Hon. Mr. Kwinter: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege: On Thursday, November 5, 1987, in answer to a question from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. B. Rae), I may have unintentionally given the impression that Ontario speaks for the country on the free trade issue.
I in no way intended to suggest that Ontario speaks for any other province or the nation, and I wish to apologize for any misunderstanding. I want to state clearly that if the tree trade agreement adversely affects any part of Canada, it affects all Canadians.
Mr. Philip: Last week an American couple who were crossing the Peace Bridge near Buffalo were detained by Canadian immigration officials, interrogated and threatened with a $5,000 fine. What had they done? They had attempted to enter Canada with a young Guatemalan who wanted to claim refugee status.
What is distressing about this incident is that they had done nothing wrong, nor had they done anything illegal. It is frightening, however, that what they were doing will become illegal when the federal government’s Bill C-84 becomes law in January.
Last week’s incident makes it clear that Bill C-84 is designed to intimidate those who would work to assist people seeking refugee status in Canada. These groups, many of them church-based, have in the past been able to save hundreds of people from torture and, indeed, death at the hands of oppressive regimes. Last week’s incident makes it clear that Bill C-84 is a threat to the humanitarian efforts of church and civil liberty groups in this country in their attempt to save lives of people.
Mr. Harris: Last week the Liberal government paid lip service to northern Ontario in its throne speech with more studies, more committees and a rehash of existing programs, but it did announce the Premier’s Conference on Northern Business and Entrepreneurship in Thunder Bay later this month, a fine concept unless you are from northeastern Ontario. It is free. All you need to do is pay your airfare, hotel room and meals. So what is $1,000? The Premier (Mr. Peterson) wants to hear your views.
Of course, the agenda says the Premier is doing most of the talking. But that is OK; you will be meeting with other small business people and entrepreneurs, or will you? Like you, they will have to take two or three days off work, four if from northeastern Ontario. But you really cannot afford the time, the money and the extra staff. Who can? Well, the Premier, his ministers and their staff will be there. The taxpayer will foot that bill. Development councils, colleges and universities will be there; taxpayers foot their bill. Municipal councils will be there; we are footing those bills. A load of consultants and civil servants will be there; I do not have to have to tell members who is footing their bill.
It is a fine concept, this Conference on Northern Business and Entrepreneurship. It is too bad northern business people and entrepreneurs, those who pay the taxes, create the jobs and look for new ways to create more, will not be there. The small businessman, the tourist operator, the farmer, the true entrepreneur cannot afford to go to the Premier’s conference. It is the same people who already have the input who will be there, but the Premier will send them a copy of the report, I am sure, bound in red, compliments of the taxpayer.
Mr. Dietsch: On Tuesday, November 3, a number of farmers from my riding of St. Catharines-Brock joined in a demonstration on the lawn at Queen’s Park to voice their concerns with the free trade agreement. I would like to commend them for expressing their concerns with the free trade agreement.
I am concerned about an article in the Sunday Star entitled “Ontario Wineries ‘Encouraged’ by Hint of Free Trade Bail-Outs.” It appears that the Secretary of State for External Affairs, Mr. Clark, has given his assurances that the wine industry will somehow be saved from the negative impact of a free trade agreement. His sentiments are admirable; however, I feel he is ignoring the difficulties facing the growers. The wine industry and the growers have been united in their opposition to this agreement. I hope that the honourable Secretary of State for External Affairs, Mr. Clark, is not attempting to divide and conquer.
I know the Premier (Mr. Peterson) and the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell) are concerned with the devastating problems free trade will create for the tender fruit industry as well as the grape and wine industry. This government is committed to examining all the possibilities available to protect the agricultural community and the wine industry.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: Last Friday I called a local radio station in Windsor, CKWW, and asked if I could have a copy of a transcript of the radio ads that were presented on behalf of the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) in the last provincial election on free trade. It indicated that I could get a copy of those ads and that I could pick them up.
“I am afraid we were a little premature in promising you a copy of Bill Wrye’s free trade and auto pact message. We contacted Mr. Wrye’s office in Toronto and we were instructed not to release the message. Our instructions came from Mr. Vic Phillips, Bill Wrye’s communications officer.
“Hello, I am Bill Wrye. One in six jobs in Ontario depends on the auto industry. In Windsor the number is far higher. We must protect the auto pact that has served us so well. The Peterson team will not accept any free trade deal that guts the auto pact. We need your support to protect jobs in Windsor.”
Mr. Sterling: Today we learned from media reports of another government report about the possible loss of 100,000 jobs for women in our service sector as a result of a free trade agreement with the United States. It should not be suspect, however, that the Premier only last week specifically mentioned women in the service sector as being a potential victim of free trade and then the following week a leaked report confirms his suspicions.
Why cannot we deal with the facts, all the facts? Does this government feel our public will be overwhelmed if confronted with conclusions from both sides of the issue and left to decide the facts for themselves? This is the second report the government has released on free trade. While the government offers every negative aspect of free trade, where are the positive aspects listed?
Where are the answers to the questions of how many jobs will be created by free trade, how many jobs will be lost without free trade, how many jobs will not be created without free trade? I am sure the public would be interested in the answers to these questions as well. Heaven forbid that officials may discover that some benefit may be derived for Ontario from a free trade agreement with the United States if just a few more questions were asked.
Mr. Carrothers: I would like to draw the attention of the members of this House to the accomplishments of a resident of the town of Oakville, Tony Amery. Recently, Mr. Amery was given the chairman’s award by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. This was the first time this award was given; it is to be given each year by the chamber in recognition of outstanding contributions as a chamber volunteer.
Mr. Amery, who is chief economist for DuPont Canada, has served on chamber committees for the past 15 years. He is at present chairman of the chamber’s economic policy committee, his third term in that post. Mr. Amery also serves on the national board of directors of the chamber. In the past, he has served on many financial and executive committees of the chamber, particularly the Canada-US trade relations committee.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: There has been much ado in the education community in other provinces around the problems of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, most notably recently in Nova Scotia. When recent headlines have said that testing for AIDS in the private schools in this province seems to be something that is starting, it is of great concern to me, as the Education critic for this party, that we have not seen any statements from ministers of the crown about their opinions on this matter.
We have heard nothing from the new minister responsible for human rights in Ontario in terms of the obvious discrimination that would ensue against any young person being found to have the AIDS virus. We have heard nothing from the Minister of Health (Mrs. Caplan) in terms of the unacceptability of this process in Ontario and we have heard nothing from the Minister of Education (Mr. Ward). I say it is time we had some kind of joint statement from these gentlemen and that lady.
Hon. Mrs. McLeod: I am pleased to announce today the creation of six centres of entrepreneurship at Ontario post-secondary institutions. This initiative was undertaken on the recommendation of the Premier’s Council, which was established with a mandate to “champion entrepreneurship and innovation across the province.”
The council’s subcommittee on entrepreneurship proposed a program of chairs or centres of entrepreneurship sponsored by government and supported by industry which would provide a focal point for activities related to entrepreneurship in colleges and universities, develop curriculum materials, provide training courses for teachers and guidance counsellors and stimulate research and the dissemination of results.
The centres will also sponsor visits by practicing entrepreneurs to share their experiences with students and support the work of the campus-based innovation centres by inviting experts to review business plans and advise budding entrepreneurs.
Twenty-four proposals were received from post-secondary institutions in response to the request for proposals. Eleven of these came from colleges of applied arts and technology, seven from the universities and six were joint submissions. The number of responses and the quality of the proposals clearly showed the interest of the colleges and universities in developing programs that will stimulate the awareness and teaching of entrepreneurship.
An 11-member selection panel was established under the chairmanship of Donald Webster, chairman of Helix Investments Ltd., to evaluate the proposals and make recommendations to the Premier’s Council. The panel comprised respected members of the Ontario business community and well-known educators from Canada and the United States specializing in entrepreneurship.
The proposals chosen for the establishment of the first six centres of entrepreneurship are from the following: York University; Ryerson Polytechnical Institute; Lakehead University and Confederation College; Queen’s University with St. Lawrence College and Loyalist College; Canadore College with Nipissing University College; and Centennial College.
Each of the centres will receive a government grant of up to $150,000 per annum provided that contributions of $50,000 from the business sector are received. Funding is guaranteed for four years of operation provided the centre’s performance is satisfactory.
I want to thank all those who have contributed their time, energy and creativity to make the introduction of this program a success, either by preparing a submission or participating in the selection process. I would also like to encourage those whose proposals were not selected to continue developing their activities in entrepreneurship education by seeking support from other sources and remaining in contact with the centres.
The centres of entrepreneurship are part of a series of government initiatives intended to create in Ontario an environment which is conducive to entrepreneurial activity. It is an innovative concept which supports other measures already announced to encourage the development of research and technology transfer and to ensure that Ontario remains in the forefront of economic leadership and technological innovation.
l am taking this opportunity to share the findings of this document, which was prepared by the Ontario women’s directorate, with the honourable members and with the Ontario public. It represents a dimension of this contentious issue that must be addressed; that is, the economic implications that the proposed free trade agreement holds for many Ontario women who work in trade-sensitive jobs.
Certain industries within the manufacturing sector have been identified as being vulnerable to negative impacts as a result of the free trade agreement. These include clothing, textiles and footwear. These high-risk industries employ over 44 per cent of the women who work in the manufacturing sector. This represents almost 100,000 Ontario working women.
En tant que ministre délégué à la Condition féminine, j’exprime mon inquiétude à l’égard des répercussions négatives qu’aura manifestement l’accord du libre-échange sur une partie importante de la main-d’oeuvre féminine de l’Ontario.
Our government has confirmed its commitment to open dialogue between the government and the Ontario people on this free trade agreement. In order to make that process work, we are determined to share information with the public. I believe the document I present today makes a valuable contribution towards better informing all of us on an issue that concerns all of us.
Hon. R. F. Nixon: I am pleased to table in the House later today all three volumes of the Public Accounts of Ontario for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1987. This is the earliest release date ever achieved for the complete reporting of Ontario’s public accounts, for which I thank my own staff and the staff of all government ministries. The Office of the Provincial Auditor also is to be commended for its high standards of work and co-operation.
Volume I contains a summary of the audited financial statement of the province as well as the details for each ministry. Volume 2 presents the financial statements of selected crown corporations, boards and commissions. Volume 3 lists expenditures on salaries, travel expenses and other payments over specified levels. That is the one I commend to the attention of all new members.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, you can understand how, personally, I am excited about the centres for entrepreneurship in the universities of our province. As one of the great proponents of free enterprise on this side of the House, I think it is splendid. However, I find it somewhat ironic and I find it hard to get my tongue out of my cheek at this point, as a matter of fact, to notice that this is the first major statement--the other just being a reiteration of a policy from the election--the minister has chosen to make.
I think it speaks to a real lack of understanding about what the real problems of our university system are at this point and I cannot exactly get excited about the notion of setting up what I think will be a very short-term kind of involvement--I hope it will be at the university level--of this kind of notion of business involvement.
The member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) was teasing another member from the Sudbury area about the fact there is nothing here for Laurentian, as if Paul Desmarais, that great $2-million donor recently to that university, is now being told that is no centre for entrepreneurship. This is a terrible slap at Mr. Desmarais. I am sure he is as disappointed as the member for Nickel Belt must be that there is going to be no centre for entrepreneurship in Laurentian.
The member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. D. S. Cooke) has also been lamenting the fact that there is not going to be a centre in southwestern Ontario. We are shattered by the spottiness of this announcement, Mr. Speaker, and I am sure you, being a member from southwestern Ontario, are deeply hurt that no centre has been brought to any area near your riding. On your behalf, I would like to express my disappointment.
Mr. B. Rae: First, I do want to respond in substance to the comments by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Sorbara), the minister responsible for women’s issues, but I am sure we all want to congratulate the Treasurer (Mr. R. F. Nixon) for this very early publication of the public accounts. I suppose one could say it is one of the miracles of microwave that it takes a shorter time to produce these books in the kitchen than at other times, but we appreciate very much the efforts to produce these and I am sure we will all look forward to reading these tonight.
Mr. B. Rae: With respect to the comments of the Minister of Labour, I think we all are aware of this report because we have read about it in the Toronto Star, where the report was leaked as a matter of course, and I think we can now all expect that every report coming from the government in this area will no doubt be carefully stage-managed so that, instead of having a mere one day’s news on a report, we will now have four or five dribs and drabs, carefully stage-managed productions from the Minister of Labour and other cabinet ministers. That is par for the course, particularly with this kind of government.
But let me say to the minister that the critical question really is not simply the information the government is providing--which in its own right is useful enough and certainly points to a problem which we in this party have been talking about for some time--the critical question is: What is the government going to do?
If I may say so, the Premier (Mr. Peterson) can give as many speeches as he wants all over Canada. He can get up in the House and make all kinds of statements, he can give a ringing throne speech--or he might have done, but he did not--but he still has to answer this question: What is he going to do? That is the critical question. That is the question the government cannot answer and that is the question it has to answer.
Mr. Jackson: At the outset, I would like to thank the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. Kwinter) for his clarification this afternoon but, quite frankly, it was not until after the Premier had left the province and begun his speaking engagements that it became abundantly clear that this government could not speak for the rest of Canada.
Mr. Jackson: I would also like to compliment the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mrs. McLeod) on her maiden statement. Unlike my colleague in the New Democratic Party, I do meet this announcement with a certain degree of appreciation. I do so as a member of the Miller government, which first announced the program, and I am pleased this government has seen fit to follow through with it.
It is unfortunate that the minister has not seen fit to mention those entrepreneurs in Ontario, such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, which have been extensively promoting this program and have done a considerable amount of work in creating linkages with our community colleges and our universities. Perhaps that was an oversight on behalf of the minister.
We should also mention that Queen’s University has already had this program in place for some years. We are pleased they have been included on the rather short list of those institutions which are eligible for the funding.
Of course, we join the minister in commending all the colleges for the quality of their presentations, but unfortunately there were 18 which were denied, and she has not left any window open as to what the prospects for expansion of this program will be over the next four years. A commitment of $150,000 seems rather meagre. I think if she checks with Mr. Grafstein, she will find out that cannot buy even a single credible poll on any issue for her government, let alone acquire the services of a Liberal consultant. Yet she would suggest that each of those colleges and institutions she announced today in the House would be able to put on the kinds of programs required for those kinds of dollars.
I would hope that, as the minister expects to inspire the young people of this province to work with their creative minds and their sense of vision in our colleges and universities, she would also be mindful of the fact that we require government legislation which still continues to create an environment for those graduates to use those skills and to help contribute to the economy of this province.
Now to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Sorbara), who was gracious enough to provide this House with a copy of his statement in the Toronto Star on November 8, I found it particularly disturbing that this individual minister would make this statement, having served his government and this province in his capacity as Minister of Skills Development for two and a half years.
I note with interest in the government’s announcement in the Star that women with less than grade 9 education who do not speak English will not walk out of a textile plant into a high-tech job. He also makes reference to the fact that they are almost certainly all at minimum wage.
The minister has taken a terrible moment in which to focus on the problems that immigrant and older women are experiencing in this province. Given his career as Skills Development minister, it is somewhat inappropriate for him to be standing in the House today talking about the problems that these women and undertrained workers are having in this province.
He published this document--it is significant that it has so much blank space on the front--Ontario’s Training Strategy. It specifically eliminated the women in technical training and trades. That program was not extended and funded by him under his ministry.
The literacy funds that were his responsibility in his ministry were shunted around and reannounced three times in the course of a 12-month period. They started out in his ministry, then they were sent over to the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, then they were sent over to the Ministry of Education. Now they have found their way back to the Ministry of Skills Development, and he has not increased a major commitment to literacy.
What has he been doing for two and a half years? He knew the free trade document was coming; he knew, by his own statements, the number of people who would have job transition problems. Yet he has the nerve to stand in this Legislature and announce that somehow the free trade agreement is going to have a devastating effect. Where has he been? What leadership is he providing for those women in this province? Now it is a new minister’s problem, and he has done nothing for two and a half years to help them.
Mr. B. Rae: I have a question to the Premier. When the Premier met some time ago with Ambassador Yeutter, he told me and he told the House that he had told Ambassador Yeutter that the provinces, in our view, would have a veto over the implementation of any trade pact. He then went on to say, “I explained to him the importance of the auto pact to Ontario.”
Hon. Mr. Peterson: It depends on what the trade pact is, obviously. As the member knows, and I will repeat myself, when we were originally discussing this matter there was a sense that a great number of things were under provincial jurisdiction. That is not, obviously, as clear in the final results we obtained a couple of weeks ago and will not be perfectly clear until the final wording of the final agreement we are supposed to see some time in November.
That being said, we are doing a thorough review of all of the constitutional and jurisdictional aspects of the deal as we see it at the present time. When that is done, we will be able to share that with the House in very precise terms, to show the areas where, under the deal as currently conceived, we do have jurisdiction.
Mr. B. Rae: Ambassador Yeutter stated recently, when he came back two weeks ago and gave a speech to the Empire Club of Canada and the Canadian Clubs of Toronto, that he expected the provinces to agree to the agreement and to partake in any part of the agreement that required provincial involvement and, indeed, emphasized that this would be important in terms of the approval by Congress of the deal.
Since the Premier has stated so clearly now in the last two or three days how strongly opposed he is to the deal, I am sure he would want the Congress to defeat the bill, if that was possible. Is it the Premier’s wish that Congress defeat this measure? If that is his wish, does he not agree that a clear and categorical statement by Ontario that (a) we will not ratify it in any way, shape or form and (b) that we will not implement the deal in so far as it affects provincial jurisdiction at all, would have an impact on congressional approval and is something we have an obligation to do?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: My friend would like me to stand and say that it should be defeated in the United States. I think it should be defeated here in Canada. That is, I guess, the difference between the member and myself in that particular regard. I think we have to fight our own battles here. We are now joined in a great national debate. Everyone will have a point of view, including the member, as to how this should be handled and, ultimately, there will be a judgement made.
I am aware of Ambassador Yeutter’s comments, but I should also refer the member to the comments of some of the federal ministers on this side of the border who say provincial approval is not necessary. If I were asked for my signature to ratify the deal the answer would be a clear and unequivocal “No.” We will not ratify that deal.
Mr. B. Rae: Perhaps the difference between the Premier and myself on this question is that I think the deal should be defeated in Ontario in so far as it affects Ontario. That is the position I have taken as an Ontario politician. I have not heard the Premier of this province say a word about what he is going to do in Ontario on behalf of the people of Ontario who are affected by this deal.
What I am asking the Premier today, as I have asked him on other occasions, is simply this: Is he prepared to tell us whether he is going to make a categorical statement that Ontario will not implement any part of this agreement because of the effect that will have on the rest of Canada and because of the effect that will have on the ratification of this deal in the US Congress? Does the Premier not understand that if he were sincerely interested in defeating this measure, Ontario and Ontario’s jurisdiction would be an excellent place to start, instead of talking about all the other things he would like to see happen?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: With great respect to my friend opposite, I think we have stated very clearly where we are on this situation. I also explained to my friend that we are analysing all of the jurisdictional aspects of it. My honourable friend would stand up and wave a stick even if he does not have a stick.
We are looking at it. The Attorney General (Mr. Scott) is looking at all of the constitutional implications. As I have said, we are not in favour of the deal and will not sign any kind of agreement that gives any impression we are ratifying the deal. But the substantive legal questions have yet to be determined. We will share that with the House at the appropriate time and then he can share with us his views on how to handle it.
Mr. B. Rae: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. Can he tell us whether the fact that the member for Oakwood (Ms. Hošek) and the member for Eglinton (Ms. Poole) have now been elected to the House has affected the government of Ontario’s position with respect to the commercialization of child care in Ontario and the funding of commercial child care centres by the federal government? Is it still the position of the government of Ontario that the federal program should allow for the funding of private profit day care in Ontario?
Mr. B. Rae: That will be an interesting discussion with the member for Oakwood, unless she has changed her position, because she was hostile to that position when she was outside the government, as was the member for Eglinton when she was outside the government.
The supplementary question I have for the minister is this: The program that was announced by the government in June last year said that the government is intending $165 million more to be spent on child care over the next three years. Can the minister confirm whether in actual fact that commits the province to spending $27.5 million per year? Is that the correct interpretation?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: I am sorry, I cannot verify that one way or the other. What we have said is that for this fiscal year we will be spending a total of $189 million compared with $88 million when we formed the government, and at the end of the current three-year cycle we will be spending $325 million.
We have also indicated that we would spend $33 million for capital, and we would be introducing the direct grants this fiscal year and income testing rather than needs testing next fiscal year. That is part of the total package. But I cannot verify the specific figure the honourable leader just gave.
Mr. B. Rae: What I am saying is that what the minister is in fact announcing is 50 per cent dollars. He is announcing spending programs, half of which are coming from the federal government, and he is announcing them over a period of years when in fact the annual amount is considerably less.
By way of final supplementary to the minister, can he explain the number of stories that are coming to us on this side of the House from people who are involved in negotiations over the new federal program indicating that the message from Ontario, particularly since Black Monday, has been in those discussions, as in others, that Ontario does not want to see a major program coming from the federal government because of its cost implications for Ontario and its cost implications for Canada?
I wonder whether the minister can explain the number of those stories that are now circulating and why it would be that the provincial government’s message to the federal government would be this: “You guys go ahead and fund profit centres. That is fine with us; we have no objection to your doing that. We do not want to be seen to be doing that ourselves, but you go ahead and do it and we will participate in that program. Do not make it too big a program because we do not think the people of Canada can afford that program and Ontario is not prepared to foot the bill for that kind of program.”
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: To go back to the editorial comment at the beginning of the question, at the present time Ontario pays slightly in excess of 60 per cent of the cost. The contribution from the federal government is about 38 or 39 per cent all in. Part of the reason for that is that the federal government does not contribute anything towards capital costs. We understand it is prepared to at least consider that as part of its new cost-sharing arrangement. So we could come closer to 50-50 when we know what the new deal is.
With respect to the specific question itself, I took the initiative on behalf of this government and my government colleagues to contact the federal minister and indicate clearly that Ontario was ready to move forward with its full commitment. I would point out to the honourable member that the amount of money Ontario spends is Ontario’s decision. The Treasurer (Mr. R. F. Nixon) has several sources of income, the various tax fields that he inhabits and transfer payments from the federal government. That is a form of revenue to the Treasurer. It has nothing whatsoever to do with my programs.
I have a commitment from my cabinet colleagues that we are going to spend the kinds of dollars that we said, and we are prepared to do that. Obviously, we can do more if we have federal cost sharing. That is all we are saying.
Mr. Brandt: I want to get back to the questions to the Minister of Housing that we were pursuing last week. The minister will recall that during the election campaign there was a commitment made for 102,000 rental units that were proposed by her government. During the course of the questioning last week, she reconfirmed that figure of 102,000 units, although there was some ambiguity with respect to the time frame in which those units would be built.
My understanding is that in the emergency debate that was held last week that figure has changed rather substantively and has in fact been reduced to 66,000 new rental units that the minister proposed would be constructed between 1985 and 1990. Will the minister confirm today to this House what figure she proposes to use in terms of forecasting the number of new rental units her government proposes to build and in what time frame?
Hon. Ms. Hošek: The government recognizes the seriousness of the problem of people who do not have access to adequate housing which they can afford. We have announced a series of programs to provide that housing. We announced a program and announced funding. We funded units starting in 1985, we funded units starting in 1986 and in 1987, and we will continue to fund units every year at least until 1992 and beyond to make sure that the number of units required will be there.
Mr. Cousens: No, we want an answer, and we want a very basic, truthful answer. Going back to the government’s ad during the election campaign, as the Liberal Party of Ontario the government said it would complete 102,000 affordable rental units by 1989. That is going to take some money. They are not going to do anything unless the Treasurer (Mr. R. F. Nixon) has given the minister any money for this. How much money have they allocated, as a government, for 102,000 affordable rental units? How much in dollars have they set aside for this?
Hon. Ms. Hošek: The government’s commitment to build and convert units to supply the needs of the people in Ontario who need affordable housing is a matter of public record. I will not take the time of the House to detail those numbers again. If the member is interested in the details of every one of those announcements, I will be pleased to make a package of the announcements available to him.
Mr. Cousens: On behalf of the people of Ontario, I would like to know, and I would like to know in this House--I do not need to have secret notes coming back and forth with private information; we want it public, we want to know so that all the people of Ontario know--how much money the government is going to put into houses.
Maybe the minister will try this question then: Where are they going to be? How many will she build in Toronto, how many in Hamilton, how many in Ottawa? Just for three cities, will she tell us where they are going to build them?
Hon. Ms. Hošek: The number of units that we are funding is a matter of public record. It is not a secret document. We will be glad to send that information across the House and everywhere else. The amount of money that the government is committing between 1985 and 1940 is $645 million.
The Deputy Minister of Housing stated in a newspaper article last week that housing in Metro Toronto was 40 per cent overpriced, I believe that was his correct statement. He said in that same particular article, “We already know in the ministry how to reduce the costs as they relate to that 40 per cent overpricing.”
Hon. Ms. Hošek: There was a study that was conducted in the ministry in 1983 that yielded some of the numbers that are being referred to in the question. The issue of increasing the supply of housing which people can afford is one the ministry takes extremely seriously. There are a variety of methods that can be used to increase the supply of housing and to make the price closer to that which people can afford. We have a commitment to doing exactly that.
Mr. Brandt: We are heading for a massive shortfall in housing in this province, and we want to bring it to the government’s attention because there are people who are going to suffer as a result of not having an appropriate and responsive type of program out of the minister’s ministry, prepared over the course of the next few years.
I ask the minister again, since her deputy minister made a very definitive statement indicating that he in fact, through his ministry, knew how to reduce the price of housing in this province--which he indicates in Metro Toronto is 40 per cent overpriced--if she can tell us specifically what he has in mind; not a litany of what the minister has written in her briefing book, not a litany of programs that she has and that she is proposing to bring forward, but a specific indication--simply one specific indication; that is all I ask--of how she intends to reduce the price of housing in this particular area, Metro Toronto.
Hon. Ms. Hošek: I am committed, along with this government, to building or causing more housing to be built, which will be affordable to the people of Ontario. We have already indicated some of the ways in which this can happen. One of them is the use of government land. One of the others is a commitment from the municipalities that a significant proportion of the new housing built will be affordable housing.
Mr. Brandt: If we use the minister’s figures of 66,000 units--which now are to be constructed, as I understand the context of her speech, in an entirely different time frame, from 1985 to 1990--what the minister has done in fact is simply to extend by one year, at the other end of the scale, moving the date from 1989 to 1990. As well, the minister has taken a couple of years at the front end of the scale to give her a much longer time frame in which to build all of these houses.
Now, instead of building 102,000 units in the rental market for affordable housing, she is now apparently moving that number down to 66,000, knowing full well, in her own ministry reports, that during that same time frame we require something like 120,000 rental units in this province through the years 1985 to 1990.
Will the minister please indicate what she intends to say to the 100,000 people who will not have adequate accommodations as a result of having a 50,000-unit shortfall in her ministry’s own projections over the course of the next few years? It simply is unacceptable to those of us on this side of the House.
Hon. Ms. Hošek: The ministry committed funding to begin in 1985 for the building of units that are affordable. That building is coming on stream right now. That is the reason that we describe the program as going from 1985 to 1990. After funding has been committed, it takes 18 months for the units to come on stream. The units that we committed in 1985 are coming on stream right now.
Mr. Mackenzie: I have a question for the Minister of Health. The laying of criminal charges this weekend against Sister Elizabeth Manhertz, president of the St. Elizabeth Nursing Home Society, is the latest chapter in the concerns that have been raised about this operation for some time.
Can the minister indicate if her ministry’s investigation, which the previous minister assured me was being conducted, covered the total operation, and can she tell us when the results of this investigation will be made public?
Hon. Mrs. Caplan: I am aware of the events which have been taking place, and in fact the previous minister gave information to this House. I am not prepared to comment on the charges that were laid as they are criminal charges and before the court.
Regarding this government’s response to nursing homes generally and our commitment to quality of care, I believe that over the course of the past two years there have been many initiatives taken to ensure that compliance with the act is in place.
Mr. Mackenzie: The minister knows that she did not answer the question with regard to when the results will be made known. Quebec law protects those who are dying and their heirs from scavengers who take advantage of the weakened condition of their prey to divert money or property from the rightful owners or heirs to themselves.
In Quebec, a gift made by a person who is suffering from a mortal illness and is aware that he or she is dying will be invalidated as a gift in contemplation of death, unless the person receiving the gift can prove the circumstances surrounding the gift validated. Can the minister tell us if she will consider similar legislation here in Ontario?
Hon. Mrs. Caplan: On August 6, the minister gave an order to take over the specific operation, and in fact the St. Elizabeth Nursing Home licence was assumed by the ministry for a period of six months. The care was increased and I believe, under the amendments to the Nursing Homes Act, the existing powers which the ministry has and the commitment that we have to quality of care within nursing homes, that we have the ability to ensure that to the residents of Ontario.
Mr. Runciman: My question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. The Kingston Whig-Standard ran an article on October 16 about a woman named Roberta Spark, who was recently appointed to the Social Assistance Review Board as a welfare dispute arbitrator.
Fourteen months ago, Ms. Spark was convicted of theft from her former employer and fined for the offence. Apparently this was not revealed during the interview process for the board position, and in fact the senior staffing officer who presided over the interview process is quoted as saying that the conviction does not relate to the job.
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: Let me share with my colleagues that the process of finding the 12 permanent members for the board was a lengthy one. It was a totally open process, unlike in the past when people were simply appointed to it. I believe that something like 1,200 applications were made, and it was narrowed down to about 60 or 70 where very in-depth interviews took place.
I am not aware of the specific situation the member just raised. I am sorry I did not know about that before. I will certainly look into it myself. The nature of the charge obviously is going to impact upon the job that this lady is being asked to do. As the honourable member knows, there is theft and there is theft; there is quite a range of it. I can assure him, however, if it is something that is considered serious and if there is an impact on the job, we will certainly review it.
Mr. Runciman: The holier-than-thou approach comparing what the previous methods were is not unexpected, but I wonder if the approach the minister has outlined today would hold true if the candidate was not an active Liberal. The person in question, Ms. Spark, was very actively involved in the re-election campaign of the former--I stress “former”--Solicitor General. This appointment smells of patronage.
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: Let me share with my colleagues that this selection process was narrowed down to a decision between the human resources branch of the government, not of my ministry, and Ms. Joanne Campbell, who is going to be the new chairman of the board. I think the honourable member, knowing both those sources, would appreciate the fact that no patronage would be involved in that process, that it had nothing at all to do with minister or even the total ministry and that it certainly had nothing to do with my government colleagues. This was the most open, the fairest selection process, and it was based totally, completely and entirely on merit.
Mr. D. R. Cooke: I have a question for the Attorney General. Karen Marciano is a 30-year-old married woman who in 1983 at the age of 26, at the urging of her fiancé, sought out a self-help group to deal with her repressed blocked feelings, complicated by flashbacks, as a result of an incestuous relationship she had with her father as a small child.
As part of her therapy, she confronted her father. His consistent denial forced her to sue him, in front of a jury, for a successful award of $50,000 for pain and suffering and punitive damages. After the trial, Mr. Justice Maloney found that the assault was governed by clause 45(1)(j) of the Limitations Act and was unactionable after four years from the date of the occurrence.
Hon. Mr. Scott: I thank the honourable member for his question. It is correct to say that when this woman sued her father for incest she was deprived of the judgement the court otherwise would have made, because four years is the limitation period that is provided in the province’s Limitations Act for assault.
I can tell my honourable friend and my colleagues in the House that for about six months now, at least, we have been reviewing the various limitations that apply to a wide variety of acts and events with a view to bringing before the House at some appropriate time a completely revised Limitations Act. I am grateful to the honourable member for bringing to my attention this particular case, about which I should make no other comment, because it is being appealed.
Mr. D. R. Cooke: In considering various alternatives, would the Attorney General consider a 10-year limitation period for incestuous assault, with the adoption of a principle of delayed discovery of that assault in situations of this sort?
Hon. Mr. Scott: The honourable member, no doubt, knows that delayed discovery as a principle is one that the courts have begun to apply to all limitation periods, and it may well be a principle that should be incorporated in any renewed legislation. There is no particular virtue, however, it seems to me, in proceeding piecemeal in this matter to deal with only one kind of egregious difficulty.
What the Legislature would want to do, it seems to me, to be practical and fair, is to review all limitations in tortuous and contractual cases and try to develop a consistent approach to all of them. That is what our review of the Limitations Act is designed to do. I would be grateful to honourable members, if they have suggestions of their own on this or allied matters? to let me have them so that they can be part of that review.
The minister should be aware that there was a serious and potentially fatal incident at Inco’s Frood-Stobie mill on July 4, 1986. The area mining engineer assured union Local 6500 that a thorough investigation was being conducted by the mining branch in Toronto and that the branch director would then make a decision regarding prosecutions. Based on that assurance, the union agreed to co-operate and not to appeal the ministry’s assessment report.
As of late September 1987, the union was advised that the file on this incident had been lost by the Ministry of Labour and the time limits for prosecution had expired. That is not very surprising, since my own office has now forwarded two complete files on this incident to the minister’s office. We were advised as of Thursday last that both had been lost and were asked to send a further copy; that is the third copy.
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: Let me begin by welcoming the member for Sudbury East and let me simply say that the great traditions of debate in question period between the former Minister of Labour and the former member for Sudbury East are obviously going to continue. She asked me what I would recommend. The first thing I will do is to make very certain that when that third full file is sent over, we will have a person waiting there for it at the door.
Let me just seriously acknowledge to my friend from Sudbury East that I will look into this matter. It is not one I was aware of as I came into the House today for question period. If the time limit has expired on prosecutions, then the time limit has expired on prosecutions unless there is room within the law to extend that time period. I certainly will look into that.
Let me say that it is our understanding that the ministry’s Sudbury office did receive a letter recommending that prosecutions be initiated. I would like to ask the minister if, when he is checking into this issue, he can confirm this, and second, what action he is prepared to take in order to ensure that despite the incompetence of his ministry, which allowed the whole matter to be bungled, such occurrences will not be repeated in other serious and potentially fatal incidents. Finally, is he going to do something about the swamp to try to clean it up?
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: My friend from Sudbury East is stealing other people’s lines and unfortunately she does not realize that the line was inappropriate then and is inappropriate now. I do not think we should start off this session of the House with that sort of rhetoric.
I answered, in my answer to the main question, that the matter would be looked into with all haste, and I will do that; but my goodness, let us start off, her a new member with new critic responsibilities and me a new minister, with a kind of decorum that did not, unfortunately, characterize the last session of this House.
Mr. Jackson: I have a question for the Minister of Housing. Last week I raised in the Legislature the plight of the tens of thousands of tenants in the city of Toronto in approximately 2,000 buildings. In 877 of those buildings, the tenants are faced with increases in excess of 25 per cent. They still do not know how much and when they are going to have to pay their retroactive payments. Tens of thousands of tenants in the city of North York are facing an equally serious problem and yet the minister refuses to make public the statistics on the magnitude of this problem.
Will the minister brief her caucus colleagues the member for Oriole (Mrs. Caplan), the member for Lawrence (Mr. Cordiano), the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Kwinter), the member for Downsview (Mr. Leone), the member for Willowdale (Mr. Matrundola), the member for York Mills (Mr. J. B. Nixon), the member for Yorkview (Mr. Polsinelli) and the member for Don Mills (Mr. Velshi) on the full magnitude of this backlog problem and share with them the statistics on how serious a problem it is for the tens of thousands of tenants who will be experiencing 30 and 40 per cent increases?
Hon. Ms. Hošek: I know the problem of the backlog in rent review is serious. I take it very seriously. I am committed to ensuring that this backlog will be removed as soon as possible and that there will be certainty for tenants and the public. Let me just point out, however, that the fact someone has asked for an increase of a particular number is no guarantee he will get it. The rent review process will yield fair response and those numbers landlords are asking for are no index of the actual increase people will have to pay.
Mr. Jackson: That is a rather extraordinary assurance the minister has given, particularly in the light of the elements of Bill 51 that are nondiscretionary on the part of the rent administrators. I specifically asked the minister if she would brief the members of this House who will be faced with the tenant phone calls from North York. But according to her failure to release publicly the document--l would just like to share with this House how serious the statistics are in North York. According to her own ministry, there are 1,722 applications for whole-building review in North York. They were filed only in the first half of this year.
Thirty-five per cent of the applications, affecting a total of 607 buildings, have given notice of increase of 25 per cent. There could be tens of thousands of tenants involved in North York. The issue of retroactivity, the requirement to pay that, is hanging over the heads of these tenants. One of her own ministry officials has now pegged it at maybe next November. Landlords are making statements that they feel special trust funds should be established for these funds.
Mr. Jackson: When will the minister make public the statistics on the magnitude of this problem and provide the necessary assurances through Christmas, when people are going to have to make some serious decisions about whether or not they should move out of their tenancies because they cannot afford them ?
Hon. Ms. Hošek: We are committed to removing the backlog as soon as possible and we are using all the means at our disposal to do so. At this time we are actively reviewing increasing staffing, more effective processing of the applications and a superior use of technology. We are looking at all of those options very seriously. I will use whatever ways are available to process that backlog as quickly as possible.
Let me reiterate that I know this is a serious problem. I am very concerned for the tenants involved. It is a serious issue, and we will be working hard to make sure that those answers are given as soon as possible.
Mr. Tatham: My question is to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. The General Motors-Suzuki plant in Ingersoll in Oxford county was to meet the auto pact’s 60 per cent Canadian-content rule needed for duty-free status within two years of opening. Will the rules change because of the proposed free trade deal, which limits the auto pact to the Big Three auto makers?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: I thank the member for the question. One of the key concerns that we have with the proposed free trade agreement is how it treats the auto pact and how it grandfathers the existing companies. I am sure members will know that questions have been raised--not by us but by both the federal and American negotiators--that in fact they may not meet auto pact requirements. This is something that I understand is part of a secret agreement, and it is really something that we have a great deal of concern about.
Mrs. Grier: I have a question to the Minister of the Environment. In December 1985 the Premier (Mr. Peterson) met with the Governor of Michigan in what the Windsor Star described as a love-in and signed a pollution control pact for cross-boundary pollution.
Yet two years later, Windsor residents are faced with the incredible prospect of a barge which is going to shuttle hazardous materials and waste back and forth across the Detroit River from Windsor to Detroit.
Can the minister tell the House what he is going to do to ensure that there is an environmental assessment review process before materials which are considered too dangerous to be transported by truck through the tunnels from Detroit and Windsor are shipped instead across the river, with all the risks that entails?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: It is indeed a disconcerting development that has been certainly a subject of considerable interest in the area of Windsor. As a matter of fact, as the member would know, the transportation of dangerous goods across the border comes under the jurisdiction of the federal government. For that reason, I have taken the initiative to communicate with the office of the federal minister, who would communicate in turn with some of the other ministries which would have jurisdiction, such as the national Department of Transport, in order that we can see what activities can be undertaken to prevent this from happening in the first place.
The member is quite correct in the statement that it is not permitted to cross the tunnel or the bridge because of the concern about a potential accident. It would seem to me that the same concern should be expressed about the potential of an accident involving a barge. We are dealing there with an international waterway, one which has already been subject to effluents that are less than desirable, and of course to emissions from the area, so l want to assure the member that the federal minister has been contacted. We have been assured that they are looking at various ways of either preventing this or at least ensuring hat it is undertaken under the strictest rules possible.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: I do not think the minister’s answers are good enough. At this point now, we have six proposals going on in the Detroit area for hazardous waste proposals. We have the incinerator that is going up. We have a major expansion proposed for the city airport in Detroit which is going to have a detrimental impact on the environment in the east end of Windsor, and now we have this barge proposal which also affects our federal government, and the minister was not even informed of many of these proposals.
I would like to ask the minister: What was this agreement that he signed with the governor of Michigan, and is it not time that he and his counterpart and the Premier (Mr. Peterson) and the Governor of Michigan sit down again and say that we have to work co-operatively and stop putting the people of our community at risk?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: First of all, with the “Hear, hears,” the member would be aware that it is Ontario that is in the courts of the United States at the present time--the only jurisdiction which is in the courts of the United States at the present tlme--fighting for the people of Essex county, fighting for the people of Windsor, expending taxpayers’ dollars from Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: If the member thinks that I have the opportunity to dictate to the United States, that is incorrect. If he believes I have the opportunity, as the Minister of the Environment of Ontario, to enter the court proceedings in the United States at the expense of the people of Ontario--and I believe that is a legitimate expense--to the annoyance of our neighbours, and that is just too bad if they are annoyed about that, but as the Minister of the Environment of Ontario, I have met personally with the mayor of Detroit to put the case of Ontario, the case of Canada and the case of the city of Windsor to the mayor of the city of Detroit.
This province is the jurisdiction which has shown the leadership in that regard, and any time there is lack of information passing between the two sides--and I want to tell you that both Ontario and Michigan have been guilty from time to time of violating that--I have taken the necessary action on our side. We have communicated the need to have similar action on the other side of the border to ensure that we in the Canadian jurisdiction are informed of any new initiatives on the part of those in the state of Michigan.
Mr. Jackson: I have a question for the Minister of Education. Last night on Dateline Ontario, the minister was asked a question by Mark Kennedy about his government’s commitment to the 60 per cent funding level in education.
Specifically, he asked the minister, “When will you keep your word?” That question would have been quite unnecessary had the minister made public the three-year statistical analyses from school boards in Ontario which are traditionally tabulated and received by his ministry in the first week of July and have always been made public during the summer. The ministry has sat on them for four months and the minister’s predecessor refused to make them public.
Mr. Jackson: Given the fact that the minister has had nearly four months to analyse them, I am nervous that he was unable to give Mr. Kennedy a clearer statement on Dateline Ontario last night, but so there is no credibility gap between school boards and the ministry, will the minister state now, for purposes of the House, specifically whether or not the ministry’s contribution and the contribution that is borne by local taxpayers has either increased or decreased?
Hon. Mr. Ward: l am happy to advise my friend the member for Burlington South that indeed this government is committed to reducing the burden of education on the property taxpayer. I would point out that in order to attain the 60 per cent funding level it would cost an additional $1.1 billion. I suggest to my friend that he take a look at this government’s financial commitment in terms of the flow of funds to school boards during the course of the past two fiscal years and he would clearly recognize our commitment to adequately fund education.
Mr. Charlton: I have a question for the Premier. The Premier is aware that Hydro has been working on its Demand-Supply Options Study for some three years now. The study, which Hydro originally told us would be completed by last December, is described as the most comprehensive analysis ever done of options for electricity supply and demand beyond Darlington.
Mr. Charlton: The Premier does not seem to understand the importance of the study or the importance of the timing of the release of that study. With time pressures pending very quickly, in terms of what Hydro has told us about the need for further construction, and in the light of the fact of the comments made by the new Minister of Energy (Mr. Wong) over the last two weeks about the need to make Hydro more accountable and the need to bring its financial structure under control, specifically its debt structure, will the Premier assure this House that Hydro’s Demand-Supply Options Study will be part of the terms of reference of his announced new select committee on energy so that committee can hold public hearings and do a thorough analysis of that study?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I am not being facetious; I say to my honourable friend that report will be made public as soon as it is possible and as soon as it is available. Frankly, I do not know when it is going to be made available, but it will be made public as soon as it is. He is quite right, this will need a thorough and complete analysis and discussion right across this province. Depending on who one listens to, there will have to be some major decisions made about long-term supply some time over the next few years.
There is no crisis. We obviously have to think ahead as a Legislature and we would want to have the benefit of the opinion of all members of the Legislature as we look at various demand-supply options. There are many of them, as the member knows. We want to give ourselves as much time as is necessary to do that and have the benefit of the wisdom of people right across this province. I think he could be assured that there will be a full, frank and thorough discussion with all members and all people in this province about those alternatives.
Mr. Villeneuve: I have a question of the Minister of Revenue. The minister should be aware that senior citizens living on nonproducing farms have had their tax burden raised very considerably by this provincial government. The rebate is now received only on their house and the one acre of land. The tax on remaining land and buildings must be borne by the seniors and is no longer rebated by any ministry within this government. Yet, the same government refuses to let seniors sever the excess land which they can no longer use on their farms. Why are these seniors being discriminated against?
Hon. Mr. Grandmaître: I think this government has recognized for some months now, close to a year, that property tax rebates or grants should be increased and this is why we have increased it by $100. In coming years seniors will be receiving $600 instead of $500. I think we have been very generous.
Mr. Villeneuve: Quite obviously the minister does not realize what is happening. I will draw him a small picture. Senior citizens in rural Ontario are not receiving a rebate on their farm land. If they do not gross $8,000 they do not receive the farm tax rebate from his colleague over there in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. They are being discriminated against because they live in rural Ontario on farms. Will he undertake to tell this Legislature today that he will correct the discriminatory legislation that he has put in place?
Hon. Mr. Grandmaître: I will repeat that I think this government, along with the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell), has been very generous and we intend to continue this practice. If farmers are not receiving an adequate tax grant, then the Minister of Agriculture and Food will compensate with other programs. I think our government does have great programs to compensate for the lack of some others. We will continue this practice and rural farmers anywhere in Ontario will be well treated by this government.
Mr. McGuigan: With respect to residents in southwestern Ontario, and farmers in particular, my question is of the Minister of the Environment. Their concern is about press reports of ozone pollution affecting their crops, the white bean crop specifically, and I can tell the minister something about that because I used to grow white beans. Most of the ozone pollution is coming from the United States. What effect will the free trade agreement have on Ontario’s ability to take measures on this side to try to control this pollution?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I have a concise answer that says I have a very great concern about the potential impact of a specific free trade agreement on the environment, not only as it relates to Ontario or to the specific part of the province that the member addresses but also to Canada as a whole.
The reason for this is that in many jurisdictions within the United States the legislation and regulations are somewhat weaker and the ability to enforce those regulations is somewhat weaker south of the border. If our industries are asked to compete without compensating tariffs to assist us in being competitive, then in the light of the fact that our rules and regulations are generally much stronger and stricter, it seems to me that pressure will increase rather significantly on this side of the border to relax those rules or not be so stringent in the rules we develop. It is not the intention of the Ontario government to do so, but our industries will be put at a competitive disadvantage.
In other areas, such as our acid rain assistance program, federal and provincial together, where there is $150 million provided jointly by the provinces and the federal government to deal with the problem of acid rain, there is a real question mark as to whether that would be subject to any action on the part of Americans who would see it as an indirect subsidy.
Mr. Philip: I have a question to the Minister of Transportation. He will be aware that the speech from the throne contained numerous references to legislation that was left over from the last parliament and would be reintroduced in this parliament. Notable by its absence was any mention of the deregulation bills that he introduced in the House and got second reading for.
Is this an indication the minister has now realized that his deregulation policies and bills that he introduced were ill thought out, that they would cost thousands of jobs of Ontario truckers in this province, and will he give us a guarantee today that they will not be reintroduced in this House?
Hon. Mr. Fulton: The member for Etobicoke-Rexdale will be aware that at no time did we ever introduce legislation in this House with respect to deregulation, a very significant difference, and he is well aware of it. He is still living with the committee of this House that formed I think in 1977 and is not aware, obviously, of the details contained in our legislation that was introduced and proceeded to second reading in committee.
Is the minister aware that Raymond Cope, president of the Ontario Trucking Association, has said that the deregulation--and that is his word--bills introduced by this government, coupled with free trade, will mean the loss of thousands of jobs in this province? Will the minister now take that into account and give us an assurance that he will not reintroduce the deregulation bills he did introduce in the last House?
Hon. Mr. Fulton: Of course I am aware of what the Ontario Trucking Association is saying. There is a great deal of disagreement with the wording it is using and some of the things being said by the spokesmen the member has indicated.
Of course we will not proceed with deregulation bills in this House. From the beginning, we have never said we would do what the Americans did, which was complete deregulation of their industry in 1980. The member knows it, and his colleagues on that side of the House know full well that our bills do not compare with the deregulation bills processed in the United States in 1978 and 1980.
My leader called some months ago for strengthening of legislation, namely the Dog Owners’ Liability Act, particularly with reference to all the incidents we have heard about with the pit bull terriers. Studies have shown they are most liable to attack children and seniors. Will the minister act immediately and bring in the necessary amendments to strengthen the existing legislation and minimize the chance of a fatal dog attack?
Indeed, the committee has been formed. There are three acts, actually, that apply to this particular situation of vicious dogs. First, I would like to point out that it is the opinion of the committee that was formed that we should be discussing vicious dogs, rather than pit bull terriers, as it becomes very difficult to prove in a court of law that a pit bull is necessarily a pit bull. A lot of time and energy could be wasted in a court as to whether it is a pit bull, so we prefer to address the matter of vicious dogs per se since it really does not matter which breed of dog commits a vicious act.
The three acts affected are all from different ministries, so those ministers sat down together and have put forward some recommendations for consideration by cabinet. The two chief differences would be increasing the penalty and expanding the power of municipalities to tighten their laws. These specific recommendations are being forwarded to municipalities for their comments since they are the ones that will have to enact the bylaws. So we will be waiting to hear from them and receive their advice as soon as we can and act upon this.
We have communications from about 150 municipalities that are in favour of some form of change in legislation along the lines of that enacted by the city of Toronto originally. In view of the fact that 150 municipalities have endorsed this, when can we expect action on the minister’s behalf?
Hon. Mrs. Smith: The recommended amendments should be ready very shortly, but I point out that although the member may have heard from 150 municipalities, part of the problem is that many municipalities in fact do not have appropriate bylaws and do not enforce their bylaws, so it is partly a question of education of these municipalities.
I point out as well that, unfortunately, the recent episode that was reported this weekend in fact occurred in Toronto, which has the most up-to-date bylaws, so at least part of the problem is in the enforcement of the bylaws and this is a matter within the bounds of the municipalities. We will do everything we can to encourage municipalities to do their duty in this area.
Mr. Reycraft: I have a petition signed by 20 people from or near the riding of Windsor-Sandwich addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, calling for the introduction of legislation to guarantee naturopaths the right to practice their art and science to the fullest without prejudice or harassment.
Ms. Bryden: This bill is substantially the same as two bills I introduced in the two previous sessions of the Legislature. Its objective is to ban racing and intertrack wagering on Sundays at the Greenwood Raceway in my riding and to protect the democratic rights of residents affected by racetrack activities. It also changes the composition of the Ontario Racing Commission to include representatives of the general public living in the vicinity of racetracks.
Greenwood Raceway is the only racetrack in Ontario located in a high density, urban, residential neighbourhood and this legislation is needed to deal with the community problems arising from that fact.
Mrs. Grier: This is similar to the legislation that was introduced in the last session of this House and received second reading. It is an act that provides for environmental rights, as it says, and guarantees people the right to initiate actions and to have access to information concerning the environment.
To the Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council for Canada, Knight of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, one of Her Majesty’s counsel learned in the law, bachelor of arts, doctor of laws, colonel in Her Majesty’s armed forces supplementary reserve, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario:
We, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario, now assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious speech Your Honour has addressed to us.
Ms. Poole: It is an honour for me at long last to move adoption of the speech from the throne. I would like to commend the Lieutenant Governor for his excellent delivery of the throne speech on Tuesday last and to compliment him for the dignity and the decorum he brings to his position as the crown’s representative.
I wish to warmly congratulate my colleague the member for Perth (Mr. Edighoffer) on his re-election as Speaker. His reputation for fairness and integrity have rightly earned him the respect of this House.
There will be many speeches made in this House over the next four years and there will be much rhetoric, but before we get too caught up in the day-to-day routine, let us remind ourselves of why we are here. We are here to speak for others and not just for ourselves. We are here to work for our neighbourhoods and to protect our communities. Most of all, we are here to fulfil the trust of the people, for truly the business of this House is the people’s business; for politics is not merely policies, politics is people.
On September 10 the people of this province spoke with a resounding voice--mind you, not quite as resounding as in New Brunswick--and they endorsed the principles which His Honour the Lieutenant Governor outlined last April.
Tuesday’s speech from the throne provides for the implementation of those principles, the most important being the desire of the people of Ontario to be governed by a balance of fiscal responsibility and social conscience. Some call that balance common sense; I call it Liberalism.
My riding of Eglinton is well known to many of the members as north Toronto. I know there is a misconception in the minds of many that Eglinton is a bastion of the wealthy. In reality, we are a community in transition. We are not just home owners; we are now predominantly a tenant riding. We are not just a collage of well-to-do families; we are now also aspiring singles. We are an interesting blend of age groups, professions and, surprising to many, increasingly of cultural backgrounds. Who would have thought 10 years ago that the riding of Eglinton would elect a woman; 10 years ago, who would have thought that the riding of Eglinton would elect a young woman; and who would ever have thought that the riding of Eglinton would elect a Liberal?
The people of Eglinton share the same concerns as the rest of the province. For example, in my riding local parent associations have voiced their anxieties about the quality of education. I am the mother of two school-age children and I share that concern.
This government has gone a long way towards addressing those concerns, and we will continue to make bold initiatives, for our children deserve the best we can provide. Surely they are the most precious of all our natural resources.
We will establish province-wide standards for literacy, mathematics, social sciences and science, and we will develop more effective ways of measuring our children’s achievements against these standards.
Although parts of north Toronto are definitely prosperous, I am constantly reminded by the people who come to me for help that we cannot provide our children with a place to learn unless we first provide them with a place to live. This government will not tolerate a further erosion of affordable housing.
We will move swiftly and decisively to create an environment conducive to increased investment in rental housing. We will promote conversion-to-rent initiatives, upgrading, modifying and intensifying the rental stock of existing apartments. I am personally committed to protecting the rights of tenants.
We shall also seek to restore the prospect of home ownership to those who had begun to despair that they would ever be able to afford it. We shall be innovative in the use of government lands and establish greater protection for buyers of new homes.
For my constituents of Eglinton i make a special commitment, a commitment to keep the promise of this government never to impose market value assessment on the city of Toronto against the wishes of the people of Toronto.
Speaking as a Torontonian, I have watched this metropolis grow until almost 3.5 million people now live in the greater Toronto area. A great deal of living space has to be found and many services are needed to support the population. Rapid growth means a lot of problems: housing problems, traffic problems, parking problems, refuse problems--all in all, a lot of headaches.
To date, there has been no overall, coordinated strategy for growth, despite the fact that parts of this city are subject to the jurisdiction of multiple levels of government. This administration will move to provide some measure of co-ordination so that the vitality and character of our neighbourhoods will be enjoyed in the years to come.
The issue of environmental protection is an imperative. My honourable colleague the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Bradley) has provided a breath of fresh air, both literally and figuratively, to the people of this province. The government will continue to restore our lakes and beaches and will pursue international understanding to give priority to the cleaning of our waterways.
The most immediate international issue before this House is the proposed trade agreement with the United States. The difficulties we have experienced with our American neighbours over the environment ought to make us very careful to ensure that the US is truly committed to fair trade before we are too willing to make concessions. Put the pact to the acid test. A free trade deal that retains American protectionism while leaving Canada vulnerable is no deal at all.
As MPPs, our first task must be to preserve and expand on Ontario’s economic strengths. I consider one of these strengths to be the women of this province. I regard it as no small accomplishment that there are as many women on the government benches as there are members of the entire Conservative caucus.
The proclamation of the government’s pay equity legislation on January 1, 1988, represents a major step, not just for women but for our overall economic growth. Parallel initiatives are being planned to modernize and make our training and apprenticeship programs more accessible, and particularly more accessible to more women. As the first woman elected in the history of Eglinton, I am particularly delighted to see these initiatives.
Developing our human resources also means investing in child care. As a working mother, I well know the difficulties of trying to juggle job, home and children. I personally feel that women will never reach their full potential in the work place until we have affordable and accessible child care in this province. This also means pressing for a national partnership in the provision of child care services. This government is pledged to an integrated day care system for school age children in existing schools, new schools and in locations near schools.
Building on our economic strengths also means promoting the entrepreneurial spirit and encouraging employee share ownership plans at work. The government’s actions in funding the centres of entrepreneurship and appointing a commissioner of industrial restructuring are evidence of this commitment. This latter program is particularly important in promoting the partnership of government, management and labour essential to the success of any industrial strategy.
We must also ensure that the products of our industries are of high quality and meet consumer standards. The government’s intention to introduce a consumer protection code will, among other benefits, enhance our overall competitiveness and our pride in workmanship. For consumers, both here and abroad, we are prepared to stand by this simple motto: Ontario means quality.
The first prerequisite of a healthy economy is a healthy people. In Eglinton riding, where there is at present no health care facility, we applaud the transition from institution-based health care to community-based health care. In fact, preliminary proposals are under way at this time for a community health centre on the former site of the 53 Division police headquarters in Eglinton riding. The centre would include clinics for adolescents and women. It would also include a seniors’ day care centre.
The broad strokes of the government’s health policy will be sketched by the Premier’s council on health strategy, a most welcome development. It is my personal hope that the council will tackle the issue of acquired immune deficiency syndrome early in its deliberations, both in terms of prevention and in terms of care.
I began by stressing what we as parents owe to our children. Let me conclude by not forgetting the care that we as children owe to our parents. We owe our parents a decent, affordable place to live. For the elderly, for those who are frail, we owe the additional services of our integrated homemaker program. Above all, we owe our parents the community support that enables them to maintain their independence, their health their interests and, most of all, their dignity. The society that does not take care of the needs of the elderly cannot consider itself to be civilized.
I defined the Liberal tradition earlier as a combination of social conscience and fiscal responsibility. Part of the pride I feel today in moving the adoption of the throne speech is the fact that I am the first person to have done so for a Liberal majority government in half a century. This throne speech is in keeping with that tradition. It deals with the local problems of individuals as well the global concerns facing us collectively.
It addresses the importance of developing our human resources on a human scale: the college student’s Ontario student assistance program loan, the young couple’s first home, the ability to provide care for our parents and for our children; and it addresses the management of our natural resources, the accountability of our energy suppliers, the quality of our environment. It is a throne speech for and about people and, as such, I am honoured to move its adoption.
I would like to congratulate you, sir, on your election as Deputy Speaker and I would like to commend you on the even-handed, impartial and wise manner in which you preside over the business of this House.
As a new member of this House, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Algoma-Manitoulin for the confidence and trust they have displayed in me. I am humbled, yet proud to represent the people of Algoma-Manitoulin in this House. I am committed to serving the people of my riding, of the north and of this province diligently.
Algoma-Manitoulin was well served in this place by its member for 16 years, John Lane. John always placed the needs and concerns of his constituents and his constituency first. He worked long and hard to meet the needs of our riding and his accomplishments are present for all to see. His compassion and common sense are the hallmarks of a proud career. At present, John Lane is continuing a career of service as a consultant on Manitoulin Island.
I am pleased to be seconding the motion of the member for Eglinton (Ms. Poole). She is originally from the north, as I am originally from the south. She proudly names the fine town of Matheson as her birthplace, and today I find out she is even now from north Toronto. I know she has shared the northern experience, and her views of this great province represent the well-rounded and balanced outlook that only experience can provide.
I would like to take a few moments to describe the riding that I am privileged to represent. Algoma-Manitoulin is a large and diverse riding of incredible natural wealth and beauty. It stretches along the Trans-Canada Highway from Espanola to Algoma Mills and includes the town of Elliot Lake. The riding also includes Manitoulin, not only the island but also the village of Killarney, which is proudly located at the north of Georgian Bay on the mainland. The riding comprises large parts of the districts of Sudbury and Algoma and all of the district of Manitoulin.
The riding is geologically diverse. Manitoulin is an extension of the Niagara Escarpment, while the north shore boasts the rugged beauty and wealth of the Canadian Shield. Our main industries are mining, forest products, agriculture and tourism.
Algoma-Manitoulin’s real wealth, however, lies in its people. The multicultural nature of the riding was exemplified to me recently at a multicultural dinner in Elliot Lake. The dinner featured dishes from all parts of the world, prepared by the organization’s members. It was truly an international feast.
The riding also contains a significant number of native people on its eight reserves. The Indians comprise approximately 15 per cent of the population of our riding, and they have special needs which deserve special attention. I am therefore pleased with the government’s ongoing emphasis on multiculturalism.
I tell you these facts in order to set the context from which we in Algoma-Manitoulin view the world, Canada and Ontario, and therefore how we view the speech from the throne. We are pleased and excited that we will be part of the world-class competitive society envisioned in this speech.
Algoma-Manitoulin, the north and certainly all of the province will benefit from policies building on Ontario’s strengths. The Premier’s Council will assist in promoting our strengths through the support of the technology fund, centres of excellence and centres of entrepreneurship.
It is worthy of note that on November 23, 24, and 25 the Premier’s Conference on Northern Business and Entrepreneurship will take place in Thunder Bay. Since we are all aware that small businesses are creating the bulk of jobs in this province, the encouragement and training of entrepreneurs positions the province well by promoting the job creation talents of Ontario’s people.
The drive towards energy conservation is significant. To optimize the use of energy means working towards an efficient, competitive society. An efficient provincial plant in terms of energy will augment other measures in leading Ontario further towards the competitive society that Ontario needs in the years ahead.
I am particularly pleased that greater public input will be exhibited in the development of energy policy. In the years ahead, this province’s ability to compete will be directly reflected by the decisions made in the next few years regarding Ontario Hydro in particular. The characteristic openness of this government will ensure that the right decisions will be taken.
The speech recognizes that Ontario’s transportation system needs to be strengthened. In competitive terms, transportation is the lifeblood of Ontario’s economy and wellbeing. Efficient, good transportation is reliant on a strong provincial road infrastructure so that our people and products can move easily both within our borders and to our borders.
In the north we are also very concerned with the availability of good air service. This necessitates the building and maintenance of good airports and the assurance of good scheduled service throughout the north. In my riding, the province is actively completing an airport near Manitowaning, with the runway surfacing recently completed, and the resurfacing of a runway at Killarney has been announced.
From the northern perspective, it is imperative that by improving transportation and communications we shrink the north to bring our people and our products closer together and to bring the north closer to the major markets of southern Ontario and the world. We in the north see transportation as an important development tool.
It is interesting to note that although northern Ontario comprises over 80 per cent of the land mass of this province, it has less than 10 per cent of the population. When in addition you recognize that 75 per cent of the population resides in one of the five major cities, it means that about two per cent of the people of this province occupy 80 per cent of the land. Algoma-Manitoulin is part of these largely rural ridings.
Again, we are very concerned with transportation. My riding knows that good air service, good roads, especially improved ferry service and the application of communication technologies are keys to our economic future. Our potential and future are closely linked to transportation. We in Algoma-Manitoulin are therefore very pleased with the northern transportation initiatives put forward in the speech from the throne.
Co-ordinated efforts to enhance both facilities and marketing were discussed. The potential for marine-based tourism is being realized and acted upon I am very pleased that the province will be moving more actively in responsible development of waterfront areas.
I am encouraged by the specific references to the north in this speech. The government is continuing its commitment to northern Ontario through the continuation of its programs such as the northern Ontario regional development program. The distribution of the heritage fund and the introduction of a buy-north program will be welcome additions in aiding the economy of our area.
The continued expansion of health care services throughout the north, including recruitment of health care professionals and expanded community--based health care programs, will fundamentally improve the quality of life in northern Ontario.
Our future resides with our young people. The Ministry of Education’s program, which will dramatically reduce class sizes in grades 1 and 2, is good news to our area as we strive to prevent an unacceptable dropout rate in our schools and better prepare our young people for a challenging, exciting future.
The program to acquire additional computers will be of great help, especially in northern areas where small boards of education have little financial manoeuvrability to make large capital expenditures on equipment. The new literacy and ability to understand and work with computers will be essential for our growth as a competitive society.
In the north we share large environmental concerns. Acid rain threatens the very existence of our forests. Since the largest economic sector in the north is the forest product sector, this threat must be dealt with with dispatch. I am heartened by Ontario’s leadership in imposing tough but fair environmental legislation so that our stewardship of the resources will be a proud legacy.
I am further pleased by the provision of the loans for environmental defence fund, which will aid industry to comply with the tough new pollution standards. The program will be of particular assistance to northern industries faced with adjustments to changing international markets at the same time that environmental controls are required.
In the recent year, we have experienced an alarming number of mine fatalities. This is unacceptable; any work-related death is unacceptable. This government has recognized this fact and will presently refer the problem to the standing committee on resources development to recommend solutions. Being from a riding which has been touched this year by untimely deaths in the mines at Elliot Lake, I believe that this committee has a heavy responsibility, which I know they will address with diligence and sincerity.
The uranium mines in Elliot Lake provide the fuel to generate in excess of 40 per cent of all the electricity in this province. The contribution of the workers and miners in Elliot Lake has been great over the years. The government’s reintroduction of legislation to strengthen a worker’s right to a healthy and safe work place will be augmented by the implementation of worker and community right-to-know legislation that has been previously adopted.
In other worker-related steps, I believe that the people of Algoma-Manitoulin will benefit greatly from a client-centred approach in the rehabilitation of injured workers. I look forward to enhanced methods of re-employing injured workers and to reform in the area of permanent partial disability pensions.
Of particular importance will be the government action to restore the confidence of both the employee and the employer in the Workers’ Compensation Board. My office, like those of most of my colleagues, receives far too many complaints from both workers and employers about this system. The government’s resolve to restore confidence is a very necessary step. Surely we can do better.
Algoma-Manitoulin, like Ontario, is adjusting to a change in demographics. Our population is ageing. We need to deal with this change in a comprehensive, compassionate approach based on assisting seniors to enjoy a full life. The enhancement of community support systems will need to continue. Services such as the integrated homemaker program will need continued expansion. We all must also be sensitive to the difficult-to-serve areas in ridings such as mine.
What seems to be one of the favourite topics of the House, the proposed Mulroney-Reisman deal, is bad news for my riding. It is not free trade, with all the philosophical and theoretical arguments which surround that, but a real deal, a bilateral trade agreement which has few pluses and many minuses.
While now is not the time to explore the deal, I will give the members one example of its implications to the north, that being softwood lumber. Although this province, this Premier (Mr. Peterson), fought hard to keep the federal government from accepting a 15 per cent surcharge on our lumber, the deal was struck.
Under the proposed agreement, it appears that not only will the Americans be able to use countervail and antidumping measures at will, according to American law, but the surcharge will be made permanent under this deal. This is bad for our area and bad for all areas of Ontario and Canada which produce softwood lumber, because the 15 per cent surcharge stays even if our competitive position vis-à-vis the US deteriorates.
The deal does little to secure fair and consistent access to the American market. In effect, it institutionalizes a practice that was originally unfair and unfounded. This deal, if carried out, threatens unnecessarily our resource industry. This deal will be bad for my riding, bad for Ontario and bad for Canada. We need secure, fair access to the American market. If we do not get that, what do we get?
In this speech, the government has set forth an ambitious, progressive, activist program which will be acted upon. The government has taken the initiative on a great number of fronts and will do what it says it will do within a framework of prudent fiscal responsibility. The government will continue to be open and responsive to the people and needs of Ontario.