Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I am saddened to have to report to members of this Legislature the death of Mrs. Vera Davis, mother of our Premier. Mrs. Davis, as members know, had been seriously ill for the past number of weeks, and death came early this morning. She was in her eighty-ninth year.
I do not need to talk at great length of the close relationship that existed between the Premier and his mother. His frequent references to her, both serious and humorous, give vivid testimony to that fact. She had a profound influence on his life and that of his sisters, and the positive results are there for all the see.
I had occasion to chat with the late Mrs. Davis not very long ago. Despite her illness, I must say she was her usual very distinguished and very gracious self. She contributed a great deal directly, and through her son and family, of course, to the province of Ontario, and we all want to offer our very sincere feelings of sympathy to the Premier on this occasion and to the family of the late Mrs. Davis.
The burden of first minister in any jurisdiction, and perhaps particularly in this jurisdiction, is a heavy enough one without having the added burden of bereavement in the family. It seems to happen so frequently. I recall that in 1964 or 1965 the then Premier, John Robarts, lost his father while the House was in session and while some very heated debates were going on.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, the death of Terry Fox deeply saddened all Canadians. A young man in his prime, a young man with everything to live for, a young man with a profound belief in himself and in life has been lost to his parents, his family and his friends.
Before any of us as Canadians think about the symbolism and the courage inherent in what Terry Fox has given to each and every one of us, let us not forget that before he became a public figure through the strength of his own conviction and will he was someone’s son, someone’s brother and the friend of many people.
Therefore, our first thought today is obviously of his family and friends, and to them, on behalf of all the members of this Legislature, on behalf of the 8.5 million people whom we have the great privilege to represent, I extend our deepest sympathy and our most heartfelt condolences. The very personal nature of their grief will probably not be made any lighter simply because the Terry they have lost has been lost to all of us as well.
Terry Fox, in his own way, with his own strength and commitment, with his own faith in the human spirit, taught us all more about life and living and humanity than could ever be found in a thousand books of philosophy and hundreds of learned texts.
Terry took on cancer, faced it down, stood up to it and perhaps did so with more real impact on the lives of millions than all of the researchers and scientists who have been working so diligently at some scientific response to this all-pervasive and hateful disease.
What Terry taught us all is very simple and very direct: there are things in the life of each and every one of us that we have no choice but to face. Science may succeed today in limiting the impact of some of those things, but there will always be others that will tax our sense of hope, our belief in ourselves and others and indeed our belief in God.
The issue is not whether there will be challenges that must be faced or personal calamities of some significant nature; those will always be there for all of us in one way or another. The issue is not whether they will occur, but how we will face them when they do. Terry taught us how to face them. He taught us with every painful step he took along the Trans-Canada Highway. He taught us when he spoke at shopping plazas and street corners about fighting cancer and resolving to beat it before it beats us.
When he entered Ontario at the Quebec-Ontario border he was met with a local community marching band and the Ontario Provincial Police, who escorted him to towns, villages and cities. They were soon outnumbered by the hundreds of thousands of honest and decent people who came to show their support, to contribute to the cause and particularly to show that they cared.
No Canadian, no self-appointed spokesman for any group, certainly no politician, could ever have touched the hearts and minds of the people of this country the way Terry Fox did. And he did it himself. It was simply the honest and uncomplicated faith that one young man had in himself, in his community, in the human spirit, in life.
Millions of dollars have been raised for cancer research because of Terry Fox -- millions that otherwise probably would not have been raised at all. I am pleased to announce today on behalf of the Premier (Mr. Davis) that, with the approval of Terry’s parents, the last 50 miles of the Trans-Canada Highway between Thunder Bay and Nipigon, which Terry Fox completed, will be renamed the Terry Fox Courage Highway to honour and commemorate the exceptional commitment and spirit of this remarkable young Canadian.
Our province committed $1 million during the Terry Fox telethon in support of cancer research. We were proud to be part of that great expression of support and commitment. The government has ordered that flags be lowered to half mast on provincial buildings and agencies across the province as a mark of honour and respect for Terry Fox.
Many in this House and countless thousands across the province have been touched by the awesome pain and suffering and loss by cancer. In fact, very few families in Ontario have been spared the ravages of this dreadful disease.
Terry Fox’s message to all of us was very simple: if there is no faith, if there is no courage, if there is no belief in oneself or ones future, if there is no spiritual conviction, there can be no life. In the end, life is very much a matter of courage and humanity, of faith and conviction.
None of us is the arbiter of how long we are going to be on this earth, but each and every one of us can decide how we spend that time and what we do with it. I believe that Terry Fox has, for this generation, given us more insight into the challenge than anyone else I can think of. As individual Canadians and as a nation, I believe we can all stand a little taller because there walked among us for a very short time a young man called Terry Fox.
Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, people in all aspects of public and private endeavour want to express themselves on the death of Terry Fox, since that young man has touched the lives of every Canadian and, indeed, probably of people throughout the world, in a way that nobody else has, at least in this generation. He certainly proved that it is not the number of days one spends on this earth that determines the importance, the impact and the quality of life, but how one uses the time that is granted.
Terry Fox set out to prove that cancer could be beaten by the human spirit. He did not succeed in proving that, but he succeeded in proving much more than that. He succeeded in proving that a serious amputation need not make a person any less of a person and that one could aspire to and achieve great achievements, which those who may have all parts of their body could not even dream of achieving. The human spirit can indeed overcome anything in the way of setbacks and physical problems, and that is what Terry Fox proved.
He became a hero for a country that has had too few heroes. Our children read of the occasional exploit in history books -- they may know something about Laura Secord, who showed some bravery, as we all remember, and a few other heroes mentioned here and there -- but as a nation we simply lack heroes. We are almost too self-effacing, too self-conscious when it comes to talking about heroism. No one asked Terry Fox to do this, there was nothing in it for him at all, yet he was determined to go out and prove a point that has brought dignity and meaning to the lives of every Canadian.
I know he particularly inspired young people. How valuable are those who can reach the hearts of the young. We are so flooded with stimuli on television, we are so inundated with people who are sudden bright lights across the horizon and then disappear as quickly as they appear, that it is hard to gain the attention of the young, let alone to inspire them. I venture to say that more of the tears that flowed as Terry was fighting for his life and when he eventually died were shed by young people than by any other group, although all of us shed tears, I am sure.
He reached into the hearts of Canadians. To him it was natural that, if one wanted to do something that would be extremely important, one would run from one end of a great nation to the other. It was simply automatic that the great nation was there. To politicians, it is sometimes not so obvious as we haggle about this or that matter which divides us, such as the constitution or how to divide the wealth. But to Terry Fox, Canada existed, Canada would always be there, his achievement would always be there. There was no doubt.
Terry Fox was a great human being, a great Canadian, a hero to our youth and an example to everybody who shall hear of him. I am happy the government is going to name a road after him. I am happy there will be a stamp. I am happy there will be buildings and hospitals named after him. But that will not be what keeps his memory alive. Many names are inscribed on marble pieces over the entrances to public buildings; people rarely know who those names refer to.
Terry Fox will be remembered in the poetry of the nation, in the history books of the nation, in the stories that will be told from one generation to another; that is how he will be remembered and always as a special inspiration to the youth of our country. We owe him more than anybody can put into words, and we certainly mourn with his family and the entire nation on his death.
For reasons that are somewhat mystifying, this nation has had very great difficulty in achieving heroes and acknowledging their existence so that they could live in history and touch the lives of the people. It is rather ironic -- the Deputy Premier is correct -- but I suspect Terry Fox will be remembered far more than any Prime Minister or any political leader in this country, particularly by the younger generation.
Perhaps we should examine his life and what he did. It is said he was a lad who was not particularly outstanding in school, but clearly in those youthful years manifested a quality and a character that few human beings have achieved.
The Leader of the Opposition referred to the extent to which this has touched the lives of the younger generation. It was not my privilege, which I now regret, to have seen Terry Fox in real life or to have heard him. I shall never forget last year when he was covering that stretch of Highway 11 from the Severn Bridge up to Gravenhurst, and my two daughters who were at the cottage nearby with their children got out on to the road and with hundreds of people followed Terry up the highway and joined with thousands that evening in an outpouring in the arena in Gravenhurst. He was a truly remarkable young man.
I have one personal reaction to a person like Terry Fox. If the battle to cure cancer is as important as the world suggests and which we pay lip-service to, I sometimes am puzzled why we are willing to spend twice as much on a single plane or five times as much on a single grant to an industry for renovation and all these other expenditures, but we penny-pinch, relatively speaking, on something that touches the lives of people as much as a dreaded disease like cancer. I would like to believe, to hope that Terry Fox has shaken us into a more balanced perspective of our priorities and what we are willing to spend our money on.
If a young man could run half way across this nation, and he would have gone the whole way if his physical capacities had held out, then surely we should not only acknowledge the greatness of his achievement but also be willing to do something more than a relative pittance for the objective for which he died. I join the two other spokesmen in this tribute to one who, I suspect, will become one of Canada’s great heroes whenever our history is written.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, last Friday the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Smith) directed a question to the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) with respect to mediation talks between Great Lakes Forest Products Limited, Reed Paper, Ontario Hydro, the federal government, the government of Ontario and the Islington and Grassy Narrows bands.
In his question to the Minister of Natural Resources, the Leader of the Opposition stated, as reported in the Instant Hansard, that the mediation “had been brought to a standstill over the contention of a government lawyer, Mr. Jacobsen from the Attorney General’s office, that future personal injury claims or health claims were not intended to be covered by the government and that the government did not intend the letter given by Frank Miller and the statement that he made in the House to cover lawsuits that might relate to health claims.”
In a supplementary question to the Minister of Natural Resources, the Leader of the Opposition told the Legislature that “‘Mr. Jacobsen stated that the possibility,’ that is, of covering health claims, ‘is not contained within the statement of the Honourable Frank Miller and therefore he would have to seek further direction.’”
Neither Mr. Jacobsen nor the Ontario government has ever held that the letter of the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) of November 6, 1979, excluded health claims. Our position, and the position of Mr. Jacobsen, has always been the exact opposite of what the Leader of the Opposition represented. The question of future personal injury claims has always been understood to be part of the damages referred to in the Treasurer’s letter.
It is my information that the parties to the mediation are continuing to attempt to resolve the many outstanding issues. Certainly it is not fair or accurate to say that any delay in the mediation process can be attributed to Mr. Jacobsen or any position he has taken.
It is unfortunate that the Leader of the Opposition would misrepresent the position taken by Mr. Jacobsen and then try to build a wholly unsubstantiated charge of “bringing the mediation to a standstill” on the basis of this misrepresentation.
Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a point of privilege: If the Attorney General is suggesting I have misrepresented something, including the position of Mr. Jacobsen taken in front of the mediation under the mediator, Mr. E. B. Jolliffe, of the Indian Commission of Ontario, he is seriously misinformed by his people.
“Another matter which was discussed at length was the suggestion by Great Lakes that the government consider indemnifying Great Lakes for future personal injury claims. Mr. Stradiotto” -- who is from Great Lakes -- “asked that the government consider this request in the light of the interest that all parties have in resolving outstanding matters and the responsibility each has for the communities involved.”
Now, here is the operative point: “Mr. Jacobsen stated that the possibility is not contained within the letter or statement of the Honourable Frank Miller and therefore he would have to seek further direction. The other parties did not necessarily agree that the possibility was outside the ambit of the Ontario undertaking.”
That is the operative paragraph, and I want to tell the Attorney General that if Mr. Jolliffe has misrepresented Mr. Jacobsen then Mr. Jacobsen should take his complaint to Mr. Jolliffe, but as Leader of the Opposition I have misrepresented nothing at all, and in fact have presented a matter that has delayed the mediation proceedings. Great Lakes is now talking to the government to get a clarification, and the minister should know.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I take pleasure today in tabling in the Legislature the annual report for 1980 of the government co-ordinator of French-language services. The second public report of the government co-ordinator was given an initial distribution earlier this year by my predecessor as minister responsible for French-language services, the Honourable Renè Brunelle. I want to share its contents with all the members of this House.
The report shows that almost all ministries are now able to offer French-language services in their regional offices in the designated areas of the province where most Franco-Ontarians live. The report also lists by ministries recent activities that have been undertaken to improve the provision of services in French.
Two new sections have been added to the report this year: a list of all the laws translated and made available by the Ministry of the Attorney General, and a list of the cities where bilingual staff may be found in the regional offices of the government.
The first is that on July 1, the anniversary of Canada’s Confederation, we will again be holding a giant picnic here at Queen’s Park on the lawns of the Legislative Building and the Whitney Building. The day-long event will bring together thousands of residents of Ontario, and the many cultures they represent will be represented at this gathering. Along with our traditional five-cent hot dogs and 10-cent ice cream, there will be special entertainment that we hope will appeal to people of all ages.
His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor, will be on hand to present the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship to outstanding Ontario citizens. To mark the International Year of Disabled Persons, Nancy Kralovic, the 1980 Easter Seal Society Tammy, will be assisting the master of ceremonies of the day, Al Waxman.
The Lieutenant Governor will also be taking part in a citizenship ceremony, which will be held in the St. Lawrence Lounge of the Macdonald Block on July 1. One hundred and fifty Ontario residents will receive their Canadian citizenship certificates that day.
I invite all the honourable members to join in these special ceremonies, which will get under way at 10 a.m. this Wednesday at Queen’s Park. The official ceremonies will begin at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Legislature, and the citizenship ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m.
For example, there will be a feu de joie at Old Fort Henry in Kingston which will mark the first retreat of the season by the Old Fort Henry Guard. In Thunder Bay, residents and visitors alike are invited to the annual great rendezvous pageant celebrating the role of the early voyageurs. In Rainy River, the multicultural festival is taking place, and in Kapuskasing the Kap Rendezvous homecoming is already in progress, as is the International Festival in Cambridge, and the Fun in the Sun Festival which will be happening in Fort Frances. Of course, in our national capital there will be many special celebrations taking place on July 1.
These are only a few of the jubilations, parties, ceremonies, parades, et cetera, that will be going on all across Ontario on Canada’s birthday, July 1. A complete list has been published in the newspaper of every region.
On July 2, Ontario will have the honour of welcoming to this province Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Her Majesty’s visit will last five days, and among other things she will be welcomed in front of the Legislative Buildings at Queen’s Park on July 3 at 12:15 p.m.
Her Majesty, who visited Ontario last in 1979, has graciously accepted an invitation to take part in the celebrations of the bicentennial of Niagara-on-the-Lake. She will be spending the day there on July 5 taking part in welcoming ceremonies at the court house, attending a lunch given by the town, and watching a performance at Fort George.
On July 6, to mark the International Year of Disabled Persons, she will be visiting the Ontario Crippled Children’s Centre. Also on that day, she will be attending a dinner given in her honour by the Premier of this province.
The Queen Mother is 80 years young and still incredibly full of energy and vitality. I am sure I speak for all, particularly in this House, in saying that we look forward to her visit and await her arrival with great anticipation.
Following the visit of Her Majesty, we also will be honoured with a visit to Ontario by Her Royal Highness, the Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon and her daughter, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones. Her Royal Highness will be attending the fiftieth anniversary performance of the Royal Ballet and undertaking official engagements here in Toronto, Timmins, Cambridge and Muskoka.
Mr. Smith: According to the standing orders, Mr. Speaker, may I ask the permission of the Deputy Premier to direct a question to the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Jones), the parliamentary assistant to the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), on the subject of the recent finance ministers’ conference in western Canada? Will the Deputy Premier give me permission to direct a question to the parliamentary assistant in the absence of the Treasurer?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, the Treasurer will be here tomorrow and, under the circumstances, since the parliamentary assistant was not in attendance at the meetings, I think the questions would be best directed to the Treasurer himself tomorrow; or, if the leader of the official opposition wishes to place the questions on the record today, I will be glad to receive them.
The Deputy Premier may have noted that the Treasurer of Ontario was recently outvoted by the usual nine-to-one vote in western Canada, when he presented Ontario’s equalization proposal in Vancouver or Victoria -- I do not remember which. Will the Deputy Premier please clarify for us the position proposed by the Treasurer that was outvoted and specifically answer one question?
Was the position taken by the Treasurer such that it indicated a willingness on the part of the government of Ontario to accept equalization or other similar payments if resource revenues would be allowed to enter more fully into the formula? Did the Treasurer present a proposal that would have permitted Ontario, and shown a willingness on the part of Ontario, to accept payments of some kind based on the new formula?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat in the same position as the parliamentary assistant to the Treasurer. I was not in attendance at the meetings although, I must admit, along with the Leader of the Opposition and others in this House, I have had the opportunity to read the press accounts of the meetings to which the Leader of the Opposition makes reference.
Under the circumstances, I think it would be wise if the Leader of the Opposition awaited the arrival of the Treasurer tomorrow and put these specific questions to him so we would all have the advantage of hearing directly from the Treasurer himself what did transpire.
Mr. Smith: The Deputy Premier has just proved the main reason I wanted the member for Mississauga North to answer the question in the first place, namely, that he as parliamentary assistant must surely have known what particular proposal the Treasurer took with him to British Columbia, and the Deputy Premier now is admitting that he refused to permit the question to go to the parliamentary assistant and then stood to announce that he did not know what proposal was taken to British Columbia in the first place.
Knowing the topic upon which my question was based and knowing that the parliamentary assistant would have more knowledge of the matter and would know the proposal, will the Deputy Premier please explain why he would force me to ask him the question, knowing he could not provide an answer, rather than let me have an answer from somebody who might have known what was going on?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I think it is obvious that the Leader of the Opposition does not really understand all the many responsibilities that are assigned to parliamentary assistants. Under the circumstances, with all the details and with all the assignments which that parliamentary assistant would have, I would assume it would not be likely that he could provide that information.
Also, so that the record is quite clear, the Leader of the Opposition knows the rules on this particular subject. We are not talking about a very long time. If the Leader of the Opposition really wants to have a direct, factual and complete answer, he will have that opportunity by directing that question, which we will have brought to his attention now that it is on the record, to the Treasurer himself, when he himself arrives here in his place tomorrow.
Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I ask that you seriously look at this matter of how these parliamentary assistants are to be used, because here is a case where the Deputy Premier did not know the answer, and I told him what the question was going to be.
Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I direct a question to the Minister of Industry and Tourism. Can it be that the continuing sagas relating to Minaki Lodge go on and on and on? Is it a fact that the addition to the original Minaki, which cost $13 million and which did not provide any bedrooms, and then Minaki revisited, which cost another $10 million to $13 million to provide the bedrooms, now has been followed by the latest in the series, road to Minaki, and that some $13 million has been assigned to build a road to that white elephant?
Can it truly be that another $13 million of waste and extravagance is being spent to build a road through to that white elephant of a lodge of the government? Did the Minister of Industry and Tourism ask for construction of this new road?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, may I respond to the Minaki of all Liberal leaders of Ontario, being the current one, by saying that in his late-June, post-Kingston ugly mood this afternoon he has exhibited such expertise in parliamentary procedure on who questions should be addressed to that he, in his own inimitable style, has neglected to check and see who is responsible for the construction of Minaki.
I say to the current Leader of the Opposition, if he will ask the minister responsible or perhaps the minister’s parliamentary assistant, if he wishes, he may get the answer, because he is the person responsible.
Mr. Smith: By way of supplementary, I will again ask the Minister of Industry and Tourism to stop weaseling on this matter, to stand up and have the courage to say whether in fact he asked for that road to be built. I know damned well it is the Ministry of Transportation and Communications that builds the roads, but did the Minister of Industry and Tourism --
Mr. Smith: Let the Minister of Industry and Tourism screw up his courage -- most of his thoughts are in that state -- and answer the question: Did he request of the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) that $13 million be spent on a road to this white elephant, which will lose us millions of dollars a year in interest payments alone in perpetuity? And are there any other expenditures on this white elephant at Minaki that the minister has so far not mentioned to us in his previous statements on Minaki Lodge?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I want the Leader of the Opposition to listen carefully this time, unlike the Kingston experiment. He did not hear the delegates; he did not hear his caucus. I want him to listen to this answer.
Mr. Wildman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister indicate to the House what is the total amount of money the government has committed, not only for the resort itself but also for the infrastructure? Can he indicate also when he expects the resort to be in full operation and what return, if any, the government will receive from the contract agreement it has for the operation of the Minaki Lodge?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I say to the member for Algoma that the Ministry of Industry and Tourism was charged with one task, and that was finding an operator for Minaki Lodge. Subsequent to that, the project was turned over to the Ministry of Northern Affairs, with some input from us. Northern Affairs is the lead ministry on the project to move from the current state to the construction and opening. So the member will have to address that question to my colleague.
Mr. Smith: Will the Minister of Industry and Tourism assure us that this latest $13 million, which brings the total up to about $37 million plus interest that will go on forever, at least will be the last we are going to hear of waste and extravagance on Minaki Lodge, or does he have something else in mind as well that we have not heard of?
Does it seem sensible to the minister, did he make it part of the project? When he thought of building Minaki Lodge and throwing another $13 million after the $10 million they had already lost, did he really believe it was necessary to spend $13 million upgrading a road that has no other purpose except to get people to that lodge? Did the minister think it was going to be necessary to spend that money when he stood up here to tell us about Minaki Lodge? And if he thought it was going to be necessary, why did he not have the guts to talk about it then?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the Leader of the Opposition had been paying attention when this was last discussed, or if he had dropped into the public accounts committee -- I know the days have long past when he would do that -- he would remember that my colleague felt it was necessary to improve that road whether Minaki Lodge opened or not.
Let me say that my colleague the Minister of Northern Affairs is responsible for overseeing the construction of that project. He indicated at the time that the road was going to be reconstructed in any event.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I know the member has travelled that road many times; so he is an expert on it. The road he has travelled many times is the road to nowhere; this is the road to Minaki and if he had ever been there he would know.
If there are any overruns, I suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that one place this ministry may look for assistance is to the federal government, because the federal member for that area, a fellow named Reid, was there every time my colleague stood up and talked about Minaki. As I recall it, this fellow named Reid, a former Liberal federal cabinet minister, even promised some Department of Regional Economic Expansion assistance for the Minaki project.
I want to give the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) a chance to rise on a point of personal privilege if I am wrong. I have never known a Reid, let alone a federal Liberal, to break a promise; so if there is any overrun, I am sure Mr. Reid, who made that promise just before the federal election of 1979, will fulfil the promise.
The minister will remember that last year, in a decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board when the United Food and Commercial Workers sought certification of a collective bargaining unit for the Wellington Mushroom Farm, a division of Campbell’s Soup Company Limited, the board felt it had no alternative but to deny that certification because of the exclusion of so-called agricultural workers from the Labour Relations Act. However, in its judgement it made these comments:
“We accept the applicant’s contention there is no industrial relations basis for denying the respondent’s employees the right to bargain collectively, nor can we discern any tangible prejudice to the respondent if the employees in the mushroom factory were entitled to the same statutory rights as their fellow employees in its soup factory.” The board concluded: “There is a compelling argument for a review of the legislation in so far as it excludes individuals in situations similar to that of the respondent’s employees.”
The minister will recall that in answer to a question from my colleague the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) last November, he indicated he was reviewing this legislation. Now that we have a report in the Globe and Mail on June 20 that a number of multinationals, such as Labatt’s and Campbell’s Soup, are moving into the development of factories for the production of mushrooms, whose volume now ranks third largest among vegetables produced in this province, will the minister indicate what has come of his review? Is he going to continue this gross anachronism of excluding factory workers in mushroom factories, soup factories and so on from the basic civil right of collective bargaining?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Ontario Labour Relations Board decision of last fall, the member knows quite well that the job of the board is to adjudicate, not to set policy. So he can quote all he wants from obiter remarks made by the board; they are very interesting, but they do not in any way suggest what government policy is or should be, other than in that individual’s opinion.
Two or three weeks ago, in response to a similar question, I outlined in great detail what this government’s position was with regard to farming operations. The member knows very well that one of his party’s own members has clearly recognized that the government’s position about farming operations is a legitimate one. He is asking now whether there are changes in some aspects of farming that deserve review.
At that time I said those matters would be reviewed. I make it very clear I am not giving any commitment whatsoever as to whether the government will change its position in that area, but we are prepared to look at it.
Mr. MacDonald: I concede it is the job of the Ontario Labour Relations Board to adjudicate the policy as it exists. But it is the job of the minister to bring the policy into the twentieth century. This minister has indicated he has reviewed it, but what is he going to do about industrial-based agriculture, about the great advance of technology in the agricultural field?
I refer specifically, for example, to Weston’s, which supplies Loblaws. They developed their factories and greenhouses up in the industrial park in Bruce. Are those going to be considered agricultural workers and denied the right of collective bargaining in the fashion he has denied it to the mushroom factories?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I can only reiterate that the government’s position with regard to farming operations has been very clearly spelled out. The member’s party itself agreed with the government’s position. If there are areas of farming, in particular agribusiness, that should be reviewed, we are prepared to review them. But I am not giving any commitment that there will be any change in our policy.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I could take issue with the provocative statements of the Minister of Labour, but I will not. In November 1980, however, in response to a question I asked on this matter -- unless my memory serves me totally wrong -- he did say he would review it. Was that just some more of the sympathy, or is the minister going to look at what is obviously an injustice in the legislation in terms of factory workers in a farm situation?
The minister will recall, when employment development fund grants were negotiated and allocated to the paper mills, it was indicated they were for the purpose of stabilizing employment and protecting jobs. Will the minister explain why there is going to be a total of 900 layoffs in the paper companies in the immediate future, including 300 in the Ontario Paper Company at Thorold? Did the company negotiate in those agreements what the union had sought, that if there are going to be any staff reductions they would be dealt with by attrition and not by layoffs? If the minister did not negotiate that kind of approach in the agreement, why not?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, in all but two or three of the situations all the job redundancies that developed as a result of modernization were able to be handled by way of attrition. That was as a result of extensive negotiations with ourselves and the pulp and paper companies, as well as the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Natural Resources where appropriate, and the unions involved.
In the case of Ontario Paper Company, the attrition level was 169 out of 332. As a matter of fact, those figures were gone over most recently with the union. My understanding is that Ontario Paper and the union now have agreed on a manpower plan and program to accommodate the 163 workers who will need to find new employment.
Mr. MacDonald: Since the paper mills have indicated they are going to lay off 900 workers -- forget for a moment the Ontario Paper Company -- are they going to be laid off or are they going to be absorbed in an attrition policy so that the government fulfils its promise of stabilizing the employment situation? Did the government specifically negotiate that across the board? I repeat: if not, why not?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am sorry; I thought we were fairly clear about this. In each instance there were manpower impacts. In each instance the companies were required to inform us as to how they proposed to look after the manpower impacts. There were extensive negotiations on these matters and the manpower impact, and the undertakings flowing from them, were included in the agreement ultimately signed.
The 900 figure the honourable member has is not a layoff figure. I think that is fairly clear, particularly in the information I tabled some time last week in response to a question on the Order Paper. The 932 figure is the number of redundancies that will occur as a result of the modernization program. Of those 932, fully 666 will be looked after by attrition. There will be no layoffs for 666, or two thirds of the 932. That leaves a balance of 266. The 266 are involved in three of the eight or nine companies, and in each of those cases the unions, the government and the companies have come together to develop manpower adjustment programs to look after those 266.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Has the minister discussed with his colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) whether the new legislation in regard to severance pay and layoffs will apply to people who find themselves in this position, particularly the people at the Boise Cascade mill in Kenora and other places? While the minister says there is attrition there is certainly a loss of jobs, and people may take what might euphemistically be called early retirement rather than go by attrition. Is this new legislation going to apply?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, if there is a full plant closure -- which there will not be -- or a partial plant closure that occurs after the date the act comes into force, under the definition of the new act there is no reason why it would not apply to those persons as well.
Mr. Swart: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister not realize that far from there being any agreement or plan worked out by the union and the company with regard to layoffs other than by attrition, the union is mounting a campaign to ensure there are no layoffs other than by attrition? Will the minister contact the union to find out how wrong he is in this regard?
Does the minister not think that, when this government gave something like $125 million to the paper companies across this province, he had an obligation to ensure, one, that no jobs were lost, and two, that if there were going to be some reduction in the number of jobs, none of the employees currently working there would be discharged when this kind of money was going to the company?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, let me start with the honourable member’s first suggestion. My staff is in constant contact with the company and the union. The member did not mention the company, but in the case of Ontario Paper --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is totally unfair. We are in contact with the union as well. Our understanding is that while both the union and the company want to avoid any layoffs -- and that is a goal the company, the government and the union have -- none the less, at present it appears there will be some layoffs.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let me finish. It is our understanding the union has agreed to a scheme whereby any employees displaced will participate in a program to enable them to get other employment. It is a fact the union has been part of the discussions and negotiations from a long way back, long before the employment development fund contract was signed. The member knows that well. The union knew the job impact the EDF grant would bring. The member knew that, and the union knew that.
The member also knows that, whether they officially said it or not, all the employees in the plant knew that unless something were done in the plant to make it an economic operation the owners likely would opt for a greenfield operation in the United States.
I think the member also knows that for a plant to become more productive and competitive, almost by definition it means that new equipment comes in that lowers the cost of production and increases the efficiency. By its very nature, if one is to increase productivity, one will have some manpower impact in that industry. That is precisely the problem the entire industry faces, and that is why most of the unions involved and most of the employees involved understood there was likely to be some contraction to permit some increase in productivity. That is what occurred.
I know the members opposite want to raise the spectre that the union is at war with the company or that it did not understand the job impact. The member was there when the contract was signed; I was there; the Deputy Premier was there; the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) was there. None of these figures are new. They were all available at the time. This government has always been careful to spell out the manpower impacts when announcing grants.
The member was there at the time. There is nothing new about any of this. He saw the union there and he saw most of the workers delighted to know the plant would remain world-competitive at the time. Most of the people in Thorold, the member perhaps excepted, appreciate the support of this government in making sure that many of those jobs will remain in place.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. In a newspaper report on Saturday, May 30, the Minister of Education was quoted as saying: “It makes no difference whether there are 50 or 15 students in a class, so long as a teacher is qualified. There is no evidence smaller classes create better education.”
Upon being briefed on -- or perhaps even reading, because she is very thorough in her job -- the Smith-Glass study on class size, and after receiving a reaction to her statement from a variety of sources, does the minister still hold this view, and if she does, how has she come to this conclusion?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the quotation which the honourable member is using is a direct quotation which appears, I gather, in this month’s broadsheet from the Ontario Public School Men Teachers’ Federation and is a direct quotation from the Canadian Press, which had a representative present at a meeting in which I was asked a question regarding class size.
If the honourable member will simply read the reports of the standing committee on social development examining the estimates of the Ministry of Education, he will find a rather lengthy discourse on this subject. That might reduce the time necessary in the House to respond to this question.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Yes, I did. The research has not yet proved to be particularly directed firmly towards finding that class size makes considerable difference. There has been excellent research carried out by the National Educational Research Foundation in Britain which demonstrates precisely the opposite to what the Glass study decided was appropriate.
The most important critique of the Smith-Glass study was carried out by Dr. Clare Burstall, who pointed out very clearly and lucidly something that seems to have escaped most researchers, that the one absolutely essential ingredient in deciding upon the quality of an educational program for children and a learning experience for children, and which is not examined in most of the research related to class size and learning experience, is the quality of the teacher.
This is an item that absolutely must be examined if one is to make any rational judgement about the relationship of class size -- if there is one -- to the quality of the educational program delivered to the children and the quality of their educational experience.
Mr. Bradley: In view of the teacher-board negotiations going on across the province, and in view of the dispute in Leeds-Grenville, where I believe one of the paramount issues is class size, does the minister feel that remarks of this kind on her part have a detrimental effect on negotiations in the field of education across the province, or does she feel they have a constructive effect on these negotiations?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I do not know where the honourable member for St. Catharines has been for the last month, but that question was asked of me three weeks ago by the member for Oakwood (Mr. Grande) and I responded to it in the House. If the member for St. Catharines would keep his ears open instead of his mouth, he might just hear something.
Mr. Martel: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: As a former classroom teacher, does the minister really believe the gobbledegook she is reading in some of these reports implying it is just a matter of the quality of the teacher, that 15 or 50 pupils do not make a hell of a lot of difference? Is it not a known fact that teachers are able to give both ends of the spectrum, the children with learning disabilities and those who are extremely bright, more time in a smaller classroom, thus giving the whole class the type of assistance they need, which they certainly cannot do with a class of 50 or 40 or 35?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, in spite of the vested interest of the honourable member, I should like to respond that there is a very interesting study that has been carried out by classroom teachers, who were observing other classroom teachers, in which there was a dramatic reduction in the number of students within a classroom. All they looked at was the so-called quality of educational program delivered and the time expended by the teacher with each student. When the student population was halved, there was no increase in time provided by the teacher to the individual student.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, in the unavoidable absence of the Premier (Mr. Davis), I would ask the Deputy Premier if he would refer to the question I put to the Premier on May 8 and again on May 25 as to when I could have the unexpurgated report of Mr. Justice Campbell Grant with respect to the Hydro contracts for the Madawaska dam at Arnprior and with respect to the tunnel at the Bruce generating plant. The minister will recall that the dredging trials are all completed, and that the Premier had undertaken to make that report available at the earliest possible moment. Could I have that report before this session of the Legislature recesses tomorrow, or whenever it should recess for the summer vacation?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to look into that matter. I am advised by the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) there have been some appeals that have led to new trials with respect to parties involved in these matters. However, I think the simplest answer would be to say we will look into it and report back to the honourable member.
Mr. Renwick: I take it there will be a definitive report on the question by either the Deputy Premier or by the Attorney General, in the one case as to whether the report will be made available as requested, or if it is not going to be made available, giving specific details of the reasons why it will not be made available at this time.
Mr. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the Premier last time, in answering a question from the member for Riverdale, said he would have to consult with the Attorney General before releasing the report of Mr. Grant, who was not a judge when he undertook the investigation, as we know, would the Deputy Premier be able to say whether such consultation with the Attorney General has taken place?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources in regard to forestry policy in the province. Is the minister going to get hold of his ministry and do something about forest policy in regard to clear-cutting of the province’s forest to restrict clear-cuts to 320 acres, as recommended by his own officials? Is he going to do something about companies cutting right down to the shoreline? Is he going to do something about all the timber roads that are laying waste all the province’s resources of fish and game and allowing those resources to be used up because they are so accessible to residents and nonresidents alike?
Mr. Speaker, the lumber companies are not laying waste the fish and wildlife resources of this province. In fact, over the past six months the Ministry of Natural Resources has been working very hard with pulp and paper companies and lumber companies to establish clear policies under the forest management agreement arrangements that allow both fish and wildlife habitats to be protected in a very organized fashion. There has been input with respect to these discussions from a wide variety of sources and the information has been used by the ministry. It is a very open and public process and is not indicative at all of the fact that the pulp and paper companies or the lumber companies are laying waste the resources of this province.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Has the minister, since he has a handle on his ministry, directed his officials to tell the pulp and paper companies to restrict their clear-cutting activities to 320 acres or is he still allowing these companies -- I might add under the forest management agreements they are covering at the most only 40 per cent of the forests in northern Ontario -- has he restricted them to cutting 320 acres in the clear-cut manner? Has he restricted them on allowing their forestry roads to run through to every lake and river in northern Ontario? Has he done that? Has he given direction or is he just having the usual polite conversations with these companies as his predecessors have done in the past? Or is he going to allow the policy of laying waste a desert in northern Ontario as his predecessors did?
Hon. Mr. Pope: The Leader of the Opposition has never been up there to even see it, so never mind saying that is right. He would not know what is going on in northern Ontario if his life depended on it.
Mr. Wildman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister confirm that some clear-cuts are up to 1,200 acres, rather than the 320 recommended by his own ministry? Will he also admit that his own ministry’s moose council has indicated it has not had enough input into the formation of the forest management agreements? He does not even know what the moose council is. The moose council, for heaven’s sake, made a report that it does not have enough input into the formation of forest management agreements. Has it now been given the input it requires, and are there clear-cuts up to 1,200 acres?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, I will repeat what I said. If the honourable member, instead of grandstanding, would look at the forest management agreements and the plans under them, he would get his question answered.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Community and Social Services. The question relates to the welfare rates now permitted in Ontario and, in particular, to a report that will be going tonight to the Windsor city council pointing out that in 1979 the cost of welfare in the city of Windsor was $3.3 million; in 1980, it had risen to $4.5 million; in 1981, because of poor planning and the lack of legislation to protect jobs in this province, the cost is going to go to $8.5 million; and the number of people on welfare in Windsor is 6,349.
Is the minister aware of the crisis that now exists and the fact that over 50 per cent of the people on welfare in Windsor do not have enough money to pay their rent, and because this province does not participate in the rent supplement program -- the cost-sharing is 50-50 with the feds -- we cannot afford to put that program in place in Windsor? Is he willing to participate, change his policy to cost-sharing with the shelter program and review his welfare rates and bring them up so that people do not have to live in poverty in this province?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I am now looking at a number of options with respect to social assistance, not only general welfare assistance but other matters. I am certainly aware, and I have been aware as a minister in other portfolios, of very special considerations around Windsor. I would dispute very substantially that it is the province’s fault that the automobile industry is laying off.
But while the honourable member has confined himself to those who are able-bodied and unemployed I hope he understands that I also have to take a look, in terms of social assistance rates, at those who are truly in the most need, the disabled and so forth, who have very little opportunity ever to have control of their economic destiny. But I would certainly look into whatever Windsor says.
Mr. Cooke: That is a pretty silly answer, to say he is going to look after people. Is he telling me that people who are employable in Windsor have an opportunity to find a job when there is 20 per cent unemployment? Is the minister telling me that because they cannot work --
Mr. Cooke: -- they should live in poverty because they cannot find a job? I would like to ask the minister if and when he is going to review the cost-sharing agreement and participate 50-30-20, as it is with other parts of the welfare program, so that a shelter allowance or the supplement can be provided? Secondly, when is the minister going to bring in proper adjustments to welfare so that those who are on welfare do not have to live in poverty and not eat properly or feed their children properly?
Mr. Wrye: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister, who was just given two very detailed and intelligent answers to the crisis that faces my city, promise to look immediately into some urgent assistance for a city that is paying 150 per cent more for welfare costs this year than it did two years ago? Will he look into giving some assistance to a city that, in terms of these extra rental supplements, will be forced to pay $327,000 on top of the $8.5 million which is already owing and which it is going to have to pay to welfare recipients this year?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I do not really think I have to stand here today and take a diatribe from some junior edition over there who is trying to get his name in the paper so he can go free to his own convention in February, particularly when it is very sudden and it is almost the end of the Legislature before that same junior addition of whatever it is has any concern about what is going on in Windsor.
In reply to the honourable member who asked the supplementary, I thought I had made it quite plain in the answer to the original question, although he may have lost it in the diatribe that followed, that we are taking a look at a number of options, and I am particularly concerned about the areas in the province which have somewhat indigenous high unemployment.
Mr. Mancini: I would like to know if the Minister of the Environment is still negotiating with the federal minister concerning the federal government’s withdrawal from the community services contribution program, and if he is negotiating, could the minister inform the House what the status of these negotiations is at the present time?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, there has been ongoing communication between the provincial and federal governments on the matter of funding for essential sewage and water projects. As a matter of fact, at this moment I still have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow in Ottawa with Mr. John Roberts, the federal Minister of the Environment. However, with the way the winding up of the session is dragging on, it would now appear I will probably have to cancel that meeting, as I had to cancel the meeting today with Commissioner Flacke in New York.
I had intended that one of the items I would discuss with Mr. Roberts would be the matter of funding, particularly to assist with sewage projects because of the federal government’s commitment under the international agreements relating to water quality in the Great Lakes. Those discussions are still going on. I understand there is some possibility of federal action, but we have not had any formal indication the federal cabinet has approved it yet.
Mr. Mancini: How long is the minister willing to wait for further word from the federal government, since it has been at least six months, if not more, since it has withdrawn funds from this project? Could the minister inform the House how small communities like the township of Anderdon and the village of Wheatley are supposed to proceed with their sewage works projects when they have had anywhere from $1 million to $2 million withdrawn from the total moneys allotted to those projects? How are these small communities in my riding and all across Ontario supposed to plan effectively when, after seven months of the ministry and the federal government negotiating, they have failed to come up with a plan to take the place of the original plan?
Hon. Mr. Norton: There are a number of questions there. I would suggest initially in response to the latter part of the member’s series of questions that it would be with some difficulty. I realize that because I am hearing from small municipalities daily about the difficulties they are facing.
How long am I willing to wait? I had hoped it might be necessary to wait only until tomorrow but it would appear, given the priorities in this House at the moment, I will be unable to keep that commitment to meet with Mr. Roberts. The member might advise his constituents that the way in which the House is winding up, or down, at this time is a relevant consideration in terms of my being free to carry on those discussions on a face-to-face basis.
We do have alternatives in mind, but they will require a substantial restriction on the program if we are going to go ahead at any higher level of funding. I do not wish to embark upon that until I am absolutely sure the federal government is going to neglect its responsibility under the agreements for the protection of water quality in the Great Lakes.
I have not given up hope on that, but at the same time I am not given to pretending I can perform the miracle of the loaves and the fishes with an allocation of money which at the time was perceived to be generous when applied in conjunction with the federal contribution. When the federal government backs away from its commitment and leaves us holding the bag, with a more limited overall amount of money, I cannot simply multiply that and pretend I have what we originally set out with.
I would appreciate any support the honourable members in the Liberal caucus could give to me and others on this side in bringing the reality of the situation to the attention of their federal colleagues. Clearly, they cannot escape responsibility for what has happened.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Revenue. Is he aware -- and I am sure he is -- of the depressed market for homes insulated with urea-formaldehyde foam insulation and the tremendous devaluation of those homes to the point where real estate operators frequently will not even list them?
Mr. George Janzen, president of the St. Catharines District Real Estate Board, said today, “At this point those houses have little or no value.” In view of this situation, will the assessment commissioners be instructed to reduce the assessed value of all housing with urea-formaldehyde foam insulation so that the future assessment and taxation will accurately reflect the reduction in real value?
Hon. Mr. Ashe: No, Mr. Speaker, that will not happen automatically. I think, as is typical of some of the members opposite, they try to make this into a real scary affair when governments are still evaluating what the overall impact of this problem is and what the solution might be. In the meantime, of course, anyone who feels overassessed for any reason has an appeal process through the assessment appeal court.
That option is open to them later on this year and I would suggest the honourable member can pass on to whomever he wishes in that regard -- I appreciate, reading an article in the last day or so, the concern of a group he was addressing in Scarborough I think -- that that is the route to go. If they can have some bodies at that court to substantiate the view that has been expressed, then their assessment and hence their taxes will be reduced accordingly.
Mr. Swart: Does the minister not realize that it is the obligation, in fact the law, that the assessors shall assess that market value or real value? Does he not believe, therefore, they have some obligation to investigate the reduced value of homes with urea-formaldehyde foam and they themselves take some action instead of forcing these people who have this foam in their homes through no fault of their own to go to the expense of appealing it and the lengthy delay that takes place, and the very real possibility they may not get it in any event if it is the policy of the government not to give it?
Hon. Mr. Ashe: No, I do not at all. I do not subscribe to the views expressed by the honour- able member. I think one could use the same argument for any reason that a particular dwelling is perceived to be reduced in value. Somebody with a leaky roof could phone up the assessor and say: “Come and reassess me. As long as I have a leaky roof it is not worth as much on the open market.” That is really the comparison. The avenue is there to appeal an assessment if anybody feels his assessment is not fair and equitable.
Ms. Copps: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister knows full well that the appeal procedure available for assessment review is available at the year end. The minister also knows full well that many individuals concerned about their health will be leaving their homes at considerable personal financial loss between now and December. What is the minister going to offer to those home owners who have to actually sell their homes to get out of this terrible situation and this terrible cost to their health?
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to say that the member opposite is attributing to this government a problem we did not create. The particular situation that has been referred to, of somebody literally giving their house away and moving away, I would suggest may possibly happen in isolated instances. I would hope not, but it is possible. Again, if that unfortunately does happen there are ways and means of the assessment being reviewed at the appropriate time; and if not by the old owner, then by the new.
If we want to go back to the source of the problem, I think my colleague the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) has referred to the source on more than one occasion, and once again I would have to say the members should contact their buddies in Ottawa.
Ms. Copps: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: The minister has said he is not aware of situations where families are being forced to sell their homes. In my own riding I have at least two and I would venture to say there are many --
Is the minister aware that if a handicapped female recipient of Gains-D benefits marries, she loses her pension because she becomes a dependant of her husband and if the husband is unemployed they both have to go on welfare; but if a male is a Gains-D recipient and marries an unemployed female he continues to be a recipient of Gains automatically? Does the minister not think this policy is unfair to handicapped women?
Mr. Boudria: Can the minister investigate to determine what corrective action is necessary for this? As well, while she is at it, can she identify what other policies for which she is responsible are unfair to women and make sure that they are corrected as soon as possible?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, of course I am very interested in women in this province, and in making sure that there is no form of discrimination. Some of those problems are being addressed at the moment.
2. Your committee, in accordance generally with the announcement, urges the Minister of Health to use all practical means to advise residents of homes with UFFI about the testing program and specifically urges the minister, by utilizing the assessment branch of the Ministry of Revenue, the records of the Canadian home insulation program, the records of applicators and installers, public advertising and surveys, to endeavour to locate all houses insulated with urea-formaldehyde foam and to conduct immediate and periodic tests for formaldehyde gas;
Mr. Shymko: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few very brief comments on this report. It is a very important issue. It has had wide media coverage and I certainly would like to inform the House that this report was reached by unanimous agreement of all the members of the committee. There have been many reports from the social development committee in the past that had dissenting reports from a number of parties. It is a pleasure to see unanimity of the entire committee on this particular issue.
I would like to compliment the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) who has worked and researched in this area quite extensively. I certainly compliment the member for his contribution to the committee, both during the discussion and in reaching this conclusion. I would also like to compliment the Minister of Health, who took the very first and important step in committing the allocation of moneys for the testing of gas in homes where urea-formaldehyde foam insulation had been installed.
Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to provide for environmental rights in Ontario. The bill permits an action to be brought in the Supreme Court of Ontario by any person for the protection of the environment. The bill also provides for public notice and review of certain approvals, permits or other environment-related orders before the approvals, permits or orders come into force.
Other provisions of the bill provide for public access to information relating to environmental decisions and for regular review by the Environmental Assessment Board of all regulations affecting the environment. The bill also permits the Lieutenant Governor in Council to establish a fund to assist persons and public interest groups for the purpose of ensuring that points of view representative of significant bodies of opinion are adequately represented in environmental proceedings.
Mr. Kolyn: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is twofold: first, to ensure that Ontarians have an easy-to-use and durable plastic card to signify that they are registered in OHIP; and second, to ensure that OHIP numbers indicate those cases where the cardholder is receiving public assistance with premiums.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I wish to table the answers to questions 130 to 135, the interim answer to question 140, and the response to a petition presented to the House -- sessional paper 115 -- standing on the Notice Paper. [See Hansard for last day of session.]
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, when I began my comments on this bill on June 19, I pointed out that simply amalgamating the Ministry of Housing and the municipal affairs section of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs was not going to provide us with one new affordable housing unit, nor was it going to provide our municipalities with the kind of revenue-sharing they desperately need to meet their responsibilities to the citizens of this province.
Simply tinkering with the administrative structures will not stimulate the “minister of nonhousing” to change his spots. It will not get him to recognize that relying solely on the private and nonprofit sector will meet the housing needs of this province, nor will it stimulate the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) to stop treating the municipalities like Oliver Twist, who had to beg for every morsel at mealtime. It will still leave the municipalities relying too heavily on home owners’ taxes.
I also dealt with the section in the bill giving the minister powers over the crown corporations that come under his ministry. Not only does the legislation say he may give policy direction to the crown corporations -- a power with which I agree -- but it also says he may give “detailed operational direction” to the crown corporations. I asked the minister to tell us in his reply what that phrase means, and I remind him of my request.
I also asked him to give us assurances that any crown corporations for which he is responsible will report to the Legislature on a regular basis and that the Legislature will have some opportunity to have input on the determination of policy directions for crown corporations. I remind him of my request for those assurances as well.
On the general question of accountability, I note the bill has a defect. It contains no provision for presentation of an annual report to the Legislature. Most other ministries do prepare and table such reports. We intend to move an amendment to provide for this.
Another area where we find the bill defective is on the matter of advisory committees and subcommittees. Section 11 of the bill provides for the appointment of such committees. It is a carryover from the old Ministry of Housing Act; there is no similar provision in the present act setting up the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs. Since section 11 is so general it can presumably cover advisory committees in both the housing and municipal fields.
I have long been disturbed by the way this government has used advisory committees. In theory the concept is a good one: to enlist the assistance of citizens in developing policy and monitoring administration in a particular area of the ministry. But the way the government has used this power makes it ineffective for that purpose because the appointments in most cases are true Tory blue. It has become part of the patronage system. There is no opportunity for any public input in the choice of the members of an advisory committee.
I know some municipalities in Metro Toronto now advertise positions on advisory committees and permit citizens to apply. The provincial government follows no such practice; it looks among its friends for people to advise it. This does not ensure it is getting advice from a proper cross-section of the people affected by the subject matter of the committee.
I suggest we should give a majority of the seats on advisory councils in both the municipal affairs and the housing fields to the nominees of provincial organizations or associations in these fields. The minister is under no obligation to accept the advice of advisory committees, so this poses no danger that he will not be able to bring in whatever legislation he wants, but at least questions of new legislation and policy would be discussed by a body that is representative of the people concerned with the field.
We have had some experience with a similar procedure in the Provincial-Municipal Liaison Committee which was set up by Darcy McKeough when he was provincial Treasurer. I commend him for this initiative. The PMLC was a very useful forum for a number of years. It also had the advantage of being open to the public so its deliberations could be observed by interested citizens. Unfortunately, the failure of future provincial Treasurers to be responsive to this committee resulted in its becoming inactive in the last year or two. I hope it will be revived in some form soon.
Because we feel the opening up of advisory committees is so important to the working of democracy, we are planning to move an amendment providing for appointments of a majority of such committees from provincial associations in the fields covered by the subject matter of each committee. I hope all members interested in genuine citizen consultation will support this amendment.
I would also like to urge the ministry to make sure that advisory committees are subject to sunshine laws. That is the term used in the United States for laws which require that all government bodies, including committees, conduct their business in public. Just on Friday I introduced a bill to provide for this kind of legislation, making it mandatory to have open meetings of all local government bodies and committees. I commend it to the ministry as a sample of the kind of legislation I would like to see the new ministry bring in.
We have decided to vote against this bill for a number of reasons. I have mentioned some of them, such as the fact that in the first place it offers no answer to the very serious housing problems that we face.
Secondly, it offers no new assistance to our beleaguered municipalities, which desperately need a legislated revenue-sharing program. It offers no hope that the municipalities can plan ahead if they do not get such revenue sharing. It means they will either have to tax the home owner more heavily, or curtail their programs.
We also find the bill seriously defective in the lack of accountability to the Legislature of the crown agencies under the ministry. We find it defective in its provision for advisory committees, without any proposals as to how the people who are to become members of those committees are chosen. We find it defective for having no provision for an annual report.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I think you would find it surprising on a bill as important as this one, Bill 67, dealing with the establishment finally of a ministry of municipal affairs, if I, representing the riding of Ottawa East, did not get up and make a few comments. The honourable members would find it even more perplexing, I am sure, considering the fact that not only is this bill establishing a ministry of municipal affairs, but the member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett) is becoming the minister of municipal affairs.
I may say at the outset that members know me to be an impartial and objective observer of the political scene around this place, so they know that some of the things I plan to discuss briefly on this bill come from long experience in observing the political scene here at Queen’s Park and the political scene in Ottawa, and the conjunction of the wheeling and dealing that goes on by the member for Ottawa South, who will now be the new minister of municipal affairs.
Just a few years ago I was a serious and very severe critic of the present setup involving municipal affairs. I am sure members will recall that in some of my interjections, or participation in the proceedings of this place, I was very critical of the setup whereby the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) not only had the responsibility of dealing with the provinces and the federal government, but at the same time was House leader and had the added function of being minister of municipal affairs.
I put it on the record on a number of occasions when I was a critic of intergovernmental affairs that I felt that combination was not very favourable to our municipalities. The municipalities were getting what I considered to be sort of the short end. They were not getting the attention they deserved.
That was especially so, considering the member for Ottawa South, who was Minister of Housing, kept going around the province telling people he was really minister of nothing, that Housing was a ministry that was no longer necessary, that all his valuable talents, assets, intelligence, objectivity and so on were going to waste. He said that ministry was no longer relevant.
One can see the serious contradiction for the poor Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs when at that time we were discussing serious matters at all those federal-provincial conferences that were taking place, such as those on constitutional reform. Over and above all that he was House leader and also had to take care of municipal affairs.
It was very unfair that the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs should have all that responsibility. It was also unfair to the people of Ontario, especially when there was so much talent over there to take up the slack and the responsibility. The member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg), from whom we hear in volume in high-pitched interjections, could have made some contribution, I am sure, in municipal affairs, but --
Mr. Roy: There he is. Somehow the Premier (Mr. Davis) keeps passing him over and keeps looking favourably on the member for Ottawa South. Be that as it may, fate is cruel but that is what happens. That is part of the process.
The principle of establishing a ministry of municipal affairs and combining it with housing I think was a logical move for a change. I will make that concession. Members have known me to be critical of some of the things that have happened around here, but on this --
Mr. Roy: I say to the minister, stay out of this or we will have some fun. I am glad to see the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs here. He will recall I said they should take the responsibility of municipal affairs from him.
Mr. Roy: He was hiding under the gallery, is that what he is trying to say? Anyway, I am saying possibly his strongest argument was to go to the Premier and say, “Create a ministry of municipal affairs and give it to the Minister of Housing, along with some of the member for Ottawa East’s old speeches.” He picked up some of my old speeches, showed them to the Premier and said: “If the member for Ottawa East is in favour of this, obviously it has to be logical and objective. We should do it.”
They went ahead and did it. I am totally in favour of the principle. I am glad to see that since the change has taken place the House leader, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, looks more relaxed and more at ease. I am totally in favour of the move.
Let us proceed on this premise: I think it is wise to have a separate ministry for municipal affairs and it is logical as well that this ministry be coupled with housing. It makes sense. I think the minister said before that housing does not have the priority it had in the past and he felt there should be something else to satisfy his great enthusiasm, ambition and talents.
The question that follows is, is the member for Ottawa South the proper person to have as minister of municipal affairs and housing? On that basis, if we were at this late date to put the case to the jury, I say to the member for Ottawa South he might have a little problem unless he had some really good counsel or took on a new approach towards the jury. The reason I say that is the minister obviously has all sorts of talent.
Mr. Roy: Some people ask “For what?” I want to tell the members for what. Some members around here have been critical of the member for Ottawa South, but I have had the opportunity, as one who represents an Ottawa riding -- he has the riding next to mine -- to watch him in action for a long time, even before I was involved in politics. Of course, we were elected in the same year, 1971. Nobody knew who the hell I was, but the member for Ottawa South was a rising star in the Ottawa-Carleton area.
Any member who can come down here and wheel and deal his way into the cabinet as quickly as he did has to have talent for something. You know that, Mr. Speaker. I ask some of the lights on the other side there; I see the member for Carleton East (Mr. MacQuarrie) just salivating back there and asking the minister for advice on how one wheels and deals one’s way into cabinet as quickly as he did.
But the member for Ottawa South had it. At that time he came down here he was a controller. This was an interesting situation. The members here who may have missed this original session of 1971 will not recall that when he came down here he was a controller from city council.
Mr. Roy: Acting mayor, he says. I am sorry about that. The present leader of the NDP, the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy), was at that time an alderman on city council and an MPP. I can remember that those two never liked each other. I think this is no news to anybody; if I put that on the record I will not be offending anyone.
Anyway, I could see them exchanging insults; the one saying, “How can you be an alderman and still be an MPP?” and the other saying, “How can you be a controller, an acting mayor, and still be an MPP?” That was the rage at that time. Neither one of them wanted to give up the other job. So we had to pass a law in this place that prohibited an MPP from holding municipal office. But at that time the member for Ottawa South made it one better: he was controller and acting mayor and then he was made a parliamentary assistant, was he not? Then, as well, he was an MPP.
Mr. Roy: A regional executive and all that. There he is; he is putting it all on the record. Does anybody question that anyone with the flexibility and enthusiasm to hold down all those jobs is capable of being minister of municipal affairs and housing?
The next step was that we passed this law. It was very unfair, taking away all these jobs from the member for Ottawa South and the member for Ottawa Centre. Then the crunch came: the mayor of Ottawa, Ken Fogarty, was appointed to the bench.
Mr. Roy: Then the member for Ottawa South said, “Look, the mayor’s job is open, and I either go back to become the great mayor of Ottawa or I go into the cabinet.” That was the threat at that time. In 1972-73 he made it into cabinet on that basis.
So those are some of the ways in which the member for Ottawa South has wheeled his way. That is going to be important to him as minister of municipal affairs and housing -- that he wheel and deal his way around the province. The other thing about the Minister of Housing is that he is a good talker. We need a good talker as minister of municipal affairs. As Scott Young, the former journalist with the Globe and Mail, said, “What is the Premier doing releasing that man on the chamber of commerce of London?” Remember that, Mr. Speaker, when he made that terrible comment? He said it was unfair that --
Mr. Roy: Even at that time the Minister of Housing was criticized because he talked too much. Of course we have recently had some more evidence of what happens sometimes when he talks a bit too much. There have been his sexist comments in the House about my good and dear friend the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps).
We trust that as minister of municipal affairs he will exhibit some objectivity and will not get involved in personal things if some mayor gets on his nerves, because the mayors and reeves across Ontario are not all Tories. No, they are not, and so it is going to be important that the minister show a bit of self-control when he is being badgered, when he is being pressed by some of these municipal officials. It is going to be important that he show some -- as we say in French -- sang-froid, that he does not get overly carried away.
As well, the minister is going to have to show by example. It is not good enough for a minister of the crown only to say to people, “Don’t bother with what I do; do what I say.” It is going to be very important that he give a proper example as minister of municipal affairs as well as Minister of Housing, and that he does not get himself into embarrassing situations where, on the one hand, he says there is no problem for middle-class families to get housing in Toronto, and on the other hand, he screams his head off about getting some MPP remuneration to pay for his house. He is going to have to watch that he does not get himself in some of those serious conflicts.
The other thing I want to say about the minister is that now that he is going to be minister of municipal affairs I trust he will follow up on some of his inclinations. One of the inclinations he had -- and I heard him say this and I read it in the press -- was to be favourable to the three-year term for municipal officials in some areas. He was quoted, I think, just recently in the Ottawa Citizen as having said that; I trust he was serious and that he will proceed to enact this.
I want to say to the minister that now that he is minister it is no longer good enough for him to go around saying, “Yes, I am in favour of a three-year term.” If he wants it, he should enact it. He should show some guts, show some leadership. The buck stops on his table. He is now the minister. I am sure his colleague sitting next to him, the member for Carleton East, will encourage him to move to a three-year term. That was awful, going to elections every two years. It was not too bad for him because he was running as a Liberal then, but now, as a Tory, he could not stand to go back. He could not go back and run every two years as a Tory in Carleton East.
The other thing that is going to be important for the minister is an important piece of legislation under his authority, which he obviously reviewed in looking at this bill, the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act, 1975. That is under the minister of municipal affairs.
The question I want to convey to the minister is that as an Ottawa member and now to be the minister of municipal affairs and housing, how long is he going to tolerate the situation of Ottawa being the only regional area where the police forces are not getting a full grant? We talked about this the other evening and I want to mention it again.
If I sound repetitious, bear with me, because it is very important that we get the message across that this government, having made the decision to keep the various police forces in Ottawa -- they did not regionalize them; Gloucester, Nepean, Vanier and Ottawa all have separate police forces; they agreed to this and they say Ottawa is getting good policing, but on that basis they are being penalized because they are still considered not to be a regional force, so they are losing.
Mr. Roy: That is very interesting. The member for Carleton East, that former Liberal, has just interjected that the unconditional grants for Ottawa are higher than in other areas of the province. That is not what he was saying when he was reeve. He kept saying, “Why are we being penalized?” My God, from now on we are going to have to take it under oath when he says something.
Now that he is getting this big job as minister of municipal affairs and housing, it is going to be interesting to watch the limousine going around the province with the minister sitting in the back wheeling and dealing --
Mr. Roy: That’s right; flashing lights, special licence number and everything else. I think the minister is going to be suited for that sort of job, but in the process he should make sure that the good people of Ottawa, who keep sending him back to this place, get the same amount of money as the other people.
Why does he continue to be a member of a government that short-changes those people? What have they done to him? I do not understand it; his people keep sending him back here and he does not give them the same amount of money as he gives to the other people.
Having made these very few brief comments about the minister of municipal affairs and housing, I want to say again that in principle we are in favour of the bill. We will be keeping an eye on the new minister and, now that he will be kept busy with all this municipal stuff, maybe he will have less time to make some of what I consider to be extracurricular comments about women, Indians, native peoples and so on.
All I want to say to the minister is that he is going to have to curtail some of his more energetic interjections in this place. He is going to have to keep calm and cool, because there will be a lot of questions asked. We are all keeping a close eye on our municipalities, especially those of us from Ottawa, because we want to keep an eye on our dear friend and member for Ottawa South who now has this big job, which he has been talking about a long time.
He has threatened to go back as mayor a couple of times -- you should know that, Mr. Speaker -- but each time he keeps saying: “The Premier talked me out of it. He promised me this big job.” Here we are. He said that, and so he has the big job. We will be keeping an eye on him. In the process, some of us who watch the universe unfolding in the context of Ontario politics will keep an eye on our dear friend the member for Ottawa South and wish him well.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, passage of this bill will do absolutely nothing to improve either the quality or quantity of housing in this province. It will do nothing to preserve agricultural land, which this government has allowed continually to disappear despite calls for action by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the New Democratic Party. It will do nothing to decrease the excessive profiteering and housing speculation. It will do nothing to improve the quality of life for Ontario Housing tenants or even to allow them representation on those decision-making bodies.
What we have here is a bill that is more bureaucratic gimmickry with the Ministry of Housing. It is the same kind of gimmickry evident in Bill 19 when the Minister of Education and Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) tried to amalgamate those ministries on grounds that somehow it would be more efficient.
This bill is much more sinister than Bill 19 in a way. Bill 19 was not an attempt to eliminate any kind of services or programs of any of the two ministries it was attempting to amalgamate. I submit that this is merely one more attempt by this minister to downplay the Ministry of Housing.
It is reasonable that if we are to destroy what was created in 1973, the Ministry of Housing, we should at least examine why the separate ministry was created and whether this government has lived up to the reasons for creating it. It is also reasonable to examine the reasons that ministry was set up in 1973 and to find out whether those same circumstances are relevant today.
At the time the Ministry of Housing was created, our party agreed that a separate ministry would be meaningful only if that ministry acted in a dynamic way. This Ministry of Housing, particularly under this minister, has done no such thing.
The report of the chairman of the board in the Ontario Housing Corporation annual report of 1973 said the creation of a Ministry of Housing was a key recommendation of the Ontario Advisory Task Force on Housing Policy. The result would be “even greater service in the provision of affordable accommodation... The naming of a minister responsible solely for housing indicates the growing priority that Ontario has placed on this activity.”
When we go to the history of how this ministry was created, I think we get more insight as to what the government was saying back in 1973, what its intentions were and what an abominable failure it has been in meeting those intentions and objectives.
The Ministry of Housing was created in 1973 in response to the recommendations of the Ontario Advisory Task Force on Housing Policy, or the Comay report as it has come to be known. A separate Ministry of Housing was created solely to handle housing matters. In 1981, housing is still important and yet this ministry wishes to do away with the very policies and programs that were advocated. Indeed, it has not met those policies and programs that were advocated in the Comay report.
Many of the findings of the 1973 Comay report are equally relevant today. The report found housing costs too high for most incomes. This is equally true today, and we have documented it day after day in this session of the Legislature while the minister continues to ignore it. It called for additional programs of needed housing assistance. We have documented that the long lines of people waiting for assisted housing are growing larger and larger. It is taking longer and longer to get those people who are desperate for housing into any kind of government-assisted housing, particularly in the geared-to-income program.
The Comay report, the report of the Advisory Task Force on Housing Policy, said: “There is a need for one ministry to speak out for and concerning housing. Housing should have a high priority in government policies and programs. The government should assume the leadership in housing.” It went on to say: “The ministry of housing should be established to assume responsibility for housing policy and housing programs and urban and regional planning.”
This report also made recommendations for new initiatives that merit serious consideration even in 1981. It called for home ownership assistance and provision of additional public housing to meet demand: “The government’s subsidized housing program should give first priority to housing assistance for the needy who do not yet receive it.”
The report tabled in this Legislature by the standing committee on administration of justice and voted down by this majority Conservative government dealt with that very point, a point this government does not accept. It called for maximum fair rents that should be set for public housing.
Interestingly enough, on page 18 of the Comay report, it says: “Tenant participation in all aspects of management relating to day-to-day activities should become a general practice in assisted housing developments.”
That was the issue on which we locked horns with the minister in the justice committee when we did our investigation this year on what was wrong with the Ontario Housing Corporation. Indeed, it was the one major item the minister’s back-bench colleagues on that committee refused to touch.
It would be useful at this point to look at some of the issues dealt with in the Comay report. On page 18 it says, “There should be a thorough review of public housing rents which takes into consideration the type of accommodation provided and rents in the private market as well as individual income circumstances.” That has not been done.
It says: “The comprehensive review of the rent-geared-to-income scale should be related to the larger question of income maintenance. In principle, rents should not be set to frustrate tenant initiative.” That was brought out in our committee report which we tabled in this Legislature and which the Conservatives voted against.
The Comay report says, “A maximum ‘fair rent’ should be set for all units which relates to the cost of producing the housing and which would allow tenants to accumulate enough resources to move into the private market if they wish.” That was dealt with in a different way in our committee report. None the less, it relates to that essential problem which has not been dealt with by this government or this minister.
I could go on in some detail on the recommendations of the Comay report on page 18. One of the recommendations is: “Until the supply of assisted low-income housing is brought closer to the need for such housing in any area, the residents of any particular neighbourhood should not receive priority for housing in any given project.” The ministry has not even addressed itself to that situation.
Again on page 18, tenant participation was one of the major concerns of the Comay report. It was one of the major concerns of our committee report on Ontario Housing and is the one that the minister has refused to deal with.
If we look at the Comay report on page two, we see that in 1973 some of the main findings that resulted in the creation of the Ministry of Housing are still quite relevant today. It talks about the critical government activities needed related to housing. It says that “costs are too high for most incomes.”
On page three it deals with the problem of the increasing cost of housing, “exacerbated by speculation and by panic buying in many areas.” Again, this could have been written in 1981. It was justification for the creation of a Ministry of Housing to take action way back before many of us were elected to the Legislature.
On page four it states that the government is not specifically concerned with housing as such and that “no one speaks for housing.” That is why a Ministry of Housing was needed. One need only see the ramblings of this minister to see that nobody speaks for housing now either, at least not on that side of the House.
It talks about the high degree of priority in housing and the government’s policies and programs that were needed. Also it talks about the need for a Ministry of Housing to create public awareness of housing issues.
I submit that anyone who has listened to the question period in this session of the Legislature will know that this government is not showing leadership in public information. It seems to be showing leadership in creating as fuzzy an atmosphere as possible so that the public does not understand what the issues are and the ministry can sit back and do nothing.
In a sense, the fiddling with this ministry is testimony to the fact that the Ministry of Housing has failed miserably to meet the concerns expressed in the Comay report in 1973. So now we have another bureaucratic shuffle.
In recent years, the Ministry of Housing has laboured under one very difficult burden. I do not want to be provocative, but that burden has been the present minister. I do not doubt this minister is capable of handling other ministries, and probably capable of doing it quite well. But his philosophical orientation or stagnation or orthodoxy, or whatever one wants to label it, prohibits him from acting in a dynamic way to do anything about housing in this province. He thinks such initiatives would necessarily mean the government would be interfering in the private enterprise market, and that is philosophically unacceptable to him.
Some of the comments made in the press about the present minister show why he is not the one for this job. I refer to a report in the Ottawa Citizen of May 17, 1980, under the byline of Orland French, a Citizen staff member, and headed: “A Tough Housing Portfolio Is Bugging Claude Bennett.” It says:
“The Housing portfolio has not been kind to Claude Bennett. He is developing an extremely thin skin.... Most ambitious politicians, and Claude Frederick Bennett is nothing if not ambitious, would not consider the Ontario Ministry of Industry and Tourism to be the zenith of a political career but, for someone who was the Ontario Jaycees’ outstanding young man in 1968, Industry and Tourism was a playground.
“Bennett is a glad-hander, a back-slapper, a born business booster, but in 1978 his career took a downer. Premier William Davis, for some inexplicable reason, shunted him into the Housing portfolio where the minister’s best side, no matter who he is, is that of a Grinch and a Scrooge.
“Bennett has been grumbling about his job ever since he arrived there. It just ain’t fun. Everyone is on his back and he never gets his smiling mug on the front pages of the Omemee Star-Banner shaking hands with the owner of a local nudist camp or a go-cart emporium.”
It goes on and says: “He does not like his job, and bites back when the press bites him.” I will not read the whole article -- it is a very long article, and I would refer you to it, Mr. Speaker -- but it says:
“No, it’s no fun being a housing minister, a job that requires a certain amount of compassion and understanding of human failure. But one has to wonder about Davis’s selections for the post. He used to have a housing minister named Allan Grossman, who would refer to his tenants as ‘those kind of people,’ with a knowing tone in his voice to clue listeners in on exactly what kind of people they were. Now Davis has a housing minister who sees a buck as buck, even if it has to be wrung out of confused old widows.”
There are parts of the article that are much more vicious than that, Mr. Speaker, and I will not read them for you, but I am sure, if your intellectual curiosity gets the better of you, you will no doubt want to read it for yourself.
One of the basic checks we in the opposition have concerning a ministry, and indeed the public has, is the publishing of an annual report. I find it interesting that the Ministry of Housing has failed to provide for an annual report. For that reason, I will be moving, in committee, that this be done under section 4 of the bill.
In conclusion, we would be willing to support this bill were we given any assurance that under the new superministry -- under the new combined ministry -- there would be one inch of initiative by the ministry in the housing field. The fact is that many, if not all, of the situations that resulted in the creation of the Ministry of Housing in the first place still remain. The fact is that we have a minister who does not like his Housing portfolio. The fact is that we will have a new superministry where housing will be nicely downplayed by the minister, who did not want to be Minister of Housing in the first place.
For those reasons, we will not vote simply for politically tinkering with the structures of government in the absence of any concrete, specific proposals and programs on what is needed in the housing field.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak only briefly on Bill 67. I thought I should speak to the bill in view of the fact that I was in the minister’s riding only last Thursday -- and I spoke on his behalf, of course; I told all the Ottawa South Liberals just what a fine gentleman the minister was, and they were all very pleased to hear that.
There are a couple of things that concern me about the bill. I recognize that municipal affairs and housing should go together. In spite of the fact that the bill has some shortcomings in it, I think that having municipal affairs and housing together would be a benefit to this province. However, there are a couple of things I would like the minister to know, and I would like to get his comments later when he makes his statement.
I am wondering if the merger of these two ministries will provide speedier amendments to things like official plans. Many municipalities have great concerns right now about the length of time it takes to get an official plan approved, especially in areas where they have regional government. Amendments to official plans take sometimes as long as 18 months to go through right now. One municipality in my own constituency has an official plan amendment in front of the minister now, and it is being delayed for what some people consider a very long time.
I recognize that the past Ministry of Housing was somewhat unusual at least in its name, because it did not really deal only with housing. As a matter of fact, it dealt very little with housing if one thinks about it. It was really the ministry of planning and zoning and things of that nature, more than anything else.
When one considers that one of the tasks of the Ministry of Housing was to approve official plan amendments that dealt with industrial parks, one kind of wonders what on earth that has to do with providing more housing for the residents of this province. It obviously has nothing to do with it, but because planning is done in relation to housing it was all done by the same ministry. So perhaps, while we are at it, all the things that deal with municipal affairs, housing, planning et cetera, should all be done by one minister, and that is fine.
The only thing I would like to be assured of is that we do not water down the importance of the housing section. We know, as I said previously, that the passage of certain official plan amendments and so forth is quite slow already, and we certainly would not want anything to slow it down any more. By having all the ministries together it may provide better coordination of certain comments that have to be put into such documents by various ministries, and in fact we may get approvals quicker. I hope the minister can elaborate on that as well.
The other thing I have some reservations about is the attitude that has been displayed by the minister recently, and I say this constructively because I hope the minister does change that somewhat. We saw some comments the minister made to the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario last week which were not exactly complimentary to some opposition members of this Legislature and which were, with all due respect, I think quite untrue, as reported to me by one of the clerk-treasurers of our municipality. I do not think comments like that should be made by a minister who is responsible for the liaison between the different municipalities of this province and the government of Ontario.
I think the role of such a minister has to be one that is quite a bit more conciliatory, not abrasive and not attempting to be quite so partisan as we have seen in the past. I just hope the minister takes that into account when he starts on this new function as minister of municipal affairs and housing.
Having said that, I am in favour of the bill. I would like to see a few more things in there, and I would like to see the minister, now that he will be in charge of the ministry of municipal affairs and housing, bring forth those bills that he referred to in his meeting with the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario the other day. He should put them on the Order Paper where they should be and then we can talk about them.
He should not go around this province and accuse opposition parties of not co-operating for better government to municipalities when we really had nothing to do with setting the agenda of this House. That is a function that is shared by the minister and the government House leader. It is unfortunate when comments like that are made about members of this great assembly.
There is one more thing I want to say on the bill; it has to do with the amendments to the Planning Act. We know we have waited a very long time. We know of the white paper that has been published and so on and so forth, but it has been five years since we started talking about a revised Planning Act. Now that the minister is in charge of both municipal affairs and housing, I hope this process will be accelerated somewhat so that we can have a new revised Planning Act as soon as possible.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this bill. I see it as having the potential, if indeed it is not actually the means, of clouding and ducking an issue that is of some concern to us; that is, the record of this government in dealing with what I see as a crisis in housing.
I think the bill probably destroys any benefits that I concede might possibly accrue from the merging of municipal affairs and housing. We cannot afford, as I see it, to allow a clear focus on housing needs to be undermined by the inevitable buck-passing that will go on if the responsible minister can hide behind the other half of his responsibility. Indeed, when I read the explanatory note on the bill itself, it raises questions as to what might be the minister’s priority. It says:
“The purpose of this bill is to establish the ministry of municipal affairs and housing. The minister will be responsible for municipal affairs, community planning, community development, land development and housing and related matters in Ontario.” Forgive me if I get the impression that the bottom end of the list of responsibilities of the minister is housing.
There has been a lot of talk about the obvious failures of this government to provide leadership in housing in the Toronto area. While the speculation may not be quite as blatant in housing in other parts of the province, the squeeze on people is none the less every bit as severe.
I want to deal with a few housing matters in my own community of Hamilton to give the minister some idea of what we are up against. First I want to talk about people who want to try to buy a new or used house or a condominium and then I want to deal with some of the problems of assisted housing in the city of Hamilton and Hamilton and district.
The increases in housing prices have not been quite as dramatic in the Hamilton area as they have in Toronto but in the Metropolitan Hamilton Real Estate Board listings the pattern at least is one of concern. It shows that in a six-month period alone, from last December to May, the average price of resales in the city jumped from $41,000 to almost $48,000. That is an increase of better than 14 per cent. There has been a fairly large number of sales, and I submit that is a sizeable increase. It is beginning to have its effect on people’s ability to afford homes in the Hamilton area.
I am the first to admit there have not been a lot of new housing sales and therefore the figures are possibly a little more difficult to make a total case on. Nevertheless, the average price of new houses sold in the Hamilton area has gone from $65,800 to $82,000 in the same six-month period. If we take the entire area it has gone only from $80,000 to $85,000, but even that, in a six-month period, is a sizeable increase.
Looking at the lowest-priced used housing usually to be found in the area -- some of the condominium units and some of the row housing units -- we find a disturbing trend even in that area. In 60 used condominium sales -- and I am going now to the figures for February from the Hamilton board -- the average price was $36,285. But we jump to the month of April and we find the average price on the sale of used condominiums -- a much larger number; 154 units -- has jumped from that 60 units at $36,000 to better than $42,000. That is an indication to me why I have the kind of concerned people coming into my office with these problems that we have had in the last period of time.
It raises a number of serious points. I think the Minister of Housing has a responsibility for whether or not people in this province have the right to end up seeing their dream fulfilled, and that is being able to purchase a home. It may be difficult in downtown Toronto but it is a hope in most of the rest of the province still. I think it is a direct responsibility of the Ministry of Housing and one of the reasons I think this has to be an area that is given some priority.
Assuming that the purchaser in buying one of these homes in the city of Hamilton pays a 10 per cent down payment and mortgages the balance, assuming that his mortgage is calculated on a 25-year amortization plan, supposing that the current rate for a mortgage today is 18.5 per cent -- and that is about what the going rate is in the area for a new mortgage -- and assuming that the property tax is $700 -- I want to make the point that I have assumed low on the property tax and probably on the interest rate as well -- what does this mean to the person trying to buy a home in the city of Hamilton? If we also assume that the purchaser’s payments for principal, interest and taxes are not to exceed 30 per cent, the standard lending institution ceiling for gross debt service in respect to shelter costs, we have the following situation -- and I am once again going to use the three examples I used earlier.
We will take a used single-family dwelling at the average price in the city of Hamilton, $47,408, with a down payment of $4,700 and a mortgage of only $42,600 -- I will go on the low side once again. The taxes are $758 a year and mortgage payments of $7,577 a year, or $631 a month. Principal, interest and taxes bring it up to $8,277 a year, or $690 a month, for the average used home sale in the city of Hamilton.
The income necessary to carry that home within the last month in the city of Hamilton is $27,591. The average industrial wage in Hamilton is $17,254, which leaves a deficit of $10,337. In the basic steel mills, where we have a lot of employees, the average is probably closer to $22,000 than to $17,000, but it is still not $27,591. That means this family either has to carry a second job, has to have a much bigger down payment and a lower mortgage -- and that is not always easy -- or has to send the wife or partner out to work. That brings about a number of dangers which I have run into within the last few weeks in my constituency office, including wives who either have been laid off or are having a family now and have to quit work; all of a sudden they find that with the new interest rates they cannot meet these kinds of mortgage payments, and their houses are really at risk.
The average price of one of the new houses in the city of Hamilton is $81,976, probably a heck of a lot less than in downtown Toronto on the average. With a down payment of $8,100 and a mortgage of $73,700 -- once again we will take $73,000 to continue our policy of staying slightly on the low side all the way through these figures -- the mortgage payments for a year are $13,170, or $1,098 a month. When we add in the taxes it costs $13,870 a year -- once again just going on $700 a year taxes, and that is a low figure -- or $1,156 a month, to carry that house. That means the income necessary to carry that new home in the city of Hamilton, based on 30 per cent, is $46,234. With an average industrial wage of $17,254 there is a shortfall of $28,980. Even if one is a Stelco or Dofasco employee, and if in addition to $17,000 one has another $5,000, and if one’s wife is working and is making $10,000 or $12,000, there is still a shortfall of almost $8,000 to buy that new home in the city of Hamilton.
Let me give the third and last example I want to use, which is the cheapest used housing one can buy in Hamilton: a used condominium. In six months they have gone up to $42,877 from $36,000. With a $4,200 down payment one ends up with $571 a month for principal, interest and taxes. Using the same base figures of $630 a month, one needs an average income, based on 30 per cent of income for housing, of $25,186. At $17,254 one certainly cannot carry it, and if one is lucky enough to be a Stelco or Dofasco worker at $22,000 or $23,000 one still does not qualify for that used condominium house being sold today in Hamilton.
What I am suggesting is we have a housing crunch that is hurting people and preventing the purchase of homes. It is having a serious effect unless at least two parties in that family are out working. That is going to destroy an awful lot of the confidence of our younger people and of some people who saved whatever they could for a period of time. It will destroy their feeling that some day they will have a chance of getting into and owing their own homes. I submit this problem has reached serious proportions and we have to deal with it.
There is another thing going on which shows the sickness, if one likes, of what is happening in our housing policies and in the lack of housing policies in Ontario. I mentioned town house units. I want to refer to what has happened in the 10 Angus Road, Wentworth Condominium Corporation 34, a situation where there were 140 units.
Sixty-two of them are now owned by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation as a result of quit claims, of people just walking away from them because they could not handle the mortgages. This was assisted and subsidized housing to begin with, but they see the new mortgage rates that are coming through and they know they cannot handle them. People who went into these homes and just managed to qualify with about a $12,000 per year income level are now finding themselves up against it.
Admittedly, for the five-year period since most of these people purchased them, it is not a large equity. But what do we find happening? There are a number of things I cannot quite figure out. These are not necessarily all the responsibility of the provincial government but they point out the problems we have and the lack of any real housing policy in the province.
In that survey of the 62 units owned by CMHC, as of a week ago, 37 were vacant and 25 were rented. The rent was $355 a month, and how they have done it through CMHC I do not know. I have not been able to ascertain whether the $41 payment for maintenance is on top of that, but they have rented them at $355 a month. I do not know how long those rents are going to stay, but it is a lot less than the people with the new mortgage payments in that housing project are going to be paying.
I will give an example of one family that was in to see me. They were paying $241 a month. There was a $100 subsidy on that under the program under which they went in. They are paying $41.50 for maintenance on top of that. They have been told that if their mortgage rate is 17 1/4 per cent they are going to have a monthly payment of about $550 a month plus their maintenance fee. Since then they have been told it may be 18 per cent.
This couple could not afford that kind of payment. In this case, the young chap had done some work and put what he figured was $3,000 or $4,000 worth of handyman repairs and renovations into the basement and into the unit itself. He also happens to serve on the board of the condominium and is really in touch with the rest of the residents.
When it became apparent the new interest rates were due, what happened to these people who had grabbed the only thing they could some five years ago in terms of housing in Ontario? When the rate of between 17 and 18 per cent got out and they knew they were going to be paying $531 plus $48.50 -- I think those were the figures one of them got, based at the lower 17 1/4 per cent and it may be higher than that -- all of a sudden some entrepreneurs appeared on the scene and said: “Hey, can you handle the $580 you are going to have to pay?” These people cannot do that. “We will offer you a little deal. We will give you two years’ rent at $425 a month. That will save you $150 right off the bat. You turn the ownership of the unit over to us.”
As far as I know nobody in the unit bit on that particular offer. That could make somebody a lot of money if the escalation in prices I am talking about continues in Hamilton and in many areas of the province, but it is going to hurt those people who went in and are quite proud of what they have, those who stayed there and have not walked out taking the quit claim route. In some cases they spent some of their money trying to improve the housing. It is going to cost them their dream of a house and probably destroy their faith in our ability to deal fairly with people in the future.
They were not getting many takers initially. Then the word got out it might be higher than 17 1/4 per cent. The next offer that came around was, “We will give you 500 bucks cash and the same two-year deal at 425 bucks a month.” As far as I know, almost every family in the survey was canvassed. Some of us started raising a little heck about it saying: “This amounts to nothing more than a ripoff. It may be legal but, boy, it sure as blazes isn’t right.”
We started making just a little bit of noise about it. We warned the people to take a careful look at it. Some of them were saying: “If I can’t handle the new mortgage, I am getting out with something. I have got two months’ rent. Maybe I can handle the $425, that is going to be difficult enough.” We started making a little noise and all of a sudden we have brought them around. This time we have it in writing and they have sweetened the pot quite a bit. Incidentally, as far as I know, one or two families took the $500. I am trying to verify that right now. Two of the board members tell me that at least one did. I hope it is not true, but nevertheless, they tell me that is what happened.
“Within 90 days, mortgage renewals through the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation will bring your monthly payment of principal, interest, taxes and maintenance to almost $600 per month. As an alternative, we have a client who will purchase your unit for $2,100 cash to mortgage.” That is from nothing to $500 to $2,100, a pretty nice little escalation, but it still shows exactly what is going on here.
“You have the option of leasing the unit back for $425 per month.” There is also a 3.5 per cent commission. “Please think it over carefully. By August, you will have no alternative.” Certainly, the big stick is up there. “Sincerely” -- I guess the signature is the agent who was around doing the particular work.
As far as I am concerned that is destructive and morally dishonest. Whether it is legally dishonest or not, it is something that points up the tragedy of the kind of policies we do not have in Ontario when it comes to housing for people today.
That is the first half of it and it deals with why I think we need a minister to concentrate and to zero in on the housing situation in Ontario. The other half of it is the need for an assisted housing program for those people who cannot afford and probably never will be in a position to try to purchase a home.
I have a little study here which some people in Hamilton are working on right now that has some interesting figures, most of which I had to gather myself for previous comments. It shows, for example, that an examination of the waiting list for family units supplied through the Hamilton-Wentworth Housing Authority for May 1980 to April 1981 reveals that they have gone from 486 to almost 700 on the waiting list.
The waiting list increased by 253 people or 52 per cent during that period. The overall trends are very significant. During the 13-month study period, the waiting list increased by 19.8 or 20 per cent. Although periodic drops in the waiting list occurred in September, December and May, these decreases in every case appeared to lead to higher peaks in the following months as the overall numbers climbed.
At the same time as we have this kind of an increase, we have a much smaller increase in seniors’ units. We have a list of the vacant assisted family units in the city of Hamilton. The highest number in a month during that 13-month period was four. Most months it was a zero or one per cent vacancy rate for assisted housing for family units. Seniors are a little better. It probably averages 80 or 90 a month over the period for 2.4 vacancy percentage over that period. That is low, as members are probably aware. Three per cent is considered an acceptable vacancy rate.
It should be noted that this state of low vacancy rate is not unique to Hamilton housing authorities. Vacancy rates for apartment structures of six units and over, privately initiated, have dropped from 3.1 in 1976 to 1.5 in 1980 in the Hamilton census metropolitan area. If we also take a look at what has happened to family units, in 1975, we had 2,721 in the Hamilton area. In 1979, we were down to 2,349. Actually in 1981 it is 2,255. We have actually seen a decrease in the assisted family units. The number of seniors’ units has gone up fairly substantially. They have gone from 2,388 in 1975 to 4,340, but even with that we have a vacancy rate of less than three per cent in the seniors’ units.
A summary of the findings in the report shows that family units administered by the housing authority alone have waiting lists that have increased almost 20 per cent. Vacancy rates are below acceptable levels. The inventories remain constant, with declining vacancy rates in apartment units and a decreasing inventory of assisted family units. We have a long list of complaints, but I will not go into them because I want to finalize very shortly. We have a long list of complaints in terms of the kind of point rating we have to get people in and an observation by the housing authorities in Hamilton that a lot of people with only 40 points in the system are probably in fairly dire need of assisted housing.
We also have problems in terms of the quality of life of the people who are reduced to this income level and to assisted housing. In the same study -- I found it was disturbing but it ties in with what I am running into in my own area -- I took a look at the utilization of social services, and I recognize we have a large number of single-parent families in these units, and also at gang activities, because we have had a problem with them for some time in the east end of Hamilton. I took a look at the crime statistics in the areas where people are living without adequate housing or income to deal even with the assisted housing we have and with a desperate need for additional housing.
In terms of disturbances in 1980 in one of the major study areas in my own riding, the Roxborough Park, Lang Street, Martha Street, Oriole Crescent survey, the utilization of the police force for disturbances was 36.04 per 1,000 population against a city average of 22.6. We had the same kind of situation with property crimes and other crimes. One soon realizes the ghettoization our housing policies have brought about in the city of Hamilton.
There are any number of things I would like to cover in this particular bill in the few minutes we have. The difficulty I find myself in is that while I can see some long-term value in a merger of these ministries, I have to tell you very clearly, Mr. Speaker, I cannot begin to see it in terms of the current lack of a real housing program in Ontario, given the rather desperate need these figures point up for a positive housing program for the people of Ontario.
It says to me there has to be a zeroing in and a question of priority in terms of people’s housing in this province now. I fear if we were to combine the ministries we would find one used as the excuse for inaction in the other, when we really need priority put on the question of housing. It is for those reasons that I oppose this bill.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, first of all, may I thank all the members who have spoken on this bill over the last couple of days of its presence in this House. I believe most members, when reading the remarks of the Premier (Mr. Davis) on May 1, when he indicated clearly there would be a new ministry of municipal affairs and housing, will have an appreciation of the reasons for our move in that particular direction.
Indeed, if we look over the remarks made in this House, not only in the current portion of the debate, but if we go back and look at the remarks made by members of various parties in 1978 when the municipal affairs wing was coming over from the Ministry of Treasury and Economics to the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, there was a very positive response from the members of the opposition. With respect to remarks made by my colleague the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy), he said at that time -- it is on page 5125 of Hansard: “I do not agree with the member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett) very often on many things. On this I agree with him.” He goes on to say -- as he did again today -- that he agrees with the formation of a ministry amalgamating housing and municipal affairs.
I listened to the remarks of the members of the Liberal Party and their views on the amalgamation. I suppose we all have some fears or concerns as to how amalgamation will take place and whether the amalgamation of those aspects of municipal affairs and housing will be compatible one with the other.
When I was the parliamentary assistant to the Honourable Darcy McKeough, who reported for Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs, I had the opportunity of working with most of the people like Eric Fleming, Gardner Church, Dick Illingworth and others in that portion of the ministry. I have had some long discussions about this amalgamation with them since May 1 and heard their views on the compatibility of melding the operations together.
I do not think there is any doubt in their minds there is a close tie-in. I do not think there is doubt in the minds of many of those at the municipal level either -- whether it be the Municipal Liaison Committee or Association of Municipalities of Ontario or the various organizations associated with AMO -- that the amalgamation, particularly of planning and housing with municipal affairs, will be a very close tie.
Most of the responsibilities in housing, particularly in the field of planning, are directly related in nearly all cases with the municipalities, either at the local level or the regional level. Our dealings with the Ontario Land Corporation, I would say in 90 per cent of the cases, are directly with the municipal councils. So I see the opportunity of the amalgamation of these two areas of government as being extremely compatible. I hope it would be rewarding in the programs they can bring forward over the next period of time.
The correspondence we have received in the last few weeks from the MLC, the AMO, the Small Urban Municipalities Association, from various municipal organizations, the chairmen’s committee of regional government, and many other communities and individuals has been very complimentary about the fact there will be visibility of the municipal affairs portfolio in this province once again. Members have spoken about the fact that local representatives have complained that their presence in the Legislature was rather downplayed because of the disappearance of the words “municipal affairs” from any ministry name.
I look forward to the opportunity of working in the new ministry. I want to answer one or two of the remarks directly related to the bill, and some directly relating to housing and its portfolio. There were some at the municipal level concerned -- I suppose this always comes about with amalgamations -- that if municipal affairs and housing are put together, since I was the Minister of Housing before I might let housing take the greater amount of my time and that of the staff. They were afraid housing would be the only concern of the ministry.
Then there were those involved with housing -- as the member for Hamilton East has indicated this afternoon -- who are concerned about the amalgamation with the ministry of municipal affairs; they were afraid there might be some downplaying of the importance of housing. It is not my intention to see either aspect of this ministry downplayed. We have some senior and competent staff in both areas of this ministry.
I am sure most members of this House at some time or other have had personal discussions with them relating to problems in their own political jurisdictions. I think of Mr. Milt Farrow, who has been extremely helpful to so many members around here in trying to resolve and understand some of the zoning problems. There is Eric Fleming; there is Ron Farrow in the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs who has helped a number of people. I could name others, as I mentioned earlier.
I offer the assurance that my interests will definitely be in trying to present a very strong positive case on behalf of the municipalities but not to the detriment of the area of housing. We will continue to try to deliver programs, in co-operation with the federal government, for the people of this province. There should not be concern that one is going to downplay or destroy the other.
The member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) proposes to add a section 4 which relates to an annual report. I have already indicated to him we are prepared to accept that amendment. The member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) mentioned section 8(1) which states, “The minister may give policy and detailed operational direction.” I will offer an amendment to this bill which will eliminate the words “and detailed operational” because I believe it is not my responsibility. Clearly, the policy direction of a crown corporation or a board or authority rests with the minister and with the ministry, but the operational responsibility is that of the individual board or authority. We should have the opportunity to review their situation; but it is our intention to delete from the bill the words “and detailed operational.”
The other point raised by the member for Beaches-Woodbine related to section 11, if I recall correctly. It reads, “The Minister may establish advisory committees to the minister and sub-committees thereto, appoint chairmen and members of such committees and subcommittees and fix the remuneration and expenses of the chairmen and members of the committees and sub-committees and the remuneration and expenses shall be paid out of the moneys appropriated therefor by the Legislature”.
I have looked over the amendment proposed by the member for Beaches-Woodbine and I think when the minister is in the process of establishing advisory committees, it is his or her responsibility. The minister appoints those committees to advise him and the others in his ministry as to the direction in which he should be going. They also advise him on programs, whether dealing with municipal affairs, housing, planning, land development, the land corporation or whatever else it might be.
It is my intention to reject the amendment being proposed for section 11. The minister has the right to appoint committees, and I think in the past we have appointed people and we have tried to give a pretty broad and comprehensive idea and suggestions in view --
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I had better. If the member who was making that remark looked at himself and some of the things that have happened over the last two years, he might be speaking from personal experience.
The Provincial-Municipal Liaison Committee has been supportive and is one of the organizations, with the Municipal Liaison Committee, that I sincerely hope will stay. I hope it will become very strong and positive in offering views and objectives on the new ministry and the programs we will introduce.
Another area I think is most interesting is the development at the moment of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the complete amalgamation of most of the municipal associations into one body. It was indicated to me that we will have some subsections that will deal with all the municipal matters rather than have seven or eight all trying to present a different position on the same subject.
Referring to the remarks of the member for Etobicoke, we will still have responsibility for land use and land development. We can sit around this Legislature for many a day and debate whether the minister, or this ministry, or the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has allowed certain developments in the right location. I do not cast the responsibility back to the ministry staff but I certainly accept a great deal of their advice on appropriate land use for certain areas. That section of the ministry will not lose its importance in the amalgamation we are now going through.
The member for Hamilton East made some remarks relating to housing problems. Whether we are a single Ministry of Housing or amalgamated with municipal affairs, some of the problems we are confronted with in the marketplace today in housing are not going to be easily resolved. They are not likely to be resolved by a single force of government. It will likely take more of a collective position by ourselves and the federal government. Indeed I would think to some degree the municipal governments might also be involved in this situation.
The importance the ministry will play in better relations between this Legislature and the municipalities will be rewarding and positive for not only the municipal councillors -- and I will speak on some of the issues such as the three-year term a little later on. Those will come as a bill sometime down the road. But overall I believe this ministry and the remarks we have had about it from the municipal leaders is one of a very positive view on the government’s action. Indeed, it follows fairly well the views expressed by members of the opposition parties back in 1978. Thank you.
Andrewes, Ashe, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Birch, Boudria, Bradley, Brandt, Breithaupt, Conway, Copps, Cousens, Cunningham, Cureatz, Dean, Drea, Eakins, Eaton, Elgie, Elston, Epp, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Jones, Kells, Kerrio, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk;
MacQuarrie, Mancini, McCaffrey, McCague, McEwen, McGuigan, McKessock, McLean, McNeil, Miller, F. S., Miller, G. I., Newman, Nixon, Norton, Peterson, Piché, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Reed, J. A., Reid, T. P., Robinson, Rotenberg, Roy, Runciman, Ruprecht, Ruston, Scrivener, Shymko, Snow, Spensieri, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Sweeney;
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the standing committee on social development be authorized to sit this evening, Monday, June 29, 1981, at 8 p.m. for consideration of Bill 113, An Act to amend the Public Hospitals Act.
“(7) The minister, after the close of each year, shall submit to the Lieutenant Governor in Council an annual report upon the affairs of the ministry, and shall lay the report before the assembly if it is in session or, if not, at the next ensuing session.”
Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, this was a standard procedure with the Ministry of Housing. I am pleased that the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) has indicated that he will accept our amendment. It is quite important that we have an annual report for each of the ministries, and I am pleased that the minister has accepted my amendment.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, we will be supporting this amendment. The minister has already indicated that he will accept it. But I find it a little difficult to believe the third party would be putting forward an amendment to a bill it voted against on second reading. The third party has clearly indicated it does not want to support this bill; yet after voting against the bill in principle it now wants to amend a particular principle. The member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) indicated earlier that he will not vote for political tinkering, and yet he is supporting a certain amount of tinkering here.
Irrespective of that, we will be supporting the amendment because we think the amendment makes sense. The Minister of Housing on previous occasions has given annual reports to the Legislature on housing, and this will incorporate the municipal affairs aspect as well as the housing aspect.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, the member from the Liberal Party wonders why we voted against the bill and yet are proposing amendments. It is obvious that we voted against the bill because it provides no answer to the housing problem and the great shortage of affordable housing, and because it provides no answer to the crisis in municipal finance. We would have liked to have assurances from the minister that this sort of reorganization could produce answers to those, but we know that reorganization is not a way of solving those problems. There must be action from the government as well as from the provincial Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) in the municipal finance field.
Since the bill is going forward, we feel it must be made a good bill. Any ministry should have an annual report. There is a great lack of freedom of information in this government, and the freedom of information bill has been stalled for probably another six months or a year before it comes before us. This is all the more reason why we must have annual reports from all ministries so that the public as well as the Legislature will be informed of the facts and of the situation in the housing and municipal affairs ministry.
I think this government wants to keep the public in the dark. That is probably why the section was left out of the bill. I am glad my colleague moved its inclusion and that it was accepted by the government. At least that is one point we did win.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Chairman, I indicated earlier this afternoon that the amendment offered by the third party was acceptable to us. The annual report can be submitted as we have done in Housing, as we have been able to do through TEIGA, Intergovernmental Affairs and so on. I have no reluctance whatsoever in accepting the amendment as proposed.
Mr. Chairman: Ms. Fish moves that section 8(1) of the bill be amended after the phrase “the minister may give policy” by deleting the phrase “and detailed operational” and then proceeding to “direction to that agency and the agency shall follow the direction.”
Mr. Chairman: I think we should do that. It would be sort of nice. Ms. Fish, could you arrange that while I read the amendment? It is to section 8(1), “Where, under this or any other act, the minister is made responsible for the administration of a crown agency or for the administration of an act relating to a crown agency, the minister may give policy and detailed operational direction to that agency and the agency shall follow the direction.” It is to delete the phrase “and detailed operational.”
Ms. Fish: The purpose of the amendment is fairly straightforward. The entire section relates to the relationship between the minister and various crown corporations. It seems to me perfectly appropriate that the nature of the relationship speak to policy, but that in the case of crown corporations with appointed boards of directors for day-to-day management, the phrase “and detailed operational” should be deleted because that begins to intrude upon the appropriate realm of authority and jurisdiction for the respective boards to carry out, in their detailed operation, the policy guidance that is provided.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, I am glad the minister has accepted this suggestion, which I made in my speech on second reading. I agree with the principle that the policy of a crown agency should determined by the government and that the detailed operational direction should be determined by the crown corporation, subject to the guidelines laid down by the government in its policy direction.
However, I would like assurances from the minister that the policy direction which comes under this section will be referred to the Legislature for input by members of the Legislature in somewhat the same way as the Workmen’s Compensation Board appears annually before a legislative committee. I did ask for that kind of assurance in my second reading speech, because I do feel that the Legislature must have considerable input into the determination of policy directions for crown corporations.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Chairman, I wish only to say in relation to the last comment by the member for Beaches-Woodbine that the annual reports from the crown corporations are filed in the same manner as they have been in the past and they will continue to be filed that way in the future.
“(2) Where a committee or subcommittee is established under subsection (1) concerning a matter relating to municipal or local matters the minister shall solicit from municipal or local government associations concerned with matters to be the subject matter of committee consideration a list of persons holding public office as nominees of the said associations to be members of the committee or subcommittee.
“(3) Where a committee or subcommittee is established under subsection (1) concerning a matter relating to housing the minister shall solicit from associations, including tenant associations, within the province concerned with the subject matter of committee consideration a list of persons who are members of the associations as nominees of the said associations to be members of the committee or subcommittee.
“(4) When soliciting a list under subsection (2) or (3) the minister shall indicate the number of members that will compose the committee or subcommittee and shall request a specified number of nominees from each association concerned, the persons so nominated to be sufficient in number to constitute a majority of the committee or subcommittee.
“(5) Where nominations are submitted at the request of the minister under subsection (4) he shall appoint to the committee or subcommittee the persons nominated, and may appoint sufficient additional persons of his own choosing to make up the total number he has specified for the committee or subcommittee.
“(6) The members of a committee or subcommittee established under subsection (1) shall elect from its membership a chairman, and if the member elected is a member of the committee or subcommittee by virtue of his nomination by an association the minister shall appoint an additional member to the committee or subcommittee, which additional member shall be nominated by the same association.
“(8) Any member of a committee or subcommittee established under subsection (1) who is on the committee or subcommittee by reason of a nomination under this section may be removed from the committee or subcommittee by his nominator, and the nominator may appoint another person to complete his term of office.”
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, I spoke to the reasons for this amendment on the second reading. I wish to add briefly that I think it would open up advisory committees to represent a wide cross-section of the province. The minister has said that he should have the sole authority to choose members of advisory committees. Of course, one of our main reasons for taking away part of that authority is to end the system where it has become part of the Conservative patronage system.
The other thing I think the minister should bear in mind is this is simply asking that 50 per cent plus one be appointed on the nomination of agencies representing the organizations interested in these fields. The minister would still be able to appoint the other 49 per cent from his own choices, so that he would still have a considerable representation and voice in the advisory committee. Of course, I also said that he does not have to accept the advice of an advisory committee. It is simply to sample opinion and to get input from the public on policy. Therefore, I think it would be a step forward in getting better policy that represents the wishes of a majority of people in the province.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I will be brief. We do not believe this particular amendment will enhance the legislation and we will, therefore, be opposing the amendment. It is our feeling that the minister should have some prerogatives. If he is going to appoint the advisory boards, he should have a chance to appoint the majority of the members of those committees.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Chairman, during the second reading, I indicated very clearly, knowing there was an amendment being proposed by the member, that I would not accept the amendment. I think the Liberal representative from Waterloo North has clearly indicated that when the minister has a responsibility of appointing a committee it should not be directed that he is going to have a committee reporting to him that will be composed of a greater number of people from an outside authority than from within the ministry itself.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: No, because I tell the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) -- he will never get the opportunity to find out -- there are many occasions when committees report back to a minister and have situations that are rather interesting and do not always follow the philosophy or the theory of the minister, or indeed, of the chairman.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, last week on Wednesday and Thursday I introduced certain documents relating to the Workmen’s Compensation Board: first of all, a white paper outlining directions that the government sees as reasonable with regard to reform of the workmen’s compensation system, unless there is good argument not to proceed in those directions.