities.

The RIDE program, as well as regular patrol enforcement, has deterred many potential drinking drivers. Maybe we need RIDE going all year round; why just at holiday time? Sixty per cent of unbelted fatally injured occupants in rollover crashes were ejected from their vehicles. We have to do more education about keeping that seat belt on. Almost 600 vulnerable road users, that is, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, were killed in 2001 in traffic-related crashes. These are some of the things the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police is very concerned about and wants this government to pay more attention to. Thirty per cent of all fatally injured pedestrians were seniors, who are at risk when they cross an intersection, especially when people don't obey a simple red light.

The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police is asking for help. What they're saying is that they've got front-line officers who because of downloading now spend their time as court officials. Remember in the old days when they used to have court Commissionaires that used to take care of the routine transportation of criminals? Now you've got front-line officers driving prisoners all across the province when that could be done through the province. The Attorney General's office should be doing that, not front-line officers. They could be doing better things in terms of tracking down criminals. They don't want to be spending time being taxi drivers for criminals.

The front-line officers also say that they're spending too much time on paperwork. This pilot project is more paperwork for front-line officers. That's why they're saying that the government has really been dragging their feet on the integrated justice project. The front-line officers have got all their homework done, they're all integrated from the front-line officers' perspective, but this government has basically dropped the ball on the promised private sector partnership they're supposed to put in place -- it's not there any more. The integrated justice project is basically nowhere right now because this government has not put in the resources to allow the police to, in essence, get rid of the paperwork that is now on their desk, prohibiting them from doing their regular routine work, which is catching criminals and preventing the horrific homicides, for instance, that occur in Toronto.

The police chiefs of Ontario say they need help in getting away from their desks, getting away from the bureaucracy and getting out there to do their work of preventing accidents and crime. But this government, with its downloading attitude, has not given them the resources, basically, on their end of the bargain to enable them to do what they do best, and that is make our roads and streets safer. This government is not really living up to its commitment, especially in those two areas, the integrated justice system project, which they said they were going to do, and they have not fulfilled their commitment there.

I would also say the critical thing here is that many things are done best by local municipalities. From day one, this government has intervened with downloading. In other words they've said, "You've got to take care now of social housing, you now have to take up public transit, you have to take care of the welfare system, you've got to take care of social services -- on the back of property taxpayers." Subsequently, the municipalities are scrambling to do what they do best, and that is, make our roads safer, pick up the garbage and take care of our children's recreation programs. They can't do it because of the avalanche of downloading of all these services, and one of them is the downloading of the responsibility of our courts. The policing of our courts should be done, certainly, in acute situations when you have a violent criminal who maybe should be taken to wherever he or she has been assigned as a result of the verdict. But there's too much time spent by good officers doing paperwork because of this government letting front-line officers down. So let's get rid of the paperwork.

This legislation is a no-brainer. We said it should have been in the first piece of legislation, when they refused to have public meetings. The clause should have been in there to trigger a further pilot project if you wanted it. Instead, they didn't listen; they didn't have public meetings. Now we're back here again fixing up the legislation because they didn't listen a couple of years ago when this legislation was introduced.

What we're saying here is, get out of the business of sticking your nose into things you know nothing about. Let the local police, the local mayors and the local ratepayers do what they do best, and that is, take care of issues that affect people in their neighbourhoods, their streets, their parks and playgrounds, and spend less time interfering and less time downloading. Let them do their work. Get off their backs and give them the tools to service and protect people.

Instead, all you're doing is interfering, downloading and forgetting that they are taxpayers. They are citizens who are mature adults. They have elected officials and very vibrant ratepayer groups. Let them do the work. Why do you keep interfering in what the police know best? From day one the police were in favour of this and you blocked the police from implementing these red-light cameras.

Your government, your Mike Harris said it was crazy. Are you going to stand up and say Mike Harris was wrong because he blocked the red light cameras? Stand up in your place and say Mike Harris was wrong in blocking red light camera legislation. I dare the member for Nipissing to stand up and say that Mike Harris should have passed my private member's bill four years ago instead of blocking it. Stand up and say that.

Mr Kormos: Yes, I am amazed. I listened to the comments of the member for Nipissing, who has such glowing support for the use of photo technology in apprehending violators of the Highway Traffic Act. I took it to its next logical stage and I could all but hear the member for Nipissing endorsing photo radar, because every one of the arguments that he made on behalf of photo red light is similarly applicable to photo radar.

Let's put into context this particular piece of legislation because this indeed is, among other things, inter alia, yet a tool in the tool box. In no small part, this flows from the bifurcation of the provincial offences system and the downloading of a portion of the provincial offences system to municipalities who opt in. I challenge the member for Nipissing, in the context of that, to explain why this isn't as much an opportunity to generate cash flow for that municipality.

I have no doubt about the effectiveness and I can't quarrel with these statistics that the member reads into the record. I'm not aware of any contrary statistics and, indeed, the numbers that have been offered to us are phenomenal. I was in Kingston once when I got T-boned in an intersection by a person who went through a red light. At the end of the day, the fact that there wasn't red light radar there may not have deterred that person. But for the fact that had that person in that community known that community was using red light photo apprehension -- I mean, that obviously cleans up a whole lot of people's acts.


But one of the problems is -- and let's be very candid and honest about this, because some of the same traditional arguments against the utilization of technology merely to impose a fine still prevail, and that is that one has to be very, very careful that this sort of technology is but a supplement to strong police presence as compared to a surrogate for it. I have no doubt about the statistics that were read during the course of this afternoon's time allocation motion debate that red light runners are a serious problem. Other Highway Traffic Act violators are a serious problem. Speeders are a serious problem. Drunk drivers are a serious problem. The problem is that when you're relying solely upon the photo technology, the camera doesn't record that the person who went through that red light may well have been drunk to boot, which is what caused him or her to run the red light in the first place.

I find it interesting that this government has done a 180-degree turnabout in terms of their support for this technology. In terms of the bill, I agree: if the technology, as has been indicated, has been effective in those municipalities where it's been used, well, for Pete's sake, don't just extend the time frame for those prototypical municipalities where the matter is being experimented with. Give every municipality here in Ontario the opportunity, if it so chooses, to use this photo technology to apprehend people who go through red lights. Because I have no doubt -- common sense tells you -- that once word spreads in town that that municipality uses this kind of technology, people are going to be far more careful about running red lights. I have no doubt about and no quarrel with the fact that people who run red lights constitute a significant danger to other people using the roadway, both people in vehicles as well as pedestrians, no two ways about it.

But the issue isn't the legislation today. The issue is the time allocation motion, because the legislation requires more than just cursory examination. You've already heard some of the critique: why is yet another mere extension, when the government would say it's been oh so successful? Why is it restricted to only those municipalities that have been the prototypes for the utilization of this technology? If it indeed has been oh so successful, why aren't other municipalities given the opportunity to utilize the technology as well? But today is the time allocation motion.

During the course of this debate, what do I get served on me but another notice of yet another motion allocating the time on Bill 148. Yikes. Once again, this time allocation will preclude, prohibit, prevent, not just restrict but eliminate any third reading debate. These guys over here are trying to rewrite the standing orders through the back door when they haven't got the courage, the guts or the gonads to do it through the front door eliminating third reading debate. Bill after bill after bill after bill has had third reading debate denied it.

I understand that this government may have very little regard for parliamentary traditions and for the good service that those traditions and rules have provided democracies over the course of -- we're not just talking years; we're talking decades, generations, centuries. I find it incredibly frustrating that this government, in its time allocation motions, hasn't just curtailed any prolonging of second reading debate, but indeed, during the course of passing a time allocation motion, eliminates any prospect of third reading debate. There's something incredibly frightening about that, there's something incredibly insidious about that, there's something incredibly -- I don't know -- unparliamentary about that, I suppose.

It causes one to wonder why the government would be so fearful of third reading debate. It causes one to wonder why the government is so fearful of public hearings, committee hearings. It causes one to wonder why this government is so fearful of even second reading debate that extends beyond three mere afternoons. One can only arrive at some irresistible conclusions, I suppose, and that is that government members are disinclined, disinterested and ill equipped to stand up in their place here in this Legislature during the course of debate and explain why they're supporting or -- far be it from me -- not supporting a piece of government legislation.

One would think that individual members of the government backbenches would have a serious interest in resisting time allocation motions, because not only does it shut down the opposition, it shuts out backbench members of this government. I would expect backbenchers in this government to stand up and express their anger and their concern with their Premier, with their House leader, with their whip, with all the other capos in this band here across the way.


Mr Kormos: Capos, capo, c-a-p-o, and the plural has "s", of course.

One would think there would be a rebellion brewing, Spartacus-like, among the oppressed backbenchers of this government caucus. Why, we heard -- it was so inspiring -- one of the government backbenchers indeed rise up and throw off his shackles and speak out clearly and firmly against this government's policy of deregulation and privatization of hydroelectricity and electricity in general in this province. What a refreshing thing to hear one of the government members soundly criticize this government's electricity policy, the privatization and deregulation of electricity.

I saw that member being scrummed outside after question period and he was relishing the opportunity with all of the TV cameras and the print reporters and the radio reporters. That government member was relishing the opportunity to condemn soundly this government's policy of deregulation and privatization of electricity, hydroelectricity amongst it, here in the province of Ontario.

That government member, that Conservative caucus member, with pride spoke out on behalf of his constituents, saying that this government's policy on hydro deregulation and privatization is wrong-headed, that it's resulting in higher and higher electricity prices and something has got to be done about it. That government caucus member showed boldness and accountability and responsibility to his own constituents and was bravely and boldly speaking out against yet more wrong-headed, ill-designed, ill-conceived, poorly planned and indeed dangerous government policy.

Nobody had a chance to ask that member and he won't have a chance to join the debate about time allocation motions, and for the life of me -- thank you very much, Kalaneet. Kalaneet is the page from down in Fonthill-Pelham way, for Niagara Centre. Her dad was in the members' gallery earlier today. I had lunch with her yesterday, and she is -- that's OK, Kalaneet -- one of the most delightful young people: incredibly bright, incredibly mature, incredibly responsible and well travelled. She's but a fraction of a fraction of my age, and her passport has got far more visa stamps in it than mine has ever imagined acquiring. She's at least bilingual and on the verge of being trilingual. I was just so pleased and proud to have Kalaneet join the other pages here at Queen's Park.

I digress for a minute. She just brought me some material from the library. She was doing some research for me on an earlier bill, so I appreciate that very much. I want to tell Kalaneet how proud I am that she's been a page representing Niagara Centre here. I'm looking forward to reading about her in the years to come as she excels at the things that she plans to do. She told me -- I hope this doesn't embarrass her, but she has a passion about getting into pediatric medicine. I have no doubt that she will excel at that, that she will be a leader in her discipline, in her field, and that during the course of acquiring those skills she's going to impress a whole lot of other folks along the way.


I should mention to you that New Democrats are voting against this time allocation motion. We are opposed to it. The time allocation motion is grossly premature. There have been but three brief afternoons of debate on this matter. During the course of that debate, you've heard a number of issues that can be legitimately raised around this bill.

One is the question as to why the bill is but another extension when the government says that the experiment has been oh so successful, why the bill continues to restrict the utilization of this technology to but those prototype municipalities that first were permitted to use them, as well as the clear observation that this government endorses photo radar when it so wholeheartedly campaigned against photo radar in its 1995 election bid and appears to have done a complete reversal, a complete flip-flop on the issue, and now appears to be contradicting everything that it claimed was wrong, evil -- indeed -- and I quote from the former leader, the absent leader.

One columnist referred to the exercise like the child's game of "Where's Waldo," looking for Waldo. Instead, over the course of the last weekend it was a matter of "Where's Mike," looking for Mike -- can you spot him in this big picture of all these little heads? But former leader of the Conservative Party Michael D. Harris, referring to this same photo technology as totalitarian, Orwellian and mere cash grab -- my goodness. Full circle. Yet indeed not even anywhere near far enough.

This legislation warrants committee hearings. I suspect there'd be a whole lot of municipalities that want the same opportunity that municipalities like Toronto and Ottawa have had over the course of the last few years and will have over the next few years. I suppose it's to be said that nothing surprises me any more at Queen's Park. I repeat once again: New Democrats will not be supporting this time allocation motion or any of the other government's time allocation motions in any event.

Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): I am pleased to speak to this bill that addresses a weakness in the original bill, which was to be too specific on deadlines for research and was to find out what would be the effect of the red light cameras at certain intersections in cities and towns that would choose to participate in a pilot project.

We're spending all of this time looking at extending a bill that had a sunset clause for another two years. It does afford us, I suppose, an opportunity to say what we have learned heretofore.

The first thing I want to do is acknowledge my good friend Mr Colle from Eglinton-Lawrence, who in 1997-98 was very, very active in promoting the use of these cameras and highlighting the dangers throughout various parts of Ontario. I recall one day when Mr Colle came to Ottawa -- he lives in Toronto -- and we spent the better part of a morning at the corner of Rideau and King Edward, which is a very, very busy intersection in Ottawa. There had been a number of fatalities and some very tragic ones indeed. We spoke to people, we gave them brochures and we gave them some insight on research that showed the effectiveness of these cameras at stoplights in other jurisdictions, and that we should at least test the particular cameras in our jurisdictions, which of course would end up paying for themselves over time because of the violations that would occur. The ensuing fines would help pay for the technology.

The government decided that it would get into the business of at least doing the tests after many questions and being unable to refute some of the research as to why we should move ahead with this. So they put forward a particular bill.

The Canada Safety Council talks about signage, for example, that should forewarn people and drivers before they come to a traffic light. Frankly, I have some misgivings about that. They argue that this is a deterrent. How many warnings do you need? You know the traffic violations. Anybody who drives has to take a driver's test and they know that you should not go through a red light. That's pretty fundamental. To warn somebody, in my opinion, is unnecessary. The council feels this is a way for municipalities to make a tax grab. If there are people who are running red lights, then good luck to the municipality that has been able to recapture some of the funds.

I would like to refer to one of our planning experts in Ottawa. His name is Barry Weller. He's a geographer at the University of Ottawa and he's studied traffic patterns at length. He has some very good points to make.

Hon Chris Stockwell (Minister of the Environment, Government House Leader): A geographist.

Mr Patten: He's a geographer, and he has some good points to make about traffic in Ottawa. He said, "There is no question that there are plenty of bad drivers. Ottawa police and local politicians get a steady stream of complaints from citizens, as do the newspapers from their readers." He outlines that our deputy police chief Larry Hill of the Ottawa Police Service says that traffic violations are indeed up -- this is as recently as last August -- probably because of increased enforcement. There are always poor drivers out there or people who are prepared to risk their own lives and certainly others.

Obviously this is, according to Mr Weller, a very obstinate problem or it would have gone away a long time ago. Ottawa is one of the cities that participated in this project. There are other ways that cameras could be used in Ottawa, says Mr Weller. He talks about the high-occupancy vehicle lane on bridges, pedestrians, cyclists and in-line skaters. Of course, Mr Weller is way ahead of most of us. I think he has a keen interest in this subject, obviously, and is prepared to look at any possible way of being able to catch people in traffic violations.

I'm the critic for science and technology; however, I also, as a human being and as a member, have some concerns about the growing use of cameras as a generalization. I can recall a couple of years ago when I walked into my bank and all of a sudden I saw this little glass window. I wondered what that was and I said, "You know, it looks like there's a camera there."

Hon Mr Stockwell: There probably was.

Mr Patten: Indeed, there was. It was when I was using the ATM machine. I phoned the bank manager and asked, "What is this?" He told me, "This is for your protection" -- they're going to take my picture for my protection -- "because this will catch thieves who may be trying to rob some of these machines." I said, "Fair enough, but it might have been nice or at least courteous to notify your members." As a matter of fact, it wasn't the bank manager, it was the assistant bank manager. The woman said, "It's not our decision, it's head office." I said, "Fine, I'll phone John Cleghorn myself."

Hon Mr Stockwell: Now we know where you bank.

Mr Patten: Yes, now you know what the bank is. I phoned him but he wasn't really aware of all of this, so he put me on to a vice-president. I spoke to a vice-president and finally they put up a notification saying that these are cameras in these particular machines that are there to protect depositors, blah, blah, blah, which was great.

I think it was the member for Scarborough-Agincourt who pointed out that on the average someone who lives in Toronto gets filmed eight times a day. You get filmed at the bank, you get filmed going through, perhaps, a red light -- although the cameras aren't designed for that; it's only the licence plates -- and you get filmed maybe walking down the street. As members, we get filmed in the hallways. So I say to members, be very careful. Make sure you straighten yourself up as you walk out of the washroom --


Mr Patten: Exactly, so that you don't embarrass yourselves and you don't see a lot of OPP officers standing around laughing at members who may be exercising a wee bit of indiscretion.

I just wanted to say that, because there's a human rights issue that a lot of people point out and that I believe has some validity. But I am supportive and our party is supportive. If we had a motion from the House leader on this legislation, I think all parties would agree and we could get on to more substantive issues that I'm sure he would want to have. At this time I'd like to share my time with one of my colleagues.


Mr Ernie Parsons (Prince Edward-Hastings): As a civil engineer, I am very interested in traffic management, so I am pleased to speak to this bill. I think it is sometimes very frustrating to people when one bad driver can create a situation that causes literally hundreds or thousands to be in an accident or to be backed up and to create problems.

Just in the last three and a half years that I've been driving to Toronto on a regular basis, I think the roads are actually much safer in this area. I say that because at five or 10 kilometres an hour, driving through downtown Toronto or even driving on the Don Valley or the 401, it's very difficult to have a serious accident. So if there is a good side to gridlock, it's that the accidents are much less severe and there are far fewer of them. On the other hand, gridlock costs everybody time and money.

As I drive into Toronto and see the backups and the problems, there is a frustration that exists with drivers as people try to get from home to work or vice versa, to make deliveries or just make a living. Although I think I understand why they run red lights, it is still inexcusable. I also appreciate that from the viewpoint of using our police resources, it is simply not possible for someone to sit at each of these corners. The idea of a camera that will photograph someone going through and then sending them a bill has a great deal of merit.

Indeed, were I doing it, I would put the camera boxes -- the containers that go outside the cameras -- at almost every intersection. In my experience as a school board chair, we put cameras on school buses. It solved a lot of arguments afterward as to whether John or Mary had misbehaved, when the parents were invited in to see the video. We put the cases on almost all the buses and we simply moved the cameras from case to case so that no one actually ever knew whether it was on. I'd suggest that's an easy way to increase effectiveness.

I believe, though, that there is a need to negotiate with other jurisdictions, whether it be Toronto, Ottawa or Windsor, whatever city chooses to use these over the long run. We have people from outside the province coming into Ontario. They may choose to violate a red light and they need to be subject to the same standards that Ontario citizens are. We need to negotiate with other provinces and adjoining US states to ensure that if someone is photographed, that state or province makes a commitment that it is a legal fine that could be imposed on them.

We have that on some things now, I believe, such as the 407, if someone from out of province is on the 407 and their licence plate is photographed. It's one thing to make it legal for the bill to be sent to them. We also need agreement from the other jurisdictions that they will enforce the collection of the fine, so that if someone goes through a red light here in Toronto, the other state or province will ensure the money is in fact collected.

Having said that, there's great merit to the bill. I struggle as always with the concept of time allocation. Once again, as with virtually every bill before this House, the attempt is to stifle conversation on it and to force it through, rather than doing it co-operatively and saying, "Let's look at amendments." There has never been a government bill from any party that's been perfect. Listen to some advice. I'm a civil engineer.


Mr Parsons: I would ask the Minister of the Environment to at least be civil. If you can be half the person I am, you'll be a better person for that. I'm out of time.

Mr Bart Maves (Niagara Falls): The member opposite just finished saying that he was an engineer. Did he know the member for Lanark-Carleton was a lawyer and an engineer? I think most members do know that and I'd like that to be read into the record.

I just want to quickly point out that in August, 1998, because red light running was a problem in this province and elsewhere, we brought in stiffer penalties under the Highway Traffic Act for drivers who run red and amber lights. We more than doubled the fine for running a red light, from a minimum of $60 to a minimum of $150. Red light running is dangerous and irresponsible and is also a significant cause of injuries and deaths on Ontario roads.

What else did we decide to do about this? Last June the Minister of Transportation introduced this bill. This is a one-page bill. The participating municipalities and our government would like to see this bill passed as soon as possible, and I'm going to get to the charges of the members opposite about the time allocation motion, which is really what we're talking about tonight, a time allocation motion for the red light camera project.

This legislation is amending the provisions of the Red Light Cameras Pilot Projects Act, 1998, and that statute was approved by this Legislature in December, 1998. Its provisions authorize municipalities to install and operate cameras at intersections as a tool to help reduce red light running. This was a bill that was passed to introduce red light cameras as a pilot. The act provided municipalities with the authority to conduct red light cameras pilot projects for a two-year period. The participating municipalities are conducting a study to assess the effectiveness of red light cameras at high-risk intersections as a deterrent to drivers who run red lights. Under the proposed bill, the pilot projects would be extended for another two years until November 2004.

So why are we here today? We brought in the bill to let municipalities pilot this project. The six municipalities currently participating in the pilot projects asked the province to enable them to test red light cameras further, for an extended period of time. The six participating municipalities are the cities of Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa and the regional municipalities of Peel, Halton and Waterloo. In addition to piloting the red light cameras, the six municipalities have also conducted a number of enforcement blitzes on local roads in co-operation with local police. The goal of this dual approach is to help determine the combined effectiveness of red light cameras and increase traditional enforcement in deterring red light running.

The initial results of the red light camera projects are promising, but the municipalities feel they need a longer period to evaluate this technology. Hence, they've asked us to extend the pilot for another two years. Five of the six municipalities only have asked the government for this two-year extension of pilot projects. So the government is seeking the Legislature's approval to let the red light camera projects run for another two years.

The members opposite -- the member for Welland-Thorold and the member for Prince Edward-Hastings -- get up and talk in such phony terms, with such phony outrage about a time allocation motion on this bill. We're outraged on this side of the House that the members opposite support the bill -- it's a one-page bill -- and they won't let it go through. So they're keeping us here speaking about this bill over and over and over again, when every member of the Legislature is in favour of the bill.

Why do they do that? I want everyone at home to know it's just a little parliamentary trick. Instead of letting the government go on and talk about other bills which are perhaps more pressing and more important to the issues of the day in the province, the members hold us up and keep us debating this one-page bill that they agree with. So our House leader, the good Minister of the Environment, the member for Etobicoke Centre, who is at his wits' end in trying to negotiate with the members opposite to let this bill go through, which they agree with, finally said, "I've got to introduce a time allocation motion. Otherwise, we'll never stop debating this bill, and we've got other things we want to move on with." So he introduced this time allocation motion that we came here to speak to.


The members opposite get up with great theatrics about this government ramming things through. Well, it's phony. It's completely and totally phony. And then do you know what they're going to do at the end of the session? They're going to add up all the time allocation motions and all the bills that the government time-allocated, as if it's some big, sinister plot by the government to shut down democratic debate.

It's all just a little game of inside politics and inside baseball. The only people who are hurt by it, quite frankly, are the people of the province of Ontario. Why? Because the legislators that they elect to come in here to debate bills for the province that will improve their lives -- everything else is put on hold while they play their little inside baseball game of not allowing the government to move forward with this one-page bill that they agree with.

So it's absurd. Every time the people at home hear the members opposite get up and frown and do the anti-democratic rant about time allocation motions, know and understand that the members opposite refuse to let these bills go through, and that's why our good House leader, who bends over backwards for the members opposite, has to introduce these time allocation motions.

Thank you, Speaker. I'll leave some time for my colleagues.

Hon Mr Stockwell: If any member on the government side wants to speak, I'll be happy to give that.

As the government House leader, it is tiresome to hear these arguments placed by the opposition. And it's not debate. I don't mind having debate on things we honestly disagree with, and that's what this place was meant to be. I say to my friend Mr Marchese, this is what we were supposed to be sent here to do. But right now we have three bills before this House -- three -- that we're all voting in favour of, and we're going to take 12 sessional days because the members opposite won't let the bill go through so we can actually debate something that you guys may think is important.

I say to the member for -- I don't know; it was Fort York.

Mr Marchese: Trinity-Spadina.

Hon Mr Stockwell: Trinity-Spadina. OK. The House leader for your party insists on having three days' debate. And you know, it's so sad; it's so terribly sad. He insists on all these days of debate, and he can't even find anyone in his own caucus to debate the bill. So he makes everyone hang around at night because he won't get anyone in here, and he tells me --


Hon Mr Stockwell: I'm not letting you off the hook; I'm coming to the Liberals in a second. But then I end up with a situation -- I appeal to the NDP caucus. You tell us this is becoming irrelevant. Well, yes, it is becoming irrelevant in here, because we're taking 12 days -- for instance, debating this bill. This bill for the testing of red light cameras was passed in 1999. Everybody voted in favour of it. Same thing.

The municipalities asked us, "We need to extend this two more years. Can you please pass something through the Legislature?" We said, "OK. If you want us to do that, we will." We bring it to the House, and what do we get? The same tired old arguments of shutting down debate on a bill that's going to extend red light cameras for two years that the local municipalities asked us to pass. It's awful. What an absolutely disgraceful use of public time in this place. Disgraceful. It is a disgraceful use of public taxpayers' time to stand in this place and argue this bill for four days in the Legislature.

I did say to the members opposite, "There are some important bills on the order paper. You want six days or seven days to talk about those rather than time allocation? Let's do that." What a far better approach, to take time on bills that we have a fundamental disagreement about. But no. What the members opposite want to do is say, "Oh, the government shut down debate. There's another time allocation motion they are moving on another bill that we're voting in favour of."

This is idiotic, just patently idiotic, that we have to sit here for four sessional days to talk about a bill that we're all voting in favour of and that the municipalities asked us to pass, and all you guys agree with the municipalities asking us to pass this bill. We've got bills that everyone wants to talk about, but we end up with the House leader from the third party insisting that nothing goes through this House unless you time-allocate it, regardless of how insignificant it is.

You want to hear another one we're doing? Bill 148, the Emergency Readiness Act, in case an emergency happens. We all agree with this bill; we're all voting in favour of it. "But we'll hold it up because you haven't time-allocated that, even though we're also voting in favour of emergency preparedness." So if something goes wrong and we're not prepared, the public can know full well that it's not passed because the members opposite, particularly the third party House leader, didn't want it to go by until we had to time-allocate it, even though they're voting in favour of it.

Here's a beauty. Do you know what else we can't get through, directly responsible to the member from Welland-Thorold? When you see a cop pulling someone over on the highway ahead of you, you should slow down and pull to the left. But, holy smokes, we should debate that, even though we're voting in favour of it, four days. What do you think we're debating: "Speed up and pull to the right"? "Stop in the middle of the highway and let someone hit you from behind"? "Slow down and pull to the left." But no, we need to have three days of debate on that and a time allocation because the member from Welland-Thorold is dysfunctional.

Interjection: Like the Osbournes.

Hon Mr Stockwell: He can't get along with the Libs or the Conservatives or his own caucus. He could have his own show like the Osbournes; honest to God, he could. He's dysfunctional. His own caucus doesn't even like being here. Then when he makes us all stay here at night to debate a bill, he doesn't have anyone to speak to it because his own caucus thinks he's nuts. This is where we're left, and that's the difficulty. I'm constantly having to deal with this.

Now we've got the Safe Drinking Water Act, which I think everyone would like to talk to. We could have six, seven or eight days' debate. But we can't, because instead of passing these things quickly and not using four days -- we could have seven or eight days on the Safe Drinking Water Act or another bill that you may not like. I understand. We should have debate on that. We can't because we've used up all this silly time. That's what it is, silly time, for the member from Welland-Thorold to be silly.

Then I get in here and the civil engineer -- where is he from? Ernie Parsons, the member for Prince Edward-Hastings -- stands here and starts railing on about time allocation motions. "Oh, you're shutting down debate. The government House leader is not letting us, and here's another time allocation on red light cameras." Then when they come in with, "If you see a cop giving a guy a ticket on the 400, you should slow down and move to the left," "Oh, you're time-allocating us. We're all voting in favour of this bill, but what an awful person you are. You're shutting down the democratic process." What do you want to do, Ernie? What do you want to do, pull to the right and hit the cop? This is where we are. This is how crazy this place has become.

Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): Red light cameras -- just pulling over to the side.

Hon Mr Stockwell: No. The red light camera bill, and then pulling to the left is a different bill, and the emergency preparedness is another bill. So that's 12 days of debate on bills we're all voting in favour of. We've already had four days of debate on this red light camera bill when we originally passed it.

So the time allocation stuff you get, I say to the public out there --

Mr Bartolucci: Who brings in the agenda?

Hon Mr Stockwell: We do. Who orders the business of the House? To the member for Sudbury, who I find to be an honourable and decent person and who I think does deal with this in a very fair and honest fashion, we do. We order the business of the government.

But the point I'm trying to make here, and I know it's not too difficult a point for the members opposite to get, is that we have to bring this bill in. It has to pass the Legislature. It can't be done by regulation. So we order the business of the House and we call this. What I try to do, if it's a non-controversial bill that we're all working in favour of to get passed, is say, "Look guys, let's have one day of debate on this." We're all in favour. We're not making any yards. You make us sit at night. No one comes anyway. Nobody wants to debate the bill. Even the guy who is holding us up can't find anyone in his own caucus to debate the bill. He can't even debate the bill. He gets an hour leadoff and he talks for 20 minutes. There's nobody else to talk to.

Why don't we make a deal and get these bills through in one day, I say to the member for Sudbury and others? Then we could take all those extra days -- we're sitting here until the 12th anyway -- and talk about bills that mean something to people.

Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming-Cochrane): Why don't we vote now?

Hon Mr Stockwell: I'd love to, except now it's a time allocation motion. I have to wait until my members are here, because if we vote early they may not be close by. So I've got to bring all the members back to vote on a time allocation --


Hon Mr Stockwell: This isn't complicated. You know what? I'm going to explain this one to you.

Mr Kormos: Where are they?

Hon Mr Stockwell: To the member from Welland-Thorold, this is obviously too complicated again. What happens is that we have ministers with offices all around Toronto. They're told to come back at 10 to 6 when the vote happens. If you call it early, they won't be back. I'm sure you're not voting in favour of a time allocation bill, so we won't have enough members here, and it loses. I've got to come back and reintroduce the bill and do it all again for the dysfunctional family on the very end of the row over there.


Hon Mr Stockwell: There's the civil engineer from Prince Edward-Hastings, the deep thinker, the pointy head of the Liberal caucus, the guy who just railed on at me because it's another time allocation motion. He wasn't here when I was talking about it. Maybe he was watching TV, I don't know.

What I was trying to get across to you was that we have no choice but to time-allocate these. I don't think you want to spend any more than three days debating this bill; I can't believe it. My sense from your House leader and the whip is that I don't think you wanted to spend three days debating this. I don't think you wanted to spend two days debating this. I think you would have done it in one day.


Member for Prince Edward-Hastings, here's the trick: unless I get agreement, I have to time-allocate after three days of debate. If you get this book, the standing orders book, if you pick up the standing orders book, it says right in there -- you want to read the standing orders book -- that if you can't get agreement, you have three days of debate before you can time-allocate a bill. And you know who just railed on at us for time-allocating another bill?

Mr Parsons: But you do it for every bill.

Hon Mr Stockwell: Yes, we do it for every bill. We don't have a choice.

Mr Parsons: You do.

Hon Mr Stockwell: OK, last time --


Hon Mr Stockwell: No, I have five minutes. Maybe I can get it across. Slow down a bit. He was in the education field. I know you're going to get this. Don't you get it? I have to have three days of debate on everything, and if I can't get you to agree not to debate this any more, I have to move a time allocation bill. There are three bills before the House right now, Ernie -- 148, 149 and 191 -- that we all agree with, but I just spent 12 days debating these bills we all agree with. We could use those 12 days debating -- here's an idea -- something we don't agree about.

Mr Parsons: You do it for every bill.


The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Stockwell: Oh, Mr Speaker --

Mr Bartolucci: The problem is we don't trust each other.

Hon Mr Stockwell: I don't necessarily think we don't trust each other; I think it's to the point we're at now where we have our friend who just won't let anything go through. I appreciate the fact that, yes, you tend to be a little more co-operative with the Liberal Party, but then I have to sit here and listen to that all day, that somehow I've submerged this place in the sewer system by not allowing proper democratic debate, which is what I want. I want to have good, healthy debate on bills we don't agree with.

Mr Parsons: Sometimes.

Mr Stockwell: Well, it happened once to me. Oh no, let me talk about that. We had an agreement, but I had to go back to the Attorney General. He said no. That happens. But what I did with my friend from the NDP, Mr Kormos, when we had an agreement, was that he got his end of the agreement done, and then when it was my turn to get my end of the agreement done that was to my benefit, he said, "I'm not doing that." That was it. That's an agreement in Peter Kormos's world.

So here's the difficulty, folks: why don't we all get together? Why don't we all agree that these three bills should go through? If you want to have, say, eight days on one bill, six days on another bill and nine days on another bill, we can. We can actually sit here and do something meaningful instead of being caught here at night debating a bill nobody wants to debate, making everybody stay and adjourn at 20 after 7 because we can't find anybody to sit in this place to talk about a bill everybody agrees with. Now I am frustrated.

What we are left with at the end is maybe this public plea. It's not working behind the scenes. It's not working as a group getting together. So it's a public plea to the opposition parties to chat with your House leaders and say what it is you want. If you want to go out to committee on the water bills, let's go out on committee on the water bills.

Mr Parsons: We want a new government House leader.

Hon Mr Stockwell: Apparently you do, Ernie. I understand that. You're just a witty guy. You're quick off the mark and you want to get all these things on the record. But do you know what? You don't get to pick the government House leader, and I don't get to pick the third party House leader or your House leader. So we have what we have. Right? So why can't we come together and work out an agreement? We've tried.

Anyway, the member for Welland is back, and he's working with his family over there, the Osbournes, and he's trying to determine exactly where we move forward from here.

I say to the public out there, be very careful when you hear about another time allocation motion, because as in every issue you're going to find in your life, in most instances there are two sides to every story. I think when you hear the other side of the story, you may understand that we are left with no alternative but to time allocate, because we debate bills that I would like to debate for more days for the same number of days we debate bills we all agree on.

Mr Hoy: Why don't you sit more often?

Hon Mr Stockwell: Sit more often? I say to the member for Chatham, sit more often? This House has never sat more than when the rules were changed to sit in the afternoon and evening. We have double sessional days every day. Why?


Hon Mr Stockwell: I'm doing my best.

We couldn't sit any more often. We've never had more sessional days in the history of this place than when we started double-ending them. Why? Because we have to spend more days debating this kind of bill. So it's an awful shame.

In the old days, they used to say it would take a long time to get stuff through the House; you're right. Some bills would spend three or four months in the House, and they'd be debated through those three or four months. And you know why that worked? Because the other bills like these would take 15 minutes. I don't mind debating a bill for three or four months that we have complete disagreement on, because at least there's an interesting debate, there's a difference of opinion and the democratic process gets served.

Why we have to debate these bills --


Hon Mr Stockwell: There's Caplan muttering away again, understanding as little as possible. He can't understand it; he doesn't.

Why we have to debate these bills for three days, when we all agree with it, is beyond me. So I make another public plea.


Hon Mr Stockwell: Caplan, you don't have to read out loud when you read. There's this old saying, that you can actually keep it in your head. Your lips are moving.

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


The Acting Speaker: Order. Order, government House leader.

Mr Galt has moved government notice of motion 49. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All in favour will say "aye."

All opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1748 to 1758.

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


Arnott, Ted

Baird, John R.

Barrett, Toby

Beaubien, Marcel

Chudleigh, Ted

Clark, Brad

Clement, Tony

DeFaria, Carl

Dunlop, Garfield

Ecker, Janet

Elliott, Brenda

Flaherty, Jim

Galt, Doug

Gilchrist, Steve

Gill, Raminder

Guzzo, Garry J.

Hardeman, Ernie

Hudak, Tim

Jackson, Cameron

Johns, Helen

Johnson, Bert

Klees, Frank

Maves, Bart

Mazzilli, Frank

McDonald, AL

Miller, Norm

Molinari, Tina R.

Munro, Julia

Murdoch, Bill

Mushinski, Marilyn

Newman, Dan

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Runciman, Robert W.

Sampson, Rob

Stewart, R. Gary

Stockwell, Chris

Tascona, Joseph N.

Tsubouchi, David H.

Turnbull, David

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Witmer, Elizabeth

Wood, Bob

Young, David

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


Agostino, Dominic

Bartolucci, Rick

Bisson, Gilles

Bountrogianni, Marie

Bradley, James J.

Bryant, Michael

Caplan, David

Churley, Marilyn

Cleary, John C.

Colle, Mike

Conway, Sean G.

Cordiano, Joseph

Crozier, Bruce

Curling, Alvin

Di Cocco, Caroline

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hoy, Pat

Kormos, Peter

Kwinter, Monte

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Levac, David

Marchese, Rosario

Martel, Shelley

McGuinty, Dalton

McLeod, Lyn

McMeekin, Ted

Parsons, Ernie

Patten, Richard

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Prue, Michael

Pupatello, Sandra

Ramsay, David

Ruprecht, Tony

Sergio, Mario

Smitherman, George

Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 44; the nays are 37.

The Acting Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

It being after 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until 6:45 of the clock.

The House adjourned at 1801.

Evening meeting reported volume B.