Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order that may carry some fairly serious implications with respect to the efficacy of the warrants that were issued by you and by your predecessor, the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes).
You will recall that as a consequence of a referral from this House a Speaker’s warrant was ultimately sought which required that all documents related to Astra Trust, as well as to the other named companies controlled by Mr. Montemurro, be provided to the standing committee on administration of justice.
You will recall that those documents ostensibly were provided. They were put in a locked room. The committee worked up means for investigating and surveying those documents and so on. But I wish to draw to your attention the very disturbing fact that the letters of July 23 and July 31, 1979, from Mr. Robert McGlynn, the Hamilton lawyer who was writing on behalf of a client -- and the matter has been raised in this House several times in the last week -- in addition to a memorandum related to those letters, were not included among the documents provided to the House by virtue of the warrant coming from your chair.
That raises the question of why these very pertinent documents, which would have indicated that the ministry had been informed about what was going on in the Astra affair many months before its investigations actually commenced, were withheld; why your warrant was abused; and whether there was a deliberate act to withhold that material because of the damaging impact it would have on the ministry in demonstrating the incompetence with which it had handled this particular affair and its responsibility to protect the investors.
I think it is very serious that such pertinent documents were not provided. I have consulted with my own colleagues on the committee and with the researcher for the New Democratic Party, who also had a role in going through those documents from the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations; to their knowledge, at no time were those documents in the files. I understand that is also the case with Liberal research. In other words, those documents were not there, and there is no conceivable excuse for their not being there except incompetence or deliberate withholding.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Speaking to the point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: The information I have is that all the documents were submitted. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Smith) actually introduced the first letter. I do not know the source of his letter. I do not know whether it came from the committee room or elsewhere, but I will indicate it is my understanding that all the documents were submitted.
The copies of the documents I had in my possession shortly afterwards bore a serial number in the upper right-hand corner in the 300,000 series. That series was used as a way of coding the information our ministry sent over to the committee.
It is my understanding that these documents were submitted to the committee in their totality, including the memorandum, the retraction letter of July 31 from Mr. McGlynn and the initial letter raised by the Leader of the Opposition from Mr. McGlynn to the Department of Consumer and Commercial Relations, as it was called.
They bore a serial number in the upper right-hand corner. The member may have those documents in front of him; if he has, that serial number indicates to us that was the coding the ministry used at the time in sending the documents over to the committee.
Mr. Smith: On the same point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I just want to indicate that the copy of the letter from Mr. McGlynn that I sent over actually came to me from his client, Mr. Ramsey. It did not come from the records in the room. I do not know whether the documents were present in the room. The researcher for the Liberal Party does not remember seeing them, but that does not mean they were not present. I simply say this for the record.
As the minister knows, Bill 121 was introduced into this House. It is An Act to provide Alternative Methods of Fixing Penalty Charges, Interest Rates and Discount Rates on Payments to Municipalities. The government has a chance to order the business of this House as it wishes. It has introduced this bill for first reading. It can introduce it for second reading, third reading, royal assent and whatever.
The Minister of Housing has been quoted on a number of occasions -- and I have received calls on this today -- attributing the inaction of the government to the Liberal caucus. He says this caucus will not support the bill and therefore he will not bring it in.
We on this side of the House have not indicated at any time whether or not we will support the bill. I have discussed it with my House leader, and he has not given any commitment on it. As municipal affairs critic, I have not indicated which way we are going to go, whether or not we are going to hold up the bill.
Mr. Epp: The personal privilege is that the minister is attributing to me and to this caucus comments that have not been made. We are not holding up this bill. He can order the business of the House the way he likes. He can go to his House leader and get that bill on the Order Paper, but he cannot go out there and tell the mayors of the municipalities of this province that we are --
Hon. Mr. Bennett: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: My name has been used by the member for Waterloo (Mr. Epp) in relation to this Bill 121. I want to make it very clear to this House that Bill 121 is a piece of legislation that very much affects the municipalities in financing.
At the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario conference yesterday, in speaking with the mayor of Windsor, who represents the Municipal Liaison Committee, I said that if they wish this bill to go through I would very strongly suggest that they have a discussion with the members who represent their particular constituency and impress upon their House leaders, as I have upon our House leader, the importance of this piece of legislation on their behalf being processed as quickly as possible.
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, on the same point of personal privilege: I was called by a reeve in my municipality who said the Minister of Housing had said the Liberal Party was holding up the passing of this bill.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege that affects not only me but also, I think, all members who served on the standing committee on administration of justice during the Re-Mor affair and subsequent to that. There was a comment from the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), who said the opposition was playing games and wanted to set up some sort of kangaroo court where witnesses are not represented by counsel and counsel are not allowed to cross-examine witnesses.
With all due respect to the opinions of the Attorney General, I do not think any member of that committee wanted to set up a kangaroo court. I thought we operated under some pretty strict guidelines, which were suggested by Mr. Morton of the Attorney General’s ministry. I think we tried to adhere to those guidelines, and we were cautioned when we were going over the line, so to speak; so I think the comments of the Attorney General are simply not accurate in the view of members of the committee. I thought all members of the committee from all parties functioned very well, including the member for Burlington South (Mr. Kerr), who I thought made an excellent contribution to that committee.
Mr. Speaker: Before the routine proceedings, I wish to inform the House that I have today tabled the individual members’ expenditures for the fiscal year 1980-81; I understand copies are on all the members’ desks.
Mr. Speaker: We have reached the time again when we pay tribute to those people who have assisted us in our work and deliberations in this House, and I refer to the legislative pages. To signify our thanks, I am going to read their names into the record:
Paula Arruda, Parkdale; Bruce Barber, Sault Ste. Marie; Janet Bob, Rainy River; Christopher Byers, Eglinton; Ricardo Codina, Hamilton Centre; Martha Cook, Perth; Melinda Czerkas, Niagara Falls; Michael Doody, Cochrane South; Jacinta Feijo, Brantford; Ramona Hoffmann, York East; David Huckvale, Wilson Heights; John McNeil, Scarborough East; Keira McPhee, Scarborough-Ellesmere; Michael Memme, Erie; Deborah Nagribianko, High Park-Swansea; Grant Nash, Windsor-Riverside; Kelly Reid, Welland-Thorold; Sarah Strickland, York Mills; David Strucke, Grey; Jantine Van Kregten, Essex South; Jennifer Van Leeuwen, St. David; and Geoffrey West, Parry Sound.
Mr. Elston: On a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker: I wonder if you can provide us with any updated material you may have on the report concerning the government protective service matter which we have asked you about on many occasions. It is very important to us that we have something before the House before we rise, and I would like to see how the report is going.
La Saint-Jean-Baptiste est la fête de tous les Canadiens-Français et pour tous les Canadiens. Pour moi, c’est un grand honneur de faire partie d’un pays avec tous les Québécois et tous les Canadiens-Français dont le patron est Saint-Jean-Baptiste.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, on April 23 last, I advised honourable members that I would be reviewing the Mortgage Brokers Act and related statutes with the objective of finding better ways to protect the unsophisticated investor from undisclosed risk.
I want to announce some initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations to improve its licensing and monitoring procedures, to update members on legislative changes we hope to introduce this fall and to report on our discussions with the federal government on the Astra/Re-Mor matter.
As I have stated on several occasions in this House, the traditional role of the mortgage broker has changed considerably since the Mortgage Brokers Act was introduced 20 years ago. Originally, that person was simply a go-between -- someone who brought together a person needing, for example, a $4,000 second mortgage, and a lender who was prepared to lend that money. Today, mortgage brokering has become a more sophisticated operation where the stakes become measured often in terms of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Words like “syndication” and “mortgage banking” have come into vogue, along with the 20 per cent interest rates, and of course many investors are in the market looking for that extra point of income profit.
The Mortgage Brokers Act is not today, and never was, an investors’ statute. Rather, it is a borrowers’ statute. It was meant to be an aid to the borrowers. Whatever the legislation, it is worth noting that government cannot guarantee a fraud will not occur, as all we can do is ensure certain minimum standards for entry and periodic reviews of what these people do, thereby minimizing the possibility of fraud.
In the light of the changing role of the mortgage broker and concerns we have for the protection of the investor, some of which have become apparent over the last year or so, I am pleased to announce today initiatives undertaken by the ministry.
First, the ministry maintains a list of individuals who have been under investigation by our officials or who have been disciplined by the Ontario Securities Commission, the financial institutions division or the business practices division. This, in fact, started in July 1980 and so far has proven effective in a number of cases.
Second, we have created a special joint investigation approach between the financial institutions and business practices divisions; they work with the Ontario Securities Commission. Members of this team are specially trained and tackle problem situations as a single team, with impressive results since its inception.
Fourth, mortgage broker registrants now are subject to extensive individual scrutiny, including credit and police checks and search of executions. This kind of detailed doublechecking is being extended on a universal basis into areas such as real estate brokers, car dealers, collection agents and travel agents, all of whom have a fiduciary relationship. The bottom line is that they handle public money and must meet very high standards. Historically, we have found a high level of accuracy in the application forms. This new doublechecking is added insurance.
Fifth, the ministry has plans in the works to computerize its entire licensing and registration system by name, business affiliation, inspection results, et cetera, so that with the push of a button we will be able to summon up all the threads of information in our files.
First, we wish to clarify the role of the mortgage broker for the reasons I outlined a moment ago. It is important that the legislation assist the investor in understanding the role of today’s mortgage broker. The investor must be in a position to understand clearly just whom he is dealing with. He has, for instance, a right to know whether his legal or investment counsel has a direct or indirect interest in the company to which funds are being channelled. I support the position taken recently by a subcommittee of the Law Society of Upper Canada that lawyers either should be excluded from acting as mortgage brokers or should be required to maintain separate insurance coverage.
Second, we are proposing that a mortgage broker should be obliged to produce a document that provides full and proper disclosure about the mortgage loan, the property, the identity of the mortgage company’s directors and officers and other pertinent criteria. The disclosure document should be in language the average citizen can understand so that he is able to evaluate the risks and live with the consequences of his investment decision.
Third, we intend to shift the costs associated with the ministry’s administration and investigation of the mortgage brokerage field on to the practitioners in that field. Last year, about 1,100 mortgage brokers applied for registration. This year, licence renewals have declined to 910.
On renewal, applicants are required to submit audited financial statements, which are reviewed by a special team of accountants. This year, even more detailed examination of audited financial statements is being made by independent forensic accountants.
We have also intensified the review of broker operations by inspectors from the business practices division. These inspections are being done on a selective basis to ensure that each broker is visited at least once during the next two years.
Any irregularities identified by the forensic accountants or inspectors will be subjected to a second thorough search, including a new audit of financial statements, independent appraisals of properties and direct contact with the investors involved, if necessary.
Last year, the operations of 24 mortgage brokers were given this heavy-duty investigation by independent forensic accountants and our own investigation and enforcement branch. In many cases this search team was joined by appropriate police forces. The end result was prosecution in several cases.
However, retaining independent forensic accountants, maintaining an inspection staff and administering other matters related to mortgage brokerage costs the taxpayers many tens of thousands of dollars a year. These costs will be recovered in large part by our plan to increase the present $40 registration fee to $500 annually.
To implement these changes, we have three options. One is to amend the existing Mortgage Brokers Act and considerably strengthen its provisions. A second is to abolish the existing Mortgage Brokers Act and consolidate licensing and regulation of mortgage brokers under the Loan and Trust Corporations Act. A third is to replace the present act with a declaratory statute that sets out an operational framework, including obligations on brokers and remedies for investors.
We hope to be in a position to move forward with legislative changes in the next session. I welcome comments from all members and suggest that a good opportunity to discuss this further will be during the 25 hours of debate on the estimates of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, which will begin when the House reconvenes in the fall.
It is very easy to overlook the role of the federal government in this whole matter. The federal government in 1977 licensed the operation of Astra Trust. The fact is that had there been no federally licensed Astra there would have been no losses. Given the knowledge of the federal government at the time of licensing, there should have been no Astra Trust. But there was, and from that flowed all losses. Re-Mor simply became a vehicle for those losses to occur. The federal government cannot escape criticism and responsibility in the matter.
As a consequence, since assuming the role of Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, I have had a number of attendances with the minister of state responsible for insurance, the Honourable Mr. Bussieres. We have met, and discussions have centred on the role of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation. We feel we are making some progress there as it relates to those who deposited funds with Astra Trust. Discussions are continuing, and I will report further when progress is made, at the earliest opportunity.
I fully realize that it is impossible to legislate fraud out of existence, but through vigorous audit and inspection we can greatly improve the prospect of catching and prosecuting the criminally inclined and, with more extensive entry requirements, minimize the occurrence.
The Astra/Re-Mor matter has some similarities to the Atlantic Acceptance affair of a few years ago, concerning which Mr. Justice Hughes had this to say: “There can be no guarantee that such a convulsion will not occur again, whatever legislation may be enacted or regulatory policy devised, because it had its origins in fraud and concealment, and it is yet to be demonstrated that laws of general application can be wholly successful in providing against the resolve of any human agency to twist and break it.”
Mr. Renwick: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: In view of the Attorney General’s (Mr. McMurtry) statement yesterday, and in view of this minister’s statement today, I ask them to clarify for us why there is a total omission of any reference in either of the statements to the registration in Ontario of Astra Trust by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, recently there has been a fair amount of debate about the role of government as a censor and classifier of films for public exhibition and the relevance of the board of censors as a government responsibility in serving the best interests of the public.
I am sure honourable members concur that this is both a contentious and difficult subject. In many ways, it represents a form of intrusion by government into the right of the individual to see or to experience whatever may be available to him or her in a public theatre. Indeed, it is a subject that has attracted strong opinions against censorship by certain individuals in the arts community as well as certain journalists. On the other hand, it has received strong and widespread support from the community as a whole.
During the past 10 weeks, since my appointment to this portfolio, I have been reviewing the operations of the censor board, the philosophy of censorship in the province, the existing film classification system and various opinions expressed about this issue in the hope that we may more accurately reflect the wishes and concerns of the people of this province.
A recent survey of public attitudes reveals that two thirds of Ontario adults support censorship. Only four per cent believe in neither film censorship nor film classification. It seems there is a widespread desire to protect children through the application of a classification system and to maintain a particular quality of life by some restraints on excesses in films for public exhibition.
What precisely does the public object to? Research by board members in contact with hundreds of groups, as well as survey results across the province, indicate widespread concern in three areas: excessive violence, explicit portrayal of sexual activity, and sexual exploitation of children. Only three per cent of the public surveyed say they would not cut any of these scenes.
While the government is obliged to listen to the people of Ontario, this province’s position on film censorship is often compared with other jurisdictions. Five Canadian provinces in addition to Ontario have the power to censor. Three provinces that do not have censor boards use prints previously approved by other provinces, often Ontario. Quebec, with whom Ontario most recently has been compared, does not censor films per se; it simply rejects films it finds unsuitable and places the onus on the distributor to make appropriate cuts and then resubmit the print.
It might interest members to know that last year the Ontario board screened 1,765 films, of which only 189 were standard films for traditional commercial distribution as many of us know it. Five films were rejected, and 64 were cut. Sixty of these films were considered “porn” movies and showed limited productions, and only four were standard films for commercial distribution. Thus, in total, 69 films were cut or rejected.
In Quebec, however, 94 films were rejected, a substantially higher number than was the case in Ontario. These statistics certainly put the lie to the myth that Ontario is a scissor-happy jurisdiction, compared with its sister provinces.
There are many other jurisdictions in the world that censor films. Even the Cannes festival requires that films be submitted to a censor, and sometimes films are rejected. Perhaps one of the most interesting jurisdictions is Sweden, where censorship of films and magazines was abolished in the 1960s to give its people increased freedom of expression and freedom of choice. Today, however, the individuals who led the crusade for such freedom are among the staunchest advocates of a return to controls. Indeed, according to some reports, sexual violence in films and magazines has been held to blame for a 60 per cent increase in rapes in Sweden from 1960 to 1978.
Having carefully considered the whole issue of film censorship and film classification, I sincerely believe it is a policy supported by the majority, and therefore it will continue to be a policy of this government. However, I am pleased to announce three important changes that should accommodate many sincere concerns without in any way compromising the strong convictions of Ontarians about the need for maintaining quality controls and standards.
In the past year, we have achieved three significant changes in public accountability: (1) guidelines for classifications have been formalized and published, (2) film review and assessment procedures have been formalized and published, and (3) information on any cuts and reasons for the cuts is available on request.
In addition, we propose to change the composition of the censor board through an amendment to the Theatres Act that will be introduced in the fall session. Currently, in addition to the chairman and vice-chairman, the board consists of five full-time members, three of which are civil service positions. I am uncomfortable with the notion that civil servants are filling what should be an independent board function in reflecting community standards. It makes sense to me that individuals who are independently representative of the community should be asked to make such judgements.
We intend to abolish the civil servant members’ positions and to establish a new board of censors with a minimum of 25 part-time positions to be filled on a rotating basis by a broad cross-section of community representatives. The new board will be selected to reflect members of Ontario’s ethnic, cultural, social and occupational makeup. There will also be representation according to age and lifestyle. In this way members will more accurately interpret contemporary and changing community values. In a democratic society it is essential that any application of a censorship process, no matter how minimal, must be responsible, representative and reflective of the whole community.
Second, we intend to establish a formal appeal procedure within the censor board for films that are rejected or cut. At present no such procedure exists under the provisions of the Theatres Act. We propose to correct this deficiency by incorporating into the act the right of a film producer or distributor to an appeal by which the film will be reviewed by at least five board members who did not participate in the original decision.
Currently, films are classified as “restricted” to people age 18 or over; “adult,” which signals that the content is of a mature nature but which permits unsupervised entry for all ages; and “general,” which is not a formal classification but refers to family entertainment where no rating is required.
A difficulty with the present system is that on the one hand certain restricted films might well be suitable for viewing by teenagers in high school, and on the other hand some films currently classified as “adult entertainment” are inappropriate for younger audiences but are open to them.
To tighten up this area, the classification system will be amended by regulation in the following way: The “restricted” category will remain, with admittance limited to adults aged 18 and over. A new category to be called “adult accompaniment” will be introduced; people aged 14 or older will be allowed unsupervised entry but children under 14 will be admitted if accompanied by an adult, aged 18 or older.
Remaining films will have unrestricted admittance, but an advisory clarification of content will accompany all advertising. The advisory captions will be “parental guidance” to alert parents that certain language or scenes may be too mature for some children and “family” meaning suitable for all.
In summary, we believe these changes will be more responsive to the needs and values of moviegoers, will provide film makers with greater scope in reaching commercial audiences with acceptable material and will enable the censor board to reflect more accurately the tolerance levels of the community as a whole.
As members know, at my request Professor Paul Weiler undertook a comprehensive review of the existing Workmen’s Compensation Act and its administration last year. In November, I tabled his report entitled Reshaping Workers’ Compensation in Ontario, in which major revisions to the benefit structure and the adjudicative system were recommended.
Subsequently, following wide circulation to labour and management groups and other interested parties, I received many comments and suggestions and met with a number of interested parties. As might be expected, there are some differences of view on the substance of the proposals. However, in the main I sense there is a broad consensus in favour of substantial revisions along the lines suggested in the report.
If these recommendations are to be carried into effect, we shall require a completely revised act. Because of the importance of the subject and the unavoidable complexity entailed in translating the proposal into workable statutory language and, frankly, because I have not yet had the benefit of full comment on some of the major recommendations, I shall be tabling in the House tomorrow a white paper on workers’ compensation in Ontario.
The paper will outline the substantive revisions the government believes may be appropriate and will illustrate how these revisions would apply in day-to-day administration of claims. In addition, there will be attached a draft act, together with an analysis of the cost impact of the proposed revisions.
It is clear to me the white paper will result in a further, and I think necessary, round of discussions over the next several months. On the most optimistic assumptions, therefore, it is extremely unlikely the major revisions which we contemplate could come into effect before 1982.
I shall therefore be introducing today for first reading an Act to amend the Workmen’s Compensation Act which will effect upward revisions in the benefits to reflect increases in the cost of living since July 1, 1979.
Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: A few moments ago, you indicated that when my colleague the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp) was objecting to statements by the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) with regard to Bill 121, he did not have a point of privilege.
I simply want to indicate to you that the allegation from my colleague was that the Minister of Housing had indicated to certain municipal officials that members of the Liberal Party were impeding the progress of legislation in which they were interested.
I now read from page 153 of Erskine May, entitled Misrepresenting Members’ Proceedings: “Wilful misrepresentation of the proceedings of members is an offence of the same character as a libel. On 22 April, 1699, the Commons resolved that publishing the names of the members of this House, and reflecting upon them, and misrepresenting their proceedings in Parliament, is a breach of the privilege of the House, and destructive of the freedom of Parliament.’”
I have two points: The first is to support my colleague who indicated that a breach of privilege had taken place; the second is to bring to your attention, sir, that simply to say he does not have a point of privilege under those circumstances is a remedy that is not good enough for us who feel our privileges have been breached.
I would refer him, first of all, to standing order 18(a) which states: “Privileges are the rights enjoyed by the House collectively and by the members of the House individually conferred by the Legislative Assembly Act and other statutes, or by practice. precedent, usage and custom.”
My opinion was based on the fact, as I understood it, that the information came forward not through the assembly but from outside the House. I also failed to see that Mr. Epp’s duties were impeded in any way, shape or form. I think perhaps he might better have raised that as a point of clarification, which he was very successful in doing.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, may I speak to that? At no time, except briefly yesterday, was there any discussion with respect to the government’s intention even to bring that bill forward. It was not on any list the government wanted passed before the end of this session.
I do not think a minister of the crown can then leave the precincts of this building and go off somewhere and indicate to the general public that a certain political party is preventing the passage of a piece of legislation -- if they want the bill passed they should go back to a certain political party and get its members to change their minds -- when in fact the matter was not even discussed. I do not see how the minister can go out and make a suggestion to certain people when the bill is not even on the government list for passage before the end of this session.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I spoke to the clerks’ and treasurers’ meeting yesterday. I made very clear in my speech to them a number of things relating to the new ministry of municipal affairs and housing. One of the questions that has arisen over the last week or so from mayors and reeves, from the president of the Ontario municipal association, the Municipal Liaison Committee, and various other groups, relates to the interest charges a municipality is allowed to charge back against its taxpayers for nonpayment of their municipal taxes.
They asked me if the bill was introduced. I made it very clear it is Bill 121. I said if their interest was in seeing the bill passed in this sitting of the House, they should speak to their members -- that is, members of all three political parties -- to indicate the importance this bill has on the economic and financial situation in individual municipalities. I was not directing my remarks against the Liberal Party, against the New Democratic Party or against the Tories. I wanted the emphasis and the importance of the bill to be known to all members of this House.
Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, on that same point very briefly, surely the minister recognizes that if the matter is a matter of importance what he should have admitted to the reeves and mayors was that he had failed to impress upon his own House leader the importance he attached to the bill. But sooner than admit that, and possibly suffer a certain criticism, he preferred to imply that the difficulty lay on the other side of the House, or among certain private members on all sides of the House. It does seem to me that is behaviour unbecoming a minister of the crown, let alone a breach of the privileges of the House.
This morning, I and the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. Newman) received calls from the mayor of Windsor, asking us if we were preventing this bill from coming forward. I asked him why he should ask that, and he said it was because the minister opposite had raised the matter yesterday. I asked him if he had spoken with the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke) who represents another party. Apparently he had not because it was only the Liberals, according to the minister, who were preventing this bill from coming forward. That is not the truth.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, on the same point of privilege: When I was approached earlier this week and asked about this bill, I said for the government to bring it in when they wished and we would debate it at that time. That is where the matter was left. They can order the business as they wish. They can bring the bill in when they wish, and we will debate it at that time, but I am not going to commit myself as to how long we are going to debate it, whether we are going to favour it or not favour it, and so forth. That is not for me to do on an individual basis.
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Earlier I raised the matter concerning the report on the matter between the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Government Protective Service with you. You advised that the Solicitor General (Mr. McMurtry) was going to be making a statement.
We heard you read a letter from one member of the Ontario Government Protective Service earlier on, and it was with our insistence after that letter was read that you decided to make your own study into the matter. I would like to know if you are going to be doing your own independent study because I do think the Solicitor General, in his capacity of overseeing the operation of the OPP, does have a potential conflict in that regard.
Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Revenue: Inasmuch as it is within his ministry that this new heating credit will at least be partially administered, will the minister admit, now that we have all had a chance to look at the proposal introduced by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), that the proposal is really pitifully small, and in many respects unfair?
Will he admit that particularly because, if you look at his own figures, a family of four attempting to live on a gross income of $13,000 -- which I know the minister will admit is pretty poor for a family of four nowadays -- will receive a grand total of $10 this year, none next year, and none the year after.
If this is truly designed to help the poor it surely is awfully little, if somebody raising a family of four on $13,000 gross income is going to get a princely $10. Is it not unfair when about half the money will be going to senior citizens, many of whom do not need this additional assistance of $60? How can it be sensible that a working person trying to raise a family of four on $13,000 a year gets $10, and Harold Ballard gets $60?
When the Treasurer announced the program yesterday, he indicated that we have been waiting for the Ottawa colleagues of the members opposite to come forward with any kind of program that would recognize the issue he has raised. Recognizing we cannot wait forever, the Treasurer announced a program we feel will go a great way towards alleviating some of the increased costs of heating in this province. In fact the problem is not unique to Ontario, as we all know.
With regard to the specific item the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Smith) brought forward concerning a family of four with a family income of $13,000, one thing he did not identify was whether this income was generated by one working person or more than one. This of course would have some relevance to the actual grant involved. And of course --
In actual fact the program is a step in the right direction. We do not have the limitless funds the members opposite attribute to us from time to time. I think it is a reasonably generous program designed to get to those who need it most. It is only a temporary program, and that is why it is declining over three years.
As to whether some seniors should or should not receive such benefits, I hope we never get to the point where the members opposite would look unfavourably on any assistance this government would give to the seniors who have made this province great.
Mr. Smith: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since we accept the basic contention of the minister that money is not unlimited nowadays, I would ask whether the minister would not accept our basic contention that the money should go to those who really require it? Furthermore, should it not be disbursed in a sensible manner rather than declining over the next three years while the cost of heating oil and natural gas will be escalating?
Does the minister not recognize he is saying that in two years’ time, when the home heating oil costs will have escalated by $140, the maximum will be $20? Even then it will go only to those who have a total taxable family income of $2,000 a year?
Why use half the money in straight grants to senior citizens unless they are truly the most impoverished group in our society? But if that is truly the case, would he check it out with the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Hon. Mrs. Birch), who yesterday stood in this House and said:
“I get just a little tired and a little offended by this constant reference to the poverty line. When a single senior citizen in this province is entitled to almost $7,000 along with all of the fringe benefits, I do not hear too many complaints from the senior citizens across this province -- not too many of them.”
The minister cannot have it both ways. Either the senior citizens as a group are deeply impoverished, and that is why he is using half the money in this fund for them, or the provincial secretary is right. It is one or the other.
Would it not make more sense with limited funds, therefore, to make sure those who need the money most get the money, and not penalize hard-working people at the very bottom of the income scale so that the government can shift grants to those who are too wealthy to really need the money?
There is no doubt at all the seniors in this province are not a group within our communities who are known to be complainers. Generally speaking they are doing reasonably well, thanks in part to the policies of this government. One of the policies of this government was designed to give the seniors in Ontario a property tax grant and a sales tax grant which they did not have to wait for until they filed their income tax. It was something that was available to everyone.
Although I appreciate the members opposite would like us to set up another huge bureaucracy to administer such a program, as they would in Ottawa, it is much easier to tag on to a program we already have in existence, to recognize that age is the criterion for the grant. Then we can tailor it to fit right in with the information we have pertaining to the present property tax grant.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could the minister explain why the program that has been devised is so stingy the government may as well just send a sweater to every family that might be able to benefit so they can bundle up against the cold? Why is it the people get less as the costs increase? Specifically, how is it the minister comes up with a program which for 1983 will give a family, at the most, the equivalent of five per cent of the increase in oil costs. It will give them, if they are lucky, a $20 grant when the cost of heating a home on average is going to be more than $1,000. When the government gives so little and the costs are going up by so much, why on earth has the minister brought in the program at all, unless it is to try to clean up the Conservative Party’s image?
I think I have said twice before, and I know the Treasurer said it in announcing the program, but this is designed as a temporary program. It is not meant to be the end-all and be-all as far as increased future costs to heat a home are concerned.
We figure that somewhere along the line those levels of government receiving additional revenues because of the increased cost of heating -- and it is not this Treasury -- will put in place some kind of credit that will recognize the problems the member has already discussed. They are legitimate problems, there is no doubt about that at all. In the meantime, we are allowing that other level of government to, I hope, phase in a program that will go the other way. We have put ourselves on notice as at least temporarily doing something, which is surely much better than doing nothing.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, is the rationalization for this half-baked program that the minister is going to use up some of the revenue and redistribute the revenue from the ad valorem tax on transportation fuels? How can he can use that justification and how can he be happy about that when the cost of this program will go from about $66 million to $40 million to $20 million -- will diminish very rapidly over a three-year period -- while at the very same time, the government is going to get rapid increases in windfall profits from the ad valorem tax? It has turned into massive windfalls ever since it was introduced by the government. In fact the government is going to be profiteering very handsomely from that tax and a mere pittance of that will be redistributed in any meaningful way by this program.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker this is looking at a specific set of circumstances in isolation. It is true one can perceive of this -- and I think I even referred to it last night -- as one of the ways this government can take those additional revenues and feed them back to that area where it is needed most. But that does not mean this is the only program for which this government will be diverting and using funds raised by the Gasoline Tax Act over the next number of years.
There is no doubt about it, this one is going down while the other is going up, but there will be other uses for those revenues as they are coming in higher amounts over the next number of years. It is called reasonable and responsible fiscal management.
Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Solicitor General and Attorney General, concerning a statement he delivered to the House on the Astra/Re-Mor affair. In the first place, the minister purported to be answering questions that were put by the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) -- he delivered his statement as though it were a series of answers to those questions. I would ask the minister whether he intends to answer all the questions that were put by the member for St. Catharines? I draw his attention to the fact that he did not answer the following questions, and I ask him if he intends to do so.
When did the anti-rackets squad of the Ontario Provincial Police begin their involvement in the Astra/Re-Mor investigation? Did the criminal investigation branch of the OPP get involved and if so, when? Was there any special investigation commenced to look at suspected organized crime links? When and by whom? Were the OPP consulted by the provincial registrar of trust companies before the provincial registration of Astra Trust? If so, what was the nature of their report?
Regarding the tape recordings seized from Carlo Montemurro which the minister says were never in the possession of the OPP, he says: “The OPP never had possession of one with a conversation with Mr. Clement.” Did the OPP or anyone else in Ontario ever have possession of any tape recordings such as those described in the Burlington Post? In particular, did they have those not only of Mr. John Clement but of a conversation between Mr. George Bagnato and Mr. Carlo Montemurro? Is it the intention of the minister to answer the remaining questions he has left unanswered in his statement?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I thought it was clear in my statement the intention was to outline in detail the role of the Ontario Provincial Police without in any way attempting to interfere with ongoing criminal prosecutions. In that respect I think my statement achieved that goal. It outlined in some detail the role of the Ontario Provincial Police. It was not the purpose of the statement to engage in a lot of idle speculation which certainly was implicit in some of the questions put forward by the member for St. Catharines.
Mr. Smith: It is of course not my view that any of those were idle speculation. But it is interesting the minister did say in his statement, “I intend to respond to the questions raised by the member for St. Catharines, as well as detail the work of various forces and so on. The minister now says he does not intend to respond to some of the questions raised by the member and that begs the question of where and when those questions will ever be answered.
The minister will know that one of the matters in contention between the Ontario Securities Commission and the ministry is whether a sufficient amount of warning was given by the OSC to the ministry when licensing Re-Mor. He will know there is conflicting evidence in this regard as to what was or was not passed between them.
The document says, “If we refuse application on grounds of financial responsibility, OSC will back us up.” That is what the original said. The photocopy provided to the standing committee on administration of justice had a question mark implying, “We don’t know if the OSC will back us up,” a serious matter which obviously suggests that somebody was trying to change, as the minister says, the context of the question.
Given that alteration occurred after the original was already filed, will the minister not agree that whoever altered that document was trying to create a false impression and was trying to cover up the tracks of whatever he or his associates were doing? Why else would anybody insert a question mark after the fact to give the impression the OSC might not be willing to back them up and, therefore, might not have given the information to the ministry?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I have answered the question to the extent I feel qualified to answer. The view of the Ontario Provincial Police and the forensic science investigation involved in the examination of this document, as I stated yesterday, was that the question mark was added at some later date. They have stated the purpose of doing so was, in their view, to change the meaning of the sentence. The police have been quite frank in indicating their opinion in this respect. It is not for me to speculate as to what should flow from that.
Mr. Renwick: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the Solicitor General explain why, in his carefully prepared statement yesterday and again today in the carefully prepared statement of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Walker), there is no reference in connection with the separate criminal investigation into the role of the minister in the chartering at the federal level of Astra Trust and the licensing at the Ontario level of Re-Mor? Why is there a complete omission of any statement with respect to the licensing or registration of Astra Trust in Ontario by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations to carry on business in Ontario?
In connection with that question, did the criminal investigation report, of which the minister has not yet received a full copy, disclose that on at least one, possibly two and maybe three occasions, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported to the chartering officials in Ottawa adversely about the chartering of Astra? Did the criminal investigation report disclose that this information was available to the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations at the time of the licensing or registration in Ontario, by Ontario, of Astra Trust?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: First of all, Mr. Speaker, in further response to the questions put forward by the Leader of the Opposition, I would remind him of that portion of my statement yesterday indicating that the Ontario Provincial Police investigation of this particular document and the witnesses who might be helpful was, in their view, prejudiced by the fact that there was a parallel investigation going on at the same time by the standing committee on administration of justice. I had objected to that at an earlier date.
In answer to the question by the member for Riverdale regarding my statement yesterday being silent in relation to the criminal investigation pertaining, on the one hand, to the licensing of Astra Trust by the federal authorities and, on the other hand, to the registration of Re-Mor by the provincial authorities, as far as the registration of Astra in Ontario is concerned, my understanding of the situation is that its registration is something that virtually flows automatically from the licensing by the federal authority. As the member for Riverdale knows, the Great West Saddlery constitutional case made it very clear that provincial authorities would not have any right to prevent a federally chartered company from carrying on business.
As far as the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations is concerned, I can assure the member that the police investigation in Ontario, as I understand it, dealt with every aspect of the activities of the ministry and officials therein in relation to both Re-Mor and Astra. There is absolutely no gap whatsoever with respect to the investigation, which was directed, as it must be, to determining whether any criminal offence was committed by any official, federal or provincial, with respect to registration and licensing of any of these companies. Regarding conduct that might fall short of the possibility of a criminal offence, it is not the role of the police to investigate the adequacy of the licensing procedures.
The member asked me for details as to what information may or may not have been available to the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations about Astra prior to the registration of Re-Mor. That is information I do not have. Obviously, that information is or is not in the possession of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mr. Bradley: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I hope the Attorney General will investigate or ask the police to investigate further the altered document. It is obviously an attempt to deceive the committee to have two versions of the same document before it.
The minister said in his statement, “In so far as the civil cases are concerned, these cases are based on wide-ranging allegations of negligence involving all responsible government ministries, agencies and officials. Obviously, these matters are going to be explored in great detail in the courts where they should be explored this fall. It is inconceivable to me that any of this relevant information will not be forthcoming in so far as the civil trials are concerned.”
In the light of that statement, can the minister tell us how -- in a trial relating solely to whether there was negligence on the part of the registrar of mortgage brokers in the issuance of a licence to Re-Mor Investment Management Corporation -- the following issues would be dealt with or would be relevant: the charge that the Ontario Securities Commission failed to lay criminal charges until it was too late, gave authorization for illegal payments, approved holding off a key receivership application and approved or condoned holding off proceeding with Securities Act charges?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the action is framed in negligence, and the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations is a party to that action. Any allegations related to negligence or carelessness on the part of the minister in relation to the registration of Re-Mor would be relevant or indeed --
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In so far as it might relate to any negligence or carelessness in the registration of Re-Mor, that would be undoubtedly regarded as relevant and admissible evidence. As I understand the issue, and I have been listening to it month after month, the allegation is that the ministry or officials thereof were careless or negligent with respect to the registration of Re-Mor. All facts that might pertain to that allegation would be admissible.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question, also for the Attorney General, arising out of the very lengthy objection to the federal freedom of information bill which the Attorney General has lodged in Ottawa. Will the Attorney General say whether in making that submission he was acting with the authority of the cabinet and of the government?
Can he explain why, in view of the promise the Premier (Mr. Davis) made a year ago that we would have freedom of information legislation here in the province, he was seeking to stifle at the federal level what the Premier has been promising to bring in at the provincial level in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I have some difficulty in understanding the question, because we are dealing with federal legislation within the constitutional jurisdiction of the federal government, quite apart from legislation that will be introduced in Ontario.
My letter to Mr. Fox, as Attorney General and Solicitor General, is a 22-page letter, a copy of which I would be happy to send to the leader of the New Democratic Party. He will note in the letter that most of my concerns are related to law enforcement in Ontario and to possible very serious problems that could be created for law enforcement in Ontario, intelligence operations and the sharing of information with the federal law enforcement agencies.
These are matters that should be of concern to any citizen in the province who is concerned about maintaining a high level of law enforcement. Certainly my views were those of the minister responsible for law enforcement in this province.
Mr. Cassidy: One cannot help feeling that the minister was carrying on in Ottawa the rearguard action he has been carrying on within the cabinet in terms of trying to block freedom of information legislation here in the province.
Can the minister explain why it is that he was proposing in his letter to the federal government that there should be no disclosure of any information that falls within the exclusive responsibility of the province? Was the minister not suggesting in effect that there should be a conspiracy of silence between the federal and provincial governments in which Ontario or the provinces would seek to have a veto over a large amount of information that might otherwise be disclosed at the federal level and presumably then agree to giving the federal government a veto over a large amount of information that might be available provincially?
Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The Attorney General is aware that a draft freedom of information bill for Ontario was prepared as far back as 1977 and the government opted instead for a royal commission. After three years of the Royal Commission on Freedom of Information and Individual Privacy the Premier gave assurance that, with its report, the government would proceed without delay to its implementation.
Presumably the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope) was appointed as Minister without Portfolio with major responsibilities for doing that. With respect to the offer of the new minister who now has that portfolio, the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling), can the Attorney General give us some assurance that the offer of a study paper that will not be available until fall is not just calculated procrastination?
If he wants to give us a study paper that presumably will be a specific reaction to the recommendations of the royal commission, that is fine, but can we not have a draft bill so that interested groups and citizens can look at it over the summer and, one hopes, we can get it passed by this Christmas, since we did not get it by last Christmas as promised by the then Minister without Portfolio?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think the manner of proceeding stated by the minister responsible for freedom of information in this province, the member for Carleton-Grenville, is the wise and prudent manner of proceeding.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: For example, the freedom of information legislation in the United States has succeeded in almost totally discouraging the exchange of important intelligence information between police forces in the United States, with the result that their law enforcement has been seriously undermined. Freedom of information in the United States has been used by criminal figures to obtain information to assist them to identify police informants. It is this type of activity we want to avoid.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: They will always be the third party; so they can afford the luxury of advocating anarchy. But we on this side of the House have responsibility for the proper governing of the province. We cannot afford the luxury of indulging in advocating anarchy.
Mr. MacDonald: On a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker: I ask you whether it is an appropriate parliamentary statement for a minister to get up and accuse an opposition party of being a party of anarchy?
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I am relieved, having left my Molotov cocktails at home, that the minister has withdrawn the comment about anarchy, because I thought that the comment by “Stonewall McMurtry” comment applied as much to the Premier, who promised the legislation, as to the New Democrats who have been fighting for it, and I would hate to think of the Premier of Ontario as an anarchist.
Mr. Cassidy: With respect to the minister’s statement on Monday that in this community -- he meant Metropolitan Toronto -- some 70 per cent of the units were selling below $80,000, which he considers a modest price, is he not aware that, contrary to the impression he was trying to give, in May, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board figures for Metropolitan Toronto and the surrounding area, just over 50 per cent -- a far cry from 70 per cent -- of the houses that were sold were sold for less than $80,000?
Is he also aware that even those houses that sold for $80,000 would cost $3,886 per month for principal, interest and taxes, a sum of money which I suggest to the minister is far beyond the capacity of the average family in Metropolitan Toronto to afford?
On Monday he was referring to the Royal Trust survey, which was dealing with a housing style number one and a housing style number two. The leader of the third party has mentioned the Royal Trust survey on housing prices across the province. He went on at great length about this survey and particularly referred to what he called the price for a typical modest bungalow, if I recall correctly.
I will even quote from Hansard where he said: “The price of an average three-bedroom bungalow without a recreation room, without a fireplace, without appliances -- simply a three-bedroom bungalow of about 1,200 square feet -- has gone in one year from a price of $84,000 to $120,000.”
I know the leader of the third party has never ever tried to mislead this House, and far be it from me to want even to indicate that he was attempting to do that on Monday, but I suggest that he may like to check with his NDP research people to see if they have not made a slight error in quoting the Royal Trust survey.
Here is the report that was referred to. There are the two house styles that I mentioned. The description the member read, and which I have just repeated, was indeed for a bungalow. But, according to his report, the average price for it in Scarborough, if I recall correctly, was $120,000. That was the member’s quote. But the so-called average price of this modest bungalow, according to the Royal Trust report, is $87,500, or some $32,500 less than the member happened to quote.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, he was referring to the last report, which I understand was brought out by the Royal Trust in our conversation with them. He indicates very clearly that in Scarborough house number one --
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I am very clearly indicating that the figures we have and the ones quoted by the leader of the third party are considerably out of whack. I suggest that he may like to have a little discussion with his research people --
In the first quarter of 1980, 10 per cent of the units sold were below $40,000; 31 per cent of the sales were between $40,000 and $60,000; and 31 per cent were between $60,000 and $80,000. Which, in my calculations, is something in the range of 72 per cent.
Going to the first quarter of 1981, we still have the situation where below $40,000 was seven per cent of the market, $40,000 to $60,000 was 30 per cent of the market, and between $60,000 and $80,000 was 28 per cent of the market. If one adds those up, about 65 per cent of the units sold in this area, through MLS listings, were below $80,000.
When we look at the most recent figures MLS has put out, for the first four months of this year, we see that units below $40,000 were seven per cent of the market, from $40,000 to $60,000 was 28 per cent, and between $60,000 and $80,000 was 27 per cent of the market. There is still a very substantial portion of the market in that particular price range.
Mr. Cassidy: I will send the minister the quote from the Royal Trust survey showing that house style one, which the minister will recall is a modest bungalow -- three bedrooms, 1,200 square feet, no frills -- by June 1981 was selling for $145,000 in the centre of Toronto, $137,000 in Thornhill, $134,000 in Don Mills, $130,000 in Etobicoke, $120,000 in Scarborough, $115,000 in Richmond Hill and $105,000 in Bramalea. All those figures put that house completely outside the reach, in terms of affordability, of anybody earning anything close to the average family income.
On Monday, I pointed out that those homes had gone up in price between 1980 and 1981 by sums of 35 per cent, 40 per cent, 45 per cent; they were 48 per cent higher in Bramalea, 42 per cent higher in Scarborough and 51 per cent higher in Richmond Hill.
I am shocked by the fact that the Minister of Housing does not seem to be aware of the fact that there has been a most extraordinary escalation of housing prices, and nothing has been done by this government.
Given the fact that only one per cent of the houses that have been changing hands in Metropolitan Toronto conceivably could be within the reach of affordability of a family on the average industrial wage in Metropolitan Toronto, and given the fact that perhaps 20 per cent of all the houses changing hands are still barely within reach of a family on the average family income in Metropolitan Toronto, will the minister say whether the government now is prepared to take action to bring back the reality of home ownership for every family in Ontario, and in Metropolitan Toronto, and not just for the privileged few?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I do not think the opportunity of purchasing in this province is for the privileged few. Sales continue to happen in various communities and, indeed, in this one. We can talk about reality. I suppose what we have in the housing market today is reality.
Mr. Ruprecht: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In the 1950s, about 30 per cent of Metropolitan Toronto families could afford to buy a house here. Today it is about 5.6 per cent to six per cent. I want to ask the minister when is he going to get up off his hands and come up with a policy that does not reflect the realities of March 19?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I am not sure I altogether followed the member’s opening remarks, Mr. Speaker. If I were to ask the question in a general sense about when there became an imbalance between ownership and rental in the Metropolitan Toronto area, I am sure most people would try to tell me it was in about the late 1960s and early 1970s. The difference in ownership versus rental went out of balance in 1926 in this particular community. More people became renters in 1926, and a great many of them by choice.
Mr. Cassidy: Since for 17 years prior to this government coming to office and for 38 years since this government came to office this apparently has been a problem as far as the minister is concerned, will the minister kindly say when is it that the government intends to act to ensure that home ownership can be achieved by people living in Metropolitan Toronto?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I have said in this House before, and I suppose I can repeat it again, when the government starts getting into the position of trying to resolve or soften a market position for people, it cannot be done singularly by a provincial government.
The leader of the third party can sit and shake his head. This government has a responsibility to those who happen to own their homes at the moment and who have struggled to pay for them. Indeed, I suppose if we went back and did a survey of the situation and made comparisons, we probably would find that the difficulties in trying to acquire a home 20 or 30 years ago were just about the same as they are for some people today.
I want to suggest once again that I do not think everyone should start off by feeling in the first year of marriage and so on that they are going to be able to afford to buy a home. I am not trying to give any advice; I am only trying to have some reality about the life we happen to be living in. That is the economics of the day. We have tried to accommodate certain programs to put into use more rental accommodation. We have tried at times in the past to help in the ownership market and indeed, as I recall, there was even criticism at that time from the opposition.
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Solicitor General concerning the incidents between the Ontario Government Protective Service and the Ontario Provincial Police and the reporting of the ongoing harassment and intimidation of the members of the Ontario Government Protective Service.
Can the minister explain to us why he has ignored the request of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union to have the complaints of harassment and intimidation investigated by someone with experience in matters of labour disputes, within which category these sort of complaints seem to fall, as opposed to having appointed the deputy coroner, Dr. Ross Bennett?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, grievances have been launched by one of the members of this union who has been dismissed as a result of an incident about which there is undoubtedly a great deal of controversy and a great deal of difference of opinion.
Under our grievance procedures, there is a provision for a hearing. As a matter of fact, the hearing could have been conducted by somebody -- anybody, I suppose -- within the Ministry of the Solicitor General. We chose Dr. Bennett, because he was obviously someone who does not have any day-to-day involvement with the branch of the ministry, nor is it in any way within his dealing with the Ontario Provincial Police or the security service, which does serve members of this Legislature, I think very well.
There is a great deal of controversy surrounding this incident. We simply opted in favour of a hearing pursuant to the grievance procedures before somebody who has no particular involvement, no possible conflict of interest, and who is able to conduct a full and fair hearing.
This should not be confused with any allegations in relation to alleged harassment. Anybody who is suggesting he is being harassed -- I think from what I have heard, it is anonymous telephone calls -- has the right to report these to local police authorities. The police will cooperate in assisting these people as they would assist any other citizen who is being subjected to any harassment.
I think they are two different issues. Some people may think they are somehow related, but we are not insensitive to the allegations that some individuals say they have received anonymous telephone calls. The difficulty is of finding or establishing who is making these calls. But, quite apart from that allegation, there is the important issue of the grievances that have been submitted. We just think there should be a full and fair hearing in order that the issues may be resolved. That is the route we have chosen to follow, which is quite consistent with the manner in which we traditionally deal with grievances within the government service.
Mr. Elston: The matter has become one that is very important to the union and it has given them no end of concern. I note the minister has himself stated there is no question there is a considerable amount of unhappiness within the group, that is, the members of the Ontario Government Protective Service. Could the minister explain why he has not been more attentive to their request for someone who has experience in relation to labour matters when this is, in particular, a matter dealing with a labour dispute?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As I pointed out before, we are not dealing with a matter that involves any particular knowledge of labour law. We are dealing with a factual situation about which many conflicting views have been volunteered. It is a question of appointing a hearing officer who is capable of conducting a hearing, who has a broad understanding of human behaviour and who is going to perform in a fair and impartial manner.
I understand there is a right of appeal to a full grievance board from this hearing officer. The suggestion that this individual is not particularly familiar with labour law or labour matters is, in my respectful view, a total red herring.
Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to ask the minister if there is not some better way to resolve this dispute by attempting to find someone who can hear the grievance, who is acceptable to both sides and who has a background in labour matters and perhaps with police matters as well. I think that is the heart of the problem. We do not seem to have come upon a mechanism which both sides would deem to be fair. Does the minister not feel some personal conflict in the process since he is, in a sense, the employer, the manager, the overseer and the arbitrator?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, Mr. Speaker, not given the nature of these proceedings. I think the first step is to have a proper airing of conflicting evidence as to what occurred. From there it may go to the full grievance board. I think this is the way it should proceed. Quite frankly, the representation we have had has not been in relation to the individual who has been appointed.
The concerns I have heard about the appointment of Dr. Ross Bennett, I have read in the newspaper. There has been no formal communication with me whatever or with officials of my ministry. The only communication there has been with us, except through the newspaper, has been to replace or supplant the appointment of Dr. Bennett, to go the route of some form of mediation as opposed to having the hearing. That really is what has been suggested to us, “Don’t have a hearing at this stage but embark on some form of mediation.”
The difficulty is, given the reports I have been made privy to, given the wide discrepancy of evidence as to what happened, it would appear to us at this point the two sides are so far apart no mediation would serve any useful purpose until there has been an initial hearing. I hope this will lead to some better understanding down the road. Right now we have an employee who, I understand, has been dismissed as a result of an incident that occurred and who has launched a grievance. In fairness to everybody we think that grievance should follow the normal course.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services. In view of the tragic and brutal death of one 13-month old twin, Thomas Michael Davies, earlier this month in Hamilton, a death that may have been the result of brutality over a period of time, will the minister conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death and report back to this House as soon as he is free to do so?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, that investigation has been under way for more than a week. I do not have the report yet. I will have it shortly. It is an investigation outside the scope of the police investigation which resulted in substantial criminal charges being filed. When I receive the report I will have to be guided by some advice on the sub judice parts of it, but I certainly will share with the House whatever portions of the report I can, if any, until the matter is disposed of in the criminal courts.
Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary: Will the minister, in his investigation, cover with care the procedures involved in monitoring the treatment of children involved in homes where authorities believe or know risk is involved? Will he also cover the adequacy of resources and funding and the interplay and communications between the regional social services and the children’s aid society and any other agencies concerned in cases such as this in an effort to ensure that in future cases where there are warning signals, we can provide more protection to a child than we were able to give to 13-month old Thomas Michael Davies?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I think that accurately describes the nature of the investigation. I believe the report has been filed with the area office in Hamilton by the Hamilton-Wentworth Children’s Aid Society and is being analysed by the area office.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The Kim Anne Popen case, the Nijah Degg case and now this case in Hamilton are all sub judice. We are expecting a report on those various cases we are not able to see, and we have been waiting in the case of Kim Anne Popen for some two and a half years. In view of this, does the minister not feel there is now need for a provincial study of the problems in terms of the interconnecting agencies, like CAS and social service agencies around the province, in terms of how they are dealing with these child abuse cases which are becoming an increasing problem in our society? Should we not be having our own provincial task force with a major study on these interactions?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I think that would be premature at this time. The matter of the Popen case in Sarnia is sub judice at the moment because of a decision of the Court of Appeal reversing a previous conviction in a lower court. The Degg inquest, which I believe will be a rather substantial study, at least in the particular area the member is talking about, has to wait until the appeal on a criminal conviction has ended and the courts have disposed of it. This one has to wait because of the nature of the charge.
I would hope with expeditious movement through the courts -- and certainly without prejudicing or without making any suggestions to the courts -- we will not really wait too long for those follow-up studies. I understand one of them is already completed. The second one will be in the form of an inquest and the third -- whatever is determined in the Hamilton-Wentworth area. I would like to see those results before seeing what else may be necessary.
Mr. Watson: I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism. An article that appeared in the Windsor Star on Tuesday, June 23, refers to the fact that Ontario is being arm-twisted by the federal Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, Herb Gray, into considering Windsor as a site for an auto parts technology centre, which was outlined in the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program.
Mr. Watson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister then advise us of the status of the planning for this proposed centre? Can he give us an indication as to when an announcement might be made concerning the centre?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I expect a decision to be announced by late summer or early fall at the conclusion of continuing discussions with the municipalities in the Niagara peninsula and the great municipality of Chatham.
At the moment we think the people in Windsor will certainly feel well treated by this government. In negotiations on the Chrysler deal the federal government was unable to get any research and development for Windsor, but negotiations by this government got one for the Windsor area from the Chrysler Corporation. So the Windsor area has not been neglected in terms of the auto industry and research and development.
Mr. Ruprecht: The minister should be aware he is responsible for the flight of many of our young people out of the Metropolitan Toronto area. What is he going to do about the low vacancy rate in this metropolitan area? What will he do to increase housing construction as soon as possible?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I spoke Monday afternoon on the no-confidence motion and indicated some of the changes in the Ontario rental construction loan program. I am very optimistic that we are still going to have some 15,000 units built in this province as a result of that program, and for which the member’s friend in Ottawa, Mr. Cosgrove, constantly takes the full credit. There are extra starts going on at this time.
I just wish that if the member is so sincere about this issue he might take a minute or two out of his busy day to phone Mr. Cosgrove and indicate to him -- because he does not realize it -- there is a short supply of rental accommodation in the Metropolitan Toronto area. We have recognized it, we have spoken on it and we have taken action.
We have taken the Ontario rental construction loan program and on the 1,500 units -- as I said on Monday afternoon in answer to the no-confidence vote by the Leader of the Opposition -- we are increasing the sum from 54,200 to 56,000, interest- and principal-free for a 25-year period. We believe in the analysis we have been able to do with the industry, with the mortgage insurance people, and indeed with the lenders and developers, that this program, with the adjustment made to it in relation to the new interest rate of about 18.5 per cent, will be viable and will put under construction, if and when they get their building permits, the units we have been talking about.
Mr. Ruprecht: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: This is really very interesting. I have stood here asking the minister to supply us with information about the Ontario rental construction loan program and how many units were being constructed in this area. Now we want the truth. Will the minister be honest with people in this House at least? Never mind the people out there in Ontario or the Metropolitan Toronto area -- we are asking him to be honest with us. Will he finally admit right here that the Ontario rental construction loan program has been a total failure? I am asking him what he is going to do about it?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I would be far from admitting that to the member for Parkdale (Mr. Ruprecht) for sure. In the time this program has been under way we have had a total of 185 applications; I will wind up very quickly, Mr. Speaker, but since the member for Parkdale poses a rather lengthy question I will try to bring my answer into line.
Units applied for: 18,662. Units approved: 11,993. Units committed in this province: 3,074. We still have just short of 2,200 units we are processing and analysing. For Toronto and district, in Toronto, units approved: --
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The member should go back and find out what the question was. I am answering it. Toronto: 609; Brampton: 413; Mississauga: 2,163; North York: 895; and Scarborough: 1,861. Toronto, North York, and Scarborough are in the metropolitan area, to the best of my understanding.
First, an increase in the ceiling on earnings from $18,500 to $22,200, effective July 1, 1981, which means the maximum weekly rate of benefits payable will increase over that two year period from $266.90 to $320.20.
Second, recognizing the needs of injured workers who have received temporary disability benefits for prolonged periods, an amendment is included which increases their benefits by a further factor of 10 per cent after they have received temporary disability benefits for 24 months. Under the present legislation the injured worker already receives 10 per cent after 12 months.
Fifth, minimum permanent total disability pensions will be increased to $623 per month effective July 1, 1980, and to $686 per month effective July 1, 1981. Minimum partial disability pensions will be raised proportionately on these same effective dates. I draw to the attention of members who have a copy of the statement, there was a correction in it and I read it as corrected.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Repeating number five, minimum permanent total disability pensions will be -- and here comes the change -- increased to $623 per month effective July 1, 1980, and to $686 per month effective July 1, 1981.
Tenth, the minimum for temporary disability will be increased to $156 per week effective July 1, 1981. This means that on or after that date those workers earning $208 or less per week will receive a minimum of $106.56 per week and all workers earning $156 or less will receive tax-free compensation equal to their full earnings. This will include part-time workers.
Thirteenth, clothing allowances will be increased from $240 per annum to $290 per annum with respect to lower limb prostheses and back braces for permanent disability and from $120 to $145 with respect to upper limb prostheses.
The cost of the changes recommended are substantial. They have a total capitalized value of $220 million for existing pensions and $115 million in respect of future awards to existing claims. However, because of the state of the accident fund and the current methods of setting assessment rates, the impact of these revisions on 1982 assessment rates will be modest. I therefore seek support from members for the amending act and the proposals put forward.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I would like to rise on a point of order: Several days ago I brought to your attention what I felt was an abuse of the privileges of this House. This was the procedure whereby the government took advantage, in my judgement at least, and supported by authority, of the special warrrants they used to finance the expenditures of this government. At that time you said you would look into the matter. I wanted to remind you that we are in the twilight of this sitting and I would hope there will be some sort of response on that matter from you in your capacity as chief presiding officer before the House rises.
I also call to your attention, sir, there are several other outstanding matters brought to your attention by various members. I think specifically of my colleague for Huron-Bruce (Mr. Elston) to whom you responded that you would look into the matter and report back to the House. I want to remind you of that, Mr. Speaker, because there are not many days left in this sitting.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, as you are aware, the province currently pays unconditional grants to police forces. Although they are categorized as being unconditional, nevertheless it is conditional on them having police forces. Ten dollars currently goes to nonregionalized police forces with the exception of Ottawa-Carleton which does not have a regional police force.
All the other regions have a regionalized police force, including Metropolitan Toronto. Fifteen dollars goes to the regionalized police force. This currently is before us as an amendment to increase that amount for regionalized police forces to $17, and to $12 from $10 for nonregionalized police forces.
I put it that this is inequitable because those police forces which are nonregionalized are being penalized because they did not bite the bullet and become a region a few years ago. These grants were handed out to regional police forces as an incentive to the local taxpayers to adopt a regional system. Everybody knows that in addition to the police force grants, additional grants were distributed to regions as they formally became regions -- they were little bits and pieces here and there -- in order for them to adopt the regional concept without too many complaints.
As everyone knows, that really did not get the support across the province it was intended to, because there has been quite a backlash against regional government, to say the least. To give some kind of credence to my remarks you only have to look at the fact that there are a lot of opposition members in this Legislature, either from the Liberal Party or from the New Democratic Party, who have been elected from regionalized areas. That is not to say there are not a lot of opposition members from other parts of the province, but I think that largely, if you will look at various areas in the province, you will find that proportionately there are more from regionalized areas than from nonregionalized areas.
The reason my amendment has been submitted is that I believe municipalities should be treated equally. As the municipal affairs critic for the Liberal Party, I have had the opportunity of looking at the figures and speaking to a lot of municipal representatives, both elected and nonelected, and they feel put out by the fact that the nonregionalized police force areas are discriminated against.
The parliamentary assistant to the minister, the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg), can tell you they put it someplace else, that they can get the money someplace else. This is not consistent with his remarks, because on June 12, 1981, he said: “Review does not necessarily mean that everything goes up. Of course, I would love to come in here and give not $17, but $25 or $30 per capita to every municipality. I would love to give higher unconditional grants. I would love to give more money to the municipalities. I wish we were in the position of the province of Alberta with its fund. That province can totally subsidize municipalities.”
He gives the impression that he would love to equalize things if he had the money. He says that in his words. Then he goes on in other parts of his speech to say they are being equalized, that they just are not called unconditional police grants. He cannot have it both ways; they are equalized or they are not equalized. The member for Wilson Heights should know this. As a result of this, Mr. Chairman, and I know you are paying very close attention to this --
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Epp, now that you bring that to my attention I will tell you the difficulty I am having, and I am paying close attention. The difficulty I am having is that according to the standing orders, section 15, this amendment is out of order, and I am going to have to so rule.
Mr. Epp: Anyway, Mr. Chairman, I know you are in accord with what I say, because as a very nonpartisan chairman you would want to have the municipalities of this province treated equally. Quite obviously, there it is: The government, clearly and distinctly, in front of the seven or eight million people of this province, says, “Lookit, regionalized areas get $17 and nonregionalized areas -- areas that do not have regionalized police forces -- get $12.”
Mr. Epp: Speaking to the point of order: I was trying to give the member for Wilson Heights, on behalf of the ministry and the government -- and he is such an eloquent speaker on their behalf -- an opportunity to correct an oversight. Obviously they would not want the people of Ontario to see how clearly they are discriminating against all those municipalities that have nonregionalized police forces.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Chairman, this is a point of order and I would like you to rule on it. Or I would like the member for Waterloo North to speak to the point of order, but he is speaking to his motion and not to the point of order.
Mr. Epp: Speaking to the point of order: I am trying to give the government an opportunity to correct what I am sure is an oversight. Surely to goodness the realities of March 19 would tell you they got 70 seats, they are trying to serve the people of Ontario really well, but here we see a clear oversight in legislation. They are not taking the shovel by the handle and trying to straighten out this very iniquitous situation.
Since they have the opportunity to spend that money and since they have given $150 million to paper mills in northern Ontario, surely to goodness they would have a few of those dollars to give to municipalities.
If you look at the situation you will see the city of London is being deprived of $1,309,000 on the basis of this inquitous situation. The city of Windsor -- and my colleague from Windsor-Walkerville is here -- is going to lose $987,000.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, my colleagues in the second reading debate indicated to the minister that we also felt an amendment of this sort should come in. While we understand only the government can bring in this kind of an amendment, I would have thought that with the great demand from this side of the House there would have been an amendment from the government because it certainly is a most inequitable situation where a $5 differential is retained.
It has been retained long after the regions have been organized. I think the $5 differential was intended as an incentive grant for the regions, but now we are at the stage where they are all organized and where there should be parity at least. There should also be a general increase in the percentage of the grants for the total police cost because they certainly have gone up greatly.
Mr. Newman: I would like to speak on the point of order and say there should be some compromise between the two positions. Between the $17 for the regional governments and the $12 for the other areas, he is forgetting areas that border the United States. I think we have to look at them through different eyes, because they have problems none of the other municipalities have. These are problems imported from another jurisdiction. Some consideration should be given to assisting them in this grant. If the minister does not do it this year, I hope he will consider it for next year, and not only consider it but actually implement it.
Mr. Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Newman. I am having difficulty. We are trying to speak to the point of order and I suppose we should have been speaking to the section. However, we have gotten a little off-track. Mr. Foulds?
Mr. Chairman: You are not? Thank you. We are trying to be most accommodating as we are starting off with this bill. We are going to have to rule -- I am sorry Mr. Epp -- your motion is out of order. Section 2 carried?
Mr. Foulds: It is regrettable that the parliamentary assistant found it necessary to hide behind a point of order in order to defeat a substantive matter. The substantive matter is that the grants simply are not large enough, particularly for the single-tier municipalities such as Windsor and Thunder Bay.
We have talked about this many times in this House. It is ironic that we know, for example, that the regional municipality of Durham has actual policing costs that are less than the actual per capita policing costs, by $7, of a municipality such as Thunder Bay, yet it receives in grants $5 per capita more. That is just nuts.
Mr. Foulds: I will trade you your gas prices any day, buster, for our licence plate prices. If you want to move north and pay the cost of gasoline and home-heating oil, you do that any time. You are welcome to the $10 licence plate. What has that got to do with --
All I want to do is make a very simple point that the grants, as outlined in section 2, are unjustifiable, unjustified and discriminatory against one-tier municipalities. The actual figures show that many regional municipalities, such as Durham, have a lower policing cost per capita than do single-tier municipalities, such as Thunder Bay, and yet they get a higher grant from the provincial government. If that is not favouritism towards regional government I do not know what is.
Ms. Bryden: Speaking to the section and confirming some of the points my colleague from Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) made, I have some figures that show that in 1980 the regions paid $55.47 per capita for policing and nine cities, including most of the major ones, paid $59.33 -- in other words, about $4 more. Yet under this bill the government is proposing they should get $5 less per capita. That just does not seem right.
Policing costs range from a high of $94.52 in Kenora to a low of about $24 in Alexandria. But I think, for most municipalities, these grants amount to less than a quarter of their costs per capita. It is time the government, if it is really interested in the maintenance of our law and order departments, increased its share.
This is one of the things we would like to see an amendment on from the government side, in order to do more than just bring in an increase every time there is an election, an increase that does not even keep up with the cost of living, much less with the cost of policing. I think there also should be an indexing system as part of the police grant proposal. Unfortunately, it is difficult for us on this side to make those changes so we simply are asking the parliamentary assistant to bring in those changes before this bill is completed.
Mr. Bradley: Speaking to section 2, Mr. Chairman, it is obvious the reason we see this differential is that there is an effort on the part of the government to make regional government more acceptable to the people in those areas where it has been imposed. The reason the regions can justify having a larger grant, I suppose, is that their other costs are so great because of the imposition of regional government -- the costs imposed on major municipalities, particularly within regions, are so high that they make up for this by providing some additional funds in relation to police.
Another way the need for these additional funds can be overcome, a manner in which it could be spread out on a more equitable basis, would be if the OPP would be left in position to police certain areas of the province.
I bring to your attention the regional municipality of Niagara where the OPP formerly policed the rural areas. Everybody seemed to be happy with the job the OPP was doing, the costs were kept to a minimum. But then someone decided the regional municipality of Niagara police must have jurisdiction within the regional municipality of Niagara boundaries, so we had a new hierarchy set up in the area, several additional officers were hired by the local police force and the OPP was chased out to the highways to deal with other matters.
This is a way those who do not live in regions could perhaps receive more money -- that is if there were less costs to the region by the OPP maintaining its jurisdiction in the rural areas within a region and doing the fine job they did in the past.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Chairman, I will be very brief and say that I endorse the words of my colleague, the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley). The situation is quite obvious. The extra moneys being allocated under the regional system are made available simply to sweeten the pot and make regional government less objectionable than it is.
We see a rather horrendous situation which has arisen in my riding, the regional municipality of Halton, where we have actually had deficits for the last few years. Under the legislation the region is not allowed to have a deficit, and yet they have had. One can only express concern that this kind of favouritism towards regional government really is not even accomplishing what it set out to do.
In my riding as well, the Ontario Provincial Police served the rural areas, apparently to the satisfaction of the residents. How the costs compare with the costs today I am not sufficiently expert to comment on, but certainly the decision to create another hierarchy was a decision, in my view, made in haste.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Chairman, I think it will come as no surprise to members opposite that I will not be bringing an amendment to increase the unconditional grants at this time. We are really debating a motion that is out of order, but also we are debating the clause in the bill.
First, you cannot compare regions with cities. Taking cities such as Ottawa or Windsor, which have been mentioned, you have to consider the total cost of policing in the region if you compare it to, say, the regions of Halton or Niagara. You have to compare the total cost, not city to region, but region to region.
In the region of Ottawa-Carleton, which has its separate police forces plus the Ontario Provincial Police covering some of the rural areas, the total amount of provincial money going to that area, by a funny coincidence, is $17 per capita, the same as the regions get.
More important, Mr. Chairman, this is an unconditional grants act, and police grants are part of unconditional grants. It is not a conditional grant like welfare; it is an unconditional grant. If one takes the total amount of unconditional grants from this province to the regions and cities one comes up with some interesting numbers. For the regions in the province, on an average, the total amount of unconditional grants expressed as a percentage of the total levy is 14 per cent. The total amount of unconditional grants to the cities in southern Ontario as expressed as a percentage of the total levy is 20 per cent.
I would point out to the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) that the total amount of unconditional grants -- because the north does get something special -- expressed as a percentage of the total levy to the cities of northern Ontario is some 42 per cent.
So some of these cities get less in police grants -- because they are earmarked as police grants, for whatever historical reasons, to show that the province does want to support police -- but as part of the total unconditional grant system northern Ontario does better and the cities do better than the regions.
It is quite obvious that the parliamentary assistant to the minister has his blinkers on today and is not listening to reason. He is only looking in one direction. Quite obviously he is not interested in giving the kind of equality to nonregionalized areas that we in the opposition are.
No matter what he says with respect to the way the grants are going out, whether or not they are called unconditional grants they are still used for police purposes, and that is the way regional and nonregional municipalities enter them in their books. They do not say they are for fire fighting or anything else. The government calls them unconditional grants, but they are police grants.
I want to put in my amendment to section 3. I move that clause (d) of section 4 of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be amended by striking out “$12” in the first line and inserting “in lieu thereof, $17.”
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, I would like to move that section 9(1) of the act, as set out in section 7 of the bill, be amended by striking out the words “in the manner and subject to such limits as may be prescribed” in the sixth and seventh lines. This is slightly different from the wording I had given notice of, but it is the same principle.
In effect, this amendment would remove the power of the government to put a cap on the resource equalization grants. They would be calculated according to the formula set forth in section 9(1) but there would be no power for the government to say after it is calculated: “We are only going to give you so much money. We are going to limit the amount you get and reduce the amount to which you are entitled by a formula,” which they can prescribe. At the present time, the formula is that the resource equalization grant cannot be more than 25 per cent of their total tax levy.
What the present situation results in is that the poorer municipalities, since they do not get their full resource equalization grant, have to resort to additional taxation. But the whole point of resource equalization grants is to produce equity between municipalities with different abilities to raise money.
When we have a system that is supposed to produce equity and then we say, “I am sorry, but we do not have enough money to produce complete equity so we will cut you off at a certain level,” we are doing the opposite of producing equity and are penalizing the poorer municipalities.
My colleague the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) spoke about this situation on second reading and made the point strongly. He certainly said we should not add the burden of additional municipal taxation to low-income earners in the municipalities with low resources. We should remove that power to reduce the amount of the resource equalization grants.
I understand last year about 219 out of the 800 or more municipalities did suffer from this cap on the resource equalization grant. The village of Paisley sent us a resolution protesting the effects of the cap on them and on those 219 municipalities. It seems to me the government is really just saving money by putting on a cap of this sort. It should be stopped.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I would like some clarification on this because if one is going to have the amendment, it should continue a little further than the way it is now. Maybe the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) has the correct wording, but I would have thought it should have continued “on the proportion that 60 per cent of such deficiency of equalized,” and so forth. I would like some clarification on that. If she wants a proper amendment, I would have thought she would have extended that to the rest of the paragraph.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, it is my understanding section 9(1) of the act will read, with my amendment, that “there shall be paid a resource equalization grant in respect of each lower-tier municipality whose equalized assessment per capita in the preceding year, as is determined in the prescribed manner, is below such standard equalized assessment per capita, on the proportion that 60 per cent of such deficiency of equalized assessment per capita bears to the prescribed standard equalized assessment per capita as applied to the net levy of the lower-tier municipality.”
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I do not have any difficulty with supporting an amendment of that nature if it is going to take the ceiling off it. I had little time to study it and look at the implications of it, to be honest, because I just received this a short time ago. On the basis of that, and if that amendment clearly addresses what the member for Beaches-Woodbine has indicated it should address, then I would think that in taking off that ceiling the municipalities would be treated more fairly than they are now being treated.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Chairman, I would not support the amendment, which I do not think will come as any surprise to the members opposite. There are a number of ways of defining equity. The bill before us and the proposed regulations that will come out as a result of this legislation have been discussed with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and its various finance committees.
The member for Beaches-Woodbine wants to make an adjustment in the formula that has been agreed upon between the municipalities and the government. There are a number of other adjustments in the formula to produce equity. I think it is fair to say that the raw resource equalization grants really do not give equity. The member from Windsor will indicate that, using resource equalization grant figures, if the minister did not have the power to make caps and formulas and so on, Windsor would be far worse off than it is now. Because of the minister’s ability to make certain adjustments, last year Windsor did receive a certain extra grant of some $2 million.
The converse of not allowing a cap is not having what we have in a later section of this act, to allow what we call protection to municipalities. We are saying that the grant can only go up by so much over last year, but we were also saying in this bill that with this year’s formula, no municipalities will get less resource equalization grants than last year. So we are putting on a floor as well as a cap and saying municipalities will not get less than last year. Looking at Windsor particularly, if we did not have that protection in, Windsor would be far worse off than it is at this time.
The feeling we have, which seems to be shared by the municipalities, is that, in getting to equity, a term which is not an absolute, we should be moving with some gradualism. In other words, those who are “winners,” who will be getting more than the formula, should only get so much more each year. Those who are “losers” by this formula, of which there are many, should not get less than last year. If we did it the other way and did not put a cap on, but also did not have protection and said those who by the formula, and by what some people may call equity, get a lot less money and therefore have to levy more taxes, I think we would hear far more outrage from the members opposite.
By allowing the amount of grant to rise -- last year it was allowed to rise at $10 per capita and this year it is $7 per capita for those who require the grant, and a maximum of 25 per cent of the levy -- we think this is equitable, especially in the light of the fact it is a gradual process towards even greater equity within the province and within the municipalities. The other side of the coin to the cap is the fact that we are putting a floor for municipalities getting fewer grants by this year’s formula than last year -- not giving them less but giving them protection. For these reasons, I would not support the amendment.
Mr. Cooke: I would like to point out to the parliamentary assistant, Mr. Chairman, when he talks about the problems we have had in Windsor because of the resource equalization grants, I am sure he is also aware we are getting about one twelfth of the resource equalization grant this year we should get, because of the new formula he brought in providing for a floor whereby nobody is going to get any less than they got last year. If we imposed this year’s formula last year, Windsor would have got $8.3 million, but under the new formula this year we get $1.2 million and then we get some ad hoc grants to bring it up to $4 million. Over the years we have lost something like $50 million in resource equalization grants. So the people over there should be the last ones to talk of any concept of equity, because they do not know what the word means.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, in response to the parliamentary assistant’s comments, there are other provisions in this bill allowing the minister to set floors, or to make ad hoc adjustments of any kind really, if he feels equity has not been achieved. I think that power would allow him to put floors on, if he feels this amendment would make it impossible to put floors on. Therefore, it seems to me the argument should centre on whether there should be a cap on the areas that would benefit more from the resource equalization grants if there had not been a cap put on them. Those are the ones we are concerned about, because it seems to me they should get the amount to which they are entitled under the formula, and there should not be a ceiling on that amount.
Mr. Rotenberg: In response to the member for Windsor-Riverside, he is correct that had there not been a cap in 1980, Windsor would have received more in grants than it did. However, in 1981, based on the reassessment of the 1979 assessment, of which I understand the problems, if we did not have this legislation, Windsor would have received -- based on the formula without the protection -- less money than it got in 1980. Forgetting whether or not it got the right amount in 1980, in 1981, Windsor would be getting less money if we did not have this formula in place and if we did not have the protection and floor in place. This year Windsor is really doing better by this system than it would have, although in previous years I grant to the member that Windsor might have done better.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Chairman, I have a number of amendments I wish to submit as we go. I believe we are going section by section on this bill. All the amendments are consistent with the view of my party and myself that the energy conservation program which is proposed in this bill should not be placed in the hands of Ontario Hydro, but rather in the hands of an independent government body which will be perceived to be independent.
Each of these amendments directly relates to the placing of the conservation program in the hands of Hydro. We would very much like to see an energy conservation program with the appropriate energy auditing and the appropriate loans under the auspices of an independent government agency which would not be seen to be in conflict with itself, if you like.
Once again, because of the intensive advertising campaign that has gone on about electricity, and in anticipation of this conservation program, various other utilities are now considering themselves in competition with electric power. It is sad to observe, at a time when we are really trying to bring in energy conservation, that the other energy utilities would find it necessary to be competing with rather than complementing our electric power utility.
What we can see and what we suspect will happen with the introduction of this conservation program is that it will simply become a marketing tool for Ontario Hydro. It will be a return to the gold medallion home, or whatever we had in the late 1960s and early 1970s, something that we consciously made a move away from when we began to realize that electric power, of itself, was not the most desirable form of home heat, that there were others that were far more desirable and that we should utilize in so far as it was physically possible.
Natural gas, one of the options, is available to about 70 per cent of the population of Ontario at the present time. We can accept the use of electric power for heating where it is necessary and where there are not the options, but to put two major utilities into competition with one another at a time when we are really trying to promote conservation, in my view, is a very bad move -- especially if you are going to compare the use of natural gas with electric power, because natural gas is a primary source of energy and electric power is a secondary source.
Electric power, the way we produce it in this province, in the main is produced at a very low thermal efficiency. With coal, about 33 per cent to 35 per cent of the actual BTUs that go into the process come out the other end as electricity, and even less than that gets down the line to the home owner. Using natural gas, on the other hand, which is a primary source, it is converted right in the home at 75 to 80 per cent thermal efficiency.
We are really doing nothing for conservation if we introduce a conservation program which is simply going to become a sales tool for promoting the use of electricity. If we go all through this bill, and I spoke about it on second reading, if one goes through this bill one sees quite clearly that the ultimate goal here is to use this, quote, “conservation program” as a tool to convert people to the use of electric power. I think that is unwise and I think it is very short-sighted on the part of the government of this province, and I want to go on record to that effect.
In terms of the other part of this bill, which is on the sale of the waste byproducts of thermal generators, I think it is commendable. This is one area where we are really trying to promote conservation. We are promoting conservation by raising the thermal efficiency of the total primary energy system by utilizing that waste hot water. That is positive, that is good.
The more we can do of that, the better it will be for the economics of electric power production. Ontario Hydro, we said long ago, should consider itself in the energy business rather than in the business of simply producing electricity. So the sale of heat, as a byproduct, is a very good thing.
As a matter of fact, there is far more energy produced in the form of waste heat in an electric power system than there is electricity. It is at least two to one. In the case of nuclear it is more than that. A Candu reactor is about 29 per cent thermal efficient. Given those figures, you start realizing that for every 1,000 barrels of oil equivalent that comes out of Pickering, there are 2,000 barrels of oil equivalent being discharged into Lake Ontario at the same time in the form of waste heat. The same process happens up in Bruce. Any capture of that heat is very positive and useful.
We really wish we had two bills here instead of one bill, Mr. Chairman. Had there been two bills we could have wholeheartedly endorsed the sale of steam and hot water and so on, and at the same time perhaps persuaded the government to redirect its thoughts and put the conservation program into an agency of government.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I do not want to quibble about things, but surely a motion to delete is unnecessary, and what we simply can do is take the clauses subsection by subsection and vote aye or nay on them. As I say, I do not want to quibble about it, but it would seem to me that a motion to delete, unless it is being replaced by something, is in fact unnecessary. All we need to do is go through the bill clause by clause or subsection by subsection and vote approval or disapproval on them.
The Deputy Chairman: That would accomplish the purpose that I really think you are after. So can I suggest, then, that your motion not be accepted and that by just voting against the specific section you are thinking about, that will handle it?
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Chairman, if the chair is amenable to dealing with each subsection as well as each section, in that case I cannot disagree. Just as a point of information, the only section that has a subsection we would wish to delete is section 1. We would want to oppose each of the other sections, sections 3,6,7,8 and 9, in their entirety.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I would like to speak to section 1. I find myself in profound disagreement with the previous speaker. There is a clause in section 1 that, if we take it clause by clause, this party will be voting against, and that is section 1(2)(f). We prefer the former definition that is already in the act, because we see this clause (f) as restricting the power of Ontario Hydro. In fact, it is the clause that previously allowed Ontario Hydro, should it desire, to get into the business and distribution of electric, pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical, nuclear, steam, gas or other power. I would think that would be a very broad mandate which we should maintain with Ontario Hydro.
It is all very well and good for both the Tories and the Liberals to say we should restrict Ontario Hydro to the production of electricity solely, and create other crown corporations to distribute and deal with other matters, but we know in reality, after the realities of March 19, that this is not going to happen. I do not want to see Ontario Hydro restricted in this way, because I want the people of Ontario, through Ontario Hydro, to have the right to provincialization, to the ownership and distribution not only of electric power but of other power.
In this bill, by restricting the definition of power with this little clause, the government is pulling in and abdicating entirely to the private sector other modes of power ownership, production and distribution. This House and the people of Ontario will regret it if they pass this definition of power restricted only to electric power for Ontario Hydro, because we will have abdicated what has been historic in Ontario for over 80 years, and that is the right of the people of Ontario to have control and ownership of their power resources. What we are doing in this little subclause is abdicating that very important and simple principle that was advocated by that great Tory, that great Conservative at the turn of the century, Sir Adam Beck.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Chairman, if the honourable member looks at the Power Corporation Act he will see that actually the broad base remains. I think he is confining his observation to the words that are contained in this bill but --
Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Chairman, I will just reserve comment on Mr. Foulds’s remarks if I could. With respect to the new definition of power, I think I touched on this in my comments the other day, explaining why it is necessary to insert this definition of power in the Power Corporation Act.
I mentioned that certain legal opinions within the Ministry of Energy, within Ontario Hydro and outside opinions indicated that within the body of the existing act the use of the word “power” really refers to electrical power and is not as all-encompassing as the definition would suggest. This revised definition removes the confusion and limits the meaning of power in this act to electrical power including electrical energy.
Ontario Hydro has traditionally been an electric utility. It was never intended and it is not now intended that Hydro deal in all forms of energy. As an example of this, we have a comprehensive natural gas utility system which is largely privately owned and which has been serving the province for many years.
If I can be so presumptuous as to assume the passage of this bill, I would like to tell you that Ontario Hydro’s power in the field of energy will include the following: Its dominant position in electric power will remain unchanged; it will have the authority to produce and sell steam and hot water but it will not have that same dominant authority it has with electricity. Under section 59(4) of the Power Corporation Act, it will have the authority, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, to engage in research and development of all forms of energy. It will have a major role in energy conservation. This is a broad mandate.
Nevertheless, if at any time it seems appropriate to have Hydro involved in the production and sale of another form of energy, this government is prepared to propose to the House the necessary amendments as we have done in this case. We would feel any amendment here would be unnecessary and would be unacceptable.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, the parliamentary assistant has confirmed my worst fears. What he has said is that other interests -- and I suspect by that, Mr. Darcy MeKeough, who is in the gas business today -- have had a very large influence on the government in defining the powers of Ontario Hydro in this bill. I do not care what the intent of the parliamentary assistant as recorded in Hansard is, or what the words are; the power of the corporation, which is Ontario Hydro, is the power that is defined in the piece of legislation.
If, in that piece of legislation, you restrict the definition of power, which is what you are doing, it is a more restrictive definition than the corporation has had since the Power Corporation Act came into being and, I believe, for years before that. If you restrict that, then you are restricting the power of the corporation. You will, as the parliamentary assistant says, need to come into this Legislature to expand its power.
The Conservative government is socializing the costs of energy. In another section it says that Ontario Hydro will be able to engage in research not only in electrical energy but in other energy, such as gas, oil, coal, what have you, but it will not be able to profit by that. You have put the profitable part into the private sector -- gas, very profitable these days -- and you have put the onus on the Ontario Ministry of Energy and on Ontario Hydro, a crown corporation and therefore on the people of Ontario, for the research. You have said, “The public will pick up the cost of research, but we will divest the corporation of the profitable area and give it to the private sector.”
I suggest to the parliamentary assistant that the natural gas distribution system in Ontario is not comprehensive. It is not nearly as comprehensive as the electrical distribution system. There are many areas in municipalities where natural gas distribution does not occur. There are vast areas in the riding of Lake Nipigon, about which my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) could speak more movingly than I, where there is no natural gas distribution.
Mr. Foulds: And many of them do not have hydro, but hydro is more expensive than natural gas. I say to you, it is not adequate for the parliamentary assistant to come in here and say, “We have a private natural gas distribution system that serves the province.” It only serves part of the province, and it is not as complete as the distribution of Ontario Hydro, and the distribution of Ontario Hydro is inadequate. There are, for example, parts of my riding, eight miles outside the city of Thunder Bay -- quite a large municipality -- that are not electrified. I submit to you that we should not approve section 1(2)(f) and we will certainly be voting against that clause.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Chairman, if there is a restriction contained in this new definition that the NDP critic and the parliamentary assistant both feel, then I support it and welcome it to whatever extent it does restrict. However, I should point out that the field is still very wide open in terms of the utilization of all forms of energy. I know we are dealing with section 1, but in other sections of this bill the statements are very clear. Section 3(3) of the bill says “inspection services in respect of the use of all forms of energy and may include, but is not limited to ... ” Who is kidding whom?
When you get right down to the actual practical application of these things, Ontario Hydro has an incredibly broad mandate, broader than some of us would wish. Whatever limitation is imposed by this amendment to take the enabling power of exclusivity away from Hydro in terms of other forms of energy, I would welcome. As a matter of fact it would probably be appropriate --
Mr. J. A. Reed: -- want to have a medium to nationalize everything. They see Ontario Hydro as the medium by which the great Big Brother government can impose itself on everything and anything that lives, moves or breathes in this province. Let me tell you, Mr. Chairman, that it is certainly not the view of myself or my party.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Chairman, I do not want to prolong this debate. I do not even want to get into an extensive reply to that childish political rhetoric about us wanting to nationalize everything. You are really bankrupt when you have to indulge in that sort of stuff. I want to come back to the point. I do not object to Ontario Hydro having the broadest kind of mandate. I will make one qualification to that in a moment and concede a point in deference to my friend. I am concerned about the way this government has, in my view, imposed an undesirable limitation on its mandate and indeed an undesirable limitation in Hydro’s terms.
For example -- and this may appear to be a digression, but it is very short and it illustrates the point -- when we got into the whole uranium contract business, Ontario Hydro needed uranium as a source of power and, as in any industry, sought to guarantee its source of supply, as any red-blooded, hairy-chested free enterpriser would be guaranteeing his source of supply -- in fact, would be leading the pack, for the next 30 or 40 years for our nuclear component and generating system.
Hydro wanted to buy the Preston mines. Why the devil should you buy your uranium and have a contract in which there is an add-on in terms of profits? If you are going to get all the ore out of the mine, why don’t you buy the mine and put in your managers? Who killed that? I will tell you who killed it: Darcy McKeough. The Ontario Hydro board wanted it and Darcy McKeough killed it. So there is a reprivatization process going on.
Let me give you another example of what is on the horizon. We have this potential development out of which can come 1.000 megawatts of power from Onakawana in the north. Every time I hear them talking about it now, they do not know what the options are; perhaps that some private company is going to develop it for producing electricity, for liquification or something of that nature. That should be part of the overall system of Hydro and it should not be peeled off.
Darcy McKeough tried to get them to privatize the whole heavy water deal, but he could not get anybody because they want guaranteed profits from the word “go.” No private entrepreneur would take it. Ontario Hydro had to develop the heavy water system as part of its system. The government should have been consistent and let them get their uranium supplies assured by buying the Preston mines.
This is the kind of process that is going on, and I think it should be halted. To put it another way, I do not want to restrict the mandate of Ontario Hydro in the development of energy. I have a theoretical appreciation of the view that if you have a separate, idealistic, independent company to develop all these new sources, as a theoretical, academic concept it has a measure of validity; if you do it within Hydro with its traditional approach, you have to work with Hydro to get it changed. However, the job of getting Hydro to change its approach will be infinitely easier than the job of building the whole infrastructure and the capacity of a new agency to do the job that has to be done. If this Legislature passes a law and the government has the guts to implement it in terms of an altered mandate for Hydro, it can be done and it can be done quickly. It has a massive infrastructure with which to do it.
Let me pause to show I am not mindlessly in favour of total reprivatization. My friend over here is the champion of small hydraulic power development. He has said -- and I think with a measure of validity -- that there are small hydraulic developments of less than one megawatt, or one megawatt or two megawatts or something of that nature. Instead of cutting private enterprise off from developing those, Hydro could and should develop them. I think Hydro is in the process of clarifying that it is not interested in anything below two megawatts. Indeed, on some occasions, developments of three, four or five megawatts have been conceded to private enterprise if they did not happen to fit into its system. On some other occasions, if a development is less than one or two megawatts but happens to feed into its system, Hydro may want it.
So it is a rule of thumb that if it is less than about two megawatts, private enterprise can get in. I do not object to that. That gives an opportunity for people to meet their own needs or contribute to a neighbouring municipality in the fashion that Orillia has done, for example, in its private power development.
There are areas that should be reprivatized legitimately, but the broad mandate of Hydro should not be eroded. This government denied it that broad mandate in the uranium mines in Preston, as the government may be going to deny it now and hand it over to a private enterpriser with the Onakawana development. We should develop an integrated and more broadly mandated Hydro to get into these other energy concepts.
If my friend from the Liberal Party is really intent on achieving the goals he pays lip service to -- that is, bringing these alternative sources in as quickly as possible -- this is the way to do it, not by pursuing that Holy Grail of small private enterprise in every direction.
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Chairman, I had not intended to speak to this bill, but the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. A. Reed) provoked me. I suggest to him that if we had to rely on small entrepreneurs even for the micro or mini-hydraulic stations that he speaks of, we would never have anything in the far north of the province.
I say somewhat facetiously to the parliamentary assistant that if Ontario Hydro’s aim and objective is to get into conservation it need only follow the present policy, which is that, effective July 1 of this year, up in those parts of northern Ontario where there is no road access -- that is, where access to those communities is by fly-in air service only -- the cost of energy is going to 40.1 cents per kilowatt hour.
I do not know what the parliamentary assistant pays wherever he happens to live in Ontario, but I would guess that the price I have quoted is at least 400 per cent higher than in any other place in Ontario.
Even in areas that are not tied in to the provincial grid -- I have many of them in the north, and I am sure that if my colleagues the members for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché) or Kenora (Mr. Bernier) were here they could tell us that there are many places, even where there is road access, where they are not tied in to the provincial grid -- the rate, effective July 1 this year, is going up to 29.1 cents per kilowatt hour.
In some of the other communities, where they have to rely on the diesel generation of power, the cost for a restricted service -- that is, a 20-amp service for the first 200 kilowatt hours of power -- is going up to 9.25 cents per kilowatt hour, and anything over that amount goes either to the 29.1-cent rate where there is road access -- that is, where they can run the diesel in on wheels -- or to 40.1 cents per kilowatt hour in any place where they have to fly in the wherewithal to generate diesel power.
So if one wants to find out how to conserve he should just follow what the government is doing to the poor people in the northern part of the province and he will drive them out of the market. They will be back to the old kerosene lamps and the old wax tapers and candles. If that is what the government wants to do, that is one way to conserve. I say that facetiously, Mr. Chairman, through you to the parliamentary assistant.
The member for Halton-Burlington gets up and says private enterprise can do it better. If he knows anybody who will go north of the fiftieth parallel in this province of opportunity and develop wind energy, methanol or any of the other alternatives to the use of fossil fuels, if he can get anybody to go into those northern sites and develop the hydraulic energy indigenous to those communities not tied into the provincial grid, I am open to all suggestions.
If he doubts for one moment the veracity of the figures I have put before this House, I invite him -- not this weekend because he will be busy -- to come up with me next weekend and join with me in speaking out on behalf of all those first citizens who live north of the fiftieth parallel who do not have any electric energy at all. Where they are fortunate enough to have it, they are going to pay 40.1 cents per kilowatt hour. If you can solve that dilemma for me, for Hydro and for the people I represent, the floor is yours.
Mr. J. A. Reed: The first thing I would like to do, Mr. Chairman, is accept publicly the challenge of the member for Lake Nipigon. Second, I would remind him that the reason the rates are so abominable where electric power is available, the reason diesel generators are where they are and the reason small hydraulic power has not been developed where it should be in northern Ontario is because of the exclusivity of the mandate of Ontario Hydro. It is because under the law the small independent producers of electric power are not allowed to sell kilowatt hours to private consumers. That is right in the legislation. Ontario Hydro does not allow --
Mr. J. A. Reed: Only by special permission or historic occupation. With respect, I say to the member for Lake Nipigon, I have spent the last five years in this Legislature and behind the scenes attempting to free up that exclusivity so a private entrepreneur could go in and compete in areas where Ontario Hydro was not interested in competing and where it did not want to go in and compete.
At the present time there is no legislative facility for the independents to go in. Therefore, if there is a small community where there is a need and a potential at the present time, it is either up to Ontario Hydro to provide and develop that service or it cannot be done. This is the problem.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Only by historic occupation, and that exists in few other situations in Ontario. I challenge the member for Nipigon to establish a new one at the present time. This is what this battle has been all about. Ontario Hydro has said repeatedly, “Yes, you may sell the power but only to us.” Ontario Hydro has said, “We will buy the power from you.” They have set up a scale of rates for the purchase of that power; in many cases it is so low as not to be economically feasible for some kinds of installations.
I have said to Ontario Hydro, and I say this to the member for Lake Nipigon, if an entrepreneur were allowed to go in on a free competitive basis where you have power being sold at some astronomical, impossible kind of rate, and compete and offer a competitive situation you could just watch the rates fall.
So, Mr. Chairman, I would suggest that it is because of this exclusivity of mandate and the selfishness, the dog in the manger attitude that Ontario Hydro has taken towards the sale of electric power by private entrepreneurs, that this has been absolutely held up. So there is little wonder why somebody --
Mr. J. A. Reed: I am saying to the honourable member, through you, Mr. Chairman, that if private enterprise is allowed the same freedom of operation that Ontario Hydro is allowed it will go in and compete; it will compete with a vengeance.
Mr. J. A. Reed: The honourable member said he was provoked to make these comments. I was provoked to respond because I know of the potential and I know of the restrictions that are placed on the private developer under the present legislation. It is very difficult now. We are going to continue to fight to open that up so we can go in. Hydro can then be interested or not interested, but private enterprise can go in and compete successfully with it.
Mr. Andrewes: Not wishing to prolong this rather interesting but somewhat partisan discussion, I really want to assure the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald), the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) and the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) that we have had rather strenuous legal opinion on this. The reference in the old definition in the act to hydraulic, to nuclear, to steam and to gas, really refers to the primary energy forms that are used to generate electrical power. I have to repeat, Mr. Chairman, that there is no change in the powers provided by the current definition as a result of this bill. It is only a clarification of that definition.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Chairman, for the same reasons outlined earlier in opposition to section 1(1)(cc), we will oppose this section. It has to do once again with the energy conservation program being empowered to Hydro rather than to a division of the Ministry of Energy or some other body. Therefore, it is consistent that we oppose it.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, we are generally in favour of section 3. However, we would like the opportunity to vote against section 3 as it relates to section 58b(3). I can submit an amendment that that be deleted, if that is the easiest way, or we can take it from the bottom clause by clause. It is entirely up to you, and I submit to your better judgement.
Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Chairman, could I please make one brief comment? I will respond to the remarks of the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. A. Reed) but, since his amendments are consistent all the way through and he has several, I will reserve time later for response.
Mr. Chairman: In my learned experience, I always find it useful to have the discussion on each section as we carry on. We are going to vote on it. Mr. Andrewes, you indicated that you do have some discussion on section 3?
Mr. Chairman: As long as you are clear on that, because I know I will be awfully upset if you start talking about section 3 in section 9. We have no further discussion or amendments outside of what Mr. Foulds referred to -- section 58b(3) in section 3?
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I believe that subsection should not be in the act, because I believe Ontario Hydro is the only body we now have available to us in Ontario which can engage in energy conservation programs for space heating.
I believe if a consumer wishes to get an evaluation by Ontario Hydro and to convert his or her space heating from oil to natural gas, or to propane, or to a combination of wood and some other form, it should not be a requirement that part of the space heating be electrical space heating for that to be available to the consumer in Ontario.
Electrical space heating is the most expensive form of space heating. It is the most expensive form in raw terms. It is the most expensive form in net terms. It is the most expensive form in financial terms and it is the most expensive form in energy production terms in simple terms of physics. Electricity is a very good source of power for many things such as moving motors and lighting your home, but it is a very poor source of energy for heat and therefore I do not think that should be a requirement.
This particular subsection is the giveaway in these amendments. This is the one that simply declares what this so-called conservation program is all about. It declares that it is either electric or nothing. I regret that my friends in the NDP did not see --
Mr. J. A. Reed: The enemies to my left; how is that? I regret very much that they do not see this as being the key clause that exposes this thing for what it is. It is a device to sell electric power, nothing more and nothing less. It is cloaked in the disguise of conservation. It says: “The corporation shall not loan money ... other than one based in whole or in part on the use of electrical energy.”
Mr. J. A. Reed: Sure, but if you are going to strike that part out, then I say with respect that there are other parts of this bill which you also have to strike, such as “inspection services in respect of the use of all forms of energy.” You did not move to strike that.
Mr. J. A. Reed: All right. Mr. Chairman, with respect, if you give Hydro the mandate to inspect in regard to all forms of energy, what you do is allow them to eliminate the other forms of energy and the use of the other forms of energy. That should be as clear as a pane of glass in this thing. It says “may include, but is not limited to” in earlier parts. Now you have this key clause which says “no money unless you use electricity.”
It seems to me that when you take all of those factors into consideration, that is the reason this program under the cloak, under the mantle of Hydro and under the disguise of conservation has to be opposed.
Mr. Andrewes: Moving right along, I think we have had this debate previously. I would only point out that this loan program is designed to assist a wide variety of energy conservation activities such as insulation and weatherization, and is also to assist in electrical safety work. Loans for these purposes are available regardless of the kind of heating system used or proposed to be used.
I would also draw to the honourable members’ attention the use in section 58b(3) of the words “in whole or in part.” This means that loans will be available to assist in converting to some of the new hybrid or dual heating systems. Examples of these would be heat pumps on a natural gas furnace, an oil and electric hybrid, and a wood and electric hybrid.
We all know that electricity as a heating source is considered to be a valid choice but certainly not the only choice. It was therefore inappropriate and unnecessary to employ Hydro funds to assist in converting to a competing energy source supplied by other corporations.
“74a(1) Where moneys are owing to the corporation in respect of a loan made to the owner of real property as part of an energy conservation program the corporation may register in the proper land registry office a certificate setting out,
“(3) Where a certificate has been registered under subsection 1 and the moneys owing to the corporation as set out in the certificate are not paid in accordance with the terms and conditions of the loan, the corporation may transmit to the clerk of the municipality in which the real property is situate a statement setting out the information contained in the certificate and the registration number of the certificate.
“(4) Upon receipt of the statement the clerk of the municipality shall enter the amount in the collector’s roll, and the amount shall be collected by the same procedure as municipal taxes on land. And upon collection of the amount and the interest collected thereon shall be paid over to the corporation.
“(5) The duty and power under subsection 4 to collect the amount entered in the collector’s roll includes, without limiting any other power, the power to sell the real property and to collect interest and costs by the same procedure as for arrears of taxes.
“(6) Upon payment of the moneys owing to the corporation, including interest as set out in the certificate, the corporation, upon request, shall transmit to the owner of the real property a certificate sufficient for registration showing the repayment.
Mr. Chairman, section 74a of the act, introduced by Bill 86, creates a lien as security for the loan to be advanced by Ontario Hydro as part of an energy conservation program. It would be an unregistered lien, however, and that fact would create difficulties for persons buying, selling or mortgaging real estate in Ontario.
The only way they could determine whether a particular property was covered by the lien would be to write to Ontario Hydro. The amendment I have proposed will preserve that lien security for Hydro loans, but will also provide that the lien takes effect only upon registration in the appropriate land registry office.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Chairman, we are opposing section 6 but, just to comment on the amendment, we think in a situation of this kind it would be vital that the actual lien be registered so that a subsequent or a potential subsequent owner of the property would be able to find out exactly what was owing on the property. I expect that is the substance of the change you are making here, if it is broader than that, it would be interesting to have an explanation of it, but certainly the registry office is the proper place for that to be put.
Mr. Andrewes: That is the substance of the proposal. It would be clearly set out that, if the lien was registered, it would apply. If Hydro chose not to register it, then it would be up to them to collect the bill by some other means.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Chairman, we are opposing section 9. Section 9 is the amending of the Public Utilities Act which is designed to complement the so-called energy conservation program, which we have identified as the electric power promotion program. It, therefore, becomes irrelevant as far as we are concerned and it would be a technical move to oppose it as well.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, this section is totally in keeping with, and, in fact, is lifted from, the New Democratic Party Warm Up Ontario program of the 1981 election campaign. Since distribution of energy conservation programs can take place through local Hydro commissions, we are totally in support of this section, even though it does not go as far as our wide-ranging program would have done.
Mr. Andrewes: For the record, I will make some comments regarding the amendment of the member for Halton-Burlington. The provisions of Bill 86 empowering Ontario Hydro and the municipal utilities to carry out energy conservation programs are designed primarily to: one, assist Ontario residents with oil-heated homes to convert to a cheaper and more reliable energy source; and two, assist Ontario residents to weatherize and fix up their homes so they will use less energy.
The results of this program should be a saving of money by individual citizens, conservation of all forms of energy, reduced demand for petroleum and, incidentally, increased economic activity and therefore employment opportunities in the building and home repair trades. This program is clearly in the individual, provincial and national interest.
Some honourable members are worried about Ontario Hydro being involved. As many people have pointed out, Ontario’s publicly owned electrical distribution system, consisting of Ontario Hydro and the municipal utilities, is uniquely placed to deliver an energy conservation program throughout the province and already has more --
Mr. Foulds: I think I could find for both you, Mr. Chairman, and the honourable member. We have a difficulty on the point of order. I think we can speak on the title of the act as the Power Corporation Amendment Act, and the member can make his short windup statement at that point. That is the clause that names the entire bill that we have now passed clause by clause.
Mr. Andrewes: Recognizing the kindness of the honourable member, I will conclude my comments with one short paragraph, if I might. The residential energy advisory program -- which I think is alluded to in section 9 -- which this bill will enact, is being designed to be a balanced and unbiased program. The energy advisers will be trained and required to give home owners a thorough analysis of the heating system and the electrical system in the home, and the capacity of buildings to retain heat. The advisers will then make recommendations based on the capital cost of the changes involved and operating costs for the resulting system, using the latest cost-trend information from the Ministry of Energy and other reputable sources.
Bill 113 is now going to be followed by Bill 124. They will be followed by Bills 73, 78 and 77. Then I would presume that we could continue with the ones that we did not do today: Bill 85, and Bill 68, the Metropolitan Police Force Complaints Project Act.