Official Records for 3 November 1987

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L001 - Tue 3 Nov 1987 / Mar 3 nov 1987

ELECTION OF SPEAKER

SPEECH FROM THE THRONE

INTRODUCTION OF BILL

MEMBERS’ CONFLICT OF INTEREST ACT / LOI SUR LES CONFLITS D’INTÉRÊTS DES MEMBRES DE L’ASSEMBLÉE

MOTION

THRONE SPEECH DEBATE


The First Session of the 34th Parliament of the province of Ontario opened at 3 p.m. for the dispatch of business pursuant to a proclamation of the Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, Lieutenant Governor of the province.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor, having entered the chamber, took his seat upon the throne.

Hon. Mr. Alexander: Pray be seated.

Hon. Mr. Conway: I am commanded by His Honour the Lieutenant Governor to state that he does not see fit to declare the causes of the summoning of the present Legislature of this province until a Speaker of this House shall have been chosen according to law; but today, at a subsequent hour, His Honour will declare the causes of the calling of this Legislature.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.

ELECTION OF SPEAKER

Clerk of the House: Members of the Legislative Assembly, it is my duty to call upon you to elect one of your number to preside over your deliberations as Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Peterson moved, seconded by Mr. B. Rae, that the member for the electoral district of Perth (Mr. Edighoffer) be the Speaker of this House.

Clerk of the House: Are there any further nominations? There being no further nominations, I declare the nominations closed and the Honourable Hugh Alden Edighoffer to be Speaker of this House.

Mr. Speaker entered the chamber and took the chair.

Mr. Speaker: Honourable members, please accept my humble thanks for the honour and the responsibility you have given me today. I am grateful to you, Mr. Premier (Mr. Peterson) and to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. B. Rae) for moving and seconding my nomination and, of course, for the safe passage you have given me through the chamber to this dais. My thanks also to the honourable members for the confidence you have expressed in me by allowing me to continue to serve this House as Speaker.

As your Speaker, I pledge to be mindful of the rights and privileges of each one of you and, as well, to make certain that all members have the opportunity to express their views and to be heard.

In a few moments I will, on your behalf, address His Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario with the traditional words which have been used in this House and in other parliaments for centuries. Those words will help to reassert the rights of the representatives of the people of Ontario.

I hope I am not too much of a dreamer to ask for your assistance and co-operation. I very much appreciated the support given to me during the last parliament. As we commence this 34th Parliament, I promise to do my best to serve you with fairness, firmness and impartiality. Thank you very much.

This House will now adjourn during pleasure.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor re-entered the chamber and took his seat upon the throne.

Hon. Mr. Alexander: Pray be seated.

Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly has elected me as their Speaker, though I am but little able to fulfil the important duties thus assigned to me. If, in the performance of those duties, I should at any time fall into error, I pray that the fault may be imputed to me and not to the assembly whose servant I am and who, through me, the better to enable them to discharge their duty to their Queen and country, hereby claim all their undoubted rights and privileges, especially that they may have freedom of speech in their debates, access to your person at all reasonable times and that their proceedings may receive from you the most favourable consideration.

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Hon. Mr. Conway: I am commanded by the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor to declare to you that he freely confides in the duty and attachment of the assembly to Her Majesty’s person and government and, not doubting that the proceedings will be conducted with wisdom, temperance and prudence, he grants and upon all occasions will recognize and allow the constitutional privileges. I am commanded also to assure you that the assembly shall have ready access to His Honour upon all suitable occasions and that their proceedings, as well as your words and actions, will constantly receive from him the most favourable construction.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to open the session with the following gracious speech.

SPEECH FROM THE THRONE

Hon. Mr. Alexander: Mr. Speaker and members of the Legislative Assembly, I have the honour of welcoming you to the opening of the First Session of the 34th Parliament of Ontario.

It gives me particular pleasure to welcome those of you who are sitting as members of this Legislature for the first time.

As representatives of the people of Ontario, you will be provided with an unparalleled opportunity to tackle many of our province’s most urgent priorities and convert challenges into achievements.

Every member of this Legislature will be afforded the opportunity to participate in developing long-term solutions to long-standing problems and innovative approaches to emerging demands.

Ontario’s economy is fundamentally strong and diversified. Over the past few years, our economic performance has been impressive, exceeding that of our major competitors.

This underlying momentum will stand us in good stead in the years ahead.

At the same time, we recognize that we are not immune to global economic pressures and conditions. The recent volatility in stock markets around the world serves as a strong reminder of the new economic challenges that confront all countries.

My government will meet its commitments to the people of Ontario within a framework of fiscal responsibility. A solid record of economic stewardship will preserve Ontario’s options for the future.

We will continue to follow the directions set forth in the previous two throne speeches. We will pursue our agenda for action with vigour.

Tout en respectant nos obligations envers les contribuables, nous devons maintenir et consolider notre réseau de programmes et services communautaires.

In the midst of an information society where the need for literacy, mathematics, science and computer skills are more important than ever, we must set new standards of achievement for our children.

In the midst of a chronic housing shortage, we must increase the supply of affordable housing.

In the midst of an ageing population and rapid increases in the cost of health care delivery, we must develop a new strategy for healthy living.

In the midst of a heightened need for prudent management and improved productivity, we must ensure that strict environmental safeguards and health and safety protection in the workplace are essential components of economic development.

In the midst of a renewed commitment to strengthening our international competitiveness, we must ensure that all Ontarians -- women, visible minorities, natives, the disabled -- are included in our effort to compete.

In the midst of continuing regional disparities within the province, we must increase our emphasis on economic development in northern and eastern Ontario.

In the midst of sustained global pressure affecting the agriculture sector, we must maintain a commitment to develop innovative approaches to assisting Ontario farmers.

In the face of new economic realities, we must pay particular attention to our trading relationships with other countries.

We have not yet seen the final text of a trade agreement between Canada and the United States, despite a commitment on October 6 that such a text would be available within three weeks.

On the basis of a preliminary agreement, however, it is the view of my government that as a country we have given up far more than we have gained. The agreement does not achieve the federal government’s stated goal of security of access to United States markets. It does not provide a means of shielding Canadian exporters from restrictive US practices.

The agreement contains concessions that will seriously compromise Canada’s sovereign ability to shape its own political and economic agenda.

As soon as we receive the text of the final agreement, my government will introduce a resolution for debate in the Legislature and refer the text to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs.

My government will also release detailed studies on the agreement’s potential impact on selected Ontario industries and on its constitutional implications.

In tackling the economic and social challenges that confront our province, my government believes that now more than ever we must draw diverse elements together in addressing common needs. We have seen the effectiveness of this comprehensive approach in the efforts of the Ontario Health Review Panel, the Social Assistance Review Committee and the Premier’s Council.

Today my government will set forth new initiatives that it will follow in pursuit of its agenda. These initiatives are part of a sustained effort to develop imaginative approaches to achieving our vision of Ontario.

With the goodwill and involvement of all members of this Legislature, my government looks forward to fulfilling these commitments to the people of Ontario.

We must equip our children with the skills, knowledge, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit they will need to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

As part of this effort, government must exercise leadership and set clear goals for our education system.

We must begin by placing a renewed emphasis on the quality of our children’s education in their early school years, from kindergarten to grade 6.

We will, in consultation with parents, teachers and school boards:

Establish new provincial benchmarks for literacy, languages, mathematics, sciences and social studies;

Develop more effective ways of measuring student achievement against these benchmarks;

Ensure that parents receive more detailed information on their children’s progress.

We will support this drive for higher standards with an improved environment for learning basic skills.

We will provide school boards with resources to reduce class sizes in grades 1 and 2; increase the use of computers and educational software; purchase new textbooks and other learning materials; and help teachers to update their knowledge of computer skills.

As part of an ongoing effort to involve parents, teachers, administrators and legislators of all parties in the development of new initiatives, we will establish a select committee on education.

We will provide TVOntario with additional support to increase the amount of new programming aimed at elementary and secondary students.

We will also ensure greater use of our schools in the development of an integrated child care system. We will create more child care spaces for school-aged children in existing schools, new schools and in neighbourhood locations close to schools.

Our renewed emphasis on literacy and other basic learning skills in early school years should ensure that our children develop the essential foundation for future education and training.

At the same time. we recognize that there are many adults who do not have that foundation.

Last summer, we launched a program to increase literacy training through community-based programs in our schools, libraries and work sites.

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As we continue to assess the dimensions of this problem, we will promote literacy training, particularly for special groups, including older workers.

We will seek to increase public awareness about the personal and economic cost of illiteracy and the importance of dealing with this urgent issue.

Many Ontarians do not have access to affordable quality housing.

We believe the measures introduced in the past two years have been an effective first step in addressing this situation, but there is a great deal more that we must do to search out innovative and creative solutions.

We will continue to directly create and preserve low-priced and moderately priced housing through such measures as nonprofit housing; conversion-to-rental; upgrading, modifying and intensifying existing stock; and creating an environment conducive to increased investment in new rental housing.

Particular attention will be given to providing integrated housing and support-service care to special needs groups such as disabled persons, battered women and their children, the frail elderly and the homeless.

We will modify our planning policies, accelerate our efforts to contain the cost of construction and use government lands to increase the overall supply of affordable housing.

The provision of low-priced and moderately priced housing must be a central part of the planning process and not a supplementary activity at the end.

We will assist those with moderate incomes to realize their goal of first-time home ownership.

We will introduce a new Ontario home ownership savings plan to assist people to purchase their first homes.

In addition, we will increase protection for buyers of new homes.

As we look ahead to challenging global economic conditions, we must lay the foundation for future growth by building on existing strengths and creating new ones.

In particular, we must encourage the development of industries that export their goods and services. These are the industries that promote growth in the economy and provide the base for our general level of economic activity.

The Premier’s Council has been active in analysing Ontario’s competitive strengths and weaknesses.

The results of that analysis will provide us with an in-depth understanding of Ontario’s competitive position. The information will assist in changing the mandate of government institutions involved in economic development.

The analysis will be shared with the people of Ontario and with other governments through a series of papers on strategic development. The papers will be released in the near future.

A report prepared by the council, including recommendations to government, will be released early in the new year. These recommendations will help form the basis for the development of new economic strategies for growth.

Last June, the Premier’s Council announced the establishment of seven centres of excellence. Activity undertaken at the centres and supported through the technology fund will include laser and lightwave research, space and terrestrial science, integrated manufacturing, ground-water research, information technology, materials research and telecommunications research.

The council will ensure that these activities are linked to private sector research and development.

We invite other provinces to participate in the research activities carried out at the centres and we look forward to sharing the results of this research with all Canadians. At the same time, we shall put forward proposals for co-operative action leading to the establishment of a national network of centres of excellence.

The technology fund will also be used to stimulate co-operative, precompetitive private sector research and development. The council has reviewed numerous submissions and, in the near future, we will announce the first set of projects that are to receive funding. The proposals include development in the areas of remote sensing, software, robotics and analytical instrumentation.

While promoting technological innovation, we will continue to modernize our training system and ensure that Ontario’s workforce has the skills and flexibility to adjust to changing technological requirements.

We will modernize our apprenticeship system and make it more accessible to women and other groups whose participation rate has traditionally been low.

We will further expand accessibility to post-secondary programs through increased funding of the Ontario student assistance program.

Within the next few weeks we will introduce the appointment of an industrial restructuring commissioner. The commissioner will develop improved employment and business opportunities by playing an active role in the identification of businesses at risk and reviewing creative strategies, including employee-participation options.

The Premier’s Council has recently completed reviewing 24 proposals for the establishment of centres of entrepreneurship in our colleges and universities. The six proposals selected will be announced in the next few days.

The centres, which will operate in conjunction with the private sector, will promote the teaching of entrepreneurship, sponsor visiting entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and researchers and support the work of campus-based innovation centres.

We recognize that the issue of northern growth and development is one that will require ongoing attention.

In addition to our existing northern programs such as the northern development fund, we have been receiving input from northern Ontarians, and particularly northern development councils, on the role and mandate of the northern Ontario heritage fund. An advisory council will be established to help identify priorities in the distribution of the fund.

The standing committee on resources development will review the Mining Act to ensure that it reflects the importance of the mining industry and the new realities facing that industry.

A buy-north program will be developed to strengthen competitive northern sourcing and servicing of government operations.

We will sustain our effort to improve access to health care in northern Ontario.

We look forward to the development of additional approaches to northern development at the Conference on Northern Business and Entrepreneurship later this month in Thunder Bay.

Ontario’s roads, highways and waterfront areas play a vital role in the economic and social development of our province.

We will encourage the responsible development of our waterfront areas to meet needs associated with tourism, recreation, heritage preservation and industrial development.

We will strengthen our transportation infrastructure, particularly in northern and eastern Ontario:

We will immediately proceed with the planning, design and property acquisition for Highway 416 in the Ottawa area.

We will provide funds to accelerate the construction and rehabilitation of northern highway projects such as the Kenora bypass and Highway 560.

We will begin construction of the Sudbury southeast bypass upon completion of a successful environmental assessment.

More than 3.5 million Ontarians live in the greater Toronto area, Canada’s largest urban concentration. Yet for many years the rapid development of this area has taken place without an overall co-ordinated strategy for growth. The problem is particularly acute in the Toronto waterfront area where a multitude of governments and agencies have jurisdiction.

We will bring forward new ideas for co-ordinating policies, programs and plans to ensure the orderly development of the greater Toronto area.

As part of this effort, we will address the issue of transportation in the greater Toronto area.

If Ontario is to strengthen its competitive position, we must have a reliable, safe and cost-efficient supply of energy. We must also develop and use that energy in an environmentally safe way.

We will introduce a number of measures designed to encourage energy conservation and greater public input into the development of energy policy:

We will review the Power Corporation Act and related acts and introduce amendments to foster greater public accountability and responsiveness on the part of Ontario Hydro.

We will appoint a select legislative committee on energy.

We will introduce an energy efficiency act. The act will provide for higher standards of efficiency for appliances and heating and cooling equipment.

We will encourage greater municipal involvement in energy conservation.

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Throughout the last decade, Ontarians have been adopting a more positive attitude towards the lifestyles they choose to lead. We recognize that many illnesses and diseases such as stroke, heart disease and cancer are often directly related to nutritional and lifestyle choices.

We want a health care system that reflects this new awareness, a system that emphasizes the prevention of illness and disease and the promotion of healthy living habits. Our current health care system does an excellent job of treating people who are ill. We must now design and implement a system that also keeps people well.

We must also design a system that is able to serve us as much as possible within our own communities and our own homes. We recognize the limitations and tremendous expense associated with an institution-based system. We know that we must develop new and more innovative community-based approaches.

We also recognize that for many individuals such as seniors, the disabled and others in need of special services, quality health care is not enough to ensure they lead independent and productive lives.

We are determined to provide a broad network of support that will allow them to reach their full potential and contribute as much as possible according to their ability.

As a province, we are currently spending more than $11 billion on health care -- nearly one third of all government expenditures.

But our health care system is still faced with considerable challenges, including an increase in the rate of chronic illnesses and the rising cost of medical technology.

We will address these challenges through a new health strategy which emphasizes health promotion, prevention of disease, community-based services and alternatives to institutional care.

To provide leadership in pursuing this new direction, we will establish a Premier’s council on health strategy.

We will look to community health centres and health service organizations to play a greater role in health promotion.

We will encourage the development of innovative health care proposals by community groups, health care providers, agencies, researchers and others.

We will increase our support for alcohol and drug dependency treatment programs and community mental health programs.

As part of our overall emphasis on the prevention of injury, illness and disease, we must take steps to ensure a healthy and safe environment in the workplace.

We will reintroduce legislation to strengthen workers’ rights to a healthy and safe workplace. We will also implement the worker and community right-to-know legislation adopted earlier this year.

We will continue to act to restore both employer and employee confidence in the Workers’ Compensation Board.

We support the concept of early intervention and a client-centred approach in the rehabilitation of injured workers. We will be putting forward new ways of enhancing the re-employment of injured workers and reforming permanent partial disability pensions.

We will ask the standing committee on resources development to recommend further ways of reducing injuries and fatalities in Ontario mines.

Over the past two years we have made great progress in providing community supports which enable senior citizens to live at home, in their own communities, close to family and friends.

Similar supports have been provided to assist disabled Ontarians to live independent lives.

We will continue to expand this network of support services, such as the integrated homemakers program. The expanded network will enable the frail elderly and the disabled in every part of the province to have access to services such as meal preparation, laundry, shopping, personal care, light housekeeping and escorted transportation.

We will improve access to transportation services for seniors and the disabled.

Even with a broad network of social support services, a small number of seniors require a level of care which can only be provided in an institutional setting.

We believe that it is important that they receive such care in an environment and a cultural setting that are familiar to them.

To assist in meeting this need, we will support the establishment of new nursing homes tailored to the requirements of Ontario’s diverse cultural communities. The nursing homes will be linked to community multicultural programs for the elderly.

This initiative will be part of an ongoing effort to develop a social service network that is sensitive to the needs of our ethnic and cultural groups.

Our social assistance system must be redesigned to support individuals in achieving independence.

Over the past year, the Social Assistance Review Committee has undertaken a comprehensive study of our social assistance programs and conducted hearings across the province.

We look forward to releasing the committee’s report and recommendations this spring. We particularly await the committee’s advice concerning ways of removing current disincentives to achieving greater individual independence.

We will continue to take a strong and forceful approach to protecting our lands, lakes, rivers, beaches and air.

We will introduce a number of new initiatives to strengthen our effort to prevent pollution before it starts and restore the environment where it has been damaged.

We will bolster the enforcement of environmental protection standards. We will accelerate our effort to clean up beaches and environmental hazards. We will assist companies meeting select criteria to develop and install new technology required to comply with Ontario’s tough pollution standards. We will increase support for municipal and industrial recycling. We will introduce an ecological reserves act to preserve areas of outstanding environmental significance.

Ontarians must be protected from unfair and arbitrary practices in the marketplace.

A review of consumer protection legislation will be concluded this winter following a major research and consultative process involving consumer and industry groups. From this effort, we will bring forward a comprehensive consumer protection code.

We will reintroduce legislation to establish an independent and accessible rate review board for determining automobile insurance premiums. The legislation will also provide for a uniform classification system to be used by all insurance companies.

We will amend the Insurance Act to establish a means of arbitrating consumer complaints regarding unfair insurance practices.

Legislation will be reintroduced to provide protection for owners of motor vehicles needing repairs.

We will also act to reduce the number of alcohol-related vehicular accidents by establishing a reduce-impaired-driving-everywhere program covering every part of the province on a year-round basis, funding community-based public awareness programs and requiring alcohol-related industries to promote responsible use of their products.

Ontario will continue to play a constructive role in addressing the issues and challenges that face us as a nation.

We look forward to hosting the first ministers’ conference on the economy later this month in Toronto and to presenting concrete proposals for strengthening Canada’s capacity to adjust to changing global conditions.

The Meech Lake accord is before the Parliament of Canada and provincial legislatures. In accordance with our commitment, we will introduce a resolution and invite the Legislature to establish a select committee on constitutional reform to consider the accord and related matters.

We will continue to press for a national partnership in the provision of child care services.

Last June we announced a multi-year plan for increasing the range of services for Ontario parents who require quality care for their children. While we will continue to implement our plan, we still await the federal government’s response to the need for a national program.

In these and other matters, my government will continue to operate in a manner that is open and accessible to all Ontarians.

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Nous veillerons à ce que le gouvernement soit représentatif de l’ensemble de la population et à ce que toutes nos institutions reflètent fidèlement la diversité sociale et multiculturelle de l’Ontario.

The new Ministry of Citizenship will be responsible for implementing the multicultural strategy announced last June. Every government ministry will be asked to examine ways of ensuring that our diverse population is better served by government legislation, policies and programs. The Minister of Citizenship (Mr. Phillips), whose mandate has a particular focus on human rights, will have responsibility for the Ontario Human Rights Commission. We are committed to a strong and independent commission, capable of dealing with matters of discrimination.

Employment equity will continue to be a key part of our strategy to eliminate systemic discrimination. We have begun implementing this principle in the public sector.

The pay equity legislation approved last session will be proclaimed on January 1, 1988.

We will proceed with the scheduled implementation of the French Language Services Act.

The people of Ontario must have full confidence in their representatives.

We will immediately introduce conflict-of interest legislation that will govern the conduct of all members of this Legislature. Public disclosure and independent review will be an integral part of the new system.

The people of Ontario also have a right to expect accountability from their government for the management of their court system. We will act to ensure the effectiveness, efficiency and accessibility of Ontario courts.

We recognize the vital role that opposition parties play in the workings of this Legislature. We will ensure that this importance is reflected in a revitalized legislative committee structure.

As part of our ongoing exercise of legislative reform, we will support the appointment of members of the opposition to the chairmanship of legislative committees dealing with public accountability.

With the goodwill of all members of this Legislature, we will continue to help the people of this province prepare for the 21st century.

May Divine Providence attend your deliberations.

In our Sovereign’s name, I thank you.

God bless the Queen and Canada.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.

Prayers.

Mr. Speaker: I beg to inform the House that, to prevent mistakes, I have obtained a copy of His Honour’s speech which I shall now read. [Reading dispensed with.]

INTRODUCTION OF BILL

MEMBERS’ CONFLICT OF INTEREST ACT / LOI SUR LES CONFLITS D’INTÉRÊTS DES MEMBRES DE L’ASSEMBLÉE

Hon. Mr. Scott moved first reading of Bill 1, An Act to provide for greater Certainty in the Reconciliation of the Personal Interests of Members of the Assembly and the Executive Council with their Duties of Office.

L’hon. M. Scott propose la première lecture du projet de loi 1, Loi assurant une plus grande certitude quant au rapprochement des intérêts personnels des membres de l’Assemblée et du Conseil des ministres avec les devoirs de leurs fonctions.

Motion agreed to.

La motion est adoptée.

Mr. Speaker: There are two items of information that I would like to give to the House today. First, I beg to inform the House that the member for York South (Mr. B. Rae) is recognized as leader of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition.

Second, I beg to inform the House that the Clerk has laid upon the table the roll of members elected at the general election of 1987.

MOTION

THRONE SPEECH DEBATE

Hon. Mr. Conway moved that the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor to the House be taken into consideration tomorrow November 4, 1987.

Motion agreed to.

The House adjourned at 3:48 p.m.

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